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A homage to Hindu civilization.

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    "The pricing details have, however, been shared with theComptroller and Auditor General (hereinafter referred to as“CAG”),and the report of the CAG has been examined by thePublic Accounts Committee (hereafter referred to as “PAC”). Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament."

    C Dismisses Petitions Seeking Probe In To Rafale Deal [Read Judgment] by Srini Kalyanaraman on Scribd

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    Indology and the Crisis in the Humanities

    Indology and the Crisis in the Humanities
    In Adluri and Bagchee’s confrontation with Indology, the issue tends to be the extent to which this discipline has operated either according to no principles at all, or according to those it would not wish to acknowledge openly, such as Christian evangelism, racial theory or anti-Semitic biblical criticism.
    Together with their first book, The Nay Science: A History of German Indology (2014), Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism presents a comprehensive indictment of the dominant tendency in Indology to corrupt any effective and defensible principles the humanities may have while Indologists mold Indian civilization to their liking. What is at stake in the struggle over Indology that Adluri and Bagchee have waged is the struggle of the humanities to become relevant in a modern multicultural world.
    Their argument in both books proceeds accordingly on parallel planes. On the one hand, there is the question of what the principles of the humanities ought to be. Such is the call in the Prologue of The Nay Science for an ensouled philology such as Plato already invokes in the Phaedrus against the soulless ingenuity of sophistical play with texts, or the vision in the Prologue to Philology and Criticism of an alternative modernity not estranged from the traditions of antiquity. In a similar vein are the array of practical tools provided at the end of Philology and Criticism to aid in the use of the critical edition of the Mahābhārata, to help release the potential of this extraordinary contribution of Sukthankar and the other editors to global scholarship.
    On the other hand, in Adluri and Bagchee’s confrontation with Indology, the issue tends to be the extent to which this discipline has operated either according to no principles at all, or according to those it would not wish to acknowledge openly, such as Christian evangelism, racial theory or anti-Semitic biblical criticism. Hence in Chapter 5 of The Nay Science, we see that the German Indologists would fail even according to the criteria of the positivism they espoused, at least on any intellectually responsible interpretation of its principles. Simultaneously, Adluri and Bagchee subject the principles of positivism themselves to critique in the name of a hermeneutics that could arrest the descent of the social sciences into nihilism.
    In other words, it is one thing to have the wrong principles, and another to have no principles whatsoever. This essential point is made with stinging clarity in a section of Philology and Criticism entitled “The Argument from Expertise” (269ff). Adluri and Bagchee speak of an institutional crisis manifest in Indology in which “expert testimony, paradigmatically manifest as citation of one’s peers, has replaced the need for demonstration … Rather, the criterion for valid scholarship has become: Who said it? Does he possess the correct pedigree? Does he enjoy his peers’ confidence? Have other experts cited him?” (273). ‘Expertise’ in this sense no longer refers to “expert skill or knowledge in a particular field,” but to the expert himself: “expertise refers to the ability to declare certain ideas valid merely because they exhibit the institutional features of scholarship,” (274).
    This reduction of truth to personality or to institutions is what the misology, the hatred of logoi, of which Socrates warned (Phaedo 89d) looks like in the flesh. An entire community of scholars has abandoned oversight of their peers, treating any objections to the critical edition of the Mahābhārata as either valid or close enough, irrespective of their actual substance, so long as they have been proposed by the correct sort of people, as though no evaluation of them is possible, or would at any rate not be their particular responsibility. Truth being relative, apparently, these markers of status have sufficed for the critical edition of the Mahābhārata to be regarded as somehow clouded, albeit no two scholars agree on precisely why, and no one without a direct stake in the outcome bothers even to familiarize themselves with the issues.
    In reaction to this environment, Adluri and Bagchee provide a deflationary account of philology, the more mechanical the better, daring Indologists to subject themselves to the transparency and scientificity of the method applied in the critical edition. Philology and Criticism is more playful in this respect than The Nay Science: its favored method of argument is the reductio ad absurdum, which is used to devastating effect. If the reader is surprised to find accredited scholars indicted of such elementary fallacies, they need to reflect upon the institutional factors that have ensured that nobody at any prior stage in the process of academic production and reception would dare to call them out. There are moments, too, of moral outrage expressed more starkly than in The Nay Science, as when Adluri and Bagchee close the chapter on “Confusions Regarding Classification” with a photograph reproduced from a book by a Nazi eugenicist as a reminder of the ideological roots of German Indology in racial classification (318). This is no mere hyperbole, as demonstrated by the corresponding note (n. 360 on p. 313), which argues that notions of classification used by Grünendahl, methodologically otiose with respect to textual science, should therefore rather be traced to such latent ideological influence.
    Philology and Criticism exposes the recklessness with which Indologists have sought to cast doubt upon the critical edition by any means necessary, and the breakdown in the social structures of scholarship that have permitted illogical and even nonsensical attacks to achieve the status of conventional wisdom without challenge, allowing professional camaraderie or mere laziness to take precedence over the ideals that guide the life of the mind, and upon which a wider community depends. By this wider community, I do not mean merely other scholars in recondite fields, but the entire system by which world-historical communities understand and assimilate their own histories and evaluate—yes, even criticize—their own traditions.
    But why should it be so important to Indologists to cast doubt upon this text? The crime committed by Sukthankar’s critical edition of the Mahābhārata in the eyes of Indologists is that
    the text the critical edition produced was much closer to the traditional reception of the Indian epic as a body of inspired literature than to the German critics’ assertions. The Mahābhārata critics had hoped for a critical edition as the best means of undermining the authority of the textual tradition, and the Bhandarkar editors had countered with an edition bearing out the traditional reception of the epic. (28)
    Critics had hoped that the process of producing a critical edition of the epic would reveal seams in the text that could be used to justify the image of Hinduism itself as a makeshift construct, not unified by any common purpose or ideal, but a marriage of convenience or worse. Unmasking the text in the form in which it actually exists and has always been known to the Hindu tradition as a mere self-serving “Brahmanic redaction” would have been a valuable aid to Christian evangelism, which has always followed in the Indologists’ footsteps. But when philology, textual science, failed to produce the results they had wanted, the critics began to attack the foundations of philology in pursuit of their ideological aims.
    As Adluri and Bagchee pointed out in a presentation at the recent World Sanskrit Conference,
    The resultant fragmentation of the text was not the unintended consequence of applying a valid scientific procedure to the text. As we have seen, no such procedure existed … Rather, it was explicitly desired … Their sole aim in pursuing Mahābhārata “criticism” was to ensure that the text, which articulates a comprehensive vision of the Hindu cosmos, did not survive as a unity … [T]here was an urgent need to deconstruct the text, in full awareness of the challenge it posed to Christianity. The invocation of a “critical” procedure merely served as a pretext.[1]
    Why, the reader should ask themselves, does a discipline ostensibly in good standing as a charter member of the humanities, throw all of its institutional weight precisely against the cosmogonic dimension of this text? What is the source of this elemental nihilism, this anti-cosmism directed against this sacred text? Is it rooted purely in Christian sectarianism? Or is it something deeper? How has a similar animus been directed, under the guise of scholarship, toward the sacred texts of other traditions? We already know from The Nay Science that ‘text-critical’ or ‘text-historical’ Indology was rooted in Protestant biblical criticism, and that this self-proclaimed ‘higher criticism’ has been referred to as “higher anti-Semitism”.[2] But there is wider project at work here, I would argue, the manifestations and methods of which are easily traced in almost every engagement of Western scholarship with a polytheistic civilization, whether it be the West’s own polytheist antiquity, or Chinese civilization, or the indigenous civilizations of the Americas, Africa and the rest of the world. In what specific ways, then, and in what ways similarly and in what ways differently from the Hindu case? And precisely what is it about theologies of the living immortals[3] that elicits this sustained attack from the supposedly secularized human sciences? In the name of what ‘humanity’ have they undertaken it? These are the questions that we need to ask, for they alone at this point will lead us to sound principles on which to inquire into the nature of the human.
                Philology and Criticism lays out a vision for a new kind of philology, one that appreciates the full development of the Mahābhārata tradition in all its “chromatic variation” (xxv) rather than obsessively seeking a putative Aryan Urepos. The German Mahābhārata critics believe that the Mahābhārata critical edition reconstructs the text of a “normative redaction” they hold to have taken place in the 3rd to the 4th centuries CE, when an earlier and more fluid oral epic tradition was standardized by hypothetical Brahmin “redactors”. Adluri and Bagchee show how Indologists have exploited a basic misconception about textual criticism in support of this pet theory: “Tracing a tradition back to an archetype dating, say, from the fourth century, does not at all mean that ‘in antiquity’ (or in the Middle Ages, or in the early modern period) a single witness of our text was preserved, or a single copy that was authoritative for one reason or another,” (20). The Mahābhārata critics have pretended that, because the archetype occupies the vertex of the stemma, this must mean that the tradition was reduced at some point to a single exemplar. But as the authors demonstrate, the stemma is not an image of historical reality. There is no evidence that an actual ‘constriction’ exists, as opposed to the winnowing we would expect simply from the vulnerability of manuscripts to the ravages of time. Moreover, even if we had independent evidence of some kind of decimation of the tradition, we could not conclude that this was due to an ideologically motivated ‘redaction’. The authors’ conclusion is succinct: “No evidence exists for such a redaction, and the only reason it appears plausible is that the German scholars have redefined the critical edition as a Brahmanic redaction,” (66).
    A vivid example of the extent to which anti-Brahmanic resentment has driven the German Indologists’ analysis is provided by Adluri and Bagchee’s summary of Andreas Bigger’s work, worth quoting in full:
    As in the first stage of his argument, when he randomly restored passages to the constituted text, here also he randomly restores passages to it except, whereas he earlier justified their restoration on the grounds that they were passages the Brahmans removed during their redaction of an earlier oral epic, he now justifies restoring them on the grounds that they are passages the Brahmans added during their redaction. What he fails to realize thereby is that no evidence exists that the Brahmans either added passages to or removed passages from an earlier oral epic, and the only person making changes to the text is he himself! Either way, the Brahmans cannot win. If parts that Bigger thinks belonged to the earlier Kṣatriya epic are not in the text, he blames the Brahmans for removing them. But if parts that he thinks they added to the text during their redaction are not in the text, he attributes their absence to accidental loss and still blames the Brahmans for adding them. (88)
    Adluri and Bagchee recount how an entire discipline was institutionally founded on anti-Brahmanic prejudice:
    [T]he idea of a Brahmanic “takeover” of an earlier Kṣatriya tradition dates back to Christian Lassen, where its origins were clearly racist. German Mahābhārata critics argued sophistically and dishonestly for a critical edition. They were never interested in a secure text. Rather, they feigned interest in textual criticism because only thus could they sustain the illusion of objective inquiries and of binding procedures and results. Everyone in the field operated under an as if: write as if the Kṣatriya epic existed; as if the Brahmans had corrupted it; as if a redaction occurred. From Holtzmann to Bigger, Indology unfolded within this as if. Degrees were granted based not on the quality of evidence or arguments, but on the extent to which students conformed to this as if. Scholars were cited based on the extent to which they assimilated themselves to this as if. Corresponding to this as if of the Mahābhārata tradition was a second as if: write as if the professor was infallible; write as if a genuine intellectual tradition of Indology existed; write as if the German critics were beyond criticism. Arguing like the Protestant theologian Johann Jerusalem, who wrote: “My experience is my proof ” (meine Erfahrung ist mein Beweis), the German Indologists needed no proof of what the Brahmans did beyond their experience of the work. Arguments were superfluous because they did not seek to demonstrate anything. At best, arguments had a rhetorical value in that they confirmed the basic experience of the work or provided a means, in communal experience, to return again and again to the basic precept of Brahmanic corruption. (88)
    Adluri and Bagchee proceed in the second chapter to examine the vexed issue of ‘contamination’, which the Indologists have often cited to discredit the textual tradition and discount the critical edition, while the third chapter illustrates the spectacular errors in textual criticism of Reinhold Grünendahl, further demonstrating that the Indologists’ work “cannot claim the title of philology at all; it is rather a mixture of dogmatic assertion and Protestant anti-traditional, anticlerical sentiments masquerading as rigorous textual scholarship” (319). A detailed evaluation of Michael Witzel’s edition of the Kaṭha Āraṇyaka (his PhD dissertation) helps the authors to demonstrate Indology’s untenable position:
    In this contrast between what the Indologists say it is that they do and what they actually do we see the central contradiction at the heart of the discipline: on one hand, in order to be recognized as a legitimate discipline within the university canon, they were forced to constantly seek the comparison with classical philology, the discipline that had most successfully mastered the transition from an indefinite literary enterprise to a discipline modeled on the natural sciences and their rigorous procedures; on the other, the depth of expertise available in the field was always scant as compared with their colleagues in classical philology. (324)
    Adluri and Bagchee’s larger philological project, encompassing The Nay Science and Philology and Criticism, bears on the history of Western rationality itself: contrary to the Enlightenment’s self-understanding that it represented the claims of a universal reason and incarnated this reason in its fullest form for the first time, Adluri and Bagchee show that the Indologists, supposedly at the front lines of the encounter between the Enlightenment and its non-Western Other, are neither self-critical nor self-aware, that they neither know what it is that they do, nor do they actually possess a method, nor can they teach anyone any real techniques. Rather, what they offer is initiation into an elite, institutionally secured and intellectually legitimated through “a narrative about history as a progression from the darkness of religious belief to the light of reason,”[4] in virtue of which Indologists feel authorized to exercise what Adluri and Bagchee have elsewhere called their “oversight function”[5] upon Indian texts and history and, ultimately, over Indians themselves. Appropriately, therefore, Adluri and Bagchee turn the tables and exercise oversight upon philology itself:
    Given the inflation in the use of the expression critical edition in Indology, it appears appropriate to institute some criteria for its use. We propose the following definition: “Only those editions should be permitted to call themselves critical as make use of the genealogical-reconstructive method (also known as the common-error method) to reconstruct the relations of filiation between manuscripts and that propose a reconstruction of the archetype of the tradition on the basis of an explicit stemma.” This reconstruction, moreover, must be mechanical in the sense that it must be apparent, from a glance at the apparatus, what stage of the tradition the editor is reconstructing at any given moment. Further, no edition should be permitted to call itself a critical edition unless it is based on a systematic recensio of a large number of manuscripts (this would a priori exclude such one-manuscript “critical” editions as Witzel’s edition of the Kaṭha Āraṇyaka). We are aware that in many cases this ideal will not be attainable, but if this reduces the number of critical editions of Indian texts in circulation, so much the better. (324)
    By taking up the task of articulating clear and distinct principles for the practice of textual criticism, principles ensuring that ancient texts are made available for the labor of interpretation in a form which does not presuppose an interpretation having already taken place, Adluri and Bagchee show what is ultimately at stake in their entire investigation of Indology: freeing the ancients from being subjects of interrogation, and permitting them to question us moderns instead.
    [1] “Method and Racism in German Mahābhārata Studies,” Handout, Special Panel 2: After the Critical Edition: What Next For Mahābhārata Studies?, 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Vancouver, Canada (2018), (accessed 10/11/2018), 3f.
    [2] Solomon Schechter, “Higher Criticism—Higher Anti-Semitism” (1915), quoted in Philology and Criticism, p. 313, n. 359.
    [3] The phrase comes from Richard Bodéüs, Aristotle and the Theology of the Living Immortals, trans. Jan Garrett (Albany: SUNY Press, 2000). Bodéüs dismantles the Christian fiction that Aristotle proposed a radical, monotheistic theology, showing instead that Aristotle’s thought is premised upon the mainstream theology of Hellenic polytheism.
    [4] “Against Occidentalism: A Conversation with Alice Crary and Vishwa Adluri on ‘The Nay Science’,” (accessed 12/12/18).
    [5] Adluri and Bagchee, “Theses on Indology,” (accessed 12/12/18).
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    Dec. 15, 2018

    After state elections: Nation’s mood and road ahead for BJP

    BJP supporters
    Those following the outcome of the recently concluded assembly elections in five states cannot help feeling somewhat concerned, if not cautious, when it comes to projecting the BJP’s prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Were these state elections a “semi-final,” showing how the country will vote in next year’s “finals”? If so, does BJP’s keenly contested defeat in three central Indian states in the Hindi heartland presage a similar fate at the Centre in the months ahead? Does it foretell a drastic seat reduction, with the NDA managing to hold onto power by thin and precarious margin, placing it at the mercy of chancy or greedy electoral allies? Or will Modi stage a historic comeback, defying the odds and disproving the cassandras?
    Such questions are making the rounds not only in the corridors of power in India’s capital, but also echoing in the remotest corners of the land. The fact is that there is tremendous goodwill among the masses, not to speak of the classes, for India’s success story driven by a Prime Minister who is seen as committed and charismatic. Under Narendra Modi’s leadership, the BJP has delivered not just on many of their development goals and promises, but shown a vision of a different, much more confident, and empowered India. The economy has done well, corruption is down, and India’s stature on the global stage has improved.
    Yet, few will deny that a certain fatigue has also set in. The Modi magic does not seem to work as well as it used to. The BJP’s usual slogans and strategies are also so well-known that they lack the novelty factor. They don’t enthuse the voters as much as they used to. In addition, we have been jolted by institutional destabilisation, whether it comes to nation’s premier investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or, even more parlous in the world’s eyes, our hallowed Reserve Bank of India itself. There is renewed trouble on our western border, with continuing infiltration and destabilisation. Finally, alarming agricultural distress, with the economically disastrous consequences of having to write off lakhs of crores of loans. There is thus a restlessness in the air. Are the Indian masses itching for a change? Are they looking for better reasons to keep BJP in power for another five years? 
    On the other side, the Congress, having beaten the BJP in straight fights, is set to govern the destiny of some 20 per cent of India’s population. This has sent shivers of fear, dismay, revulsion, even anger down the spines of those who detest all that this once-great party stands for today. Single-family rule, sycophancy, corruption, ideological skulduggery, perilous populism, communalism masquerading as secularism, socially divisive policies, rampant and calamitous minoritarianism, insecurity at the borders— to its critics, these are only a few flashpoints of the Congress’s loathsome legacy. Add the arrogance of entitled elites, jeering dismissal of new political formations, and keeping the underprivileged natives permanently outside the echelons of power and privilege — these and similar nightmares disturb those who have high hopes for a new India under Modi’s visionary leadership. To put it plainly, will the promise of India’s second renaissance be belied once again? Will we return to being inglorious second-raters and second-class citizens of the world?
    Undoubtedly, what I have tried to sketch with broad brush strokes is the nation’s mood in the present moment. It is bound to change, once the dust over the recent election results settles. The BJP will try to come up with new initiatives and tactics to bring itself back into the good books of the masses. There is, of course, the looming virtual shadow of the as yet unbuilt but long-pending Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. But this issue is rather fraught and complicated, capable of hurting as well as helping the ruling party. On the other hand, back in power in three key states, the Congress itself may make mistakes, disenchanting some who voted it back to power.
    What is amply clear despite the changeability and capriciousness of Indian politics is that the opposition will need more than merely Modi-hate to carry its winning momentum forward. Dread and dislike for a common foe is, at best, temporary glue, as we have seen over and over again; once the antagonist is removed, the patch-work of opportunistic allies lies in tatters. The BJP also needs more than Modi to return it to power, especially if tepidity and weariness of state elections carries over to the national hustings. There is, of course, the possibility that India’s principal political pugilist will recover from this slugfest to emerge victorious one more time. That would indeed seal his place in history as India’s yugapurush, epochal trailblazer.
    Author is Director, IIAS, Shimla

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    vrāˊtya ʻ a divine epithet ʼ AV., ʻ relating to a partic. vratá -- ʼ Pañ, m. ʻ one who has undertaken parivrajyā -- vrata -- , term of address for a guest, vagrant ʼ Br., ʻ one who has lost caste ʼ Mn. [vratá -- ] K. bôcu m. ʻ one who lives by gifts and without any trade ʼ: doubtful bec. of -- c -- (not -- ċ -- ) < -- ty -- . (CDIAL 12231)    bôcu बोचु॒ । अज्ञप्रायः m. (sg. dat. böcis बा॑चिस्), a man, generally a Brāhmaṇ, who lives upon what he can get in the way of gifts, and is ignorant of any trade or business.(Kashmiri)

    व्रात्य   vrātya m (S) An adult Bráhman of whom the investiture with the sacred thread has never been solemnized. 2 Popularly. A vile, mischievous, troublesome, hateful, pestilent child.(Marathi)

    व्रात्य m. a man of the mendicant or vagrant class , a tramp , out-caste , low or vile person (either a man who has lost caste through non-observance of the ten principal संस्कारs , or a man of a partic. low caste descended from a शूद्र and a क्षत्रिया ; accord. to some " the illegitimate son of a क्षत्रिय who knows the habits and intentions of soldiers " ; in AV. xv , 8 , 1 ; 9 , 1, the राजन्यs and even the Brahmans are said to have sprung from the व्रात्य who is identified with the Supreme Being , prob. in glorification of religious mendicancy ; accord. to A1pS3r. व्रात्य is used in addressing a guest) AV. &c; mfn. belonging to the व्रत called महा-व्रत (q.v.Pan5cavBr. Sch. (Monier-Williams)

    Who were the Vratyas – the searching wanderers?

    [This article attempts to trace the meaning that the term Vratya acquired  at various stages in the unfolding of Indian history; and, wonders how well that meaning mirrored the state of Indian society at that  given stage.]
    Every civilization has certain unique features, which differentiate it from the rest. Indian civilization is distinguished by its resilience; continuity with change; and its diversity. The composite fabric of Indian civilization is woven with strands and shades of varying textures and hues.
    Rig Veda repeatedly refers to the composite character of its society and to its pluralistic population. It mentions the presence of several religions, cults and languages; and calls upon all persons to strive to become noble parts of that pluralistic society.
    The pluralistic character of that society was characterized not merely by its composition but also by the divergent views held by its thinkers. There were non -conformists and dissenters even among the Vedic philosophers. In addition, there were individuals and groups who were outside the pale of the Vedic fold; and who practiced, the pre-Vedic traditions; and rejected the validity of the Vedas and its rituals.
    The prominent among such dissenters and rebels were the Vratyas. They were an atrociously heterogeneous community; and defied any definition. Even to this day, the meaning of the term Vratya is unclear; and is variously described. The amazing community of the Vratyas included magicians, medicine men, shamans, mystics, materialists, vagrant or mendicant (parivrajaka), wandering madmen, roaming- footloose warriors, mercenaries, fire eaters, poison swallowers , libidinous pleasure seekers and wandering swarm of austere ascetics.
    Some of them were violent and erotic; while some others were refined and austere; and a lot others were just plain crazy. It was a random assortment onuts and gems.
    [ Even in the later times , Vratya was used as derogatory term. For instance ; in the Drona parva of the Mahabharata (07,118.015) the Vrishni-s and Andhaka-s were branded Vratyas – uncouth and uncultured- vrātyāḥ saṃśliṣṭakarmāṇaḥ prakṛtyaiva vigarhitāḥ / vṛṣṇy andhakāḥ kathaṃ pārtha pramāṇaṃ bhavatā kṛtāḥ]
    The Rig Veda mentions Vratyas about eight times (e.g. 3:26:6; 5:53:11; 5:75:9; 9:14:2); and five groups of the Vratyas are collectively called pancha-vrata (10:34:12). The Atharva Veda (15th kanda) devotes an entire hymn titled vratya- suktha (AVŚ_15,3.1 to AVŚ_15,18.5) to the “mystical fellowship” of the Vratyas. The Pancavimsa-brahmana Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas too talk about Vratyas; and, describe a sacrifice called Vratya-stoma, which is virtually a purification ritual.
    The Rig Veda, generally, employs the term Vratya  to denote: breakaway group or an inimical horde or a collection of men of indefinite number; living in temporary settlements. The Atharva- Veda too, uses the word in the sense of a stranger or a guest or one who follows the rule; but, treats it with a lot more respect. Apparently, the perceptions changed a great deal during the intervening period.
    The Jaiminiya Brahmana (2:222) describes  Vratyas   as ascetics roaming about themselves in an intoxicated state. The Tandya (24:18.2) however addresses them as divine-Vratyas (daivā vai vrātyāḥ sattram āsata budhena). The Vajasaneyi-samhita refers to them as physicians and as guardians of truth. They seem to have been a community of ascetics living under a set of strange religious vows (Vrata).
    Interestingly, Shiva –Rudra is described as Eka –Vratya* (AV the glory of one- hundred – and- eight forms of Rudra hails Rudra as Vrata-pathi, the chief of the Vratyas (TS.
    [ The Atharva-veda (AV: 15. 1-7) speaks of seven attendants of the exalted Eka Vratya, the Vratya par excellence  : Bhava of the intermediate space in the East;  Sarva in the South; Pashupati in the West; Ugra of the North; Rudra of the lower region; Mahadeva of the upper region ; Asani of  lightening ; and, Ishana of all the intermediate regions. It is said; though they are named differently they in truth are the varying manifestations of the one and the same Eka Vratya. While Rudra, Sarva, Ugra and Asani are the terrifying aspects, the other four: Bhava , Pashupathi a, Mahadeva and Ishana are peaceful aspects.
    Of these, Bhava and Sarva by virtue of their rule over sky and earth protect the devote against calamities, contagious diseases and poisonous pollution.
    sa ekavrātyo ‘bhavat sa dhanur ādatta tad evendradhanuḥ ||6||nīlam asyodaraṃ lohitaṃ pṛṣṭham ||7||nīlenaivā priyaṃ bhrātṛvyaṃ prorṇoti lohitena dviṣantaṃ vidhyatīti brahmavādino vadanti ||8|| (AVŚ_15,1.6a to 8a)]
    [*  However, Dr.RC Hazra in his work Rudra in the Rg-veda (page 243) remarks that Eka-Vratya is to be identified with Prajapathi ; and , not with Rudra,  as some scholars seem to think.]
    The Atharva Veda (15.2.1-2) makes a very ambiguous statement: “Of him in the eastern quarter, faith is the harlot, Mitra the Magadha, discrimination is the garment, etc…..” in the southern quarter Magadha is the mantra of the Vratya; in the other two quarters Magadha is the laughter and the thunder of the Vratya. (Mitra, maAtm, hasa and stanayitnur).  It is not clear what this statement implies. But it is taken to mean that the Magadha tribes were friends, advisers and thunder (strong supporters) of the Vratyas.
    tasya prācyāṃ diśi śraddhā puṃścalī mitro māgadho vijñānaṃ vāso ‘har uṣṇīṣaṃ rātrī keśā haritau pravartau kalmalir maṇiḥ  – (AVŚ_15,2.1[2.5]e) ; tasya dakṣiṇāyāṃ diśy uṣāḥ puṃścalī mantro māgadho vijñānaṃ vāso ‘har uṣṇīṣaṃ rātrī keśā haritau pravartau kalmalir maṇiḥ – (AVŚ_15,2.2[2.13]e) ; tasya pratīcyāṃ diśīrā puṃścalī haso māgadho vijñānaṃ vāso ‘har uṣṇīṣaṃ rātrī keśā haritau pravartau kalmalir maṇiḥ -(AVŚ_15,2.3[2.19]e); tasyodīcyāṃ diśi vidyut puṃścalī stanayitnur māgadho vijñānaṃ vāso ‘har uṣṇīṣaṃ rātrī keśā haritau pravartau kalmalir maṇiḥ – (AVŚ_15,2.4[2.25]e)
    The implication of this is rather interesting. The breakaway group from among the Vedic people (including the pre Vedic tribes), that is, the Vratyas left their mainland and roamed over to the East; and ultimately settled in the regions of Magadha, where they found friends and supporters. The reason for that friendly reception appears to be that the Magadha tribes in Eastern India were not in good terms with the Vedic people in the Indus basin; and saw no difficulty in accommodating the Vratyas. And, more importantly, the Magadhas did not follow or approve the Vedic religion; and they, too, just as the Vratyas, were against the rites, rituals and sacrifices of the Vedic community.
    The Vedic people too did not seem to regard the Brahman of the Magadha region. They were considered not true Brahmins, but only Brahmins by birth or in name (brahma-bandhu Magadha-desiya)- (Latyayana Srauta sutra . 8.6)
    The Vratyas roamed about, mostly, in the regions to the East and North-west of the Madhyadesha, that is, in the countries of Magadha and Anga .They spoke the dialect of Prachya, the source of the languages of Eastern India. It is also said ; the Vratyas  also spoke  the language of the initiated (dīkṣita-vācaṃ vadanti) , though not themselves initiated (a-diksita), but as’ calling that which is easy to utter (a-durukta)  ‘ (Panchavimsa Brahmana,17.1.9 – aduruktavākyaṃ duruktam ) . This may mean that the Vratyas were familiar and comfortable both in Sanskrit and Prakrit.
    garagiro vā ete ye brahmādyaṃ janyam annam adanty aduruktavākyaṃ duruktam āhur adaṇḍyaṃ daṇḍena ghnantaś caranty adīkṣitā dīkṣitavācaṃ vadanti ṣoḍaśo vā eteṣāṃ stomaḥ pāpmānaṃ nirhantum arhati yad ete catvāraḥ ṣoḍaśā bhavanti tena pāpmano ‘dhi nirmucyante
    They lived alone or in groups, away from populated areas. They followed their own cult-rules and practices. They drifted far and wide; roamed from the Indus valley to banks of the Ganga. They were the wandering seekers.
    [According to Mahamahopadhyay Haraprasad Sastri,the vast territory to the South of the Ganga and North of the Vindhya ranges extending from Mudgagiri (Monghyr) in the East to the Charanadri (Chunar) in the West was called the land of Magadha tribes. The Anga region was around Bhagalpur area.]
    The Kesi-suktha  of Rig Veda (10:13:6); Latyayana- sruta-sutra (8.6-7); Bahudayana –sruta- sutra (26.32); Panchavimsati Brahmana (17. 1.9-15) and vratya-sukta of Atharva Veda (15thkanda), provide graphic descriptions of these magis, the Vratyas.  These descriptions , put together, project a truly impressive, colorful and awe-inspiring image of the wandering Vratyas.
    They were distinguished by their black turbans (krishnam ushnisham dharayanti) worn in a slanting manner (LSS 8.6-7); a white blanket thrown across the shoulders(BSS 26.32);  displaying long matted hair (kesi); a set of round ornaments for the ears (pravartau); jewels (mani) hanging by the neck;  rows of long necklaces of strange beads swinging across the chest ; two (dvi) deer-skins tied together for lower garment, and sandals  of black hide , with flaps, for the feet (upanahau); carrying a lance (Pra-toda) , bow (AV 15.2.1)  and a goad(pratoda) ; and , riding a rickety   chariot / cart  ,with planks ( amargagamirthah) tied together with strings,   suitable for rough roads (vipatha) drawn by a  horse or a mule (LSS 8:6,10-11).The Vipatha was said in greater use in Eastern regions (Prachyartha). 
    Panchavimsati Bralhmana (17.1.9-15) further states that the Vratya   leader (Grhapati) wore a turban (Usnisa), carried a whip (Pratoda), a kind of bow (Jyahroda*), was clothed in a black (krsnasa) garment and two skins (Ajina), black and white (krisna-valaksa), and owned a rough wagon (Viratha) covered with planks (phalakastirna). He also wore garment lined of silver coins (Niska). His shoes were black and pointed. – uṣṇīṣaṃ ca pratodaś ca jyāhṇoḍaś ca vipathaś ca phalakāstīrṇaḥ kṛṣṇaśaṃ vāsaḥ kṛṣṇavalakṣe ajine rajato niṣkas tad gṛhapateḥ -(PB 17.1.14)
    [* The descriptions of the Jya-hroda, a sort of arms carried by the Vratya, occur in the Pancavimsa Brahmana (17.1.14) as also in the Katyayana (22.4.2) and Latyayana (8.6.8) Sutras. It is described as a ‘bow not meant for use’ (ayogya’ dhanus); and also as a ‘bow without an arrow’ (dhanushka anisu). It obviously was a decorative-piece meant to enhance the impressive look of the Chief.]
    And, the others, subordinate to the leader, had garments with fringes of red (valukantani damatusam) , two fringes on each, skins folded double (dvisamhitany ajinani), and footwear (Upanah) – valūkāntāni dāmatūṣāṇītareṣāṃ dve dve dāmanī dve dve upānahau dviṣaṃhitāny ajināni – (PB 17.1.15) – etad vai vrātyadhanaṃ yasmā etad dadati tasminn eva mṛjānā yānti
    Vratyas used a peculiar type of reclining seats (asandi)
    Vratya Asandi
    [A-sandi is a generic term for a seat of some sort  , occurring frequently in the later Samhitas and Brahmanas, but not in the Rig-Veda.  In the Atharvaveda (AV. 15.3.2) the settle brought for the Vratya is described at length. It had two feet, lengthwise and cross-pieces, forward and cross-cords. It had a seat (Asada) covered with a cushion (Astarana) and a pillow (Upabarhana), and a support (Upasraya)- āsandīm āruhyodgāyati devasākṣya eva tad upariṣadyaṃ jayat.
    so ‘bravīd āsandīṃ me saṃ bharantv iti ||2||tasmai vrātyāyāsandīṃ sam abharan ||3||tasyā grīṣmaś ca vasantaś ca dvau pādāv āstāṃ śarac ca varṣāś ca dvau ||4||bṛhac ca rathantaraṃ cānūcye āstāṃ yajñāyajñiyaṃ ca vāmadevyaṃ ca tiraścye ||5||ṛcaḥ prāñcas tantavo yajūṃṣi tiryañcaḥ ||6||veda āstaraṇaṃ brahmopabarhaṇam ||7||sāmāsāda udgītho ‘paśrayaḥ ||8||tām āsandīṃ vrātya ārohat ||9||(AVŚ_15,3.1a- 9a)
    The Satapatha Brahmana (Sat.Brh. also describes the Asandi as an elaborate low seat, with diminutive legs; and, of some length on which a man could comfortably stretch himself, if he chose to. And, more than one person could sit on such a seat. It was said to be made of Khadira wood, perforated (vi-trinna), and joined with straps (vardhra-yukta). It perhaps meant a long reclining chair/ rest. The Asandi is described in the Satapatha Brahmana, as a seat for a king or a leader.
    maitrāvaruṇyā payasyayā pracarati | tasyā aniṣṭa eva sviṣṭakṛdbhavatyathāsmā āsandī māharant yuparisadyaṃ vā eṣa jayati yo jayatyantarikṣasadyaṃ tadena muparyāsīnamadhastādimāḥ prajā upāsate tasmādasmā āsandī māharanti saiṣā
    khādirī vitṛṇā bhavati yeyaṃ vardhra -vyutā bharatānām ]

    They moved among the warriors (yaudhas), herdsmen and farmers.  They did not care either for the rituals or for initiations (adhikshitah); and not at all for celibacy (Na hi brahmacharyam charanthi) . They did not engage themselves in agriculture (Na krshim) or in trade (Na vanijyam). They behaved as if they were possessed (gandharva grithaha) or drunk or just mad.
    hīnā vā ete hīyante ye vrātyāṃ pravasanti na hi brahmacaryaṃ caranti na kṛṣiṃ vaṇijyāṃ ṣoḍaśo vā etat stomaḥ samāptum arhati – (PB 17.1.2)
    The scholars generally believe, what has come down to us as Tantra is, in fact, a residue of the cult-practices of the Vratyas. The Tantra, even to this day, is considered non-Vedic, if not anti-Vedic.
    The Atharva Veda (Vratya Kanda) mentions that Vratyas were also a set of talented composers and singers. They found they could sing a lot better- and probably hold the notes longer – if they practiced what they called pranayama, a type of breath control. They even attempted relating their body-structure to that of the universe. They learnt to live in harmony with nature. There is, therefore, a school of thought, which asserts, what came to be known as Yoga in the later periods had its roots in the ascetic and ecstatic practices of the Vratyas. And, the Vratyas were, therefore, the precursors of the later ascetics and yogis.
    It is said, the theoretical basis for transformation of cult-practices into a system (Yoga) was provided by the Samkhya School. Tantra thus yoked Samkhya and Yoga. Over a long period, both Samkhya and Yoga schools merged with the mainstream and came to be regarded as orthodox (asthika) systems, as they both accepted the authority of the Vedas. Yet, the acceptance of Samkhya and Yoga within the orthodox fold seemed rather strained and with some reservation, perhaps because the flavor -the sense of their non-Vedic origin rooted in the Vratya cult practices of pre  Vedic period –  still lingers on.
    The German scholar and Indologist Jakob Wilhelm Hauer (1881 –1962) – who had made the beginnings of Yoga in India the theme for his doctor’s thesis –   in his Der Yoga als Heilweg  (Yoga as a way of salvation) traces the origin of Yoga to the wandering groups of the Vratyas.
    JW Hauer, who represented the leading commentators on Eastern thought in the days of CG Jung, mentions that many of the groups that had roots in the Vratya tradition (such as: Jaiminiyas, Kathas, Maitrayaniyas and Kausitakins) were eventually absorbed into the orthodox fold. He also remarks that Chandogya and Svetasvatara Upanishads are closer in spirit to the Vratya- Samkhya ideologies.
    It is the Svetasvatara Upanishad which declares Rudra as the Supreme, matchless and one without a second – eko hi rudro na dvitiiyaaya tasthu – SV.3.2. It establishes Rudra as the Absolute, the ultimate essence, not limited by forms and names – na tasya pratima asti yasya nama mahadyasha – SV.4.19)
    eko hi rudro na dvitīyāya tasthe ya imāṃl lokān īśata īśanībhiḥ / pratyaṅ janās tiṣṭhati saṃcukocāntakāle saṃsṛjya viśvā bhuvanāni gopāḥ // SvetUp_3.2 // 
    nainam ūrdhvaṃ na tiryañcaṃ na madhye parijagrabhat / na tasya pratimā asti yasya nāma mahad yaśaḥ // SvetUp_4.19 // ]
    The Samkhya school, in its earlier days, was closely associated two other heterodox systems, i.e., Jainism and Buddhism. In a historical perspective, Samkhya-Yoga and Jainism – Buddhism were derived from a common nucleus that was outside the Vedic tradition. And, that nucleus was provided by the Vratya movement.
    Interestingly, Arada Kalama, the teacher of Gotama who later evolved in to the Buddha, belonged to Samkhya School. Gotama had a teacherfrom the Jain tradition too; he was Muni Pihitasrava a follower of Parsvanatha. The Buddha later narrated how he went around naked, took food in his palms and observed various other rigorous restrictions expected of a Sramana  ascetic. The Buddha followed those practice for some time and gave them up, as he did not find merit in extreme austerities.  The Buddha, the awakened one, was a Yogi too. His teachings had elements of old-yoga practices such as askesis (self- discipline), control, restraint, release and freedom. The early Buddhism, in fact, preserved the Yogi – ideal of Nirvana.
    Thus, the development of religions and practices in Eastern regions of India, in the early times, was inspired and influenced – directly or otherwise – by the Vratyas.
    The contribution of the Vratyas, according to my friend Shri DSampath, was that they gave a very time and space based approach to the issues.  They were the initial social scientists with rationality as the anchor, he says.
    Some of the characteristics of the Vratya-thought found a resonant echo in Jainism and Buddhism. Just to mention a few: Man and his development is the focal interest; his effort and his striving is what matters, and not god’s grace; the goal of human endeavor is within his realm; a man or a woman is the architect of one’s own destiny ; and there is nothing supernatural about his goals and his attainments. There was greater emphasis on contemplation, introspection, pratikramana (back-to-soul),; and a deliberate shift away from  exuberant rituals and sacrifices seeking health, wealth and happiness.
    The Vratya was neither a religion, nor was it an organized sect. It was a movement seeking liberation from the suffocating confines of the establishment and searching for a meaning to life and existence. The movement phased out when it became rather irrelevant to the changed circumstances and values of its society.  The Vratyas, the searching wanderers, the rebels of the Rig Vedic age, faded in to the shadowy corners of Vedic religion, rather swiftly; yet they left behind a lingering influence on other systems of Indian thought.
    The Jain tradition claims that it existed in India even from pre- Vedic times and remained unaffected by the Vedic religion. It also says, the Jain religion was flourishing, especially in the North and Eastern regions of India, during the Vedic times.
    Because of the basic differences in their tenets and practices, the two traditions opposed each other. As a part of that ongoing conflict, certain concepts and practices appreciated by one religion were deprecated by the other. The term Vratya was one such instance.
    The term Vratya has a very long association with Jainism; and its connotation in Jainism is astonishingly different from the one implied in the Vedic tradition where it is employed to describe an inimical horde. On the other hand, Vratya in Jainism is a highly regarded and respected term. The term Vratya, in the Jaina context, means the observer of vratas or vows. Thus, while the Vedic community treated the Vratyas as rebels and outcasts, the tribes in the eastern regions hailed Vratyas as heroes and leaders (Vratya Rajanya).
    The Vedic and the Jain traditions both glorify certain Kings who also were great religious Masters. In the Hindu tradition, Lord Rsabha – son of King Nabhi and Merudevi, and the ancestor of Emperor Bharata (after whom this land was named Bharatavarsha) is a very revered figure : ततश्च भारतं वर्षमेतल्लोकेषुगीयतेभरताय The Rig Veda and Yajur Veda, too, mention Rishabhadeva and Aristanemi. According to the Jain tradition Rishabhadeva is the first Tirthankara of the present age (avasarpini); and, Aristanemi is the twenty-second Tirthankara.
    The Jain tradition refers to Rishabhadeva as Maha-Vratya, to suggest he was the great leader of the Vratyas.
    Further, the Mallas, in the northern parts of the present-day Bihar, with their capital at  the city of Kusavati or Kusinara , were a brave and warlike people; and were one of the earliest independent republics (Samgha). The Jaina Kalpasutra refers to nine Mallakis as having formed a league with nine Lichchhavis, and the eighteen Ganarajas of Kasi-Kos’ala.They were also said to be  a part of a confederation of eight republics (atthakula)  until they were vanquished and absorbed into the Magadha Empire, at about the time of the Buddha. The Mallas were mentioned as Vratya – Kshatriyas.
    Similarly, their neighboring tribe, the Licchhavis who played a very significant role in the history and development of Jainism were also called as the descendants of Vratya-Kshatriyas. Mahavira was the son of a Licchhavi princess; and he had a considerable following among the Licchhavi tribe. In the Jaina Kalpa Sutra, Tris’ala, the sister of  Chetaka – the Lichchhavi chief of Vesali, is styled Kshatriyani  .
    The Buddha too visited Licchhavi on many occasions; and had great many followers there. The Licchhavis were closely related by marriage to the Magadhas.
    The Buddhist tradition has preserved the names of eminent Lichchhavis like prince Abhaya, Otthaddha, Mahali, general Siha, Dummukha and Sunakkhatta. The Mallas, like the Lichchhavis , were ardent champions of Buddhism. In the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta they are sometimes called Vasetthas
    Pundit Sukhlalji explains,  the two ethnic groups of ‘Vratva’ and ‘Vrsala’ followed non-Vedic tradition; and both believed in non‑violence and austerities.  He suggests that both the Buddha and Mahavira were Kshatriyas of Vrsala group. He also remarks that the Buddha was known as ‘Vrsalaka’.
    It is not surprising that the Lichchavi, Natha and Malla clans of Eastern India proved fertile grounds for sprouting of non-Vedic religions such as Jainism and Buddhism.
    Thus, both Buddhism and Jainism were in tune with  the philosophic atmosphere prevailing in Magadha, around sixth century BCE. Apart from his philosophical principles, the Buddha’s main contribution was his deprecation of severe asceticism in all religions and acceptance of a sensible and a rational approach to life.
    The nucleus for development of those non Vedic religion was, reputedly, the ideas and inspiration derived for the Vratya movement.
    In the mean time Vedic perception of Vratyas had undergone a dramatic sea- change.
    Latyayana –sruta-sutra (8.6.29) mentions that after performing Vratya-homa the Vratya should Tri-vidya-vrti the threefold commitment to study of Vedas, participating in the performance of Yajnas; and giving and accepting gifts. These three were the traditional ways of the priestly class.
    Apasthamba (ca. 600 BCE), the Lawgiver and the celebrated mathematician who contributed to development of Sulbasutras, refers to Vratya as a learned mendicant Brahmin, a guest (athithi) who deserves to be welcomed and treated with respect. Apasthamba, in support of that, quotes sentences to be addressed by the host to his guest from the passages in Atharva Veda (15:10 -13).
    According to Atharva Veda, Vratya is a srotriya, a student of the scriptures, (of at least one recession), and a learned person  (Vidvan) faithful to his vows (vratas). In summary, the passages ask:
    ” Let the king , to whose house the Vratya who possesses such knowledge comes as a guest , honor him as superior to himself, disregarding his princely rank or his kingdom.
    Let him, to whose house the Vratya possessing such knowledge comes as a guest, rise up of his own accord to meet him, and say “Vratya, where didst thou pass the night? Vratya, here is water; let it refresh thee .Vratya let it be as thou pleasest. Vratya, as thy wish is so let be it done.”
    [From Hymns of the Atharva Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith…Hymn x and xi of Book 15]

    tád yásyaiváṁ vidvān vrā ́tyo rājñó ’tithir gṛhān āgáchet  // – 15.10.1
    Śréyāmsam enam ātmáno mānayet táthā kṣatrāya  nā ́ vṛścate táthā rāṣṭrāya nā ́ vṛścate // -1510.2
    tád yásyaiváṁ vidvān vrā ́tya úddhṛteṣv agníṣu ádhiśrite agni hotré ’tithir gṛhān āgáchet // – 1`5.12.1
    tád yásyaiváṁ vidvān vrā ́tya ékāṁ  rā ́trim átithir gṛhé vásati  / yé pṛthivyā ́ṁ púnyā lokā ́s tān evá ténā ́va rundhe// — 15.13.1 ]
    There is, thus, a gulf of difference between the perception of the early and later Vedic periods. This amazing transformation seems to have come about as a result of sustained and successful contacts between the Upanishads and the systems of Samkhya and Yoga. There was a healthy interaction between the two streams of the Indian tradition. The Samkhya-Yoga ideas found a place in the Upanishads. At the same time, the Upanishads brought its impact on Buddhism and Jainism. The savants of orthodox tradition such as Kumarila Bhatta (ca.6th century AD) accepted the Buddhist schools as authoritative because they had their roots in the Upanishads. (Tantra vartika)
    The ideologies of the two traditions moved closer during the period of Upanishads. It was a period of synthesis.
    The term Vratya acquired a totally different meaning by the time of the Dharma Shastras. Manu Smruti (dated around third or second century BCE) states that, if after the last prescribed period, the twice-born remain uninitiated, they become Vratyas, fallen from Savitri. (Manusmriti: verse II.39)
    Manusmriti (verse X.20)  also informs that those whom the twice-born  ( Brahmin , Kshatriya and Vaishya ) beget from  wives of equal caste, but who, not fulfilling their sacred duties, are excluded from the Savitri (initiation), must also designate by the appellation Vratyas.
    The samskara of initiation or upanayana (ceremony of the thread) was considered essential for the dvijas (the twice-born). Manusmriti mentions the recommended age for upanayana and for commencing the studies. It also mentions the age before which these should take place.
    In the eighth year after conception, one should perform the initiation (Upanayana ceremonies of sacred thread) of a Brahmana, in the eleventh year after conception (that) of a Kshatriya, but in the twelfth year that of a Vaisya. (MS: II.36)
    The initiation of a Brahmana who desires proficiency in sacred learning should take place in the fifth year after conception, that of a Kshatriya who wishes to become powerful in the sixth, and that of a Vaisya who longs for success in his business in the eighth.(Ms: II.37)
    The time for the Savitri initiation of a Brahmana does not pass until the completion of the sixteenth year (after conception), of a Kshatriya until the completion of the twenty-second, and of a Vaisya until the completion of the twenty-fourth. (MS: II.38)
    After those (periods men of) these three (castes) who have not received the sacrament at the proper time, become Vratyas (outcastes), excluded from the Savitri (initiation) (MS. II.39)
    garbhāṣṭame’bde kurvīta brāhmaasyaupanāyanam | 
    garbhādekādaśe rājño garbhāt tu dvādaśe viśa || 36 ||
    brahmavarcasakāmasya kāryo viprasya pañcame | 
    rājño balārthina aṣṭhe vaiśyasyaihārthino’ṣṭame || 37 ||
    ā odaśād brāhmaasya sāvitrī nātivartate | 
    ā dvāviśāt katrabandhorā caturviśaterviśa || 38 ||
    ata ūrdhva trayo’pyete yathākālamasask | 
    sāvitrīpatitā vrātyā bhavantyāryavigarhitā || 39 ||
    Oddly, the insistence on upanayana and making it compulsory seems to have come into vogue in the post-Upanishad period. During the Atharvana period, initiation was regarded as second-birth; and was associated with commencement of studies or as a requirement for performing a sacrifice. The significance of the second birth in the Vedic time was, therefore, largely, religious and not social. Not everyone was required to obtain the Upanayana samskara. The upanayana was a voluntary ceremony for those who wished to study or perform a sacrifice.
    It was only after the Grihya-sutras crystallized, upanayana turned into a samskara, as a recognition of ones position in the social order.Some scholars , however , suggest, Vratya does not necessarily denote a person who has not undergone upanayana samskara; but, it refers to one who does not offer Soma sacrifice or keep the sacred fire(agnihotra).
     [ Dr. Ananat Sadashiv Altekar  ( 1898-1960)- who was the Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture at Banaras Hindu University –  (in hiEducation in Ancient India, 1934) explains that it was in the times of the Upanishads that the Upanayana ceremony gained greater importance. Upanayana literally meant taking a young boy to a teacher in order to hand him over to the latter for his education in the Vedas.  Thus, the Upanayana occasion  marked the entry of a student, as an inmate (Antevasin), into Guru-kula to pursue Vedic studies. The Upanayana was thus primarily linked to pursuit of studies; and, it was not compulsory for all.
    And, again, an Upanayana had to be performed every time a student approached a new teacher; or, when he embarked upon a new branch of study. Dr. Altekar mentions that there were occasions when even married men had to undergo Upanayana while approaching a renowned teacher for learning a new subject (Br. Up.6.2.4). And, such a ceremony that was so often repeated, Dr. Altekar opines, could not have been an elaborate one. It was, by its very nature, a domestic and simple performance. The student had to approach the Teacher, holding the sacred fuel (Samitt), and indicating his complete willingness to learn and to serve the Teacher, as also to tend his sacred Agni-s (Ch.Up.6.5.5 and 5.11.7; and Mu. Up. 1.2.12).
    An ardent young student entering a new phase of life after Upanayana was said to be born a second time – Dvija. (A similar notion of a ‘second-birth’ came into vogue in Buddhism when lay person was admitted into the Sangha)
    According to Dr.Altekar,  for several centuries, Upanayana was not regarded as a Samskara ritual. And, it seems to have become a popular Samskara – ceremony only in the later times. In the earlier times, one was called a Vratya if he was not offering Soma sacrifice or if one was not tending to sacred fires. But, in the later times, the one who had not undergone a Upanayana Samskara came to labelled a Vratya. Subsequently, such a Vratya was re-admitted into the orthodox fold (even if his past three ancestors had failed to undergo Upanayana altogether- Vratya pita pitamaho va na Somam priveshya Vratyah – Sri Madhava’s commentary on Parasara Smriti), provided he underwent the purification ritual of Vratya –stoma (Paraskara Grihya Sutra 2.5)
    In course of time, Upanayana came to be regarded as an essential bodily Samskara (Sarira samskara) for all the three classes. And, the non-performance of Upanayana would disqualify one from entering into a valid wedlock.
    Although Manu prescribed 8th, 11th and 12th year as suitable for performance of the Upanayana for the Brahmana, Kashtriya and Vaishya boys, it was not taken by the later Law-givers as an absolute norm. For instance; Baudhayana considered anytime between 8 and 16 years of age, for all classes, as suitable. The change in the norm perhaps came about because of the change in the conception and the nature of the Upanayana. In the earlier times, Upanayana marked the commencement of Vedic education ; and, therefore, the child had to start learning at a quite young age. But when Upanayana became a bodily Samskara, any age between 8 and 16 was considered good enough. In any case, commencement of  Vedic studies after the age of 16 was discouraged, perhaps because it was thought that the boy’s capacity to absorb and learn a new subject might have by then gone rather slow.
    Since the Upanayana ceremony was linked to commencement of education, the Upanayana of girls was as common as that of boys. There is ample evidence to show that such was the case. The Atharvaveda (XI. 5. 18) expressly refers to maidens undergoing the Brahmanharya discipline (brahmacaryeṇa kanyā yuvānaṃ vindate patim ) ; and, the Sutra texts of the 5th century B. C. supply interesting details in its connection. Even Manu includes Upanayana among the sanskaras (rituals) obligatory for girls (II. 66).
    After about the beginning of the Christian era, the Upanayana for girls went out of vogue. But, Smriti writers of even the 8th century A. D. like Yama admit that in the earlier times the girls had the privilege of Upanayana and Vedic studies.
    The discontinuance of Upanayana was disastrous to the educational and religious status of women. The mischief caused by the discontinuance of Upanayana was further enhanced by the lowering of the marriageable age. In the Vedic period girls were married at about the age of 16 or 17; but by Ca. 500 B. C. the custom arose of marrying them soon after the attainment of puberty. Later writers like Yajnavalkya (200 A. D.), Samvarta and Yama, vehemently condemn the guardian who fails to marry a girl before the attainment of the puberty. Therefore, the Smritis written by 11th century began to glorify the merits of a girl’s marriage at the age of 7, 8, or 9, when it was regarded as an ideal thing to celebrate a girl’s marriage at so young an age, female education could hardly prosper. ]
    In any case, during the period of Dharma sastras, those who did not adhere to the prescriptions of the sastras and did not perform the prescribed rites and ceremonies were termed Vratyas.There were, obviously, many people who didn’t bother to follow the rules.
    The smritis therefore, provided a provision for purification of the errant persons through a ritual (vratya stoma); and created a window for taking them back into the fold; and for rendering them eligible for all rites and rituals.
    [ In the Puranas , the Sisunaga kings are mentioned as Kshattra -bandhus, i. e., Vratya Kshatriyas.]
    The object of the entire exercise undertaken by the sastras, seemed to be to build and preserve a social order, according to its priorities .But, in the later periods these smaskaras lost their social significance, entirely. The social conditions deteriorated rapidly during the medieval period.  Even in the religious life, upanayana remained just a routine ritual, often meaningless. Agnihotra vanished almost entirely.
    In a way of speaking , almost all of us are Vratyas, in terms of the smritis.
    [.. Let me digress, here, for a little while.
    In the Vedic era, women were initiated into the thread ceremony. It was essential for both sexes who wished to study [Atharva Veda 11.5.18a, Satpatha Brahmana.,and Taittariya Brahamana II.3.3.2-3]
    Yama, a Law-giver even prior to Manu, upheld education for women, but stipulated the female students should not engage in begging their meals, wearing deer-skins or growing matted hair (as male students might do) [VirS.p.402]
    All that changed radically, for worse, during the period of Dharma sastras. The woman lost the high status she once enjoyed in Vedic society. She lost some of her independence.  She became an  object to be protected.
    The harsh prescriptions of the Dharma shatras have to be placed in the context of its times, in order to understand why such changes came about.
    The period after 300 B.C witnessed a succession of invasions and influx of foreigners such as the Greeks, the Scythians, the Parthian, the Kushans and others. The political misfortunes, the war atrocities followed by long spells of anarchy and lawlessness had a disastrous effect on the society. Fear and insecurity haunted the common people and householders.
    Sons were valued higher than the daughters because of the increased need for fighting males, in order to survive the waves of onslaughts. It was   imperative to protect women from abductors. The then society deemed it advisable to curtail women’s freedom and movements. The practice of early marriage perhaps came in as a part of those defensive measures. The education of the girl child was no longer a priority. The Sastras compromised by accepting marriage as a substitute for Upanayana and education. The neglect of education, imposing seclusion and insecurity that gripped their lives, had disastrous consequences upon the esteem and status of women .The society in turn sank into depravity.
    The Manusmruti and other Dharmasastras came into being at the time when the orthodox society was under dire threat and when it was fighting for survival. The society had entered in to self preservation – mode. The severity of the Dharma Shastras was perhaps a defensive mechanism, in response to the threats and challenges thrown at its society.
    Its main concern was preserving the social order and to hold the society together. Though the sastras pointed out the breaches in observance of the prescribed code of behavior, it was  willing to condone the lapses, purify the wayward and naughty; and admit them back into the orthodox fold. Further, It even readily took  under its fold the alien hordes such as Kushans, Yavanas (Ionians or Greeks), Sakas (Scythians) and others; and recognized them as Vratya – Kshatriyas…]
    To sum up, Vratya in the early Rig Veda denoted an amorphous collection of heterogeneous groups of pre- Vedic tribes and  the dissenters from among the Vedic community, who rejected the Vedic concepts and extrovert practices of rites, rituals and sacrifices seeking from the gods gifts of health, wealth and glory. The Vratyas turned in to nomads and drifters. The wandering seekers roamed the land and finally settled down in the Magadha region, in the East, where they found acceptance.
    The Vratyas appeared to be a set of extraordinarily gifted and talented people, who brought fresh perspectives to life and existence; to the relations between man and nature and between nature and universe. Their innovative ideas spawned the seeds for sprouting of systems of thought such as samkhya and Yoga. Those systems in turn inspired and spurned the movement toward rationalism and man -centered – non Vedic religious systems Jainism and Buddhism.
    What the Vratyas did, in effect, was they deliberately moved  away from the extrovert and exuberant rites and rituals; brought focus on man and his relation with the nature and his fellow beings. Their scheme of things was centered round reason (not intuition). They turned the mind inwards, contemplative and meditative.
    It is clear that in the ancient times, the two religious systems – one in the Indus valley on the west and the other along the banks of the Ganga in the east- developed and flourished independent of each other. Their views on man – soul –world – god relationships, differed significantly. Because of the basic differences in their tenets and practices, the two traditions opposed each other. They seemed to have even stayed away from each other. That, in a manner, explains why the Saraswathi is referred over fifty times in the Rig Veda, while the Ganga hardly gets mentioned.
    Towards the later Vedic era something magical (chamathkar) appears to have taken place. By the time of Atharvana period, the concepts and perceptions of the two traditions seemed to have moved closer.The later Vedic traditions recognized and and accorded Vratyas a place of honor. That was  the result of  sustained and successful contacts between the Upanishads and the systems of Samkhya and Yoga; and the impact that Upanishads brought  on Buddhism and Jainism. It was the age of understanding and  synthesis.
    The interaction between the two systems heightened during the period of the Buddha and Mahavira. In the later centuries, the texts of the orthodox school (e.g. Brahma sutras, Yoga Sutra, Panini’s grammar, Anu Gita etc.) devoted more attention and space for discussing the Buddhist principles, especially the theories relating to cognition.
    The shift towards East was symbolized by the transfer of the intellectual capital of ancient  India from Takshashila (Taxila) to Pataliputra (Patna) and Nalanda, when Taxila was overrun by the invading Persians (third century BCE).That provided an impetus not merely for fresh activity within the orthodox schools , but also for greater interaction with the heterodox religions.
    Both the traditions inspired, influenced and enriched each other over the centuries; absorbing and complementing each other’s principles and practices; and finally synthesizing into that fabulous composite culture, the Indian culture.
    That synthesis was symbolized when the post Vedic tradition hailed and worshipped its god Ganapathy with the joyous chant Namo Vratapataye – salutations to the chief of the Vratyas.( Ganapaty-atharva-shirsha)
    The Dharmasastras mark a period of degeneration in the orthodox society, as it reeled under the onslaught of hordes of successive invaders and plunderers. The concerns of security and survival took precedence over innovation, development and expansion. It became an inward looking society seeking for right answers and remedies to preserve its form and structure. It’went in to a self-preservation mode. Its society metamophasized and shrank into a pupa:  cautious and ultra conservative.
    Vratya then meant someone naughty and unmanageable ( It appears , it is only the Marathi language that still retains such meaning of the term). Yet, the society could ill afford to abandon him to his whims and wayward manners. It was willing to pardon, purify and welcome him back in to its fold, clasping him dearly to its bosom. It was ready to accept even   the foreigners as its own.For instance ;  the medieval Rajput families descended from immigrant races from West in the distant past were treated Vratya-Kshatriyas ; and given pedigrees going back to Rama, Yadu, Arjuna and such other heroes of the mythologies
    Thereafter, for a long period of time, the term Vratya went off the radar screen of the Indian religious life; because the samskaras and their associated disciplines had lost their sanctity and significance.
    The only other occasions when Vratya came in to play , were in the context of the vratya stoma purifying ceremonies.
    *.Vratya stoma ceremonies were performed before anointment and coronation of kings, in the middle ages. For instance, Shivaji went through Vratya stoma and upanayana ceremonies, on May 29, 1674, before he was crowned.(For details , please refer to Malhar Ramarao Chitnis – Siva chatrapathiche charitra Ed by K N Sane , 1924 – based on the reprorts of eyewitnesses and court officials )
    *. Even as late as in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Hindus returning from foreign lands were purified through Vratya stoma.
    *.Dr. S. Radhakrishnan stated that individuals and tribes were absorbed in to Hinduism through vratyastoma.(The Hindu View of Life)
    *.Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami cites many instances of people forcibly converted to other faiths  re -admitted to Hinduism and issued Vratya stoma certificates.
    At each stage in the evolution of Indian History, Vratya was accorded a different meaning; and that meaning amply mirrored the state of Indian society at that stage.
    The obscure term Vratya, in a strange manner, epitomizes and conceals in its womb the tale of unfolding of Indian thought through the ages.
    Sources and references:
     Early Indian Thought by prof.SK Ramachandra Rao
    ‘The Path of Arhat: A Religious Democracy’ by Justice T. U. Mehta
    Jaina Tradition and Buddhism:
    Rsabha in the Atharvaveda by Dr. Satya Pal Narang
    Mention of Magadha in Vedic Literature
    SanatanaDharma –sources
    Sanathana Dharma – Vratya
    Hymns of the Atharva Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith…Hymn x and xi of Book 15
    Does Hinduism Accept Newcomers? Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

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    A blurb on this book 'Culture of animals in antiquity' is presented in the context of:

    1. Paśubandha narratives of aśvamedha (which involves hundreds of wild and domesticated animals) and
    2. Animals as hieroglyphs on Indus Script inscriptions. 

    See: Rāṣṭram 'valour & intellect' is R̥gveda aśva medhāमेधा; aṣṭāśri yūpa, an Indus Script allegory for 'dhana, wealth of mobility'राष्ट्रंवाअश्वमेधः।(Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa

    Over 300 animals detailed in the aśva medhā are NOT victims in a sacrifice but,  यष्टृ यष्ट्/ऋ or य्/अष्टृmf(ट्री A1pS3r. Sch.)n. worshipping , a worshipper RV. &c &c. Extending the metaphor seen by Dayananda Sarasvati in saptāśva as the name of the Sun (and not literally seven horses), The यष्टृ  'worshipper' animals are signifiers of wealth-accounting of metalwork catalogue of the Tin-Bronze-Age Revolution. This hypothesis is validated by the fact that all 8000+ inscriptions containing images of such animals as hieroglyphs/hypertexts are wealth-accounting ledgers of metalwork. thus, the expression aśva medhā (lit. yupa, skambha or octagonal-pillar-generated wealth) is a metaphor for 'wealth of metalwork involving,minerals,metals, alloys of metals, cire perdue and other techniques of metal castings, smelting and furnace work to purify minerals and metals and the transport of the wealth products by seafaring merchants with documented wealth-accounting ledgers of maritime trade transactions.'. Thus aśva medhā is a metaphor for metalwork dhanam, metalwork wealth created through zeal (valour) and intellect.

    Dayananda Sarasvati refers to aśva medhā (medha) narratives as an allegory of a ritual. " a bahuvrihisaptāśva "having seven horses" is another name of the Sun, referring to the horses of his chariot. 'aśva' is glossed as "the symbol of mobility, valour and strength" and 'medha' as "the symbol of supreme wisdom and intelligence", yielding a meaning of 'aśvamedha' of "the combination of the valour and strength and illumined power of intellect."
    medha मेध offering , oblation , any sacrifice (esp. ifc.) ib. MBh. &c; medhā मेधा f. mental vigour or power , intelligence , prudence , wisdom (pl. products of intelligence , thoughts , opinions) RV. &c; Intelligence personified (esp. as the wife of धर्म and daughter of दक्षMBh. R. Hariv. Pur.; a form of सरस्वती; a symbolical N. of the letter ध् Up.; = धन (नैघण्टुक , commented on by यास्क ii , 10.)
    I submit that R̥gveda aśva medhā मेधा is an allegory for 'dhana, wealth of mobility' (Dayananda Sarasvati). This allegory is personified in the Yajna varāha pratimā of Vidiśa Museum by signifying an iconographic cipher of Sarasvati pratimā  on the caचषाल n. the snout of a hog MaitrS. i , 6 , 3.; hive rebus:mn. (g. अर्धर्चा*दि) a wooden ring on the top of a sacrificial post RV. i , 162 , 6  To signify Sarasvati on the snout as a rebus metaphor in Indus Script Cipher is to sit venerate the ancient knowledge system of infusing carbon into molten metal through smoke of wheat chaff generated from the fiery pillar of light and flame.
    TS. vi Ka1t2h. xxvi , 4 (चशाल) (शतपथ-ब्राह्मण). The text describes it as wheat-chaff, godhuma.गो--धुम for -ध्/ऊम , wheat; गो--धूम m. ( √गुध् Un2. ) " earth-smoke " , wheat (generally pl.VS. TBr. i S3Br. v (sg.) , xii , xiv S3a1n3khS3r. Mn. &c; f. = -लोमिका (The last meaning leads to the signifier of jata, 'locks of hair' on ekamukha linga with an octagonal shaped Rudra bhāga. Note that the Yūpa of R̥gveda isaṣṭāśri octagonal, eight-angled. I also submit that aśva is a personification of such an eight-angled, Yūpa. 

    The following 38 categories of wealth accounting ledgers are identified by cluster analysis  

    See the gallery of 117 field symbol figures including many animals (apart from trees, dotted circles, horned-persons with bovine hoofs/tails, snakes, tortoise, fish, crocodile).

    There are also 25+ hieroglyphs called 'signs' of Text messages on over 8000 Indus Script inscriptions presented in three volumes:



    Cluster 1 Eagle in flight cluster, thunderbolt weapon, blacksmith classifier

    Cluster 2 Metallurgical invention of aṅgāra carburization, infusion of carbon element to harden molten metal

    Cluster 3 Svastika cluster, zinc wealth category

    Cluster 4 Ficus clusters, copper wealth category

    Cluster 5 Tiger cluster, smelter category

    Cluster 6 Spearing a bovine cluster, smelter work

    Cluster 7 A metallurgical process narrative in four clusters -- four sides of a tablet: 

    Cluster 8 Seafaring boat cluster, cargo wealth category

    Cluster 9 Bier cluster, wheelwright category

    Cluster 10 Sickle cluster, wheelwright category

    Cluster 11 Sun's rays cluster, gold wealth category

    Cluster 12 Body of standing person cluster, element classifier

    Cluster 13 Frog cluster, ingot classifier

    Cluster 14 Serpent cluster as anakku, 'tin ore' classifier

    Cluster 15 Tortoise, turtle clusters, bronze classifiers

    Cluster 16 Seated person in penance, mint classifier

    Cluster 17 Archer cluster, mint classifier

    Cluster 18 ayakara 'metalsmith' cluster, alloy metal smithy, forge classifier

    Cluster 19 Smelter cluster, wealth-category of smelted mineral ores

    Cluster 20 Magnetite, ferrite ore cluster wealth-category or wealth-classification

    Cluster 21 Dhokra 'cire perdue' metal cassting artisans classifier

    Cluster 22 dhāvḍī ʻcomposed of or relating to ironʼ, dhā̆vaḍ 'iron-smelters' cluster, Iron, steel product cluster 

    Cluster 23 Endless knot cluster, yajña dhanam, iron category, hangar ‘blacksmith’ category

    Cluster 24 Dance-step cluster, iron smithy/forge

    Cluster 25 Minerals Smelter, metals furnace, clusters

    Cluster 26 Armoury clusters

    Cluster 27 Double-axe cluster, armourer category

    Cluster 28 Seafaring merchant clusters

    Cluster 29 Smithy, forge clusters

    Cluster 30 Equipment making blacksmithy/forge

    Cluster 31 Tin smithy, forge clusters

    Cluster 32 Alloy metal clusters

    Cluster 33 Metal equipment, product clusters

    -- Metalwork samgaha, 'catalogues' cluster सं-ग्रह complete enumeration or collection , sum , amount , totality (एण , " completely " , " entirely ") (याज्ञवल्क्य), catalogue, list

    Cluster 34 śreṇi Goldsmith Guild clusters 

    Cluster 34a Three tigers joined, smithy village,smithy shop category

    Cluster 35 पोळ [pōḷa], 'zebu'cluster,  magnetite ore category pōḷa, 'magnetite, ferrous-ferric oxide

    Cluster 36 Dotted circles, Indus Script Hypertexts dhāv 'red ores'

    Cluster 37 Indus Script inscriptions on ivory artifacts signify metalwork wealth accounting

    Cluster 38 Diffusion of Metallurgy: Meluhha and western Afghanistan sources of tin

    The Culture of Animals in Antiquity: A Sourcebook with Commentaries, 1st Edition (Hardback) book coverThe Culture of Animals in Antiquity
    A Sourcebook with Commentaries, 1st Edition
    By Sian Lewis, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
    768 pages | 189 B/W Illus.
    Hardback: 9780415817554 

    Look inside: Amazon


    The Culture of Animals in Antiquity provides students and researchers
    with well-chosen and clearly presented ancient sources in translation,
    some well-known, others undoubtedly unfamiliar, but all central to a
    key area of study in ancient history: the part played by animals in
    the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. It brings new ideas to bear
    on the wealth of evidence – literary, historical and archaeological –
    which we possess for the experiences and roles of animals in the
    ancient world.

    Offering a broad picture of ancient cultures in the Mediterranean as
    part of a wider ecosystem, the volume is on an ambitious scale. It
    covers a broad span of time, from the sacred animals of dynastic Egypt
    to the imagery of the lamb in early Christianity, and of region, from
    the fallow deer introduced and bred in Roman Britain to the Asiatic
    lioness and her cubs brought as a gift by the Elamites to the Great
    King of Persia. This sourcebook is essential for anyone wishing to
    understand the role of animals in the ancient world and support
    learning for one of the fastest growing disciplines in Classics.

    Table of Contents

    1. Taxonomies: making sense of animals

    2. Domestic animals
    a) Mammals
    ox; goat; sheep; pig; horse; donkey/mule; camel; dog; weasel; cat; human

    b) Birds
    goose; duck; chicken; dove/pigeon; quail; parrot; peacock; pheasant

    c) Insects

    3. Wild animals
    a) Mammals

    deer/antelope; gazelle; bear; lion; leopard; jackal; hyena; wolf; fox;
    badger; mole; hare/rabbit; hedgehog; mongoose; rat; mouse; bat; seal;
    dolphin; whale; aurochs; elk; elephant; hippopotamus; rhinoceros;
    giraffe; cheetah; tiger; monkey

    b) Birds
    crow/raven; sparrow; nightingale; owl; falcon/hawk; eagle; vulture;
    crane/stork; swan; water birds; hoopoe; ostrich

    c) Reptiles and amphibians
    crocodile; tortoise/turtle; frog/toad; lizard; snake

    d) Insects and molluscs
    ant; cricket/cicada; locust; scorpion; scarab beetle; spider; fly;
    butterfly/moth; flea; louse; weevil; snail

    e) Marine creatures
    fish; shark; octopus; crab; oyster; murex

    4. Working animals
    agriculture; transport; performing animals; hunting; warfare

    5. Pets
    dogs; cats; primates; other mammals; birds; reptiles and insects

    6. Sport
    entertainment; animal fights; hunting

    Index animalium
    Index of classical authors

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    GOI files English grammar!! lesson on CAG role . Confusion caused by combined use of 'is' and 'was' in the same paragraph, thus mixing up procedure and fact. Hopefully, clarification affidavit circulated to all petitioners should close the debate ???

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    Dec 14, 2018
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)The electoral jamboree in 5 states of the Republic ended a few days ago and has understandably generated the usual hoopla in political circles and the media. Although one understands the compulsions of the in-house pundits in the newspapers and TV channels to come out with instant homilies, it is also necessary for some of us to reflect carefully before issuing Homeric pronouncements. 
    In May 2014, this commentator, in the good company of a large number of confreres, was sufficiently enthused like some observers of milestone events like the French Revolution (or even the Russian Revolution) that had caused seismic regime changes. Admittedly, we didn’t go as far as Wordsworth’s poetic effort of “bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven’’. 
    However, on a prosaic level, we all felt that the stench of graft and criminality of the previous UPA lot and its predecessors was overwhelming and the new lot in Raisina Hill, led by the charismatic Narendra Modi and his lieutenants, seemed like a breath of fresh air. 
    Inevitably, such high expectations led to disappointments in a number of areas. Nevertheless, the replacement bunch did carry out some major course corrections that were long overdue. The score card was reasonably positive on the whole but the new team also shot themselves in the feet much too frequently. More on this later. 
    In the last four and a half years, the path of the “saffron” administration, as the ever-critical Western media and the home-grown MSM labelled it so glibly, was hardly strewn with roses. The residual legacy of the previous lot was so tainted that an enormous cleansing effort was necessary. This was where Modi and his colleagues hardly breasted the tape. Even the baby steps they took were resolutely thwarted by the opposition both in the form of political opponents and more importantly, in the form of institutional frameworks that the country had progressively developed since independence and even earlier.
    As sociologists and historian have said for centuries, if any system is so venal and mothballed, partial or gradual change is never a solution. This does not mean that reform must be in the form of drastic jettisoning of every element in the old order. That happens only in the case of revolutions. Nevertheless, in democratic structures, it is possible to bring about radical reform if the successor regime is focused, determined, efficient and resilient. If the leadership of the successor regime is somehow compromised or insufficiently motivated to throw out the junk and the skeletons from the rotting cupboards, then the morass continues. 
    This is what happened to the new dispensation that took over in May 2014. Most of the systemic and structural changes they tried to initiate were attempted very hesitatingly and tentatively. In hindsight, it seems that the amateurish and ham-handed performance by the new administration was also because of the inbuilt forces that were opposed to any drastic change in the national governance system. These residual elements were remnants of the old order - classic examples of rear-guard forces that displaced regimes invariably leave behind, in order to sabotage the successors who have succeeded them. 
    A few months ago, this writer studied various aspects of regime change and how clearly-defined pressure groups / interest groups worked in tandem to oppose the new administration. These forces saw that their vital positions were under threat and they utilised all means, fair and foul (mostly the latter) to protect their bailiwicks. 
    It is useful to list out, once again, these forces that are resolutely united in their opposition to the Modi government:
    ■ The bureaucracy at all levels, who feel threatened by the measures taken recently to introduce some semblance of accountability in the administration. 
    ■  The entire judiciary, specially the apex judiciary in the Supreme   Court and the High Courts. 
    ■  Crony capitalists ranging from the top business groups to the local kirana shop owners, all of whom thrived on tax evasion and looting the financial institutions.
    ■ The managers of rural — often caste-based — vote banks, who do not want their roles as intermediaries to be diminished.
    ■  Religious pressure groups, often financed from abroad, whose allegiances and loyalties are to institutions based outside India.
    ■ Academicians and “intellectuals” who had long supped from the deep pool of resources supplied by the previous rulers, and who were being marginalised after May 2014.
    ■ Small / regional political parties that have acted as power brokers in some parts of the country and have built up critical mass and a war-chest of funds.
    Logically, in the next four to five months before the national elections, the BJP-NDA strategists should target these forces in their campaigns. The country’s citizens have a long list of grudges against the forces listed above and there is a ground-swell of resentment, that has developed over many decades, against these elements. This resentment needs to be used to the advantage of the Indic forces. 
    History has demonstrated time and time again that the forces of status quo who have run private fiefdoms for centuries and resorted to lies, half-truths and fabrications to buttress their power and privileges must be fought resolutely. It is folly of the highest order to adopt a wall-flower stance with these satraps. In my recent essay in this journal, this point has been highlighted strongly 
    In fact, George Orwell’s epic dictum needs to be remembered in the Indian context: from 1947 onwards, the ruling Congress satraps had established such a complete control over the mindset of our country’s citizens that most of them were prepared to believe “that two and two made five”. In fact, it is quite obvious that the rag-tag opponents of the current government, ranging from Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to the Yadav clan and Mayavati’s group, have a feudal mindset that is as far removed from 20th and 21st century socio-political ideologies as can be possible. The think tanks of the Indic civilisation forces must continue to emphasise this and highlight it in the run-up to May 2019.
    In the final segment of this essay, it must be emphasised that the BJP led alliance must highlight its “wish list” clearly and unambiguously in its campaign for the 2019 hustings. The following is a logical list of plans and programmes, not necessarily in any order of priority, that the Indic forces should project before the national electorate: (1) Better governance, including bureaucratic and political accountability; (2) Meaningful judicial accountability, particularly in the case of the Supreme Court and the High Courts; (3) bringing in an iron-fisted approach to corporate offences, economic and business crimes; (4) turbocharging the economy, with special emphasis on employment generation; (5) looking after our Armed Forces, defence and national security, and making sure the babus do not downgrade and demean the nation’s  sword-arm; (6) Preserving, promoting and defending India’s civilisational and cultural heritage, leading eventually to a national renaissance and (7) combating the critical health and environmental degradation issues.
    As a long-time follower of Ogden Nash, I feel he should have the last words that are clearly meant for the denizens of 10 Janpath and 24 Akbar Road as well as their accomplices elsewhere:
                       I’m an autocratic figure in these democratic states.  
                       A dandy demonstration of hereditary traits.                                                               
                       My position at the apex of society I owe                                                                   
                       To the qualities my parents, bequeathed me long ago.
    While this poem summarises the Lutyens Zone cabal perfectly, the biting sarcasm is not at all applicable to Prime Minister Modi and his team. And, ideally, the latter should appropriately leverage the underlying sentiments of the great satirist with the Indian electorate in the next few months, so that they are given a renewed mandate.
    (Jay Bhattacharjee is a policy and corporate affairs analyst based in Delhi)

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    Angkor Wat – The largest Hindu Temple (Part–1)

    The incomparable and majestic depiction of Mount Meru with Lord Vishnu as the main deity makes Angkor Wat an otherworldly temple complex.

    Angkor Wat – The largest Hindu Temple (Part–1)
    Posted On: 15 Nov 2018

    Ruchi has a B.A. History Honours from Miranda House and has always had a fascination for Indian art, temples and culture. She loves to travel and write on the various architectural wonders of India. She is a bank empaneled lawyer as well as a visiting faculty at several MBA institutes. She tweets at @RuchiPritam

    IIt is important to distinguish between the Angkor Wat temple and the Angkor complex of monuments as a whole. After being lost to the outside world for a few centuries, these magnificent monuments were rediscovered by French archeologist Henri Mouhot in 1860. Continued research has now resulted in the discovery of a great number of monuments spread over hundreds of square kilometers.

    Angkor was the ancient capital of the Khmer Kingdom of Cambodia. The numerous monuments of Angkor (Nagar) are a reminder of human brilliance in the field of majestic Hindu/Buddhist temple construction and architecture, engineering, town planning, and water management. One can never get enough of the beauty of this magnificent complex. Angkor Wat is the largest and the most famous temple of this Angkor complex.

    [Aerial view of the Angkor Wat Temple]


    The most widely accepted legend is that of a Brahmin prince by the name of Kaundinya who hailed from South India, married a Naga princess from this region and thus started the rule of the Somavansha or the race of the moon. This is supported by inscriptions found at Misan in Champa (present-day Vietnam). There are some other nonsupported legends about a banished Hindu prince, who married a Naga lady, daughter of Nagaraja and established the kingdom of Kambuja (old name of Cambodia). Another legend holds that the union of Maharshi Kambu and the Apsara Mera symbolized the merger of the Solar and Lunar Dynasties that resulted in Kambuja. Ancient Indian civilization had expanded towards the east and had come into contact with inhabitants of this area and thus was born the nation of Cambodia with Indic Influences (Hinduism and Buddhism).

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    This South East Asian region has been in constant touch with the Chinese civilisation and the history of this region is mainly traced through these interactions. The first recognized historical kingdom is the Funan or Founan, a predominantly Hindu kingdom established probably during the 3rd-5th Century CE. The traditions of this kingdom can be attributed to the influence and interactions with the Pallavas of Tamil Nadu and other seafaring coastal regions of India.

    The rise of Angkor took place under Jayavarman II, a Javanese exiled prince who consolidated the area to become the king of Kambuja around the 8th century CE. He made Mahendraparvat (currently known as Phnom Kulen Mountain) his seat of power. He started the practice of linking kings with divinity by declaring himself God King or ‘Devraja’ and proclaimed himself ‘Chakravartin’ (Universal Monarch), a ritual having an ancient Indian Vedic origin. Later in life, Jayavarman II shifted to the plains near the great lake, Tonle Sap and established ‘Hariharalaya’ as his capital. This is the location of the earliest Angkor temples now called the Roulous group.

    The Angkor kings ruled over a vast domain stretching from Champa (Vietnam) in the east to the Bay of Bengal in the West. The temples in this area were constructed by the kings of Khmer civilization between 800 - 1220 CE. These temple structures are astonishing architectural marvels of mankind. The entire area encompassing Angkor is replete with the remains of a magnificent incomparable megacity.

    The Angkor Wat (temple) is the largest temple in this complex and it was dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II, who reigned between 1113-1150 C.E. It is built as a three-level platform with five magnificent towers on the top level, representing the mythical Mount Meru, which is supposed to be the abode of gods in Indian legend. This temple has a west facing entrance surrounded by a huge moat. The moat is really massive and it played an important role in hydrological balance of the area to keep such a heavy structure stabilized in the porous landscape with a high water table. Beyond the moat, there is a corridor with a Gopuram as the entry gate into the complex. This is the only temple in the sprawling Angkor area to have its entrance on the west side as opposed to the traditional temple entrance to the east.

    [The Moat]

    The floating bridge on the moat leads up to the outer gate area, where one of the alcoves has the statue of Vishnu, which is still being worshipped as the main deity. It is ironic that the only statue of Vishnu is outside the proper temple complex; that too in a temple considered the largest Hindu temple in the world. The image of Lord Vishnu has a beautiful smile and shows him with eight hands but without any attributes (most probably broken off). Irony does not end with this, as the donation box below the deity asks for “Donations for Buddhists”. It is symbolic of the civilization where Hinduism and Buddhism have existed together throughout history going through relative ups and downs. The current population is mainly Buddhist but the icons and symbolism of Hinduism are present everywhere.

    Inside the gate, the majestic temple finally appears at the end of a long walkway with two water bodies on either side. Snakes (Nagas) have been represented as the balustrade on either side of this pathway. The snake motif is present everywhere in the Angkor civilization. The Indian and East Asian religion symbolism has the snake as a constant feature but the overwhelming presence in this area may be due to the legend of a Naga princess being the first one to have found a dynasty here.

    The first structure in the main temple building is the outer corridor enclosing the main temple structure on all four sides. This corridor has innumerable bas-reliefs depicting myriad scenes from Indian mythology and a few panels with details of kings. The total length of the corridor is more than 1400 meters and every inch of that is filled with detailed carvings. It is one of those rare places in the world where even the most powerful superlatives used to describe the scene will not prepare the visitor from getting overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it. The local guide path mentions that it should be seen anticlockwise but here the description will follow the clockwise route, in tune with the temple circumambulation (pradakshina) process.
    [Outline of the temple structure drawn by the early French archeologists]

    The bas-reliefs can be seen as a set of 8 different representations. Every side of the corridor has two sets of carvings punctuated by the entrance gates in the middle.

    Western Gallery (North End) – Battle from Ramayana
    The first panel on the left (from main entry gate) depicts the battle scene from the Ramayana. The whole northern half of the western wall is a jumble of images with furious fight scenes depicted with the Monkey army on one side and Ravana’s army on the other. The panels vividly depict the fight between the Rakshasas and the Monkey army.

    [Battle scene from Ramayana]

    Around the centre of this imagery, one of the panels shows Hanuman carrying Ram on his shoulders with Lakshman and Vibhishan nearby.

    They all are facing Ravana who is shown fighting from the chariot. The stylised depiction of Ravana with ten heads is a unique symbol of Khmer art where 10 heads are not arranged horizontally but arranged in 3 tiers.

    Northern Gallery (west end) – Gods battle the Asuras after the Churning of the Ocean (Samudra Manthan)
    This is the most interesting part of the carvings. There is a whole pantheon of Vedic Gods depicted in active combat with the Asura army. Within the furious fighting depicted throughout this panel, there are clearly identifiable Gods with their characteristic mounts. Prominent among them are: Captain of the Deva army Kartikeyan (Skanda) on his peacock, King of gods Indra on his Elephant, Airavat, The creator God Brahma on his swan and The protector God Vishnu on Garuda.

    Apart from others in the god army, one of the most impressive figures is the water god Varuna shown as riding on a five-headed snake which has been harnessed into a mount. On the Asura side, there is a multi-headed figure (with heads depicted in 3 tiers) with multiple arms on a chariot. Early French archaeologists thought that this depiction represented the demon Kaalnemi, which seems to be the correct interpretation. Kaalnemi is said to have been reborn many times according to Hindu legends, including during the Ramayana and Mahabharata time. But this panel depicts a lot of specific gods fighting asuras who are represented chiefly by this multiheaded figure. As per the Puranic legends,  after the churning of the ocean, when the elixir of life (Amrit) was appropriated by the gods, there was a fierce fight where the Asuras were led by Kaalnemi. Even Indra was unable to subdue him and the Supreme Lord Vishnu mounted on Garuda had to come to the fight to defeat him. The overall theme of these carvings and the recurrent motif of Samudra Manthan throughout the Angkor civilisation makes this explanation the most likely one.

    Northern Gallery (East end)
    This gallery continues to have scenes showing battles between the Devas and Asura army, although the carving is of inferior quality compared to other galleries. There are multiple images of Garuda, some with Vishnu on his shoulder fighting with Asuras. It has been associated with Krishna’s fight with Banasura. One particularly impressive panel has Garuda in front of a wall of fire trying to douse it.

    Eastern Gallery (north end)  - Asuras fight with Vishnu
    In this gallery, the army of Asuras march as a big team with all the warriors in their distinguishing headdresses and leaders riding elephants and chariots led by fierce lions. Towards the end of this panel, the Asuras encounter Vishnu standing on Garuda, who fights them.

    Eastern corridor ( south end ) – Samudra Manthan – Churning of the Ocean
    This long panel with repetitive images is instantly recognisable as the famous mythological event called Samudra Manthan. The story of Churning of the Ocean by a combined effort of Devas and Asuras is present everywhere in the Angkor civilisation. Mount Mandar was used as the central pivot and Lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise to support the mountain. The divine snake Vasuki was used as the rope. Asuras took up the side of the snake’s head and Devas were on the tail side. These carvings represent the mountain in anthropomorphic form. A lot of figures are shown hovering above the Devas & Asuras pulling on the snake acting as rope.

    [Samundra Manthan (Churning of the Ocean)]

    The carvings show a repetition of similar figures in a seemingly endless frame. The Devas and Asuras are distinguished by their headdress, Devas have a conical headdress whereas the Asuras’ headgear has squarish shaped helmet effect. What an effort it must have been, to create such a large number of identical figures with exact same features. There must have been a large number of artisans bringing about such precision with standardisation which makes this effort without any parallel in the world. The Asuras have a few larger than life figures shown with ten heads arranged in a 3 tiered structure ( probably showing Ravana). The Deva team is anchored by a figure which can only be Hanuman. Although these two had no role in the churning of the ocean, the local artisans have created the sculptures to bring a sense of awe in the viewers. These corridors were the last points up to which the general population was allowed to come up during the height of the Khmer Kingdom.

    Southern gallery (east end) – Depiction of Heaven, Earth and Hell

    This long gallery has vivid displays of torment in the underworld on the lower panel. There are different types of punishment shown as the Hindu mythology stipulates punishments based on the actual crimes or wrongdoings.

    The central panel represents the prosperity and general life in the earthly realms and the upper panels show peace and luxury representing the heavens. The almost universal concept of “ascending to reach heaven” and “descending into hell” has been beautifully captured.

    [Heaven, Earth, and Hell]

    Southern Gallery (West End) – Display of King Suryavarman’s Army

    This is the only panel where there is no mythological reference. The panels depict the might of Suryavarman’s army. There are some inscriptions which recognise him as “Paramvishnuloka”, consistent with the identification of kings with the divine in the Angkor kingdoms. The army captains are shown riding on elephants and the number of umbrellas above their heads denotes the relative importance in the hierarchy. The panel showing the king has the maximum number of 15 such umbrellas.

    [The Mighty King Suryavarman]

    Western Gallery (south end) – War scenes from Mahabharata

    This gallery has a  long panel depicting Mahabharata war scenes, showing Kaurava and Pandava armies facing each other. The long corridor shows every type of fighter, be it a footman, horse rider, a war elephant or a charioteer. The whole ensemble gives an uncanny effect of two large armies marching towards an epoch-defining war, which the Mahabharata War certainly was.

    In the northwest and southwest corners, there are a large number of figures depicting myriad themes from Indian mythology. Every available surface has been utilised to show such scenes. It requires great knowledge and persistence to associate these images with particular legends.

    [Intricately carved corner area panel]

    The scale of these magnificent carvings has to be seen to be believed. Although the depth of the carving is not comparable to the carvings being done at the same historical time frame in India (Pallavas, Cholas, Kalinga and central Indian kingdoms), the scale is incomparably huge here. In fact, the corridors by themselves are worth one full visit and the rest of the temple needs another visit. Even with substantial tourist traffic, the chance of photographing long corridors without anyone in the frame testifies to the grand scale of this wonderful achievement.

    [Juxtaposition of two halves of a corridor]

    Entry into the Main temple building

    The beautifully carved standing female sculptures depicting the celestial maidens (Apsaras) are found everywhere, especially near the entrance doors and the corners of the walls. These Apsaras have bare upper bodies with elaborate jewelery and magnificent tall headgears. Waist down they are depicted in flowing drapes with an elaborate jeweled waistband. The Apsaras wear heavy anklets that are very similar to the ones worn by ladies in India in earlier times. These Apsaras have differing hand gestures indicating dance poses, welcoming gestures, playing with their hair, holding lotus flowers etc.

    [The ubiquitous Apsaras]

    The four temple tanks (Kunds) on the entryway in the pillared courtyards are eye-catching constructs. It gives the impression of a water tank that may have been used for a ritual dip before entering the main temple. There are steps that go down into the tank. These structures look similar to the temple tanks that are found in the temple compounds throughout India.
    [Temple tank at first level near entry]

    The Indic religions have been the bedrock of Khmer civilization with Hinduism and various streams of Buddhism gaining prominence at different times in their history. According to the reigning king’s religious inclinations, these magnificent monuments were adapted to the monarch’s religion. The reemergence of Buddhism is reflected in the practices where Buddha’s idols have been placed on bases on which Hindu deities were installed originally.

    [Idols placed in a random corridor]

    Beyond the 4 temple tanks and the interconnecting corridors, one has to climb the stairs to reach the open area on the second level. This area is enclosed by an inner corridor with numerous carvings of Apsaras, but almost no one notices anything about the enclosing corridor as the whole attention is concentrated on the five magnificent Shikhars (Towers). The scale of the monument is clear by the fact that even at this height; the base of the Towers is still a steep climb away.

    [Second-floor entry point- first view of the top (tower) Shikhar and the steep steps]

    The early morning sun gives a wonderful glow to these towers. This motif of Mount Meru appears again and again in various Angkor monuments.  By the time this Angkor Wat temple was built, the form was firmly established and this magnificent structure was created to represent an empire at its zenith. It is ironical how little is known about this period of history in the other parts of the world, particularly in India, as the whole effect is of an Indian civilization in this land so far away from India.

    These steps are so steep (an incline of almost 70 degrees) that it needs one to use all four limbs to safely climb it. There are 3 sets of steps on each of the four sides. The original entryway on the west side is crumbling and it is still to be restored. The other steps are in a better state. One of the flights of steps on the northeastern side has been fitted with a wooden overlaying step ladder and visitors are allowed to climb up in restricted numbers.

    [Getting down is even more difficult]

    The interconnecting corridors at this top level also form four temple tanks. The main central tower stands majestically tall, commanding awe from all visitors. Even after climbing up to the third level, the tower has a majestic presence and humans look insignificant in comparison. No wonder, it is called the largest temple, as there is nothing else in the world to really match it in scale. There are sculptures above the corridor portico areas depicting deities, Kirtimukhas and Toranas similar to the designs available in temples constructed in India during the same time period. Numerous carvings of Apsaras in various poses are also on the tower.

    [The magnificent Central Tower]

    The original deity in the centre of the main tower was removed by the later Buddhist kings. There are double porticos on all four sides on this central grand tower. At present, the centre of the inner sanctum is walled off and the Buddhist idols are placed in the side openings. When this site was discovered by the French, one side of the central area was opened and the French archaeologists dug out the earth and sand from the centre part to find out whether there was any treasure buried in the sanctum. No treasure was found even after reaching 25 meters, the depth of external ground level, but at the depth of 23 meters, two circular gold leaves (18 inches in diameter), set in laterite, were found with OM written on them. They must have been a part of the sacred rituals conducted while starting the construction of the temple.

    To give an idea of the real size, this image shows the second level terrace form the top level corridors (after climbing those steep-steep steps). The size of humans gives a real idea of the grand scale of the monument. The ponds in the courtyard are far away in the background and the entry Gopuram area is almost like a speck in the background.

    [Panoramic view from the top]

    The Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a must view. Visitors line up at around 5:00 a.m. to enter the premises and literally jog to get a front view spot alongside the two square lotus ponds outside the main entrance to the first level of the temple. The initial dawn view is in the shades of mauve/pink. It is a heavenly sight. 

    After an anxious wait, one can see the golden rays of the sun trying to find its way to the world by passing through the spaces amidst the Meru towers. The sun lights up the world but first it touches the abode of the Gods. The reflection of the scene is mirrored in the waters of the pond. This view is not only captured in the numerous cameras that click away continuously but it finds an imprint in the sub-conscious mind and gets internalised.

    At the end of the day, when last of the tourists have departed, the temple stands majestically in its magnificent solitude, happy to be recognized as the great wonder it is. After being in danger of totally subsumed by the advancing forest, it is now a magnet attracting a large number of tourists throughout the year.

    How does one say a final goodbye to this temple? My heart and mind kept telling me that this cannot be the last visit, as one has to visit this remarkable abode of the Hindu Pantheon again.


    The Angkor Wat temple has been the best-preserved temple in the whole Angkor complex due to the restraining effect of the almost 200-meter wide moat all around, which protected it from the full fury of the advancing forest. According to the experts, the whole monument is a 3 dimensional representation of the universe. The central tower represents Mount Meru, The three levels of the temple represent the 3 platforms of earth, water, and wind. The outer moat represents the surrounding cosmic ocean. Construction of such a grand structure with complex engineering and mastery of architecture shows the greatness of the Khmer civilisation.

    References / Footnotes
    The 1944 publication – The monuments of the Angkor Group by Maurice Glaize

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    The Status of the Aryan Invasion Theory in Academic Circles
                                                                                                                                                                   Hinduism and Quantum Physics for Dummies

    This is a short post on the status of the 'Aryan Invasion Theory' today in academic circles. Based on my frequent interactions with interested folks on Twitter I've come to understand that there is a lot of confusion regarding the status of the AIT. Some believe the AIT has been proven false while others believe just the opposite. Some of them also claim that the AIT problem will not be solved until the Indus script is deciphered. I will now attempt to clear the confusion.

    The 'Aryan Invasion Theory' was rechristened the 'Aryan Migration Theory' in 1995 since there was no archaeological evidence for an invasion. The AMT, as it is now known, is purely a problem of linguistics and not caste/race/ethnicity. There are similarities in the languages of Northern India, Iran, Europe and Central Asia. The question is 'How'?

    Lets hear from Hans Henrich Hock who is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Sanskrit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    At 5:30 (Part 1) he says 'The issue is much more difficult to figure out. I'm always amazed by people who on one side or another have this very clear view that they know the truth. I think we have to take this basically as a scientific issue where we have to judge which is the best hypothesis. And that doesn't mean that it is the absolute truth because we can't go back in time.'

    So, Hans Henrich Hock, who basically works within the 'AMT' paradigm says (above) that the issue is extremely difficult to solve. Yet there are folks around (on social media which is where I get to interact with them) with no background in linguistics or anything to do with the AMT for that matter who're cocksure about the validity of a migration into India. Then there are those who say the 'AMT' is dead. This is only partially true. The AMT is dead in  the sense that it has nothing working for it. Be it the study of linguistics, genetics, archaeology or anthropology - no scientific field of study has been able to lend credence to the AMT so far.  But the theory is still alive and kicking in academic circles. We'll see why.

    Genetics supports an Out of India migration
    Lets listen in to Hans Hock again. At 9:38 (Part 1) he says 'Whatever mixture there is of genome and other traits in S. Asia has been that way for the last 20,000 - 40,000 years. There is also some indication that actually there was a migration out of the Greater South Asian area through Central Asia and then into Europe'.

    A show on genetics 'Solving History with Olly Steeds' on the Discovery Channel also rubbished any support for the AIT/AMT.

    In an open letter to the Sanskrit Professor at Harvard University, Michael Witzel, Greek Sanskrit Scholar Nicholas Kazanas writes the following 'I note you have now stopped referring to Genetics and gene flow, as you did some years back, since this area no longer holds hopes for the mainstream view and shows that the movement is Out of India'. Professor Witzel is well known in academic circles as a fundamentalist AMT propagandist. Do read the entire letter to get a glimpse of what sort of a person Witzel really is. 

    Linguistic Fraud by the AIT propagandists

    This section is the most crucial in the entire presentation because the fraudulent approach to linguistics by traditional AMT propagandists will be exposed here. Since the AMT issue is fundamentally a problem of linguistics an endorsement by this branch of study would be decisive. 

    In a paper titled 'Commentary on Kazanas' Semantics of the Indo-Aryan Controversy', Spanish linguist Xaverio Ballester exposes the fundamentalism that has crept into the Indo-Aryan problem. 

    Quoting his paper (first paragraph) 'As Kazanas (Nicholas) properly points out the subject has become already a kind of linguistic dogma dating from the mid 19th century since nowadays evidences from Archaeology, Anthropology, Genetics, Literature and Linguistics support only indigenism (Out of India) '.

    Here comes the absolutely crucial part. On Page 31 (there are only 6 pages in the entire paper) of the same paper Xaverio details how fraudulent AMT propagandists like Michael Witzel reject the obvious and real explanations because it does not support their AMT propaganda and cook up their own version of linguistics.

    Quoting from Page 31 (there are only 6 pages in the entire paper) of the same paper.

    One of these arguments directly concerns the language: the apparent archaic nature of Sanskrit. A feature that - as Kazanas correctly points out is clearly visible, for example, in the vocal-ism of this language with it's six historical phonemes: /a i u a: i: u:/. As most other Indo-European languages also display /e/ and /o/ as vocalic phonemes, one must explain this divergence through one of these main two possibilities:

    1. Sanskrit exhibits a more ancient vocalic phase, where /e/ and /o/ have not been developed yet. Indeed the [e] and [o] are emerging in Sanskrit mainly as a result of /ai/ and /au/.

    2. The vocalism of both Sanskrit and the other Indo-European languages is not the ancient one but a third one which is not represented in any Indo-European language.

    As a result of the comparison with many parallel situations in other historical languages, the only obvious and real explanation can be the first one. Because of the archaic pattern of the major historic Aryan language, Sanskrit, the required late arrival of the Indo-Europeans in the far east does not fit very well. Thus, traditional theory chooses the second option and therefore posts a completely fictitious phonemic pattern based on some pure theoretical monstrosities called Laryngeals, a sort of a specimen that is neither a vowel nor a consonant but..all the opposite. To sum up, a kind of phonemes that is not documented in any historical or real language. With this subtle strategy, traditional theory keeps the uncomfortable archaising character of Sanskrit away.


    Linguistics provides 100% support to the 'Out of India' theory which is why frauds like Michael Witzel ignore the real and obvious explanations by constructing and making use of fictitious linguistic constructs which have now been exposed and are out in the public domain.

    One of the linguistic posits of the AMT is that the Avesta is older than the Rig Veda. Nicholas Kazanas shows in his brilliant presentation yet again step by step how traditionalists manipulate the science of linguistics to favor their utterly ridiculous theories - Vedic and Avestan by Nicholas Kazanas No one has been able to challenge Nicholas Kazanas yet. Instead many Indologists like Xaverio Ballester have come out against AMT traditionalist like Witzel whose core competency lies in manipulating evidence and verbally abusing those who disagree with him and his ilk.

    Another major linguistic argument is the Isogloss. An isogloss is an area within which all languages develop certain common features. A book by Shrikant Talageri in 2008 has shown that Saptasindhu fits best as the homeland from which all these isoglosses spread and developed. Again no one has been able to challenge Srikant yet. Nicholas Kazanas will soon be publishing a paper to show how only Saptasindhu fits best as the homeland from which all these isoglosses developed. As an exercise, search (CTRL+F) for 'Evidence of the Isogloss' in this book by Shrikant Talageri and read the entire section to understand how AMT folks manipulate the science of linguistics to suit their needs. You'll find a lot of linguistic jargon which you can skip  (unless you're a linguist) to focus on the English text.

    These excellent video presentations below by eminent scholar Shrikant Talageri are a must watch if one wishes to cover the entire spectrum of the linguistic, textual and archaeological arguments.

    Indus Script
    We do not know what language the Indus script represents yet because the script has so far not been deciphered. There is more than enough evidence out there to show that the Harappans were Vedic. Here are a few - Why perpetuate myths? & The Rig Veda is pre-Harappan

    The AMT has almost collapsed in academic circles in the West as the interview with Hans Hock above demonstrated. It is only a matter of time before the truth is out and that is the migration was from India to Central Asia, Iran and Europe.

    Recommended Reading

    - Amit

    27 May 2008

    Xaverio Ballester

    Xaverio Ballester is one of the members of the Continuity Theory workgroup, or Continuity Paradigmas he prefers to call it. An expert in classical studies (he’s a professor of Latin at Valencia University), his research interests go far beyond the limits of Latin and Greek. He has written about Indo-European linguistics, about pre-Roman languages in Iberia, about the origin of language, and many more topics. His writings are full of innovative, original ideas. On the other hand, Xaverio Ballester can be seen as someone who is constantly fighting against the linguistics establishment. Apart from the great erudition and seriousness of his work, there’s an aspect of this author which makes him particularly interesting: his sense of humour. Xaverio is simply different, reading him is an advisable and enriching experience, listening to him in person even more. If you think that a Latin professor is someone whose writings are boring, take a look at Ballester’s writings and you’ll see the difference.

    Links about Xaverio BALLESTER:

    - There's an interview, published in Saguntina (nº 4, April 2008), a classical studies journal written in Spanish, where you can discover some of Ballester’s ideas about language and other things. This is the link.

    Here you can take a look at his CV and list of publications.

    - Some of Ballester’s articles are published online. Here.

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    Written by Ishita Sengupta |Kolkata |Updated: December 16, 2018 9:29:13 am
    College Street, a kilometre-long stretch of road from Ganesh Chandra Avenue Crossing in Bowbazar to Mahatma Gandhi Road is lined with books on both sides; the eclectic collection on display good can entice any connoisseur of books.
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    College Street, one of the largest second-hand selling markets in India, has a surreal charm to it. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)
    Nirmal Bandhopadhyay goes to College Street every single day. “There are days when I don’t buy a single book,” the 55-year-old teacher says conspiratorially, unravelling his addiction for the headiness of Kolkata’s neighbourhood of books. “Just flipping through the pages has become an addiction.”
    Bandopadhyay’s obsession for books and love for the place prevented him for leaving the city. It also stopped him from taking up another job that threatened with such a possibility. “Leaving this place would have ruined me,” he adds, visibly shuddering at the possibility.

    A street made of books

    A kilometre-long stretch of road from Ganesh Chandra Avenue Crossing in Bowbazar to Mahatma Gandhi Road is lined with books on both sides; the eclectic collection on display good can entice any connoisseur of books. A hardcover of Baywatch can be found placed neatly next to a book on Swami Vivekananda’s selected lectures. They might even come for the same price. College Street, one of the largest second-hand selling markets in India, has an indubitable surreal charm to it. Known as Boi Para in Bengali, it is a world in itself that functions by its own set of rules. There is nothing pious or profane, nothing too old or new.
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    College Streetfunctions by its own rules. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)

    The singularity of it might tempt one to compare it with the erstwhile Macondo, Marquez had written about in One Hundred Years Of Solitude, a city where strange things happen and stranger people reside. But it perhaps comes closest to the land of Gup, Salman Rushdie mentions in Haroun and The Sea of Stories, a place where stories are churned out, a place where stories are retained. The booksellers of College Street— who stop by those walking on the road with the promise of getting them the book they want, assuming always that it is a book that they want, assuming too that there could be no other purpose of visiting the place otherwise — are the ones maintaining the stories here. They refer to authors with their first name, as if they are talking about some distant cousin they know all about. Well, they do.

    Businessmen of the footpath

    No one seems to know the name of stall number 22’s owner. Ranjini Mondal, 21, who had come to buy books on a Friday evening, calls him PT Kaku. His fellow booksellers refer to him simply as PT as they come to his stall asking for books they don’t have or dump a pile of books on his makeshift wooden table. Sorit Mallick, who has been selling books at College Street for over two decades now, responds to the moniker as if it had always been his name.
    “I have books on Sartre, Camus, Beauvoir, several art books on Klimt, Picasso, even some rare books procured from different libraries,” says the 49-year-old who started started selling second-hand books soon after completing his graduation in Political Science from Sovaranai Memorial College.
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    Sorit Mallick has been selling books at College Street for over two decades now. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Expres)
    The stall might look like it has room only for one, but Mallick says it has over 3,000 books. There are some on the table, there is a pile near his foot, some above him, and some placed next to him, making it seem like the place was built by books and not for them.
    Stall number 22 is not an exception. Placed next to each other without a gap, all the stalls approximately share a uniform shape and size.
    Mansoor Alam’s forefathers have sold books at Boi Para long before there were any stalls. A regular here, Alam says previously books would be tied with a thread to the walls of the then Presidency College and sold. “My family has been involved in this for 136 years.” His stall is laden with books, ranging from history and archaeology to mythology and photography. “There are 4,500 books in here,” he says, adding that his movements have been restricted due to them. “I don’t move my hands much when I stand here. The books might just all fall,” he says.
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    Mansoor Alam’s forefathers have sold books at Boi Para long before there were any stalls. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)
    Books often spill on to the road, something the booksellers do not mind. “We are the businessmen of the footpath. Our hands are always dirty,” Mallick says, showing no semblance of disgust at his perpetually dirty hands. He remembers to carefully clean it though before holding a book.
    Space, it seems, is not much of a concern here. In fact, they share a charming indifference towards it by naming their stalls “Book Mahal” and “Boi Palace”. The look on their faces and the way they treat books tell you there is no irony here, and no hyperbole. They really do mean it. These stalls are their palaces and they would rather be here than anywhere else.
    The air around College Street is thick with jaded persuasions — some found between the pages of second-hand books, others uttered by the booksellers. And though their generic, “Ki boi chai, bolun, shob achey” (“What book do you want? We have everything”) might seem like a tall claim, it is often not the case. “College Street is a treasure trove,” Bandopadhyay says, whose recent visit turned out to be more rewarding that he had anticipated. The middle-aged man could hardly suppress his glee as he held two books — The Essential Mystery, Major Filmmakers of Indian Art Cinema by John H Wood and In Search Of The Lost Chord by Danny Goldberg in his hands. “I did not know there was a second edition of this book,” he says pointing at Hood’s book. “This is golden.”
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    Booksellers of College Street rehash their war cry every morning. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)
    Both Mallick and Alam take sufficient pride in their collection. Mallick has photocopies of rare academic books. He recollects selling a second-hand book on tea leaves for Rs 500 even though he had asked for Rs 200. “The customer was so happy to get the book that he refused to buy it for Rs 200,” he says.
    Mallick also takes much gratification in the knowledge that he has never failed to arrange for a book, as and when there has been a need. In his 25 years at College Street, he regards getting his hands on Salman Rushdie’s banned Satanic Verses as a highlight. “Not once, but thrice,” he says, as if reminding himself of past victories.
    Alam, on the other hand, is certain that he has books that one will not find anywhere else. His words ring true as one spots photo books by both Raghu Rai and Henri Cartier-Bresson in his stall. Kept far away from one another — as if the photographers were having a feud — the prices, Alam says, vary. Some pay more for Rai then they do for Bresson and years of experience have taught him to understand which reader wants which book and how badly. Experience has also taught them to gauge the worth of a book, to know instinctively which one will sell and which won’t, to know who is Camus and who isn’t.

    ‘Camus, who?’

    “I had no idea who Christie, Coetzee were or even Marquez,” Md Sajid says, as he arranges the first line of books at his stall. All happen to be written by these authors. It was also at his stall that Bandopadhyay had chanced upon the “treasure” of the evening.
    Samir Kumar Acharya, an employee at Food Corporation of India, and a College Street regular since 1981, has seen much change. But stopping by Sajid’s stall is a habit he has held on to. “It is still one of the few places that sells good books,” he says.
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    There is nothing pious or profane in College Street. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)
    Sajid, a Commerce graduate, bashfully admits that he had no idea what he was selling in the beginning. “I took up the job because my elder brother used to sell book. But I had no idea about the authors. I did not know Camus or Sartre. I had bought their books by chance and they sold like hot cakes.” Sajid also recollects, with endearing nonchalance, how he would pronounce the name of American writer William S Burroughs wrong. “I would call him Booroughs,” he says. The name now sits comfortably on his tongue.
    Much has changed in the 11 years. The 40-year-old now not only knows how to pronounce authors’ names, but also what and how they write. And he credits the readers for it. “Whatever little I have learnt, I have learnt from the customers, even how to pronounce Burroughs.”
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    Readers and booksellers have taught each other much. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)
    Mallick is of a similar opinion. The first one from his family to be in this business, Mallick remembers being scared when readers would come and ask books by different authors. “I had gone to my mother and told her I will not be able to continue it,” he says. But there was a change of heart, soon. “I thought if others are doing it, some who are even less educated than me, then why not me?” he asks, rhetorically.
    Sheikh Oheed, started helping his uncle sell books at College Street 40 years ago. While selling Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore to a young girl on a Tuesday evening, Oheed shares how difficult it used to be for him to understand which authors the readers were talking about, or what books they wanted. “Several times I sold a book for much less than I should have.”
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    Sheikh Oheed, started helping his uncle sell books at College Street 40 years ago. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)
    Not understanding the reader’s choice is no longer a problem now. “I have learnt on the job.”

    Returning the favour

    In College Street, nobody really takes a favour without returning one. Readers, who have benefited much from buying books from the stalls, have also, more often than not, contributed to the collection by selling some of their old books. A book by James Baldwin has been traded for a work by Barnes many a times. In an almost similar way, booksellers, who have gained much from the wisdom of the readers, do not hesitate in doling out advices, if and when need be.
    Sajid might not be much of a reader, but that does not stop him from suggesting books to some of those who stop by at his stall.
    “A couple of years back, very few people used to read James Patterson. If I sensed that they would enjoy his writing, I would recommend. I did the same for Lee Child and there have been so many who have come back and bought books by these authors regularly after that,” he says.
    college street, college street kolkata, college street booksellers, booksellers at college street, books at college street, books at college street kolkata, kolkata collgege street, presidency university, presidency university college street, indian express, indian express news
    Nobody keeps a favour at College Street without returning it. (Source: Subham Dutta/The Indian Express)
    Mallick admits how often he goes out of his way to give students something other than the easily available Norton critical notes for their texts. “If everybody writes the same answer, how will they score more?” he asks, with much concern in his voice.

    College Street changes your life

    “College Street changed my life,” Bandopadhyay says, looking at Sajid with much gratitude.

    College Street — trading in stories and almost contorting itself to make place for some more books — is more ancient than the people who visit here. It perhaps dates back further than most of the books sold here were written.
    But the place seems not a day older than the booksellers who rehash and modulate their war cry every morning. Their greasy palms that they no longer mind, and the fatigued eyes that light up every time they see a book, make it seem like they co-existed with the place since its inception. They have aged with the place, braved storms together. They make the place that is College Street, as much as the place makes them who they are.

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    Centre’s plea for corrections in Rafale judgment

    Present tense became past tense, hence what should have been read as 'is' was interpreted as 'has been' at one place and 'was' in another
    By R. Balaji and Our Bureau in New Delhi
    • Published 16.12.18, 3:24 AM
    • Updated 16.12.18, 3:24 AM
      Paragraph 25 of the judgment said pricing details of the Rafale planes have been shared with the CAG.
      Paragraph 25 of the judgment said pricing details of the Rafale planes have been shared with the CAG.(Shutterstock)

      The Narendra Modi government on Saturday came down to earth and performed grammatical aerobatics, confirming errors in at least two sentences in the Rafale judgment, suggesting its note was “misinterpreted” by the Supreme Court and filing an application for “correction”.
      Paragraph 25 of the judgment delivered by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday had said pricing details of the Rafale combat planes have been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG), the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament and a redacted portion of the report was placed before Parliament and is in the public domain.
      On Saturday, the defence ministry suggested some of the tenses got mixed up “perhaps on account of misinterpretation of a couple of sentences in a note handed over to this Hon’ble Court in a sealed cover”.
      The ministry said the first part of Paragraph 25 was correct: it did share the pricing details with the CAG.
      The errors apparently crept into the subsequent sentences. Present tense became past tense, hence what should have been read as “is” was interpreted as “has been” at one place and “was” in another, the ministry’s application to the court suggests.
      Essentially, what the proposed corrections mean is that the CAG report has not yet been examined by the PAC (the CAG is yet to submit its report in the first place), no redacted portion has been placed before Parliament and neither is it in the public domain. (See chart)
      The ministry is claiming that its note merely mentioned the procedures that are usually followed regarding CAG reports and the information was not specific to the CAG report on the Rafale deal.
      In short, out of the four steps mentioned in the judgment regarding the CAG report, three have turned out to be incorrect.
      The stunning disclosure by the government came less than 24 hours after the ruling establishment paraded its leading lights to brag about the “clean chit” verdict.
      The judgment was uploaded around noon on Friday and was a relatively short document with 34 paragraphs in 29 pages.
      However, neither the Union ministers nor BJP president Amit Shah made any mention of the mistakes on Friday.
      The ministers included two lawyers, Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, who were specifically asked about the discrepancy by reporters who had read the judgment by then. The two said at separate media conferences that they would focus on the substantive issues, not what they described as procedural and technical matters.
      (The Telegraph)
      Which meant that it fell upon the defence ministry, whose minister Nirmala Sitharaman had addressed the celebratory media conference along with Jaitley, to clean up the mess after the alleged “misinterpretation” exploded in the government’s face.
      On Saturday, the defence ministry found itself pleading with the court, through the application filed on behalf of deputy secretary Sushil Kumar, that “the matter may be dealt with urgently”.
      No one could recall corrections being sought in a verdict in recent memory, though modifications are not unknown.
      The application said the “observations in the judgment have also resulted in a controversy in the public domain”.
      But the court is already closed for Christmas holidays and the vacation bench is unlikely to “correct” judgments delivered by a bench headed by the Chief Justice who is out of the country now.
      Justice Gogoi is expected back on December 19. But the other two judges on the bench, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, are also out of Delhi and are likely to return around the New Year.

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        Angus Maddison's graph of Economic Hisgtory from 1 CE to 2008 CE shows how India was impoverished during the centries of colonial subjugation. 

        A succinct account of the loot has been provided by Will Durant (Case for India, 1930 repr. 2009) and Dadabhai Naoroji (Poverty and Unbritish Rule in India, 1902). Here is a Marxist's account of the loot.

        Dispossession, Deprivation, and Development
        PUB DATE: November 2018
        ISBN: 9788193732915
        280 pages
        FORMAT: Hardcover
        LIST PRICE: $43.00

        Utsa Patnaik is an Indian Marxist economist. She taught at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi , [1] from 1973 until her retirement in 2010.

        Dispossession, Deprivation, and Development

        Essays for Utsa Patnaik
        Edited by Arindam Banerjee and C. P. Chandrasekhar
        Tulika Books
        Agrarian transition, exploitative production relations, bondage in the agriculture and informal sectors, food insecurity, and poverty are among the central concerns that have marked the work of the eminent economist and author Utsa Patnaik. She has sought to seek and define alternative economic models that address these concerns and that are therefore emancipatory in nature. This festschrift attempts to engage with the theoretical frameworks, historical analyses, and developmental questions that her remarkable academic contributions have raised. The volume delves deep into issues such as the agrarian question in contemporary India, the issue of primitive accumulation, displacement and land rights, the crisis of employment generation and women’s work under present economic regimes, the challenge of environmental sustainability, and environmental constraints to development, left politics, issues of secularism and the social challenges of communalism—all of which are contradictions faced in the development process today. The editors hope that the volume will be useful to all whose praxis and work are anchored on the motivation to build a better and just world.


        Arindam Banerjee is associate professor in economics in the School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi, where he teaches courses on colonialism, political economy, and agrarian development. He has researched and published on subjects such as agrarian relations under neoliberalism, the global food crisis, food management in India, and colonial historiography in various journals and edited volumes.

        C. P. Chandrasekhar is professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has published widely in academic journals, and has authored several books including Karl Marx’s "Capital" and the PresentThe Market that Failed: Neo-Liberal Economic Reforms in India (with Jayati Ghosh) and Demonetisation Decoded: A Critique of India’s Currency Experiment (with Jayati Ghosh and Prabhat Patnaik). He is a regular columnist for Frontline and Business Line.
        There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the colonisation of India - as horrible as it may have been - was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long - the story goes - was a gesture of Britain's benevolence.
        Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, and his wife, Lady Edwina Mountbatten, ride in the state carriage towards the Viceregal lodge in New Delhi, on March 22, 1947 [File: AP]Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, and his wife, Lady Edwina Mountbatten, ride in the state carriage towards the Viceregal lodge in New Delhi, on March 22, 1947 [File: AP]
        New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik - just published by Columbia University Press - deals a crushing blow to this narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938. 
        It's a staggering sum. For perspective, $45 trillion is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the United Kingdom today.
        How did this come about?
        It happened through the trade system. Prior to the colonial period, Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and paid for them in the normal way - mostly with silver - as they did with any other country. But something changed in 1765, shortly after the East India Company took control of the subcontinent and established a monopoly over Indian trade.
        Here's how it worked. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, "buying" from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them.
        It was a scam - theft on a grand scale. Yet most Indians were unaware of what was going on because the agent who collected the taxes was not the same as the one who showed up to buy their goods. Had it been the same person, they surely would have smelled a rat.
        Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain's industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India.
        On top of this, the British were able to sell the stolen goods to other countries for much more than they "bought" them for in the first place, pocketing not only 100 percent of the original value of the goods but also the markup.
        After the British Raj took over in 1847, colonisers added a special new twist to the tax-and-buy system. As the East India Company's monopoly broke down, Indian producers were allowed to export their goods directly to other countries. But Britain made sure that the payments for those goods nonetheless ended up in London. 
        How did this work? Basically, anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills - a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were "paid" in rupees out of tax revenues - money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded.
        Meanwhile, London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports.
        This corrupt system meant that even while India was running an impressive trade surplus with the rest of the world - a surplus that lasted for three decades in the early 20th century - it showed up as a deficit in the national accounts because the real income from India's exports was appropriated in its entirety by Britain. 
        Some point to this fictional "deficit" as evidence that India was a liability to Britain. But exactly the opposite is true. Britain intercepted enormous quantities of income that rightly belonged to Indian producers. India was the goose that laid the golden egg. Meanwhile, the "deficit" meant that India had no option but to borrow from Britain to finance its imports. So the entire Indian population was forced into completely unnecessary debt to their colonial overlords, further cementing British control. 
        Britain used the windfall from this fraudulent system to fuel the engines of imperial violence - funding the invasion of China in the 1840s and the suppression of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. And this was on top of what the Crown took directly from Indian taxpayers to pay for its wars. As Patnaik points out, "the cost of all Britain's wars of conquest outside Indian borders were charged always wholly or mainly to Indian revenues." 
        And that's not all. Britain used this flow of tribute from India to finance the expansion of capitalism in Europe and regions of European settlement, like Canada and Australia. So not only the industrialisation of Britain but also the industrialisation of much of the Western world was facilitated by extraction from the colonies.
        Patnaik identifies four distinct economic periods in colonial India from 1765 to 1938, calculates the extraction for each, and then compounds at a modest rate of interest (about 5 percent, which is lower than the market rate) from the middle of each period to the present. Adding it all up, she finds that the total drain amounts to $44.6 trillion. This figure is conservative, she says, and does not include the debts that Britain imposed on India during the Raj.
        These are eye-watering sums. But the true costs of this drain cannot be calculated. If India had been able to invest its own tax revenues and foreign exchange earnings in development - as Japan did - there's no telling how history might have turned out differently. India could very well have become an economic powerhouse. Centuries of poverty and suffering could have been prevented.
        All of this is a sobering antidote to the rosy narrative promoted by certain powerful voices in Britain. The conservative historian Niall Ferguson has claimed that British rule helped "develop" India. While he was prime minister, David Cameron asserted that British rule was a net help to India.
        This narrative has found considerable traction in the popular imagination: according to a 2014 YouGov poll, 50 percent of people in Britain believe that colonialism was beneficial to the colonies.
        Yet during the entire 200-year history of British rule in India, there was almost no increase in per capita income. In fact, during the last half of the 19th century - the heyday of British intervention - income in India collapsed by half. The average life expectancy of Indians dropped by a fifth from 1870 to 1920. Tens of millions died needlessly of policy-induced famine.
        Britain didn't develop India. Quite the contrary - as Patnaik's work makes clear - India developed Britain.
        What does this require of Britain today? An apology? Absolutely. Reparations? Perhaps - although there is not enough money in all of Britain to cover the sums that Patnaik identifies. In the meantime, we can start by setting the story straight. We need to recognise that Britain retained control of India not out of benevolence but for the sake of plunder and that Britain's industrial rise didn't emerge sui generis from the steam engine and strong institutions, as our schoolbooks would have it, but depended on violent theft from other lands and other peoples.
        The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance. 


        Dr Jason Hickel is an academic at the University of London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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        A woman works on a kolam in front of her house.
        • Kolam, the sacred design celebrating Margazhi in Tamil Nadu, is a creative manifestation of women’s visual grammar.
        Masanam marga-sirso ham,” says Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita when listing his opulence. In Tamil Nadu, it is called Margazhi — one of the most important months in the Tamil calendar, as it takes the greatness of Tamil culture to the zenith through many art forms. Of course, the most well-known element of this month for the residents of Chennai and other regions is the music concerts that are held in the sabhas of the metropolis. However, this is a later day phenomenon. The real significance of Margazhi, though, lies in its intense manifestation of multiple art forms, literary and spiritual traditions.
        Let us start with kolams. The Margazhi month ushers in an informal competition between households over kolam designs, drawn at the entrances of their homes, on the streets. The contest is played in good spirit, never becoming a subject of envy. Kolam is different from rangoli. It is drawn by joining dots symmetrically that gives shape to aesthetically pleasing forms. Kolams can be abstract forms of flowers, birds, Shiva linga, chariots and Vishnu’s conch. Most are decorated with pumpkin flowers mounted on a clump of cow dung.
        An insightful description of kolam has been given by, hold your breath, none other than Wendy Doniger, before she discovered the (academic) market value of being a shallow Hindu-phobic. She says:
        “The women who make these rice power (sic) designs sometimes explicitly refer to them as their equivalent of a Vedic sacrificial hall (yajnashala). ...(T)he visual abstraction of designs such as the South Indian kolam is the woman's equivalent of the abstraction of the Vedic literature, based on geometry (the measurement of the sacrificial altar — one reason why mathematics developed so early in India) and grammar (the central paradigm of order out of which all commentary on Indian sacred text develops). The rice powder designs are a woman's way of abstracting religious meanings; they are a woman's visual grammar.”
        In fact, one does not need a Doniger to tell that the kolams embed in and encode in themselves divinity and vedic yagna respectively. However, Nehruvian India and Dravidianist Tamil Nadu have often discouraged the study of such indigenous phenomena like kolam that we need a David Shulman or Wendy Doniger to tell even such simple truths about us, and thus transfer the power of narratives about ourselves to them.
        Krishna being the process of yagna as well as its ultimate end is the personification of Margazhi, and thus kolams naturally start representing him through designs. Today, mathematicians are showing interest in these designs. In Chennai, Professor S Naranan, an astrophysicist for more than four decades, had been inspired by recreational mathematician and maths-educationist in his own right Martin Gardner, and has been studying kolams for years. It was only before his eightieth birthday in 2010 that Prof Naranan, at the spur of the moment, sent his work to Gardner. Gardner, who at that time had stopped writing his famous column in the Scientific American, was so impressed by the work that he responded saying had he been still writing he would have devoted an entire column for Prof Naranan’s work on kolams. As Sudhakar Kasturi, a well-known Tamil science fiction writer, showed this author, the Hemachandra-Fibonacci patterns Prof Naranan discovered in groups of traditional kolams can also be discerned at ancient temples in Tamil Nadu known for their architectural work.
        Margazhi simply fills the front space of every household in villages and towns, which are not yet lost to values of the West or alien monocultural cults, with these enigmatic, geometric kolams embedding in them the divine.
        In the early hours of the morning, young women sing Thiruppavai of Aandal, the only woman among the 12 alvars, who, in praise of Lord Vishnu, proclaimed that this dynamic web of life as the body of Vishnu. Her celebrated Thiruppavai sung as wakeup-call hymns in the month of Margazhi (December-January), speaks of the agriculturist homestead, fish-filled paddy fields and the dynamic hydrological cycle. Vishnu is the lord of deluge and the very seed of all life forms. Thiruppavai can also be seen as the act of calling the person immersed in inner spirituality to serve the society guided by spiritual equanimity. Combining bridal mysticism with keen observations of nature and call for collective participation, the songs are perhaps unique in world devotional literature. Here, there is also a vibrant form of Hindu ecological thought, apart from the well-known advaitic basis of Hindu ecological thoughts as held by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess.
        Traditional commentators have revealed in these hymns of Aandal, without any text-torture or convoluted interpretations, various levels of interpretations, which are quite astonishing. For example, in the eleventh hymn, Aandal stands at the doors of a sleeping girl companion and sings to wake her up, to join her and her companions to visit Vishnu. Here, Aandal describes the girl as a ‘peacock having snake-hood shaped hip’. Kanchi Prathivathi Bayangaram Annangaraacharya, in his commentary, points out that this description of a female has been done through a male's eye by Aandal. Here, he points out that such fluid gender transition moments are quite common in high emotional states as many males consider themselves as females with respect to Vishnu. The possibility of such a state, where the gender barriers become flexible, is hinted at here, says the traditional Vaishnavaite commentator. The fearless and in-depth treatment of the subject is astonishing to say the least. It also shows how the traditional Hindu approach is far more original and bolder than the shallow Freudian deconstruction the amateurish scholars from the West and their Indian copycats attempt at.
        And we, of all generations, even a few decades ago, learnt these melodious hymns by heart as children and recited them every morning in the month of Margazhi. Surely, the hymns have the miraculous ability to grow with us once they were sown in the heart. Today, as Margazhi comes, kolams are there, but the pumpkin flower is missing. Thiruppavai is no longer taught as was done just two generations back. Gradually, we are diluting our heritage and Margazhi is becoming synonymous with the musical concerts of the city dwellers — with all its behind-the-stage power politics, not to mention the obsessive compulsion with secularism rearing its ugly head.

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        Rafale – Lies, Shortlived lies and now further lies

        All the lies spoken on the Rafale deal has been exposed. The Supreme Court judgement is clear. Every word said against the Government has proved to be false. Every “fact” stated by the vested interests against the deal has proved to be manufactured. Truth has once again established its primacy. The creators of falsehood will still persist with falsehood even at the cost of their own credibility. Only their captive constituencies will clap.

        The credentials of the disruptors

        Rafale is a combat aircraft with its weaponry required to improve the strike ability of the Indian Airforce. India is geographically located in a sensitive region. It needs to protect itself. The need for such a weapon cannot be overstated. When such defence equipments are purchased obviously some suppliers loose out. The suppliers are clever people. They understand who the “vulnerables” in India are.

        As a political opponent Rahul Gandhi’s opposition to the deal was a desperate attempt. It was the UPA Government which had shortlisted the Rafale as it was technically the best and the cheapest. PM Modi in an Inter- Governmental agreement struck a deal with the French Government to further improve the terms and conditions including the prices on which the UPA had agreed.

        Rahul’s opposition was obviously for three reasons :-

        Firstly, he could not tolerate the fact that PM Modi has run the cleanest ever Government in recent Indian history. It is a scam-free Government where middlemen and scamsters had to take refuge outside the country.

        Secondly, Rahul Gandhi has the burden of a stigmatised legacy which was tainted by Bofors. He was desperate trying to bring an ‘immoral equivalence’ between Rafale and Bofors. But Rafale did not have middlemen, no kickbacks and obviously no Ottavio Quattrocchi.

        Thirdly, with international cooperation and Governmental cooperation, scamsters of the UPA Government are now being extradited into India. There is obviously a scare of who will talk how much.

        Rahul Gandhi got instant support from the “career nationalists” of Lutyens Delhi. The permanent PIL petitioners have always preferred disruptions over concerns of national security. They are willing to cooperate with any one who hurts India. A new job creation has taken place in Delhi with the “loud mouths on hire” and “subject experts” notwithstanding their conflict of interest. The disruptionists alliance was, therefore, quite wide.

        The lies that were spoken

        The fundamental truth that Bofors was a choice both for quality and price by the UPA was forgotten.

        The first lie was that only one man – the Prime Minister decided the transaction and that no discussion with the Air Force, Defence Ministry or the Defence Acquisition Council was held. It was alleged that there was no Price Negotiation Committee, no Contract Negotiation Committee and no approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security. Every fact was false. There were dozens of meetings of Contract Negotiation Committee and Price Negotiation Committee. The bulk of the negotiations were done by the experts of the Air Force and the transaction was cleared by both the Defence Acquisition Council and the Cabinet Committee on Security.

        The judgement of the Supreme Court notes with satisfaction that procedural compliances have been done and the charges on the same are misconceived.

        The second major lie was that as against 500 Million Euros negotiated by the UPA, the NDA paid 1600 Million Euros per aircraft. This accusation was ‘fiction writing’ and a poor one at that. The Government submitted a sealed cover before the Supreme Court giving details in a comparative chart of the UPA era pricing and the present pricing. It showed that for the first aircraft, Government negotiated a 9% cheaper deal for a bare aircraft and 20% cheaper for a weaponised aircraft compared to the UPA. Since the UPA had negotiated the supply of 18 aircrafts, this gain of 9% and 20% would have further expanded with the supply of aircrafts after the first one since a more favourable escalation clause negotiated by the NDA Government would have further widened the price gap. The Court looked into the prices and never commented adversely on the same.

        The third major lie that the judgement of the Court expressed was that the Government of India favoured a particular business house. The Court noticed that the Government has nothing to do with the choice of the offset suppliers which was entirely done by Dassault.

        After the Court judgement, this debate should have come to an end. But neither lobbyists nor political opponents will ever give up their brief.

        The misconceived demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)

        The opponents of Rafale had a choice of their forum to put their facts, they chose Supreme Court as their forum.

        The Court conducts a judicial review, it is a non-partisan, independent and a fair Constitutional authority. The Court’s verdict is final. It can’t be reviewed by anyone except by the Court itself. How can a Parliamentary Committee go into the correctness or otherwise to what the Court has said. Is a Committee of Politicians both legally and in terms of human resources capable of reviewing issues already decided by the Supreme Court? On areas such as procedure, offset suppliers and pricing, can a Parliamentary Committee take a different view of what the Court has said? Can the contract be breached, nation’s security be compromised and the pricing data be made available to Parliament / its Committee so that national interest is severely compromised with? This would be putting the price details of the weaponry in public domain. What was the experience of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the only occasion when they investigated a defence transaction?

        The B. Shankaranand Committee in 1987-88 went into the Bofors transaction. Since Parliamentarians are always split on party lines, it came out with a finding that no kickbacks were paid and the monies paid to the middlemen were ‘winding up’ charges. At that time only Win Chaddha appeared to be a middlemen. But then others including Ottavio Quattrocchi, whose bank accounts got detected subsequently, were not entitled to any winding up charges. The reports / documents published by Chitra Subramanium and N. Ram in ‘The Hindu’ and all subsequent facts which came to light conclusively established each fact mentioned in the JPC to be factually false. It became a cover up exercise. After the Supreme Court has spoken the last word, it gets legitimacy. A political body can never come to a finding contrary to what the Court has said.

        The CAG ambiguity

        Defence transactions go to the CAG for an audit review. CAG recommendations go to Parliament and are referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) whose reports are then placed before the Parliament. This was factually and accurately stated by the Government before the Court. The audit review of Rafale is pending before the CAG. All facts are shared with it. When its report is out, it will go to the PAC. Notwithstanding this factually correct statement made, if an ambiguity has emerged in the Court Order, the correct course is for anyone to apply / mention before the Court and have it corrected. The past practice is that if in a factual narration anything needs to be corrected, any litigant can move to the Court for the same. This has been done. It must now be left to the wisdom of the Court to state at which stage the CAG review is pending. The CAG review is not relevant to the final findings on procedure, pricing and offset suppliers. But bad losers never accept the truth. Having failed in multiple lies they have now started an innuendo about the Judgement. Having failed in their initial falsehood, the Congress is now manufacturing further lies about the Judgement.

        I am certain that the Congress Party will prefer disruptions over discussion on Rafale during the current session of Parliament. On facts it lied. The judgement of the Supreme Court conclusively establishes the Congress Party’s vulnerabilities in a discussion on defence transactions. It will be a great opportunity to remind the nation of the legacy of the Congress Party and its defence acquisitions – a great opportunity indeed for some of us to speak.

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        How India fuelled slavery with the export of cotton

        ‘Methods of Conveying Cotton in India to the Ports of Shipment,’ Illustrated London News, 1861.   | Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

        Two hundred years ago the first cotton mill was set up in India

        Daniel Defoe once lamented in his weekly, The Review, that the English had taken to dressing in Indian carpets. Chintz from India “crept into our houses, our closets, and bed-chambers; curtains, cushions, chairs, and, at last, beds themselves were nothing but calicos or Indian stuffs… almost everything that used to be made of wool or silk, relating either to the dress of women or furniture of our houses, was supplied by the Indian trade.”
        That was in 1708. The old English East India Company had just merged with the United Company of Merchants of England to become the East India Company. That same year, the company’s Indian headquarters shifted from Bombay to Calcutta. A century later, in 1818, the first Indian cotton mill, the Bowreah Mills, was created by Henry Gouger (or Patrick, in some accounts) at Fort Gloster in the Hughli district of Calcutta.

        Fuelling slavery

        Indian cotton was the gasoline for the Industrial Revolution in Britain as well as the accelerator of railway projects in India. Shashi Tharoor has famously remarked that India “paid for its own oppression” under British rule. India has exported cotton and fabrics to Europe since the 16th century — in the process procuring its own slavery and that of Africa.
        Harvard historian Sven Beckert writes in Empire of Cotton, “What all these European trading companies had in common was that they purchased cotton textiles in India… whence they might be consumed domestically or shipped to Africa to pay for slaves to work the plantations just beginning to take root in the New World… Slaves, after all, could only be gotten by exchanging them for the cottons from India.”
        The first truly Indian cotton mill is usually attributed to Cowasjee Nanabhai Davar of Bombay Spinning and Weaving Company. Built in Bombay in 1851, it started work in 1854. The very first cotton mills in India, however, were powered by the British. Bowreah Mills was built for £200,000, for 20,000 spindles and 100 looms, and was a pioneering attempt at imperial technology transfer to India.
        The mill employed European women to teach machine-spinning skills to local workers. In the 1840s, the Mills was in a large complex that “included a cotton twist yarn factory, a rum distillery, a foundry, an oil mill, and a paper mill. There were five steam engines in the complex.” In the 1870s, it had grown to 45,000 spindles. By then, India had 47 mills in operation.
        Looking east
        When the American Civil War broke out (1861-65), the export of long-staple American cotton to the Lancashire Mills stopped, becoming the chief reason why Britain began to look towards India for raw cotton. Britain thus bought India’s crop, grown under strict regulations of imperial revenue and taxation, finished it into cheap textiles using British technology, and oversold it to the colony under the monopoly of its administration.
        ‘Press for packing Indian cotton,’ Illustrated London News, 1864.

        ‘Press for packing Indian cotton,’ Illustrated London News, 1864.   | Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

        The number of cotton mills in India rose from 58 in 1880 to 79 in 1883, 193 in 1900, 271 in 1914, and 334 in 1929 — mostly in Bombay and Ahmedabad. Before the outbreak of World War II, they employed 4,00,000 Indians. And this came about a little over a century after driving millions of homespun cotton weavers and craftsmen to mortal bankruptcy.
        Before this revolution, Dhaka muslin was the lavish article in Britain, but soon the delicacy of Indian cotton was being feted. French travellers Francois Bernier and Jean-Baptiste Tavernier wrote of its ubiquity in Mughal harems and on the bodies of royal personages. Meena Menon and Uzramma write in A Frayed History: The Journey of Cotton in India that Indian muslins were known as aab-e-rawan (running water), shabnam (evening dew) and beft hawa (woven air).
        Even after the Battle of Plassey, when East India Company took control of over 70% of the world’s saltpetre by controlling Bengal, cotton continued to be its principal export to Europe — occupying 75% of the company’s total trade in 1766.
        After acquiring monopoly over all trade in Bengal and Gujarat, Britain militarised and bureaucratised its naval and industrial expansion by the late 18th century. The India cotton trade became a three-continent spanning enterprise: “cotton from India, slaves from Africa, and sugar from the Caribbean moved across the planet in a complex commercial dance,” writes Beckert.
        Lancashire and Manchester — the cotton textile manufacturing and retailing cities of Britain — profited tremendously from the market for Indian cotton that had already existed in pre-industrial Europe.
        Mining the ‘white gold,’ as cotton was also called, became Britain’s native industry. The mourning spectres of weavers in Bengal, Mysore and Gujarat haunted the Raj, in what the philosopher Jacques Derrida calls, in Specters of Marx (1994), the séance of a commodity “as a ghostly silhouette”.
        Deep paradox
        Gandhi understood the ghostliness of an industry that had mummified weavers into power looms. And one of the first strikes he led was at a cotton mill in Ahmedabad in 1918.
        The charkha was Gandhi’s attempt to crystallise the very deep paradox of an Indian economy and culture in the hands of Western imperialism. The real colonisation was not just British economic exploitation, but the transition of India from a self-sustained economy to an industrialised nation, which would preserve and perpetuate the class divide.
        It is crucial to remember Bowreah Mills in the context of India’s cotton history, and Gandhi’s radical experiment to decolonise and emancipate the agrarian economy. In just about 100 years — from 1708 to 1818 — the East India Company came around from imitating Indian textiles to inundating India scene with British textiles.
        In another 100 years, that is, by the 1930s, the Mahatma, passionate about exorcising the ghosts of previous centuries, wanted to boycott not only British-manufactured cotton, but also cotton produced in Indian mills. Even though two of his most notable companions, Ghanshyam Das Birla, a cotton magnate, and Jawaharlal Nehru, opposed this theatrical idea of swaraj.
        Five years ago, in 2013, there were about 2,000 cotton mills in India. This was still 600 less than the number of mills in Lancashire alone in 1860. Two hundred years after its first cotton mill, India has been unable to come close to the scale that Britain enjoyed during the Industrial Revolution. And from 2013 to 2017, although still the third biggest cotton exporter in the world, India’s total cotton exports have fallen by a staggering 59%. The chatterati might focus on the Modi jacket, but the real story of cotton lies far beyond these superficial concerns.
        The writer is author of The Purveyors of Destiny: A Cultural Biography of the Indian Railways.

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        Armor of an Officer of the Imperial Palace Guard, Qing Dynasty, 17th century. Met Museum.
        No automatic alt text available.
        Helmet (rmog), Iron, gold, silver, copper, Mongolian

        Helmet (rmog), Iron, gold, silver, copper, MongolianHelmet (rmog)

        Date: 15th–17th century
        Culture: Mongolian
        Medium: Iron, gold, silver, copper
        Dimensions: H. 7 5/8 in. (19.5 cm); Diam. 8 in. (20.3 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 13.6 oz (1,292 g)
        Classification: Helmets
        Credit Line: Purchase, Gift of William H. Riggs, by exchange, 1999
        Accession Number: 1999.120
        The gold damascened decoration of this distinctively Mongolian helmet features six large ovals containing the deity Yamantaka (literally, slayer of the lord of death) in the center, surrounded by five female attendants called dakinis (sky-goers). In between them are twelve protective seed syllables, symbolic letters also known as bija. These are flanked by Tibetan inscriptions identifying the protective attributes of each seed syllable. The brow of the helmet is encircled by a series of mantras, including invocations to Yamantaka and the dakinis. In the center of the brow is a monogram known as the All-Powerful Ten, composed of the ten Sanskrit syllables of the Kalachakra (literally, wheel of time) mantra. Next to this is a stylized stupa or chorten, a funerary monument or reliquary that can also represent the enlightened mind.

        Ranjana script   Ranjana

        The Ranjana script, which is also known as Kutila or Lantsa, is one of the many alphabets derived from the Brahmi script. It developed during the 11th century AD and was used until the mid-20th century in India and Nepal by the Newari people to write the Newari language.
        Tibetans use this script, which they call Lantsa, for writing the Sanskrit titles of books which have been translated from Sanskrit to Tibetan, and for decoration in temples and mandalas. There are also a few texts printed with alternating lines in Sanskrit in the Lantsa script followed by a Tibetan translation. There were many original Sanskrit manuscripts written in Lantsa preserved in the old monasteries of Tibet but most of these were destroyed following the Chinese take-over.
        In addition, the Ranjana script is/was used mainly for decoration by Buddhists in China, Mongolia and Japan.

        Notable features

        • Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet - each letter has an inherent vowel [a]. Other vowels can be indicated using a separate letters or diacritics.
        • Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines.

        Used to write:

        Nepal Bhasa (नेपाल भाषा / Newah Bhaye / Newari), a member of the Tibeto-Burman group of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in Nepal, India, especially in Sikkim and West Bengal, and Bhutan by about 800,000 people.
        As well as the Ranjana script, Nepal Bhasa has been written with the Brahmi, Gupta, Prachalit, Bhujimol and Devanagari script.
        Also used to write Sanskrit, the classical language of India.

        Vowels and vowel diacritics (स्वर वण)

        Ranjana vowels & vowel diacritics

        Consonants (व्यञ्जना वण)

        Ranjana consonants

        Numerals (अङ्क)

        Ranjana numerals

        Sample text (by Krozan Kapali)

        Sample text in the Ranjana alphabet


        Every person should be given his right and should live being as brothers and sisters.

        Devanagari script for Nepal Bhasa

        Devanagari script for Nepal Bhasa

        Sample videos in Nepal Bhasa / Newari


        Online Nepal Bhasa lessons, dictionary and other resources
        Online Newari dictionary
        Sandhya Times - online Newari newspaper

        Tibeto-Burman languages

        Languages written with the Devanāgarī alphabet

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        This is an addendum to: 

        I submit that the word labh has been interpreted as related to 'sacrifice, killing' in references related to अश्वमेध. I submit that the semantics of word आलभनं in relation to animals should be viewed as a metaphor for wealth acquisition and NOT to be viewed literally as killing. Medhā is NOT sacrifice. Medhā is prayer, dhanam. मेध offering , oblation , any sacrifice (esp. ifc.) ib. MBh. &c मेधाf. mental vigour or power , intelligence , prudence , wisdom (pl. products of intelligence , thoughts , opinions) RV. &c; Intelligence personified (esp. as the wife of धर्म and daughter of दक्ष) MBh. R. Hariv. Pur.; = धन Naigh. ii , 10.

        पौण्डरीक m. a kind of सोम sacrifice lasting 11 days षड्विंश-ब्राह्मण

        अभिधानराजेन्द्रकोशे कथनमस्ति यत् एकः पंकपूर्णः सरोवरः अस्ति यस्मात् साधकेन पद्मस्य आहरणं करणीयं अस्ति। यः एवंकरणे सक्षमः भवति, तत् पुण्डरीकं अस्ति, शेषः कण्डरीकं। पौण्डरीकयागे यज्ञसारथिगानाय यस्य सामस्य भवान् गानं करिष्यसि, तस्मिन् संदर्भे पौण्डरीकयागस्य स्वरूपं ध्यातव्यं अस्ति। कथनमस्ति यत्  पौण्डरीकयागे गजस्य आलभनं भवति, यथा अश्वमेधे अश्वस्य। नायं आलभनं भौतिकरूपेण भवति। गजस्य प्रकृतिः शुण्डद्वारा जलस्य आकर्षणस्य भवति, यथा सूर्यः स्वकिरणेभ्यः जलस्य आकर्षणं करोति। एवमेव, अस्मिन् जगति, यः सर्वश्रेष्ठमस्ति, तस्य आकर्षणम्। 
        अहं मन्ये, इमं स्तोमं इति सामः अस्याः धारणायाः पुष्टिं करोति। - विपिन

        लभ् (cf. √ रभ्) cl.1 A1. ( Dha1tup. xxiii , 6) लभते (ep. also °ति and लम्भते ; pf. लेभ्/ए , ep. also ललाभ ; aor. अलब्ध , अलप्सत Br. ; Prec. लप्सीय Pa1n2. 8-2 , 504 Sch. ; fut. लब्धा Gr. ; लप्स्यते,°ति Br. &c ; लभिष्यति Ka1v. inf. लब्धुम् MBh. ; ind.p. लब्ध्व्/आ AV. &c ; -लभ्य,-लम्भम् Br. &c ; लाभम् Pa1n2. 7-1 , 69) , to take , seize , catch  ; 
        catch sight of , meet with , find Br. &c &c (with अन्तरम् , to find an opportunity , make an impression , be effective ; with अवकाशम् , to find scope , be appropriate ; with कालम् , to find the right time or moment)  ; 
        to gain possession of , obtain , receive , conceive , get , receive (" from " abl. ; " as " acc.) , recover ib. (with गर्भम् , " to conceive an embryo " , " become pregnant " ; with पदम् , to obtain a footing)  ; 
        to gain the power of (doing anything) , succeed in , be permitted or allowed to (inf. or dat. e.g. लभते द्रष्टुम् , or दर्शनाय , " he is able or allowed to see ") ChUp. MBh. &c  ; 
        to possess , have Sa1h. Ma1rkP.  ; 
        to perceive , know , understand , learn , find out Katha1s. Kull. Pass. लभ्य्/अते (ep. also °ति ; aor. अलाभि or अलम्भि , with prep. only अलम्भि ; cf. Pa1n2. 7-1 , 69Ka1s3. ) , to be taken or caught or met with or found or got or obtained Br. &c  ; 
        to be allowed or permitted (inf. sometimes with pass. sense e.g. ना*धर्मो लभ्यते कर्तुम् , " injustice ought not to be done " , cf. above ) Katha1s.  ; 
        to follow , result Sa1h. Sarvad.  ; 
        to be comprehended by (abl.Bha1sha1p. Caus. लम्भयति , °ते (aor. अललम्भत्) , to cause to take or receive or obtain , give , bestow (generally with twoacc. ; rarely with acc. and instr. = to present with ; in Kir. ii , 55 with two acc. and instr. ; cf. Va1m. v , 2 , 10) MBh. Ka1v. &c  ; 
        to get , procure (cf. लम्भित)  ; 
        to find out , discover Mn. viii , 109  ; 
        to cause to suffer MW.  ; 
        Desid. ल्/इप्सते (mc. also °ति TBr. लीप्सते) , to wish to seize or take or catch or obtain or receive (with acc. or gen. ; " from " abl.TBr. &c &c : Intens. लालभ्यते , लालम्भीति or लालब्धि Gr. ([ Lat. labor ; Lith. la4bas , ल्/ओबिस्.])

        लभन n. the act of obtaining or getting or gaining possession of (in आत्म-ल्°) BhP.
        ईषल्-लभ (ईषत्-लभ) mfn. to be obtained for a little
        सु--लभ fit or suitable for , answering to (mostly comp.) , useful , advantageous Ka1v. Katha1s. &c
        Dayananda Sarasvati refers to aśva medhā (medha) narratives as an allegory of a ritual. " a bahuvrihi, saptāśva "having seven horses" is another name of the Sun, referring to the horses of his chariot. 'aśva' is glossed as "the symbol of mobility, valour and strength" and 'medha' as "the symbol of supreme wisdom and intelligence", yielding a meaning of 'aśvamedha' of "the combination of the valour and strength and illumined power of intellect."

        In my view, the metaphors of the Veda texts are very profound capable of multiple layers of interpretation. The text provided by Girijesh is the correct one. 

        medha मेध offering , oblation. By calling it 'sacrifice' lots of problems are created. According to Nirukta, there are at least three meanings of medhā मेधा f. mental vigour or power , intelligence , prudence , wisdom (pl. products of intelligence , thoughts , opinions) RV. &c; Intelligence personified (esp. as the wife of धर्म and daughter of दक्ष) MBh. R. Hariv. Pur.; a form of सरस्वती; a symbolical N. of the letter ध् Up.; = धन (नैघण्टुक , commented on by यास्क ii , 10.)

        In this frame of interpretation, it is possible to interpret 

        Rāṣṭram 'valour & intellect' as R̥gveda aśva medhā मेधा; aṣṭāśri yūpa, an Indus Script allegory for 'dhana, wealth of mobility'राष्ट्रं वा अश्वमेधः। (Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa 

        Over 300 animals detailed in the aśva medhā are NOT victims in a sacrifice but, यष्टृ यष्ट्/ऋ or य्/अष्टृ, mf(ट्री A1pS3r. Sch.)n. worshipping , a worshipper RV. &c &c. 

        So, what are the Trial of Upamanyu, trial of Veda? 

        Upamanyu 'zeal, endeavour' (personified) according to RV 1.102.9.

        उप-मन्यु mfn. striving after , zealous RV. i , 102 , 9

        वेद property , goods(आश्वलायन-गृह्य-सूत्र); m. N. of a pupil of आयोद MBh. 

        I submit that the Trial of Veda is unraveling the metaphor of property, goods as Veda, 'knowledge systems'.

        So, राष्ट्रं वा अश्वमेधः।

        ऋग्वेदः सूक्तं १.९४ - विकिस्रोतः

        पुराणेषु कुत्सः चाक्षुषमनोः एवं नड्वलायाः द्वादशसु पुत्रेषु ज्येष्ठः अथवा ज्येष्ठेतरः अस्ति। अत्र पुराणे – पुराणे नड्वलायाः पुत्राणां संज्ञायां भेदः अस्ति। सामान्यक्रमः अयं अस्ति – ऊरुः, पूरुः, शतद्युम्नादि। अन्यस्थले क्रमः कुत्सः, पूरुः आदि अस्ति। अतएव, कुत्सस्य तादात्म्यं उरु, ऊरु इत्यादिना सह कर्तुं शक्यन्ते। अयं संकेतमस्ति यत्  तन्त्रद्वयोः मध्ये अनिश्चिततायाः या स्थितिः उर्वशी – पुरुरूरवा संदर्भे अस्ति(द्र. उर्वशी उपरि टिप्पणी), सैव कुत्सस्य विषये अपि अस्ति।
        आधुनिकविज्ञाने अनिश्चितता सिद्धान्तः अस्ति यस्यानुसारेण सूक्ष्म कणस्य स्थिति एवं संवेगयोः प्रतथ निर्धारणस्य सीमा अस्ति। यदि स्थितेः निर्धारणं प्रतथं भवतितदा संवेगस्य निर्धारणे अनिश्चितता भविष्यति। अथवा अस्य प्रतीपम्। स्थिति एवं संवेगस्य प्रस्थापनं काल एवं ऊर्जायाः प्रतथनिर्धारणरूपे अपि कर्तुं शक्यन्ते। किन्तु वैदिकसाहित्ये अनिश्चितता सिद्धान्तः कणोपरि आधारितः नास्ति। अयं तन्त्रोपरि आधारितः अस्ति। एकः तन्त्र उर्वशी अस्ति यस्मिन् उरुभवनस्य संभावना अस्ति। द्वितीयः तन्त्रः पुरूरवा अस्ति यस्मिन् सूक्ष्मभवनस्यअणिमानस्य संभावना अस्ति।
        जैमिनीयब्राह्मणस्य १.२२८ कथनमस्ति यत् कुत्सः आत्मानं अस्ति, लुशः महिमानम्। .....आत्मना कुत्सस्यापिबन् महिम्ना लुशस्य। अयं स्पष्टं नास्ति यत् कुत्सः उरुतः पूरुतायाः प्राप्तिं इच्छति अथवा अस्य प्रतीपं अस्ति। 

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        The British propagation of Christianity in India: A Tharoorian blindspot?

        In her conversation with Shashi Tharoor at the launch of his book “An Era of Darkness” at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA), Nidhi Razdan said: 

        “Interesting, when we talk about what motivated the British to come here, and you mention that on page 113, saying that they weren’t motivated, such as, you know, the zeal of spreading Christianity and what it was basically to make money out of India. India was a career, it wasn’t a crusade.” (almost verbatim; sic.) [Emphasis mine]

        Source: ~05:04-05:19

        Shashi Tharoor’s response began with:
        Source: ~05:20
        In p. 113 of his book, one finds the following:
        “Since the British were not motivated by either the crusading Christianityof the Spanish or the cultural zeal of the French, but merely by pecuniary greed, they were not unduly anxious to transform Indian society or shape it in their image. … For many Britons, imperialism was primarily justified as a moral crusade to liberate Indians from ‘ignorance, idolatry and vice’. But they were curiously reluctant to act on it. Whereas the Portuguese rapidly Christianized Goa, for instance, the British did not import their first Bishop till 1813.” [Emphasis mine]
        While on the face of it, much of the above may seem commonsensical, both excerpts above—from the conversation and from the book—are, in my opinion, remarkable examples of clever use of language to conceal, as much if not more, than to reveal. The mastery lies in the usage of the words “motivated” and “the British” (underlined in excerpts above) and some critical thinking 101 can be put to use to attempt deconstructing the “mastery”:
        Premise 1: The East India Company was British
        Premise 2: The East India Company was motivated by pecuniary greed, not by crusading Christianity
        Conclusion AThe East India Company, that was British, was motivated by pecuniary greed, not by crusading Christianity
        The deduction above is clearly valid (that is, Conclusion A follows logically from the premises) and is perhaps sound too, if Premise 2 is also true along with Premise 1 (which clearly is true).
        Let us now make a small modification now to the Conclusion:
        Premise 1: The East India Company was British
        Premise 2: The East India Company was motivated by pecuniary greed, not by crusading Christianity
        Conclusion BThe British were motivated by pecuniary greed, not by crusading Christianity
        The deduction above—Conclusion B—is clearly NOT sound as it fails the validity test itself: Conclusion B does NOT follow logically from the premises as the premises are about The East India Company (which no doubt was British) but the conclusion is about The British and there certainly is more to The British than just The East India Company:  for instance, The British Parliament!
        What is more representative of The BritishThe East India Company or The British Parliament (House of Commons)?
        The relevance of this would become obvious when one considers what Tharoor reveals—”the British did not import their first Bishop till 1813″ (ibid.)—but more importantly what he conceals: that on June 22, 1813, in The House of Commons (British Parliament), 89 out of 125 members—a clear and decisive majority—voted “For the Resolution”: Propagation of Christianity in India.
        Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 1.32.14 PM
        Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 1.31.55 PM
        Source: p. 873-74 in The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 1803 to the Present Time, Volume XXVI (1813). London.
        Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 1.43.07 PM Which perhaps neatly brings us back to the title of this piece: The British propagation of Christianity in India: A Tharoorian blindspot?——
        Of course, this is most likely not limited to being a blind spot of just Tharoor.
        It is perhaps a blind spot of many narratives that wish to underplay Christian, but more specifically, Christian-Protestant religious impulses during colonialism, and instead, paint them in various “secular” and (so-called) “liberal” shades.
        Family tree of Christian denominations
         Megh Kalyanasundaram A citizen of India, with close to 9 years of lived-experience in China.

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        Vedic roots of Yoga: Meera Nanda distorts yoga

        by Panikkath Krishnanunni on 20 Dec 2018
        Yoga, especially the asanas of Hatha Yoga, is very popular. Though it is generally accepted that yoga originated in India, Meera Nanda questions the Vedic origins of Hatha Yoga and claims that yoga is non-Vedic in origin. Meera Nanda claims to have a rational, scientific temper, but, as noted archaeologist, B.S. Harishankar, points out: “Meera Nanda was a John Templeton Foundation Fellow in Religion and Science, which has links with fundamental Christian Protestantism”.
        [Rancour towards our knowledge traditions, B.S. Harishankar  

        On the basis of this information, the question arises: How can a person like Meera Nanda hope to maintain a rational or scientific attitude when she is associated with and influenced by Christian values? Nanda’s irrationality and bias is evident in her arbitrary denial of scientifically derived archaeological conclusions that attest to the existence of yoga during the Harappan era.

        In her article, “Not as old as you think”, Meera Nanda said, “Indians affirm their claim on yoga of 5000 years’ Vedic tradition, which stretches from the Pashupati seal of (very un-Vedic) Indus Valley civilization. There is one problem with this purist history of yoga. It is false. Yogasanas were never Vedic”.

        Nanda’s conclusion is readily debunked by the archaeological discoveries of eminent archaeologists such as Dr. B.B. Lal: “The findings of terracotta figurines in various yogasanas, which take the Ashtanga yoga of Panini (2 B.C.) back to the Harappan, must make us pause. It is a staggering material evidence of a spiritual quest unmatched in any civilization”. This establishes the existence of Hatha Yoga as well as its antiquity rooted in the Harappan period.

        This period is disputed, some estimate it as 2600-1500 B.C. and others 3102 B.C. All that Meera Nanda can hope to do is try to reduce the antiquity period; but our main concern is vindicated: yoga is Vedic in origin, for which archaeological evidence is available.


        Srimad Bhagavat Gita, chapter 1:4-6 as expounded by Sri Paramhansa Yogananda, disciple of Sri Yukteshwar Giri, contains parallels between the Mahabharata and Patanjali yoga. The character, Kuntibhoja, represents the concept of Asana of Patanjali. Similarly, Shaibhya and Dristaketu of Mahabharata corresponds to niyama and yama - the five do’s and don’ts of Patanjali  yoga. Yudhamanyu of Mahabharata means “pranayama” in Patanjali yoga.

        The importance of pranayama, has been highlighted in Rudra Yamala, a tantric text: “pranayamo mahadharmo, Vedanamapya gocharaha”. It is pertinent that the word “Veda” occurs in a tantric text, indicating its close relation to Vedic tradition. This is evident from temple rituals in Kerala, where both Vedic mantras and tantric mudras are combined in the worship of the deity.

        The Gita, also explains various types of yoga like karma yoga, jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and mantra yoga (meditation on AUM), varieties to choose according to one’s mental and physical aptitude and intellectual taste. Hence the term “yoga” cannot be defined in a narrow sense to mean only “hatha yoga”. Yoga is defined as “union of the Soul with Parabrahman – root word of the term yoga is ‘yuj’ “which means to join. To achieve this union, various methods are employed and Hatha yoga is just one of those tools