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Progress Of Indic Languages Vs English
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Telugu will never be the same again!
19 Apr, 2003 l 0318 hrs ISTlDEEPA RAO/TIMES NEWS NETWORK

RECENTLY, on International Mother Language Day, discussions centred on how Telugu is dying as a language. Don't know what they would say if they heard teen-speak these days. Ask a youngster "Are you going somewhere for the vacations?" and you might get a cryptic answer like, "Anta scene ledu le." For a "How do you like your new teacher?" – "Katthi la untundi ra" is the reply.

Welcome to slang Telugu. Not that it wasn't spoken until now, but so far it was infra dig to be speaking in the vernacular. But now, as Santosh from Chaitanya Bharati school says, "It is in vogue to speak in Telugu. If we're playing cricket and somebody is not maroing runs, there's no more 'stupid, idiotting' them.We say, "Baavi lo dooki chacchi po ra." (Jump into the well).

These are some of the milder ones.When guys see girls, wolf whistles and 'Kya potti hai" have converted into 'Arre baap, potti chaana sexy ga undi'. "It's a mix of Hindi, English and Telugu. It's a cool language," says Arun Bhaskar, an engineering student.

Adding as an afterthought, "But we do ensure that we don't speak this way in front of teachers." The language is a melting pot of dialects from Telangana and Rayalseema, as well as filmi one-liners.

Now, even schools like HPS, Chirec and Bharitiya Vidya Bhavan have cliques of students who speak this way. Of course, purists don't like it. Says Kalpa Rao, an exasperated mother, "It pains me to hear my son speak Telugu this way."

Comments Parchuri Gopalakrishna, chairman of the Official Language Commission, which is working on reviving Telugu, "I don't like the way so many English words have found their way into our language."

But many others are tolerant and say, "Any language has to evolve. This is part of the process." [my comment: it's not evolution when you forget even basic vocabulary for mom, dad and friend but a sign of decay, death & shamelessness of Tenglish speakers]


<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Jun 4 2007, 12:26 AM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Jun 4 2007, 12:26 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Oh and for Hindi if you speak shudh Hindi, not only are you a backward person but a Hindu fascist out to destroy the "secular fabric" of this country.
On similar lines, a tamilian who takes pride in tamil is called a (tamil) language fanatic <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Transaction</b> (in financial/business realm) - what is it in Sanskritam and other Indic languages? Exact term please.
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Jun 7 2007, 08:38 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Jun 7 2007, 08:38 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Transaction</b> (in financial/business realm) - what is it in Sanskritam and other Indic languages?  Exact term please.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Transaction (in financial/business realm) - what is it in Sanskritam and other Indic languages? Exact term please.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
laavaa devii in Telugu (dictionary says it's from Hindi, could be a modification of lena-dena).
<span style='color:red'>Trade/Commerce/Business related terms</span>

business - vyApAra
commerce - vANijya
economy - artha
marketing - vipaNan
marketplace - manDI
advertisement - prachAr
management - prabandha
method/methodology - praNAlI
arrangement - vyavasthA
quality - guNavattA
production - utpAdan
productivity - utpAdakatA
manufacturing - ?
factory - ?
workshop - kAryashAla / kArkhAnA

globalization - vaishvIkaraNa
liberalization - udArIkaraNa
open-market-policy - mukta-vyApAra-nIti

finance - vitta
ledger - bahI
account - khAtA (is it from Skt or Farsi)
income - Aya
expenditure - vyaya
transaction - vyavahAra
debit - ?
credit - ?
rate - dar
money - dhana
capital - pUnjI
initial capital - mUla dhana
balance sheet - ?
P/L sheet - ?
profit - lAbha
loss - hAni
percentage - pratishata
property - sampatti
asset - ?
loan - RNa
currency - mudrA
forex - mudrA vinimaya
value - mUlya
valuation - mUlyAnkan
interest - byAja
ratio - anupAta
depreciation - ?

Trade - kraya-vikraya
buying - kraya/kharId {kharId seems Farsi but having origins in Skt kraya}
selling - vikraya
share/stock - pratibhUti
stand-alone - asambaddha
merger - vilaya
expansion - vistAra
investment - nivesha
disinvestment - vinivesha
bullish - tejI
bearish - manda/bikvaali
inflation - mahngAI?
deflation - ?
devaluation - avamUlyan
insurance - bImA (what is the etymology?)
agreement - sandhi / samajhautA
contract - ?
lease - ?
franchise - ?
dividend - ?
tax - kara

Consumer - upabhoktA
discount - chhUTa
free - mufta (is Farsi) should it be mukta?
receipt - rasIda (is Farsi)

Please fill and correct the above and also add more. Likewise let us also collect manufacturing-related, office-related, engineering, medicine, legal terms.
manufacturing - uthpaadana, nirmaanam
factory - karmaagaaram
debit - vyayam
asset - aasthi (i am not sure if it's used in accounting)
depreciation - thaggudhala/tharugudhala (Telugu), apakarshanam
deflation - not sure but inflation in Telugu is dravyolbanam
dividend - laabha vibhaagam, laabhaagam, dhaayam (not sure of origins)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->free - mufta (is Farsi) should it be mukta?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
uchitam (frm Sanskrit) in Telugu.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->receipt - rasIda (is Farsi)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->adanamu (p. 0114) [ ādānamu ] adanamu. [Skt.] v. n. Taking, acceptance, receipt.

ullaaku is also found in a Telugu dictionary. I use cheeti which in Telugu means any small paper/bill type thing.

Business is also Dhandha.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->H धनधा dhandhā [S. धन+द+कः], s.m. Craft, calling, trade, occupation, business, avocation, employment, work, way of life.

contract - anubandha
take over - prabandhAntaraNa(?)

Bharatvarsh, thanks. I think Manufacturing will be nirmANa (and utpAdana will be production - sublime difference).

dhandhA is probably small-business, and vritti is paid-job.

cash - rokaDa. H रोकड़ rokaD, s.f.[S. रोकः 'buying with ready money'; and roka +Prk. डी and डओ=S. र and र+कः],

cashier - rokaDiyā s.m. (f.-nī,-in, or-inī), Cash-keeper, cashier, treasurer, banker. रोकड़िया H [rokaD, q.v.+Prk. इओ=S. इकः (इन्+कः)], s.m. (f.-nī,-in, or-inī), Cash-keeper, cashier, treasurer, banker. रूकन rūkan
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->contract - anubandha<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
anubandham in Telugu means "relationship, connection etc", contract is oppandham.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->dhandhA is probably small-business, and vritti is paid-job.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
vrutti in Telugu is more like profession, paid job is udhyogam.

Interesting how words change in meaning slightly.

The andhra-s having borne the brunt of the rampaging ghazi-s seem to have acquired a lot of urdu words that seem to be very different from the sanskritizing effect of the aShTa-dig-gajalu. I have seen that the former heritage of telugu have also transmitted to tamil more recently.

nepal is another place that urdu has crept in despite being NOT overrun by the turuShka-s. Thus we may have a pious Hindus with queer names like Shamsher Bahadur or jang-bahadur singh.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The andhra-s having borne the brunt of the rampaging ghazi-s seem to have acquired a lot of urdu words that seem to be very different from the sanskritizing effect of the aShTa-dig-gajalu. I have seen that the former heritage of telugu have also transmitted to tamil more recently.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
That is more true of the Telangana dialect, the Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra one's have much less Farsi/Arabic in them.

I estimate that when I talk less than 4-5% are Farsi/Arabic words, the real killer blow to Telugu has been dealt by English just like for many other languages.

Tamil actress (actual Tamil speaker) talking:


Tamil Kavi (poet) giving a speech on Bharatiyar:


The difference is obvious I guess.
Is there a word for elections in Hindi?

ennikalu in Telugu and tertal in Tamil.
<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Jun 8 2007, 11:54 AM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Jun 8 2007, 11:54 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Is there a word for elections in Hindi?

chunAva and nirvAchan.
comes from Sanskrit chayana.
Amir Khusrau was a neo-convert Muslim, born in Eta district of UP. His parents (and grand parents) were Hindus who converted to Islam, probably when he was young, during tuglak rule of North India, probably under the chisht sufia influence.

Literarature-wise, his contribution was in penetrating local Hindi dialects with Farsi influence. Before him, while Farsi was already the language of the rulers, but it was still not powerful enough to penetrate the people's toungues.

He created the Gazal style of poetry and singing, and also took Farsi influence to lokgeets. While he preserved the local structure of songs and sentiments, he did develop of a synthesis with Farsi. This language he called 'Hindavi', and to himself he called Hindavi Turk.

He did an interesting and unique experiment to acheive this penetration and popularization. I am not aware of any other similar experiment before him. (members please enlighten me if I am mistaken here.)

The experiment was to develop folk songs - in which first line is in Farsi and the second line in Hindavi with the same meaning. This way with the song, people of both languages learn the other language.

Does someone remember the famous song adopetd in a Hindi film that became hit (GulAmI of JP Dutta - with Mithun Chakravarty and Anita Raj in lead)? The song filmed on roof top of a Bus in the scenary of RajpUtAnA was "Jahaal-e-miskeen, mukun tagafful, ki taambe hijra me sara dil hai..."). This was adoptation from an Amir Khusro creation.

The original song will be like this: (Farsi words in green, Hindavi in red)

ज हाले मिस्कीं मकुन, तगाफुल,
दुराए नैना बनाए बतिया।
कि तांबे हिजरां, न दारम ऐ जां,
न लेहू काहे लगा ए छतिया।
न नींद नैन न अंग चैना, न आप आये न भेजी पतियां।

each following line is a translation of preceding Farsi line, in perfect rhyme. This way he tried to popularize Farsi and Hindavi into each other.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The andhra-s having borne the brunt of the rampaging ghazi-s seem to have acquired a lot of urdu words that seem to be very different from the sanskritizing effect of the aShTa-dig-gajalu. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This kind of attempted synthesis and penetration is to be also found later in the poetry of Golkunda poets, where they attempted it with telugu too. Some of those love-songs written display this mixing of Telugu, Hindavi with Arabi, Farsi, which did develop in a Farsi-influenced 'dakkhani'.

Anyways, so many things are said about Khusro - some say he was a bigot who abused Hindu art like Hussain is doing these days (if he tried, at least he seems to have not succeeded). Some say he was very generous and tolerant.

To what extent he succeeded in Farsi-ization of popular local languages, can not be said, but his efforts were monumental. He is said to have composed 1726 gazals which are available in Farsi, and almost equal number of Hindavi lokageets!

Of his original writings most are lost. He did write several books, 3 of which are known - khalik bArI, hAlAt-i-kanhaiya, najarAn-i-Hindi. Of these only the first is authentically available. The last two, as the title suggests, might have thrown more light about his attitude to Hindus. But we only largely know him through the prism of available traditions.
election = nirvAchana

election commission = nirvAchana Ayoga

election commissioner = nirvAchana Ayukta
continuation of 154: found the complete song from wiki. Green Farsi, Red Hindi. followed by meaning.

Zeehaal-e miskeen makun taghaful,
duraye naina banaye batiyan;
ki taab-e hijran nadaram ay jaan,
na leho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan.

Do not overlook my misery by blandishing your eyes,
and weaving tales; My patience has over-brimmed,
O sweetheart, why do you not take me to your bosom.

Shaban-e hijran daraz chun zulf
wa roz-e waslat cho umr kotah;
Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhun
to kaise kaatun andheri ratiyan.

Long like curls in the night of separation,
short like life on the day of our union;
My dear, how will I pass the dark dungeon night
without your face before.

Yakayak az dil do chashm-e jadoo
basad farebam baburd taskin;
Kise pari hai jo jaa sunaave
piyare pi ko hamaari batiyan.

Suddenly, using a thousand tricks, the enchanting eyes robbed me
of my tranquil mind;
Who would care to go and report this matter to my darling?

Cho shama sozan cho zarra hairan
hamesha giryan be ishq aan meh;
Na neend naina na ang chaina
na aap aaven na bhejen patiyan.

Tossed and bewildered, like a flickering candle,
I roam about in the fire of love;
Sleepless eyes, restless body,
neither comes he/she, nor any message.

Bahaqq-e roz-e wisal-e dilbar
ki daad mara ghareeb Khusrau;
Sapet man ke waraaye raakhun
jo jaaye paaon piya ke khatiyan.

In honour of the day I meet my beloved
who has lured me so long, O Khusrau;
I shall keep my heart suppressed,
if ever I get a chance to get near him/her.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Anyways, so many things are said about Khusro - some say he was a bigot who abused Hindu art like Hussain is doing these days (if he tried, at least he seems to have not succeeded). Some say he was very generous and tolerant. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Imam Hanifa criticized by Amir Khusru

Amir Khusru was a contemporary of Qazi Mughis-ud-din.  He is presented by the modem Muslims and lionised by the educated Hindus as the pioneer of secularism in India.  He had, however, something very specific to say on the status of Hindus vis-à-vis the Islamic state. Happy HindUstAn, he wrote, �the splendour of Religion. where the Law finds perfect honour and security.  In learning Dehli can now compete with BokhAra, for IslAm has been made manifest by its kings.  The whole country, by means of the sword of our holy warriors, has become like a forest denuded of its thorns by fire.  The land has been saturated with the water of the sword, and the vapours of infidelity have been dispersed.  The strong men of Hind have been trodden under foot, and all are ready to pay tribute.  IslAm is triumphant, idolatry is subdued.  Had not the law [of Imam Hanifa] granted exemption from death by the payment of poll-tax, the very name of hind, root and branch, would have been extinguished. From GhaznI to the shore of the ocean you see all under the domination of IslAm. Cawing crows5 see no arrows pointed at them; nor is the TarsA (Christian) there, who does not fear (taras) to render the servant equal with Allah; nor the Jew who dares to exalt the Pentateuch to a level with the KurAn; nor the Magh who is delighted with the worship of fire, but of whom the fire complains with its hundred tongues.  The four sects of MusulmAns are at amity and the very fish are SunnIs.�6

It has to be remembered that Amir Khusru was one of the foremost disciples of Nizam-ud-din Awliya of Delhi who is counted among the five great sufis of the Chishtiyya school.  He is himself regarded as an outstanding sufi on whose mazAr in Delhi urs is held every year.  His Hindi verses are cited as a proof positive of his love for the land of his birth.  But what the Amir says about Hindustan and Hindus speaks volumes about sufis and Sufism.  The few �educated� Hindus who admit that Prophetic Islam is �somewhat fanatic�, believe that Sufistic Islam is �large-hearted and liberal�.  The Chishtiyya school of Sufism in particular is supposed to have �built bridges between the two communities�.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The literary sources, like epigraphic, provide evidence of the elation which Muslims felt while witnessing or narrating these �pious deeds.� A few citations from Amir Khusru will illustrate the point. The instances cited relate to the doings of Jalalud-Din Firuz Khalji, Alaud-Din Khalji and the letter�s military commanders. Khusru served as a court-poet of sex successive sultans at Delhi and wrote a masnavi in praise of each.  He was the dearest disciple of Shaikh Nizamud-Din Awliya and has come to be honoured as some sort of a sufi himself.  In our own times, he is being hailed is the father of a composite Hindu-Muslim culture and the pioneer of secularism.  Dr. R. C. Majumdar, whom the Marxists malign as a �communalist historian� names him as a �liberal Muslim�.

1. Jhain: �Next morning he (Jalalud-Din) went again to the temples and ordered their destruction� While the soldiers sought every opportunity of plundering, the Shah was engaged in burning the temples and destroying the idols.  There were two bronze idols of Brahma, each of which weighed more than a thousand mans.  These were broken into pieces and the fragments were distributed among the officers, with orders to throw them down at the gates of the Masjid on their return (to Delhi)� (Miftah-ul-Futuh).

2. Devagiri: �He (Alaud-Din) destroyed the temples of the idolaters and erected pulpits and arches for mosques� (Ibid.).

3. Somanath: �They made the temple prostrate itself towards the Kaaba.  You may say that the temple first offered its prayers and then had a bath (i.e. the temple was made to topple and fall into the sea)� He (Ulugh Khan) destroyed all the idols and temples, but sent one idol, the biggest of all idols, to the court of his Godlike Majesty and on that account in that ancient stronghold of idolatry, the summons to prayers was proclaimed so loudly that they heard it in Misr (Egypt) and Madain (Iraq)� (Tarikh-i-Alai).

4. Delhi: �He (Alaud-Din) ordered the circumference of the new minar to be made double of the old one (Qutb Minar)� The stones were dug out from the hills and the temples of the infidels were demolished to furnish a supply� (Ibid.).

5. Ranthambhor: �This strong fort was taken by the slaughter of the stinking Rai.  Jhain was also captured, an iron fort, an ancient abode of idolatry, and a new city of the people of the faith arose.  The temple of Bahir (Bhairava) Deo and temples of other gods, were all razed to the ground� (Ibid.).

6. Brahmastpuri (Chidambaram): �Here he (Malik Kafur) heard that in Bramastpuri there was a golden idol� He then determined on razing the temple to the ground� It was the holy place of the Hindus which the Malik dug up from its foundations with the greatest care, and the heads of brahmans and idolaters danced from their necks and fell to the ground at their feet, and blood flowed in torrents.  The stone idols called Ling Mahadeo, which had been established a long time at the place and on which the women of the infidels rubbed their vaginas for (sexual) satisfaction, these, up to this time, the kick of the horse of Islam had not attempted to break.  The Musulmans destroyed in the lings and Deo Narain fell down, and other gods who had fixed their seats there raised feet and jumped so high that at one leap they reached the fort of Lanka, and in that affright the lings themselves would have fled had they had any legs to stand on� (Ibid).

7. Madura: �They found the city empty for the Rai had fled with the Ranis, but had left two or three hundred elephants in the temple of Jagnar (Jagannatha).  The elephants were captured and the temple burnt� (Ibid.).

8. Fatan: (Pattan): �There was another rai in these parts �a Brahmin named Pandya Guru� his capital was Fatan, where there was a temple with an idol in it laden with jewels.  The rai fled when the army of the Sultan arrived at Fatan� They then struck the idol with an iron hatchet, and opened its head.  Although it was the very Qibla of the accursed infidels, it kissed the earth and filled the holy treasury� (Ashiqa).

9. Ma�bar: (Parts of South India): �On the right hand and on the left hand the army has conquered from sea to sea, and several capitals of the gods of the Hindus, in which Satanism has prevailed since the time of the Jinns, have been demolished.  All these impurities of infidelity have been cleansed by the Sultan�s destruction of idol-temples, beginning with his first holy expedition to Deogir, so that the flames of the light of the Law (of Islam) illumine all these unholy countries, and places for the criers of prayers are exalted on high, and prayers are read in mosques.  Allah be praised!� (Tarikh-i-Alai).

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->एच वी नागराज राव को 2006 में संस्कृत श्रेणी में अनुवाद के लिए साहित्य अकादमी पुरस्कार के लिए चुना गया है। अकादमी की बुधवार को यहां जारी एक विज्ञप्ति के अनुसार राव को कन्नड़ भाषा में लिखे एक उपन्यास सार्थ का संस्कृत में अनुवाद करने के लिए यह पुरस्कार प्रदान किया जाएगा। पुरस्कार में उन्हें 20 हजार रुपये नकद और एक प्रतीक चिह्न दिया जाएगा। पुरस्कार वितरण समारोह हैदराबाद में 21 अगस्त को आयोजित होगा।

H V Nagraj Rao selected for Sahitya Acadamy Award. Acheivement is translating his famous Kannada novel 'Sarth' into Sanskrit.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Book Review: AAVARANA

Aavarana is a book Indian secular intellectuals love to hate but cannot ignore. The “average reader” (which increasingly means someone endowed with commonsense, a healthy sense of balance, and has not mortgaged brains at the ideological altar) chose to respond differently. In the miniscule market for Kannada fiction, Aavarna has seen nine reprints in just four months since it was first published in February this year. This however, is not a significant measure of its success.

Aavarana owes its success by justifying what its title signifies.

In the preface to the book, S L Bhyrappa, the author of Aavarana expounds the meaning of Aavarana. To this end, he draws from such diverse primary sources as Nagarjuna, Vedanta, and Advaita. He captures the essence of Aavarana as Maya and Avidya. Aavarana is an illusion, a veil–a suppression of the real nature of things.

Aavarana is perhaps the first novel in recent times that deals with an explosive theme in a world dangerously supercharged with political correctness. It is notable for another substantial reason. Of all his works, Aavarana contains marked political undertones like in no other Bhyrappa work–not even the epic Tanthu (Strand). Aavarana marks a complete departure from all of Bhyrappa’s works in terms of theme, form and content.

In just about 300 pages, Aavarna uncovers the flimsy lid on top of the abyss of Islam’s encounters with India. It is simultaneously historical and contemporary because it exposes the contemporary manipulation of history justified in the garb of preserving secularism.

Aavarana opens with Razia, a middle-aged feminist filmmaker mulling over the ruins at Hampi. She’s there with her husband, Ameer to make a government-sponsored documentary on Hampi. The goal of the documentary ostensibly, is to project Hampi as a symbol of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. Her research slowly leads her to doubt the history she has learned to believe, and takes her back in time to examine her own life so far. News of her father’s sudden death takes her back in space to her native village near Hassan. As she examines his personal effects, she is astonished to find his library stocked with volumes of scholarly literature about Islam’s encounters with India. She reads his detailed notes on almost every page of each book and suddenly recalls what he had told her when she had announced her decision to marry Ameer: Lakshmi, some day in future, your own descendants will destroy temples. (Ed: liberal paraphrased translation)

Lakshmi’s past provokes her again. As a bright graduate blazing her way towards success as a feminist filmmaker, she decides to marry her classmate, Ameer. Both are products of the ’60s secular/progressive school of thought that shuns artificial barriers of caste and religion. However, when she marries Ameer, it never occurs to her why she should convert to Islam, and change her name despite Ameer’s disbelief in said artificial obstacles to True Love. Her first tryst with beef-eating poses similar problems. She self-justifies them all but isn’t fully convinced till her fateful visit to Hampi. Her son, a PG from a US university has found a job in Saudi Arabia. He is a product of the modern world unable to reconcile its ways with his newfound zeal for the “pure” Islamic way of life. Living in Saudi Arabia, he firmly veers towards Islam.

Lakshmi/Razia stays back at her village and begins reading the copious literature her father has left behind. What she learns horrifies her. She decides to write a novel on it.

From here on, Aavarna alternates between Lakshmi/Razia and her novel. S. L Bhyrappa uses the play-within-a-play technique.

Lakshmi/Razia’s novel starts with the conquest of a tiny Hindu kingdom by Mughal hordes. Everybody except the teenaged-crown prince dies in the encounter. The kingdom’s family diety is smashed, trampled upon, and desecrated and the prince taken prisoner, converted and renamed to Khwaja Jahan. Khwaja Jahan wonders why they spared him. It takes him exactly one painful encounter to realize that his innocent, boyish face has caught the commander’s fancy. He is given special attention for a few weeks. Some days later, he is treated to a nice drink, which makes him drowsy, and then he’s semi-conscious. Two powerfully-built men hold his legs while a third uses wooden tongs to castrate him. The commander pleasures himself with the boy and later, sells him as a slave.

Khwaja Jahan realizes that he’s just one among tens of thousands of such castrated males. He is made in charge of guarding the quarters of a commander’s mansion of concubines. The rest of Lakshmi’s novel chronicles Khwaja Jahan’s experiences in this role.

Aavarana bares the excesses of the Mughal slave system in horrid detail. Equally, it describes how Islamic rule destroyed centuries of lofty civilization and wounded an entire way of life. It shows the painful struggles of people fighting to preserve it. Khwaja Jahan’s dialogue with a Sadhu on the banks of the Ganga in Benares is heart-rending to read. At one level, Aavarana is difficult to read without squirming at the atrocities an entire civilization has gone through.

Aavarana’s singular merit is just one shocking symbolism. Khwaja Jahan’s violent castration shows exactly where Islamic imperialism aimed at. To an extent it is also a measure of its success. It is also interesting that the success rate of a person staying alive after this kind of violent castration was very low. But Khwaja Jahan stays alive, another symbol of the plight of Hindu civilization under Islamic rule. For instance, Hindus suffered on a massive scale during the more bloodier part of Mughal rule under Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Unarguably, Aurangzeb inflicted the most damage on Hindu ethos and populace than any other Islamic ruler. Lakshmi/Razia finds it tragic that today’s Delhi has a road named after Aurangzeb, a monument to remember a barbarian. In a way, Khwaja Jahan symbolizes an emaciated India that was never prepared for, and reeled under repeated waves of invasions, which had their roots in religious ideology.

Aavarana has understandably outraged intellectuals/progressives/secularists/writers in Karnataka. I’ve written about Professor Shastri in my earlier post so I don’t need to cover that again. S.L Bhyrappa contends that it is dishonest to conceal historical facts on the (flimsy) excuse of promoting communal harmony/secularism. Aavarna raises the important question of Hinduism vis-a-vis Islam and Christianity. Hindus have admitted to several social evils and set themselves on corrective action–Mahatma Gandhi’s emancipation of Harijans, etc. The West rejected Christianity as a guide/means to rule the state, embraced democracy, etc. Why don’t we see a similar introspection among the Muslims?

A few critics also raise the why-Aavarana-now question. The answer is buried in the question. How long do we want to ignore the obvious threat of Islamic fundamentalism? Not much has changed in Islam from Aurangzeb’s time to now. Bin Laden is merely Aurangzeb’s cousin in time. The same ideological compulsions motivated them both. Aavarana explores precisely these compulsions laid down in Islamic literature starting with the Quran. Besides, much of what passes as India’s medieval “history” is mere interpretation. In other words, a veil, concealment of facts, Aavarana. More fundamentally, has concealing/falsifying history really ensured communal harmony?

Finally, the reactions to Aavarana–while they were expected–also reveal the tragic depths we’ve plumbed. Kannada has a rich repository of historical novels that includes Masti’s Chikaveera Rajendra, Korati’s Paramesha Pulikeshi, and Ta Ra Su’s Durgastamana (Durga’s Sunset). Durgastamana describes the fall and destruction of Chitradurga under the Nayakas when Hyder Ali attacked Chitradurga. Durgastamana is still hailed as a classic in Kannada literature. I wonder how our progressives would react if he’d written Durgastamana now.

Postscript: It is only available in Kannada now but it is worth more than the 200 Rupees (approx) it costs.

"Jaya Somanath" by K.M. Munshi in Gujrati was another such classic historical novel detailing Mahmud Ghazanavi's attack on Somanath temple. Acharya Chatursen also wrote a book "Somanath" in Hindi but it didn't have the same depth. Bankimchandra Chattopadhyaya of course wrote several books in Bengali in the same vein, some fiction like "Ananda-Math", some historical fiction like "Raj-singh".

But the success of "Avarana" tells that there is an undercurrent of disquiet.

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