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Miscellaneous Topics on Indian History
Book Extract form Pioneer, 11 Sept. 2005

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Age of Splendour

The following is an extract from John Lall's Taj Mahal and Mughal Agra, published by Lotus, Roli Books:


<b>More stories, apocryphal and true, have been inspired by the Taj Mahal than any other monument in India. Some of these have been absorbed in the literature of the Taj and should be considered before going any further.</b> Hardest to die was the myth, avidly taken up in the West, that the architect was the Venetian Geronimo Veroneo.

European authors gave it a decent burial, when irrefutable evidence became available that the story propagated by Father Manrique following a visit to Agra in 1640 was at best a fine effort of imagination. Veroneo, who was a jeweller, had died in Lahore earlier in the year, and was buried in Agra. His unpretentious gravestone makes no such claim. Mundy, Tavemier and others, who were in Agra while the Taj was being built, or soon afterwards, never mentioned Veroneo as the architect, or anyone else for that matter.

Currency was then given to the attribution to Isa Muhammad Effendi, an architect reputedly sent by the Sultan of Turkey. Albeit from the Islamic world, Effendi was still not a Hindustani. This bold claim was made in a Persian manuscript of 1878 by Mughal Beg entitled Tarikh-i-Taj Mahal, now in the Taj museum. Though the author claims that his manuscript was based on earlier works, these are not specified. Established authorities regard the manuscript with undisguised suspicion.

<b>It was written at a time when foreign art historians had convinced themselves that the best in Mughal architecture was Saracenic in inspiration. The term itself raised the question of what Saracenic was. A number of copies of the manuscript were made, and there are grounds for believing that Mughal Beg was encouraged in his enterprise by the foreign principal of a local college.</b> The claim that Isa Muhammad Effendi was the architect lacks any contemporary authority or corroboration, and must be viewed as untenable in the light of the positive evidence pointing to Ustad Ahmad Lahori.

<b>Credulity and the Western obsession with establishing the identity of a supposed architect was taken to even more absurd lengths.</b> Sleeman, who had been in India since 1810, confidently asserted in his Rambles and Recollections, published in 1844, that the Taj and the palaces in Agra and Delhi had been designed by Austin de Bordeaux, 'a Frenchman of great talent and merit, in whose ability and integrity, the emperor placed much reliance.' Austin, a jeweller, is known to have been making a living by his wits in Agra during the early years of Shahjahan's reign.

He died in 1632, while work on the Taj commenced after the emperor's return to Agra in June that year. Not to be outdone, he was then credited with creation of a gem-encrusted solid gold rail around the empress' cenotaph in the Taj. The cenotaph was not placed in position until 1636 and there was no question of enclosing it until long after the Frenchman had died. Peter Mundy's claim that there was already about her tomb 'a rail of gold' (in 1632) can only refer to the temporary grave.

A tale so picturesque that one might be tempted to allow it to stand has found its way into the literature of the Taj. Mughal Beg's was not the only manuscript to mysteriously appear in the middle of the nineteenth century. The first edition of Guide to the Taj in Agra was published in 1854 under the initials J.T.N. A subsequent edition was published in Lahore in 1862, It claims to have been based on an unnamed Persian manuscript, which relates the most touching of all the stories connected with the Taj.

The Empress Mumtaz Mahal, who was enceinte, heard her unborn child cry out while still in her womb. 'When a child cries before its birth,' she confided to the emperor, 'the mother always dies; therefore I must prepare to take leave of this world.' She made him promise never to remarry and to 'build over me such a beautiful tomb as the world never saw'.

There is no mention of this tragic tale in the Badshah Nama and Amal-i-Saleh. Contemporary chroniclers were never loathe to allude to the miraculous and supernatural. The silence of the two authoritative biographers suggests, at any rate, that they never heard of it. Nevertheless, though he survived Mumtaz Mahal by twenty-five years. Shah Jahan never took another wife, and no one will dispute that his monument to the 'light of the Palace' far exceeds in beauty, any other tomb ever made.

The French jeweller, Jean-Baptiste Tavemier, relates yet another story which has proved much more enduring than most. 'Shah Jahan,' he says, 'began to build his own tomb on the other side of the river, but the war with his sons interrupted the plan and Aurangzeb, who reigns at present, is not disposed to complete it.' A surprising statement, because there was nothing to complete.

Tavemier was in India in 1640-41 and again for two months in 1665, thirteen years after the last stone had been laid in the forecourt and nearly twenty after the Taj itself was complete. Shah Jahan had ample time for this vainglorious enterprise, if he ever seriously intended it, before he was imprisoned by Aurangzeb. Neither Mulla Abdul Hamid Lahori nor Muhammad Saleh breathe a word about a second mausoleum. The truth is that Shah Jahan's attention had been diverted to Delhi, where he started building Shahjahanabad in 1638, ten years before the Taj itself was complete.

Mehtab Burj, across the river, which some writers have picked on as evidence of a start, with whoops of joy normally reserved for discoveries of bone fragments of the earliest homo sapiens, is nothing more than the last remaining vestige of one of the gardens made in Babur's reign. The burj (tower) is hardly 3.66 metres in height as against 13.11 metres of the riverside towers of the Taj. Remains of Humayun's masjid are a little further off. Whatever Shah Jahan's intentions might have been, good sense, no less than taste, spared posterity a rival to the Taj.
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Hello everybody:

I would like to know the answers for the following questions. I am doing research on the family trees.

1. Vasudeva had a wife by name Rohini. She was the mother of Balarama. Who were Rohini's parents? Where do they come from?

2. I have heard that there was a king by name Manaschandra after Parikshit (Arjuna's grandson). Can somebody verify this? Whose son was he? Can somebody shed any light on his life?

3. Where did Ashwatthama go to when he was cursed to wander around?

Anyone have info on 1669 Hindu Jat rebellion in Mathura against Aurangzeb, the leader of this rebellion Gokla Jat was tortured to death and his family forcibly converted to Islam I read, anyone know the exact reasons for this rebellion and what excatly happened with Gokla Jat.
Collection of Persian translations includes list of Aurgazeb's letters, his will etc.
Unable to open the link mentioned by you.

<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Sep 28 2005, 08:54 PM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Sep 28 2005, 08:54 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Collection of Persian translations includes list of Aurgazeb's letters, his will etc.
We demand conformity in many ways. Three years ago, as I stopped for tea in Sonamarg en route from Leh to Srinagar, I observed a group of young men, pilgrims, from North India on their way to the Amarnath Cave. They had just washed their clothes, draped these over the chairs of the small dhaba and were awaiting their order. Loud, demanding and abusive, their message to the owner was clear. ‘This land belongs to us, not you. Your insurgent rebellion is at an end and we are back, masters.’ I could not help thinking of what this did to the mind of the meek, poverty-stricken and business-starved owner of the dhaba. He served the men quietly; but resentment, alienation and anger are mild words to describe the writ on his face.

Is this not an over reaction if not downright silly? The writer is reading too much into (probably) normal travellers' behaviour the world over. On the other hand every <i>Yatra</i> is an adventure in the true sense of the word as we do not know when the convoy would be attacked by terrorists with modern weapons and how many <i>Yatris</i> would return home safely.
Sorry, try this http://erga.packhum.org/persian/
just how big or small was his contribution in india's independence ???

i think it was because of him that the spine of the raj army was broken.

the brand name "netaji" proved more effective than the man himself could (since he did not live to see the fruits of his efforts)

any opinions ??
Anyone know of a link online which has an online translation of complete Alamgir-Nama or any books in which it is translated into English.
Urdu in India
By Dr. Rizwana Rahim
Chicago, IL

“What’s in a name?” Juliet thought aloud, “That which we call a rose/ by another name would smell as sweet.”* Maybe, if its distinctive smell also gets proper credit and due recognition: After all, “a rose is a rose is a rose.” **
Urdu, a hybrid language born in united India’s syncretic culture, has long been short-changed in its own native land.
It is one of the 22 languages listed currently in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, but an official State language only in Jammu & Kashmir, being the mother tongue of about 55.5% of that State’s population. However, only in parts of Bihar (15 districts) and UP (13 Western districts, with Urdu-speakers being 15% or more of the area population) was Urdu granted the second official language status -- not by an act of Parliament but by an ordinance in the 1980’s and only for some purposes. Significant populations of Urdu-speakers also live in Andhra Pradesh (AP; Hyderabad, its capital), Karnataka and Maharashtra but, like in UP and Bihar, it is only in selected districts (not state-wide) that it is recognized as the second official language (e. g., about 13 districts in AP).
The Eighth Schedule is not cast in stone. It has already been amended three times so far: adding Sindhi to the original list in 1969, three more (Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali) in 1993; and four more (Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali) in the 100th Amendment to the Constitution in 2003. The last expansion was unique in two respects: for the first time, two tribal (‘spoken’) languages were added; one (Bodos) owed its inclusion to “a part of the memorandum of settlement between the militant Bodos, Assam Government and the Centre,” and “to keep the balance,” another one (Santhali) was added from another tribal area. During the 2003 debate, L. K. Advani (then deputy PM) alerted the country that up to 35 more languages could be added to the Eighth Schedule, once the ongoing discussions with the linguistic experts are completed. So, apparently, the list is not done yet, nor is the debate on the Eighth Schedule and the criteria for inclusion.
With the recognition as a State’s official language comes the government support and protection, a major boost to the viability and growth of that language, with facilities such as a medium of instruction in schools, appropriate facilities, official form of communication. This, in a way, also helps India’s literacy programs (‘Education for All’, like the ‘No Child Left Behind’ initiative of the Bush administration).
However useful the opportunities may be, this recognition will still be restricted mostly to that State. And, these regional opportunities are very limited, compared to English, which opens all types of doors world wide, particularly in the 21st century Information Technology age. Because of this, English continues to be an increasingly preferred educational option for the next generations. This, in turn, decreases one’s need to depend on regional languages (including Urdu) for a brighter future -- globally rather than just regionally. The government recognizes this all too well: During the 2003 debate, Mr. L. K. Advani had also stressed how “national unity is more important than language issue,” and how both Hindi and English should continue as India’s national languages, because “de-linking [from Hindi] from English was not a good thing as India had its advantages in Information Technology sector over China because of the knowledge of English.”
Given the historically multi-linguistic culture in India and inter-relationships among the languages, many dialects and even languages have been subsumed in the Eighth Schedule languages. The reliability of the linguistic census data depends critically on such questions as who are considered the “speakers” of a particular language: Only those who have it as the mother tongue (first language) or those who also use it as their ‘second’ and/or ‘third’ language? Since ‘spoken’ Urdu and Hindi are largely and indistinguishably similar, the only way one can tell them apart is by way of individual scripts (Urdu’s Persian-Arabic and Hindi’s Devanagiri). Most linguists think they are essentially the same when spoken, the attempted distinctions being more political than linguistic. Unless census takers/enumerators collect the data on the (first/second/third language) script-familiarity and script-use as a distinguishing criterion along with others, and use all of them uniformly, the conclusions will always remain subject to such nagging basic questions. And, such questions continue to follow all other information derived/mined from the census (regional, country-wide and global use and rank-order compilations etc by different national and international groups).
According to the latest figures from ‘Ethnologue’, Urdu “speakers” in India happen to be little over 48 million. Based on this, it is ranked as the 6th most widely ‘spoken’ Scheduled language, after (numbers in parentheses, million) Hindi (180.00), Bengali (70.56), Telugu (69.63), Marathi ( 68.03), Tamil (61.5). Separate from Urdu, Ethnologue also lists “Deccan” language ( ISO/DIS 639-3: dcc) – with its alternate names and dialects -- spoken by more than 10 million people in various parts of India. Ethnolgue (13th edition) lists ‘Hindustani’, with 496 million “speakers” as the 3rd most widely spoken language of the world, after Chinese (Mandarin) at over 1 billion and English (521 million). ‘Hindustani’ was used in 1931 census (instead of Hindi and Urdu, separately), which continued till the 1961 census (i.e., for the first 14 years after independence): this was mostly because of the ‘spoken’ similarity between Hindi and Urdu. Hindustani has also been listed in various databases as separate language from both. Such tactics have made it increasingly difficult to tease out the distinctiveness of Urdu from Hindi, given the traditionally overlapping (shared) cultural values, attitudes and identity (or what’s implied in the French, ‘mentalite`’), the Hindi-Hindustani-Urdu group. This, I suspect, did a lot to unfairly dilute and diffuse Urdu’s status as an independent language. Whether or not this was also politically motivated is not that hard to figure out.
Another wrinkle subject of debate and controversy is the cluster of dialects (even languages) in each Eighth Schedule language. Multilingual Indian mosaic allows you to form various clusters among closely related languages and dialects. For instance, Mallikarjun in ‘Language in India’ (2004) makes it clear that while Hindi is the mother tongue of 22% of the population, it has “20.22% of mother tongues clustered under it as a language”; it is the 2nd language of “6.16%” and the 3rd language of “2.60%” of population – “totaling to 50.98%” – thus, it’s regarded as the majority language, according to the 1991 Census. Since, no census was taken in J&K in 1991 because of communal riots and other disturbances there in 1991, a question then is: do these figures include J&K or not?
In post-independent India, Hindi promoters, particularly the extremists led by Arya Samaj, managed to absorb different dialects and languages into Hindi. Several resisted these aggressively assimilative measures but none too successfully. Only Punjabi “speakers” managed to retain the distinctiveness of their language and got it included in the Schedule – and this was after intense and prolonged battles with Hindi promoters. What helped them was their script (gurmukhi), which (like Urdu’s) is distinct from Devanagiri of Hindi. (To be continued)

Urdu in India - II
By Dr. Rizwana Rahim
Chicago, IL

Article 351 of India’s Constitution states: “It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating, without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expression used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages” [emphasis added]. One of the questions is how does (or can) this “enrichment” take place “without interfering with its (Hindi’s) genius,” and without gradually blurring and defusing the identity of another language.
Most languages are alive -- they grow and draw from other languages. However, since ‘Hindustani’, again a category not used in Census since 1961, is itself a blend of both Urdu and Hindi, any siphoning off from “the forms, style and expression used in Hindustani and in the other languages” further dilutes an already diluted/defused Urdu, and for which it receives little or no credit and recognition. It seems more like the growth of one at the expense of other languages, as opposed to a symbiosis.
Illustrating this Hindi-Hindustani-Urdu ‘mentalite`, Paul R. Brass in his “The Politics of India Since Independence” (1994) cites a complaint by Syed Hamid (President, Anjuman-e-Taraqqi), published in the Times of India (4 September, 1991). It has to do with Uttar Pradesh (UP), a province which had already discarded Urdu through its Official Language Act (1951), even though till Independence, Urdu was one of the two official languages of the State (with Hindi). According to the 1971 census, UP was listed as having 11.6 million Urdu ‘speakers’ (or 10.5% of the State’s population). In the 1981 census, these figures were reduced to 10.8 million Urdu ‘speakers’ or 9.7% of the State population. Hamid suspects that census enumerators were “deliberately listing declared Urdu speakers as Hindi speakers.” More complaints against census, e.g., in The Times of India report of February 2001: http://www.timesofindia.com/230201/23mpat8.htm. These involve Hindi.<b>
Hamid’s charges seem supported by more reliable statistics provided in an exhaustive paper by A. R. Fatihi (in ‘Language in India’, March 2003). Based on this, it was clear that Urdu population maintained its level of growth (NOT declined) from 1971 to 1991, and that from 1971 to 1991, the decennial population of Muslims in the State showed a steady growth “ranging between 22 to 26%” (NOT a decline).</b> Only a small minority of UP’s Urdu speakers are bilingual (23.2%; much lower than the State’s average) and among them, the other language is generally Hindi: 18% or less than 1 out of every 5 Urdu speakers can also claim Hindi as their 2nd language. It is true that Muslims have contributed heavily to Urdu and its growth, but to exclude the contributions by non-Muslims would be a mistake. The fact that about half of Muslims do not claim Urdu as their mother tongue explodes the ethnic-linguistic identification myth, not just in UP but all over India. Given the Hindi-Hindustani-Urdu mentalite`, it would be highly misleading to believe that Muslims speak only Urdu; any growth in Urdu benefits only Muslims.
Perhaps bending somewhat to the growing image of disparity in equal treatment and seeing the chinks in the prevailing ‘Urdu = Muslim’ myth, Indian government decided in March to provide funds for the recruitment of Urdu teachers for primary and other schools in UP and Bihar. This initiative, mere tokenism as some critics think, should still be a significant boost to the language, which has so far only suffered at the hands of these States. In the UP, to facilitate polling in its 27 districts and where the Urdu-’speakers’ exceed 20 per cent, the Election Commission in 2004 published even electoral lists, for the first time in Urdu. Muslims formed about 19% of the State’s population, and were spread (over 20%) over these districts. About 85% of the Urdu-speaking population lives in UP, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, but with the possible exception of Bihar, Urdu is virtually absent from the school syllabi. Not surprisingly, this is filtered into the Census, and the figures for Urdu over the past 3 decades were sluggish and not encouraging. The ‘Urdu = Muslim’ myth was exploded over 3 decades ago when Bengali-speaking East Pakistan fought, after years of linguistic conflicts, to spilt from Punjabi-Sindhi-Urdu speaking West Pakistan.<b>
Urdu is even considered as a ‘dying language’. This largely reflects the image presented in Anita Desai’s 1985 book “In Custody,” made into a movie of the same name (1994), directed by Ismail Merchant of the famed Merchant-Ivory collaboration of 40-plus years. It represents an aging Urdu poet and his decline as an allegory for Urdu’s fate in modern India:</b> Deven, an admirer of a famous Urdu poet, Nur sahib, gets an assignment to interview his idol. When Deven meets the poet, he is thoroughly disappointed in the man who is reduced to drunken ramblings and gluttony, surrounded by nagging wives and his hangers-on/yes-men/ ‘toadies’. A disillusioned Deven returns home after the interview and finds a package of his works the poet had sent him before he passes away. More than a hint that a decadent Urdu is now dying! It may be too early for such a prognosis, but to say that it has been flourishing and would continue to do so under the same conditions may be wishful thinking.
As a native-speaker of the language, Merchant, in his AsiaSource interview of May 2001 claimed: Urdu “cannot die out because it has very strong roots in Persia,” and that popular Hindi movie songs “are all written in Urdu.” Others have taken a similar view, satisfied that Urdu (the simplified kind) now flourishes in Hindi movies and songs, thanks to some of its poets, and that even non-Urdu “speakers” use the language (thanks to ‘Bollywood’). This is hardly an indication of Urdu’s survivability and growth. In fact, the movies in which ‘this’ Urdu exists are classified and labeled as “Hindi,” with Urdu not even listed among the credits for its contribution. Rather, this is a good example of how Urdu has been losing its identity, increasingly subsumed in Hindi. This is not how most languages survive!
Very few things would bring the point home better than the fact that the FIRST “Hindi talking-movie” was named (in Urdu). “Alam Ara” (1931), a 124-minute movie was listed as a “Hindi-Urdu” production, unlike the Hindi movies today that contain lot of Urdu in songs and dialogues! [One interesting trivia about ‘Alam-Ara’: “Although Mehboob was scheduled to play the lead in Alam Ara, Master Vithal from Sharda Studios got the part. When Sharda sued Vithal for breach of contract, he was defended by M. A. Jinnah.”] (To be continued)

Urdu in India - III
By Dr. Rizwana Rahim
Chicago, IL

Imagine what would happen to ANY language, not just to Urdu, that continues to nourish and enrich other languages, but does not receive adequate support for its own continued survival and growth, or even proper credit and recognition for the support it provides other languages: This would be exsanguination, a slow draining of its life-blood.
If language X offers no upward mobility or increased opportunities, its use in schools and elsewhere would, as a consequence, decline with time, and the next generation would prefer (quite understandably) another (say, Language Y) that offers what X couldn't. Language X could easily be Hindi itself, compared to English (Language Y). Continued vitality and growth of a language lie in the 'genetics' of the language itself, i.e., how well a language is received and regarded by each succeeding generation in the daily life of its 'users' in both personal and official/business. Vitality and growth will be reflected in such indices as its output and progress in literature (books, newspapers, etc), science and technology and other areas.
In addition to its continued usage by coming generations, growth of a language is indicated by its usage, for example, in newspapers, books and other such indices over the years. Using the Ministry of Information data, Paul Brass looked at the language newspapers and their annual circulation from 1960 to 1987. In 1960, there were 680 Urdu newspapers (~ 8.5% of the total newspapers published in the country then), whereas Hindi had 1,532 (~19%, or 2x Urdu papers), English 1,647 (slightly more than Hindi), and 2,718 papers in other regional languages. From 1960 to 1987 (nearly 30 years), the total newspapers in all languages jumped three-fold (from 8,026 to 24,629) and in 1987 (level of increase in parentheses): Urdu (1,676; 2.4x); Hindi (7,783; over 5x); English (4,322; 2.6x) and regional languages (8,335; 3x). Despite the relative increases and their levels, the share of Urdu out of total newspapers declined from 8.7% in 1960 to 6.8 % nearly three decades later (similar decline was also seen in English papers, from 20.5 % to 17.5 % -- but during the same period, Hindi's share grew from 19% to 31.6%, with regional papers claiming over a third (33.8%) of the total share.
Some nationalist groups have long believed that since Urdu is too reminiscent of the Muslim and Moghul past, it must no longer have a place of recognition or prominence in a free independent India (or the 'Urdu=Muslim' or 'Hindi-Hindu' myth). Such comments are baseless:
(i) The language that seems to have kept the free independent India united so far (including through the highly divisive, strife-ridden States' Reorganization period of the 1950s) is not Hindi or any of the indigenous languages but English, reminiscent for a more recent British past. English not only outlasted its initial 15-year lease-of-life granted in the 1950 Constitution but if Advani's assurances during the Eighth Schedule debate are any indication, the language of our British past would also continue as a unifying force in a linguistically-diverse independent India, in addition to providing India a distinct edge in this IT age.
(ii) After the decline of Apabhransha, modern Hindi itself emerged (1283) with Khusro's pahelis and mukris (he was also the first to use the term 'Hindavi'). And, it's in the works of Sharfuddin, Banda Niwaz Gailurdaz, Wjahi Ali, Sultan Kuli Qutabshah, Shah Turab etc., that one can see the 'khari boli' or the established form of Hindi, while Kabir's works (1398-1518) mark the origin of "Nirguna-Bhaki" period, and
(iii) Another unforgettable contribution to Hindi was from neither a Hindu nor a Muslim or a Sikh, but from John B. Gilchrist, a principal at Fort Williams College of Calcutta (established by British East India Company), who, for teaching BEIC employees, wrote Hindi grammar and compiled a dictionary in 1796 (the first published Hindi book): its critical impact on the growth of Hindi literature cannot be ignored or minimized.
In Pakistan, however, Urdu is the official language but it happens to be the mother tongue of only 8% of the population. Urdu and Pushto are almost equally widespread as the first language, which is far behind 48% of the population who speak Punjabi, but lot closer to the cluster of languages that are the mother tongue of minority populations: Sindhi (12%) and Siraiki, a Punjabi variant (10%). Of course, there are some linguistic problems in a country that the religion couldn't hold together in 1971 that language wanted to put asunder. Nevertheless, it's a valiant gesture indeed for Urdu and its survival and promotion.
For promotion of Urdu, the Indian government has taken some steps, including appointing the Gujral Commission and creating National Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), an autonomous organization created by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. Both of them have had little success to speak of: Gujral Commission is unable to see its recommendations accepted and implemented, and NCPUL, a successor to the now-defunct Bureau for the Promotion of the Urdu Language and the Taraqqi-e-Urdu Board, is mired in other difficulties and thus largely ineffective so far.
A colleague of mine, Dr Khan Dawood L. Khan, whose articles have also appeared in 'The Pakistan Link', has raised these concerns about Urdu with the Indian Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Shri Jaipal Sudini Reddy: Indian songs, movies and TV shows contain a lot of Urdu words. All of them are labeled as 'Hindi' productions, none even co-listing Urdu among the credits. Since all these productions (movies, TV productions, songs etc) are registered with the Ministry to obtain its approval certificates, it also has the responsibility to see that its certified products display proper labels. Dr Khan's letter (22 April 2005) offered his suggestion, which I thought was reasonable, but so far he has received neither an acknowledgment nor a response. A translation of this letter was also published as 'open' letter in "Munsif" (19 May 2005) of Hyderabad, AP/India, on the Editorial page, under letters ["Hindi ga'naon mein Urdu ul-faaz"].
Here's the text of the letter (22 April 2005) to Shri Jaipal Sudini Reddy, Union Cabinet Minister, Information Broadcasting and Culture, New Delhi, India (sjaipal@sansad.nic.in ) :
"Indian movies, TV programs and songs (all labeled and certified as 'Hindi') contain a lot of Urdu words. Such productions are categorized as ‘Hindi,’ and Urdu is NOT even co-listed in the credit.
“I believe it is unfair to Urdu, which is after all one of the recognized official Indian languages.
“Hindi is a rich language, and as a native speaker of these both languages, I'm always pleased to see Urdu contributions to 'Hindi'. But this happens to be at the expense of Urdu. To be fair, Urdu needs proper recognition and properly listed in credits.
“If a Hindi movie/TV program/song contains a significant number of Urdu words, I think it would be reasonable to list/categorize it as ‘Hindi/Urdu.’ For this, I suggest the 10-15% Urdu words as the minimal required contribution.
“I think I represent the sentiment of many Urdu-speakers who feel this step-brotherly treatment. I hope this suggestion receives a serious consideration in your Ministry. I would appreciate an early response (by email or post)."
Those similarly interested in this issue can pursue this matter, as part of Constitutional rights of linguistic minorities under Article 20 (to preserve "distinct language script or culture"), Article 30 ("All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice") and Article 350 for seeking redress of the grievances to any central or state official/agency/authority [ "Every person shall be entitled to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a state in any of the languages used in the Union or in the state, as the case may be"] and its sub-sections Article 350 A & B.

Such slow dissolution of any language will certainly have an overall impact on the cultural amalgam of a country.
1. Paul R. Brass. The Politics of India, Since Independence
[The New Cambridge History of India. IV-I], 2nd ed., 1994
2. Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue:
Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tx.: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/. http://www.ethnologue.com/web.asp
3. Tej K. Bhatia. Colloquial Hindi. Rutledge. New York. 1996
[* 'Romeo and Juliet' by Shakespeare, Act 2, scene 2, lines 43–44; ** Gertrude Stein, 1922]

I have a few questions that I'd like clarified.

Why is it that Sanskrit is classified as an Indo-European language (along with Latin and Greek) and Tamil is classified as a Dravidian language? Why does the Sanskrit word for caste <i>varna</i> mean "color" of a person? And why is it that a large portion of the southern Indian population resemble features attributed to the Autroloid stock while the northern Indian populations are as a whole very similar in physical features to Mediterraneans, Iranians, and possibly Arabs? Could this mean that there were two large groups of different people (most people say two "races") who converged in the Indian peninsula?

I realize there is another thread on this forum that deals with migration and origin of Indian peoples. However, that particular thread is clogged with excessive crap about the definition of <i>arya</i> (which in truth only means nobility or one of virtue; compare to <i>veer</i>).

Welcome to the forum. This post is more appropriate here.. http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index....wtopic=553
The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period

Sir H. M. Elliot
Edited by John Dowson
Volume I: Introduction
Volume II: To the Year A.D. 1260
Volume III: To the Year A.D. 1398
Volume IV: To the Year A.D. 1450
Volume V: End of the Afghan Dynasty and the First Thirty-Eight Years of the Reign of Akbar
Volume VI: Akbar and Jahangir
Volume VII: From Shah-Jahan to the Early Years of the Reign of Muhammad Shah
Volume VIII: To End of the Muhammadan Empire in India

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<!--QuoteBegin-Shashir+Nov 15 2005, 01:12 AM-->QUOTE(Shashir @ Nov 15 2005, 01:12 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I have a few questions that I'd like clarified.

Why is it that Sanskrit is classified as an Indo-European language (along with Latin and Greek) and Tamil is classified as a Dravidian language? Why does the Sanskrit word for caste <i>varna</i> mean "color" of a person? And why is it that a large portion of the southern Indian population resemble features attributed to the Autroloid stock while the northern Indian populations are as a whole very similar in physical features to Mediterraneans, Iranians, and possibly Arabs? Could this mean that there were two large groups of different people (most people say two "races") who converged in the Indian peninsula?

I realize there is another thread on this forum that deals with migration and origin of Indian peoples. However, that particular thread is clogged with excessive crap about the definition of <i>arya</i> (which in truth only means nobility or one of virtue; compare to <i>veer</i>).

Shashir, what were you talking about today? I don't see anything about shudras and Reddys.

<span style='color:red'>Please change your user-id according to forum rule.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Please change your user-id according to forum rule.


I realized that after a few days. I sent a pm requesting an id change to a moderator called Krishna a few days back. Should I pm you or is there another way I can change my id?
I always knew that some Indians get mistaken as South-East Asians, but how did the Asiatic genes come into the Indian gene pool?

I tried looking about it on the net, but all what's popping up is stuff on the Aryan Invasion Theory, the Portuguese, and what not.

My Korean friend was asking me how can some of the Indian actresses (like Bipasha and Riya Sen) look South-East Asian, without having any immediate "oriental" blood in them. I didn't know what to say. Was there some sort of invasion or was it just because of tribes settling in India?

Thanks for giving me some info on it, if you could.
Theosophical Society celebrates 130th anniversary of Foundation Day

Special Correspondent

"The values inspired by the founders are relevant even today"

# "The ideals promoted by the Society will ensure peace in the world"
# "The organisation has survived onslaughts and is spread across 70 countries"

CHENNAI: The Theosophical Society, One of the city's hoary spiritual signposts, celebrated the 130th anniversary of its Foundation Day on Thursday, with its members rededicating themselves to the cause of humanity.

Recalling the commitment of the founders to the pursuit of truth, N. Ravi, Editor, The Hindu , said the values inspired by them had a continued relevance even in this age. The concept of universal brotherhood, which they advocated, was even more important in the present age of differences. That was the spirit that should ideally encompass world bodies such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

The founders' integrated view of the universe and their advocacy of the sense of free will and assuming responsibility for one's action were equally relevant.

The ideals promoted by the Society and the values it stood for would go a long way in ensuring that peace in the world, Mr. Ravi said.

Urging all members to rededicate themselves to the human cause, Radha Burnier, president of the Society, said the organisation had survived many onslaughts, and was now spread across 70 countries.

When communism took over Eastern Europe, all branches in those countries were shut down. The only communist country that had allowed the Society to function till now was Cuba. The Society was an example of what humanity could become as the biggest danger now lay in humanity losing its humanness, she said.
Man who stopped Hindu Rashtra

Fali S. Nariman/ The Indian Express Op-Ed
Posted online: Monday, November 21, 2005 at 1237 hours IST
Updated: Monday, November 21, 2005 at 1249 hours IST

India When Satish Sawhney of the Nehru Centre invited me to deliver this inaugural lecture in the series “Challenges to Indian Democracy”, I readily agreed because I must unabashedly confess that I have been a great admirer of Panditji: ever since I first saw him in Shimla where I went to school — it was during the Cripps Mission way back in 1942.

He was on horseback and I was on foot. He raced past me cheerily acknowledging my greeting with a loud emphatic “Jai Hind”; impressionable as I was then, the salutation is still ringing in my ears! Then I heard him speak in the early 50s at an open-air function in far away Rangoon (the place where I was born) when I was visiting my parents in Burma. Panditji spoke with such intensity and such disarming frankness that it was for me a memorable event - I felt instinctively drawn towards him: I experienced that “beneficial glow of being in the presence of the great” — what we call “darshan”. Ambassador Galbraith, always used to say that darshan is sought in all societies but only Indians “are candid enough to endow it with a name!”

It is sometimes said that the system of parliamentary democracy we have adopted, is an alien one and it does not suit the Indian ethos. Not true. The Westminster Model was not foisted on us by the British, as is often believed.

The first non-official attempt at drafting a Constitution of India was made way back in 1895 under the inspiration of Lokmanya Tilak. It was known as the Constitution of India Bill, 1895. In its first chapter it envisaged a Parliament of India and an electoral system in which every citizen had one vote. Thirty years later, came another attempt at Constitution-making. Under the chairmanship of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, India’s political leaders prepared a Bill providing for self-government and sent it to England. The Labour Party which was in power in the UK was responsive to Indian aspirations, and its leaders introduced in Britain’s Parliament the Commonwealth of India Bill, 1925, which also provided for a parliamentary system of government.

The Bill passed its first reading in the House of Commons, and was even ordered to be printed! But the Labour Party lost its majority in the Commons soon after - and Indian aspirations were set back for nearly 20 more years.

Why has our parliamentary system of democracy not worked? I think that is not the right question - the question should be: why have we failed to work a system which guarantees (as no other system), a free and democratic way of life? It worked — and worked well for the first 19 years after Independence. What has happened since then?

I think the answer lies in this - it ceased to work well the moment politics in this country became immoral and unprincipled. We have not been able to work the system - we cannot work any system - unless we re-inject some degree of morality into politics. In one of its issues in the early 1990s that prestigious periodical - The Economist - expressed an opinion which was both frank and brutal. It said: “India will continue to be misgoverned until politics become more of a vehicle for policies instead of the other way round” - i.e. instead of policies being fashioned to suit the politics of the day.

Democracy is not enough: because democracy does not simply mean majority rule but majority rule that is fair: otherwise described as the Rule of Law. Without doubt the Rule of Law is the dominant legitimating slogan in the world today. But what is the rule of law?

In 1955, Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister inaugurated the Congress of the International Commission of Jurists: it was a famous Congress because it adopted what is now known as the Delhi Declaration of the Rule of Law. Speaking of the changes in society, Nehru said the Rule of Law was not a static concept but that it had to run closely to (what he described) as the “Rule of Life”. “It cannot go off at a tangent from life’s problems and offer answers to the problems of yesterday which are of no importance today.”

And he gave the following example of the close inter-relation of law and social conditions:

“If the distinguished lawyers and jurists of Plato’s day had met together - and they were very able men - they would have taken slavery for granted, human slavery. When they accepted slavery no one challenged it. And yet later it was not only challenged and condemned but uprooted practically all over the world - because the social mind would not accept it.”

This last bit in that quote “the social mind would not accept it” reveals one of the major challenges to Indian democracy: can be illustrated with an example.

In China, its government has conceived of the ambitious Three Gorges Project to tame the Yangtze River - upon its completion it will be the largest hydro-power plant is the world - in terms of total installed capacity and annual power generation. It will also be the world’s largest water conservation facility. But it will also inundate 653 sq kms of densely populated area — the world’s largest area inundated by a single project: over 1 million people would have to be resettled. The Three Gorges Project —beneficial as it is in the long run — would be an impossibility in India under the rule of law: “the social mind will not accept it”.

The Chinese believe in the Benthamite principle of the “greatest good for the greatest number”: (a worthy principle in itself); they also believe not in the rule of law but in rule by law. We who cherish individual freedoms have to undergo the constraints and pangs of personal liberty — constraints that do not obtain in the Peoples Republic of China.

Nehru’s vision of Indian democracy was definitely not “the greatest good of the greatest number”. But that has had its benefits even if “Three Gorges” would be impossible in India. If Nehru had subscribed to the Benthamite view of greatest good for the greatest member, he would have gone in for a Hindu State (as some of his compatriots wanted him to do) because the largest number of people in India are Hindus. But Nehru had vision. Hinduism to him was a civilisation not some dogma: it was unthinkable to him that the majesty of a great religion could be confined to some narrow definition of Hindutva. Nehru’s vision of Indian democracy was the vastness and diversity of the country and the plurality of its peoples. Diversity in India began with its geography. Protected by natural barriers, the entire sub-continent was originally and historically a cul-de-sac; successive migratory waves of invaders were halted and intermingled with the indigenous residents to such an extent that radically distinct categories of people became hard to identify. Language and religion, rather than ethnic origin, became the distinguishing features of the myriad peoples of India.

This geographical diversity of India greatly impressed Panditji. You will find his vision in a great book called The Discovery of India. It greatly inspired students of my generation when we were in college. It was written in the quiet seclusion of a British prison in 1944 (during Nehru’s ninth term of imprisonment for revolting against the British). It is here that Jawaharlal Nehru contemplated “the variety and unity’ of India.
Nehru’s vision of Indian democracy approximated to that of E.M. Forster — Forster who had visited the subcontinent was a bit critical of democracy and gave it only two cheers not the customary three.</b> This is what he wrote:

“So two cheers for democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give it three.”

The writer is an eminent jurist.
Man who created a ISLAMIC RASHTRA & an confused nation called India

He stopped Hindu Rashtra, true. But the question is will that be true for ever. "NO", the greeks, aran invanders (muslims), british all made the same mistake.

By 2025-2050 the Hindu Rashtra will be back. Nehru's philosphy and his stature as a great leader are all going downhill.

By 2030, he will be remebered as "The man who created Islamic Rashtra" (Pakistan) so that he could be the PM and creaor of a great plitical mess in India.

We the Hindus, the arayans, the race invincible, will reclaim from the worl our original status. The time has come!

Jai Hindurashtra, Jai Bharat Varsha

Posted by: Raj, United States, 21-11-2005 at 2133 hours IST


Mohammed Abdul Aleem : do u wish the same for saudi Arabia

Mohammed Abdul Aleem, a simple question: will you give the same three cheers to a person who will reccomend secular democratic state in Saudi Arabia and other muslim theocracies as well with the same enthusiasm you are giving to Nehru who established a semi Muslim state in Hindu majority India

Do you honestly paray to Allah to wish all muslim nations get eliminate dfrom the face of the earth and secular democracies be established in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malayasia , Pakistan etc.

If not then you are a hypocrat and a party in destrying the civilisation of Indian origin.

Think about it and respond please?

Posted by: Man Singh, Canada, 21-11-2005 at 2114 hours IST


plural society and india

well,mr nariman,yes indeed nehru cocieved of a plural and secular society to shape a unity in diversity.indeed it was really so in the first decade of independence.but over the years later this has been taken to mean a free for all for all other communities other than hindus and an appeasment of minorities and denial of even legitimate opportunities to hinduism s growth and development.one wonders whether in the context of the present practise of what was nobly coceived as a true seclar and plural society this decision was even correct one
your analysis further in this regard would have been more appropriate also for the topic undre mention/ramachandran v n/usa

Posted by: ramachandran v n , India, 21-11-2005 at 1950 hours IST


Good apples are bad apples - bad apples are good apples

It is delightful to read prominent personality like Mr Fali S. Nariman. I am certainly a big admirer of Mr Nehru and of course the democracy.

These two lines in the article do hold me to think a bit:
-- "It (Indian democracy) worked — and worked well for the first 19 years after Independence. What has happened since then?"

Then it answers:
-- "I think the answer lies in this - it ceased to work well the moment politics in this country became immoral and unprincipled."

I am just wondering, didn't these later years came out of the same '19 years'? It means those '19 years' might be very good in them themselves, but they were not good seeds.

Some time I think we might have degraded our democracy right then when Mahatma Gandhi vetoed overwhelming majority and preferred Nehru over Patel, or then when Mr Nehru installed "Gungi Gudia" Indira as president of Congress ....... well just a thought ......

Posted by: Santosh Gairola, Taiwan, 21-11-2005 at 1910 hours IST


The folly is harming our future

We and our children are bearing the brunt of this decision. The decision was taken with Pakistan being formed cutting two flanks of India. The author wants us to believe Hindutva should not be confined to a nation, but in 1947 that was the exact scenario. After disposing Subhash Bose and Shyamaprasad Mookerjee there was nobody stopping Nehru.

Posted by: Anindya Chatterjee, United Arab Emirates, 21-11-2005 at 1757 hours IST


Hindu rashtra

An article worth reading repeatedly! Nehru's vision of India is really great and reveals his vision. Unfortunately his followers in the Congress party have no such vision. Their narrow and parochial mindedness has landed us in a mess from which even Nehru,if he comes alive, will not be able to extricate us. But one nagging doubt persist in my mind- why did he agree for the partition of this country on religious consideration? Some say that because of him the partition took place.
In the name of secularism, appesement of the minority is going on. Reservation for minorities is sought even in IITs and IIMs! Even after 55 years of Independance, we don't have a uniform civil code. One Muslim body in MP refused to accept the verdict in civil case because the judge who prononced the judgement was not a muslim! In retrospect if one comes to a conclusion that Hindu Rashtra was a better option as Hinduism is a way of life, he should not be faulted. What was valid at nehru's time need not necessarily valid today! Jaihind!

Posted by: Balasundaram, India, 21-11-2005 at 1742 hours IST



Mr. FALI NARIMAN, is a Respectable Person But a "REFUGEE" who were Driven Out from Their "HOMELAND" By MUSLIM INvaders,
NEHRU was a INDIAN Person But a "BRITISH " at Heart, All His WRONG Doings are Today Being PAID IN HUMAN BLOOD 1). PARTITION 2) U.N. Reference Of KASHMIR,
3). Application of 370 article to Kashmir, 4). Not Making UNIFORM CIVIL CODE, 5). IMplementing RESERVATION Which Is Still ALIVE a DISEASE More Dangerous Than HIV-AIDS, and Last But More DANGEROUS, APPEASEMENT to MUSLIMS In the Name Of MINORITY ( Defination ) all Subsidies to HAJ // MULLAHS // WAQF BOARD, and Muslim Personal LAW Board to Be Set Up.

NEHRU was a GREAT CASANOVA, which was Not Mentioned By The AGeing FALI-NARIMAN.

Posted by: ravi sharma, United Arab Emirates, 21-11-2005 at 1723 hours IST


Three Cheers

Thank you Mr. Nariman for a nice piece. Three cheers for you. One, for admiring an admirable man, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehur. Two, for your rising to such eminence. Three, for hopefully, your service to some poor, in the need of judicial help. I wish the poor had a reach to people of your eminence.
I hope, God Willing, my thanks & cheers will reach you.
I am an Indian, Jai Hind.
Mohammed Abdul Aleem
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Posted by: Mohammed Abdul Aleem, Saudi Arabia, 21-11-2005 at 1713 hours IST


What a gross injustice ...

The Benthamite principle then would introduce marginalisation of the extreme forms, because the greatest number always becomes the most privileged, and those who possess the least always suffers. The greatest numbers while reaping all the benefits would also pass on their costs to the least numbers, who, denied any kind of privileges would now also have to bear the costs of the majority. This is a situation that has a certain amount of riot-readiness already built-in. In the event of a riot, everyone suffers. A better option would be to reserve minimum facilities for those who enjoy maximum privileges.

Posted by: CK Raju, Thrissur, India, 21-11-2005 at 1620 hours IST


Man who stopped Hindu Rashtra

Yes Nehru was the man who stopped Hindu Rashtra now all minorty who lives better than majority community, would praise.
But it is Nehru who has given India a never ending problem of Kashimir - wnet to UN after ememies invaded India's territory, It is Nehru who has given to one more emerging Pakistan within India, Frequent Communal Voilence never seen in any part of the world. A only country where hindus are living like refugee in their own country. A country where Minority community burns 59 innocent train passengers in broad day light and whole mass of leaders then criticise majorities for back clash!
It is Nehru who never solved Babri Mosque problem and let it live for thousands to get killed but putting a lock on it and let idol worship continue!
Capt. Ajay Tripathi
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->If Nehru had subscribed to the Benthamite view of greatest good for the greatest member, he would have gone in for a Hindu State (as some of his compatriots wanted him to do) because the largest number of people in India are Hindus. But Nehru had vision. Hinduism to him was a civilisation not some dogma: it was unthinkable to him that the majesty of a great religion could be confined to some narrow definition of Hindutva. Nehru’s vision of Indian democracy was the vastness and diversity of the country and the plurality of its peoples.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
What a farce, in his own words as he himself said he was the last englishman to rule India, was born accidentally as a Hindu and according to Nehru the Hindu is certianly the most intolerant with the exception of the Jew (or something along those lines), and this jihadi cheerleader thinks Hindus will be fooled forever by the antics of the Muslim minority.

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