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Book folder
xposting Ramana garu's post from "colonial history thread"..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->very relevant book review:
The Anglo-Maratha Campaigns and the Contest for India: The Struggle for Control of the South Asian Military Economy By Randolf G.S. Cooper, Cambridge,
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->
First Blood
- How the west was won 

Lord Wellesley: confident in victory 
<b>The Anglo-Maratha Campaigns and the Contest for India: The Struggle for Control of the South Asian Military Economy By Randolf G.S. Cooper,
Cambridge, Rs 695</b>

Students of Indian history at all levels are only too familiar with the Anglo-Maratha wars of the 18th and early 19th century. <b>Pitted as the ultimate test that the English East India Company had to pass for hegemony over the Indian subcontinent, these wars have been frequently recounted in depressing and mind-numbing detail to emphasize the undisputed superiority of the English fighting forces over the fractious and undisciplined Maratha army, which was perennially short of funds to pay its soldiery and chronically deficient in leadership and strategy.</b> Randolf G.S. Cooper’s work, therefore, comes as a surprise and as a corrective to conventional wisdom. <b>Giving an overview of Maratha military culture, he proceeds to contest assumptions about British military superiority and to argue that the campaigns represented the high-water mark for the Marathas. He also argues that the victory of Assaye in 1803 was determined as much by finance, politics and intelligence as by actual manoeuvres on the battlefield. </b>He is not, however, the first historian to come up with such a proposition — a number of writings have suggested the nexus between indigenous capital and imperial expansion.

For Cooper, the Maratha campaigns go far beyond the tactical game. <b>These constitute a complex contest between two cultures with contrasting perceptions of conflict and resolution. This, in turn, made assumptions about the adversary’s motives and moves, fragile and faulty. It is his contention that the Anglo-Maratha campaign of 1803 demonstrates the degree to which a Western power could misread an Asian opponent. </b>It is this gap that engages Cooper’s attention. Without discounting the fact of British victory, he proceeds to question the explanations offered for it. <b>He also turns our attention to the vitality and dynamism of Maratha military culture, which was deliberately silenced in the emerging historiography of British military superiority.</b>

<b>To understand the intricacies of Maratha military culture, Cooper focuses on the political and military economy of the 18th century.</b> This, in itself, is not a new approach. The debate on the nature of the 18th century crisis threw up, in the late Seventies and Eighties, substantial work on the functionings of regional political systems which were closely aligned to their military profile and whose consumption of and investment in military expenditure led to important economic developments. <b>More interesting and innovative is Cooper’s understanding of Maratha military entrepreneurship and its ability to negotiate multiple modes of fighting and bargaining. This involved improvizing techniques and tactics, employing mercenaries as a regular feature in the army and remaining open to the competitive advantage offered by technology as well as doctrine. The Maratha clan leaders never ignored the possibilities of financial advantage; if they could save or make money at British expense, they would. They were veteran entrepreneurs in the south Asian military economy and one way to increase potential campaign profits was to outsource ammunition needs, at the expense of an ally. This approach was, in part, the fallout of the Maratha debacle at Panipat in 1761.</b>
<b>The consequences of Panipat were momentous.</b> Not only did most of the clans lose more than one family member, but the Marathas also failed to institutionalize the training of officers.<b> Most of the leaders after 1761 hesitated to spend on a standing army and relied on mercenaries — Indians and Europeans alike. Mahadji Sindhia showed a particular flair in this department and the result was a heterogeneous army, in keeping with Maratha traditions of equal-opportunities employment. De Boigne played a singular role in modernizing the army and its financial base, whereby the regular corps were meticulous about collecting taxes in an orderly fashion and then providing security so that no transient “tax collector” could ride in and demand funds. </b>In fact, Cooper argues that the Maratha military presence in the Doab became a major adjunct to economic growth.

Cooper prefaces his detailed analysis of the 1803 campaigns with a critical reading of the English military discourse on the Marathas. <b>He argues that the Marathas not only received a bad press, but that there was also a complete misunderstanding of Maratha priorities or military culture. He reminds his readers that the Maratha military culture had a historic tendency to foster different types of forces relative to clan assets and the prevailing conditions in the military labour market.</b> Without an opportunity to see Maratha troops scattered all over the country from Tanjore to Rajasthan, British observers could not be expected to give an accurate assessment of the Maratha forces. Consequently, Arthur Wellesley was overly confident that the nation of freebooters could be brought to heel.

And he remained true to his intentions. But Cooper prefers to remind us that the victories were not inevitable, and neither were they achieved with ease. Assaye demonstrated that not all Maratha armies were composed of light horsemen and that Sindhia’s infantry knew the theory and practice of modern infantry warfare. <b>The Hindustan campaigns brought home a similar number of home truths, but only after the contest for India had been won.</b>

How was this achieved? For Cooper, traditional explanations like superior British tactics and the momentum of British victory after the Napoleonic wars are unsatisfactory and tell only half the story. <b>For him the reasons lay squarely in superior British credit which was guaranteed by trade and tariffs, bullion shipments diverted from China, and loans and donations from the Nawab of Awadh and the Nizam of Hyderabad. It also lay in their superior control over the south Asian military economy. One wishes Cooper had elaborated on how this credit actually worked and on how the British replaced the Marathas in the military market of Hindustan. Again, it is surprising that he makes no mention of the financial arrangements the Company authorities entered into with bankers in Benaras and Bombay and how the Company authorities consistently placated local bankers and persuaded them not to cross over to their adversaries.</b> These arrangements are mirrored in the series of documents that Cooper has consulted, which also speak of the haphazard nature of Maratha military organization and fiscal management. Thus, while it is important to heed Cooper’s advice to read against the grain and question the assumptions behind British accounts of the Maratha military machine, it may be worthwhile to remind him that such an exercise could apply to his selective reconstruction as well.

Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins

by Norman Berdichevsky

Colin Renfrew. Pimlico. [pounds]12.50 p.b. 346 pages. ISBN 0-7126-6612-5.

Colin Renfrew has wisely subtitled this inquisitive and controversial book: 'The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins', for the puzzle remains although there is much fascinating detective work which only succeeds in casting doubt on what was the generally accepted solution. As recently as this reviewer's own graduate student days, the question of Indo-European origins was answered in standard anthropology and geography textbooks such as The European Culture Area by Terry G. Jordan.

There was a clear-cut reference to either East-Central Europe or the Russian steppes as identified by Paelolinguistics and the assumed existence of a Proto-European/Aryan tongue and mass migrations from an original heartland. The 'proof' was the vocabulary of common 'Proto-European' words describing objects, animals, seasons and trees such as 'river', 'winter', 'cold', 'wolf', 'bear', 'oak', 'pine', 'beech', 'willow', 'plow', 'ox', 'sheep', 'apple' and the small grains common to a mid-latitude land of pronounced seasons. Mr Renfrew decisively succeeds in establishing that this theory 'ain't necessarily so' but does not provide us with any more convincing alternative suspects. There are plenty of suspicions but no proof.

The reader gains some sympathy with Mr Renfrew's position that older theories of common origins, linguistic change, diffusion and migrations were too simple and neglected the growing evidence of archaeology/pottery and the more complex realities of linguistic borrowing, mythology and the development of farming. The book is valuable for no other reason than its forceful explanation of the need to use appropriate archaeological evidence with linguistic palaeontology, and glottochronology (the change in the pronunciation of words over time).

<b>This book is also a conclusive demonstration of the falsehood in the old racist ideas, distorted even further by the Nazis that there was a coincidence between language, culture and 'race' among the Aryan ancestors of the 'Germanic supermen'.</b> There is, of course, no justification that people who spoke (or speak today) similar languages or who had a similar assemblage of material culture, pottery, architecture, etc. were necessarily related racially or ethnically. Archaeologists and anthropologists of the future will not be excused if they claim Liberia was settled by 'The English' because they only found the remains of locally published English language newspapers or that France and China were colonised by 'The Americans' because of the many ruins found there of MacDonald Hamburger signs.

Colin Renfrew also provides much fascinating information on the hitherto most neglected and least known 'lost' branches of the Indo-European family - Hittite, Mycenean Greek in Anatolia and Tocharian in Chinese Turkestan and Sinkiang on the last stations of the Silk Road. It is remarkable that the former area is identified as the probable origin and the latter as the furthermost Eastern extent of the Indo-European family although both were long ago replaced by non- Indo-European speaking peoples (Turks and Chinese).

The author maintains that the best key to solve the problem of origins and related languages lies in the spread of farming and the accompanying wave-like borrowing of loan-words without the long-scale migrations of people. This would involve the acquisition of the necessary domesticated plant and animal species by the hunting-gathering populations of Europe from their neighbours to the south-east in Anatolia, Crete and Greece starting about 6,000 BC and reaching the north-western periphery of Europe, in Scotland and Ireland, by 3,500 BC. This was the result of gradual population increase and cultural borrowing among neighbours rather than of migration.

This theory holds that the non- Indo-European speaking peoples - the Basques and Etruscans may have held out as isolated pockets for a long time because they grew firm already denser mesolithic populations subsistent on shellfish or independently invented agriculture. Mr Renfrew is on less solid ground in trying to diminish the long held view that the culture anti language of much of Iran and North India were the result of the chariot/horse led 'Aryan' pastoral migration/conquests of the second millennium BC.

The book is illustrated with small-scale black and white maps and diagrams but the quality of these leaves much to be desired. This is a shame since they would have immeasurably helped the novice in this field to orient himself. However controversial, Archaeology and Language is a valuable contribution to a fascinating field for whoever is concerned with trying to understand what we were and where we came from.

Return of the Aryans

by Bhagwan S.Gidwani

Publisher: Penguin Books India
(ISBN 0-14-024053 ­5)

Reviewed by Jagjit Mirchand

(Editor's intro: Jagjit Mirchand
secured first class first in MA in Bombay University; joined Lokmanya Tilak College as Assistant Professor in 1980 and rose to be the head of History Department. He has written many essays and published books including 'Connecting Cultures', 'Ancient Indian Traditions' and 'India --Then and Now'. -- c j s wallia)

Several eminent personalities including Swami Vivekanand, Rabindranath Tagore and Shri Aurobindo firmly believed that Aryans were homegrown, born and brought up in India. Many chose to dismiss those views simply as irrational, inspirational or ultra-nationalistic. Yet, the archeological finds being uncovered presently, year after year, supported by continuing historical & scholarly research seem to prove that Swami Vivekanand, Rabindranath Tagore and Shri Aurobindo, and many learned personalities were correct to raise pointed questions against the Aryan Invasion Theory.

The British, in presenting the Aryan Invasion Theory offered no proof. They did not need to. Hundreds of Indian historians rushed forward to earn their doctorates, promotions, patronage and government-aided jobs and positions for supporting the British theory of Aryan Invasion of India. Their proof? Largely quoting those very hundreds of articles and books ­and asking: how could so many learned books and serious articles by countless British and Indian historians be wrong!

Some did murmur that the British-created myth was aimed at proving to the Indians that they have always been ruled by foreigners, being incapable of ruling themselves and that it was always the foreign invader, like the Aryans (and in later times, other foreigners and finally, the British), who brought progress and enlightenment ­ and therefore never must Indians aspire for self-rule unless the intention is to bring back darkness, decadence and ruin on themselves.

Gidwani's 'Return of the Aryans' presented in novel form, updates much of the research from scholarly and historical sources, archeological records, oral traditions and memory songs to present facts and evidence to show that the Aryan Invasion Theory is flawed.

<b>Main Themes in Return of the Aryans:</b>

Bhagwan S. Gidwani's best-seller, "Return of the Aryans" presents the drama of the birth and beginnings of the roots of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) prior to 8,000 BCE. Other main themes in the book are:

1. Aryans originated from India. They were born, grew up, and died as citizens of Bharat Varsha, anchored in the timeless foundation of Sanatana Dharma.

2. The theory of Aryan invasion of India from the West is false and frivolous.

3. Equally false and frivolous is the theory of the North-South Divide, as the story in the book shows how people of the Ganga, Madhya, Sindhu, Bangla and other regions were together with the Dravidian regions, in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, as parts of Bharat Varsha (INDIA).

4. A generation that remains unaware of its roots is truly orphaned - and our generation, as also the coming generations, must be made aware of our cultural roots, and the glory and greatness of the ideals and values of the ageless Indian civilization - along with the presentation of art, culture, music, dance, yoga, abstract thought, philosophical leanings, and spiritual leanings of pre-history India.

5. A clear message in RETURN OF THE ARYANS, is for national integration, national self-respect and national identity in India. While the book deals with the history of Hinduism affectionately, it also re-emphasizes our age-old spirit of tolerance for all faiths including recognition of spiritual nature of man wherever he is from; and acceptance of every culture and faith as expressions of eternal values.


'Return of the Aryans' also shows that the territory of Bharat Varsha (India) in 5,000 BCE was extensive - far more than the present-day combined territory of India, Pakistan & Bangladesh, as additionally, it included:

Avagana (Afghanistan), after Sadhu Gandhara established his Ashram at a place which in his honour was called Gandhara (now known as Qandhar), and later at Hari Rath (now known as Herat).

From Afghanistan, Bharat Varsha extended to parts of Iran, beyond Lake Namaskar (now known as Namaksar), where many Hindu hermits resided;

In North, Bharat Varsha territory went across the soaring peaks of Himalayas to Tibet to reach Lake Mansarovar, Mount Kailash, to the source of mighty Sindhu and Brahmaputra rivers, and beyond;

Bharat Varsha included also Land of Brahma (Burma) and beyond;

Also Bharat Varsha included Kashmir; Lands of Sadhu Newar (Nepal); Bhoota (Bhutan); and Land of Vraon (Sri Lanka).

It was not by conquest or war that that these lands came together as Bharat Varsha. It was, as the story in 'Return of the Aryans' will show, the graciousness, chivalry and diplomacy combined with fair mindedness that led to the meeting of hearts resulting in formation of this extensive Union.

Yet wars came and the people of Bharat Varsha proved themselves as great & gallant warriors. And to the lands and peoples of their conquest, they extended, fully and fairly, the rights, dignity and freedoms of Sanatana Dharma. Theirs was the firm belief in the humane ideals of Sanatana Dharma.


Gidwani's 'Return of the Aryans' deals with Hinduism with deeply felt respect and pride. The book speaks of ideals that took shape in those early times, to become the foundation of Sanatana Dharma - and among those ideals were: recognition of spiritual nature of man wherever he is from; acceptance of every culture as an expression of eternal values; and man's obligation to respect and protect environment, and all creatures, tame and wild.

Thus the book speaks of beauty and universality of Hinduism, and its respect for all faiths ­ and it asserts that < "Whatever god you choose, He is that God, and Dharma (Righteousness) is His Will" >.


Mainly, 'Return of the Aryans' is concerned with telling the story of the birth & beginning of Hinduism from 8,000 BCE, along with the dramatic account of how, in 5,000 BCE, Aryans originated from India (and from nowhere else); their exploits and adventures in West Asia and Europe, including Iran, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Turkey, Russian lands, Finland, Italy, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania & Baltic States and Germany; and finally their triumphal return to the home-town and heritage of Sindh & India.
'Return of the Aryans' is impressive for its explanation of Hindu philosophy and: spiritualism with simplicity & elegance. The work also covers a vast panorama to reveal dramatic stories behind the origins of Om (the mantra for meditation), Tat Tvam Asi (That Art Thou) Namaste (the Hindu greeting with folded palms of the hands to signify "there is God in you and to Him we salute"), Gayatri Mantra, and Soma Wines .The book also tells how Sanskrit and Tamil developed, and how they influenced world-languages; also it has tales of the battles and blood-shed that led to the rise of Benaras, Hardwar and many cities. It speaks of the discovery and disappearance of Saraswati River and founding of Ganga, Dravidian, Sindhu and other civilizations of Bharat Varsha; Besides, Gidwani sheds light on pre-history establishment of Hindu Parliament; legal & constitutional systems; development of ships & harbors; gold-mining; chariots; Yoga; mathematics; astronomy; medicine; surgery; music, dance, drama, art & architecture; and material advancement of the pre-ancient India.
The book explains how the world's first literature, the Vedas came to be composed in 4000 BCE by poets and scholars of Bharat Varsha, along the banks of the rivers in India.


The book shows how 'SWASTIKA' seal & symbol was originated in India in 5,000 BCE to remind Hindus and Aryans, everywhere to practice and spread the message of 'Daya (compassion), Dana (charity) & Dharma (righteousness)
(Later, after the Aryan migration to Europe, 'SWASTIKA' came to be adopted in Europe, initially for auspicious purposes, though in the modern era, in the Nazi period, it was used for inauspicious, corrupt practices and racial hatred).


'Return of the Aryans' clearly explains that the Aryans who left India were not warriors or conquerors or soldiers of fortune, and certainly they were not religious zealots, fanatics, or crusaders. They went neither to plunder, nor to persecute in the name of dogma, nor to propagate their faith, nor to dethrone and destroy gods and idols of others. These travelers simply had a dream that led them on towards unreachable goal of finding land that was pure and free from evil ­ and thus began one mighty wave after another of Aryans going out of India in all directions. No point of the compass was left out; and the Aryan songs said "Escapees, we are not, nor vagrants, nor aimless wanderers. But pilgrims we are, in search of God's land, pure and free. . . ." This became the refrain of their songs and the mission of their life thenceforward. Gidwani then enthralls us with a dramatic story of Aryans on the move, their strange adventures, experiences, successes and frustrations, encounters with nature, disasters and survival. But the Land of the Pure was never found or reached. It dawned on the wandering Aryans that with all its faults, their own homeland of Bharat Varsha was better than the rest of the world into which they had tumbled in their futile search. To this homeland they finally decided to return having learnt their lesson. They reflected also that God does not of his own volition choose to interfere with the world of man. Man moves his own world by his own actions, by his own will and by his own karma ­ and if the Land of Pure is to be attained, one has to put in the effort in the land of his birth and the problem is not solved by fleeing to other lands in futile search for purity elsewhere. Clearly thus the search for the Land of the Pure led Aryans everywhere but finally nowhere, and at last they realized that there was no Land of Pure, except what men might make by their own efforts.
If in their travels, these Aryans of India performed deeds of nobility and honour, to assist everyone in those foreign lands, they were what they were, and 'Return of the Aryans' gives all the details of their knightly deeds and their attachment to the concept of 'Daya (compassion), Dana (charity) & Dharma (righteousness)'.


The popular belief is that concern with protecting Environment, Nature and wildlife is a modern phenomenon. Not so. 'Return of the Aryans' quotes Sage Bhardwaj of 5,500 BCE who said as under:

< " . . .The Earth is eternal, and so is Man if he lives in harmony with nature. But Man cannot destroy the Earth; and if he tries that by folly or design, then only Mankind shall die but not the eternal ground on which Man walks . . . >
(page 709, Gidwani's Return of the Aryans)

The clear message is: Man must live in harmony with Nature, or else Man shall become extinct like many other species, but the Earth itself shall live on without Man, who shall have paid for his vile acts to pollute the Earth and its atmosphere.

Similarly, 'Return of the Aryans' gives countless instances of the concern of ancient Hindus to protect environment, to leave the habitat of birds and animals undisturbed except to provide feeding troughs and waterholes for animals and birds wherever needed. There was also the custom of planting trees for each birthday of a person's life, right from birth to the age of retirement, with the added injunction to plant new trees in place of those that wither away.


According to 'Return of the Aryans', the ancient Hindu concept of Ahimsa or non-violence was not restricted to acts of physical injury but it was also considered wrong to cause hurt to feelings of others. Nor was it confined to acts against humans and, it was believed that there is no forgiveness for a person who acts with cruelty against a cow, elephant, lamb, deer or any other animal or bird or destroys trees and offends against nature.


'Return of the Aryans' recites the song-myth of the times when Man coexisted with his predecessors "Vraoons" (half-ape-half-man) and of Man's cruelty to Vraoons, ending in their final destruction. There is also a hint in the book that the process of Evolution is not yet complete and, that Man may come to be replaced by another species.


v Women of fame & honor: 'Return of the Aryans' gives remarkable glimpses into high status of women in ancient India, and shows that women were equal, if not ahead, in all important spheres of civic affairs, politics, administration, art, philosophy, architecture, education and justice system, not on basis of any quota but by sheer merit.

v Some outstanding Women: The book has stories of many women, who, from 8,000 to 5,000 BCE achieved fame and honor, such as, Devi Leilama was the first to establish Guilds in India, and rose to be Chief of the Clan in 5,333 BCE; of Dhanawantri, who along with her husband Sage Dhanawantar, was the foremost physician in 5,000 BCE., and established a comprehensive system of medicine & surgery. Also, it was a woman (Leelavati) who, in 6,000 BCE, established mathematical lore in India , leading eventually to formulation of decimal system in later centuries. There are also stories of women who led Aryan contingents in foreign countries.

v Bridegroom's vows & promises: 'Return of the Aryans' describes marriage customs of ancient India, whereby a bridegroom would take a five-fold marriage-vow to offer his wife Permanence, Piety Pleasure Property and Progeny. Do such bridegrooms exist anymore?

v Discrimination against Men? If there was discrimination in those pre-Vedic times (from 8,000 BC), it was perhaps against men; for instance, men were to retire as hermits at the age of 60, while a woman was free from such disability. For justification of this custom, author Gidwani quotes Karkarta Bharat (Supreme Chief of Hindu Clan - 5060 BCE). Said Bharat:

" A woman cannot be asked to retire because her work never ceases. From being a wife, she moves smoothly, selflessly into role of a mother and grandmother, giving all of herself in the service of generations that follow, until her dying day. Man's tragedy, on the other hand, is that he lives for himself, with his ego centered around his own self, and if he loves his children, he loves them merely as extensions of himself; and the older he grows, the more demanding he gets, with his ideas fixed and mind closed. All that grows within him is lust for power, while his advancing age renders him incapable of wielding it honorably. Happiness for man depends on what he could get; for a woman, on what she could give. Retirement at the age of sixty was, therefore, intended to save man from himself and also to protect society."
(Page 6, Return of the Aryans)

v Slanders against Women: 'Return of the Aryans' speaks of Hermit Parikshahari who in 5,030 BCE, declared that a woman, whose virtue or chastity is questioned, must walk 10 steps through fire to prove her innocence, but only after the slanderer went 30 steps through fire to show that he had honorable motives for making the charge. Thus, 'Trial by Fire' was only for dishonest slanderer (and not for woman slandered), as such a slanderer would not survive his thirty steps through raging fire. Pity, that the Hermit's Verdict is followed no more, while judging slanders against women!

v GOD Created Universe But Before HIM Was The MOTHER: On the question, "Who created the Universe and who created God?", 'Return of the Aryans' quotes Sindhu Putra, the spiritual leader of 5,000 BCE, to reply, "God created the Universe, but before Him was She - the Mother!" This reply conforms to the whimsical Hymn of Creation as it was then known, which 'Return of the Aryans' reproduces in full, Here is a brief extract from the Hymn:

"Did First Mother create the one God !
And gladly gave Him the Creator's rod !
But so re-fashioned Time and Space
That He was more, and She was less ?
Did She turn future into past ?
So He came first and She, last!
But surely, She told Him all, all!
Then how could He not know at all?
Or perhaps He knows it not, and cannot tell
Oh! He knows, He knows, but will not tell..."
(Page 125 'Return of the Aryans')

v Question For Today: 'Return of the Aryans' has many more examples of high status and image of women in ancient India. It remains to be explained how and why, later, the chauvinist males have succeeded in downgrading Indian women by introducing so many disabilities against them.

<b>SONG OF THE HINDU ­ Hindu identity, duty and mission: </b>

'Return of the Aryans' reproduces in modern version the "Song of the Hindu", composed by Karkarta Bharat who was the chief of the Hindu Clan in 5,000 BCE. Drawn from pre-ancient texts and tradition, Karkarta Bharat's Song explains "WHO IS A HINDU? - his Identity, his Duty, and his Mission". Only a few extracts from the Song, as given in Return of the Aryans, are given below:

".For God is the Creator; and God is the Creation...

"God's grace is withdrawn from no one; not even from those who have chosen to withdraw from God's grace...

"How does it matter what idols they worship, or what images they bow to, so long as the conduct remains pure

"It is conduct then - theirs and ours - that needs to be purified...

"There can be no compulsion; each man must be free to worship his gods as he chooses...

". He who seeks to deny protection to another on the basis of his faith, offends against the Hindu way of life, and denies an all-loving God...

"Those who love their own sects, idols and images more than Truth, will end up by loving themselves more than their gods...

"He who seeks to convert another to his own faith, offends against his own Soul and the Will of God and the Law of humanity...

"The Hindu way of life? Always it has been and always it shall be...that God wills a rich harmony - not a colorless uniformity...

"A Hindu must enlarge the heritage of mankind

"For a Hindu is not a mere preserver of custom ...

"For a Hindu is not a mere protector of present knowledge...

"Hinduism is a movement, not a position; a growing tradition and not a fixed revelation...

"A Hindu must grow and evolve, with all that was good in the past, with all that is good in the present, and with all goodness that future ages shall bring ...

"Hinduism is the law of life, not a dogma; its aim is not to create a creed but character, and its goal is to achieve perfection through most varied spiritual knowledge which rejects nothing, and yet refines everything, through continuous testing and experiencing...

"Yet a Hindu must remain strong and united, for he must know that not an external, outside force can ever crush him, except when he is divided and betrays his own...

"What then is the final goal of the Hindu? Through strength, unity, discipline, selfless work, to reach the ultimate in being, ultimate in awareness, ultimate in bliss, not for himself alone, but for all...
(Pages 65, 82-83 - 'Return of the Aryans')

<b>TO CONCLUDE : </b>

'Return of the Aryans' is certainly a great book, powerfully presented, with deep and enduring insights into the ancient culture and history of India. The story, though in the form of a novel, is not fiction. As critics have agreed, it is well documented and carries the stamp of scholarship and plausibility.
"Return of the Aryans is not a mere story of people on the move. It is also a history of human thought, more particularly of the variegated strands of Hindu thought and the metaphysical search of the Hindu mind. The Vedas and the Upanishads were the glorious, though late, products of the amazingly inquisitive Aryan mind that had not been ensnared by dogma or commitment to any small god.

As many Reviewers have observed, Return of the Aryans is a book that should be read again and again, and the more it is read, the more will there be
treasures to discover".

'Return of the Aryans' should make an excellent TV Serial, based as it is on the theme of national integration, national self-respect and national identity, . Certainly, it fulfills a long-felt need to keep alive awareness of the foundation and eternal values of India's culture. Also it presents art, music, dance, yoga, abstract thought, philosophical leanings, and spiritual leanings of pre-history India. The book clearly shows that it was Bharat Varsha, which inspired the dream of universal human rights, abolition of slavery, and affirmation of liberty and equality of all peoples.. This was the message of nobility with which the Aryans of India were inspired and the book has enthralling tales of Aryan adventures, courage, rashness, heroic thrusts, triumphs and failures, in various countries of West Asia and Europe.
Besides, 'Return of the Aryans' has suspense and drama. It moves at red-hot speed with thrilling tales of Aryan adventures, courage, rashness, heroic thrusts and triumphs, in various countries, such as Iran, Sumeria, Egypt, Russian lands & Scythia, Lithuania, Turkey, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Greece and Germany. The book and hopefully a TV Serial on it will therefore have its appeal not only in India but also throughout the world.

Comment: This book so far has been the most comprehensive source for ancient Indian history. Till then case closed on the AIT. <!--emo&:guitar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/guitar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='guitar.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Review for the book - link
Book review in Telegraph, 1 April, 2005...

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->THE GREAT MUGHALS 
<b>Our understanding of Mughal history has been dominated by the researches of Irfan Habib and his colleagues at the Aligarh Muslim University.</b> What has deepened as a consequence is our understanding of the Mughal economy and the determining influence it had on Mughal court politics. This was a major breakthrough since it taught us to look beyond the narrative of the reigns of kings. <b>It had one adverse fallout. This was an overemphasis on the economy at the cost of neglecting other aspects of history. This grew out of the vulgar Marxism that Habib has made his hallmark.</b> Even Habib’s greatest admirer will admit that he is no Christopher Hill or E.P. Thompson, not even Eric Hobsbawm. In fact, those who claim Hill and Thompson to be Marxist historians cannot claim the same for Habib.

This preface on Habib is necessary because <b>Annemarie Schimmel’s outstanding book liberates us from the blinkers that the Aligarh school had put on our understanding of Mughal history.</b> Before attempting to present how, unwittingly, she does this, some words of introduction are in order. <b>Schimmel was born in Germany in 1922. From 1967 till her retirement in 1992, she taught at Harvard. She died in 2003. Her skill with languages put her in a unique position to study Mughal history. She knew Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu and Pashto. She also knew Greek and Latin and half a dozen modern European languages. </b>She wrote about 100 books and made poetry, culture and religion of the Muslim world her special area. At the very heart of her scholarship was Sufism.

To this book, published posthumously, Schimmel brought all her extraordinary erudition. <b>The book attempts to capture the Mughal period in all its aspects — from the reign of kings, to court life, to the economy and culture. It takes readers into the imperial household and recreates the life of the Mughal womenfolk, in court and within the household. </b>Her coverage and analysis of the various religious groups and sects in the Mughal empire is outstanding, as is her survey of languages, literature and the arts.

Apart from her reading of contemporary documents, Schimmel lights up aspects of the period through her very sensitive reading of Mughal paintings and minatures. She uses these representations to understand the structure of power relations within the court, how leisure was organized and of course, the life of women. This is done not at the cost of the available textual documentation but as a complement to what is known from those documents. <b>Her approach is not shackled by her association to any school of historiography. She is, in fact, fulsome in her praise of Habib’s contribution to Mughal economic history</b>.

This book is exemplary in that it demonstrates how a specialist can write, without diluting her scholarship, in a manner that is attractive and enjoyable for a non-specialist who wants to know about the Mughals.

Book review in Telegraph, 21 April 2005

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->LOOK BACK WITH LESS WONDER 
<b>Forging the Raj: Essays on British India in the heyday of Empire By Thomas R. Metcalf, Oxford, Rs 575</b>

The essays in this book, arranged in a thematic manner, portray the evolution of Thomas Metcalf’s methodology on colonial India. <b>In a discussion on the changing dynamics of history-writing on British India, Metcalf dismisses the JNU historians as “sentimentalist Marxists”. The Subaltern historians also does not get much attention, even the post-colonial theories of the later Subaltern school.</b> Metcalf argues that though micro studies are welcome, generalization is a must. Most of the Indian scholars fall under Metcalf’s rubric of “liberal nationalist Marxists”. <b>In his view, it is the Cambridge school which has done most of the serious researches in Indian history.</b> Interestingly, C.A. Bayly and Sumit Sarkar do not figure in his tour de force.

On agrarian history, Metcalf has five essays, written in the Sixties and Seventies. In one, he chalks the career of the taluqdars of the United Province after 1947 — how the bigger ones vanished with the collapse of the raj, how the smaller ones ended up in urban slums while the Western-educated middling taluqdars prospered and continued to flourish in independent India.

During the Eighties, Metcalf’s interest shifted from agrarian society to public buildings of the raj. Both Foucault and Said seem to have had a far-reaching influence on him. Five essays of the volume deal with the relation between power projection and buildings of the Empire. While one group of British officials wanted to portray the raj as the successor state of the Mughal empire, another conceived the raj as a total break from the Indian past. <b>To establish continuity with pre-British India, the former group borrowed elements from Sultanate and Mughal architecture.</b> The latter group opted for the Graeco-Roman tradition but India’s climate and the cost smothered their dream.

The last group of essays, written in the first decade of the new millennium, <b>deal with Indian sub-imperialism within the British imperial structure. Metcalf notes that administrative infrastructure and personnel were imported from India for structuring Britain’s overseas colonies. Few remember that when the raj was at its zenith, many Indians found employment in East Africa and south-east Asia as policemen and migrant labour. So transcontinental migration of labour and transfer of ideas across the oceans, the two concomitants of globalization, started long ago.</b>

The collection shows Metcalf as a prolific writer and a scholar with a wide range of interests. Metcalf also points out the necessity of cross-cultural comparative analysis while researching on British-India.

<img src='http://www.eburon.nl/images/elgood_250px.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<b>Hindu Arms and Ritual </b>

Arms and Armour from India 1400-1865

Robert Elgood

Most studies of Indian armor have concentrated on Mughal arms from northern India, and there has been no serious study of Hindu arms since the nineteenth century. Robert Elgood seeks to fill this scholarly gap with Hindu Arms and Ritual, a new and richly illustrated study that examines pieces from the Tanjore Palace Armory in south India.

Tanjore arms reveal a wealth of information about Hindu warrior society through the intricate and symbolic iconography carved on them. As Elgood shows, inscribed gods, goddesses, and sacred animals and plants infused the weaponry with divine powers of assistance. Drawing on evidence from various sources, such as ancient manuscripts and contemporary art, Elgood also challenges the commonly held opinion that most south Indian arms date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Instead, he argues, many pieces were made during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and are attributable to the Vijayanagara and Nayaka courts. This beautifully illustrated work is an invaluable contribution to the historical study of Indian arms and material culture.

'This is a book not just for arms and armour specialists but for historians, art historians and anthropologists as well. A highly impressive and comprehensively illustrated work'.
Professor James Allan, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

'This book is of exceptional importance to the study of Indian Arms and Armour. It classifies for the first time material dating from before 1600; dating and typology are fully supported by evidence from sculpture and other contemporary sources. Based upon objects from old Indian collections and major international museums, it is a fully researched, pioneering study of a hitherto misunderstood and neglected field'.
Anthony North, Victoria and Albert Museum.


The idea of India


India Studies in the History of an Idea, edited by Irfan Habib; Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 2005; pages 270, Rs.500.

"WE are all Indians" is a cliche that is frequently heard. But what is India and who are "we"? India as a geographical entity can be seen in an atlas, but it is well known that what is shown as India now is quite different from what was seen under the same name prior to 1947. Pre-1947 India consisted also of territories that are today depicted as Pakistan and Bangladesh. But while pre-independent India was geographically larger, it was politically not quite one entity: it consisted of British India, part of a much larger British empire, owing allegiance to the British monarch, and some 600 native states - some large and some tiny - that were quasi-independent and whose populations owed greater loyalty to the local rulers than to the distant monarchy or its Indian representative, the Viceroy.

This brief narrative shows that the question "What is India?" is not as simple as it may first appear. There is a deeper issue. While Indians can be said to be those who are citizens of India, different groups of Indians may have widely divergent perceptions of what India is or should be. In this sense "the idea of India" is not easy to comprehend and define.

The book under review is the attempt by a group of historians to deal with a set of questions relating to this complex theme. Says the preface to the book: "What India means may elicit different answers from different people today. The answers that might have been given a thousand, two thousand or three thousand years ago would have been possibly quite different. This volume explores how notions of India have grown."

It may appear that a landmass bounded by one of the tallest and longest mountain ranges on one side and by the sea on all other sides is carved out by nature to be a country. However appealing and visually familiar that perception may be, there are difficulties about that formulation. For one, even the geography is not that simple. That description overlooks the fact that the boundaries in the northeast and the northwest are not so natural at all. And, if natural boundaries are the defining criterion, the peninsula known now as South India, separated in the north by another mountain range, should have had a greater geographical claim to be a country. But for long, that landmass consisted of several distinct kingdoms, none of which was considered to be a part of India.

Hence we must look more into history than into geography to see how India, with its geographical boundaries changing frequently over time, evolved as a separate country. Here again, there are some apparent paradoxes. Today, whatever may be the nature of India, its Indianness is what those who are within it provide, cherish and defend. But in the distant past India as India was seen by those who were outside its territory and Indianness, too, was the description provided by those who came from outside.

On that basis this volume, which contains 16 independent essays and an introduction by the editor, traces the idea of India as seen by the Greeks, the Chinese, the Arabs and the Persians in the ancient past and the Dutch and the French in the more recent past. Most of these outsiders saw only parts of the territory that finally emerged as India.

Of that territory, what the Greeks knew best was the region around the river Sind or Sindhu. (Rivers came to have names long before land territories.) This region could have been part of some empire of which the Mediterranean was also a part. According to the usages of the Greeks and the Iranians, from Sind came Ind and Hind. The Persians used the suffix -stan to refer to large territories and so the land around and beyond the Sind or Hind became Hindustan and the inhabitants of the region came to be known as Hindus. The term was in use in the B.C. centuries. Its restricted use to refer to a religious group came much later, after Muslims established themselves in large parts of Hindustan. Says Irfan Habib: "But by the Hindus themselves the name was not accepted till the latter half of the fourteenth century, being obviously an alien imposition" (page 5).

<b>While Hind, Hindustan and Hindu came from the Persians, from the Greeks, who were familiar with the Indus basin, came the name "India", possibly between 500 and 400 B.C., and the associated term "Indians", referring to the inhabitants of the region. However, there was a lack of clarity about the region: a writing of the same period referred to it as neighbouring Ethiopia (page 47). The geographical knowledge of India was not much better even in the time of Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), who thought that the Indus was the upper Nile. Alexander set out on his campaign of India also with such a notion. One of the most informative accounts about India came from a Greek, Megasthenes, who was the Greek envoy to Chandragupta Maurya's court in the third century B.C.</b>

The Chinese interest in India began in earnest only after the spread of Buddhism to China. The Chinese monk Hiuen Tsiang visited India during A.D. 630-44 and produced a splendid geographical, cultural and political survey of India. The Chinese knew India under three names, Shin-tu, Hien-tu and In-tu. According to Hiuen Tsiang, people in the country preferred the third, which meant the moon and from which the name India was derived, adding that even this name was not used widely. There were different names in different parts of the territory, whose description would suggest that Hiuen Tsiang equated India broadly with the Indian subcontinent, possibly including a part of Afghanistan.

Writings about India and its people by several Arab and Persian visitors are available from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Some of them stayed on for fairly long periods and their writings marked the transition from a rather vague notion of India to a more precise awareness of its geographical regions and the customs of its people.

Of such writings one of the most notable was by the Arab scholar and scientist Alberuni. He gave a fairly dependable description of the country, its rivers and major cities. He studied Sanskrit and made a conscious attempt to understand Indian culture and convey it to the Arabic-speaking world. His accounts portrayed India as a single cultural tradition, carrying within its folds a variety of faiths, languages and social formations. There was also Amir Khusrau, born in Etah of Uttar Pradesh in A.D. 1253, son of a Turk who had migrated to India from Uzbekistan. Khusrau wrote extensively about India, which he considered as the earth's Paradise. He was impressed by the linguistic variety in India and the versatility of Indians. He was of the view that while men of letters could be found in many parts of the world, nowhere else was wisdom and philosophy so well written as in India.

The writings by some Europeans in the 17th century are also commented upon in the volume. The documents of the Dutch East India Company contain many observations about the country and its people, but understandably most of them relate to trade and commerce. The French writer Francois Bernier spent several years in India in the second half of the 17th century and wrote extensively about the country, contrasting India with Europe, and producing a general thesis about "oriental tyranny".

THE attempt made in this volume to show how the idea of India has evolved over long centuries is certainly commendable. Those who are not familiar with this history may not have even suspected that outsiders played such a crucial role in that evolutionary process. <b>However, by concentrating so heavily on the role of outsiders, and almost completely ignoring internal factors in that process, particularly of the early periods, the volume gives a slanted picture.</b>

The internal factors are not omitted completely. Six of the 16 chapters deal with what may be described as internal aspects. One is about the evolution of a regional identity with reference to Kerala, which, for long, did not figure in any external account of India, and has some widely held beliefs about the creation of the land itself. Another deals with the vision of a free India in the Bengal renaissance and a third with Swami Dayanand's Aryavarta. Through the works and thoughts of Pandita Ramabai and Rameswari Nehru, another essay argues for a more just India for women. There is a critical chapter on Veer Savarkar's (and those of his followers') attempt to establish that "India must be a Hindu land, reserved for the Hindus". And, finally, there is a chapter that spells out the rationale of Jawaharlal Nehru's vision of a democratic, secular and socialist India.

Each of these essays makes a useful contribution to our understanding of the idea of India. But the gap between the treatment of the ancient days (as seen largely by outsiders) and of the present (as perceived by insiders) is quite glaring. Some continuity of treatment could have been ensured by (for example) an account of the internal factors that contributed to the political unification of the geographical territory that constitutes India, the frequent disruptions of that unity, subsequent reunifications and the final division of the Indian subcontinent.

Similarly, while there are occasional references to the cultural plurality that prevailed in medieval India and emphatic assertions about the need to protect it today, some discussion of how what prevailed once was lost would have been useful. And, of course, to show the role of the external-internal interaction in the continuing evolution of the idea of India, a discussion of the changing notion of Indianness today as a result of globalisation would have greatly enriched the volume.

From Pioneer, 10 June 2005
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A dream called Dilli

Utpal K Banerjee


O easterners Know then that Dillee,

Which used to be a special and chosen place

Amongst the cities of the world,

Attracted as its inhabitants the select and topmost members

Of each profession, avocation

and calling.

The city grew in eminence Until the Heavens themselves

envied it.

Fate visited it with devastation.

I too once inhabited the place which is now a desolation...

This is how Mir Taqi "Mir", the 18th century master of Urdu poetry, composed his verse bemoaning the fate of his beloved city. Repeatedly a victim of invasion, arson and despoliation, Dillee then was learning the lesson that being "a heaven on earth" was risky business and "Mir" ascribed the calamity as arising out of the envy of the heavens. He fled Dillee.

Indeed, over the ages, Delhi has always been a dream by caparisoned powers that, more often than not, went awry. The movers and shakers of this earth have come to this landmass and staked their claims to a little territory termed a synonym of Delhi. And yet before long, their might was brought to dust and their glory reduced to history.

The various settlements that have collectively been called Delhi have always been centres of importance for the sovereignties that successive rulers carved out in Northern India. Delhi was strategically located on the fertile plains of the Yamuna river and its immediate hinterland, enclosed by the hills of the Southern Ridge. The triangular space, formed between the southwestern flow of the Yamuna and the southeastern escarpment of the Ridge became a natural place for human habitat. The seven (or were they nine?) Delhis are all located within this triangular area. It is only the recent suburban extensions that have crossed the Yamuna to spread eastwards and reach further south: all beyond the triangular plain.

Going back eons, Delhi is believed to be ten times older than even the Himalayas! Far away from the southern Gondwanaland, this region came into being one billion years ago, but remained submerged under the Tethys Sea for about 400 million years. It made its reappearance during the Great Convulsion some 600 million years ago, whereas the Himalayas arose 500 million years later. The Tethys Sea that had washed the Delhi Ridge subsequently disappeared.

Jumping from ancient "dream" times to proto-history, one notices how the kingdoms have swung, like a pendulum, from north to south and then back, all within our triangular plain. Chronologically speaking, the legendary Pandavas founded the earliest capital city of 'Indraprastha' circa 1450 BC, with Maya, the architect, building a splendid palace and court for them. Raja Dillu's 'Dilli' - that probably gave Delhi its name - came about circa 100 BC, a little southwest of Indraprastha. Now the swing was to the south with the next big city 'Surajkund' to emerge in circa 1024 under the Tomaras on the southern Ridge with a large amphitheatre for water reservoir that continues today as a popular resort. Anangapal of the Tomaras shifted to a walled city, 'Lal Kot', on a rocky outcrop of the southern Ridge. <b>The tilt to south continued unabated, with the famous chivalrous king Prithviraj Chauhan expanding the city -within 'Qila Rai Pithora' - four times, complete with fine temples and a tall tower. </b>

<b>Turks overthrew the Rajputs and usurped 'Qila Rai Pithora' as their capital city in early 13th century, with the tall tower converted as Qutb Minar.</b> In 1288, Kaiqubad shifted the capital to 'Kilojri,' 10 km northwest to the western bank of the Yamuna. In 1302, the ambitious Alaudin Khalji built 'Siri', two kilometres from 'Lal Kot'" within a circular fort with seven gates and an external reservoir, Hauz Khas, still extant. Tughluq Shah built his capital 'Tughluqabad' in 1320, about five kilometres from 'Siri' on the Southern Ridge. The same century saw two more cities with Muhammad Tughluq building his capital 'Jahanpanah' in 1334 between 'Siri' and 'Qila Rai Pithora' and Firuzshah Tughluq making his own citadel, 'Firuzabad' (now Ferozshah Kotla) in 1351. The triangle lay dormant over a century and a half when the Lodis transferred their capital to Agra.

During the Mughal era, the pendulum swung north, when Humayun founded in 1530 a new capital 'Dinpanah' at the old site of Indraprastha. It was expanded and completed as 'Dilli' by Sher Shah Suri in 1542 with strong walls around, as seen in the Purana Qila. The next Mughals, Akbar and Jahangir, shifted their capitals to Agra, but Shah Jahan built a grand city on the Yamuna banks, laid parks and gardens and founded Chandni Chowk, the then richest street in the world. Thus was born 'Shahjahanabad', to which the capital shifted back in 1648. What was a very large and resplendent township, with 27 towers and 14 gates, is now 'Purani Dilli'. Delhi had by then acquired a mystic aura, raising the belief that whoever held Delhi ruled India!

In 1931 the British transferred their capital from Kolkata to the planned city of Lutyens' and Baker's majestic 'New Delhi' with well laid-out avenues and circles - now south of 'Shajahanabad' - covering nearly 30 sq. km. Independent India, since 1947, saw the influx of half a million refugees from Pakistan and their settlement in rehabilitation colonies, which are today thriving habitats just north of South Delhi, thanks to the Ansals and other builders. Delhi in the 21st century continues to grow, engulfing the old and modern city sites. It has spread to about 750 sq. km, crossing the Yamuna and spilling over the north, central and south Ridges. If one includes the contiguous urban sprawl of Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, it covers over 1200 sq. km and the pendulum, having swung ceaselessly over two millennia, has come to rest!

The book under review, with its well-planned coverage - along with splendid photographs and historical sketches - of the changing ideas of Delhi is a delight to read. These ideas have always been a transformation from "grand vision" to "grand adjustment" as most spectacularly seen in Lutyen's Delhi secured from government land and its periphery transformed into plotted colonies brought into being by private initiative, government agencies like the DDA and cooperative societies.

Contemporary Delhi can perhaps be viewed as an epic city that has a continuous narrative and ceaselessly adjusts to the rapidly changing demands of the middle class. Lutyen's Delhi - although surrounded by flyovers and dotted with metro stations - is still a city of parks and planted avenues, where the smell in the air is still of grass and floral plants. It is a pity that the Yamuna banks that should have rightfully belonged to the inhabitants of Old Delhi, have been relegated to wasteful memorial places and become a garden of dead relics!

The only missing link is the vision of the future idea: the Master Plan of Delhi. No doubt, this vision has been in flux and has undergone many "transformations" but surely the reader deserves to know where this "paradise on earth" is destined to go, as visualised by the redoubtable city fathers. This would have been a much deserved finale rather than the redundant views of Delhi through publicity hypes!

The Dying God: The Hidden History of Western Civilization
by David Livingstone

When we remove the biases of how Western history is taught, we reveal a hidden tradition that began not in Greece, but in Babylon in the sixth century BC, and transformed not only Greek philosophy, Christianity, and Islam, but shaped the Renaissance and modern Europe.

About the Author
Author and historian David Livingstone was born in Montreal, Canada in 1966. David began studying Western civilization at Concordia University in 1987, where he first observed a number of curious anomalies in Western history, which he has spent the last thirteen years investigating, culminating in the present work.

This book faces reality and does away with the adultared presentation of history we get from the oil-soaked-occult-serving-monopoly-Illuminati press.

Mr. Livingstone deprogramms the reader from the mythical history taught in the Rockefeller/Rotschild operated society.

A tremendous book. Complement it with The Hidden History of Money http://bb.domaindlx.com/alexjames999/

What Mr. Livingstone has done here is nothing less than attempt to provide a comprehensive, rational, and frighteningly honest account of the convoluted history of western civilization, all in just under 400 pages. A daunting task, to say the least, and one in which Livingstone has, for the most part, succeeded in. In the end, it depends on how willing the potential reader is on accepting solid facts that may conflict with those that are generally held as dogma by the world at large.

The famous adage "History is written by the winners" has always struck me as frighteningly accurate, in terms of how easily we accept easily digestible morsels of propaganda relating to the so-called "glories" of the western way of life that still has us in its iron grip. Mr. Livingstone suggests that our way of life has been influenced to an incredible degree by so-called "paganism", from the ancient cults of Babylon to the bizarre rituals of modern Freemasonry, and "The Dying God" provides indisputable evidence of this throughout its pages.

"The Dying God" is an excellent compilation of concepts introduced previously in separate historical works. It breaks down the factors behind the "rise" of western philosophy, politics and religion in terms that anyone can understand, and the results will be shocking to those who have accepted the commonly accepted mythos served up in history classes all over the "developed" world.

Even if you already consider yourself to be a well-read historian, "The Dying God" can be an invaluable tool in helping to rationalize the irrational situations the global community finds itself in today. One can only hope thar Mr. Livingstone continues along this integral thread of humanity in future works.
I think the following quote about Al-Beruni's account of India is very critical.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Of such writings one of the most notable was by the Arab scholar and scientist Alberuni. He gave a fairly dependable description of the country, its rivers and major cities. He studied Sanskrit and made a conscious attempt to understand Indian culture and convey it to the Arabic-speaking world. His accounts portrayed India as a single cultural tradition, carrying within its folds a variety of faiths, languages and social formations. There was also Amir Khusrau, born in Etah of Uttar Pradesh in A.D. 1253, son of a Turk who had migrated to India from Uzbekistan. Khusrau wrote extensively about India, which he considered as the earth's Paradise. He was impressed by the linguistic variety in India and the versatility of Indians. He was of the view that while men of letters could be found in many parts of the world, nowhere else was wisdom and philosophy so well written as in India.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
People should read this online book by KPS Gill abt the Khalistani terrorism:

Barbara Crossette, the famous New York Times foreign correspondent mentioned in her 1993 book, "India: facing the 21st century", (ISBN 0-253-31577-8) that, " Hindu India, with its many divisions, lacks a sense of community - it's a country with a lot of spirituality but very little charity and a society of maximum conflict in caste, class and politics. It is the strategy of Hindu militants to create a sense of community by welding Hinduism to Indian nationalism."

<b>Kautiliya Arthasastra Revisited</b>

In this book S.N.Mital examines in detail and <b>refutes the views held by many scholars that the text of Kautiliya Arthasastra was not written by a single author and that the date of its composition cannot be attributed to a single century</b>.

The book was primarily written as a reply to T.R. Trautmann’s Kautilya and the Arthasastra, in which he tried to prove, with the help of statistics, that the Arthasastra was a compilation of writings by three or four authors edited by Kautilya. This view was based on an analysis of the frequency of the use of ca (and) and va (or) in different portions of the Arthasastra. Trautmann also seems to have used this argument to maintain that the Arthasastra was composed sometime after the second century.

Mital tries to show, through his own collection of statistics, that Trautmann’s thesis is misconceived and that va was more frequently used in those portions of the text where the subject treated is primarily political, and ca was more frequently used where the discussion is primarily theoretical, and so this difference in the frequency of use of va and ca does not indicate different authors. Mital asserts that the Arthasastra was written by Kautilya in the <b>fourth century BC</b>, as is generally supposed, and <b>not in the third century AD, a view propounded by some Western as also some Indian scholars who wrote in the 1920s and 1930s. </b>
<b>Language, Religion and Politics in North India (Paperback)
by Paul R Brass </b>

This book is recognized as a classic study both of the politics of language and religion in India and of ethnic and nationalist movements in general. It received overwhelmingly favorable reviews across disciplinary and international boundaries at first publication, characterized as “a masterly conceptual analysis of language, religion, ethnic groups, and nationhood”, “a monumental work”, “of interest to all political scientists”, on that “should be required reading for any politically concerned person” in the United Kingdom (from a TLS review), a work whose “value and importance…can scarcely be overstated”, with “no competitor in the same class”.

About the Author
Paul R. Brass, regarded as “the leading South Asia political scientist in North America”, is Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science, University of Washington, Seattle. He has published fourteen books and many articles on comparative and South Asian politics, ethnic politics, and collective violence. His work has been based on extensive field research in India during numerous visits since 1961.
<b>Hindu Nationalism and the Language of Politics in Late Colonial India

(Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society) (Hardcover)
by William Gould, C. A. Bayly (Series Editor), Rajnarayan Chandavarkar (Series Editor), Gordon Johnson (Series Editor)</b>

William Gould explores what is arguably one of the most important and controversial themes in twentieth-century Indian history and politics: the nature of Hindu nationalism as an ideology and political language. Using an array of historical sources, he analyzes how it affected the secularist Congress in Uttar Pradesh on the eve of Independence, and how these ideologies fostered tensions between Hindus and Muslims, and the subsequent development of communal violence. This book is intended for students of colonial India as well as those interested in contemporary Indian politics.

About the Author
William Gould is a Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Leeds.
Online Bookreviews

Stanley Wolpert, A New History of India. Seventh edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 544 pp. ISBN: 0-19-516677-9 (hbk.); 0-19-516778-7 (pbk.).

The chief merits of Wolpert’s book when first published in 1977 were that it provided neat narrative summaries of Indian history at a time when no others were available in the Western market. As the market has changed since, and as scholarship on South Asia has blossomed in the twenty-five years that have passed, the measure of this new volume must be how far it outshines its rivals and how comprehensively it has addressed and incorporated the new data and perspectives available.
This book shows little sign of having been seriously revised since it was first published in 1977. Instead it has simply been extended with chapters to cover events since that time. The first impression of the book then is that it is very dated. It is difficult to take a history of India seriously that covers the Mughal period without having read such standard fare as John Richards’ The Mughal Empire (1993) or that claims to be able to assess the impact of the Depression or World War II without having seen B. R. Tomlinson’s The Economy of Modern India, 1860-1970 (1996). It would be a misjudgement for any undergraduate to submit an essay on such subjects without bothering to consult the authorities so it is a fundamental flaw for a book that seeks to be taken seriously as a history of these periods and topics to commit such neglect.
This dearth of recent reading makes his account and analysis of the events described incomplete and unusable. Wolpert’s version of the ‘Great Mutiny’ of 1857/8 is a good example of this deficiency. The myth that Bengalis dreaded ‘dark water’ or ‘kala pani’ has been dismissed by writers such as Clare Anderson and Satadru Sen, the long-term origins of the Indian soldier’s discontent have been demonstrated by Seema Alavi and Gautam Bhadra has shown that it was not simply economics that drove rebellion among the peasantry. Indeed, Wolpert’s statement that ‘local rajas like Devi Singh in Mathura and Kadam Singh near Meerut emerged overnight to rally a generally reticent peasantry to rise up against authority’ (234) has been falsified by Bhadra’s account which disputes the notion that 1857 was purely elitist in character. That Bhadra was writing almost twenty years ago shows just how out-of-touch Wolpert’s work is.
Similarly, it is a flaw of the book that it ignores most of the intellectual developments in South Asian historiography of the last quarter of a century. The most obvious omission is the Subaltern Studies collection of publications, starting in 1982, that has carefully and successfully exposed the myth that South Asia’s history is best understood by focusing on its rulers. The challenge of this collection was to the sort of account that simply narrates the region as a succession of kings, viceroys, prime ministers, and policies on the assumption that the people were a ‘lumpen’ mass capable only of mule-like forbearance or unpredictable and sudden violence. A failure to engage with this research has resulted in a book that reproduces the sort of narrative made unsustainable by these recent intellectual developments.
Indeed, as the reader contemplates the chapters tacked on periodically since the first edition in order to update the book, the volume seems dated not only in its content but also in its moral agenda. Consistently in these chapters Wolpert insists on plucking quotes from Mahatma Gandhi’s canon; e.g., ‘before I knew anything of politics in my early youth, I dreamt the dream of communal unity of the heart’ appears in a discussion of Indian and Pakistani foreign policy in the 1970s; ‘India can conquer all by soul-force’ is an excerpt of the lengthy quote that precedes the conclusion that ‘young Indians now prefer the pleasures of modernity’; ‘if we wish to bring about the rule of God or Ramarajya in India, I would suggest that our first task is to magnify our own faults and find no fault with the Muslims’ appears after the splendidly inaccurate prediction that the BJP would become India’s Hindu-first majority government in the 2004 elections. India’s youth are chastised because ‘a half-century after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by a Hindu-first fanatic of the RSS his life’s message of love and peace has lost its once potent popular appeal for young Indians’, while Nehru is associated with the leaders of the BJP and the VHP in a curious paragraph in which they all share the crime of having sought to ‘ignore Gandhi’s messages of love’ (469).
I would suggest that all of this ‘love and peace’ tells us rather more about the world-view of an academic who has resided in California since the 1960s than about how readers ought to go about judging Indians and Indian history in the twenty-first century. Indeed, using the ambiguous moralising of a man like Gandhi who is all too easily located in the historical forces that have shaped modern India as a means of condemning recent events in the history of the country seems a remarkably bankrupt intellectual strategy. It also confirms the impression that Wolpert has spent little time reading recently, as a slavish devotion to the ‘Great Soul’s’ utterances seems less sensible in light of the conclusions available in the recent spate of excellent books on Gandhi by writers as distinguished as Claude Markovits, David Hardiman and David Arnold.
Perhaps the content is only of secondary importance to the publishers who, after all, make most noise on the cover about its style which it likes to imagine is ‘accessible and popular’ and ‘graceful and engaging’. Passages such as ‘Parliament’s guards were swift enough to gun down the attackers, taking many fatal bullets themselves, yet averting tragedy by saving all the members of parliament and ministers of government’ point the way to other historians wishing to find the tone in which to write history for the X-Box generation.
Indeed, in concluding this review the finger ought to be pointed at the publishers rather than the author who, after all, is long-retired and as such at liberty to ignore ongoing work in a subject area that no longer pays his wages. Many of the major publishing houses have recently produced one-volume histories of India and have done so by turning to historians who have driven the research agenda in South Asian Studies over the last two decades or so. As such we have accounts by writers such as Burton Stein (1998), Crispin Bates (2002), Barbara and Thomas Metcalf (2002), Peter Robb (2002), and Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal (1998) in print or forthcoming. It seems to be a dreadful dereliction of its duty as a university press on the part of OUP to ignore the last twenty-five years of scholarship on India in favour of a book as compromised as this. In clinging to Gandhi as a moral measure, in representing Indian history as a narrative of its elites, in validating myths about ‘kala pani’ and the like, Wolpert and OUP New York have published a twenty-first century restatement of the hoary old myths of nineteenth-century Orientalism. What makes this all the more lamentable, suspicious even, is that they have done so at a time when American imperialists seem to be eyeing Asia with a sneer familiar to all who have studied the empire-builders of that former period.

James Mills, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom

A Brief History of India

Available translation

Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont, U.S.A 2003
Winner of the Broquette-Gonin, Prix de l'Académie Française
Translated from the french by Ken Hurry.382p.

A brief history need not be superficial, as this work shows. In seven parts, Daniélou (author of over 30 books about India as well as translator of The Complete Kama-Sutra) concisely ranges over seven millennia of Indian history, from the Proto-Australoids to Indian independence. His narrative of the Pre-Aryan world's embrace of the Indus civilization possesses great interest, and his coverage of the Jains, the Buddhists, and the great Sanskrit classics catches the essential of each subject. However, as the great epochs pass, Daniélou unfairly denies that Islam, the Mughals, and the British made contributions of any value to Indian civilization. Thus, a work that begins with the charm and intellectual verve closes on a bitter, discordant note. Nevertheless, given its breadth, this work is recommended for all libraries.
Library journal, February 1, 2003, Vol.128 N°é2

I was rather interested by the Library Journal critic concerning "A Brief History of India"(128 N° 2, February, 1).
With regard to the point of view expressed about Moghul and British colonisation, I feel that the critic has an unconscious Western bias, which is one of the main sores in India even today.
Of course, both these invaders also brought something positive with them, but we must remember that prior to their arrival India was one of the richest countries in the world and after their departure one of the poorest.

When you see the destruction made by the Muslims and in particularly by the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb in Benares, you understand some of the material effects of these invaders, but their permanent attack on the Hindus¹ social and religious system was even worse.

In any case, I deem Daniélou¹s point of view is much more realistic that that of the French writer Guy Deleury who wrote recently in ŒL'Inde continent rebelle - Le Seuil 2000.

Page 257/258:
The Indian sub-continent can look back with neither regret nor shame on its short century of British domination, to which it owes its telegraph, its railways, its neo-gothic railway stations, the gaudy uniforms of its sepoy corps d'élite, its metropolitan ports, masonic lodges and even the supreme paradox - the Congress Party, which led it to independence.
But it also owes it its current division, its delay in feeding the populations that the lowering of infant mortality has proliferated in its shanty-towns. Famine everywhere depopulated the countryside, revolts broke out in many provinces, bringing pitiless repression. Although persons of standing may have profited from the liberalism granted in small doses by London's capitalists, the people lost their voice, the languages that nourished them, and their poets.
A Short History of Midnight
Book Review

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->History at the Limit of World-History. By RANAJIT GUHA. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. 116 + ix pp. $24.50 (cloth).

      This slender book grew out of a series of lectures delivered by Ranajit Guha, one of the founding members of the Subaltern Studies Collective, at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University. In this latest book he strives to show philosophy's complicity with colonialism and its forms of knowledge. For this reason he takes the German philosopher Georg Hegel and his conception of "World-History" (Weltgeschichte) to task for its elitist biases, prejudices, and complicity in European arrogance, imperialism, and colonial knowledge. For Hegel, World-History signified the teleological movement of Reason in History through a series of successive advances that culminated in God. This providential design was undoubtedly highly Eurocentric. Hegel also attributed an important role for the state in this progressive movement. Such a conception of World-History, according to Guha, became the justification for European expansion, the colonization of continents and the wholesale destruction of entire cultures. World-History became the amoral record of states and empires, great men, and clashing civilizations. This in turn rendered irrelevant and pushed to the margins the everyday experiences of ordinary people (or "historicality," as Guha terms it). Everything that lay outside the narrative of World-History was dismissed as "Prehistory." To remedy this situation, Guha endeavors to take the reader to the limit of World-History (as defined by Hegel) and give the reader a glimpse of what history practiced outside World-History would look like. This for Guha is "a creative engagement with the past as a story of man's being in the everyday world. It is in short, a call for historicality to be rescued from its containment in World-History" (p. 6). 1 
      After introducing his argument in the first chapter, Guha proceeds to elaborate on it in the remaining four chapters. In chapters 2 and 3 he examines the contents of historicality and World-History.<b> Hegel's notion of world history denied large parts of the world any agency in human history. Thus, while Hegel admired India for its religious and spiritual qualities, he felt it did not have a history because it lacked a state. </b>Obviously, there was plenty of evidence to the contrary, and Guha cites the instance of Ramram Basu, a petty official working for the East India Company, being commissioned to write a history of kings of the province of Bengal, in eastern India. Guha calls for broadening our prose of the world to include "all of man's being in time and his being with others to write itself into that prose and enter it with all the multiplicity and singularity, complexity, and simplicity, regularity and unpredictability of such being" (p. 46). He argues that historians should decenter statist concerns with public affairs in their writings and focus more attention to issues of historicality. <b>In chapter 4 Guha examines indigenous southern Asian traditions of history (itihasa) that focus on the experience and circumstance of the narration versus the European novel, which privileges the firsthand experience of the narrator. He calls for rescuing historicality from marginalization by World-History and its emphasis on writing, the state, and notions of universal progress. He believes that this task remains to be accomplished as historians are still conceptually walled in by Hegelian notions of World-History.</b> Our narratives need to be filled with a sense of wonder about human agency at the level of everyday life and be less concerned with the rigid formalities of representing the development of states. 2 
      In the final chapter Guha turns to literature as a way out of the clutches of World-History. He finds sustenance in the concerns the Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore had for historicality—in the "weal and woe of human life which, with its everyday contentment and misery, has always been there in the peasants' fields and village festivals, manifesting their very simple and abiding humanity across all of history—sometimes under Mughal rule, sometimes under British rule" (Rabindranath Tagore cited in Guha, p. 91). It is Tagore's celebration of the everyday aspects of life (and not so much the political structure of his times) that Guha now shares as a way out of the statist predicaments of (South Asian) historiography, which he himself has not fully escaped. 3 
      Ranajit Guha's most recent book is welcome in that it joins a growing chorus of scholars such as Henri Lefebvre, Michel DeCerteau, Erving Goffman, and Emmanuel LeRoy Ladurie who have written on various aspects of everyday life. The need to think beyond statist histories can be an illuminating but problematic enterprise. Subaltern figures such as women rarely inhabit state narratives, and in this sense Guha's endorsement of "historicality" is welcomed. However, one needs to remember that modern states continue to play an important role in the ordering of social life, and losing sight of the state at the level of the everyday might mean the loss of it as an object of critique. 4 
      Guha's arguments are mostly confined to the conceptual level, and for this reason (historicalist?) evidence is lacking about, for instance, how Hegel's ideas were translated into colonial realities, or why and how the state became central to the arguments of philosophers such as Hegel. At times Guha seems to attribute to Hegel's World-History an agency that is hard to locate in the historicality of the colonial world. For instance, he says "World-History made its way to the subcontinent as an instrument of the East India Company's colonial project and helped it set up the Raj. It played a vital role in the material as well as intellectual aspect of empire building: materially, by fabricating an elaborate historicist justification for the Company's fiscal system in the subcontinent and its appropriation of the wealth of land to finance its trade; intellectually, though rather less successfully, by trying to educate Indians to accept their subjugation under British rule as historical evidence of progress" (p. 51). Despite the presence of such "ahistoricalist" (?) statements, this book is definitely worth a read for those interested in questions pertaining to everyday life and also in recent postcolonial efforts to rethink the practices of disciplinary history and thereby provincialize its European lineages. 5 

Messiah College
An online resource to Journal of World History. Acharya has some very good papers and book reviews.

link: http://www.historycooperative.org/jwhindex.html

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