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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The sacredscape of Varanasi

Banaras: The City Revealed serves its stated purpose, namely to draw attention to the city's fragile architectural legacy and to show how its richly filigreed works of art are fast vanishing - Utpal K Banerjee

BANARAS: THE CITY REVEALED; ED GEORGE MICHELL & RANA PB SINGH; PHOTOGRAPHS BY CLARE ARNI; MARG PUBLICATIONS, RS 2500

Perched on the tip of Shiva's trident and beyond the pale of the material and mundane world is how Hindus have perceived Banaras for centuries, perhaps for millennia. Believed by geographers to be located at the confluence of Varuna and Asi - hence the ancient name Varanasi - the city serenely oversees the steady stream of gurus and sadhus, philosopher-teachers and their ardent students, widows and devout individuals of all possible hues who make it their home.

After endless tomes have been written and devoured about this sacred city, Marg has now come out with a volume - splendidly planned and superbly illustrated - that focuses on the physical aspects of its built-up space, to the exclusion of its religious convictions and practices. It is just as well, for, nowhere else have so many kings and queens, governors and commanders, patrons and public men invested on such a grand scale at a single site.

The magnificent riverside palaces and public monuments that these personages erected from the 16th century onwards stand as eloquent testimonies to a sustained tradition of munificence as well as an unwavering faith in Banaras as the pre-eminent spiritual site for Hindus. Many of the latter, often nameless, were responsible for sponsoring the numerous Mathas and monasteries, free dharmasalas and charitable dispensaries that dot the cityscape till today.

It is extraordinarily painful to recount, as the authors have done, that <b>under the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707), the greatest temples of Banaras - such as, Vishvanatha, Krittivasa and Bindu Madhava - were all razed to the ground in 1669. As a consequence, no Hindu sanctuary in the city of Banaras pre-dates the time of Aurangzeb. The much older city of Puranic glory and beauty, as it was known in the 12th century, had virtually disappeared by the end of the 17th century and only some traces remained. </b>

The authors faithfully record that the redoubtable <b>French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was present in Banaras in 1665 before the horrendous feat of destruction and did document the architectural beauty of the riverside temple of Bindu Madhava before its demolition,</b> but deprive the readers from gaining an inkling into Tavernier's diary, so as to sample what that resplendent work of Hindu art in the then Banaras was like. Omission of such a gem in a book devoted to Banaras' architecture, is really unpardonable.

<b>Having noted the fact of wanton destruction, let it be said that Banaras is also an abiding home to the Muslim faith, providing sanctuary to a series of commanding mosques and shrines of Muslim saints, most of them, thanks to the large-scale devastation by Aurangzeb, older than any surviving temple within the city. These Muslim monuments confirm the building interest of the Delhi Sultans when north India was under their control.</b> Nor did constructions slow down when the Mughals began to lose power and Banaras was held by a local dynasty. It is to those later Hindu rulers and their chieftains that most of the city's now extant palaces and garden-residences can be ascribed.

Indeed, there is a continuing coexistence of mosques and tombs with the all-important Ghats and riverside palaces. Mosques of the Sultanate period distinctly go back to the 13th century and some dominant ones like Rajghat, easily the oldest, were fortified as citadels.

Interestingly, Bibi Raziyya Mosque (named after the famous queen of Delhi, who was perhaps involved in its construction) was erected over the dismantled Visvanatha Temple: an act that effectively 'Islamised' a site particularly holy to the Hindu psyche. Four mosques, constructed under the orders of Aurangzeb, were all built on sites of the most important temples of Banaras, dismantled under the imperial orders of 1669. As the authors point out, "By his act of destruction, Aurangzeb intended to eradicate Hinduism and attain a moral unity... by imposing his version of Sunni Islam."

Aurangzeb's mosques in Banaras are interpreted here "as expression of the personal political-religious idealism of an extremely ambitious monarch." <b>He effectively obliterated the legacy of Akbar (15556-1605) whose religious tolerance had led to the building of two great temples, dedicated to Shiva (Vishvanatha) and Vishnu (Bindu Madhava).</b> After much architectural speculation, it is a relief to turn to the first fully preserved Vishvanatha Temple of Banaras, standing next to the Bibi Raziyya Mosque and now called Adi Vishveshvara, presumably to distinguish it from the later Vishvanatha erected by Ahilyabai.

Among the Ghats, there are 84 clearly demarcated ones, out of which the oldest, and firmly dated, is Manikarnika Ghat, built in 1302. In many instances, there were separate owners for the top and the bottom parts of the Ghats. Little information has been garnered with regard to the architecture of other Ghats from before the 16th century.

On the whole, the book serves its stated purpose, namely to draw attention to the city's fragile architectural legacy and to show how its richly filigreed works of art are vanishing fast. It notes, "Even a short boat ride on the Ganga reveals deplorable assaults to the city's unique historical texture. Riverside palaces and Ghats are eroded by the destructive action of the river itself as well as by new structures that literally engulf older ones.

Religious monuments are disappearing under thick whitewash and insensitive additions." Where the book falters is by not depicting Banaras as a living city. Its catholicity of spirit - as evident on the Ghats - is equally matched by its enduring traditions that have a luminous cultural face. There is a sundry picture here of Amethi Temple on Manikarnika Ghat and its bracket details of exuberance of performing arts, of cymbals, veena, flute and drums, but not a mention of the famous Kabira Chowk that has been reverberating with the sounds of a dancer's anklets and a singer's lilting melodies late into the night.

Surely the highly culture-oriented Banaras citizens and art-conscious traders of the world-famous Banaras silk could be sensitised to their vanishing heritage, if only put across in a holistic way and not as a blueprint of dry lamentation.
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Link to Tavernier's books: TRAVELS IN INDIA from Columbia Uty.
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->THE RULING CASTE
Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj
By David Gilmour
Illustrated. 381 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $27.


In "The Ruling Caste," David Gilmour takes a close look at this band of emissaries and the administrative machinery that made it possible for so few to rule so many. It is, in a way, a spinoff, or a series of outtakes, from "Curzon," his biography of India's most famous viceroy. It is also his opportunity to challenge the picture of the British administrators in India as the boorish, gin-swilling clubmen described by E. M. Forster in "A Passage to India."

Mr. Gilmour concedes that the British ruled by force, not consent. At the same time, the civilians, as members of the Indian Civil Service were known, took a high-minded view of their mission. The duty of the British was, they believed, to rule firmly but fairly, to improve living conditions wherever they were posted and to maintain high standards of integrity. It is a measure of their success that both India and Pakistan adopted the British model for their own civil services after independence. The fact of British rule was an abomination, in other words, but the organizational structure was beyond criticism.

Service in India, despite hardships, offered young men the prospect of adventure, a generous salary and pension and the chance, while still in their 20's, to govern large chunks of territory and change the lives of untold thousands of Indians. Indian service was part job, part calling, and it seemed to act as a magnet for certain families. Some sent their sons in generational waves. The Stracheys, for example, sent 13 family members from four generations.

Until the mid-19th century, civil servants were trained, if that's the word, at Haileybury College, which was created in the early 1800's to ensure that recruits, selected by the directors of the East India Company, knew at least something about the country they were preparing to rule. A nepotistic old-boy's network quickly developed. Some graduates were outstanding, but others resembled the indolent, curry-loving Jos Sedley in "Vanity Fair."

In 1853, open examinations produced a new breed, the "competition wallahs." Mostly middle class, and often the sons of clergymen, they resembled the Peace Corps volunteers of the 1960's, afire with a sense of imperial mission, further heated, toward the end of the century, by the works of Rudyard Kipling. "They liked the thought of riding around the countryside dispensing justice under a banyan tree," Mr. Gilmour writes.

But where? The top-scoring candidates opted for Bengal, the Punjab or the Northwestern Provinces, the fast track for ambitious civil servants. Low scorers wound up in backwaters like Madras or Bombay. Wherever the competition wallahs went, they encountered the contempt of the old Haileybury crowd. Even one of their own, Lepel Griffin, complained, "They neither ride, nor shoot, nor dance nor play cricket, and prefer the companionship of their books to the attraction of Indian society."

Freshmen civilians, known as griffins, usually aspired to be one of the 240 district officers, the princelings of the Indian Civil Service. Justice under the banyan tree was just part of the job description. In his districts, with an average area of 4,430 square miles and a population of perhaps a million, a district officer combined the functions of judge, tax assessor, census taker, police chief, game warden, public-works czar, diplomat and social director. He was expected to be incorruptible, impartial and incapable of accepting an "illegal gratification."

The challenges facing the district officers provide some of Mr. Gilmour's most entertaining pages. The government took a tolerant view of local customs. One raja, for example, was allowed to take a new wife each year at an annual festival, but another, who wanted to carry on the family tradition of human sacrifice for his coronation, required discreet intervention. The district officer persuaded him to pretend to kill the victim, who then pretended to die.

The niceties of social protocol in Victorian India could be alarmingly complex, for both ruler and ruled. Indian maharajas jealously guarded their privileges. One of the most effective methods of bringing a troublesome ally into line was to reduce the number of guns firing a salute. The British, for their part, lived according to "The Warrant of Precedence," a government publication that assigned rank with extraordinary precision. A civilian in India for 18 years had equal status with a lieutenant colonel, for example, but was 18 places above a major or a civilian who had been in the country for only 12 years.

Mr. Gilmour is a stylish and engaging writer, but about half of "The Ruling Caste" delves into matters of interest only to a specialist, like the difference between privilege leave, special leave, leave on medical certificate and furlough. Entire chapters, for the general reader, descend into a bureaucratic morass, enlivened here and there by a bright anecdote. The intricate machinery of government has its fascinations, but the pace picks up when Mr. Gilmour turns to the Kiplingesque tales of shrewd civilians waging diplomatic war with profligate, sometimes insane, Indian potentates or roaming the wild frontier in the name of British civilization.

Some left behind canals and railroads. Others wrote treatises on Indian poetry or religion. Mr. Gilmour does make the case that the civilians, however tarnished their cause in modern eyes, deserve better than they get in "A Passage to India."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/books/17book.html
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Very interesting book
from telegraph, 24 Feb.,2006
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->AN ANCIENT FAITH REVISITED 
<b>The nation-building agenda of Indian nationalists in the nineteenth century included the idea of reforming Hinduism. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s ethical revalidation and Swami Vivekananda’s ‘Islamized’ brand of Hinduism clearly demonstrate this point. Mahatma Gandhi’s defence of some of the practices in Hindu ism against Ambedkar’s virulent attacks on the religion is yet another proof of this nationalist agenda. Indian nationalists knew perfectly well that Indianness and Hinduism, though derived from the same origin, were not synonymous. But they considered these two notions as supplementary, and, to a large extent, overlapping.</b>

This may be the reason why some eminent scholars like Heinrich Steitencron considered both Indian nationalism and Hinduism as coeval, and did not recognize the existence of Hinduism as a codified religion before the nineteenth century. Orientalists as well as the Nehru of Discovery of India held more or less the same views. Thomas Trautmann and Romila Thapar, in their own ways, too subscribed to the notion of a colonial construction of the Hindu religion.

<b>In this book, the author, David N. Lorenzen, takes his stance against this deeply entrenched, and near-axiomatic, view of Hinduism. With the help of some solid, unambiguous research, he traces the inception of Hinduism as a near-crystallized religion to around 300-600 AD. </b>But, strangely enough, Lorenzen does not mention the contribution of Nirad C. Chaudhuri who forwarded similar arguments and drew the same inference in his book, Hinduism, A Religion To Live By way back in 1979.

Apart from the eponymous opening essay, the volume includes nine other articles, two of which are devoted to Kabir, the poet saint of the bhakti cult, who, unlike the more trenchant Tukaram, posed serious challenges to both Hindu and Muslim orthodoxy.

<b>Quite significantly, Lorenzen dismisses all the three markers of Aryan and non-Aryan identity and puts a decisive emphasis on “material and political aspects” of differentiation. But, unfortunately, the author stops short of developing his theory. The chapter on the ideology of Gupta kingship, which is premised upon Burtonstein’s observation of three traditions of kingship in ancient India, is illuminating. </b>

Lorenzen is not a staunch methodist as a scholar. His style, infact, is quite engaging and, at times, a little too adventurous. His manner of rendition would surely keep the reader interested in this book.

ARNAB BHATTACHARYA
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I just ordered this book. Seems like a nice small book for intro to Hinduism. Has anyone read it ?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/186204034...glance&n=283155
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I just ordered this book. Seems like a nice small book for intro to Hinduism. Has anyone read it ?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1862040...e&n=283155 <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Learning Hindusim from cross <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
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Book Review in Pioneer, 27 Mrach 2006
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Monument as a reference clue

The volume is striking for the sheer wealth of detail and the simple elegance of its prose that tempts the reader to take it long for a Qutb tour - Sandhya Jain

<b>QUTB MINAR AND ITS MONUMENTS BY BM PANDE OUP, RS 395 </b>

One of the most critical aspects of the study and appreciation of heritage monuments is their place in a specific historical context, which enables a visitor to envisage the entire socio-political-cultural spectrum of a bygone era, keeping the monument as a reference point. This honest and unbiased understanding of the past is the principal reason for modern man's preservation of heritage sites, though the sheer beauty of some buildings and art works is, as the poet Emerson said in another context, its own excuse for being.

<b>This is why independent India's propensity to exploit its archaeological heritage almost exclusively for its tourism potential is unhealthy, as it tends to delink the past of a continuous civilisation. </b>This may work for countries like Egypt, where a severe civilisational rupture has rendered the beauties of the past meaningless to ordinary Egyptians, but it cannot be the preferred model for eternal India, and Dr BM Pande has done well to draw attention to this danger in his short but eminently readable Qutb Minar and its Monuments.

The book is striking for the sheer wealth of detail and the simple elegance of its prose that tempts the reader to take it along for a Qutb tour. As Delhi's single most important landmark, such a thorough scrutiny of the Qutb is welcome, and Oxford University Press has done well to undertake such an effort for 21 cultural sites in India.

<b>Pande ends the Minar's solitary status by placing it within the Mehrauli Archaeological Park covering nearly 100 acres and over seventy heritage buildings.</b> Mehrauli, where the Minar dominates the landscape and the imagination, has a hoary past, being the site of Delhi's first-known defence construction, Lal Kot, built by the Tomar ruler Anangpal. The name derives from Mihirapuri (or Mihirapalli), which suggests the existence of a sun temple.

Mehrauli is equally renowned for the famous Yogamaya temple and the tomb of Bakhtyar Kaki, both linked by the famous annual Phoolwalon ki Sair held during September-October, in which fans made of flowers are carried in procession to the temple and dargah. Pande suggests the temple was possibly the site of an earlier yogini temple as the area was once known as Yoginipura; the name is mentioned in the Palam Baoli inscription dated 1274 CE, as an alternative of Dhilli, an old name for Delhi. Both Dhilli and Yoginipura find frequent mention in Jaina Pattavalis.

The Qutb complex is important because it represents the cusp of Indian history, the site where Hindu rulers yield to the invading armies of a foreign faith. Anangpal II built Lal Kot between 1052 and 1060 CE. Materials from this citadel and fortification of the Tomars and Chauhans who ruled Delhi from the tenth to the twelfth century, were reused in the Quwwatu'l Islam mosque and other buildings. The complex contains buildings of the later Mughal period, such as the tomb of Imam Zamin who came to India from Turkestan during the reign of Sikandar Lodi (1488-1517) and the seventeenth-century tomb of Muhammad Quli Khan used as a residence by Metcalfe.

Delhi's most famous Chauhan (Chahamana) ruler was Vigraharaja IV (1153-64 CE), also known as Visaladeva or Bisaldeo, who captured the city from the Tomars. His exploits are engraved on the Ashokan pillar at Kotla Firoz Shah. The Tomar Rajputs were feudatories of the Pratiharas and gained control over Delhi in the eighth century.

A strong bardic tradition links the Suraj Kund reservoir south-east of Tughluqabad with Surajpal of the Tomar dynasty. The Anangpur dam is ascribed to Anangpal of the same dynasty, mentioned in Prithvirajaraso as the founder of Delhi. Tradition says the Iron Pillar was brought by Anangpal and installed in its present location, where the Qutb complex arose later.

Iltutmish (1211-36CE) extended the Quwwatu'l Islam mosque, completed the Qutb Minar, and built Sultan Ghari's tomb, which is worth a visit. After some years of political instability, Balban came to power (1265 to 1287 CE). His tomb lies close to the Qutb, and is worth visiting as it is the first Indo-Islamic building using the Indo-Islamic building using the true arch.

'Alau'd-Din Khalji (1296-1316) is well known for his architectural exertions. His tomb, madarsa, the elegant gateway known as the 'Ala'I Darwaza, and the unfinished 'Ala'I Minar, all lie within the Qutb complex. He extended the Quwwatu'l Islam mosque and repaired the Qutb Minar. In 1303, he laid the foundations of Siri, the second city of Delhi, and in 1305 built a large tank called Hauz-i-'Ala'I, now Hauz-Khas. Pande painstakingly details the contributions of the Tughluq, Lodi, Sher Shah and Moghal dynasties to Delhi's landscape, and thus effectively gives the reader a bird's eye view of the principal monuments of pre-Independence India.

Yet the wealth of detail lavished upon the Qutb complex is revealing to citizens who would have visited the structure on a school or family picnic, dependent on the services of an ill-equipped guide. The Qutb, built 1109 CE, is actually only an adjunct of the Quwwatu'I Islam Masjid, or the 'Might of Islam' mosque, erected on the plinth of an earlier temple.

The inner lintel of its entrance doorway carries an inscription of Qutbu'd-Din Aibak in Arabic, in Naskh (or Naskhi) scripit, recording the demolition of 27 temples, the materials of which were used to build the mosque. These Hindu and Jain temples were, the inscription says, were built at a cost of 20-lakh coins each.

<b>Interestingly, at the corners of the mosque, mezzanine floors were raised for female worshippers.</b> This is interesting given the controversy some years ago regarding the permissibility of female worshippers in mosques.

The circular ceiling behind the entrance doorway on the eastern side and the mezzanine storeys reflect the original temple ceiling, and comprise several sculptures, ornamental motifs, and beautifully carved figures in almost each pillar or bracket, most deliberately disfigured. The pillar motifs are typical of Hindu temples, such as the chain-and-bell, ghata-pallava or pot with flowers, endless knots, creepers, louts flowers.

<b>The mezzanine on the south-eastern end of the cloister has well-preserved lintels with scenes from the life of the Jain Tirthankars and various Jain deities. A Jain tradition states that the site had a temple dedicated to the Tirthankara Parshvanatha, built prior to 1132 by Sahu Nattal, an Agrawal minister in the court of Tomar ruler Anangpal III. This is mentioned by the poet Shridhara in his Parshva Purana.</b>

A lintel over a window in the north facade of the mosque shows the birth of Krishna and events of his life. A pillar on the southern side clearly shows a seated Tirthankara. The Qutb area has also yielded some Hindu and Jain sculptures from now vanished temples, such as a beautiful four-armed Vishnu with the date Samvat 1204 (now in the National Museum, Delhi. Pande mentions the masons' marks engraved on some pillars in the Quwwatu'I Islam mosque, which reveal that the materials originally came from buildings of the time of Anangpal, founder of Lal Kot.

<b>The Iron Pillar has always been the odd man out in the Qutb complex. Its Sanskrit inscription in the Gupta script dates it around the fourth century CE on paleographic grounds. The pillar is also engraved with later inscriptions, one of which states, in Nagari, that in Samvat Dihali 1109 Anangpal founded Delhi.</b>

For Delhi lovers, this book is a truly worthwhile investment, because it not only details the significance of the city's extant Islamic structures, but reaches back into the past to capture the timeless memory of an era when Delhi resonated with the heroic exploits of its Rajput kings and romped with a dark god on the shores of the Yamuna.
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Deccan Chronicle, 26 March 2006
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->How weak are the powerful

Itihaas by Akhilesh Mithal


W ealth and power are heady intoxicants. Men and women who possess wealth and power are prone to suffer madness. When the 1975 Emergency was declared by Indira Gandhi “Sattee” (the journalist Satinder Singh) quoted an Urdu verse:

Jinkoa hoa jaataa heiy andaazeiy
khudaaee paiydaa,
Humney Deiykhaa heiy who but
toard diyeiy jaateiy heiyn
(The ones deluded into believing that they are God Almighty have to, like the icons of the Ka’aba, suffer destruction.)

Urdu is not known in the White House and the President of the USA and his coterie are unlikely to be warned of the predicament they are in today. Perhaps a lesson from 17th century Indian history will help. <b>As India has been larger than life right until the entry of European businesses and their “companies” its rulers could easily get deluded. The feeling of omnipotence and Godhood is seen to occur fairly frequently in India’s history.</b>

<b>Alauddeen Khilji (1290-1310) made his mark by conquering the fort of Deogir and looting the accumulated treasure of twenty-five generations of Yadava rulers. He then assassinated the reigning Sultan, his uncle/father-in-law, Jajaaluddin Firoz Khilji, and won adherents by broadcasting star shaped ingots of gold from gigantic catapults called manjaaniks at each stage in the journey all the way from Kara Manikpur (Pratabgarh) in East to the capital Dillee. He assumed the title “Sikandar-as-saanee” — the equal to or second Alexander in his inscriptions and coins.</b> According to a near contemporary historian, Zia-ud-deen-Barani, Alauddeen wanted to establish a new religion with himself as its prophet/God and was dissuaded by his nobles with some considerable difficulty.

<b>India continued to be the richest country in the world and the desired destination for men of ambition and enterprise up until the 18th century. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658) was the richest and most powerful monarch on earth. </b>

<span style='color:red'>He looked upon himself as Zillay Ilaahee (shadow of God upon earth). The cathedral or congregational (ja’ama) mosque he designed to tower above his new city in Dillee, called Shahjahaanaabaad, was named Masjideyjahaannumaa or the mosque of the manifest world. </span>

The allusion to the unseen mosque in heaven in which all Muslims believe was obvious to all. <b>Just as the Jaama Masjid of Shahjahaanaabaad, Dillee, was the shadow on earth of the unseen mosque of heaven so also was the Emperor Shihaabuddeen Muhammad Shah Jahan Saahibey Qiraan Saanee the Zilley Ilaahee or “shadow of God upon earth”. And representative of Allah, the unseen ruler of heaven.</b>

<i>{Quasi/shadow Caliph. Interesting insight.}</i>

This pomp and pageantry bombast and bluster was put to test on March 26, 1644, when Begum Jahanara, eldest child from Shah Jahan’s marriage with Arjumand Bano Begum, Mumtaaz Mahal, got severely burnt as a result of her gossamer muslin oarhnee stole/scarf catching fire from a floor lamp lighting the palace. Shah Jahan immediately came down to earth. The daily ritual of holding court and dispensing justice like King Solomon was all but abandoned. Purses of gold were kept under the pillow of the ailing princess and the contents distributed to the destitute in order that their prayers help in the recovery. The Holy Quran was recited from beginning to end without interruption, and prayers offered round-the-clock near the sick bed of Jahanara by learned scholars and divines. Rewards amounting to a king’s ransom and more were offered for anyone who would reduce the suffering and cure the princess of the damage caused by the extensive burns.

Jahanara recovered and Shah Jahan reverted to his Imperial destiny. In September 1657, fate struck again. It was the Emperor himself who fell ill this time. <i>{Note 100 years before Battle of Plasey and rise of East India Company}</i>Due to an obstruction in the bladder Shah Jahan passed no water for seven days. The resulting accumulation of undesirable elements caused loss of consciousness. <b>The news soon reached the princes, Sultan Shuja in Bengal, Awrungzeyb in Deccan, and Murad Bukhsh in Gujarat. Rebellion raised its ugly head and failed to subside with the recovery of the Emperor.</b>

<b>The generals of the empire, the Amber Raja Jaisimha and the Marwar Raja Jaswantsimha, were sent out to block the rebel princes. Although Jaisimha won against Shah Shuja in Bengal, the defeat of Jaswantsimha at Dharmat from the combined forces of Murad Bukhsh and Awrungzeyb proved disastrous.</b>

The fate of Shah Jahan was sealed when the eldest prince, Dara Shukoh, suffered defeat at Samugarh at the hands of Awrungzeyb and Murad Bukhsh. Shah Jahan was deposed and imprisoned in the palace fort of Agra where he died in 1666 (eight years later). The body was hurriedly interred in the mausoleum that Shah Jahan had created for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (d 1631). The cenotaph of Shah Jahan is the only element which is out of place in the whole noble structure. Such was the fate of the man who thought he was the “shadow of God upon the earth”. Power wielders beware!
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So in other words the rise of Aurangazeb sowed the seeds of destruction of the Mughals. He was a reactionary person and there was wide spread disaffection to his rein. His wars impoverished the treasury and made the Empire weak. His successors could not hold the center strong and led to centrifugal forces that the English exploited.
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->History: Its Theory And Method - Second Edition
Ali, B Sheik
1st Edition - 418 Pages - Paperback - Macmillan India Limited
Normally Ships in 3 Days 
ISBN   033390785X
List Price   Rs. 178.00
   
Summary:
The second edition of this well-known book studies three aspects, namely, the theory, the methodology and the historiography of history and is therefore divided into three parts. <b>In the first part all theoretical problems as to what constitutes history, its nature, value, subject matter, philosophy, structure and form are discussed. The second part is about methodology wherein a graphic account is given on the techniques of writing history.</b> All aspects of methodology from conceiving a subject to the completion of the work are dealt with. Preliminary operations, analytical operations and synthetic operations are described. The third part is on historiography -- from the earliest period to the present day -- which deals with the history of historical writing. This edition contains a new chapter on American Historiography. The merit of the book lies in the interpretation of ideas. A lot of thinking has been bestowed and difficult concepts have been made lucid and intelligible. A special feature is that all concepts are illustrated with suitable examples from Indian history and world history. On many issues such as the nature of history, the author has presented some of his original research material. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
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Western Intellectual Tradition: From Leonard to Hegel


(Harper Torchbooks / The University Library TB 3001) (Paperback)
by Jacob Bronowski, Bruce Mazlish




This is one of those survey books, in the style of the learned, impartial treatise by the wise man. But here, we have Bronowski the wise but biased man. He says evolution is true, and that as time goes by, we understand it better and better. By contrast, he's got a problem with John Calvin, to the point of qualifying as something of a "Calvinphobe." We'll get back to that; but first, as a survey text, this is popular at the college level.

Bronowski here was intends to tie it all up, or integrate a Western world view: History, politics, science, achievement, and freedom. Bronowski delivers on this assignment, and convincingly argues that the matrix of the modern Western world can be boiled down and studied. Bernard Lewis of Princeton would agree, and Lewis has contributed to this subject by looking at how much of the Islamic world, by contrast to the "West" (anyplace controlled by Europeans), has hankered after the money and the technology of the West, but has rejected "Westernization." Consequently, says Lewis, non-Westerners are left with modern versions of non-Western societies, and their people still want to leave to express themselves elsewhere.

Bronowski can explain why. He has it down to two main ideas (by the time you hit his conclusion after almost 500 pages). First: The Renaissance launched the idea of developing your human personality, which means realizing the "potential of many gifts" and "fulfill[ing] these gifts in the development of their own lives" (Hardcover, p. 499) insofar as these are "special gifts with which a man is endowed." (Id., logical reference to the Apostle Paul in Romans 12 omitted by Bronowski, but what the heck); and second: "the idea of freedom" (Hardcover again, p. 500). Since "human fulfillment is unattainable without freedom...these two main ideas are linked," says Bronowski (somehow missing Paul's letter to the Galatians, articulating this about 15 centuries prior to the Renaissance, but like I said, we all have our point of view).

Bronowski applies his two points in the first 400 or so pages: how human fulfillment and freedom have inspired and produced the scientific and technical progress, which in turn has produced leisure time unimaginable to all but a few rulers in earlier eras of history. Now the Islamic world will point out that this thesis conveniently starts 500 years after the glories and achievements of the Muslims were already firmly established. And we can also see how these same two impulses were released and also channeled by Christianity, 600 years before Mohammed. But isn't it a great thing to be free to express all of this in our own free time? And free to dispute it, in creative, progressive societies in which opposition is legalized, to achieve what Bronowski calls "this balance between power and dissent" which "is the heart of Western civilization." (p. 501). The conflict of dissenting ideas overtaking established ones, and fulfilling some thinker's potential contribution to our machinery, art, navigation, or hey, maybe legal administration-is how "history is made." People putting their stamp on ideas. Idea driven people stamping out automobiles; or compressing information to travel through glass fibers.

Despite its forbidding title, The Western Intellectual Tradition is a readable overview of Western thought from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Bronowski and Mazlish's book is an entertaining way to refresh your memory about that Western Civilization course you were forced to take in freshman year.

The authors make the ideas come alive by providing a thumbnail biography of each thinker, placing him (and I do mean 'him') squarely in the political and social context of his times. This can cast an entirely different light on a writer's work. For example, Rousseau, who created a philosophy based on a belief in the natural goodness of man, not only sired five children out of wedlock, but sent each of them off to a foundling hospital!

Bringing all these thinkers together in one volume highlights timelines that may have gone unnoticed. I had never thought about the fact that Shakespeare and Galileo were contemporaries. And how did England change within 50 years from a nation of baudy Elizabethans to one of strict Puritans?

One warning: The text is laden with footnotes. A few provide interesting background on the disputes over the ideas described, but most simply give references and can be skipped by the general reader.
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http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/intellect.html

Welcome to The History Guide's Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History: Abelard to Nietzsche. These lectures were written over the past five years and served as the basis for my upper division European intellectual history and history of European socialism classes at Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton and Davie, FL) and Meredith College (Raleigh, NC).

The lectures presented here are between five and ten pages in length and are meant to be downloaded and printed. Of course, you can read them online if you wish. Please keep in mind that these lectures are intended for your education and edification and not for publication by anyone but myself. If you would like to link any of these pages to your own or use them in a classroom exercise or as a citation in one of your essays, please be courteous enough to let me know about it by sending email to feedback@historyguide.org . You should also read my Conditions of Use statement for particulars. If you are looking for my credentials, please consult my curriculum vitae.

The primary thrust of the lectures is the history of the western intellectual tradition from Abelard to Nietzsche. The lectures, furthermore, are broken down into rather traditional categories, ie. Reformation, Renaissance, Scientific Revolution and so on. I make no claim to originality in any of these essays. The opinions expressed here are my own but I am sharing them with you because I believe that education is something much more than a classroom and grades. If I appear to have contributed something to your own knowledge of yourself and others, please share that knowledge with me.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Lecture 1: Modern European Intellectual History: An Introduction
Lecture 2: The Medieval World View (1)
Lecture 3: The Medieval World View (2)
Lecture 4: The Medieval Synthesis and the Renaissance Discovery of Man
Lecture 5: The Medieval Synthesis Under Attack: Savonarola and the Protestant Reformation
Lecture 6: The Medieval Synthesis and the Secularization of Human Knowledge: The Scientific Revolution, 1543-1642 (1)
Lecture 7: The Medieval Synthesis and the Secularization of Human Knowledge: The Scientific Revolution, 1642-1730 (2)
Lecture 8: The New Intellectual Order: Man, Nature and Society
Lecture 9: Écrasez l'infâme!: The Triumph of Science and the Heavenly City of the 18th Century Philosophe
Lecture 10: The Vision of Human Progress: Vico, Gibbon and Condorcet
Lecture 11: The Origins of the French Revolution
Lecture 12: The French Revolution: The Moderate Stage, 1789-1792
Lecture 13: The French Revolution: The Radical Stage, 1792-1794
Lecture 14: The Language of Politics: England and the French Revolution
Lecture 15: Europe and the Superior Being: Napoleon
Lecture 16: The Romantic Critique of the Enlightenment
Lecture 17: The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England
Lecture 18: The Social Consequences of the Industrial Revolution -- currently editing
Lecture 19: The French Revolution and the Socialist Tradition: Early French Communists (1)
Lecture 20: The French Revolution and the Socialist Tradition: English Democratic Socialists (2)
Lecture 21: The Utopian Socialists: Charles Fourier (1)
Lecture 22: The Utopian Socialists: Robert Owen and Saint-Simon (2)
Lecture 23: The Age of Ideologies: General Introduction (1)
Lecture 24: The Age of Ideologies: Reflections on Karl Marx (2)
Lecture 25: The Age of Ideologies: The World of Auguste Comte (3)
Lecture 26: The Age of Ideologies: Charles Darwin and Evolutionary Theory (4) -- currently editing
Lecture 27: The Revolt Against the Western Intellectual Tradition: Nietzsche and the Birth of Modernism
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<img src='http://intellibriefs.com/saras.JPG' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<b>BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT :Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization by Dr.N S Rajaram </b>
The discovery of the Sarasvati River, lauded in the Vedas as the greatest river, and the decipherment of the 5000-year old Indus script are the two most important breakthroughs in Indian history to have taken place in recent decades. The story of Sarasvati’s rediscovery in our time is also the story of the rediscovery of Vedic India. Here is a book on these epoch making developments by one who has been at the center of these developments.

The book shows unequivocally— Harappan civilization was Vedic. Harappan archaeology represents the material remains of the culture and civilization described in the Vedic literature, and flourished in the same geographic regions.

In the present book, N.S. Rajaram, a scientist as well as historian, marshals evidence from a wide range of sources, from archaeology and astronomy to the newly deciphered Indus seals, to shed light on the origins and the achievements of probably the most important civilization in world history. He goes beyond current theories and highlights important facts about natural history and population genetics that point to climate changes in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions rather than invasions from Central Asia or Eurasia as holding the keys to understanding the origins of the Vedic civilization.

In the process he settles important questions like the “Aryan invasion” and the “Harappan horse” by exposing the political currents and the personalities that gave rise to the brand of history imposed on the children of India by colonial authorities and their present day followers. To place it in the historical context, the book includes a summary of the current state of these politically motivated moves, including the recent controversy over textbooks used in California schools.

Contents

Foreword by David Frawley
Preface: Science in the service of history

1. Introduction: Science and belief
2. Vedic Sarasvati: River lost and found
3. Cobwebs of colonialism: The Aryan problem
4. History and politics: Subversion of scholarship
5. Vedic people: Image of the ocean
6. The language puzzle: India and Europe
7. Vedic Age: On the banks of the Sarasvati
8. Birth of writing: Harappan language and script
9. Beyond the invasion: Looking south and east

Epilogue: ‘History is always written wrong’

Supplement I: The current state of Aryan theories
Supplement II: Science in Ancient India
Supplement III: Date of the Mahabharata War

Bibliography
Index
About the author
Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram is a mathematician, linguist and historian who after a twenty-year career as an academic and industrial researcher in the United States turned his attention to history, in which he has several notable achievements. He collaborated with the renowned Vedic scholar Dr. Natwar Jha on the decipherment of the 5000 year old Indus script leading to their epoch making work The Deciphered Indus Script. In May 1999, Rajaram deciphered the newly discovered sample of what has been called the “world’s oldest writing,” showing it to be related to the Rigveda. Most recently, by a detailed study of human population genetics, he has shown that the people of India are not recent immigrants but have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years. He sees history as an extension of natural history rather than as a field for political and social theories.

Publisher: Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi; Availability: June 2006
  Reply
Free online books


http://2020ok.com/4895.htm

Including:
A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar) : a contribution to the history of India by Robert Sewell

Also Katherine Mayo's "Mother India" and many more. See below:

Browse Free Online Books: A Brief Summary In Plain Language Of The Most Important Laws Concerning Women by Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar) : a contribution to the history of India by Robert Sewell
A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar: A Contribution To The History Of India by Robert Sewell
A Gandhi Anthology by Mahatma Gandhi, Ed. By Valaji Govindaji Desai | Mirror
A Narrative Of The Siege Of Delhi - With An Account Of The Mutiny At Ferozepore In 1857 by Charles John Griffiths
A Record Of Buddhistic Kingdoms by Fa-hsien, Trans. By James Legge | Mirror
A Ride to India across Persia and Baluchist?n by Harry De Windt
A Treatise On The Art Of Dancing by Giovanni-andrea Gallini
A Virginia Girl in the First Year of the War. by C. Harrison
At Home And Abroad: A Sketch-book Of Life, Scenery, And Men by Bayard Taylor
At The Heart Of The Empire: Indians And The Colonial Encounter In Late-victorian Britain by Antoinette M. Burton
Bazaar India: Markets, Society, And The Colonial State In Bihar by Anand A. Yang
Buddhism In Tibet, Illustrated By Literary Documents And Objects Of Religious Worship, With An Account Of The Buddhist Systems Preceding It In India by Literary Documents And Objects Of Religious Worship
Buddhist Mahayana Texts by Edward B. Cowell
Caste And Capitalism In Colonial India: The Nattukottai Chettiars by David West Rudner
Culture And Power In Banaras: Community, Performance, And Environment, 1800-1980 by Sandria B. Freitag
Dialogue And History: Constructing South India, 1795-1895 by Eugene F. Irschick
Fall Of The Moghul Empire Of Hindustan by H. G. Keene
Forty Hadith: An Exposition On 40 Ahadith Narrated Through The Prophet [s] And His Ahl Al-bayt [a] by Ruhollah Khomeini, Trans. By Mahliqa Qara`i And Ali Quli Qara`i
Gandhi Today: A Report On Mahatma Gandhi's Successors by Mark Shepard
Goa And The Blue Mountains, Or, Six Months Of Sick Leave by Richard Francis Burton
Hints Toward Reforms, In Lectures, Addresses, And Other Writings by Horace Greeley
Hira Singh : when India came to fight in Flanders by Talbot Mundy
Hira Singh: When India Came To Fight In Flanders by Talbot Mundy
India And The United States: Estranged Democracies, 1941-1991 by Dennis Kux
India, The "enron Project" In Maharashtra: Protests Suppressed In The Name Of Development by Amnesty International
Indian Frontier Policy; an historical sketch by John Miller Adye
Indian Home Rule (or Hind Swaraj) by Mahatma Gandhi
Indian speeches (1907-1909) by John Morley
Indian Traffic: Identities In Question In Colonial And Postcolonial India by Parama Roy
Jewish History: An Essay In The Philosophy Of History by Simon Dubnow, Trans. By J. Friedlander And Henrietta Szold
Lighted to Lighten: The Hope of India by Alice B. Van Doren
Lights And Shades Of Missionary Life: Containing Travels, Sketches, Incidents And Missionary Efforts, During Nine Years Spent In The Region Of Lake Superior by John H. Pitezel
Mahatma Gandhi And His Myths by Mark Shepard
Modern India by William Eleroy Curtis
Mother India by Katherine Mayo
Nepal And Bhutan: Country Studies by Andrea Matles Savada
Objections To The Enfranchisement Of Women Considered by Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
Papers Of A Pariah by Robert Hugh Benson
Pathway To God by Mahatma Gandhi, Ed. By M. S. Deshpande
Peasants And Monks In British India by William R. Pinch
Perspectives On Kerala History: The Second Millennium by P. J. Cherian
Reason And Passion: Representations Of Gender In A Malay Society by Michael G. Peletz
Reminiscences Of Famous Women by Harriet A. Townsend
Rhetoric And Ritual In Colonial India: The Shaping Of A Public Culture In Surat City, 1852-1928 by Douglas E. Haynes
Sanitary And Social Lectures And Essays by Charles Kingsley
Selected Works And Commentary by Mahatma Gandhi
Sketches Of Jewish Social Life In The Days Of Christ by Alfred Edersheim
That The True Dhamma Might Last A Long Time: Readings Selected By King Asoka by King Asoka
The Bhikkus' Rules, A Guide For Laypeople: The Theravadin Buddhist Monk's Rules Compiled And Explained by Bhikkhu Ariyesako
The Christian Home by Celestine Strub
The Imperial Gazetteer Of India by William Wilson Hunter, Ed. By James Sutherland Cotton
The Lost Lemuria by W. Scott-elliot
The Making Of A Social Disease: Tuberculosis In Nineteenth-century France by David S. Barnes
The Pirates of Malabar, and An Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago by John Biddulph
The Politics Of Sugar by Nancy Watzman
The Religion Of Revolution by Herbert S. Bigelow
The Rise Of Islam And The Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760 by Richard M. Eaton
The Travels Of Dean Mahomet: An Eighteenth-century Journey Through India by Dean Mahomet, Ed. By Michael H. Fisher
The Unholy Alliance by Charles Gregg Singer
The Words Of Gandhi by Mahatma Gandhi, Ed. By Richard Attenborough
Three Frenchmen in Bengal - The Commercial Ruin of the French Settlements in 1757 by S. C. Hill
Tribes Of India: The Struggle For Survival by Christoph Von Furer-haimendorf
Values In Islamic Culture And The Experience Of History by Nur Kirabaev And Yuriy Pochta
What Shall We Believe? by Aurelia Fule
  Reply
For some reason the Maratha-Rajput relations topic ain't opening, so I am posting the link to the online book here:

http://maratharajputrelations.com/
  Reply
Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, science and politics by N.S. Rajaram has just been released by Aditya Prakashan of Delhi.

It can be ordered from:

BIBLIA IMPEX, Pvt. Ltd.
2/18, Ansari Road
New Delhi -- 110 002
INDIA

Outside India it is priced ar $18 (Hardback) including postage and handling.

Foreign orders can be placed from www.bibliaimpex.com

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT
Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, science and politics by N.S. Rajaram
The discovery of the Sarasvati River, lauded in the Vedas as the greatest river, and the decipherment of the 5000-year old Indus script are the two most important breakthroughs in Indian history to have taken place in recent decades. The story of Sarasvati’s rediscovery in our time is also the story of the rediscovery of Vedic India. Here is a book on these epoch making developments by one who has been at the center of these developments.

The book shows unequivocally— Harappan civilization was Vedic. Harappan archaeology represents the material remains of the culture and civilization described in the Vedic literature, and flourished in the same geographic regions.
In the present book, N.S. Rajaram, a scientist as well as historian, marshals evidence from a wide range of sources, from archaeology and astronomy to the newly deciphered Indus seals, to shed light on the origins and the achievements of probably the most important civilization in world history. He goes beyond current theories and highlights important facts about natural history and population genetics that point to climate changes in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions rather than invasions from Central Asia or Eurasia as holding the keys to understanding the origins of the Vedic civilization.

In the process he settles important questions like the “Aryan invasion” and the “Harappan horse” by exposing the political currents and the personalities that gave rise to the brand of history imposed on the children of India by colonial authorities and their present day followers. To place it in the historical context, the book includes a summary of the current state of these politically motivated moves, including the recent controversy over textbooks used in California schools.

Contents
Foreword by David Frawley
Preface: Science in the service of history
1. Introduction: Science and belief
2. Vedic Sarasvati: River lost and found
3. Cobwebs of colonialism: The Aryan problem
4. History and politics: Subversion of scholarship
5. Vedic people: Image of the ocean
6. The language puzzle: India and Europe
7. Vedic Age: On the banks of the Sarasvati
8. Birth of writing: Harappan language and script
9. Beyond the invasion: Looking south and east
Epilogue: ‘History is always written wrong’
Supplement I: The current state of Aryan theories
Supplement II: Science in Ancient India
Supplement III: Date of the Mahabharata War
Bibliography
Index

About the author
Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram is a mathematician, linguist and historian who after a twenty-year career as an academic and industrial researcher in the United States turned his attention to history, in which he has several notable achievements. He collaborated with the renowned Vedic scholar Dr. Natwar Jha on the decipherment of the 5000 year old Indus script leading to their epoch making work The Deciphered Indus Script. In May 1999, Rajaram deciphered the newly discovered sample of what has been called the “world’s oldest writing,” showing it to be related to the Rigveda. Most recently, by a detailed study of human population genetics, he has shown that the people of India are not recent immigrants but have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years. He sees history as an extension of natural history rather than as a field for political and social theories.
Publisher: Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi; Availability: June 2006
Price (in the U.S.) $18.00 (hardback)
Ordering information: (www.bibliaimpex.com)
  Reply
http://bookpeek.blogspot.com/

Book Peek

To go with the books columns

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http://www.cyberistan.org/historyindia.htm

<b>
MUSLIMS IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT</b>
<img src='http://www.cyberistan.org/azmisub.JPG' border='0' alt='user posted image' />


7"x10" size. viii, 232 pages including bibliography, maps and nine pages of index. Paperback, laminated.
$19.95 plus Shipping. ISBN: 0-9702389-1-6,
Library of Congress Card Number 00-191478


Chronology covering fourteen centuries of Muslim history in the Indian subcontinent. Includes major events covering Central Asia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and the partition of India and creation of Pakistan.

A unique collection of historical information on the subcontinent Muslims in a single book! A great reference book for every Muslim home. An excellent resource for educators, journalists, students, and libraries. Book format allows quick access to events and information.

All sales are final. No return or exchange. Shipping within U.S.A.: $5 for one book, no additional shipping charge when you order two books. If you are ordering three or more copies of the same title, contact us at zmd4@cyberistan.org. Prepayment is required. Books are shipped Priority Mail, delivery confirmation by U.S. Postal Service and can take from three to four days for delivery in the continental U.S.A.


MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

The book covers the history of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent from the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to 1960 C.E. A brief chronology of the period 5,000 B.C. to 600 C.E. is also included for the people and rulers of the Indian subcontinent. The chronology section of the book contains more than 1,000 yearly entries. It contains an extensive collection of events covering the military, political, social, religious, economic, and educational activities of the Muslims in the subcontinent. The book includes chapters on Taj Mahal, Muslim contributions in India, History in the service of imperialism, and Islamic and Moorish civilization. The book was developed as an educational tool and a reference source on the history of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. 240 pp. including maps and index.

Contents
Index, pp. 224-232
Chronology, pp. 28-29, 44-45
Chronology, pp. 58-59
Chronology, pp. 94-95, 106-107

http://www.cyberistan.org/books.htm
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Muslims in Indian Economy
by Omar Khalidi

What is the condition of the Indian Muslims at the dawn of the twenty first century? What is the demographic profile of the community? What is the percentage of its population in agriculture, industry and the tertiary sector? How do Muslims fare at the national level? Does the Muslim economic condition differ from state to state, given the regional imbalances in the country resulting form unequal development?

How does Muslim economic condition in the early twenty first century compare with the recent and distant past? To what extent can the political changes account for these variations? How does the economic profile of the Muslims compare with the majority Hindus, Dalits, and minorities alike Christians, Sikhs and Parsis?

Historians, politicians, journalists and other s agree that Muslims in general lag behind other communities. Does Islam, or Islam as interpreted and lived, have anything to do with it? What is the role of the State in this matter? What is the record of the post-independence central and state governments?

The author tries to answer some of these questions. He argues that understanding these issues is not only a mater of academic enquiry, but also necessary for taking appropriate corrective measures by the community leadership as well as by the state.

The 130 million Muslims in India form the second largest Muslim population in the world. Scholarship on them has however focused on a limited range of issues. There is little by way of macro studies on the economic condition of Muslims in various parts of India. Omar Khalidi’s book fills this gap.

The various chapters focus on the pre-Independence legacy, the impact on Muslims of Partition and politics on ownershipof assets, employment, access to education, public service or their role in labour, commerce and industry. It is a report on the current status of the Muslim minority in India, particularly the Urdu-speaking Muslims.


Table of Contents

PREFACE AND ACKNOLWDGEMENTS

INTRODUCTION

NATIONAL LEVEL
Medieval and Colonial India
Independent India

STATE LEVEL
Delhi Uttar Pradesh
Bihar
Deccan and Andhra Pradesh
Karnataka
Maharashtra

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

Appendix
Central Government Service: Armed Forces, Civil
Service, Public Sector Enterprises/Companies, UPSC


About the Author
<b>
OMAR KHALIDI is an independent scholar and a staff member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. He was educated in India, Britain, and the United States. His research interests are in the sociology of politics, upward and downward economic mobility of ethnic groups, nationalism and Diaspora. He is the author of Indian Muslims Since Independence, 1996, and edited Hyderabad: After the Fall, 1988, a collection of academic papers.

He is a staff member of the Agha Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, MIT Department of Architecture. He was born and raised in Hyderabad, India. Dr Khalidi was educated at Wichita State University, BA (1980). He is the author of several publications, including, approaches to Mosque Design in North America (1999); The Architecture and Campus Planning of Osmania University, 2003 and American Architecture of Islamic Inspiration.</b>

In addition to the professional interest in architecture and urban planning, Dr Khalidi has written and lectured about Muslims in India and the United States.

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http://www.indiaclub.com/shop/AuthorSelect...or=Omar+Khalidi

  Reply
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The author tries to answer some of these questions. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Is this a joke? The guy had all the answers written and he then started framing questions.
  Reply
<img src='http://www.organiser.org/dynamic_includes/images/2006-07-23/Book-cover-of-second-story-.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />


The distortion of India’s past by western historians

V. Lakshmikantham & J. Vasundhara Devi; What India Should Know, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, pp 308, Rs 250.00
By Manju Gupta

The deep-rooted prejudices about the qualities, traditions and religions of the East have been a pervasive and marked characteristic of Western thought of centuries. It was a thought reinforced in the 19th century by industrialisation and imperialism, and which resulted in identification of the East with backwardness and ungovernability.

We also agree that today scholarship means being at home with what is written by Western scholars, who have more than often discredited the ancient past of Indian culture and distorted the history and chronology of events.

The book under review, written by mathematicians Dr V. Lakshmikantham and Dr J. Vasundhara Devi, begins by throwing light on the confusion till today between Gupta Chandragupta and Maurya Chandragupta. They point out that actually Gupta Chandragupta flourished in 327 BC and was the contemporary of Alexander, while Maurya Chandragupta lived in 1534 BC. “But the Western historians wrongly identified Alexander’s contemporary with Maurya Chandragupta, thus affecting more than 1,200 years in the history of ancient India. This colossal blunder upset the whole scheme and brought terrible chaos into the Puranic dates of India.” They point out that it was Sir William Jones, “the first historian of India”, who changed this date to effect a sort of similitude between the Biblical and Indian conceptions of time and they add, “twelve centuries of time after the Mahabharata war (3138 BC) and 10 centuries before that are struck off like this and the history the Indians got to know is put upon this wrong base. The Western scholars have not only bungled facts and tampered with texts, but even gone to the extent to hurling abuse at ancient Indian historians and sages.”

The authors feel that colonisation had affected the Indian mind in certain aspects. Through Macaulay’s education policies, the British ensured that they left behind an inferiority complex among the Indians by constantly denigrating Indian culture. “<span style='color:red'>This is why the intellectuals of India today repeat what their masters said before and ape them after having hated them,” say the authors.</span>

They add that another masterstroke of the British was the propagation of the “absurd” theory of Aryan invasion according to which India was invaded by a tribe called Aryans who originated in western Russia and imposed upon the Dravidians of India, the hateful caste system. They continue, “To the Aryans are attributed Sanskrit, the Vedic religion, as well as India’s greatest spiritual texts, the Vedas and a host of writings like the Upanishads. The Aryan invasion myth has shown that the Indian civilisation was not that ancient and that it was secondary to the cultures that influenced the Western world. Also, whatever good thing India had developed has been a consequence of the influence of the West.”

The book deals with the general prejudice about the East, the distortion of Indian history and the superficial translation of the Vedas by Western scholars. The authors comment ironically that the “supposedly enlightened writers” such as Edward Gibbon who never set foot east of Switzerland, in his History of the Roman Empire, loved to make play of the “despicable people of the East”, and Voltaire, who never travelled beyond Berlin, “fantasised about the misery and bigotry of the Eastern nation”. They add, “The most conspicuous example was Lord Macaulay, who carried his all-consuming racist hatred of the East to ridiculous depths by asserting that the entire corpus of knowledge that the Orient possessed could be contained in half a thimble.” They add that the world is but one and the East and West bifurcation is a mythical boundary.

The catastrophic event of the formation of a Mediterranean Sea resulted in the loss of culture and civilisation existing in Europe. The history of the Greeks, Roman and the British are traced briefly and so is the awakening of Europe from the “dark ages”.

The book ridicules the theory of Aryan invasion and gives in points the reasons for its dismissal. It says that the Aryans spread from the Bharatavarsha in different directions to spread the Aryan culture. “There was never any Aryan invasion of India or any Aryan-Dravidian war. The cradle of civilisation was not Sumeria in Mesopotamia, but the Sapta Sindhu, the land of seven rivers in north-west India.”

Then it expounds on the misrepresentation of the two Chandraguptas and tries to set right the chronology of events in India.

It points out that the Aryan invasion theory was aimed at dividing India into factions. It explains that the Aryans were extremely sensitive to the high walks of life, righteousness and nobility, both in thought and action. That is, the Aryans followed the Vedic Dharma, also called the Sanatana Dharma. Dharma is “that nature which makes a thing what it is.” Thus Manava Dharma implies that human beings “should be true to their own essential nature, which is divine; therefore, all efforts in life should be directed towards maintaining the dignity of the atma (the self) and not plodding through life like helpless animals. Thus Dharma is the ‘law of being’.”

The book exposes the deliberate distortions wrought by Orientalists in their efforts to write the history of India.

The book traces the great traditions laid down by Sanatana Dharma throughout the world that endured in Bharatakhand in the 12th century.

And the authors try to synthesise India with its glorious heritage and the present technological advances ready for taking India into the twenty-first century. The chapter ends on a positive note that this entry “will have a new awakening and the humanity will be much more spiritual than it has been.”

The book concludes by saying that the Sanatana Dharma “is much more open than any other religion to new ideas, scientific thought and social experimentation. Many principles basic to Sanatana Dharma initially appeared strange to the West, such as yoga, meditation, reincarnation and methods of interiorisation, but these principles have now found worldwide acceptance. Sanatana Dharma is, of course, a world religion…”

(Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kulpati Munshi Marg, Mumbai - 400 007.)
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