Friday, May 23, 2008

Tsk Tsk Tsk (slightly updated)

Sanjaya-Uvaacha
I really respect Mint. I rate it better than most other papers I read though the verdict is not yet out on its comparison with The Hindu. But today's column by a T.R.Ramaswami is pathetic (and I am being kind and generous, thanks to several slips of feedback received about my excessive and brutal criticism of human ways). First of all, who the heck is he!? He claims to be a former commercial and investment banker. Fine, good for him and the next seven generations of his family. I fail to understand his authority on a matter of Indian history, though. Frankly, had he provided references and citations, I might be kinder (and call his article "atrociously stupid"). Here is his article for all to read. Really, Mint... tsk tsk tsk! Didn't expect this from you!
Let me explain (else, it wouldn't be like Eroteme) why I think his article is pathetic. He is attempting to date the Kurukshetra battle. He actually doesn't do it at all. He starts out with numbers appended with BC and then with a "Think why no one wants to place the Kurukshetra battle in that gap of 1,000 years. " moves on to irrelevant topics. And then he jumps further away from his stated intent with a "Here’s what happened. There was an Indus Valley civilization which belonged to the Vedic culture." And the basis? If the Indus Valley civilisation was Vedic, then how do you support your claim of Dravidian language of the Indus Valley? No Vedic text is written in Dravidian language? He actually says "That’s why Tamil is the oldest of all present Indian languages and Tamilians were perhaps the first Sindhis! After all they drank jhalam (Tamil for water) from the river that has this name." (supposedly referring to Jhelum/Jhelam). I can't believe that someone could be so stupid!! Jhalam is not Tamil. It is Sanskrit (Jhala). Tamil is known to add the nasal "um" to most words (Paathram, Vaaram, etc.) and that doesn't make them Tamil. So many other Indian languages use the word Jhala for water. Are you then going to suggest that Assamese could have also been the language in Mohenjodaro? Secondly, Jhelum was never Jhelum till a while ago. Even in the time of Alexander's invasion, it was called Hydaspes. In Vedic literature it is referred to as Vitasta. Mr. Ramaswami, you really assume that the reader has no other source to information than your article!?

Before I move on, I would like to dwell a bit on the numbers he quotes. He says the big bad Aryans invaded the Indus Valley between 1800-2000 and historians (who are they?) did not wish to place the battle between 1500 and 2500. Since the Aryans arrived on 23rd May 1800BC at half past seven, we can skip 1500-1800 as time when they were busy booking tickets (you will understand the relevance of railways further down this post). So they reach the station nearest to Mohenjodaro and start invading. Shall we say it took some time to finish it all off? 1801, perhaps? Bhishma was supposed to be the 12th in the line of kings starting with Bharata. If each king lasted about 70 years, then that means 840 years before Bhishma arrived. Then he grows old, witnesses one generation of kings and then the other which includes Mr. P. Arjuna and Mr. D. Duryodhana. So PA and DD arrive around 900 years after a proper establishment of an Aryan kingdom. But wait, our in-house genius says: "Think why no one wants to place the Kurukshetra battle in that gap of 1,000 years. It would tantamount to admitting that the Pandavas and/or the Kauravas were the “invaders” or “outsiders” — the Aryans who displaced the then flourishing Indus Valley civilization and pushed it south to become the Dravidian culture. This aspect has assumed political overtones and, hence, the denials and silence over it." Which means that PA and DD (who were both Aryans, so who is pushing whom where is something I don't understand. Did the loser get the Dravidian trophy and learn Tamil to boot?) were around fighting in 1800. Wokay! So grand-grand-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g daddy Bharata was there from 2700BC and the Vedas and Vedic Literature was there before him. What about the Ramayana (it is not pronounced as rum-eh-yaaanaaa but raaamaaa-yuh-n) and the fact that there were rishis and Gods before that? So we are nearly pushing 3200BC for the invasion making the Indus Valley exist at least from 4200BC. That just didn't happen!!! To assume that the Pandavas and Kauravas chased out the Harappans is stupid because we forget that there were generations before them, all well established in Hastinapur. And then there is Ramayana to make matters worse.

So, if Tamil should be the language of Harrapa and the Indus Valley civilisation was Vedic, how come there is no Tamil in the Vedic texts? How come Tamil and scripts on the Indus seals are as alike as I am with Brad Pitt (actually, if you think about it... :-D )?

Then the genius Mr. Ramaswami says: "The biggest give-away is the “18-day” war. Military historians will tell you man’s ability to sustain a battle proper (sieges are not battles) for more than a day came only when railways made logistics feasible." Jesus H Christ!! Are you on a mission to unsurpassed stupidity!? What give-away!? I am sure you must have felt really happy writing that down! The Battle of Thermopylae lasted 3 days and no, Leonidas didn't use the Grand Trunk Express to get there! Think of a small army of 300+ people being sustained for 3 days without proper ration and compare that with a planned battle of the Kurukshetra. What about the Battle of Hydaspes (the great one fought by Alexander and Porus)? Seems like more than one day to me, and again, Alexander had done no bulk booking on the Transcontinental Express! Then Mr. Ramaswami goes ahead to say: "The “day” in the Kurukshetra battle is evidently metaphorical. For, it was oral history. It was more likely to have been 18 months or even 18 years — just the time needed for a migration-cum-invasion to displace a culture and a civilization 3,500 years ago." Have you read the Mahabharata, Mr. Ramaswami? The author doesn't give vague details spread over 18 years. They clearly inform you as to who the commander-in-chief for each day was and what happened at the start and end of each day. Are you telling me that Duryodhana grew 18 years wiser before being killed? No seriously, what did you have for breakfast before writing this article?

The whole Aryan invasion theory, according to me, is bullcrap (and I felt the same when I first read it more than a decade ago in school). There is no evidence of invasion related destruction in the Indus Valley excavation projects. That a small invading tribe could dislocate an entire civilisation is far-fetched to me. If the Battle of Hydaspes is any clue, Alexander found it difficult to sustain an invasion beyond India with all the force that he had mustered. I am sure an older organisation with lesser planning (well, they were supposed to be barbaric and nomadic and all things bad) couldn't have carried out a large scale evacuation of a civilisation that spanned several hundreds of square miles. Secondly, everyone is fixated on the horse thingy. No horse in India, but now there is horse so let's have horse-sh** and say that Aryans came on horses and hence we have horses. Firstly, the "no horse" idea is under threat. Secondly, how come no horse bones are found there? If the Aryans invaded then they should have let at least one horse die there in the valley, right? and where are zee bones?

Nevertheless, we shall keep out doubts regarding the Aryan invasion theory. Let us even assume that did happen. Like I care. How on earth does that give Mr. Ramaswamy the right to conclude this: "If the Mahabharat involved the horse-people, then what about the more antiquated Ramayan, which talks not only of horses, but also the famed Asvamedha yagna? Was Ram a Cossack, the most famed of all horse-people? Doesn’t “Valmiki” sound Russian, perhaps a corruption of Vladmikhailovich, who lived in the present Russian town named Sverdlovsk, formerly perhaps Swargalok? If we don’t accept the invasion theory, then the only other explanation is that both Mahabharat and Ramayan took place outside India, on the Russian steppes, and their stories have come down to us as oral histories through the horse-people, which were then refined to suit cultural and later ethnic, social and political agendas." Huh!?

Valmiki sounds Polish to me or Hawaiin (well, Wiki is Hawaiin). Swargalok sounds Swedish to me. Hanuman could be German Hannemann. Angada could be the Swedish Ansgar. Ravana sounds Irish to me (Ronan). Ramaswami sounds outrageously stupid to me. Russian steppes indeed!! Please do us a favour and read the Mahabharata!

If you, Mr. Ramaswami, are genuinely interested in timing the Battle of Kurukshetra and then study the astronomical references in the various chapters (esp. Bhishma Parva). There are mentions of eclipses occurring in a gap of 13 days. The retrograde motion of planets are also mentioned. The SuryaSiddhanta (it is not a costly book, Mr. Ramaswami; even I posses a copy)provides sufficient means of calculation to figure out when all of these could have occurred together. No, this is not astrology but astronomy. I am fine with using the latest scientific gadgetry too. There are several resources available online as well as various research institutes (BORI in Pune, being one). Please refer to the work of serious indologists like Dr. Witzel.

I really wish Mint hadn't published this article. I agree it is not their view, but still.

39 comments:

  1. Parvati7:55 PM

    Hahahaha! Poor Mr.Ramaswami, he has offered a lot of grist to the mill of Eroteme! - very enjoyable is your rubbing-gleefully-your-palms-together attitude at the scent of human blood in the form of Mr.Ramu...

    Cannot refute nor accept your points because historic validity has never been per se or otherwise of the slightest value to me.

    ...but, YOU of course continue to enjoy all; the blood, the toil and the waste of the shreds of Mr.R's dignity and pomposity!

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  2. I'm no expert on the topic discussed, but I can honestly say after reading it that I now know a little bit about the Kurkshethra's timing ... Its still foggy for me, so I wont venture into it :)

    But I must shamelessly say I liked the war of words in this writing. Please if ever you have a disagreement with any of my litrary works (Doing some thing ... ongoing) *I'll NOT write anything I dont know about* But all the same - you have my email id, you first chastise me through mail. Please please please God, its my prayer I do not get a word lashing from E.

    Even though thewrite up was entertaining, I'm glad I'm not in Mr R's shoes.

    So, how was your day? *Grin* Any other casualities? *Wicked Grin*

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  3. Dear P,
    You make a butcher of me!! :-o Not fair!! For every article that I read, I usually do my research anyway. This one was blatantly/patently ridiculous. As in, no Indian would think that Jhalam is exclusively Tamilian and since it sounds a bit like Jhelam we can hence draw the conclusion that Mr. R has. It doesn't take one much time to be flabbergasted at such claims as Valmiki being Russian!! One needn't have to be interested in history for that!! ;-)

    Dear A,
    You could read more:
    here and
    here in addition to the standard texts and ongoing studies. I truly respect your resolve to not write down anything you don't know. It is not about whether I will tear it down or not, but it is about respecting the reader. If you wrote philosophy or something that is a personal experience, it is fine. If you wish to base things on facts and then expect the reader to leave his intelligence in the oven, you really are asking for too much!! :-D I have made several faces frown because of this, but I value my sleep more. ;-) My day was good. And yours?

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  4. Eroteme,

    I went through Ramaswamy's article. It seems the central thesis of his article is that there is no evidence of the use of horses in the Indian sub-continent in the period when Mahabharata and Ramayana are "commonly" dated. Is there any evidence that supports his statement? Or, are you saying that attempts to date the events in the two epic are so unreliable, that any conclusions based on assumptions of their period stand on shaky ground?

    Sharad

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  5. Yes, the Mint should not have published the article. Author's responsibility aside, there is such a thing as editorial responsibility.

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  6. Dear SJ,
    Welcome to this blog. I do not think that is what he is trying to say. If you notice, he is saying a lot!! If I recall right, horses were to be expected around 2000BC. Given that, we can work things into the dating process. But what is most important to realise is that excavations are on and you just might find a horse bone dating back to god-knows-when. Yes, unreliability is one issue, but more than that is the issue of using just one measure (horse) to do all your calculations. There are better ways of calculating something and then noting down the gaps (how come there is no evidence of horses? Do their bones stay out long enough? How does one answer this gap?) which need to be filled. Working the way Mr. Ramaswami does is purely kiddish.

    Dear VK,
    Welcome to this blog. True. :-)

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  7. I like the fact that you are criticising. But you are doing it badly.

    For example Thamizh and Sanskrit shared the same script for over a thousand years. The devnagiri form in which sanskrit is expressed today and the post-grantham script in which thamizh is expresses is all new.

    Ramaswami's argument is poor. But your critique isnt very different.

    Life time of kings is not calculated like 70 years times number of kings. Please to look at how historical dating works. Its a research topic.

    ReplyDelete
  8. enabling 'email folow-up comments'

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  9. Dear AP,
    :-)

    Dear HK,
    A tirade is just that! :-) Your reasoning of similarity in script is something that comes new (can you provide references?) to me and anyway doesn't stand in support of Ramaswami's argument of employing Jhalam and Jhelum as a convincing argument. My critique is of his poor arguments and not providing new insight or the complete truth (as it is nearly impossible to do that in matters, historic). If you note, I simply point out how ridiculous his statements are by giving examples as to how even with broad estimates or even a cursory glance one can realise that. If I had to calculate the number of years of a dynasty, the roughest estimate would be number of people who were heads multiplied by an estimate of years they might have lived. In the old days, 70 could be a good factor. If I chose 60 for now and wished to calculate the age of the Tatas (given that there were 3 prominent Tatas till today) I would get an estimate of 180 years. If you notice, it is quite near the birth year of Jamshetji Tata. My point is that even by such back-of-the-envelope calculations, his statements are way off the mark. Do you get what I am saying? If you still feel that my critique is poor, I would like you to pick and point me to the relevant portions. I might explain or apologise.

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  10. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Eroteme,

    You write well.Your font makes it very difficult though.

    Regards,
    C.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ramaswami's arguments like the arguments of his name sake a few decades ago is poor. Jhalam/Jhelum and Jhalam being thamizh is a ridiculous argument by ramaswami.

    I think it my mistake in saying that overall there were very good points made by you. Its just that a couple of notes were jarring.

    /*How come Tamil and scripts on the Indus seals are as alike as I am with Brad Pitt */

    Both employed Brahmi script which later bifurcated to northern brahmi and southern Brahmi. Northern brahmi led to devnagiri script and the other to the vettezhuthu and thamizh script.

    Generations:

    In those really old days the 2nd generation is born on the 18th - 20th year of the first generation. So if Arjuna was like the 8th generation after bharatha then he would have appeared 8 * (a number between 18 - 30) years after Bharatha.

    Since the 2nd and 3rd gen of Tatas overlapped big time with the first gen life span of Tata, a simple addition is way to erroneous.

    This however, does not validate Ramaswami's argument. Just to be clear.

    And also I have been (in a hurry) a little too unfair in my criticism of your post. I think the 2 points were just a blip on an otherwise good argument.

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  12. forgive me while I am still learning to write. I just noticed some errors in my comment that could be er... misleading

    /* think it my mistake in saying that overall there were very good points made by you. Its just that a couple of notes were jarring. *

    I think it was mistake in saying that this critique was poor. Overall there were very good points made. Its just that a couple of notes were jarring

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  13. Dear HK,
    Brahmi script came much much later in the history of scripts! Check this out or any other resource about Brahmi! The Vedas as a textual codification existed way before that. As a theory it is fine to assume that Brahmi and Tamil have similarities in script. Hence, Brahmi couldn't have been contributed by the Harappans (as its earliest evidence is around 500BC) and I find it being the parent of Tamil far-fetched. If I place the scripts alongside each other I hardly see similarities. If I place the Indus scripts and Tamil alongside, I see no similarities whatsoever (please refer to http://www.harappa.com/script/diction.html). Anyway, even if that were to be true, it (Brahmi) is too young to be the Vedic script! I would even question the very assumption that the Indus Valley seals held a script at all. It all seems too pictorial to be a script. Farmer's article also appears convincing to me: http://www.safarmer.com/indusnotes.pdf
    I get your point about using the right factor for generations! :-) But by that stretch the Tata's would be off by a few decades... Something about that 60-70 thingy seemed to have worked!! ;-)

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  14. Hi,

    In the wiki link, on the right hand side pane under 'brahmi & decendants' it does show that Tamil script is derived from Southern Brahmi which branched off of Brahmi.

    Long back I wrote a post (and when I read it now I cringe) when I was on a learning curve as far as scripts. The post was based on this article

    http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/01/stories/2006050112670100.htm

    and this discovery attempted to connect Indus valley civilizations to Thamizh.

    the 3rd 4th and 5th paragraphs mention the issue we are discussing here.

    http://hawkeyeview.blogspot.com/2006/07/ancient-languages-of-india.html

    while mine was a naive post - you can find many authentic + well researched posts in varnam.org .

    The basic point is harappan + sanskrit + tamil orgin to a single source is far fetched but not an improbable one.

    the AIT which ramaswamy so holds as true is thought to be incorrect by many many people as DNA tests have proved them wrong.

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  15. T.R.ramaswami9:47 AM

    I am indeed amused, intrigued by the response to my article on the Kurukshetra battle. Let me respond to all the points. Who I am or what my authority is on Indian history is irrelevant – just as your authority to comment on my article cannot be questioned.

    Culture, language and writing are different aspects of a civilization and they need not come together or even exist together. In fact there are languages even today without a script. Tulu & Konkani have only recently adopted the Devanagiri script. Thus a Vedic culture could have had a Dravidian language to start with and this was before scripts came into being. Later Vedic scripts were written in all languages. In any case please the book “Deciphering the Indus Valley Script” by Prof Asko Parpola. He is the Head of the Department of Oriental Studies in the University of Helsinki, Finland and is recognized as the foremost authority on the subject – apart from being impartial. He has clearly stated that the Indus script is Dravidian based.

    Jhal and Jhalam are derivatives of each other – in any case the name of the river is finally just as it is pronounced in Tamil and not in Sanskrit. What it was called by the Greeks in the time of Alexander is irrelevant. That name is now dead.

    Who are list of historians who put the battle between 3200 and 700 BC? Here is the list.

    3201 – D.R. Mankad – Puranic Chronology
    3137 - MM Krishnamachari – History of Classical Sanskrit Literature
    3127 – A.N. Chandra – The Date of the Kurukshetra War
    3110 – As per the age of Manu Vaivaswatha
    3102 – Brhmagupta. Also C.V. Vaidya – History of Sanskrit Literature in the Vedic Period
    3101 – As per Aihole inscriptions of Raja Pulakeshin II based on astronomical calculations of
    Aryabhatta
    3067 – By application of modern astronomical applications based on data in the Mahabharatha
    3016 – V.B.Athawale
    2449 – Probodh Chandra in Indian Chronology
    2448 – Varahamihira : Brihat Samhita

    THIS IS THE BIG GAP

    1450 – Meghnad Saha
    1432 – Tarakeswar Bhattacharya
    1424 – Alexander Cunningham. This year is the one accepted by most historians.
    1416 – Giridhar Sekhar Basu in Purana Pravesha
    1400 – Many – Bankim Chandra Chattpadhyaya, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, AD Pusalkar, HC Deb and
    Jogesh Chandra Vidyanidhi
    1267 – BB Ketkar
    1197 - KL Daphthary in Astronomical Chronology of Ancient India
    1191 – Sri Aurobindo in his book Vyasa and Valmiki
    1151 - Sitanath Pradhan in Chronology of Ancient India
    1000 – LD Burnett
    950 - FE Pargiter
    900 - Hem Chandra Roy Chowdhary


    Evidently they also relied on the same astronomy and position of the stars. In astronomy, everything goes round and round – so there are many rounds of the same position. Who knows – maybe the position of stars today is the same as the position (of the stars that is) on the suhag raat of Draupadi.








    The blog states – “Bhishma is SUPPOSED TO BE the 12th. in the line of kings.” Many things in the epic were evidently “supposed to be.” In any case these are also just names in an epic written and refined and corrected many times much later. Anything can be written retrospectively to fit “accurately” into any desired framework. Ask Frederick Forsyth and Jeffrey Archer – all the fiction in their novels is dovetailed into real events. Duryodhana etc are just characters in an epic - names given by an author – he may have died on the first day itself. Someone else may have died on the 18th. week/month/year.

    The Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) was not a battle proper but a siege of a natural obstacle – the mountain pass abutting Mount Kallidromon in Greece. My article clearly qualifies that a siege is not a battle proper. In those days you could not easily dislodge someone from a pass just as it was difficult to dislodge someone from a fort. You had to come into contact for a battle proper and if someone is sitting higher than you on a pass and rolling down boulders he can hold on for several days. Ask those who participated in the Kargil war how difficult it was. Incidentally Thermopylae was won by the Persians when they found an alternate track to get around the pass – due to a betrayal – and the Greeks led by Leonidas were surrounded and polished off in no time thereafter. The first battle which went into the second day was the Battle of Marignano (1515 AD) – a date which military historians acknowledge is unusually early. Till railways and telegraphic communications came battles were literally an ODI or even T-20. The first “Test” duration battles were those in the US Civil War.

    All the horse bones so far found in the Indus Valley are post 2000 BC. The question is – did those who fought in the Kurukshetra wars and the Ramayana also have horses/chariots? For all the criticisms, will someone, particularly those who own the Surya Sidhantha, answer these questions:

    When exactly did the Kurukshetra war take place? I am willing to accept a 100 years plus/minus range. When did the Ramayana take place? Did both these eras have horses, chariots etc.? If they took place before the Indus Valley civilization then going by the details in the epics were they not the first civilizations? What language did they speak? Did they have a script? Why is there no concrete historical proof of any kingdom in India before the Sisunaga Dynasty (642 BC)? Were Ram Rajya and the “great” Hastinapur empires so fragile that they were disposed off so easily without substantial traces?

    The fact is that no one wants to get to the truth very accurately because it could be inconvenient.

    Forget what happened in 3000 BC. Here is a more recent event and my take on that. Indicentally this was also published in The Mint a few months back. Comments welcome.

    1857 – AN ALTERNATE PERSPECTIVE

    There are several related events and questions relating to the 1857 mutiny that have not been highlighted in any of our history books or even the media. Why did it fail and why no Second War of Independence? Given the communications technology, it was difficult for the mutineers to gather a critical mass and the British were able to shut it down fast. The fact that six big maharajas - Scindia of Gwalior, the Maharaja of Patiala, the Begum of Bhopal, the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Sikh Chiefs of Punjab and Gulab Singh of Kashmir – did not join the mutiny and some even helped the British made things easier. In fact Patiala even supplied a force to the British. Scindia refused refuge to the Rani of Jhansi. In 1861 the Indian Councils Act enlarged the Central Legislative Council and the first three Indians rewarded for the “help” in 1857 were included – the Maharaja of Patiala, Raja Dinkar Rao, the PM of Gwalior and Raja Deo Narain Singh. The British also ceded Jhansi to the Scindias. It is a historical truism that many princes were against independence, including India’s first Test player – the Jam Saheb of Nawanagar – Ranjitsinjhi.


    Why no second war of independence? That’s because the British moved fast and smartly. They adopted a strategy that had a global impact and still has a national impact. First they hastened the construction of the Suez Canal, which changed the geo-political character of Euro-Asia. This cut the travel time from England to India from 4-6 months to 4-6 weeks. They then constructed railways all over India that facilitated quick movement of troops. India was linked to England via Europe telegraphically in 1866. Thus the strategic “external lines” as propounded by General Helmut von Moltke, the then German Army Chief and master military strategist-cum-tactician, were firmly secured. Our leadership had no inkling whatsoever of all this. In fact they were totally lost as far as strategy was concerned right upto 1962. The British also realized that the main reason why the mutiny failed was because it had no central intellectual leadership or strategy. To ensure that the educated intellectuals did not get any further ideas, the British opened the Indian Civil Service to Indians thus making them a part of the administration.

    But the biggest master stroke was the formation of the Indian National Congress. Recollect that it was a British civil servant, Allen Octavian Hume, who founded it. Soon the educated and intellectuals joined the INC and for years it was nothing but a large annual “talk-shop”, with each speaker trying to out-vocabularise the other. The British achieved what they wanted. The Indians were kept busy talking and the creation of various political and non-political constituencies and interests on the basis of religion, caste and language ensured that Indians spent more time in fighting amongst themselves than the British. We still do this. The British used the Congress to widen the Hindu-Muslim rift. Whitehall must have had a good laugh. Only leaders like Tilak, Rashbihari Bose, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpatrai saw through this ingenious plan. But they were a minority and it is because their methods were a danger, they were hounded by the British. Tilak died too soon, Bose was hounded out of the country and Lala Lajpat Rai was arrested and virtually beaten to death in police custody.

    What do we make of all this? That the British used the INC as an instrument not only to prevent any further uprisings but also to delay independence. They left when it suited them and even 90 years after 1857, the INC was grossly unprepared as reflected by the fact that till 1958, at least one Britisher was the Chief of one branch of our armed forces. Can the INC honestly say that they “fought” for independence when the opposition lends you its men to lead your armed forces AFTER ‘independence’?! Naturally this view did not and still does not suit the political dispensation of ‘the family’. Can the Congress give just one date and place where Nehru did anything that can be rationally called as fighting? Even history books are unable to give any details of Nehru having done anything that can be termed as fighting. Waving your finger vigorously and saying that you have sent another reminder to the Viceroy is not “fighting”.

    And if Nehru was such a great fighter why was he not sent to the Andamans where the real freedom fighters were imprisoned? The British knew who the real freedom fighters were and they were either hounded out of the country (Bose) virtually murdered (Lala Lajpat Rai) or deported to the Andamans. Nehru, and other false ‘fighters’ of independence were sent to prisons like Naini Tal, Pune and Aurangabad where he could write letters to his daughter, which later became a book! The fact is that those who really fought for our freedom never became our leaders after independence and those who became leaders after independence never really fought for independence. Their so called “independence fight” was written by their chamchas/ sycophants for history books. And what about the fact that the Mahatma wanted the Congress to be dissolved after independence? Its existence today is testimony to the fact that the Mahatma was forgotten soon after independence, his assassination was probably a relief to some and the Congress has become a political vehicle for just one family, without whom the rest of the party virtually admits that they are headless chickens. Today even Godse will admit that he shot the wrong man.








    Many don’t know that the clans, communities, and families and descendants of those leaders who participated in that event are nowhere in current society. The British decimated them and encouraged a new class that licked the white man’s boots. One of them bought an entire present Indian state for Rs.75 lakhs, hardly 180 years ago. It is the descendants of these boot-lickers who are ruling the roost now. That’s why the 150th. anniversary fizzled out without a whimper. Those who participated did not leave VVIP descendants and the ancestors of present day VVIPs were on the side of the British. Here is a final irony – guess who was on the Committee for the celebrations – Jyothiraditya Scindia – whose great-great-grandfather was on the side of the goras during the mutiny.

    Time for a Second War of Independence?

    However let us not be too harsh on the six princes. Look at the events another way. Let us assume that the six princes joined the mutiny and the British were forced to leave India. Would India have become independent? No. About 500 motley princely states, each with an ego of an elephant would have declared themselves to be independent and we would back to the situation that prevailed in 1000 AD. That situation helped Muhammad Ghazni and perhaps another Ghazni would have found it convenient to exploit the situation in the 19th. century. So maybe we must thank the six for having ensured that the mutiny did not succeed. In the next 90 years it was the British who really united India and the political concept of a nation underwent a tremendous change. So kudos to them for having retained the British a little longer? What if World War II had not happened and what if Churchill had not lost the elections soon after the war? What if the British had continued even longer say till 1960s?

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  16. Dear TRR,
    Before I proceed with anything, let me bow down to you for having responded in a manner befitting a gentleman. I truly respect you for this. Honest.
    I respond in no particular order so do pardon me if I miss providing a rebuttal to some points of yours.
    The SuryaSiddhanta has nothing to do with whether there were horses in any period.
    Given the thirst for grandiose that has plagued every generation of mankind, the author(s) of the Ramayana could have picked a HastimedhaYagna, but they report an AshwaMedhaYagna. Not sure whether there were chariots but there sure seems to have been horses.
    Parpola genuinely comes across to me as funny. Please, view this page: http://www.harappa.com/script/diction.html
    Do you see how he interprets things? A fish halved is a green star? How did that happen? And where did colours (red dot) come into a rather monochrome collection of seals? So I view Parpola with a lot of suspicion. What is my authority? None, just common sense... Anyway, the concept of trying to educe a script from the Indus seals goes contrary to my sensibilities and I have pointed out to Farmer's paper in an earlier comment.
    The word for water in Tamil (current and ancient) is not Jhal or Jhalam. Jhelum was not called that during the Vedic period or later (during Alexander's invasion). I am unaware of any historic record referring to it by that name till recently. If the Dravidian name never existed for it, what we call it now is equally irrelevant, isn't it?
    In astronomy, undoubtedly, things go round and round, but not everything is the same in the firmament. We are not merely talking of a star but of planetary positions and retrograde or normal movements, planets in particular constellations, eclipses and a lot more. I think a lot of indicators can still be derived from the text. The reason for the Big Gap might be more than mere conspiracy. I remember reading this elsewhere but for now, all I have to give is this link which seems to provide a similar conclusion: http://www.boloji.com/astro/00325.htm
    The 13 day eclipse observation in the scripture appears to be a significant indicator. If I am able to rummage through my books and find that piece of info, I will add it to this post.
    If we view the Mahabharata as a piece of fiction, then any conclusion (including the fact that they drove off the Dravidians) is pointless. It would be a moot point then to even consider the Indus seals as I could consider them all a mischievous ploy to confuse historians done by the rather clever residents of that area way back in time.
    Thermopylae wasn't a siege in the traditional sense. It was just a battlefield chosen by the Greeks (to their advantage). The Persians did attack them repeatedly and there was a battle that was fought (including hand-to-hand combat as that was all that the Greeks could do there).
    I see no logical reason why a battle couldn't last longer than one day. If you are referring to the ones which happened on neutral grounds far away from each party's home, then probably you are right. If camping outside one's city walls and fighting to keep the invaders at bay is not a war, then I am not sure what is? The invaders are always in trouble to run out of supplies. Hence, my example of Alexander and Porus, a war, which also lasted more than a day. Even if most of it sounds mythical, the Trojan war (at least in the fag end) was a proper war that lasted more than a day. With the Pandava and Kaurava camps fed properly with a lot of supplies (they all lived around there), there seems to be little reason why it couldn't have gone on for more than a day!
    Not sure why you think that things would be inconvenient if the truth (if ever found) is revealed. Even if the fanatic Indians want to ban all talks about Krishna being just another invader and so on (like proving to the Greeks that Apollo was just another person hiding behind pillars and shooting arrows), why haven't those who have little to lose found anything yet? The non-Indians surely have nothing to lose or rather something to gain in putting down one more religion/cultural foundation as mere fiction unlike the Bible or Koran or the Avesta. Why hasn't anyone found anything conclusive? The script has bounced around being anything and everything and is most likely nothing. Point is, there is too much in the mist and frankly my biggest objection/irritant was another bunch of theories thrown in to an already pointless exercise. To me, how does it matter whether there was an invasion or not or whether the Indus script reveals a great literature or not? We have scriptures which we can follow or not, we have scripts which are either in use or not. We have languages which are either spoken or not. Sounds myopic? Probably... We have more vital issues to address. :-)
    To you other article (I have subscribed to Mint only recently): The Suez Canal was an undertaking of a French company (and the "friendship" of England and France is well known!) so not sure how they hastened it. I really haven't studied much of the Mutiny and events that followed. Let me get back to you once I have done that.
    Once again, please know that I respect you for your response.

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  17. T.R.Ramaswami1:41 PM

    So why don't we just come to the point and answer my question - what is the date?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear TRR,
    I don't know

    ReplyDelete
  19. T.R.Ramaswami2:13 PM

    Fair to say - if no one knows the date then it probably never happened - at least in the way as stated in the epic. Like any modern fictional novel it is a stitched version of real, unreal and imagined events. Which is more or less depends on your personal perspective. Anytime anyone has the date get back to me.

    ReplyDelete
  20. T.R.Ramaswami2:29 PM

    Re Mutiny and Suez Canal - British and French were friends once Napoleon disappeared in 1815 right upto the second world war and even later though there are ego clashes. They did hasten the canal and in fact both the British and French interfered in Egypt in 1956 when Nasser overthrew King Farouk.

    One more comment - Dont compare what Alexander encountered in 330 BC on the Jhelum (Hydaspes)with what happened 3000 years earlier. Recall that he smashed the Persian Empire just 200 years after the Persians had smashed the Greeks. What happened in 3000 BC affected all empires - India, Mesopotamia, Egypt - that migration cum invasion was larger than Alexander's army.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dear TRR,
    I don't know the date of birth of my great grand father. I won't consider him a fictional character! :-) As I said, the dates don't matter to me more than conclusions that were being drawn in your article. If your article had drawn on resources to show that dates cannot be finalised and hence, one must be aware of the possibility of all of this being fiction, today wouldn't find you at this blog.
    I feel that it is valid to compare Alexander's attack with what people imagine (because I think that is pure fiction) to have happened millenia ago because his was more planned and had greater technical advancements. If he couldn't do it, I think it is highly unlikely that a bunch of nomads or barbarians could have. It is like saying if today America can't invade Iraq in 24 minutes, there is no way they could have done that in 1920. If it was larger, then why are there no evidences of such large scale activity and impact. Given that they didn't have technology and know-how, it only makes sense that they would have moved slowly settling in various pockets that led up to the Indus valley. There is no such evidence and there is no evidence of such invasion. Next and most important question, why would such a large force move towards some place about which they had no information? Given the inherent fear of the unknown, does it make sense (when several armies in later sieges and wars have given up and rebelled) for them to have marched on with such conviction all the way down to Indus, waged wars and driven the "Dravidians" down South? To me, if I were to think like a man interested in food, women and some amount of land, living under fears of the sky falling and the end of the earth making me fall over, that doesn't seem like a plan for which I could convince a million others to leave their security behind and jog along across several thousand miles for that. Consider Genghis Khan's troops and how they behaved. All long drawn invasions have seemed to lie waste after a point as vision and clarity was lacking in a large and convincing scale. One man might have had it, maybe 2 more, but that is pretty much it, I think. I am basically trying to think like a nomad who has no clue what lies in store for him beyond the next 500 yards. I do not believe any invasion took place.

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  22. T.R. Ramaswami10:07 AM

    This is my last response on this blog. Ha ha ha. Mr. Erotreme – what a fall in your attitude. For all the bluster and fireworks in your first installment, after I had quoted the dates and sources of eminent historians (which I had deliberately left out in the article) you have now come down to a willingness to admit that there is a possibility of the Mahabharatha being a work of fiction. You admit that you don’t know your own great grandfather’s birth date (many of us don’t – I have been able to trace my ancestry only back to about 1835) but you are willing to believe a genealogy 3000 years back and other stories spun by a bastard (Veda Vyasa was an illegitimate son of Sathyavathi) who also fathered three other bastards just to keep the Kuru line or perhaps the story going. In any case you have not answered any of my questions or conveniently side stepped them. I will be re-stating these later.

    My article stated with the fact that there is a wide variance in dates with one very distinct large gap which was historically significant. First some facts established without doubt. The wheel came into being only around 3500-3000 BCE. Chariots came around 2800-2500 BCE. Initially they were pulled by ox, asses and mules. However given the speed of oxen and the mule like attitudes of asses, these chariots were of little us in war. The horse, which was of a different physical structure initially was finally through breeding perfected to its present state around 2200-2000 BCE and then came the war chariot. The first accurately recorded war in history is the Battle of Megiddo - 1469 BCE. The greatest chariot battle in history with 4000-5000 chariots involved is the Battle of Kadesh in 1294 BCE.

    Let me give first the serious view. There was probably the Kuru clan whose two families, each with allies, were probably at loggerheads with each other. Sometime between 2500-1500 BCE the Aryan invasion after overcoming the Indus Valley civilization rode down to the plains. For this war, the two clans may have joined forces but were defeated by the invasion. There was no CNN or NDTV 24x7 then, so what came down was what the most influential persons of that time decided to remember and recite since writing was also unknown then. Instead of recording a defeat of a civilization by outsiders he modified it to a civil war between two clans.

    Look back at history and you will observe that every time an invader came down from the north-west and crossed the Sutlej the Delhi ruler rode out to meet him at Kurukshetra/Panipat which are just 60 km apart. This area is one of the most embattled places in war history along with the leaders – the plains near Adrinople (now the Turkish city of Edirne), the rectangle plain in north Italy and the northwest of Belgium. There is no place here to discuss the reasons but anyone wanting to read a good macro history of war, please read - A History of Warfare by John Keegan.

    The second serious view is that the Aryans came down and defeated the resident clans. The winners then, to merge with the locals and gain acceptance spun a story of how it was a local war.

    The third view is that all this happened outside on the steppes of present day Russia and the invading hordes brought down the oral histories with them. Look at the similarity between the Greek hero, Achilles, whose heel was his weak point and the story of Duryodhana’s thigh being the weak point in his fight with Bhima. In both cases the mothers were involved. When stories geographically so apart are similar in such small details (there are so many other similarities), the origin is always common.


    The questions raised in my article stand and I repeat them. What is the date of the battle if at all it happened? If astronomical observations were used to date it, why such astronomical differences in their dates and why that significant gap? Recollect that between Shanthanu and Parikshit there are only six generations – ie about 120-150 years. In that span astronomical positions hardly change just as there are hardly any major changes between 1850 AD and now. So if all the historians, astronomers, religious experts etc used the Surya Siddhantha or whatever, why such wide variations? How did a Dravidian language reach the borders of Afghanistan when there is no such migration in history from the south?

    I STICK TO MY STAND – WHETHER THERE WAS A MAHABHARATHA OR NOT THERE WAS AN ARYAN INVASION.

    Lastly the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha go beyond history and events. When these epics were beginning to be written down the rulers and the established classes decided to turn them into instruments of state. These epics were and are still tools for spiritual, temporal, political and social control. That’s why even today legislators state that “this was written in the Mahabharatha” etc etc. and we still get excited when anyone says anything that is different. Think over this – seriously.

    Anybody who has serious and specific answers to the above may please write to me at trramaswami@gmail.com.

    Response to some minor point raised by Mr. Erotreme - Alexander came farther in 326 BC than what the Roman Empire was 300 years later. Although he conquered he never “ruled/” He did not live long enough for that. He was so far stretched that he had a mutiny on his hands and was forced to go back and he died about 3 years later in Babylon. In any case he had only 11,000 soldiers at the battle with Porus. Sometimes Barbarians and nomads can achieve what a disciplined army cannot. Ask the Romans what happened in 476 AD. The invasion cum migration across the Euro-Asian axis was much larger than Alexander’s army. The impact is there and that is evident in the language which all of us have been writing in for these few days. Further all north Indian languages, including Sanskrit belong to the Indo-European family. Proto Indo-European originated near the Urals. They also put an end to the first innings of a civilization. The large force moved because of floods in the northern latitudes around 3000 BC – the oldest event on which there is universal agreement – and found in the Bible, the Gilgamesh (Babylon) and in Indian epics. It was also food because agriculture which came about 8000 BC was possible only in the temperate climates. Those in the north therefore coveted the lands to the south. Read The History of Warfare by John Keegan.

    Now for the non-serious bit. Mr. Eroteme – the Mahabharatha was the first Bollywood-cum-soap opera script. Ektaa Kkappoor – please note. There are enough bastards in the script to continue the family line as portrayed in the film Eklavya and everyone was sleeping with one another. A blind man and his wife who wore a blindfold gave birth to 101 children. Perhaps that gave rise to the proverb that “Love is blind.” And what about the mandatory heroine in white dipping wet sari – Madri- who when she came out of her bath sent the blood rushing from Pandu’s brains to lower parts that the heart could pump it up and he died there and then in a very “stiff” condition. And of course don’t forget the hottest chick in Indian history in the script – Draupadi. With five husbands, it was probably she who invented the five-day (or is it five-night?) week and also the week-end (or is it weak-end?) because in those five days the ends of her husbands were probably weak.

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  23. Dear TRR,
    When have I ever had a problem with accepting something to be false? I still remember the time my mother thought I was crazy because I suggested (way back in my 7th std) that the Dasavatara could actually just be a story of the evolution of life on earth. Much unlike you, we live off facts and when we have theories or doubts or ideas, we state them as that and not starting with: "Here’s what happened." So if you believe that there is even a slight change in my opinion of your article... well, you are a believer in Rama being a Cossak so anything is possible to you, right?
    Right from your article to now, one thing I don't change my stand on is that the way you derive things is rather stupid. How does anyone's basterd-hood have anything to do with their credibility? So, if Michelangelo and Da Vinci were gay, you would think that anything and everything could be said about them because they were a bunch of "homos"?? Frankly Mr. Ramaswami that sounds ridiculously stupid! You probably should get off your high-horse and read more and dig in more rather than pick things to your convenience. Have you read the Mahabharata (original and not the Amar Chitra Katha version)? Have you read the link I posted above about why the period you mention could not be considered? The Mahabharatha gives such fine astronomical details but throws large blankets over whether it was invaders or just two local clans? Secondly, why state/claim that both sides had horses and chariots? No other war reporter seems to have done that, but you are eager to claim that the Kurukshetra war is the only war story which has twisted every single detail except the astronomical details and some others (but then hey! don't you love holding on to the truth about the illegitimacy of the characters in there)? Generations after the Kurukshetra war have found mention/details in the texts. You can call all of them fiction and pump up your chest, but to me that is utterly stupid. I believe in not creating a ruckus when I don't have all the information. You seem to love doing the sensation-move because you, like our politicians and media believe in making a noise and being voyeuristic. Maybe your statements would find appeal to some Dravidian political party or media personnel. You cite Parpola who frankly comes across in his conclusions to be equally ridiculous (and I go by that one set of articles I read). One could stick to what one has found/excavated and then reject everything else or one could use them in conjunction with the old tales/scriptures and then find clues as to where to excavate/research more. You prefer the former technique and its sensationalism, I prefer the latter and my privilege to tsk tsk at the members of the former tribe. Even if you go by whatever has been found, how do you intend refuting theories that the Indus script was hardly a script? There is so much more that can be refuted about the "beliefs" of the Indus Valley.
    Now you claim that Veda Vyasa was part of the invading tribe and he wrote the Mahabharatha to suit to Indian viewership? Man! You amaze me with how desperate you can be to prove a point, and history alone can cater to such desperation!!
    You compare Achilles and Duryodhana!? Firstly, it wasn't his thigh but his groin as there can be no fatal blow to a thigh. You can crush a thigh and all appendages but can't really kill a man by that. I don't need Veda Vyasa or you to tell me otherwise. Achilles heel could be compared to Krishna's foot (which brought death to him). But what do you achieve either way? Since the Indian scriptures speak of a Matsya avatara and the Bible speaks of Noah's ark, are you going to say that all Indians should adopt one standard text or should we say that since the Indus civilisation never had their version of the story, they never really existed because only the ones who had stories really existed? Grow up!
    If none of the Dravidian languages could be spared in the North, how did they let Brahui be there and push the rest towards the South and East of India? Makes most logical sense to have wiped them all out and pushed them south and out?
    There has been significant exchange of cultures between the north and the south and though nearly all of South had followed/adopted the Vedic/Aryan ways/culture, they retained their script and languages. Why? What is this theory about the Brahmi script being the parent of Tamil when it was first cited in the times of Ashoka (an Aryan or another story?)?
    I personally feel that there have been too many theories and things should best be dropped at that. If someone comes along talking about Jhelum, railways, Russians and 18 days being 18 years without any proof whatsoever, I feel sorry that such stupidity exists on earth. If it is conclusively proven that the Mahabharata was fiction, then I will be fine with it, but till then, it appears like a poor bunch of school-kid's attempt talking about steppes and the like.
    I don't care what politicians do or think because they are as stupid to me as people who talk about railways being the only way a war can be waged. They will use anything like the US used fellatio as a big audience puller. If that be my motivation to denounce something then I'd rather go jump somewhere and stop writing (hint to you Mr. Ramaswami). If we have to deal in facts we deal or clearly mark our work (spoken or written) as fancy stories which needn't have any tell on what really happened. If one doesn't have the humility/honesty for that, then ... forget it Mr. Ramaswami. You stick to your childishness. I couldn't help laugh and be reminded of my nephew (and only in that, he is far more bright) when he loved rejoicing in mock victory. I think the last paragraph in your comment above summarises the way you think and hence, there is nothing more that can be said. If you are sincere, prove something rather than splashing muck around. Based on whatever you have written, I really think you are stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Vinod1:25 PM

    Ramaswami,

    You wrote

    f no one knows the date then it probably never happened - at least in the way as stated in the epic. Like any modern fictional novel it is a stitched version of real, unreal and imagined events.

    In your article you mentioned it happened in the steppes of Russia (without mentioning the real, unreal and imagined events). So did the unreal and imagined events happen during transplantation.

    ReplyDelete
  25. T.R.Ramaswami11:15 AM

    T.R.Ramaswami

    The Editor
    Live Mint

    Dear Sir,

    THE DATE? PLEASE

    I write with reference to the article “Genetic data refutes theory” by Jayakrishnan Nair (Live Mint 30 May 2008). In attempting to refute my theory, Nair has waxed eloquent about DNA, linguistic history etc but does not have the courage, for obvious reasons, to state with conviction the central question raised in my article – what is the date? Look at the facts. The entire Mahabharatha main story from Shanthanu to Parikshit is just six generations. That is about 200 years. The war, which took place sometime during the end of the dynasty, and chronicled like no war of that antiquity, is of 18 days duration. Great. It took place in India? Let us assume that. But look at the absurdity of the range of dates given by historians as “eminent” as Romila Thapar – more than 2200 years!! An 18-day war relating to a dynasty of 200 years has a 2000 year range? Every time I select one date I have to shift the entire dynasty forward or backward?! Is this history? Or fiction? Let’s take some facts about wars in general. The first accurately recorded war is the Battle of Meggido in 1469 BCE. The largest chariot battle in history is the battle of Kadesh in 1294 BCE. The Mahabharatha states that on each day every general on both sides had an army equal to one akshouini. Compare this number with the armies put up in all the battles in history upto the US Civil War. How was such a big army mobilized? Easy – only possible in 3000 BCE if there was a migration-cum-invasion.

    Compare this absurdity with the certainty and the evidence found in other civilisations/events of equal antiquity – the Egyptian and the Mesopotamian. Next – we are told that the Indus Valley civilization was excavated sometime in 1920s. What effort has been made to excavate Kurukshetra and Ayodhya to validate these epics? After all we have found evidence relating to the dinosaurs going back to the Jurassic period about 100 million years back. Are the Ramayana and Mahabharatha older than the dinosaurs? If you were the Indian government would you not dig up these places like the Mumbai Municipal Corporation right down to the centre of the earth if necessary? What we done and what have we found? Let me tell you the answers. If at all they have dug they have found nothing or found something to the contrary. After all if there was any evidence it would have made headlines all over the world. The correct answer is that no excavation has been done because everyone knows that nothing will be found because it did not happen. The status quo is preferable because these epics are no longer just stories – they are a powerful tool for spiritual, temporal, political and social control. That is why today we hear in legislatures that this was said or happened in the Ramayana or Mahabharatha etc – ie if you question it then you are not a true desh vasi.

    So Jayakrishnan Nair and all other experts should answer just one question – the date, please?


    Yours faithfully,


    T.R.RAMASWAMI

    ReplyDelete
  26. why is it suddenly being called the jhelum? wasn't it sarasvati where the indus-sarasvati civilization was?

    now there's a river in south africa called the Vaal river, now do i say that was where hanuman extinguished the fire in his tail(called Vaal in tamil)?

    and hanuman brought the sanjeevini herb... do i connect that with hannehmann the founder of homeopathy?

    now they all say diana's death reeks of globalization... you know that gag about the scottish princess and egyptian lover and italian paparazzi yada yada... if you don't google for it.
    I'm sure trr's version of mahabharata along with additions from the rest of us here can give stiff competition.

    trr's transcends not just space, but time, even... when did the cossacks come into being?

    ReplyDelete
  27. T.R.Ramaswami6:54 AM

    Just give me the date. I thought Eroteme possesses and has read and digested the Surya-Siddhantha. And Cossacks is just the name for the geographical location.
    And where have all the other experts who added their two bit knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  28. ramaswami,

    instead of troubling eroteme can you tae up your arguments with jayakrishnan nair.

    he is the one who has rebutted you. please go to his blog www.varnam.org/blog

    ReplyDelete
  29. T.R.Ramaswami12:34 PM

    So now Eroteme is not rebutting my views? He was the first to comment on my article including experts comments like he possesses and has read the Surya Siddhantha. So surely he must have the date? In any case I have rebutted Jayakrishnan Nair on his blog and a copy has also been posted on this blog. But will Mint have the courage to print my response?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Dear TRR,
    I am done rebutting your views. I really have nothing more to say than what I already have. I thought that was sufficient for you to realise that your fairytale had no basis. No? Regarding the exact date, frankly it doesn't interest me. I gave you tools and methods (e.g. SuryaSiddhanta or any scientific software) which could be employed as you seemed interested. I am only interested in pointing out when someone falls from levels of common sense. It is fine to weave conspiracy theories and it is normal that you would be ridiculed if some of the basis is crazy (railways, Jhelum, 18 days being 18 years, etc.). That is exactly what happened here. If you want the date, please drop any preconceived notions (including whether the Mahabharata happened or not) and do some serious research. I am not interested in the date as I have more interesting things that keep me occupied. Don't ask me to do your research. Don't ask me to forsake my common sense just because I won't do research for you!! Please study the link I posted in the comments for a fairly serious study that was done and which had the dates boiled down to about 3-4 possible dates.
    One thing I don't understand about your way of thinking, Mr. Ramaswami. You pick the element about bastards to be true but the 18 day thing to be false. You pick the sleeping around parts to be true but the Kuru dynasty's establishment in India to be false. You pick the size of the armies to be true, but the note that they fought without railways as false. You seem to pick only the sensational aspects to suit your salivating mind's wants. As another commenter noted, you once say it never happened and at another place say it happened in Russia. Frankly, what is your objective? The date? I don't think so. If it is true, here is a date: 2559BC. There, you have a date. Now what!?

    ReplyDelete
  31. T.R.Ramaswami3:37 PM

    Proof for 2559 BC? Next - when you claim the right to offer comments be prepared to continue as long as necessary and not stop at your convenience. Lastly read properly, I said - IF it happened it happened in Russia. My prime contention is that the Mahabharatha as written never happened and is only a twisted version of the Aryan invasion. T.R.Ramaswami

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous3:45 PM

    Mr ramaswami,
    You were never born. You are infact a twisted version of gomer pyle.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dear TRR,
    I am done with rebuttals. If you have something new and crazy to say I will offer something new, else I am done. Honest. You raised points and I countered them. You didn't rectify them but kept asking me for a date (eww!). I have now even given you one. You want proof? How about giving proof for your conjectures? Till you find yours you could also spend time researching the date I gave you. I think this is as long as is necessary to humour you, Mr. Ramaswami. Without anything new to offer, you tire me.

    Dear V,
    TRR just clarified your doubt.

    Dear W,
    Lots of questions!! :-) Contrary to TRR's explanation, Cossack is not a region but people who were sort of adventurers from a few regions around the Caspian sea. Check the encyclopedia for more details. I think the term came into origin around 15th Century (much after we had people singing devotional songs to Rama).

    Dear HK,
    :-)

    Dear Anon,
    He actually nearly had me believe that my great-grand father never existed!! :-o Who is gomer pyle?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Parvati8:52 AM

    Phew!-- is that it? Or is there more to come?

    Truly wish your beautiful sonnets evoked if not a massive 34 comments, at least 33!

    How about taking a breather from the debating - just finished seeing a most enjoyable and highly inspiring film called The Great Debaters and come here to one of my most favourite blogs to see more words, words, words :-); nice but not so nice...anyway - and getting away from history to philosophy, spirituality, literature and yummy poetry?

    Come on, Eroteme, let's see the rest of you, as a humorous story or a laughing out loud non-fiction post? Though this post and its comments was in no way less funny to me...:-D

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am by no means an expert on Mahabharatha or history. but a few thoughts on the the Jhelum - Jalam idea.

    The letter 'ja' (ஜ) is not part of the Tamil alphabet. It belongs to a specific category of letters that were later on included to manage the growing number of words that were entering Tamil from Sanksrit. A few other examples of this vada mozi ezuththukkaL (Northern Language/Sanskrit Letters) are sa (ஸ, sha (ஷ).

    So, the word jalam cannot be a word for water in Tamil. The word for water in Tamil is nIr (நீர்). This is seen in its corresponding variants thaNNIr (தண்ணீர்) denoting cold water (தண்மை being the adjective for coldness), வென்னீர் denoting hot water (வெம்மை being the adjective for hotness), பதனீர் and so on.

    Looking at the classical Tamil works (which means setting aside the AlwArs, nAyanmArs and the more recent works which borrow from a variety of language), not once do we see the usage of the word jalam in place of water. tholkAppiyar, nakkIrar, kapilar - at least one of this names should have used the word jalam for water if the word was in use enough to name a river after it.

    Jalam is a word that is borrowed from Sankrit, just like the words Agni for fire, AgAyam for sky are. The native Tamil words for fire and sky would be neruppu (நெருப்பு) and viN/vAn (விண்/வான்). There is a mention saying that the word jal itself is of Persian origin. But I am in no position to comment on that.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Dear P,
    You bet!

    Dear A,
    Thanks for the input. I was planning on asking you to provide your expert comments on this topic (I can count on you for anything related to Tamil) but somehow missed discussing this with you.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Ashwin11:55 PM

    TRR seems to be a moron...the tamil word for water is "Neer" or"Vellam".And there are many stanzas in Mahabharata , which mention that the cholas/pandyas fought in the war alongside the kauravas...there are references of "tiger flag"(cholas) and "fish flag"(pandyas). This guy better read mahabharata in the first place.If this is the standard of writers in mint, I really pity them.

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  38. Thanks for the information... I really love your blog posts... specially those on Local Tamil News

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