Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When in antiquity did it become unfashionable to indentify yourself as a Bharatiya/Hindu?

Historically the Central Asian invaders ,contrary to British colonialist propaganda, were invariably defeated by strong Indian armies.
I am  of course talking about the Scythians and Huns in particular.Huns had defeated the mighty Chinese and the Roman Empire but they had met their match in Samudra Gupta ,Yashodharma and Baladitya
Only the Yueh Chi/Kushans who carved an empire in Northwestern India who managed escaped Indian retribution.
When they were successful such as the Sakasthan empire, they were got their ass handed to them by Satavahana Andhra kings such as Gautamiputra Satakarni. His efforts in the Deccan and Malwa had the domino effect on their powers in the northwest(About 1700 years later, this would be inversed when the Ahmad Shah Abdali,possibly descended from Scythians, squashed the Marathas,descendents of Satavahanas, at Panipat thus effecting their southern holdings)

No sooner than they started ruling India they immediately started worshipping Hindu and Buddhist gods and adopted local names while claiming Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi lineages

It is helpful of course that they had precedent in the distant legendary accounts such as Ramayana where sage Vasishta had them "purified" by have passed thru the rear end of a cow(most likely it symbolizes a ritual where they smeared  with cow dung).

While the descendent of Huns-Gurjaras turned into very respectable proto Rajputs and mild mannered Gujaratis whose regions name was changed from Lata

There was absolutely no talk of superior lineage due to their Central Asian origins.All wanted to prove that they were more Vedic than Vedic.More vegetarian than Brahmin, more aristocratic than Kshatriyas, more entrepreneurial than Vaishyas and more slavish than Shudras

One thing that they probably preferred not to let go was their skin complexion and most likely color based caste system started with them and not the Vedas or the British

All pro Indian tendencies came to an end with the Muslim invasions and the utter devastation it caused to Northern India in particular.
One Muslim chronicler notes that slaves from India were so plentiful in Afghanistan that it was cheaper to buy a slave, even a very respectable person, due to oversupply

Any country that suffers invasion and conquest suffers a loss of prestige. Note how despite all claims of brotherhood for Palestinians, Arabs actually loathe them because they remind Arabs of their weakness and humiliation. Ditto these days for Iraqis who are now notorious as being helpless refugees and prostitutes
I am told Iraqis now wish to lose their distinctive identity as its a liability and quickly adapt to Jordanian ,Syrian or Khaleeji ethnicities

Similar situation exists for Afghanistan. The Pushtun culture of honor, courage and bravado(to the extant that it did exist) is dead. gone. nada. zilch
Demoralization began with the Soviet installation of  a puppet government dominated by the heavily Russified Uzbek people. When it was toppled Soviets responded as they were wont to do with throwing everything including the kitchen sink(filled no doubt with empty vodka bottles) at Afghanistan. Of course this ill conceived, poorly planned and executed invasion did not provide any lasting benefit to the Soviets. It didn't help they were hounded by guerillas factions trained by the ISI using American weapons and monies. But the Soviets did do great damage in the process to the Pushtuns and their ancient ways. The remaining was finished off by the hyper ambitious Punjabis, the Afghans themselves with the civil war which led to the tyrannical Taliban and then American invasion after 9/11

But I digress. The point is a few decades reduced the nearly millennium long reputation of  Pushtuns of romantic heroes to pathetic refugees and whores.

Now Hindus were subjected to this type of degradation and worse for nearly 1 millennium

The stereotype of an Indian now a slavish, cowardly, effeminate, cunning, stingy and cruel
This was not always the case. Indians as noted by the Greeks and Chinese more than 1500 years ago, were a brave, confident, generous, free and just people for the most part

Now that being Indian was a losing proposition, the Rajputs, Ahirs, Gujjars, Jats ,Marathas,Nairs all started claiming fancy lineages such as Scythians or Huns all the while egged on by the British to disassociate themselves further from those slavish native masses. These individuals composed the bulk of the British Indian army. Coincidence?
In all except Jats ,Marathas and Nairs was the Scythian or Hun claim legitimate

The Northwest people are now dominant in Indian society. These descendants of Huns are prominent in business(Marwaris,Gujaratis),media(Punjabi domination in Bollywood) ,military(martial races mentioned above were primarily recruited from the Northwest),politics(Nehru Gandhi,Modi Advani axis all Gujjars) and sports(Punjabis and Rajputs)

It seems that only recently since the 90s with its improved economy, military stature due to the nuclear tests,mainstream appeal of Out of India theory ,suspicion and disgust of the corrupt and nepotism prone Gandhi family and improved PR of India from a leprosy ridden ward of Mother Theresa to an IT powerhouse did this enthusiasm for claiming foreign lineages diminish and others such as Biharis and South Indians got a chance to truly flourish and not be ridiculed in the media in the process. Coincidence?

In the end, I believe the Muslim Central Asian did more for the self respect of their brethren than their Hindu/Budhhist/Shamanist ancestors ever could. Now the barbaric Turk and Mongol could hold his head high and look upon contempt for the Indians
Dhoti was out,pants were in
Toplessless out/kurta,choli in
Rice was out,wheat was in
Lacto vegetarianism/poultry was out/red meat was in
Chariots were out/the more direct equestrian approach was in
Idol worship out/monotheism in
Dark skin(Krishna,Draupadi,Ajanta frescoes) was out/Light skin in
Small noses out/Large Persian noses in

I think it was Sitaram Goel who pointed out that Urdu poets even in the lae 18th century rhapsodized about the mountains,lakes,deserts and wastelands of Samarkhand,Baghdad and Shiraz rather  than Mathura or Poona

Is it any coincidence that Muslims are the most likely to claim some foreign origin unless they are descended from other Hindu ethnic group which claims a foreign origin such as Rajputs or Jats?


  1. Thats what years of slavery and oppression will do. Notice the Indian obsession with Gora skin!..Shameful.

  2. YSV how I wish Capt and his followers read this post of yours :) After reading this they could have understood that you share the same viewpoints as that of the Capt.Anyway coming to the point, this post is extremely good and very categorical and precise in what it wants to deliver.As you have already highlighted,South India,I believe,has been able to secure the original Indianness(Hindutva).Had the southern states not existed,who knows India would have been a non-India country probably by now,just like Afghanistan has largely washed off its original flavour ofcourse due to factors not under its control .As I have previously mentioned in one comment in your blog,whatever harm Bhakti movement has done to the mainstream Sanatan Dharma,we can forgive it because it has actually saved Hinduism from a clear whitewash.During the times of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,forced conversions to Islam had become so common that atleast Bengal would have become an Islamic state had the Bhakti movement not started.Your point on the 90s era expansion is perfect.Erstwhile West Bengal in the pre 90s didnot get disconnected from the economic expansion of the nation(although that period has rigid communist rule) largely because of the presence of some good educational institutes in Bengal,which helped Bengalis distribute themselves throughout India and the world.This is the sole reason why Bengal never lagged in social parameters(like communal harmony,flexibility etc) largely due to the presence of robust educational infrastructure .Ofcourse at present it is deteriorating ,as is evident from the socio-political scenario.I think Bihar lagged behind other states particularly due to the lack of educational infrastructure .Probably now the situation has changed,I am not sure.

  3. Thanks Jam but Im afraid it would do no good even if they did read it as the Captain is a madman and his followers are cult members. Despite their claims of patriotism, they are really more offended by criticism against the captain than criticizing Bharatavarsha or Dharma

    It reminds me of Sitaram Goels observation that RSS members were more offended than someone criticized RSS than when they criticized Hinduism!

    I wouldn't define the pre melccha (Hindu and Muslim) Vedic culture of India as "Hindutva". Hindutva is a 20 century construct politicizing Hinduism for nationalistic purposes by athiests such as Savarkar.

    I would say that because Bengalis fell so overwhelmingly into the Bhakti mould after the decline of the Palas and that they were unable to muster the strength to defend their realm against Muslims.
    So you are mixing cause and effect. I would say that Muslim rulers tolerated Bhakti Hinduism for the same reason that British encouraged Gandhian Ahimsa, it was politically convenient.
    Meanwhile in the south, Muslims tried their level best to stamp out the more assertive modes of Hinduism prevalent there.

    As a Telugu, Vijayanagar empire has perhaps the same effect on me as the Byzantine on a Greek individual.also its destruction and devastation by Muslim forces (as with Byzantine) causes me much pain that it is difficult to speak even of glories with reminiscing on its loss.

    1. "they are really more offended by criticism against the captain than criticizing Bharatavarsha or Dharma" - YSV this is exactly their problem :) Most of them are more interested in glorification of Capt than Hinduism or India,because Capt is not a person whom you should follow seriously and blindly.I understood this after I came to read his Fake Kalidasa,Fake Dasa characters of medieval age,Ashoka didnot exist etc inferences :)

      "It reminds me of Sitaram Goels observation that RSS members...." - While Mr Goel's central point on the reaction of Rss sevaks here is true,still I think this situation arises not solely because of RSS but more because of some ignorant people who blindly criticise RSS and even brand them as a terrorist organization.I can understand a RSS sevak's passion for RSS but I cannot understand Capt followers' blindness of their Capt's baseless claims.Even I used to follow capt with interest at one point of time,but not after I came with his exaggerated claims of many topics of history,some of which I have mentioned above.Here I must also acknowledge that after debating with you on some of these claims,I have come to understand their shallowness after reading your views :) (for example Capt's Gandhi claims)

      "Hindutva is a 20 century construct politicizing Hinduism....." - What you have stated is absolutely correct.Infact "Hindutva" is not Sanatan Dharma,rather "Hindutva" is more identical to the feeling of common Indianness of the vast Hindu community of India.Probably this can extend to the non-hindu Indians also,because the slogans like "Vande Mataram" and "Bharatmata" resonated accross all communities in pre-independence India,although technically these were not "secular" in the true sense.As you have stated,Hindutva is more political than philosophical.

      "I would say that because Bengalis fell so overwhelmingly into the Bhakti mould ...." - I agree partially to your point here.Bengalis were weakened due to the Bhakti movement. I can assure you that this weakness continues till now :).But ironically it was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who saved Bengal from becoming an Islamic state in the medieval ages,through this same tool of Bhakti.The contemporary non-Hindu administration of Bengal was just compelled by mere coincidence or divine will to allow Mahaprabhu continue his preachings.I am mentioning divine will because even Mahaprabhu's closest associates like Haridasa Thakur etc had to suffer from the wrath of the non-hindu administrators.Eliminating Mahaprabhu wouldn't have been a problem but that just didn't happen.Infact it was the other way round,i.e,not only common non-hindu people,but even eminent muslims like local rulers like Chand Kazi accepted CHaitanya's Vaishnava philosophy and became his disciples.Now imagine this in the theocratic medieval ages. Even today conversions are becoming a raging political debate :) . Actually the sankirtan movement of Mahaprabhu boosted Hinduism in another way.

      " I would say that Muslim rulers tolerated Bhakti Hinduism ..." Here you are pointing out the similarity with the british tolerance of Gandhian ahimsa and you are correct in your analysis.But I think this inference can be drawn only upto the pre-Mahaprabhu Bhakti era. Gandhian Ahimsa couldnot make Britishers accept Satyagraha or Gandhi's philosophy on a large scale(there might have been one or two exceptions).But Mahaprabhu in the medieval ages had simply converted huge number of non-hindu people,some even of the stature of local rulers like CHand Kazi into his sworn disciples.Here lies the difference of the Mahaprabhu era with the previous Bhakti movement in Bengal.

      "Meanwhile in the south, Muslims tried ..." - Again I have no disagreement with you on this point :) Infact I feel proud of our Vijaynagar empire.

  4. HIndutva was started by athiests nationalist such as Savarkar and as such Hinduism was brought in to serve Bharatmata to the desired end -independence.

    This is something I neglected in my post about Bharat Mata. Hindutva and Bharatmata were useful ideologies at some point even if they were intrinsically flawed. Problem is they weren't cast aside and the flaws just magnified and we have the sorry situation today.

    RSS is not a bad organization in itself . I just don't see the point of it besides providing some discipline for underprivileged youth which is certainly a good in itself to be sure. But after reading Sitaram Goel and Ram Swarup's report of what goes in the RSS - mostly needless slogan spouting and morchas, I really don't see how they can make a positive contribution to anything. At the most they seem to riot troops to counter any Muslim demonstrations or anarchy.

    I would say Hinduism in Bengal and therefore India in general would've been better served had the Chaitanya inspired a karma yogi in the manner that Ramdas Samarth had Shivaji and Vidyaranya/Sayana inspired Harihara and Bukka, founders of Vijayanagar.
    Interesting that Chand Kazi became a devotee of Chaitanya. If Chaitanya could convert more Muslims in power then you could've had an Emperor Constantine situation where with in one swoop Christianity became law of the land!
    Akbar during his later years might as well been a Hindu, at the very least he was an ultra liberal syncretist Muslim who was a mullahs worst nightmare. His grandson Dara Shikoh ,who Aurangzeb killed was of the same mould
    When I went to Tirupati, I was surprised to learn the facilitation of another wife of Venkateswara besides Lakshmi , but this was a mortal aristocratic Muslim woman from the middle ages from Orissa ! Apparently she was such an ardent devotee that she ended up as his wife!

    When Pakistani historians praise Aurangzeb for resisting decline of Islam, they are not entirely wrong. In the past I thought it is the usual nonsense Pak propaganda.
    But in reality , Islam may have become another sect of Hinduism if not for Aurangzeb.
    To this end , he imported tons of mullahs and ghazis from Saudi Arabia and sacked those in his employ who were addicted to food, women and opium!

    Even until the late 1800 when British took a census in Bengal, they were actually shocked to learn that about half of the population was Muslim as they were happily observing Hindu traditions ,festivals and customs.
    This compelled them to take the evil step of partitioning Bengal(as if starving it in a famine wasn't enough a 100 years earlier !). Not to mention the famines during 1905 and WWII by Churchill(to the West he is a hero who defeated Hitler but as Madhushree Mukerjee and Soutik Biswas showed , he was the Hitler to Bengalis)

    Tragically the Telengana Hindu kingdoms Kakatiya and Vijayanagar fell due to some Kshatriya castes like Velama who were left out of the fray due to the egalitarian policies followed by other Kshatriya castes like Kammas. The latter had promoted Dalit castes like Mala and Madiga to generals and advisors and gave them gifts of land and gold for their service.

    This did not sit well with Velama and other castes(a lot of them Reddys) who felt they were better off under Muslim rule. And hence they betrayed Telugu/Kannada Hindu dynasty at key junctures leading to defeat of Kakatiya by Khilji and Vijayanagar by Bahmani confederation.

    And now this shit K Chandrashekhar Rao CM of Telengana is a Velama and to get his new state, he joined hands with this Razakar garbage Akbarudiin Owaisi( of"1 muslim can defeat 25 Hindus" fame).... some things never change!

    1. YSV thanks for your reply .I must say that your points are very well laid out.Regarding the utility of RSS I have a slightly differing perspective,but that is not contradictory to that of yours.Infact I admit your overall observation on RSS.Having said that,I think even the mundane physical training and teaching of discipline to the youth can go a long way in ensuring some amount of non-governmental help in times of emergency situations like natural disasters etc.The work of defending and contributing to Hinduism is to be done by VHP or the Hindu missionary organizations.Whether they are noticeably successful in doing that is a different topic altogether.RSS stresses on Hindu nationalism but the sole motto of RSS is not restricted to that.Actually the agenda of RSS is to create responsible citizens.This is the reason why they had opened their Islamic wing Muslim Rashtriya Manch .

      I also agree with your Mahaprabhu point.Anyway what I was telling is that Mahaprabhu in his own way had defended hinduism.It is true that Ramdas had created the warrior Shivaji,but here I must say that the geographical advantage of Marathas and their general nature had helped Shivaji to a great extent in building a formidable military opposition.While most of Bengal was a flat-land and the Bengalis a peaceful lot,it was not possible for anyone to makes Bongs flex their muscles.Under this situation I feel Mahaprabhu had given considerable service to Hinduism in his own way by bringing even influential Muslims in Bengal under his fold.This was probably the reason why the Muslim theocratic administration could not just eliminate Mahaprabhu.But still I think it will remain a historical marvel at how Mahaprabhu was able convert a large number Muslims into Hinduism when the ruling power was antagonistic to it. Such was the magnanimity of Mahaprabhu that people in Bengal followed him and listened to him whereever he went,forgetting their religion or castes.

      Regarding your K Chandrasekhar Rao point,the proverb "History repeats itself" stands vindicated :) YSV while reading this part of your answer,I felt you would be the right person to address the historical pattern of the Telengana separation from Andhra.You can either dedicate a separate blog or write on this point in the comments section.And also if you are interested,I would like to know from you the exact nature of the problem ailing the Tamils in Srilanka and why it becomes a burning issue in Tamil Nadu.

      Again if you are interested and willing,I would like to know your perspective on the political history of the Vijaynagar Kingdom,its role in defending Hinduism and its subsequent fall. When I used to read about Vijaynagar Kingdom in school history books,I used to feel proud that a Hindu Kingdom stood high and mighty when the rest of India was practically under Muslim rule.

      One thing I forgot to mention is a small point on Akbar.Most history books at school level claim that Rammohan Roy abolished Sati .While this is not wrong,actually another thing should also be mentioned,ie,Akbar had actually tried to address this issue towards the end of his life.But he could not take the required steps partly due to his friendly relations with Hindu kings and partly due to his son Jahangir's petulance to acquire the throne.Even before Akbar,it was King Harsha who had abolished Sati as a rule.

    2. At the moment , I cannot improve upon the magnum opus narration of origins and glory of Vijayanagar by Jambudveep

      A multi part series but a great read.

      For the photos of the ruins of a great culture, Im afraid I have to refer to the captains site LOL. Of course you realize just check out the pictures and avoid the prose ;-)

      I would just say that the destruction of Vijayanagar is not as simple as scholars assume.
      Sure Rama Raya made errors by appointing Muslims in strategic positions where in they betrayed him on the battlefield. But I think the battle was of Talikota was lost before it was won due to Muslims making deals with various Hindu castes(aforementioned) and internal palace intrigues and dissent within the family.
      Not to mention that Rama Raya was 90 years old! What was he doing on the battle field?!

    3. YSV thanks for the link.The article is really well written,and the beauty increases if we supplement it with Capt's picture collections ofcourse sans the textual sermons as you have mentioned :) Vijaynagar empire have always fascinated me ever since I came to know about it in school.My interest in Vijaynagar empire increased even more after watching the Tenali Raman cartoon series on TV :)

  5. Hey YSV Rao,

    Nice post! But I find it hard to believe that the current day Rajputs are descendents of these invaders. The invaders would have come in a small proportion compared to the rest of the population. Also, most likely they did not mix with the indian population. Most likely they only married native princesses for alliances. But even if they did mix with the native population, their effect on the genetic makeup of the native population would be negligible due to their small size, in comparison to that of the natives...

    1. Thanks Milin. I actually have revised my opinion somewhat. I believe a good number of Rajputs are actually comprised of native dynasties of diverse origins where Rashtrakuta, Chalukya, Gujjar, Brahmins offspring of Guptas etc. But at the same time, probably the Agnikula Rajputs are descendents or partly descendents of Hephtalites or Scythians.