Monthly Archives: December 2010

History is too Complex

To understand the events as they happened in the past is one of the most complex exercises undertaken by the scholars. It is almost impossible to be unbiased and unconcerned while reconstructing the events. So history is mine, yours and other peoples’. As we go further and further back in the past, the evidence becomes meager and meager and assumptions and conjectures and evaluators ability become crucial factors.

Today archaeologists and historians are using latest scientific tools for age determination, composition of the materials used in pottery and heat treatment it was given. These pieces of evidence along with the written documents like holy books bring us to the realistic picture of the past. I was reading excerpts of a talk given by India‘s most respected historian Romila Thapar about who were the Aryans and how they came to India. After going through this article, I was awe struck with the knowledge of the lady. She has busted may myths about the theories about Aryans which are being used by political people in their own ways to further their cause.

She very rightly concludes in the end that these people did not come as a deluge and swept away the existing civilizations to the South. They were pastoral people who migrated into India in slow stream, in what is called leap frogging. They coexisted with the local people. Both contributed to the culture of each other and intermarried also. As the rivers of the Punjab, which are very crucial for the cattle owners, shifted their paths very rapidly, they also shifted towards Gangetic plains for pastures and spread eastwards clinging close to the rivers for their existence. Their competition and struggles were for controlling the more and more cattle and land.

It also came to the knowledge that Avesta of Iran and Rigveda has many things and names of places and river name in common with only difference of substitution of H in place of S used in Rigveda. For example Sapt Sindhu is written as Hapt Hindu. Really the interpretation is fascinating and magical. Another book I was just ruminating through is about Somnatha temple’s history as told by different schools of thoughts and people.


Bits of our History

History they say is not the absolute truth. The human interactions and desires are so complex so as to be easily comprehensible. Everyone tries to interpret the past in its own way. The science is now being used to reconstruct the past from the remnants of the things used by people in the past like the inscriptions on the stones, remains of the dead, pottery, tools used by the people of those times. History is also layered with seams representing the different chronologies.

I was going through the books at, reading the preview of some books on history by Romila Thapar. She seems to do the things very thoroughly and putting across these very legibly. Theories of invasion of North India and then whole of Gangetic plains during the course of time also lack evidence and are not fully convincing.

Another book detailing the history of Maratha people by an British author who spent considerable time in India tells us that it was easy for the Aryans to spread across the Ganges plains because of easy terrain and fertile land for agriculture and availability of water for survival. After reaching and settling up to East of India, they moved towards South India across the Vindiyas. This delay seems due to difficult terrain dividing the south and north of India.

But their entry into the Maharashtra was the last.

Trying to Make a Beginning

It has been a long time since I put any words on the paper. Always I try and finds myself blank. There are many reasons. I waste my time of facebook and long to see those red circles reminding me about messages and comments. I try to read the book “White Mughals” which describes in detail about the lives of East India Company people in India, especially those which were residents in the courts of Mogul Kings, Deccan Kings, Pune and Hyderabad especially the Nizam. One such central figure in the book is John Kirkpatrick who was the resident in Nizam of Hyderabad. The military man was so much under the spell of India that he almost lived like a Muslim prince. He smoked a hookah, arranged for the nautch girls and married an Muslim girl called Khair-Un-Nissa for which he had to pay a very heavy price. The book also describes how Welsley colluded with Nizam and defeated and killed the Tipu Sultan in Shrirangapatam.

The book by William Dalrymple is highly researched. But I am not able to stick and concentrate on it or rather on any one thing. Sometimes I think about doing some scientific work like writing some paper but that too demands concentration and sitting determined on the data. I again drift somewhere. I see & listen some music videos on the youtube. Also I watch the old programmes which are shown on the DD Bharti which was the only channel available in Indian few years ago when television had made its entry in India. These programs are very good in content though technology is not so good as is expected in the beginning days.

I wake up early in the morning and go out for a walk. There also I carry on the burden of thoughts with me. Thoughts never cease and I sometimes myself lagging behind the other walkers and then I realise that I have been thinking and in the process of ideation. There are somethings about which I cannot do anything and find myself so helpless. I don’t know why some people don’t have any sensitivity towards the feelings of others. They blissfully ignore but never say two words of affection and love.

I am almost addicted to filling the crossword. It comes in the Mirror magazine and is not too much difficult. With some cheating and my own efforts I am able to complete it. But I find that many words and the names of  places which it often repeats does not come back easily. Then I also complete the Sudoku daily. On the average it takes about 7 to 8 minutes to complete. Then there are very funny tidbits in the Times of India paper which it claims to be scientific breakthrough. You can laugh at the methodology and the conclusions drawn from it. These are very funny indeed.

Anyway, I have again tried to write after so many days. Hope this will continue.