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Splashes – 65/72 – Anti Hindu Nexus

Before partition Hinduism faced external threats from alien faiths like Islam and Christianity. In today’s scenario economic ideologies have also started threatening religious doctrines that affect Hindu social life. After partition, we found ourselves sandwiched between the rivalry of Communism and Capitalism, with each one trying to dominate us. Both ideologies have had strong effect on the socio-economic human relationships, as those were directly related to physiological needs in particular, and psychological needs as consequence. Both cut the roots of Hindu ideology of Yama and Niyamas that stressed Non violence, Contentment, Self Control and Trust in the Creator.

Effect of Economic Ideologies

Though alien to India, rival ideologies have already started affecting the harmony of Hindu society adversely. As Hindu individuals, we did not have much control over the external factors.  Those require to be negotiated primarily by the government. Unfortunately most of the political leadership has been virtually won over by the rival power blocks to help them establishing their hold within India. Their price paid to politicians lies locked up in foreign bank accounts.

The philosophy of the government is therefore an important factor to contain the ill effects of alien ideologies assailing our culture and religious practices. Communism and Capitalism, both are a source of threat to Hinduism. A Government run be selfish politicians professing secularism cannot provide much-needed protection.

Communism

The communism combines in itself, both the subtle deceptions of the Christian church, and creed of violence of the Muslims. Their doctrine is caring more for the end than for the means. Their strategy is first to uproot everything, before sowing its roots. A country like ours, with poor and ignorant masses, offered a fertile field for communism. Once Communism was allowed to take hold, we would become permanent slaves of an absolute dictatorship, which knows no scruples.

Communists are primitive living beings in their thought and practices. They do not think beyond physical needs of an individual. Indian Communists are the worse, as they intend to destroy everything that is Indian, before over writing their own doctrine. Their promised economic boons are myths only. Even in Russia that professed and practiced communism, the economic condition of the ordinary men are worse than the poorest in the capitalistic countries. Russia itself is slowly moving back to find solace through religion. Its churches are drawing larger and larger crowds, most of who belong to the younger generation.

Being an alien and atheistic theory, communism destroyed the ancient religion and culture of the people, on whom it was foisted. China and Tibet were glaring examples. It was ill-ominous, that Communists emerged as power brokers in Indian politics, and were spreading their militant tentacles in the hinterland of India; with the support of Naxalites and People’s War Group, to lead bloody class revolution. They have been giving call to wipe out Hinduism from India, through violent means. They executed that in Nepal, the only country that had held on to Hinduism. There is no other way, but to ban communist activities from Indian soil and combat Naxalites and PWG outfits as insurgents.

Of late Communism has taken the advantage of over-grown frustration among the youth in particular to strengthen its hold in the elected governments. The governing systems corrupted by family rule of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty for six decades have ushered anarchist elements to take control of elected Government through ballot, as crusaders against corruption in the guise of ‘Aam Aadmi Party’. In disguise, this newly formed anti India movement is now spreading like a wild fire to wreck traditional systems of governance, because its cadres have no commitment, administrative experience, expertise, or vision to tackle country’s problems. The end results will be disastrous since their control is outside India with people of dubious reputation.

Economic Imperialism from West

On the international plane, American policy has been to enslave India that is viewed as a future competitor. American strategy is to wreck India from within, rather fighting a hostile war. USA and her allies have been trying to disintegrate India through a long-term conspiracy. They had already sown the seeds of separatism in various forms, to endanger our national unity. We are watching helplessly our self-destruction. Their strategy is being put into action through:

1.         Political Missions – Political Missions engineer military conflicts between neighboring nations. They create demand for weapons. Generally, military aid is offered to one country to trigger arms race between neighbors, resulting in demand for more military hardware in the region, from the manufacturing nations, at the terms dictated by suppliers. The strategies against targeted countries include; planting of moles, destabilization of hostile governments, withholding of essential technology, and even assassination of uncompromising leaders. All are coveted and ruthless operations. They indulge in psychological war fare and plant seditious propaganda to allure youths to violate their value system, change life styles of existing population to breed frustration with the existing system and by widening ethnic diversities.

2.        Multinational Companies – like East India Company, multinational corporations are the advanced guards of economic imperialism that is now being spread in India by America, and other European nations. They are in search of new markets, in the developing and under developed countries, to sell their military hardware, as well as, consumer goods. Their marketing strategies are multiple such as:

  • Brand Ambassadors to sell Consumer goods – By changing the life styles, culture, perceptions, tastes, social outlook, religious beliefs and role models of the target countries they generate market for consumer goods. Cricketers, Beauty Queens and film stars are the minions to do this job.
  • Promoting Gift and Discount culture – Youth is induced through allurements, gifts, excitement, drug addiction, and easy money earning schemes. Once inroads are laid, youth propagate and enlarge the acceptance of products by exerting emotional pressure on elder generation. Many products such as Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Coca Cola and cosmetics have entered our market this way. Establishment of Malls has already displaced several local shopkeepers in India. They have turned either tenants or employees of multinationals sitting abroad.
  • Defacement of local Culture – Such strategies not only displace our economy, but also attack our culture. Observance of Valentine Day in India is a deep-rooted marketing strategy, for selling several inter related products, as well as, an attack on our value system. The tug of war between its promoters and protesters has become an annual ritual in India.  Traditional family ties get displaced to accommodate ‘live-in’ type of relationships.
  • Interference in local Governance – Once multinationals capture local economy, they venture into political fields to dictate the formation of governments of their choice, by funding political candidates. Once entrenched, multinationals impede indigenous industry to grow and prosper at any cost. Whatever East India Company did in eighteenth century, the same could be set to be repeated by multinationals. India is being converted into a vessel state of Economic Imperialism. Religion will become a handmaid of economy.

3        Hostile Multinational Media – These days Media has come to play most important role in influencing all aspects of the environment. Multinational media are a potent tool in the hands of multinational corporations. They are the opinion builders as well as destabilizes. It is no hidden fact that immense propaganda is going on through print as well as electronic media, to defame Hinduism, so that its resurgence in India is stalled, to the advantage of Christian owned corporations. Their slant in reporting is biased towards having a fragmented, secular, consumerist Indian society, in favor of allowing free entry to outsiders. Due to its strong national affiliation, Hinduism is viewed as a hindrance to their designs. With low commitment to patriotism, convent educated cub journalists, are a minion force for this purpose. Medias are turning into mafias controlled by few families. They are no longer in the interest of common folks.

4.       Anti Hindu NGOs – Working in tandem are some non-governmental organizations. These are camouflaged as Human Rights Activists, Amnesty International, and Missionaries of Charity and so on. Their aim is to help vested alien interests, by raking up emotive issues to impede the functioning of indigenous schemes. Such organizations operate through their representatives located within the target country. The agents magnify trivial issues; sensationalize them to invite international pressure to support pre-determined aims. The support being given to certain anti Indian militant outfits, Narmada Dam Agitation and Missionaries of Charity involved in conversion of Hindus to Christianity are pertinent examples in the Indian context. Sometimes a halo is added to the agent’s profile by conferring an award that also carries handsome remuneration.

5         Economic Sanctions – It is tool in the hands of developed nations to compel weaker nations to toe their line in all matters.  The potent tool against this weapon is to impose counter reciprocal sanctions and develop and explore indigenous source within the country.

6          Consumerism – It is another tool to allure governments, private sector undertakings and individual to indulge in reckless spending and incur debts by advertising visibly attractive credit schemes. As a consequence people start buying non-essential items and land into debt trap. Their economic condition worsens, and they end up in frustration that spreads from families to nation. This concept is very antithesis of Hinduism that preaches contentment and conservation of resources.

Over Liberalization

Effective counter-measures can be taken primarily by the government. Therefore, it is dependent on the philosophy of the ruling party that can contain such activities under check. We must take a cue from US Administration, and other developed countries like China, as to how a strict entry system is followed by them.

Unless, the Government is committed to protect the religious ideology of the country, masses are likely to be allured by advertised economic gains, and fall into the trap of economic imperialism. Unfortunately, on this context also, due to secularism and selfish politicians the role of the government is not in tune with Hindu philosophy. Our politicians pride in propagating liberalization – to wreck own country.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 66/72 – Reservation Mania)

Splashes– 63/72 – Era of British Rule

During Renaissance several nations from Europe raced to reach India, the name they associated with wealth, wisdom and mysticism. Hindu Kings had made India a Paradise and a destination for knowledge. In contrast, Muslim Rule converted India in to a living hell, drenched in blood, superstitions, and poverty but devoid of knowledge. Therefore after reaching India, the early Europeans must have been saddened as the land was not of their expectations. It was ridden with disease and illiteracy as compared to the awareness Europe had started experiencing.  Thus to some extent, the Europeans rightly called the native as savages, primitive, and snake charmers.

Dragnet of Colonization

Private companies from England, France, Portugal and Dutch had ventured into competition for taking away gains out of India. They came with advanced weaponry, ships, and above all patriotic fervor that Indians had not been left with. Though the colonial contingents were rivals against each other in Europe, they had common thread of Christianity to bind them. They were set to spread Christianity in their respective colonies and strengthened their hold by conversion of population to their faith by cruelty, coercion, deceit, and allurements.

It was easier for European nations to usurp political power by inter playing rivalries between feudal Nawabs and petty rulers. While Mughals were still busy enjoying Mujras and quil-fights, India slipped into another spell of foreign rule. The British out maneuvered the other competitors and established ‘East India Company Bahadur’ as a paramount power over local rulers.

Atrocities by the British

East India Company incorporated in England ruled the country till 1857. Thereafter the governance of India passed on to British Crown. The colonial rulers also followed the cruel and ruthless methods of the Islamic rulers for subduing natives, though they professed to be civilized.

They converted the poor population to Christianity. They could not motivate Brahmins, Khashatriyas and Vaishyas, but misled poor and illiterates by over-playing social and caste disparities.   Muslims were still in power in several regions. It was not easy for the Christians to convert them without inviting retaliation. Hindus being devoid of political power were easy targets for conversion.

Demeaning of religious traditions and atrocities motivated Indian masses to revolt in 1857 against the British with slogans like “Maro Firangi ko.”  Some rulers also joined the violent retaliation, but mainly due to their individual grudges against the British. For want of coordination between revolutionaries, and due to the support received by the British from Indian rulers, the mass revolt got crushed. Thereafter, the governance of India was taken over from East India Company by British Parliament.

Obliteration of Hindu Identity

British considered Hinduism to be a formidable barrier in establishing their hold over India, and therefore concentrated on dismantling the foundations of Hinduism, by projecting that to be faith of superstitions and blind faith. History of ancient India had already been destroyed by Islamic invaders. The India of 18th Century had nothing left about her pre-Muslim past. Indian History was reconstructed and to suit the current British rulers. Fortunately, archeological sites were brought under protection thereafter; otherwise we would not have had any trace left of our past.

Emergence of Anglicized Class

To pacify Indian masses on account of religious atrocities, and to legitimize their colonial rule in India, the British overtly distanced themselves from Christian missionaries, and started calling their government secular. Also they invented a theory of Aryan invasion of India to justify their own hold over India. For strengthening their hold they pacified masses through administrative reforms, to gain acceptability of their imperialist rule. Intellectual vacuum created by Islamic rule provided environment conducive for this purpose.

The British did introduce some reforms as well as modernization, but only to the extent necessary to strengthen their hold over the resources of the country. Laws were codified to replace Shariyat jurisprudence from India. A hierarchy of courts was set up to streamline system of justice that hitherto depended upon the whims of illiterate Qauzis (Islamic Jurists). Certain undesirable social practices were also abolished.

The British appointed Brahmins and Maulvies to act as amicus curie for British judiciary in interpreting Hindu and Muslim customs of inheritance. Till then Brahmins had been devoid of proper means of livelihood under Islamic rule, and had been living under fear and insult. This opportunity was exploited by some of them to stress more upon rituals than the substance in Hinduism.

New Education System

The British introduced an Education system recommended by Lord McCauley after prolonged deliberations held in British Parliament.  The curriculum was designed to project British as the custodians of all wisdom and scientific knowledge and tarnishing Hindu scriptures as mere farce founded on blind faith.  They succeeded in rearing a loyal workforce of anglicized Indians to support their government while they were in power, and even thereafter.

As a natural consequence, Hindus were more influenced by English culture than the Muslims, in the matter of dress, eating habits, socialization and education system. Gradually Western systems started replacing indigenous Indian systems. Hindus got used to Christian calendar, time schedules, weights and measure, distances, technical terminologies, legal terms and practices, and even recreational activities since our games and sports appeared to us primitive in glitter. European past times came to be regarded as status symbols.

Forum to distract Educated Indians

With far sightedness an Englishman Allan Octavian Hume founded Congress in 1885 as a political forum for neo educated Indians to vent out their political aspirations so that situations like 1857 revolt could be foreseen and avoided. They had nothing to worry about its activities, since that was founded by the British and worked under their supervision. Aristocrat Indians and some erstwhile Opium Business Partners of East India Company era were kept in the fore front to keep budding Indians satisfied by having some minor say in local self governance.

Subsequently when Leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak projected demand for freedom as a birth right the British got alerted. One by one such patriotic leader were jailed, and replaced by humble, soft-spoken, non-violent  leaders who had been trained in England and behaved Europeans in thought and tastes. The British media groomed and established them in Indian masses to emerge as their representatives. Basically illiterate at that time Indians hailed their indigenous English-speaking leaders by their outwardly charms.

Mental Slavery

Over the period British had a considerable strength of Indians to support their ideology. We accepted whatever they preached and acted. We started viewing everything was according to their point of view and willingly discarded whatever was unacceptable to them. Even we could not identify that whatever new knowledge British had brought with them was nothing more than already complied by our ancestors, because the same was presented to us using British technology.

Resurgence of Hindu Nationalism

However, changes in the environment ignited resurgence of Hindu Nationalism. Several movements of social reform such as Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj were started by Hindu intelligentsia. Participation of Indian soldiers as mercenaries of British government provided Indian common folks to get a feel of democratic freedom available to people on other part of the globe. Demand for political freedom grew in India at grass root level. On the whole, after the dark tunnel of Islamic rule, India could see the modern age dawning at the far end of the tunnel, through the reforms brought in by the British.

It was ironical that through British, Indians tasted the fruits, for which trees had been planted by Hindu sages long ago, and that had been devastated by Muslim barbarians. As the end products bore European tag of manufacture, the credit for modern advancement in the field of science and technology was claimed by western nations.  Hindu identity had been obliterated.

Freedom Movement

Gradually the demand for freedom got boost from several quarters. Due to heavy expenditure and loss of manpower in World Wars I and II, it became difficult for the British to continue hold over colonies. They were on look out to retreat safely without much loss to their men and materials. They used few educated Indians to play for time through various gimmicks in the form of Round Table Conferences by playing divide and rule between Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and native rulers who had remained mainly supportive to the British. Finally the British diplomacy succeeded and Muhammad Ali Jinnah projected demand for Pakistan as a separate home land for Muslims by addressing a crowd in Lahore in 1940. Jinnah spoke:-

“Muslims were not just a minority, but also a nation, fully entitled to their own state. Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literature. They neither intermarry nor inter-dine together and indeed they belong to two different civilizations… They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is the foe of the other…. During the ages, India has always divided into Hindu India and Muslim India. The present artificial unity of India dates back only to the British conquest… Muslims are nation according to any definition of a nation and they must have their territory and their state.”

Thus, India was partitioned between Muslims and Hindus on the basis of population. It turned easier for British to vacate the region safely and left India crippled.

Partition on Religious Ground

With partition of India between Hindus and Muslims, the transgressors, claimed a large chunk of Hindu land. The country’s borders shrunk over night to exclude Hindus as citizens from that area of newly formed Pakistan. Despite having held the tag of Indian Nationality, Hindus had to leave their ancestral land and homes. Thus Hindus had to surrender their motherland to Muslim invaders under pressure from British usurpers in spite of  verbose denials made by certain Indian leaders like Gandhi and Nehru, who had actually been signatory to the agreement.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 64/72 – India after Partition)

 

 

 

Splashes – 61/72 – Hindu Resistance to Islam

India was neither a no man’s land, nor a primitive country. Being a superior and developed civilization as compared to Islamic barbarians, Hindus by and large continued resisting the invasion on their country by Muslims, who were the anti-thesis to their concept of living according to doctrine of Live and let live. Islam practiced live, but did not let others live. It remained opposed to Hinduism in every way and both remained at loggerheads. Whenever opportunity arrived for Hindus, attempts were made to dislodge Islamic rule from India. The struggle did have ups and downs.

Counter efforts by Hindus

Introductory account of some prominent Hindu warriors who tried to dislodge Islamic rule are given below:-

  • Rana Sangram Singh of Chittod was near to defeat Babur in the battle of Kanhua, but due to treacherous conduct of one Hindu chieftain by name of Shiladittya, the Rana ultimately lost the opportunity.
  • Hemchandra Vikramadittya, came to occupy Delhi after the fall of Suri dynasty. He tried to prevent Akbar occupying the seat of power after the sudden death of Emperor Humayon. He sought help from Rajputs to dislodge Mughals from India but they declined to fight under him due to their caste pride. Still he was near victory, but fell victim to a chance arrow that pierced his eye and Hindus suffered a defeat at the hands of Akbar in second battle of Panipat.
  • Maharana Pratap, the grandson of Rana Sangram Singh kept the freedom flame burning during the life time of Akbar, but due to division amongst Rajputs he also did not succeed much. Rajputs were used by Mughals to subdue Hindu freedom fighters, but due to lack of farsightedness, most of the time, they fought against their own countrymen.
  • Raja Krishnadev Raya of Vijay Nagar Empire in the south, kept Hindu flag flying in the face of opposition from Islamic Sultans of Bahmini state. But there also, Raja Krishnadev Raya lost due to back stabbing from one of his own family members. With him the prosperous Vijaynagar Empire was raised to ground by united petty chieftains of Bahmani.
  • Chattrapati Shiva ji Raje rose to power in south, but was lured into treaty by Aurangzeb, through Mirza Raja Jai Singh. He was invited to visit Delhi but was imprisoned there. However, he escaped and finally succeeded to establish himself as Chhattrapati Hindu Samrat in the face of Aurangzeb. After his death, Aurangzeb defeated his son Shambhaji through treachery. Shambhaji was tortured to death.
  • Guru Gobind Singh raised the sagging morale of Hindus and motivated them to stand against the onslaught of Mughals, but local Hindu chieftains did not cooperate. Treacherously they sided with Mughals, or stayed aloof. While going to South Guru Gobind Singh was stealthily stabbed by a Pathan, whose life the Guru had saved in the past. The Guru subsequently succumbed to the wounds at Nandhed in Maharashtra.
  • Banda Bahadur Singh was appointed by Guru Gobind Singh to continue resistance against the onslaught of Mughals. He successfully avenged the atrocities committed by Mughals against Hindus, but he was also let down by saboteurs within. He was captured and was given a tortuous death.

The anti-climax

Immediately after becoming Emperor in 1657, Aurangzeb vigorously resumed Islamization of India, with Brahmins as primary-target. He had been convinced by his clerics that once Brahmins accepted Islam, rest of Hindus would follow suit.

In utter desperation, the Brahmins of Kashmir approached Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhs, for guidance and help. Guru Tegh Bahadur entrusted Guru-Dom seat to his son Govind Rai, and proceeded to Delhi, to plead with Aurangzeb. Guru Tegh Bahadur and his companions were asked to convert to Islam. Upon refusal, all of them were arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. Red-Hot Sand was poured over Guru Tegh Bahadur’s head, but he did not flinch and refused to convert to Islam. Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life for Dharma and the freedom of his people as he was beheaded at Chandni Chowk in Delhi.

Birth of Khalsa

After the martyrdom of his father, Govind Rai became the tenth Guru of Sikhs at very young age. On 30 March 1699, Guru Govind Rai delivered a stirring-oration at Anandpur-Sahib. Thereafter, he flashed his un-sheathed sword, and demanded one head for sacrifice. After some trepidation one person offered himself. The Guru took him inside a tent. A little later, he reappeared with his sword dripping with blood, and asked for another head. One by one, four more earnest devotees offered their heads. Every time the Guru took a person inside the tent and came out with a bloodied sword in his hand.

Thinking their Guru had gone berserk, and was out of control, the congregation started to disperse. As this began to happen, before anybody knew it, the Guru suddenly emerged, with all five men dressed piously in white. He initiated all five of them, in a new and unique ceremony called Amrit Chhakna (consuming nectar for attaining immortality). Summoning those five Initiated-Sikhs, the Guru asked them to initiate him as well. He then declared those five Initiated-Sikhs as Panj-Pyare (Five Beloved Ones), and made public that they would be the embodiment of the Guru himself. That was the birth of Khalsa (pure) Panth. Till date all religious congregations of Sikhs are led by Panj Pyaras who are armed with un-sheathed swords to protect Dharma.

Identification of Khalsa

The reverend Guru also offered five ‘signs and symbols’. These symbols, worn by all ‘initiated’ Sikhs of both sexes, are popularly known today as Five Ks – Kesh, (un-shorn hair); Kangha, the wooden-comb; Kara, (the steel bracelet); Kirpan, (the sword); and Kachchera, (the underwear). The Guru said that since those initiated by him as Sikhs were distinct and identifiable, no Sikh would conceal himself behind cowardice whenever the need to protect Dharma and the weaker arose.

Revival of Karamyoga

Thus final and ultimate transformation of Sikhs, into a fighting force, came with Guru Gobind Singh. He realized that to raise a fighting force from the peaceful followers of Nanak, he had not only to teach them the use of arms, but also to convince them of the morality of use of force. He set about ardently and assiduously to train the sparrow how to hunt the hawk, and one man to have courage to take on a regiment. The Guru gave a hero’s welcome to each and every Sikh, and psychologically infused a new life in him. Sikhs fondly quote Guru’s statement that ‘one Sikh is equal to 125,000 opponents’. By initiating ‘Khalsa’ into ‘Saint Soldier’ image of Hindu youth, Guru Gobind Singh revived the spirit of Karamyoga. Hindu society that had immersed itself into pessimism and escapism in the face of Muslim atrocities welcomed the transformation. Sikhs came to be recognized as the sword arm of Hinduism.

End of Islamic Rule

After the death of Aurangzeb, there was no central government in the country. Prolonged wars of succession had fragmented the country into several rebellious fiefdoms. By the time almost nine-century-old Muslim Rule ended, economy had been wrecked. Administrative systems had crumbled and the country had been plunged in to darkness.

Myth of Composite Culture

Cultural integration among the various communities of India had been taking place in India since the Pre-Vedic period. Before Islam, all those who entered India were assimilated into the Hindu culture. Muslims did not enter India to co-exist. Their objective was to discredit, disrupt, and destroy Hinduism. Islam provided four choices, such as Islam, Sword, Slavery, or Jaziya. These were no civilized or human options.

A religion, as oppressive as Islam, with its draconian laws, could hardly be indigenous to India. Islam had been an imposition on India and an alien graft on the Hindu population that subjugated and attempted to destroy Hindu identity. There was not a speck of the Indian religion or culture to mesh with its social system in any form. The practice of absorption, that had been an important tradition of Hinduism, did not work with the Muslims, as they had not come to blend or integrate with Hindu society, but were motivated to deliver a death-blow to Hindu Culture and remained at loggerheads. To put it simply, the Muslim culture invaded India, not to make friends with the Hindu, but to wipe them out.

Muslims remained unacceptable

Hindus would have had nothing to oppose Islam had they confined themselves to the region of their origin – the Middle East. Since they did not subscribe to the idea of live and let live, the foundation stone of Hinduism. Thus Muslims have remained unacceptable in India till date.

There had been no progress in any field for which Hindus could feel proud of the Muslim Rule. Neither Muslims made any worthwhile contribution towards the progress of general masses, nor they assimilated anything from Hindu culture. Instead of talent or wisdom, with which India used to be perceived earlier, luxuries and licentiousness of Islamic rulers attracted some of the European nations towards India for taking some share of the materialistic wealth. When borrowed light of new learning appeared to be dawning in Europe, India had slid into the darkness.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 62/72 – Neglected Hindu Martyrs)

Splashes – 57/72 – Sunset in East – Sun Rise from West

Unlike other invaders of medieval age, Alexander did not indulge in reckless destruction of knowledge and civilizations of the areas he conquered. He remained an inquisitive disciple, a soldier to the hilt, and a general par excellence. Indian fame had already impressed him and he was keen to see the country rather to destroy the same. Conquering India meant victory over the world.

When he reached India, the border King Ambhi extended cooperation to him. Thereafter he met next border King Puru (Porus) on the battle field. Although Puru was defeated on account of multiple reasons, the battle made Alexander realize that if he were to continue fighting he would be completely ruined. His army was grief-stricken and expressed strong desire to return.

As a matter of fact Alexander did not win any major war on the Indian soil but merely passed through the Indus Valley fighting skirmishes with the tribes of that area to safeguard the exit route of his bruised army that had got demoralized due to the might of Nanda Empire at Magdha. Alexander was the first European who carried the first-hand accounts of India’s glory to Europeans during 300 BC.

Renaissance in Europe

The period from Fourteenth Century to Seventeenth Century is known as the age of Renaissance in Europe. It bridges medieval age to modern age. Prior to Renaissance the theological shackles imposed by Roman Church had made any kind of scientific development impossible.

Although the European intellectuals had in their possession some texts of Greek and Arabs since first awakening, but they lacked courage and opportunity to put that knowledge to any practical use. As soon as the interference from Church declined, the knowledge gathered during ‘First Awakening’ and thereafter during ‘Renaissance’ electrified the spirit of exploration and inventions in every field. Geographically tiny countries also emerged as super powers on the globe to colonize others.

India after Alexander

During 563-483 BC, Buddhism and Jainism had emerged within Hinduism. Both sects had their founders as Khashatriya princes. Both preached Non Violence and stressed on living a simple life with nature. Several contemporary kings adapted to their fold. Prominent among them were Emperor Chandragupta Maurya who voluntarily gave up his newly found empire and converted himself to a Jain monk.

His grandson Emperor Ashoka turned a Buddhist and was instrumental in propagation of Buddhism to South Eastern Countries. Beside other things, several monasteries and statues of the founders were set up in all parts of India. House holders and youths started leaving simple life in monasteries according to tenants of new faiths with more stress on non-violence. Although they had certain reservations about castes and some rituals but after their founders, both the sects developed their own superficial rituals that could not withstand later events. After the retreat of Alexander, the tide of Buddhism was halted for some time in India, but it spread in the neighboring countries of South East Asia, Tibet and China.

Hinduism during Gupta Period

There was revival of Hinduism during the reign of Gupta KIngs. Hindu culture and literature witnessed progress in every field. Finest literature in Sanskrit was written during this period and the language came to be associated with the nobility. Most of the scriptures were written down during this period.

Hinduism witnessed the emergence of two prominent sub branches, such as Vaishnaites, and Shivaites. Brahmanas leading their respective branches authored mythological stories high lighting the prominence of their respective deities. Temples were constructed and rituals of stricture nature came to be observed.

ertain wrong practices also made their entry into Hindu society such as caste pride and rivalry among ruling classes. Brahmins and business community over indulged in pleasure. Gupta Empire declined in 500 AD and was followed by emergence of Kushana dynasty. After Emperor Kanishka there was again a vacuum of central authority in India and fragmentation of smaller kingdoms.

Excessive Indulgence 

There was a spurt in rituals of idol worship. Due to patronization of ruling classes the monasteries grew richer to attract more youths who discarded their worldly duties to pick up living on alms as monks. By over indulgence in pleasures or spiritual pursuits, Hindus went astray from political realities, environmental changes around them, and overlooked the need of political unity as a nation.

If birds and animals discarded their instinctive duties given by Nature, their existence would be useless in the chain of ecology. For example if snakes, lions, eagles and cats turn vegetarians overnight and adopted total non-violence, what would be the purpose of their living? Khashatriyas in India were confronted with similar situation.

They replaced their weapons with begging bowls, discarded their ruling functions particularly in the area of security of the state and neglected vigilance to indulge in sensuality. They forget that many often offensive action was the best form of defense. Their over indulgence to principle of non-violence proved disastrous.

Smaller fiefdoms started emerging all over India on the basis of caste or families. Military training was relegated to pleasures of dance and music. Even robbers settled on the out skirts of India turned bold to over-power frontier rulers. The environment was ripe to invite death and destruction as the riches of India were alluring motivating force.

The Last Hindu Emperor

Emperor Harsha Vardhana was the last Hindu Emperor who ruled the country at the age of sixteen and continued for 41 years from his capital at Kannauj. He tried his best to forge unity once again but achieved partial success. He was defeated by Pulkeshi II of Karnataka and had to compromise on accepting River Narmada as a border between the two states. Emperor Harsha Vardhana took interest to consolidate segmented Hindu faiths together.

Buddhism and Jainism came to be accepted in the fold of Hinduism since the life styles of their followers and the philosophy of ‘Live and let live’ was perfectly in tune with Hinduism. Cultural integration among various communities of India had been taking place since the pre-Vedic periods. All those who entered India such as the Greeks, Parthians, Sakas, Huns, Gurjaras, Pratiharas, Kushans, and the Scythians had already been assimilated into the Hindu culture. The Buddha and Tirathankaras of Jainism came to be regarded as incarnations of Vishnu. Once again Emperor Harsha Vardhana put India to glory but that was short-lived and proved to be the beginning of anti-climax.

The Slide was set

Soon after the demise of Emperor Harsha Vardhana India fragmented into small states on the basis of clans and castes. There was disunity and strong jealousy among the neighboring states. Rituals eclipsed the substance and grew like cobwebs. Brahmins turned selfish and greedy, Khashatriyas turned sensual and debauch; and were less farsighted to discriminate between personal and state interests. Spiritual, economic and intellectual progress came to abrupt halt. Business men felt insecure, and people at the lower strata started looking for personal safety for life and living elsewhere.

Excess of everything is bad 

Orthodoxy and lethargy prevented Hindus from going abroad across the sea to see for themselves the dangers that were lurking all around. Although the Sun of progress moved towards West but it took over thousand years to disappear.

In comparison by this time Europe was in total darkness except couple of countries like Greece and Rome that were raising powers. The effect of Renaissance was not universal in all the countries of Europe. During Renaissance age India was under the rule of Khilji, Tughlak and Lodhi dynasties. It was under Mughal rule during French Revolution.

Wars for succession always followed the death of Islamic rulers coupled with uncertainty and insecurity in the country. Provincial rulers went out of control of central authority. Indian population was frequently getting looted and massacred by Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali as well as the local claimants to the throne.

The Niyama of Contentment (Santosha) had been greatly influential on the mindset of Indians. It helped them to have fewer demands and necessities. In the absence of necessities, there were no inventions either. That was the reason that in spite of knowledge in their possession, Indians did not invent like the Europeans who were able to put several inventions of utility items in everyday life.

Thus when Sun went down in India, Europe was basking in glory.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 58/72 – Darkened Horizons)

Splashes – 56/72 – Plagiarism of Intellectual Property

Political stability is key factor for development and in its absence, all systems go out-of-order. When political conditions in India became unstable, everything was dislocated and Hinduism lost the patronage of the ruling class. As a consequence social, economic, and religious infrastructures crumbled down.

Prior to the rise of Islam Indian ideas and texts had already reached Baghdad. During eighth century the Arabs gained political power and ruled from Indus to Spain. Arabic schools were established all over the Abbasid Empire of Arabs.

Translation Centers

Indian texts that were picked for translation had been taken out of India even before the spread of Islam. Since pre-Islamic intellectuals were not biased against Hindu scriptures, many of the texts were read, understood and translated to Arabic, Persian and other languages as an academic activity. Translation Centers existed at the following places:-

  • Spain – Caliph Abdur-Rahman III (891–961) built a massive new library at Cordoba in Spain and filled it with manuscripts in Sanskrit and other languages brought from Baghdad. The library contained 400,000 volumes.
  • Sicily – Arabs governing Sicily also imported texts from Baghdad and had a rich library there. The translation of Hindu-Arabic literature continued till the end of sixteenth century.
  • Syria – Translation Centers were at work in Syria, Damascus, and Palermo where translations of Aryabhatta also found their way.
  • Europe – In 1120 an Englishman Robert of Chester living in Spain translated Al-Khwarismi’s Algoritmi De Numero Indorum into Latin.This work was in fact based on Aryabhatta. The translation  carried Indian numbers, arithmetic, Algebra and Astronomy to the Latin world along with Aryabhatta’s works in the field of fractions, quadratic equations, sums of power series, concept of version 1- cos, equations of imaginary numbers and square root of One.
  • Palestine Frederick founded the University of Naples in 1224 endowing it with a large collection of Arabic manuscripts. From Spain he brought a translator who created a Latin summary of Aristotle’s biological and zoological works. The library was endowed with a large collection of Arabic manuscripts of ancient Greek and Indian texts; as well as commentaries of the Arab scholars on them. Copies of Latin translation were sent to universities in Paris and Bologna. Frederick also led the Fifth Crusade to Palestine in 1228-1229, and recaptured Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. These efforts brought back to Europe the works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. It also brought to Europe the works of Indians in the field of Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Philosophy and Music.

Indian identity got camouflaged

Europe was still passing through ‘Dark Age’ and ‘Renaissance’ was far off. Even about more than thousand years after Christ, Europeans were ignorant of India and her progress. Their knowledge extended up to the Arab world due to which they attributed the inflow of knowledge only to Arabs.

  • By 976, Hindu numerals started appearing in plagiarized form as ‘Arabic numerals’, even though the Arabs had been referring the same numerals as  “Hind-se”, implying ‘from India ’.
  • It was only in 1202 that Leonardo Pisano introduced Arabic numerals to Europe and the original Hindu numerals Hind-se were adopted as modern International form of numerals under the brand of Arabic numerals.
  • Many of the Arabic manuscripts had been translated to Latin at the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripon in Spain. However the people of Spain had no inkling that the text material was originated from India.
  • In the tenth century, Gerbert of Aurillac (946–1003), became the Pope. He learnt the Indian counting system from the Moors of Spain, and in 990 he taught the Hindu numerals to his students and monks. He trekked to Northern Spain to carry home Latin translations of Arab treatise on Abacus and Astrolabe. He encouraged adoption of those systems especially by merchants. The new numbers revolutionized accounting and made Europeans a successful mercantile community.

Effect of Sanskrit on English

Relative Pronouns – Sanskrit word Pitra had been transformed into Pidar in Arabic and Persian. It travelled further and got converted to Father in English. Similarly Matra underwent changes in the order of Mather and Mother, Bhratra changed to Biradar and then to Brother. Many Sanskrit words as well as their connotations found their way to Europe. It is obvious that there was outflow from Sanskrit but no words found their way to Sanskrit.

Proper Names – The names of towns and places also have been affected.

  • Tashkent is derived from Takshak Khand. India was called Bharat Khand when King Bharata ruled over it.  The area inhabited by Bundela and Ruhela clans came to be known as Bundel Khand and Ruhail Khand
  • Fortified towns used to be named after their owners by adding a suffix Garh, such as Lakshman Garh, Pithora Garh and so on. The suffix Garh could be spelt in English as Gard also; like Lenin-grad and Stalin-Grad.
  • British often spelt Kanpur as Cownpore and Lukhnow as Lucknow. Likewise they mis-spelt Sinhpur as Singapore, Maley as Malaya, Kamboj as Cambodia, and Astralya as Australia. In India and Gandhara (Afghanistan).
  • Towns with watch towers were suffixed with word Names of cities in Europe have similar suffixes like Pitts burg and so on.
  • Hari-kul Ish (Balrama, the elder Brother of Krishna) got converted to Hercules, and Alkhshendra to Alexander.
  • River Ganga is known as Ganges.

That trend is reversed now. Many Indians shorten their names to mingle with Europeans and Americans. Otherwise if one made a list of proper nouns in English, the list will be a repetition or modification after about hundred original names have been noted.

Customs and Traditions – It has been customary for the new brides to kick a pot filled with rice at the main entrance of her husband’s house to denote that their new abode be blessed with plenty of food and comforts. Since Europeans preferred drinks, the young brides there kick a Champaign bottle on the occasion of her first entrance in husband’s house.

The English word husband too is linked to Hindu marriage rites. The word referred to the person whose hand had been tied to the specific female for the purpose of marriage. The ritual is still performed during Hindu marriages when the groom ties a wrist band to the right hand of the bride.

Calendar – The word Calendar is written and pronounced as Kalander in Portuguese. It is derived from Sanskrit word Kal-antra (Time interval). The English months September, October, November, and December also had their roots in Sanskrit such as Sapta-ambar.  Seventh Ambar meaning 7 th mark in Sky, Ashta- ambar – 8th, Nav – ambar – 9 th and Dasha- ambar 10 th mark in the sky.

The word ‘Ambar‘is a synonym for sky in Sanskrit. The yearly sky-route of Earth’s revolution around the Sun was marked by Zodiac signs. When Sun entered new Zodiac, which signaled the beginning of new month in Hindu calendar. Prior to 1752 March used to be the first month of the year in England also. Accordingly September happened to be the seventh month and so on.

Theological Opposition to Knowledge

It was Galileo in the late sixteenth century who for the first time tried to understand what was contained in the Latin translation of the Sindhind (Siddhanta Shiromani) of Brahmagupta. When he propounded the theory of rotation of earth he had to suffer the persecution of the Church, as it did not match the Gospel. Considered by many to be the founder of modern science, Galileo not only built the first telescope but also discovered the laws of bodies in motion.

But instead of rewarding his discoveries, Galileo was put under house arrest in Sienna. Theological rejection of Truth continued in other fields also in contrast to Hinduism.

Europeans took years in understanding science complied by Hindus and presented to them by the Arabs, because of Church’s domination in everyday life.  The decline of Christian faith coupled with rise of knowledge ushered Europe into all round development and they came in a position to dominate world.

Patenting of Knowledge

The sages and intellectuals in India had been in the pursuit of Knowledge and had devoted themselves for self-actualization.  There were no patent laws to protect intellectual property rights as there are today. The Sages never indulged in commercialization of Knowledge.  It is only in the Western world where they are trying to patent Basmati Rice, Neem tree and Yoga to make business out of knowledge. The plagiarism and conversion of Hindu knowledge continues unabated though India is projected as land of savages and primitives.

The positive View

The positive aspect of export of Hindu knowledge was that their compilations were put to use for inventions, otherwise the knowledge in unused state would have been perished. Unless one made use of knowledge, power, and wealth, he is sure to lose the same. Un-used assets always reach usurpers.

Need for Political Patronage

Lack of political patronage has resulted in massive loot and destruction of our intellectual wealth. We have not even estimated and identified the losses. Since our government is “secular” – there is none to stake claim. Unless Indian youths are acquainted with their past heritage and are motivated, these treasures left by our ancestors will fade into history.

There is need for Indian scholars to undertake research to trace out and reclaim our intellectual heritage. Many of our artifacts and ancient manuscripts are still lying un-ciphered in museums of the world. Only patriotic Indian scholars with deep knowledge of Sanskrit can undertake this work with financial backing from government or some patriotic foundations. For this mammoth task we have to pick leads from Sanskrit language.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 57/72 – Sun set in East – Sun rise from West)

Splashes – 55/72 –Indian Illumination in Renaissance

European countries were already in contact with West Asia through Turkey. In the first instance they were influenced by Latin and Greek classics since many of the Greek fugitives intellectuals had taken shelter in Turkey and other nearby countries. That event is referred as the ‘first awakening in Europe’. They translated Arabic and Persian literature to English, which had already been influenced by Ancient Sanskrit texts.

The efforts of Europeans were initially limited to carrying out translations only. Subsequently, the Europeans discovered that most of the Arabic and Persian texts had their source from Sanskrit. It was only thereafter that Europeans turned to the original source in Sanskrit literature. That was the beginning of ‘Renaissance’ in Europe.

Spread of Indian Knowledge

Arithmetic – In 1100 AD, Robert of Chester, an Englishman, visited Spain and translated al-Khwarizmi’s little book into Latin. Thereafter other translations of al-Khwarizmi inspired Latin texts. Book on the ‘new arithmetic’ included description of the decimal system and positional notation system. Initially the Europeans were slow to absorb new type of numbers. Thus most of the work was limited to copying the manuscripts and translating them. They were not able to use decimals until a Dutch mathematician Simon Steven (1548-1620) explained the system in his book La Thiende (The Tenth). After him, Marini and Christopher Claudius used decimals in their works. In 1621, Bache published the Latin version of Arithmetica from Arabic.

Algebra – Al-Mammon had summoned Abu Jafar Mohammed Musa al-Khwarizmi, (780-850) to Baghdad during 820 AD. He led two scientific missions to India to meet Indian scholars and had collected manuscripts. Based on them he wrote ‘Kitab Al-Jabr Wa al-Muqabalah’ meaning calculation by addition and subtraction. Algebra is a short Latinate form of the word. Later its Latin translation became a standard text-book of Mathematics in European universities.

Logarithms and Positional Notation System – In 825, al-Khwarizmi wrote on the concept of logarithm zero and positional notation system again based on texts of Brahmagupta.  The Latin translation of the book was titled ‘algorithmic de numero Indorum’. This book in its Arabic form, reached Spain, that was then under Arab control.

Indian Astronomy – During 850-929 AD Al-Battani had studied Indian astronomy and carried out critical analysis of Hindu Mathematics and Siddhantas, as well as philosophy, religion, Patanjali’s Yogasutra, Bhagavad Gita and Sankhyakarika. He discussed in detail the Hindu cycle of evolution, dissolution, and re-evolution of the Universe. He expounded trigonometric methods and endorsed Indian finding that the distance from the earth to the sun varied during the year. However being afraid of fanatics, he qualified his comments by saying that to be the belief of Hindus. For instance, he wrote that ‘Indians believe that the earth is five billion years old, which is wrong, since Islam said it was created only four thousand and five years ago’. He also described the Hindu concept of Geography and observed that Hindus believed the existence of an island located diametrically opposite to the city of Rome on the globe. Those ideas were later translated into Latin and people like Columbus were inspired to reach India by going westward. The error thus led to the discovery of Americas. Al-Battani is known in Europe as Albategnius.

Astrolabe – Aryabhatta lived during 475 AD – 550 AD and he had already discovered that planets and moon reflected the light of the sun. Rotation of Earth caused day and night. The orbiting of Earth around the Sun caused year. He had also brought out causes of eclipse and that the orbits of planets were elliptical and not circular. His calculation of Earth’s diameter at 8316 miles was very accurate and inspired the astronomers of the West.

Thereafter further progress continued as under: –

  • In 1050 AD astrolabe were introduced into Europe from Asia. The tables were used to measures longitude, latitude, and the time of the day at sea.
  • Abelard of Bath (1075–1160) journeyed by ship along the new eastern trade routes to the crusader held coast of Syria, where he translated Euclid into Latin using Arabic translation of the original.
  • In 1175 Italian Gerard of Cremona translated Ptolemy’s astronomical text ‘The Almagest’ into Latin, disseminating the erroneous information. He was fluent in Greek and Arabic.  He translated into Latin the Arabic texts of Galen, Aristotle, Euclid, al-Khwarizmi and Ptolemy.
  • Inspired by Aristotle, In 1190 Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides wrote his text, ‘The guide for the perplexed.’

Planetary Charts and Astronomical Tables

The oldest astronomical tables based on Indian charts were brought to Baghdad by Kanaka. Those later traveled to the rest of Europe through Spain where a Latin translation was made in 1126. It came to be regarded as one of the most influential works on astronomy in medieval Europe. Due to that:

  • In 1272 Alphonse tables (Planetary charts) were completed in Toledo, Spain. The work tabulated the position and movement of planets.
  • It took another 200 years when the tables were printed in 1483, and the information more widely disseminated. The work was compiled by the finest astronomers gathered by Alfonso X of Castile.

Motion of Earth – Many reconciled to Aryabhatta’s revelations that Earth rotated on its axis and its diameter was 8316 miles. During 1224 AD Abdullah-Ur-Rumi prepared ‘Mujam-ul- Buldan’ a geographical encyclopedia, in Arabic. In 1440 Cusanus theorized that the Earth is in constant motion and the space as infinite. Edwin Hubble reinforced his ideas in the early 1900 when Hubble observed the planets rushing away from Earth, thereby expanding the universe.

Fore-runners of Newton – Movement had already been analyzed in Visheshika Darshan Shstra. During sixth century Prasthapada carried out a review on the basis of planetary movement, polarization and gravitational force, and further added that the speed and elasticity also affected movement from the opposite. That theory was a fore-runner to Newton’s law of Motion.

Medical Science – Since the days of Sushruta and Charka, great advances had been made by India in the field of Medicine and Surgery. As far back as the sixth century BC, Indian physicians had described ligaments, sutures, lymphatic, nerve plexus, fascia, adipose, vascular tissues, mucous, and many more muscles than any cadaver are able to show. They understood remarkably well the process of digestion, different functions of gastric juices, and conversion of food in to blood. The European discoveries were yet to surface. They found their way much later as below:-

  • Medicine – During 1200-1300, Pietro D’ Abano, an Italian physician, wrote ‘Conciliator Differentia rum’, which integrated Greek and Arabic medical thought. He noted brain as the source of nerves, and the heart as the source of blood vessels. He was suspected of being a magician and died under trial by the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Human Anatomy – In 1543 Andreas Visalia published a treatise on Human Anatomy -‘On the Structure of Human Body’. His research was conducted through dissection of human bodies, a practice that was strictly forbidden. The work corrected many prevalent historic misconceptions about the subject in Europe.
  • Circulation of Blood – In 1628, William Harvey described the circulation of blood in the body, paving the way for modern physiology. Before Harvey, the circulatory system was misunderstood. For example, Aristotle believed that blood originated in the liver. Others thought blood moved in spurts. Harvey accurately described the function of the heart. He also theorized that mammals are produced from eggs. It took about 150 years to prove him right.

Performing Arts – Frederick II encouraged translation of Indo-Arabic texts. Frederick was elected the Holy Roman Emperor in 1220. He surrounded himself from philosophers and sages from Baghdad and Syria, dancing-girls from India and Iran.

His pursuits introduced many Indian elements into the classical dance of the West. Opera had already originated in India.

It will be relevant to compare the above fact on a time line in history. When our sages had already risen to the crest of scientific knowledge in the first millennium, it was in 19 th century that Abraham Lincoln (later American President) used an old bear skin to cover himself at night. His relatives were using deer skins as their daily wear. The Europeans were busy in establishing their colonies and exploitation of locals. That was the time when India was under the rule of East India Company as a spent force.

 Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes– 56/72 – Plagiarism of Intellectual Property)

Splashes– 53/72 – Shine of Indian Wisdom

History text books are blank about Indian History prior to the invasion of Alexander the Great. Although it is mentioned that fear of military might of Nanda Dynasty at Patliputra (Patna), forced mighty Alexander to retreat, but nothing much is known about powerful Nanda dynasty, and the dynasties prior to that. As escape route, everything prior to that period has been classified as Hindu mythology.

This black out could be the result of motivated destruction. Until the Indians themselves trace out the truth of their past, we have to confine only to the known facts.  One of the stark fact accepted by Western historians is that students from other countries did come for studies to India’s world renowned universities at Nalanda, and Takshashila. Certainly they would not have come to Indian universities to learn ‘snake-charming’ and orthodoxy!

Indo – Greek Center of Learning

When Alexander came to India he was highly impressed by the Takshashila University. Leaving aside what lay ahead, Alexander was inspired by Takshashila at the out skirts of India that he established a great university at Alexandria in Egypt as a center of Indo Greek learning. Thereafter Alexander established the Hellenistic Empire comprising of Egypt, Asia Minor, Iran, Bactria and North-West India, through which the transfer of learning from India to Greece increased.

A large number of Indian texts were translated into Greek and kept in the library at Alexandria. Alexander himself took hundreds of Brahmin scholars to Greece. Many soldiers married Indo-Iranian women and took them to Greece. Trade routes and diplomatic channels were also established.

In 323-30 BC Alexandria emerged as the greatest city in the Mediterranean region. Amongst its most notable institutions were the library and the museum, being Europe’s first organized research institution. Alexander’s successor attacked India but was defeated by newly emerged Emperor Chandragupta Maurya to whom defeated Seleucus had to marry his daughter for bargaining peace. Greek ambassador Megasthanes has left ample accounts of Indian glory for the consumption of subsequent historians of western countries.

Pythagoras – Father of European Knowledge

Modern Knowledge started in Europe with Pythagoras, who carried Indian Mathematics. His life history was recorded centuries after his death, and even that information has come to us in fragments. He was born around 560 BC, on Samos, an island near the coast of Asia Minor. After studying music and gymnastics, he went to Egypt. He stayed at Babylon and other places where Indian philosophy of Upanishads, Mathematics and Geometry were well known.

While he was there, Iran invaded Egypt, and Pythagoras was also brought to Iran as a captive. From Iran, he went to India and stayed in Punjab and Himalayas.  Pythagoras discarded Greek robes and donned local trousers. Before Pythagoras, trousers were not known to Europe. Thus not only he introduced Indian Geometry to Europe, but Indian costumes also.

Indians living at high altitudes in the Himalayas wore woolen trousers, which is evident from the statue of Indian King Kanishka, discovered in Afghanistan. The Emperor is shown wearing a long double-breasted coat and trousers. Variants of trousers like pajamas and salwar were worn in the northern plains of Indo-Iran.

Spread of Indian Philosophy 

Turning away from Ionian culture Pythagoras identified himself with the East. After living twenty years in the East, Pythagoras returned to Europe and settled in Croton, a Greek-speaking town of South Italy. He formed an order of ascetics and preached that world was held together like human society. Also he preached that all needed to cultivate order in personal life.

Pythagoreans believed in transmigration of life through different life forms. He claimed to recall the details of his own previous incarnations. He preached the kinship of all forms of life, which is the fundamental principle of Hinduism. He also preached non-violence and prohibited killing of animals for food. Pythagorean propagated that who indulged in immoral acts, would be reborn as animal in next life.

The reaction started by Pythagoras resulted in a boom of scholars in Greece like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many others. However, till then the Greeks accepted only four elements such as, Earth, water, Air, and Fire, out of the five basic elements suggested by Indians. They were unable to understand ‘space’ and therefore excluded that.

Ideas that Awakened Europe

Some of the notable scholarly works at Alexandria University that provided foundation to Western thought and brought ‘first awakening to Europe’ are as under:-

  • In 300 –250 Aristarchus, a Greek astronomer working at the museum in Alexandria, advanced a heliocentric theory of the solar system, anticipating Copernicus by many centuries.
  • 250-200 Eratosthenes, a Greek astronomer in Alexandria prepared a map of the heavens that included 675 stars, and calculated the circumference of the Earth, which was fairly accurate.
  • During first Century a Greek physician, Discordia, while serving with Roman armies, studied plants as a source of drugs and wrote De Matera Medica.  The five-volume work dealt with 600 plants and almost 1000 drugs, and is known to be the Europe’s first systematic pharmacopoeia. The Arabs preserved it.
  • In Egypt, Ptolemy published a book on astronomy in 127 AD, which came to be known as Ptolemaic system. He wrote that Earth was motionless and was placed at the center of the universe. All other planets and heavenly bodies revolved around Earth. Ptolemy’s perspective continued to dominate astronomy and religious belief until Nicholas Copernicus in 16 th century dared to suggest that instead of Earth, Sun was the center of the Solar system. Even Copernicus was far behind the Indian astronomers who had stated that there were millions of galaxies (Koti koti Brahmanda).
  • In 200 AD During this century, Plotinus wrote the Enneads. He saw the universe as a series of emanations from an absolute reality the ‘One’. He was closer to Hindu thought.

Destruction of Alexandria

In 47 AD the great library in Alexandria was partially destroyed in a fire during a war between Julius Caesar and the followers of Pompy, the Great. It caused a great loss to ancient treasures of knowledge as about 40,000 volumes were consumed by fire.

Rome rose as a big power in the second century BC.  Romans destroyed much of Greek civilization as well as their knowledge.  They expanded their empire to include North Africa, Asia Minor and South Europe. Greek cities were destroyed, learning was disrupted and scholars were killed.

A few Greek scholars escaped to other parts of Europe, and continued their pursuit of knowledge in a low profile till the Byzantine period. In 529, Justin Ian, the Byzantine Emperor closed the nine-hundred-year old Academy of Plato in Athens and completely destroyed the last remains of Greek knowledge in Europe, alleging that to be a hotbed of paganism and heresy. The scholars were killed or converted.

Many of these Greek scholars, fearing for their lives and intellectual freedom fled to Persia, where they established a kind of Academy in exile.

The Renaissance in Europe

This was the period, when Sun was setting in the East and rising from the West. By this time Islamic rulers had ushered an era of darkness in India. Volumes of intellectual Hindu-Heritage were burnt as ‘Kufar’ and Brahmins had faced the worst through annihilation. Fortunately some books had escaped destruction. Most of the knowledge that ushered Europe in the age of Renaissance had been compiled from ancient Hindu texts, and the same was patented to ‘credit’ new inventors, with European nations gaining political control over the globe.

Fortunately for the mankind, some texts had been hidden and preserved. Those were taken abroad in original or by translation through which the modern Science in Europe took its roots. This period is known as the age of Renaissance and the re-appearance of ancient text. However many of the original masterpieces were plagiarized and came to be identified with European authors. There were no protests from Hindus who had been living a darkened life under medieval Islamic rulers.

Modern science began during 1400-1500 with the Renaissance in Europe, sparked by ancient texts such as Euclid’s geometry, Ptolemy’s geography and Galen’s medicine. The Indian Knowledge thus lost its identity.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 54/72 – Spread of Knowledge Abroad)

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