Monday, December 31, 2007

1857 - Some History … Some Propaganda


To many of us this date is confusing. Was there really a organised nationalist, uprising against colonialism or is it a random mutiny (glorified post facto by historians with a partisan view).

Current comparative status makes some of us believe that we have been a historically backward nation. Recent progress and successes make another group believe that we are on the thresh-hold of being a world power. Both these standpoints make an error of projecting current backward and forward.

For India to take a global position requires a different mindset (best represented by Nehru-Alignment; Subhash Chandra Bose-India Independence League or Gandhiji’s inspiration to Mandela, Martin Luther King and many others). Post-Nehru India has became progressively inward looking. Today, India will need significant investments (not only money) to re-acquire an international dimension in future - and to re-write colonial factual deviations of history.

Immediate History

From 9th century to the 15th century, Europe was grappling with rampant Church persecution. The Bhakti and the Sufi movements were harmonising Indian belief systems. These movements led the Indian society to a forward looking, integrative approach. Guru Nanak’s belief systems (Sikhism) and his approach to spreading the creed (make your eldest son my disciple) started making a difference.

While the Levant and the Occident were at each other in the crusades, Islam and Hinduism had begun to aquire a critical balance with each other. Open hostility had receded at a social level (Kabir, Guru Nanak, Akbar, Tansen) and continued, intermittently, at a political level - for instance Aurangzeb.

The Vijaynagar kingdom (after the sacking in 1565, and the rump rulers) was the center of trade for India’s main exports - spices (from the South India and SE Asian archipelago), Wootz steel from the Deccan plateau, a multitude of silk centers from the Deccan and Southern coastal towns were the major exports. India’s biggest import was gold.

By the end of the 19th century, Colonial India was de-urbanising. Populations in Indian agrarian network was increasing. Agricultural taxes were high. Hence, food production declined. Famines had become a regular feature. Industrial production was a distant memory.

Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the trade route (May 20, 1498) expanded market for Indian goods and brought European buyers to India, laden with gold (looted from the New World). The monopoly of the Arab trade was broken. This started a gold rush to commence trade with India. Over the next 70 years, major European, formed chartered companies.

The Chartered Companies

Britain was the first off the mark - with the English East India Company formed in the 1600. The Dutch started soon after with the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Co.) in 1602. The Danish Opperhoved initially started in 1616 and was reborn in 1732, as Asiatisk Kompagni. The Portuguese organised themselves as chartered company in 1628. The French came with the French East India Co. in 1664. The Swedes joined the rat race in 1731 with Svenska Ostindiska Companiet. The Italians came in as the Genoa East India companies. The Hanseatic League had its own operations.

Indian Exports - 1700

Between 1707 (Death of Aurangzeb), and 1757, the Battle of Plassey, the Indian economy was booming. 3 significant sectors which contributed to this boom. Apart from significant agrarian output - spices, timber, Indigo, etc. Indian industrial output was a major item in our goods basket - fabric, gems and jewellery and metals. India was a technology leader in these industrial sectors.

Precision Cutting Tools

South India was the only source of diamonds till middle 18th century. Being the hardest, natural substance on Earth, diamond cutting was a high technology industry and India monopolized this business till the 14th century. From circa 6th century, we have the Buddha Bhatta’s text “Ratnapariksha” which served as a manual for Indian gemologists. The French traveller Tavernier reputedly (call it ancient industrial espionage) took that technology to Europe.

Brazilian diamond finds in 1725, the South African discovery in 1866-67 changed the supply equation. The auction of French Royal diamonds of Napoleon III in 1871 brought diamonds in limelight. Boucheron, Bapst along with Tiffany and Co. cleaned up this auction. The Koh-i-noor continues to captivate the minds of people.

It is this skill and technology acquired over the centuries that makes India into a global hub for diamonds. The diamond cutting dominance by India is by now a 2500 year old phenomenon.


The Ashoka pillar (made of steel) in New Delhi is a marvel of metallurgy. For more than 1600 years, it has stood in the rain, exposed to scorching sun, freezing winters and buried under the earth for a few years.

And it is still shining. No rust. No deterioration. Estimated at 6-7 tons in weight, nearly 70 feet in height - and cast in a single block. There are reputedly other such pillars at Dhar and Kodachadri (Karnataka).

Konark Sun Temple (related to Sun Temple at Karnak, Egypt?) used about 2000 tons of lodestone and iron clamps. No mortar, no bricks. Iron clamps helped to keep up parts of this structure in the air based on magnetic repulsion. The iron beams survived for more than 700 years. The Jagannath Puri temple has similar quality and vintage of steel.

As the source (for Konark temple) Dharmapad, recounts, Narasimha Dev, the ruling king, ordered the sculptors to complete construction earlier than the estimated time - with accompanying threats. The team could not keep up with the king’s schedule, and the Sutradhar (Chief Architect) Sri Sibei Samantaray was sidelined. Another architect was assigned the job of completing this work. The newly appointed Sutradhar did complete the work by the stipulated time - but since he did not have the plans, structural inconsistencies crept in.

Wootz steel, was the preferred input in the world, for swords, pistols and such. Known as Damascus steel, it went into Japanese Katanas, European guns. The famed Damascus steel swords, armour and pistols, used steel ingots imported from India as Wootz steel. Indian exports of wootz was a big earner for India till British efforts killed this industry in India. Subsequent efforts to “reverse engineer” this technology in Europe during the 20th century, has been unsuccessful. Damascus was the trading centre over which the Battle of Kadesh, the biggest chariot battle, was fought between the Indo-Aryan Hittites and the Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses-II fought.

The world’s first suspension bridge, at Menai Straits, in Britain, used Indian steel. A colonial geologist, T.H.D.La Touche, says, “….its (iron’s) superiority is so marked, that at the time when the Britannia tubular bridge across the Menai Straits was under construction preference was given to the use of iron produced in India” (Research Vibha Tripathi, - T.H.D.La Touche,Calcutta,1918; hopefully, we will see more of Vibha Tripathi’s research on this subject).

Was British reluctance and obstruction to Tata Steel plans in early 20th century a result of fear of Indian steel making prowess? Between the Mittals and the Tatas, Indians dominate the world of steel again. Is this historical continuity or a new beginning!


Dhaka muslin was till the 20th century the finest cloth you could buy. Indian silks competed with the Chinese.

Tragically, our illustrious Finance Minsiter, P.Chidambaram says “I want to end 5000 years of poverty” in the parliament and the media. And the internet is full of people of people (especially Indians) discussing how India will become a super power in this century. While Chidambaram is factually incorrect, many Indophiles are unrealistically believe that India is a one step away from being a super power. At best, we have a unique history. To improve the outlook on India’s uncertain future, a better understanding of our situation and more investments (not only money) are required.

Angus Maddisson gives an interesting perspective on Indian economy through the last 1000years. His research shows that for much of the last 1000 years, India has been a significant economic power till the 1900 or so. The British colonial rule - especially from 1925 onwards, drastically changed this situation.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

3 That Changed The World - Boghazkoi Clay Tablets

The Greatest Chariot Battle In History

1301 BC. An Egyptian land army, numbering more than 20,000, (divided in 4 divisions) was raised. The leader - Pharoah Ramesses-II of the XIX Dynasty. They were out to punish a small kingdom of Hittites, for trying to lure Amuru, Egyptian vassals, to their side. Another force set sail, in ships, to reach Byblos and squeeze the Hittites in the world’s first pincer movement.

What followed was a historic chariot battle.

An estimated 2500 Hittite (Ramesses’ estimate) chariots saw action. For two days the battle of Kadesh raged. Fought on the banks of the Orontes River in Syria. The Hittites had cobbled an alliance of small kingdoms. The Egyptian king was saved at the last minute by the appearance of his reserve troops.

On one side was the Egyptian Pharoah RamessesII (1279-1212 BCE). The builder of Temple Of Abu Simbel, Temple Of Nefertari; lived for more than 90 years, . He is believed to be Pharaoh at the time of Exodus of Hebrews under Moses. Ramesses II was known in history for construction that occurred during his reign. On the other side were an unknown (to modern history) element - The Hittites led by Muwutalli II.

Bedoiun Slaves Being Beaten - Battle Of KadeshDuring the march, leading to the Kadesh battle, the Egyptian army captured two Bedouin “spies”. These “spies”, after being sufficiently beaten, “revealed” to the Pharoah important information - giving confidence to the Pharoah that the Hittites feared the approaching Egyptian army. The truth was the opposite.

The awaiting Hittites ambushed the Egyptian army. These spies, in fact, were Hittites - sent to misinform the Egyptians!!

Cause of War Of Kadesh

Both these kingdoms were interested in the Syria and Palestine areas through which trade was carried out with India. Syriac and Palestinian lands were controlled by the Amuru - who were Egyptian vassals. The Hittites were a liberalising element in the Middle East /West Asia and possibly the Amurus had defected to practice their religion and save their culture from the Egyptians - instead of being slaves.Battle Of Kadesh

The Historic Treaty

After this battle, the Egyptians and the Hittites sat down and wrote their versions of this battle - which makes it rather unique. One of the few times in history, we get both versions of the battle. Two copies of the treaty were made. One, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the other, in Hittite-Akaddian, and both survived. Only one difference in both the copies - the Egyptian version (recorded on a silver plaque) states that the Hittite king who wanted peace. In the Hittite copy, it was Ramesses-II who sent emissaries.

Peace broke when the queens of Hatti and Egypt, Puduhepa and Nefertari, both of Indo-Aryan extract and parentage, respectively, sent one another congratulatary gifts and letters. Over the next 15 years, they arrived at modus vivendi and drafted a peace treaty.

Treaty Of Kadesh

This peace treaty is the first in recorded history. A replica of this peace pact, in cuneiform tablet, found at Hattusas, Boghazkoi, hangs above the Security Council Chamber, United Nations, in New York, - a demonstration to modern nations the power of peace through international treaties. At Boghazkoi other Hiitite treaties have been found.

Another Treaty

The second discovery in the West Asian history, is the Treaty between the Mitannis and Hittites. In 1450 BC, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites entered into a treaty with the Mitannis. The Mittanis of the Amarna Tablets fame were linked to the significant power in the region – Egypt. As laready outlined in the Part-1 of this post, the Mittanis were the closely associated with the Egyptian Pharoahs by marriage. And the Mittanis were also Indo-Aryans.

What Is Special About This Treaty

In this treaty, Vedic Gods like Indra, Varuna, The Ashwini twins were invoked to bless and witness the treaty. The Hittites who had become past masters at treaties did not invoke these Gods with any other kingdom – except the Mitannis. Hittites and Mitannis were Indo- Aryan kingdoms - in full presence, with their Vedic Gods and culture.

The Zannanzas Puzzle

The 3rd interesting link between the Mitannis and the Hittites was the Zannanzas affair. After the death of Tutankhamen, (The Boy King) the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt was without a ruler. Tutankhamen’s queen, Ankhesenamun, a princess of Mitanni descent, needed a husband to continue the dynasty and protect the throne. She sent some urgent missives to the Hittite King, Suppiluliuma - asking him to send his son, to her as a husband, and become the King Of Egypt. The suspicious Hittite king ignored the missive. A second missive followed - and then a young prince was sent to Thebes (the capital was moved from Amarna back to Thebes).

The young prince never reached Egypt. He was possibly killed en route. And Tutankhamen’s Queen? Never been heard of since then.

How Do We Know All This

In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist , Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Boghazkoi, (now identified as the ancient city of Hattusas) in Cappadocia, 150-200 kms from Ankara, Turkey. He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which proved to be of tremendous interest. A Czech cryptographer, born in Poland, working in Germany, Friedrich (or Bedrich) Hrozny, working in Germany cracked this code over the next 15 years - and that set off a furore amongst archaeologists.

What Do The Boghazkoi Tablets Show

Deciphered cuneiform tablets show Hittite worship of Varuna, Mitra and Indra - Gods worshipped by Indo Aryans. Rulers and Kings had names likes Shutruk (Shatrughna), Tushrutta meaning “of splendid chariots” (similar to Dashratha; Master of Ten Chariots) Rama-Sin (Assyrian Moon Good was Sin; in Hindi Ramachandra), Warad (Bharat). One of the Hiitite allies against Ramesses II was Rimisharrinaa, रामशरण, the King of Aleppo. (One of grand uncles is also named as रामशरण - a common Indian name 4000 years later, 4000 kilometers apart).

These Hittites ruled immediately before and after Hammurabi - the much proclaimed western world’s first law giver. Hammurabi’s legal concepts of vengeful laws and retributive justice are the basis of laws in the 3 ‘desert religions.’

The Elam culture had a language which is similar to Dravidian languages. The Mitannite, Kikkuli, wrote on how to manage chariot horses. Egyptian king, Amenhotep I, married a Mittanite princesses. Elamites were founders of the first kingdom in the Iranian geography.

Some archaeologists await the discovery of tombs to establish the identity of kings. They may never find them. In Vedic cultures, there are no tombs - like the Pyramids, or the Catacombs, or Mausoluems. Vedic Indo Aryans cremate their dead. They do not build memorials or mausoluems.

Religious Freedom

The Hittite kingdom is often called the “kingdom of thousands of gods.” Like the Mittani, they also adopted all the gods of the people they conquered . The Hittites (like Mittanis) did not impose their religion on the conquered peoples (Why does this sound familiar?). Both the Mitannis and the Hittites adopted the gods of the conquered tribes. This is significant as the Western concept of slavery was to deprive the captured from the religions (The Wends and their religion). This is another display of slave reform by Indics 3000 years ago.

Valued 3000 Years Later

These inscriptions were held sacred by the locals, 3000 years later and William Wright, an European investigator, had difficulty in noting these inscriptions. In 1870 The Hittites were named, by William Wright and Oxford University linguist A. H. Sayce, based on Biblical short references, as one of the tribes of Palestine in the first millennium BC. It was a “son of Heth—a Hittite—who sold the Prophet Abraham the land to bury his much-loved wife, Sarah. Modern view is Hattusha Hittites (Yazilikaya/Boghazkoi/Carchemish) have nothing to do with the Biblical Hittites.

The Boghazkoi tablets changed modern history. From a completely Greco-Roman (read Euro-centric) history, the pendulum had swung to the other end. Boghazkoi showed Indian presence in the thick of West Asia in the year 2000BC with their culture and technology. This has pushed Indian history back by at least by 2000 years - to 4000 BC.

The Amarna letters and the Boghazkoi tablets have given archaeological proof of the Indo Aryan spread. Earlier, theories were retro-fitted, based on Biblical dates (Max Mueller’s, (specialist in “Compartive Theology”); main aim - “save” Indian pagans; make them see “the light” of Christian belief), colonial propaganda (Max Mueller, though a German, was a British employee) and racism. Hazy systems like philology, linguistics, comparative linguistics were used to define history. Now hard archaeological proof shows something else. Written texts, deciphered and decrpyted give us a new theory.

These discoveries and their implications have been buried under a mound of silence. Although well known in academic circles, these discoveries have not been used to update popular history. In the next (and last instalment of this series) I will trace how DNA testing is the third major tool used to reveal history!

PS - One of the big hits in Japan is the manga comic series “Red River” by Chie Shinohara. The entire series is based on this interaction between the Hittites and The Egyptians. The Red River is a work of fiction - so it cannot be taken as history - but the intrigue, silence, drama obviously inspired the author.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

3 That Changed History - The Amarna Letters

A Thousand Miles up the Nile

One Hundred and twenty years ago, in 1887 AD, a peasant woman of Tell el-Amarna, now a small village on the Nile and midway between Cairo and Luxor, was digging for sebakh (a form of natural, domestic fertiliser). Instead, what she came up with were 380 clay tablets from beneath the floor of a ruined mudbrick house. These were the "Amarna" letters - a treasure trove of clay tablets. These clay tablets, that survived, are now divided between the British Museum, the Berlin Museum, and Cairo Museum.

Tushrutta Letter to Egyptian PharoahWhat were these letters

These were later identified as part of Tutankhamen's lost "The Place of the Letters of the Pharaoh" or 'Pharoah's House of Correspondence'. These letters were from notables of the Levant or Pharaoh's record copies of replies - including letters to both Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti. These letters were seemingly "lost" when Amarna was abandoned early in the reign of Tutankhamun. What these clay tablet letters showed was a significant Indo Aryan connection.

Enter The Mittanis

One series are letters written by a Mittani king named Tushratta (meaning " of splendid chariots", similar to Dashratha meaning " of ten chariots") writes to his son-in-law, Amenhotep III, the king of Egypt ( the letter reads much like an Indian father-in-law's letter will). Amenhotep married Tadukhepa, Tushratta's daughter.

Tushrutta's (was an Indo-Aryan king) 'grandson' (son of his son-in-law) became Akhenathen (ऐकःनाथें, 1352-1336 B.C) - who formed a new monotheistic religion (apart from Sanskrit, in current Hindi also, one God is एकनाथ). He was one of the first few kings who differentiated between his kingliness and the Godliness of Aten (The One). His chief wife was Nefertiti - who was given an important position - much against the male centred kingdoms and religions that were to follow. He founded the city of Akhetaten (The Horizon of the Aten), at the modern Amarna - where these tablets were found. His mother was Tiye. And the name of their eldest daughter - Sita (full name Sita-amen; Sitamen's Nameamen after the Sun god Amen Ra).

Queen NefertitiAkhenathen died in his seventeenth year on the throne and his reforms did not survive for much longer. His co-regent and successor Smenkhare, died after a short reign and power passed to the boy king, Tutankhamun (originally Tutankhaten).

Tutankhamen - The Boy King

During his reign the city of Akhetaten (modern Amarna) was abandoned and Amun and the other gods were reinstated. In Western terms, the "Atenist heresy" was overturned, Akhenaten´s image and names were chiseled from his monuments and his sun temples were dismantled. Modern Amarna, till then a glorious city, crumbled back into the desert and his name (and that of his two immediate successors) was left out of the Kings lists produced shortly after.

After Tutankhamen

Akhenathen's successor for a short while was Tutankhamen (yes, of the Howard Carter fame). Tutankhamen was Akhenathen son (not by Nefertiti) by Kiya (possibly the mother of Smenkhare and Tutankhamun).

Tutankhamen (1336-1327 BC) ruled for a short while, and there are numerous theories swirling regarding his death. His widow, Queen Ankhesenamen, was widowed at an early age. The Kingdom was adrift. Akhenathen had cut away the rulers from the powerful nobles and priests with his new religion. And the Queen Ankhesenamen, sent an emissary to another Indo Aryan kingdom in that area.

And that is another story. And another nail in the old history coffin.

Tutankhamen's dynasty (18th dynasty) was succedded by Ramesses of the 19th dynasty. Ramesses name can also be transcribed as RaMeSein. We also know that Sin was the Assyrian moon goddess, popular in that area, hence Ramesses actually will be translated to Ramachandra in Sanskrit!

Who were the Mittanis

Were some Egyptian dynasties possibly related to the various Indian 'chandravanshis' ruler families?

The Mittanis, one of the at least three Indo Aryan groups (the other two were the Hittites and Elamites) were major players in West Asia sphere. The Mitanni worshiped Vedic gods, were connected by marriage across several generations to the Egyptian 18th dynasty - the most prominent dynasty during whose rule Egyptian power, prosperity and culture peaked - and to which Akhenaten belonged.

The first Mitanni king was Sutarna I (Sanskrit meaning “good sun”). Mitanni kings were named (who followed Sutarna-I) Paratarna I (Sanskritic meaning “great sun”), Parashukshatra (the Egyptian Parashurama, “ruler with axe”), Saukshatra (“son of Sukshatra, the good ruler”), Artatama or Ritadhama (“abiding in cosmic law”), Tushratta, (Dasharatha), and finally Matiwazza (Mativaja, “whose wealth is prayer”) during whose lifetime the Mitanni state was subordinated to Assyria.

The daughter of King Artatama was married to Tuthmose IV, Akhenaten's grandfather, and the daughter of Sutarna II (Gilukhipa, - “khipa” of these names is the Sanskrit “kshipa,” night) was married to his father, Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC), the great temple builder (alike the focus on temple construction in South East Asia 1000 years later).

In his old age, Amenhotep wrote to Dasharatha many (7 requests are documented and evidenced) times wishing to marry his daughter, Tadukhipa. It appears that by the time she arrived Amenhotep III was dead. Tadukhipa married the new king Akhenaten and she became famous as the queen Kiya (short for Khipa).

The Egyptian kings had other wives as well. Akhenaten's mother, Tiye, was the daughterViceroy Setau /King Ra'messe II pouring libation to Renenutet (Rennut, Renenet, Thermouthis, Thermuthis, Hermouthis) of Yuya, a Mitanni married to a Nubian. Nefertiti was, possibly, the daughter of Tiye's brother Ay, who was to become king himself. The 18th dynasty had a liberal dose of Indic blood.

Other Linkages

There was a Sun Temple at Karnak in Egypt - and there is a sun temple at Konark in Orissa even today. There are many Pharoahs named Sheshonk /Sheshenq under various dynasties. Shashank शशांक (meaning moon) is common name in India even today - which ties in with the many names that Pharoahs took . This name also is also similar to Sheshnag, शेषनाग, the infinite serpent on whom Vishnu rests - and Egyptians revered snakes.

RenenutetApart from these archaeological finds, there is huge supporting body of philological and linguistic evidence (based on which most modern historical theories have been postulated) which point to significant presence and influence in the Middle East - between Turkey to Syria and Iran; right upto the borders of modern sub-continental India.

The Loyal Black Rat

Who is a witness to these path breaking adventures and long, lonely journeys across Asia, by these interpid Indians?

The Black Rat (Rattus rattus).

As per a new report by an Australian researcher, the Indian rat migration began 20,000 years - a corollary of human travel, and not natural migration. The route of this spread is through the Middle East - and later to Europe.

Speculatively speaking

When enterprising Indian traders set out from India and slowly spread across the Middle East to Turkey – spreading their languages, religion and social systems, travelling in caravans of bullock-carts - these loyal rats travelled with them, is how I think these rats spread.

This is yet another part of the jigsaw – in which the Amarna letters, the Boghazkoi tablets and the DNA sampling of Indians disprove the AMT /AIT theory. These incidents point to another version of history.

History Re-write

Ancient history as we know it today is at the cusp of a major re-writing, Three independent developments, in the last 100 years completely invalidate existing versions of history - and will clear the way for a major re-write.

Current (euro-centric) history basically starts from: -

  • Sumeria and Babylon (current day Syria, Iraq) where the world's first civilisations were born.
  • From there the action moved to Egypt. The Rise of the Egyptian civilisation thereafter.
  • Meanwhile, Aryans from Siberia and Central Asia came to Iran and split in two directions. One came to India, defeated the Dravidians, set up the Vedic civilisation. Indians did not count much for much. (After all, they were not interested in massacres, killings, loot, plunder, persecution).
  • The other branch went to Europe. Greece and Rome were the other Aryan civilisations. The Greeks and Romans learnt a few things from the Egyptians - but were generally great people and the rest is history.
  • The Chinese civilisation started in 1000 BC and were also great guys.
  • But the best were the Greeks and Romans - and modern Europe is the successor of Rome and Greece.
  • Red Indians, Africans also have some history - but generally nothing much about these guys.

Some parts of this history are false. New history based more on archaeology and modern science is definitely getting re-written - especially about India, Middle East and Europe.

The first major re-write happened quietly. In this post, I will lay out the first major re-write.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Half The World ...

Evolutionary vs. Revolutionary

The world has seen clearly 2 kinds of religions. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Babylonian – and Hinduism. These have been evolutionary religions with many layers and differences. Of all these evolutionary religions, only Hinduism prospers today.

Then came the second layer of religions – Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. These religions had an individual agent of change – and these religions trace their birth, growth and existence to that one individual (and his followers). These were reform religions - a response to oppression and exploitation in the respective societies.

The Desert Religions

Judaism, Christianity, Islam were all born within 500 miles of each other and share a common culture and history. Judaism can be said to have been born when Moses led the Jewish slaves from the Pharoah (across the Red Sea) to freedom. This possibly happened around 500 BC at the latest to 1500 BC at the earliest. His earliest followers were the Hebrews and they were a significant part of the Middle Eastern history all through till today.

The next major religious reformer in the Middle East was Jesus Christ. For the first 300 years, Roman slaves were the major believers in his teachings. Emperor Constantine earned the loyalty of his Christian troops and won the war for Roman throne by his win over Maxentius at Milvan Bridge. Prior to Maxentius, for the previous 30-40 years, Christians had been persecuted by "rule of four' Tetrarchy reformists in Rome, headed by Diocletan. Hence, the Christian slave soldiers of Constantine were eager for victory - as the persecution under Maxentius would have been worse.

Liberated slaves were the founders and rulers of Islamic dynasties, (in India, the Slave dynasty - builders of Qutub minar). Thus all the three "desert religions" were first adopted by the slaves and only after gaining significant numbers of adherents, these religions became mainstream and commenced aggressive proselytising and conversions.

Whats Going On Here

Oppression of a different nature existed in India. Instead of economic slavery (trade in human beings) as it existed in the "desert bloc", it was social oppression that needed remedies in the "ahimsa bloc".

The first major reformer in India were the "ahimsa twins" - Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira.Both of these were princes of royal blood - Prince Siddharth and Prince Mahavira.

Their first adherents were the rulers and their methods of proselytising was also aimed at the ruling class. Ashoka The Great sent missions with his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka - where Buddhism was established.

Guru Nanak Dev came from from the upper caste family and his focus was to end fueding on the basis of caste and creed. His first converts were from upper class families cutting across religions - and hence the opposition from some of the Mughal Kings.

Gandhiji was from the upper caste and his first item on the reform agenda was end to the "bhangis" carrying faecal refuse on their heads. His initial focus was social reform and less of anti-British activities.

The Two Halfs

There is a major difference in our reform idiom compared to the other bloc. Half the world today follows Indic religions and culture. The other half follows the "desert religions". Our future lies in understanding both the halves. The development trajectories of these two halves has been significantly different. The motivations, behavioural and acceptable civilisational norms for these blocs are different - and mostly opposite.

Do we understand this adequately? Mostly no!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Softpower! India?

A few years ago, an American writer, Joseph Nye (Dean, Kennedy School, Harvard; former Assistant Secretary of Defense) created a new term - Softpower. This term has become quite popular and today has earned itself a place in Wikipedia. His book (Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics; by Joseph S. Nye) became a best seller and today that term is used frequently and easily. A Google search throws up more than 18 million items under soft power.

Nye says (I wonder if he realises his cynicism) - “Soft power is the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals. It differs from hard power, the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will. Both hard and soft powers are important in the war on terrorism, but attraction is much cheaper than coercion and an asset that needs to be nourished”.

Nye says that the USA is world’s largest softpower - based on its attraction to outsiders due to its movies, music, books, TV, education, et al. Analysts worry about the rise of the Chinese soft power.

India has long been a soft power - without the cynical use of soft power (because it is cheaper); without wanting to make others follow our will and the ability to use carrot and sticks!

Will they ever change?

Will we ever learn!

How does India Stack Up

Half of the world follows Indian religion and culture - China (Buddhism), Indonesia (consider that Mahabharata is their national epic and their use of Sanskritic names), entire South East Asia (except Philippines, which has been Spanished and then Americanised) and of course India. What makes the Indian success remarkable as a major soft power centre is that this status has been acquired without significant military cost or economic expenditure.

Archaeological artifacts have turned up in at Altyn Tepe (in modern Turkestan), in Babylon and Turkey (Boghazkoi) - in the period of 2000BC. This pulls back the date of the Indo-Aryan civilization to 3000-4000 BC - which Euro centric historians have reluctant to agree. This shows the spread of Indian culture - 2000-3000 years before the rise of Rome.

Indian Status Today

Which country has the largest number of universities? (If you have been a regular reader of my posts you would have guessed the answer).

University & Higher Education

USA stands at No.2. with 5000 universities and colleges. India at 8000 universities and colleges is way ahead. This becomes remarkable when you consider the time frame. Much like the Indian ramp up in software (from a software minnow to leadership status in a short span of 10 years).

This huge infrastructure has been built up in a short span of 60 years of post colonial existence. In this huge build up, quality has suffered. The Indian challenge in the next 25 years is to further build on this size - and importantly to build on the lack of qualitative edge. These challenges are relatively easily addressed - and the cost implications are also minimal. My estimate is that a 2 US$ billion investment will do the trick.

TV Programming

Bruce Springsteen released a song some time back - 57 channels and nothing on! 57 seemed like a huge number then and India had 6 channels. Today the Indian TV industry supports more than 600 channels and there are 400 more channels in the offing - awaiting governmental clearances.

Indian studios churn out news in more than 10 languages, entertainment library which is now more than 10,00,000 hours of programming. With all this new channels and expansion, in 2007 FY, an estimated 5,00,000 hours of programming will be produced. India is global leader by a vast stretch. Europe by comparison is a toddler - and the only other comparison with India is USA.

The World’s Largest Movie Industry

It is not Mumbai. No, it is not even Hollywood. Telugu films catering to a small market makes more films in a year than Mumbai or Hollywood does. Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh is India’s largest city - without a history of colonial rule.

The Nizam state was not ruled by the British India - and had its own currency, legal and administrative set up. The three biggest administrative reforms were initiated by leaders who originated from this state. The pre-1950 ruler of the Hyderabad State was the Nizam of Hyderabad - HEH Osman Ali badshah. Reputedly, at one time the richest man in the world, very frugal, he wore repaired sherwanis and re-lit half smoked cigarettes. While decadent Nawabs made a mess in London and Paris - the Nizam worked at making his state a fore-runner in India.

The World’s Largest Music Industry

India releases more music, in more languages, than any other country in the world. We have, of course, the world’s oldest living tradition in music. Compared to India’s music tradition of 2000 years (at least), Western Music is about 400-500 years old. Most are aware of modern music - but the scene in classical music is still very vibrant.

Bhajans from Mirabai’ s, Tulsidas, Surdas of 500 years ago, continue to sell in volumes and in demand. Thyagaraja’s and Dikshitaar’s compositions in Telugu, 300 years old are still mainstream music - compared to the Western classical music which has become a fringe music tradition - both of similar vintage.

The Largest Publishing Industry In The World

India again has more newspapers, books and magazines than any other country in the world - in more languages. Our closest contender is USA.

Points Of Interest

1. Indian prowess as a soft power - A small change in the regulatory environment - and poof! We achieve global scale.

2. All these scales and volumes have been achieved without Government subsidies and support.

3. These strengths flow from centuries of tradition.

4. External influences and aggression has not dimmed these instincts and abilities.

Will India wake up and use its soft power - not in the manner that the West has used it - but as a humanizing element.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Debt That India Owes Britain

“British government conceded Indian self-rule, they thought this the right thing to do. What would have happened to the Koreans or the Vietnamese if a local Gandhi had tried such tactics against the brutal Japanese kempetai or the French with their mercenaries from Morocco and Senegal? It was not that Gandhi was successful but that the British were forbearing … Gandhi’s tactics only work if the other side lets it …” Christie Davies’ Blog The Social Affairs Unit.

Indians are an ungrateful lot. How can we forget the British and give Gandhi all the credit.

Ever the oriental selfishness. Why can we not sacrifice ourselves for the Great British Empire? Can we even imagine that the greatest empire in history had anything but the milk of human kindness at the time of granting Independence. After WW2, even though Britain was on rationing, they let us browns go independent.

Churchill very much wanted the option of squeezing the brown man a little more. Whatever little there was left of the brown man after the Great Bengal Famine of 1943. After Montagu Norman, Churchill, Lord Willingdon, Neville Chamberlain had finished with the Great Bullion Scam against India from 1925-1945. After the war was over and the brown man was used in Africa and Europe. They let us go - and allowed us to rule ourselves.

How can we ever repay this debt?

First, the great benefit of English language. All other super powers and developed countries (Japan, China, Russia, France, Germany, Italy) use their own respective languages. They could have been very successful (like India) if they had learnt English, talked English, walked English, read English, cooked English, washed English, done everything in English.

But these stupid Germans, Italians, Japanese, Russians, French, Chinese - they dont know what we know!! English is the universal language.

Can we ever forget the Lees-Mody pact which saved the Indian farmer from ruin? The Japanese had stopped purchase of Indian cotton. Never mind the fact that the British raised customs duty for imported Japanese cloth to protect the Lancashire Mills, which were hurting by the Gandhian (that tricky so and so oriental) boycott.

We ungrateful Indians must further appreciate the British sacrifice and the industrial cost of conceding self rule to India. Within 15 years of Indian independence, the British car industry started closing down. British Steel collapsed and had to be nationalised within 20 years (Ratan Tata may revive British Steel finally). British coal mining became unviable withn 25 years - and had to be shut. British Rail similarly collapsed. It is now making hesitant comeback after privatisation. British capital goods industry (electrical, heavy machinery, electronics) went out of business. All due to us Indians.

But they taught Laloo Prasad Yadav how to run Indian Railways profitably.

What could the British do without captive market and raw material sources. The British let all this go - so that Indian industry could survive. British business manager taught Indian businessmen how to run business competitively - and completely ignored their own business. Today, Britain has very few of the colonial era multinationals.

British (The Great Benefactors) said - Go forth, brown man.

Some biased historians claim that the Britishers said to us Indians, “We know that you can do nothing by yourself. You are useless to us now. You are a burden to us. We have anyway sucked you dry. But, since you want to go away from our protective umbrella, go forth and stagnate at the bottom”, under their breadth, at the time of Independence. I dont believe that. Like I dont believe that the sun rises in the East (it is a conspiracy against us).

We also do not appreciate their kindness towards us!

The other British legacy that we should be very grateful is our colonial bureaucracy. This colonial era bureaucracy was permanently established - and it has been growing faster than our population. Its corruption is aided by a myriad laws created by the same bureaucracy - for the benefit of Indians. The British never had any intention to benefit from this entrenched laws and bureaucracy.

Recent archaeology (available with me) evidence shows that the British were repaying our kindness. Indians “marwari” seths had lent Queen Bodicea some money during her struggle against the Romans. The British have never forgotten that. (This secret story is based on documents to which only I have access).

Hence, they did not kill us Indians in the numbers that they killed (more than 10 lakh Kenyans in 10 years) in the Mau Mau uprising. Or they did not torture or kill Indians they way they killed the Malaysians. Due to this reason, they also did not establish apartheid the way they did in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa. This unblemished record of the British against other people had nothing to do with Gandhiji. Gandhiji’s focus on post-colonial India, had nothing to with the existence of our statehood. It was all the British legacy.

The one British failure was that they did not kill Gandhi. That job was outsourced to an Indian “coolie”. They could have easily done that. This was one thing that they could have done - but didn’t do! In my books, we should be eternally grateful to the British Colonialist for not killing Gandhiji.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Indian Gold Reserves - No Loot, No Luck

“Get gold, humanely if possible, but at all hazards, get gold.”

(1511, King Ferdinand of Spain to his conquistadors)

The rise of nations and successful conquests have a history of either looting gold or hitting a gold mine. India, with the largest reserves of gold in the world, is the only exception.


Alexander’s campaign started with the gold reserves that his father had built from the mining operations at Mount Pangeus. The Macedonians were the first in the Hellenistic world to keep standing army - a luxury and big expense, in Greece at that time. (His first sexual experience was with a slave girl from these mines, Leptine from the slave camps of Mount Pangaion also written as Mount Pangaeus).

In 357 BC, Alexander’s father conquered Amphipolis in Thrace, an Athenian colony - and that gave him possession of the Mount Pangaeus gold mines. Gold from theses mines financed Phillip’s wars. (356 BC - captured Potidea in Chalcidice, Pydna on the Thermaic Gulf; 355 BC Crenides, a Thracian town (later re-named Philippi). 354 BC - Methone, advanced into Thessaly. 348 BC - Completed the annexation of Chalcidice, including Olynthus). His politics and financial muscle got him (346 BC) a seat in the Delphic council, a prestigious position in Greece.

Alexander set off on his campaign with this hoard of gold - and King Phillip’s standing army. The Persian conquest further added to his gold hoard.

Roman Empire

The Roman empire was similarly funded by gold mining and loot. Julius Caesar’s European conquests were funded by Gaellic loot. The Punic Wars with Carthage were fought over Spanish Gold. Roman conquest and love affair with Egypt was motivated by grain and Nubian gold. One of the first actions that Romans took in Wales, Britain was to build an gold ore refining system. Gold mined in Britain went to Roman coffers.

Charlemagne of France - The First Christian Emperor

Charlemagne’s conquests were funded by the Saxony mines, the Haartz mountains, etc. His victory over Avars, (modern Hungary) gave him treasures which needed 15 carts pulled grey steppe oxen for transport.


King Tushrutta (possibly an Indo-Aryan King) wrote to the Egyptian king in the Amarna letters about gold in Egypt - which came from Nubia. The Egyptian civilisation was funded by Nubian gold.

African Gold In The Middle Ages

From 10thAD, African north east, current Tanzania was the gateway for Zimbabwe gold. Shirazi Arabs (actually Persians) controlled gold trade. A 100-room palace with a gold mint ran this trade out of Africa.

European Renaisance

Europe’s Renaisance was funded with the loot from the (Red) Indian gold, later the (Brown) Indian gold and lastly by the discoveries in California. In the twentieth century it was the Australian and Canadian gold which funded the expansion of Europe.


In 16th-17th Century, it was the Sado mines in Japan which made Japan the 2nd largest producer of gold - which funded the rise of Japan.

China and Mongolia

Have been traditional producers and exporters of gold.

South African Gold

The 20th Century was about mineral riches of South Africa - gold, diamonds. Cecil Rhodes set up, at the end of the 19th century, an entire colonial system for exploitation of South African minerals for the benefit of the British Empire.

Spain & Portugal

El dorado - South American continent was a large producer for gold and silver for 400 years. The Spanish king was clear with conquistadors - Get gold. Nearly the entire native Indian population was exterminated by massacres, slavery and (deliberate spread) of disease. After the native population was exterminated, slaves from Africa were imported to work mines and plantations.


Ekaterinburg gold mines were discovered in 1744. Since then Russia has been one of the major gold producers in the world.

In a short span of 50 years, British Empire, the greatest the world had known, nearly became a third world country by 1980. Emergency economic actions by Margaret Thatcher kept a “shell” of Britain at the edge of the developed world. There is no British Steel today. The coal industry is dead. There is no car industry worth its name. Britain and electronics are unknown to each other. British shipping is piece of history. British Engineering is a rarity.

India had minor gold deposits in Karnataka (The Kolar Gold Fields).

India’s gold reserves through history has been built up by trade, commerce, technology, inventions. Not by loot, plunder or a stroke of luck. While nations and conquerors fell by the wayside, the Indian nation has survived and progressed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Indian Software Success - How Come?

A 35 year old Indian advertising executive (with a short London based, work-experience at Car Phone Warehouse) had an interesting observation.

There is a transfer effect! We Indians, get respect in some parts of the world today, because we are Indians. Earlier perception of Indians was based on the individual. Indians were not respected for their nationality. Now, Indians gets some respect because they are Indian.

How Did This Happen

And the Indian image makeover was due to the work done by the software guys on the Y2K problem. The Y2K was a major disaster - waiting to happen! The world waited with bated breath - for planes to crash; banks feared billion dollar frauds; defence systems would blink. But, on Y2k, nothing happened. The world over!

It just another day. It was the biggest triumph for the Indian software community. Done at a cost of a few billion dollars. The Y2K meteor did not crash onto mother earth - it burnt at the time of entry in the earth’s atmosphere. As usual Indians do not celebrate their major successes. (Instead they make a big deal of the 20:20 world cup)

India’s software success has many claimants - and all of them have had a role to play. And in this crush, one small thing escaped everybody’s notice.

Why Did Software Become Such A Big Thing

Why is it that software became such a big thing in India? How come Indian engineers with such low levels of prior exposure to computers could ramp up so quickly and tackle such a complex problem? How could a country with the lowest computer penetration become the largest expeorter of software in less than 10 years.

The answer goes back to 5000 years ago.

When Sanskrit language was invented. Yes. Invented.

What!! What Has Sanskrit Got To Do With This

Sanskrit is an artificial, synthetic, revolutionary language - unlike all other languages in the world; which are Prakrit (natural and evolutionary). The next set of artificial languages came into this world after 5000 years later.

About 50-75 years ago, the next set of artificial languages were invented. These are the computer languages. Between the invention of Sanskrit and the computer languages , there was no other culture which created an artificial language system.

What is special about Sanskrit?

Sanskrit is nothing but a database system with millions of database tables and a system of linking concatenated data records. And all Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit.

While most of us do not know Sanskrit or understand it’s structure consciously, we all use Sanskritic structures everyday. It is easy for us to learn another “Sanskritic” language! Hence, for all those brilliant engineers, their base in Sanskritic languages gave them a headstart.

And the rest as they is history!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Two Aryans - Hitler and Gandhiji


In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist , Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Hattusas (Boghazkoi), 150-200 kms from Ankara, in Cappadocia. He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which proved to be of tremendous interest.

1921 AD

Boghazkoi clay tablets were decrypted and submitted for peer review. These tablets without dispute made the following things clear - One, the link between the clay tablets and India was clear; two, the date of these tablets was 1800-1900 BC.

Problems For Euro Centric Historians

  1. Indian civilization was dated by colonial historians till then at 1500 BC.
  2. Indus Valley between 1800-2000 BC.
  3. Boghaz Koi challenged these dates.
  4. The newer dates pushed back the Indian Civilisation at least to 3000BC-2500BC. Most possibly even earlier - 3500-3000 BC.

The Indian Quadratic Core

How could the, one, Ramayana and Mahbharata, two, Vedas, three, the Puranas and four, the Upandishads get composed in less than 800 years (between 2500, as speculated and the Boghazkoi date of 1800 BC. If the quadratic core of the Indian civilization, was composed in a more realistic time frame of 1000-1500 years, then it pushes the date of the Indian civilization to 3000 BC.

With these dates, the history of the world will have to re-written. It will prove that India civilized the world - time and again.

The entire Boghazkoi research and artifacts were being researched largely in Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm personally reviewed German archaeology activity. Excavation, discoveries and decryption happened between 1907-1921 - the formative years of Adolph Hitler.

These initial findings excited the German archaeological world - and suppressed in the English speaking media (for obvious colonial benefits). All this emerging data and research pointed to an Aryan centric world history.

Hitler decided to usurp this history - being decrypted in Germany. These archaeologists were dismissed by the Egypt-Greece-Rome-Europe axis as pan Babylonists.

In November 8th 1923 came the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler was imprisoned and over the next 2 years came the Mein Kampf. Hitler’s prejudices were a mix of: -

  1. European xenophobia (consider the anti Semitism (1000-1850), the Gypsy genocide (1500-2000),
  2. Intolerance, (the extinction of the Provence culture(Albigensian Crusade of 1200-1300), The Hussite Wars(1419-36), the Spanish Inquisition(1275-1500).
  3. A new ingredient - the German research into the pre-Egyptian history of the Aryan Babylon at Boghazkoi and the Amarna letters.

Europeans for long, considered themselves as a branch of the Indo-European Aryans. Faced with this new evidence of Aryan dominance of modern civilisation, Hitler succumbed.

Subsequent research was frozen - in the mayhem of subsequent Weimar Republic - which lost all interest in archaeology. Hitler’s Euro-centric military agenda overwhelmed further research and development. Post WW2 world has thrown up yet another set of equations.

Net nett - very little progress till recently.

On the opposite of the world, the actual Aryans were being recast - in the furnace of a colonial world. Many at that time, did not consider the possibility that India would become.

MN Roy (founder of Indian Communism), Homi Mody (industrialist) represented realism of the time. They can now safely referred to as British colonial lackeys. But at that in history, it was realism.

After all, how could a frail, old man with little money, no army, overcome the greatest empire that the world had known - the British Empire.

2 years ago, genetic sampling across India did not throw up any DNA markers common to the supposed invaders. This completely disproved the invasion /migration theory. It is now clear Aryan were home grown Indians.

Hitler just did not have it in him. The real, pure Aryan was Gandhiji.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

India's Unsung Revolutionaries

“Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.” Ian Fleming, in Goldfinger.

In 60 years of post-colonial India, 3 significant developments will win the award for deepest impact - but least appreciated or known.


An issue on which the colonial rulers ‘set up’ the new rulers of India for failure was on the contentious issue of language. Rightly, the colonial rulers pointed out that there never has been a successful country with so many languages.

Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose were all for one national language – much like numerous western countries, whose success they so wanted to rival or exceed. And the language of their choice was Hindi.

What kept Europe divided, amongst many things (not that they need help), is language. Belgians (a country with 1 crore population; smaller than Chennai) are being prepared for probable split between the Flemish and the French speaking populations. Canada has been at the precipice for 100 years – torn between two languages. The Balkans , homeland of Alexander the Great (who wanted to make one world), have been at each other for the last 80 years - after they became independent of the Ottoman Empire.

There never has been a country, in modern history, which has had 2-3 languages, without splitting at the seams. One man, who is forgotten and who made a difference was Potti Sreeramulu. A believer and follower of Gandhiji, he pushed Nehru for re-organising India on linguistic lines. Nehru vacillated. Potti Sreeramulu, like Gandhiji, went on a hunger strike. Nehru ignored Potti Sreeramulu’s hunger strike. Potti Sreeramulu died.

The ground swell of international (and also domestic) opinion forced Nehru’s hand. He was left with little choice. And India has since then been administered on linguistic lines. This has given enough space for every sub-culture – without diluting their renewed Indian identity.

In the meantime, Indians have become adventurous in their integration. Idli and Dosa are a part of a Punjabi households and salwar kameez have become popular in Kerala. Hindi film industry is second only to Telugu film industry.

If India had followed colonial administration’s advice of one national language, Tamil Nadu would definitely have seceded in the 1960’s. Ask Sri Lanka. I do hope that Malaysia does not make the Sri Lankan mistake.


Rajiv Gandhi came back from Sriperumbudur in a coffin. Assam problem seemed beyond resolution. The common Indian had given up on Punjab. The 1984 anti Sikh riots only strengthened the negative outlook. Kashmir was simmering. The Indian electorate had given a fractured mandate. A hung Parliament.

Indian economy was going downhill – and nothing seemed to get the economy out of the “Hindu rate of growth”. India was on the verge of a debt default. Indian debt was downgraded by western rating agencies. The Asian Tigers had done wonders – under US tutelage. China was furiously reforming – and succeeding at it. USSR India’s faithful ally, was breaking up. Corruption was endemic and every politician was an Untouchable – nobody or anything could touch them. There were no laws. Many across the world shook their head and could be heard saying, “I knew … I told you … It had to happen …”

All bets on India were off.

A “intellectual” politician, was called back from retirement – to become Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. Forgotten today.

By 1995, he set up India for today’s growth. In a matter of 4 years, he cleared 40 years of cobwebs. The direction that he put India on has been now been followed for more than 15 years – with great success by more than 5 Prime Ministers. His biggest success was accountability. Heads of administration do not appear in a court of law – which PVN did. Election Commission, CAG, Supreme Court acquired fangs – earlier docile shadows of their purported design of BR Ambedkar.


One of India’s chronic under performer, Andhra Pradesh got a new Chief Minister – N. Chandra Babu Naidu. In the next 9 years, Andhra Pradesh moved in the Top 5 investment destinations.

Technology savvy, focused, driven – he changed the political idiom in India. State governments now pattern themselves along Naidu’s lines. Privatisations (instead of expanding public sector), tax cuts (instead of increases), administration automation (instead of increased recruitments), hand picked bureaucrats with a development agenda (instead of personal loyalty agenda earlier) were the cornerstones of his strategy. His state administration reform agenda convinced PM Vajpayee to commend Naidu’s template to other state governments to follow.

What Is The Point

These 3 reformers were from Andhra Pradesh – carved out of the earlier Nizam state. The Nizam state was the largest Indian state (in Europe or any other part of Asia, it would have been a few countries) – ruled by an Indian ruler. The last Nizam of Hyderabad, considered at one time the richest man in the world, was also a very simple man. Famously, he never threw away half smoked cigarettes – frugality for world’s richest man. Especially, when other Indian Nawabs out did each other with their spending and peccadilloes in London and Paris.

Andhra Pradesh (most of) was not administered by colonials. Hyderabad is the largest modern Indian city – without a history of Colonial administration. Kolkatta, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi were cities ruled by Colonial India administration before the creation of the Indian Republic.

Indian consumer companies test market their products in Hyderabad frequently – as it lends itself to the Indian idiom. Other major metros (with a history of colonial administration) many a time give a “false positive”. Andhra Pradesh supports the world’s largest film industry – bigger than Hollywood and of course, Mumbai film industry.

Two significant creative minds were adopted by Hyderabadis as their cultural mascots. One was Allama Iqbal of “सारे जेहान से अच्छा हिंदुस्तान हमारा” “Saare Jehan Se achcha Hindustan Hamara” fame.

Chirkan, the second mascot, is the “poet” of dirty ditties. Chirkan was the irreverent break from the feudal and colonial Indian mindset – before the Indian Republic.

His rhymes on Qutub minar (a phallic symbol of feudal /colonial majesty of another era) have been repeated by every school child as his very own. He was feted at cultural events - and was a legend in his lifetime. His “sher” on a princess (the Nizam’s daughter) is repeated by schoolboys even today with raging hormones. It is to the Nizam’s credit that Chirkan was not persecuted – but given a token punishment of banishment from Hyderabad.

Forgotten today by the mainstream, Chirkan’s books still circulate in the underground. Chirkan’s rhymes and jokes spread to all of India. 75 years later, every teenager makes his rites of passage with Chirkan’s jokes. Most of Mumbai film industry’s dirty jokes are a take off on Chirkan.