Monday, August 11, 2008

Toxic Waste In India

West Dumps Toxic Stuff

Kamal Nath has NOT finally caved in, after putting up a courageous fight for the last 4 years. Kamal Nath’s position, for the last 4 years, (correctly), was, “The Indian farmer can compete with the American farmer, but not with the U.S. Treasury.” But under the carrot of the US-India Nuclear deal, the fear was that US would probably get their way at the trade talks.

But there are 3 imports of the past that has caused India tremendous harm. India’s (and the world’s) problem can be laid at the doorstep of these 3 imports - including widespread corruption which causes so much anguish. These three imports continue to be in use widely across India - and remain unidentified. No barriers have been put up against these specific imports - and nothing is being done against such future imports.

The 3 Imports

These 3 dangerous imports are WORDS. Religion, Slavery and Free. These three imported words are at the root of modern India’s problems. Does this strike you as an exaggeration?


Historically, India had no religions. Religions are a construct of the Middle East - and given birth to the 3 major religions of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In India, the belief structure centres around Dharma - धर्म.

The difference between dharma and religion? Major!

For one, religion is about worship - and there are many others differences. Method of worship (how you worship), object of worship (what you worship), frequency of worship (e.g. every Sabbath; five times a day), language of worship (what you say, in which language), etc.

Indian worship practices are infinite - and non-worship too is acceptable. Structure and deviation from worship practices are a non-issue in Indian dharmic structure. Dharma has no equivalent in the ‘Desert Bloc’ vocabulary of religions. Dharma is the path of righteousness, defined by a matrix of the contextual, existential, moral, pragmatic, professional, position, etc. Dharma is more than moral and ethics.

The really big difference is the holy books - Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one Holy Book each. No deviations. Indian dharma tradition has thousands which are more than 1000 years old - at last count.

And What Is Dharma?

That is the question that all Indian rishis, munis, holy texts, folklore try and answer.

There are many Indian texts on the path of Dharma - the Bhagwad Geetha (most famous), the Shanti Parva (dharma of kings), the Upanishads. Gautama Buddha established the Dharmapatha (now known as Dhammapada - the Path Of Dharma). It is Dharma that Indians belief systems focus on - and worship is only a (in some cases no) part of it. Buddhism focussed on the Dharma-chakra - a virtous cycle of right actions leading to greater goodness in the world. This is represented in the Ashoka pillar - adopted by modern India as its symbol.

Buddha in India, was another, in a long line of teachers. After the fall of Takshashila and Nalanda, believers in Indian faith systems stopped coming India. Buddhism soon became a religion outside India. Religion is about founders and followers. Judaism had Moses, Christianity had Jesus and Islam had Mohammed. The founders of the ‘desert religions’ exhorted their converts to follow them and promised them deliverance.

Dharma is everyone’s concern, timeless - and has no founder. Gautama Buddha did not set out to establish a religion. He was interested in establishing the Dhammapada. So, did Mahavir. As did Guru Nanak. The definition (legal, conceptual, theological) of Indian dharmic systems as religion by outsiders created divides where none existed. There is no Hindu religion. We strangely call ourselves Indians. Why are we calling ourselves by a name given to us by others. We have our own name to call ourselves by.

Islam In India

The largest concentrations of Islamic believers in India (were able to establish Islamic worship systems) are in Bengal, Kerala, Gujarat and Kashmir - which did not witness large scale invasions from Persia and Arabia. These 4 areas were ruled (either completely or largely) by Hindu kings. There is significant evidence that Islamic beliefs in these 4 areas came through trade - Gujarat, Kerala and Bengal were major port cities where Arab traders were frequent visitors and settlers. Kashmir was the hub of the ancient Silk route.

The Sufi movement was Kashmir’s contribution and held sway over the large parts of Islamic believers. It is also these 4 geographies that were the least affected by the invasions of Mahmud Of Ghazni, Mohhammed Of Ghor, Timur, et al. These were also the provinces that were the most distant from the Muslim Delhi sultanates - and possibly had seen the least of proselytizing forces. Hence, the belief that Islam was spread in India largely by force is a possibly false.

It was this Indian ambivalence (even indifference) towards forms of worship which made it easy for any form of worship to take roots. It is also the reason why the sub-continent and Indic nations (i.e. the sub-continent and Indonesia) have today the largest followers of Islam.

Thus India has no religions in the ‘desert bloc’ sense of the word - and all Indians are believers in Dharma. And the path of Dharma is for each to discover and follow.

India must uproot the very word religion. We must understand the difference between dharma, religion and mazhab. Religion divides - dharma unites. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism Sikhism were not, but in the danger of becoming religions. The Colonial Governments made these Indic dharmic quests into religions. Which Indian text describes its followers as Hindus? Did Guru Nanak call his disciples Sikhs. India has allowed outsiders to label us and dictate our response as per those labels.

Indian languages have no word for religion.


India has no word for slave either.

The word गुलाम ghulam is an import. दास dasa is an attendant, or a servant - but not a slave. Draupadi was a daasi to the Queen of Virat desh. The Pandavas became daasas at the Court of Viraat. Raja Harishchandra became a daasa to a Chandala. These were kings who became daasas. Nala, (Damayanti fame), the King of Nishada, became a daasa - but not a slave.

Slaves are sold and bought - involuntarily. There were organized markets for slaves in slave empires; organized traders of slaves (a famous one being the Barbarossa Brothers). Slavery (capture, kidnap, sequestration, transport, trade and transfer, re-capture of human beings) continued in the “desert bloc” till the 20th century. In the Indic territories, it was an inherited institution - and last seen in the Hittite rule around 1000BC.

Faced with West Asian reluctance to give up slavery, Indo Aryan rulers disengaged politically from West Asia and Middle East from around 1000 BC. Possibly, the slave revolt of Egypt by Moses itself was a result of the liberalising laws of the Hittites. Hence the fade out of the Indic rule from the Middle East - but the continuation of Buddhist influences, trade and peoples contact.

Reformers In India

After the slave revolts in the Middle East, India was witness to major renewal movements. More than a 100 Bodhisatvas and 24 Jain Tirthankaras were major figures in India’s renewal after the slave revolts in the Middle East. Modern history, influenced by Western historiography, recognizes only the “ahimsa twins” - Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira. The “ahimsa twins” - Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira were both princes of royal blood - Prince Siddharth and Prince Mahavira.

Initial adherents to the Buddhist camps were rulers. Their methods of proselytizing was also aimed at the ruling class. Ashoka The Great sent missions with his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka - where Buddhism was established. The logic - slavery could exist with State protection. Indic teachers of dharma focussed on the rulers to ensure that slavery did receive state patronage.

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 the first item on his 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.

Half the world today follows Indic religions and culture. The other half follows the “desert religions”. 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.

Slavery In India

Slavery in India, disappeared from about 1000 BC. Zilch. Nyet. Non. Nada, nada.

While the Levant and the Occident continued with slavery for the next 3000 years, till 1900 AD, in India (referring to the Greater India, including the Hittites and Mitannis) after 1100 BC, slavery vanished. Compared to the retributive and vengeful Hammurabi’s code, the Indic rulers of Middle East (the Hittites, Mittanis and Elamites) already had a more liberal and humane legal system. Capture by slave traders and slavery was also the reason, that possibly, Indian traders preferred buyers to come to them. This also accounts for the system of unarmed combat that travelled with Buddhist monks to China - and became Chinese Kung Fu, or the Kalaripayattu (in Kerala) or the system of लठैद (combat practitioners using ‘lathis’ - bamboo sticks).

Slave Religions Promote Slavery

The 3 ‘desert religions’ instead of reforming slave societies, just enabled the transfer of slave titles. Freedom meant old slaves became the new slave masters. Slavery (capture, kidnap, sequestration, transport, trade and transfer, re-capture of human beings) continued in the “desert bloc” till the 20th century. Slavery was sanctioned by the religious authorities and books of these 3 ‘desert religions’.

Non-political Indian role in West Asia and Middle East continued to grow in terms of trade and learning. Babylon became a part of Alexander’s empire (and then the Roman Empire). This slave reform and distancing of Indic rulers from slave societies was led by Indian reformers like Buddha and Mahavira. This happened not around and after 500 BC as determined by Western dating logic (which needed to fit the Aryan Invasion Theory, The ‘evolution’ of Greek and Romans) - but around 1000 BC.

When the followers of Mani (a teacher of Buddhist and Christian teachings) were encouraging the slaves to revolt and declare themselves free, administrators of the teachings of the “Lord of lords, and King of kings.” (Revelation 17: 14) at the Council Of Gangra, 325 AD, approved of slavery. Arabs slave traders were active in Congo - till they were replaced by Europeans.

Slave Memory In Indian Society

By the 10th century, Slave memory faded out in India. The Indic word for slave owning cultures, asur, became disconnected with slave ownership. References in Indian classical literature about servitude - like the Harishchandra story.

Jataka stories (mainly considered as children’s stories in the West) are a reflection of social mores, realities- and also cautionary tales for adults. This Jataka story (click on the link) refers to a “demon’ (another word for a slave trader) and cautions travellers and merchants about slave traders. This ‘demon’ kidnaps the merchant - but leaves the goods behind. Similarly, the story of Bali, the righteous Asura king, who was sent to the patalaloka, by Vamana, makes sense, the moment ‘demons’ are defined as slave-owners and enslavers.

Trade in India is governed by शुभ लाभ ’shubh labh’ - and hence Indians have not been major players in drugs proliferation (unlike Japan, the West in which traded Opium in Korea and China), in slave trade, in software virus, in spamming, through out history.

What Did This Do In India

3000 years ago, India went ahead and created a new economic model without slavery. The Occident and the Levant were using slaves till 20th century. Middle East’s labour laws even today smack of slave owner mentality.

Asuras as ‘dravidians’, ‘foriegners’ or ‘others’ is an Euro-interpretation - which seems xenophobic. This further dimmed Indian perception of slavery - and instead created divisions within Indians. On the contrary, asuras could even be Indians - and even righteous kings like Bali. The entire Ravana demonisation was not about Sita being abducted. The outrage was the ‘asuras’ i.e. slave traders, trading her.

Similarly, the story of Dadhichi, from whose bones the vajrastra was made to kill the ‘demon king’ Vritrasur. Dadhichi was a former king, son of Atharvan, and Vritrasur was a brahman who became an asura. Or the ‘Nahusha’ story, where a mere mortal was made Indra, to defeat the ‘demons’. This also adds another layer to the Rajput opposition to Mughals. And the Rajput women committing Jauhar. In modern era, India’s unceasing opposition to South African apartheid was another example.

Unremitting and unceasing opposition to slavery - that is what Indian history is about. In fact, there is no Sanskritic word for a slave. Ghulam is an imported word, daas /daasi is an attendant. Slavery as a concept does not exist. Similarly, the word free does not exist in Sanskrit.

There is no free lunch

The third major import is free. Sanskritic language and logic has no word for free. Muft, free, are all imported words. This has created a corrupt political system which keeps bribing voters with freebies. It has distorted trade with freebies. In Indian commercial practice, there were systems for giving away free. That was called “chakda” - which is ‘make good’. So if you bought 100 mangoes, you got 116 or 156 - as the local system was. To make good for defectives, rottens fruits and vegetables. But nothing was free.

The Corruption

So , when did this corruption start.

The answer goes back to 5000 years ago. When Sanskrit language was invented. Yes. Invented. And there is no Sanskritic equivalent for slave, religion, free. There is no Sanskrit word for these three imported words.

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 Makes Sanskrit Special?

Sanskrit is nothing but a database system with millions of database tables and a system of linking concatenated data records. Every word is a table (I studied Sanskrit 30 years ago, and if I remember correctly, it is a 3 column x 8 row table). And all words then combine with each other as per these table rules. And all Indian languages (most European languages, too) are derived from Sanskrit. While most of us do not know Sanskrit or understand it’s structure consciously, we all use Sanskritic structures everyday.

India should put up trade barriers against such imports. Kamal Nath unfortunately cant do much about this. This is one thing that each one of us will have to do.

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