Showing posts with label Indian history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indian history. Show all posts

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dona Juliana Dias da Costa :A Love Affair That Saved Portuguese from Mughals

Love Affair Between Portuguese Woman & Mughal Prince

This is an unusual love affair between a Portuguese woman and a Indian Mughal prince which describes the intensity of her love that the Portuguese woman by the name Dona Juliana Dias Da Costa had over Shah Alam, the son of Aurangzeb. It is said that she not only assisted in safeguarding the Christian in then Mughal-ruled India but was also responsible in spreading the faith in Portuguese India.

Dona Juliana Dias da Costa was considered to be a woman of Portuguese origin from Kochi in the court of Aurangzeb the Mughal Empire in Hindustan. She became Harem-Queen to the Mughal Emperor of India Bahadur Shah I the son of Aurangzeb who became the monarch in 1707.

 Her family had fled the Dutch conquest of Portuguese Kochi while she herself ended in the court of the Mughal at Delhi serving the family of the prince Shah Alam. She continued to be there till the prince did not find favour with his father and escorted him into exile. She was then rewarded when Shah became the Emperor – Bahadur I after the death of his father and her influence became boundless in the court in spite of being a Catholic in a Muslim state.

Assisted Italian Jesuit Missionary

  It is said that she had galloped on a war elephant with Bahadur Shah during his fights in order to defend his authority and after his death she continued to be greatly considered but with less influence. While Bahadur Shah I had been alive, she was frequently sought out by European powers such as the Dutch, Portuguese, the British and the representatives of the Pope during her period of strongest power.

She was of great help to the Society of Jesus inclusive of assisting the Italian Jesuit missionary Ippolito Desideri in his mission in evangelising Tibet. In appreciation of her various contributions together with services to the Jesuits, she had been recognized as a Patroness of the Society.

Tiwari and Chauhan had come across the diplomatic role of this Portuguese Catholic woman in the 80s, who had spent four years to write disputably the most inclusive documentation of Mughal, Portuguese, British, Dutch and French interaction in India. They have related the Portuguese method for survival with the Mughals with the help of the love affair story between Juliana and Shah.

Proficiency of Skills – Diplomat Par Excellence

From the moment they had a well-known settlement in Hugli through the favour of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the Portuguese were comfortable being there till they annoyed his son with their misbehaviours which resulted in sacking the settlement in 1632. As a consequence, 4,000 Christians had been taken captives in dreadful conditions to Agra.

As per the book, the parents of Juliana were among the prisoners and Juliana was born in Agra around 1645 wherein her mother by that time had been attached to one of the ladies in the harem of Shah Jahan. After the death of her parents Juliana had been brought up in Delhi by Father Antonio de Magalhanes. According to the authors, Tiwari and Chauhan due to the upbringing under the Jesuit Fathers, together with the years she had spent in Goa, provided her with the proficiency of skills which made her a diplomat par excellence.

She had skills in expertise in languages, international exposure to the happenings all over the world, inclusive of the knowledge of international trade and merchandise, knowledge of medicine as well as surgery since the Fathers had Portuguese doctors from Goa, in their company. Besides that she had all the royal manners and customs which assisted her in gaining great experience

At 17 - Youngest Tutor to Muazzam/Shah Alam

Though Juliana was married, she became a widow at a young age and in 1681-82 paved her way for access to the Mughal court with the help of Father Magalhanes. Tiwari had mentioned that the Aurangzeb had entrusted the education of Prince Muazzam – later Shah Alam, which was his second son, to Juliana.

She had been 17 and his youngest tutor. Muazzam was 18 and was filled with sorrow for the merciless imprisonment of his grandfather Shah Jahan and with this began their lifelong love affair. The book had also provided the Portuguese letters which had been written by the viceroy in Goa to the Portuguese King expressing him of the favour Juliana tends to hold in the Mughal courts.

 Juliana stated that the book moved wherever Shah Alam had been posted by Aurangzeb inclusive to Goa in order to end the threat posed by Sambhaji the Maratha leader. Later on when Shah Alam had been suspected of treason by Aurangzeb and imprisoned, it is said that Juliana had risked her life in making his seven years of imprisonment, comfortable by sneaking in items of luxury to him. Her faithfulness rewarded her when Shah Alam eventually ascended to the throne after the death of his father Aurangzeb.

Worthy Benefactress of the College/Mission of Agra

The book also explains the role of Juliana in assisting Shah Alam in winning the battle to the throne against his own brother. It is said that Juliana got Shah Alam to organize the Portuguese gunners in his artillery and that proved to be a fruitful move.

The book also mentions of her correspondence with the viceroy of Portuguese in Goa as her power rose in the Mughal court under Emperor Shah Alam - `What becomes more than clear from the exchange of these letters to and from Juliana is not only the higher position attained by her at the Mughal court after the release of prince Shah Alam but her continued devotion in making favours to the cause of Christianity from the Mughal territories also’.

In addition to her diplomatic services the book has also recorded the financial help provided by Juliana to the Portuguese. It states that it was around 1707 that she had said to have given the province of Goa a great fortune valued to 40 to 150 contos. When she died in 1734, the Goa Personnel report of 1735 addressed her as the `Worthy Benefactress of the College and Mission of Agra’ in a most strange statement.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Chapatti Movement

The Revolution of 1857 – Chapatti Movement 


History is said to be of several lessons and tends to have great mysteries for us to unravel. Some may tend to be new while others could be very ancient. One such mystery is regarding the Chapatti Movement which involved the rare distribution of thousands of chapattis which is known to be a kind of unleavened flatbread that was eaten in various Indian villages during 1857. The revolution of 1857 was said to be the first war of independence of India from the British rule.

Though the Indian soldiers were not well equipped as the British soldiers, they fought bravely with all their might laying their lives down fighting the oppression of the British policies. Some historians were of the belief that few months before the revolution of 1857, a mysterious distribution of chapattis had started which was difficult to explain by anyone and the event has left all perplexed over the years.

The Chapatti Movement involved the rare distribution of thousands of chapattis though the crucial cause of the movement is not clear. However the British agents were of the opinion that the chapattis could have contained some secret messages though investigation carried out showed no such messages.

Strange & Inexplicable Distribution


Dr Gilbert Hadow, an army surgeon in the employment of the East India Company, in March 1857, had written the following lines describing the peculiar movement which had taken place in 1857 in a letter to his sister in Britain saying that there was a mysterious affair going on all over India. No one was aware of the meaning of the same.

 Moreover it was unclear where it had originated from by whom or for what reason, whether it was supposed to be linked to any religious ceremony or whether it had to do with some secret society. The Indian papers were full of assumptions to what it meant and was known as the Chapatti Movement.

 Dr Hadow described the 1857 movement of the strange and inexplicable distribution of thousands of chapattis which had been passed from one person to another and from village to village all over the country. During that time, tension in British occupied India, was at its peak and the discontented Indians, tired and sick of the unfair British rule were on the quiet planning a mutiny. That year, in February a strange thing occurred.

Movement Exposed by Magistrate of Town of Mathura 


Thousands of unmarked chapattis had been circulated to homes as well as police outposts all over India by runners at night where those who had accepted them would silently make more collections and pass them on.

The movement had been exposed by the magistrate of the town of Mathura, Mark Thornhill, who had engaged in some investigation and discovered that chapattis had been travelling up to a distance of 300 kilometres each night everywhere from Narmada River in the south to the border of Nepal many hundred miles to the north.

 The mysterious distribution of the chapattis led to a belief that something strange was going on. On extensive enquiries on the strange distribution of the same gave rise to several theories though few facts. Moreover since there was no written note or any sign on the chapattis, the British were irate for being incapable of finding any valid reasons for stopping or arresting the chapatti runners who often seemed to be police officials themselves.

Strangely, when the chapatti runners were questioned later on regarding the significance of distributing the same from one home to another, they had been totally ignorant of the purpose of the distribution.

Code Signalling a Call to Rebel 


The chapattis had been real and even the runners had not been aware of the purpose of the distribution of the chapattis. The police officials would bake the same, which was two inches each in diameter and distribute them to their colleagues who in turn would make some more and pass them to their associates in the neighbouring villages.

In some unusual documents of the revolution of 1857 it was discovered that the chapattis had travelled far and wide by March 5, 1857, from Avadh and Rohilkhand to Delhi. The British officers were filled with anxiety when they discovered that the chapattis had reached into every police station in the vicinity and around 90,000 policemen had been involved in the movement.

They were particularly disturbed knowing that the chapattis had been moving much quicker than the fastest British mail. Though they had no convincing proof the confused British assumed that the chapattis had been some sort of a code signalling a call to rebel against the colonial rule.

Shaken British Empire to the Core


Debates were on as to whether the same had come from the east, near Kolkata or from Avadh in the north or from Indore in the centre of the country. Overall the Chapatti Movement had shaken the British Empire to the core.

 India had been controlled by the British with a small number of men about 100,000 in total, conquering a large population of 250 million and hence they were aware of how insufficient they would be in the event of a serious revolution. Being continuously tensed due to it, they considered any sort of communication by the locals which they were unable to comprehend as suspicious resulting in fear.

Rumours regarding the unusual chapatti chain had resulted in an uneasy atmosphere prevailing across the country. When the rebellion broke out that year, with the first armed rebellion at Meerut on May 10, it had been alleged that due to the circulation of the chapattis, an underground movement had been planned which had started the movement.

Operative Weapon of Psychological Warfare


Some years later, J W Sherar, in the book Life During the Indian Mutiny, had acknowledged that if the purpose behind the plan was intended to create an atmosphere of mysterious restlessness its purpose was served. The movement had put the British in a state which turned out to be very operative weapon of psychological warfare against the colonial rule.

Moreover it was said that the chapattis had been a basic in the army of Tantia Tope and Lakshmi Bai when they had moved around at the time of the revolution. The notable guerrilla fighting, Kunwar Singh had also travelled with a few soldiers and would stop at villages in order to get a refill of ghee laden chapattis, gur and water.

Latest studies have shown that the circulation of chapattis could have been an attempt of delivering food to people affected with cholera. But considering the inconclusive evidence, it can only be concluded that at the moment the chapattis had just been chapattis and not any secret messages or warning of looming rebellion.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

History of the Fort of St. George

Fort of St. George

Madras – Creation of East India Company as Trading Centre

The city of Madras, for its importance and size is unusually missing in buildings of any antique; largely due to the unique settlement which was a creation of the East India Company was only a trading centre. During the early days of the 17th century, it was necessary to strengthen any overseas trading centre against the possibility of an attack.

 A grant had been obtained in 1639 from Damarla Venkatappa Nayaka, the local chief of Chandragiri on behalf of the Company, between the Cooum and the Bay of Bengal, a strip of land, as a site for a factory together with permission of building a fortification in order to safeguard it. The unusual settlement had been the nucleus of the prevailing Fort St. George.
Fort of St. George_1
Fort St. George in 1820 by William Daniell

Group of buildings had been constructed within the Fort at various stages for different purposes with the growing needs of the East India Company. The building which presently houses the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu is said to be the centre of Fort St. George and the Fort is the fulcrum wherein the metropolitan city of Madras is now known as Chennai that has developed to a great extent within the past three and a half centuries.

Fort St. George Completed by St. George Day – 23rd April 1640

The foundation of the city was laid back by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, two traders of East India Company in July/August 1639. The most important section of it was possibly completed by the St. George Day which was on the 23rd April 1640 and so was named as Fort St. George. The other significant construction was the St. Mary’s Church in 1680 which was the first Anglican Church in the country.
Fort of St. George_2
A view from the King's barracks, Fort St. George in 1807

Towards the beginning, the Fort is said to be a simple plan and at the centre there was the Governor’s house or the Castle. There had been an outer fortification. The English families had settled in the area between the castle and the outer fortification and the settlement flourished with native weavers, painters together with other workers of cloth the grew up to the north of the external ramparts.

The settlement eventually was named `Chennapatnam’ according to the wishes of the Nayaka who preferred to name the settlement after his father Chennappa Nayaka.
Fort of St. George_3
Fort Square, from the south side of the Fort St. George in 1807

Fort St. George Developed as Trade Flourished

The first Fort House of the British was a large grey construction having various block columns placed in the centre of the enclosure on the east which functioned as a trading warehouse in the early part of the 17th century. Against the wishes of the East India Company, it is said that Fort St. George developed as the trade flourished.

 In 1693 the Fort House was finally pulled down when it indicated signs of collapse and was rebuilt further east which took around two years. Sections of the structure still tend to exist as the core of the current Secretariat building. With this structure, St. Mary’s Church established the title of the oldest building in Madras and the fort remained to be the commercial outpost with a restricted defense for more than a century till it was attacked in 1746 and seized by the French.
Fort of St. George_4
St. Mary's Church in 1841

Towards 1710, the Fort had been occupied with proper houses most of which organised in neat streets to the north and south of the main building. In a siege in 1746, the French had destroyed a section of the Black Town and in 1758, during the unsuccessful siege of the French for a second time; several of the buildings had been extensively damaged with most of them losing their higher floors.

Fort Turned from Square to Pentagon Shape

St. Mary’s Church was the only structure which had survived. Frantic renovation and new construction had been carried out for two decades. The Barracks of the King had been the largest of all, spreading beyond 10,000 sq. metres. The Fort seems to be what it is presently in 1783 and the three storeyed structures accommodated the residence of the Governor in the uppermost floor having rooms for the Council in the lower area.

A detached gallery of rooms was constructed in 1714 which enclosed the central building into what was called the Fort Square. The Exchange building now known as the Fort Museum was constructed in 1790 and the Fort was now independent. The walls during this phase were also strengthened and the western area was totally changed.
Fort of St. George_5

 In order to expand the western area, the course of the Flambore River had been averted by filling the riverbed and the fort had been turned from square into a pentagon shape. Thereafter a wet ditch or moat had been dug surrounding the main curtain wall and around each of the ravelins and lunettes.

No more additions were made till 1825, when wings seemed to appear on each side of the western area of the building overlooking the Parade Square at the back. A second floor over the wings and the magnificent Assembly Hall to the east with various black columns had been added in 1910 which enhanced its frontage. The lavishly decorated Assembly still continues to be operative effectively till date.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Herodotus and the Gold Digging Ants

Gold Digging Ants

Herodotus Homo Fabulator

Herodotus who is considered as the father of history has mentioned that gold digging ants were in the northern stretches of ancient India. We need to be aware that Ancient India had covered most part of present day Pakistan, before the separation of 1947. Presently Pakistan tends to cover the original India, the region of the Indus Valley, the Sindhu Desh, Sindh country or the land of the Sindhus.

Due to his story of ants together with other strange tales which are not verified during that time, several researchers as well as writers since ancient times, have accused Herodotus of stupidity and lying. Voltaire like Cicero recognized him as the father of history during the Age of Enlightenment. He thought that history was a block containing fables and legends and that it is ok if the writer seems to be a liar.

He has been assessed by Aulus Gellius in Attic Nights III, 10, as `Herodotus homo fabulator’ and has been found guilty for reciting that plea to the fantastical, ethnographical elements which tends to induce superhuman races as well as for geographical description which at that time were inexplicable.


Species of Fox-Sized Furry Ants

Herodotus has reported that a species of fox sized furry ants seemed to be living in one of the far eastern Indian provinces of the Persian Empire which according to him was a sandy desert where the sand there comprised of a wealth of fine gold dust. Michel Peissel, a French ethnologist asserts thatthe Himalayan marmot on the Deosai Plateu in Gilgit-Balistan province of Pakistan could have been the giant `ants’ according to Herodotus.

Herodotus’s description of the province was that the ground of the Deosai Plateau was rich in gold dust. The Minaro tribal people living in the Doesai Plateau had been interviewed by Peissel who had confirmed that they had for generations collected the gold dust which the marmots had brought to the surface while digging burrows. The story had been well-known in the ancient world and later on authors such as Pliny the Elder had revealed it in his gold mining segment of the Naturalis Historia.

Discovery of the Greek El Dorado in Himalayas

Peissel speculates in his book, The Ants’ Gold – The Discovery of the Greek El Dorado in the Himalayas that Herodotus could have tangled the old Persian word for `marmot’ with `mountain ants’ since he possibly was unaware of any Persian and relied on local translator while travelling in the Persian Empire. Herodotus has not claimed of having seen the gold-digging `ant’ creatures but had stated that he was just reporting what the other travellers had informed him.

Whether Herodotus had made the mistake or it could have been one of his sources, will never be known states Alex Hollman, a scholar of Herodotus at Harvard University. He further adds that if the discovery seems to be true, it tends to show that though Herodotus could have misunderstood the story and was not certainly making it up. Herodotus known as the father of history would collect stories from sources around the world which is believed to be first recited and then published, around 425 BC and the gold-digging ants’ legend is said to be one of the most famous one due to its outrageousness.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Shakuntala Railway - A Railway Ride into History

Picture Courtesy: Rogier Koops

Shakuntala Railway - Century Old Operational Train Line

India seemed to have a century old operational train line, till 2014 that had not been in possession of the Indian Government. Several of the people were of the opinion that the rail assets inclusive of trains and tracks were the possession of the Indian Railways. However there seems to be a railway network known as Shakuntala Railway which was retained by a private British company and till recently- 2014, it was said that each year the British company netted revenue of around 1 crore from this set apart rail network.

The said rail network built during the time of the British rule by a British company in 1903 is known as Killick, Nixon and Company – KNC, for transporting cotton from Vidharba – Maharashtra, to Bombay, to be shipped to Manchester. The British owned company received the royalty from the Indian Railways for running the passenger train – Shakuntala Express on its narrow gauge route which runs in the remote-cotton growing locations of Achalpur earlier known as Ellichpur, under the division of Amravati which is the birthplace of President Pratibha Patil.Set up in 1857, Killick, Nixon and Company had created the Central Provinces Railway Company to act as its agents.

Political Issue to be Kept Alive

Moreover, the company had also built narrow gauge line in 1903 in order to carry cotton from Yavatmal to the main line to Mumbai which was then shipped to Manchester in England. Built in 1921 in Manchester, a ZD-steam engine dragged the train for over 70 long years after it was put in service in 1923.On April 15, 1994, it had been withdrawn to be replaced by a diesel engine which tends to pull carriages presently.

Shakuntala Railway

In 1913, the ancestor of present day Indian Railway, The Great Indian Peninsula Railway had started utilising the tracks and trains of Shakuntala Railway to transport passengers and on using the assets of a private company, paid royalty to KNC. Unlike several of the rail lines which tend to be broad gauge line, Shankuntala railways tend to use a narrow gauge line, still. The main train in this network had been Shakuntala Express transporting passengers to Yavatmal to Murtijapur. It would cover around two dozen villages daily that had no connectivity of roads between them, which made the train life a benefit for hundreds of the villagers as well as a political issue to be kept alive.

Killick-Nixon – Agent for Own Group Company

In 1910, it was a period of private railroad companies when the British company floated the Central Province Railway Company, a joint venture with British Indian government in laying the railways tracks which could be utilised in transporting cotton from Vidarbha and eventually to Manchester in England. The tracks had the trains running by 1916 and shortly was utilised in transporting passengers also. The trains which were operated in Central Indian were run by Great Indian Peninsular Railway. This deal seems to continue even after the GIPR became Central Railway post-independence and in the entire process, Killick Nixon seemed to be the agent for its own group company.

Presently the track tends to fall under the Bhusawal division of Central Railway. But no one in the railways and Killick Nixon has the knowledge of why the track is not nationalized yet. An official has mentioned that ‘All the British companies were taken over like GIPR became Central Railway; East India Railway Company was made Eastern Railway and so on. But the erstwhile companies’ contract with private firms like CPRC seems to continue. We do not know what the decision makers thought at that time. Maybe nobody bothered since the affairs seems to be running smoothly then’.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

History Mystery: Black Hole Tragedy of India


Black Hole Tragedy – An Event of Indian History

The Black Hole that depicts the dark Tragedy is an event side of Indian History. Siraj ud-daulah, the Nawab of Bengal then had captured Fort William and Calcutta, on June 20, 1756, in which laid the main power of the British East India Company. After the fall of the fort, the British together with the Anglo-Indian prisoners of war had been pushed in small and stuffy dungeon at Fort William which is referred as the Black Hole of Calcutta.

 It was reported that around 146 people had been imprisoned. It was claimed by the British that the dungeon had a possible dimension of 24 x 18 feet which was not adequately spacious to accommodate so many of them who had been forcibly shoved into the congested place.

According to the British records, the next morning about 123 of the prisoners had succumbed to their contrary conditions which was mainly owing to suffocation, crushing and unbearable heat. One of the survivors, John Zephaniah Holwell had provided this statistical information, though some state that the total number of captives was not over 69 and Indian troops had taken the surviving defenders prisoner.

Image credit : Bong Blogger

Debate Regarding Precise Toll Still Continues….

Those among the prisoners were civilians and soldiers. Three other captives together with Holwell had been sent as prisoners to Murshidabad while the rest of the survivors had been released after the interference and following victory of Robert Clive. The debates regarding the precise toll tend to continue till date and the actual figures are not known. The Black Hole of Calcutta thereafter was utilised as a warehouse and a monument of 50 feet high had been set up in memory of the dead by Holwell but by 1822, it had vanished and presently there are no traces of the black hole.

Substantial history is there behind the capture of Fort William and the event of the Black Hole of Calcutta. The British had set up Fort William in order to safeguard the trade of the British East India Company, in the city of Calcutta in the region around Bengal. Towards 1756, in an attempt to colonize Bengal and steadily the rest of India as well as to be prepared for possible battles with the French forces, the British had started strengthening the military defense of Fort William.

Affected Internal Political/Military Affairs of Bengal

By doing so, they had affected the internal political as well as the military affairs of Bengal and the ruling Nawab of Bengal – Siraj ud-Daulah was unhappy with the excessive interference and envisaged it as a probable threat to the sovereignty of Bengal. He had ordered the British to end the on-going military action. However, the British did not seem to list to him.

In an attempt to curb the violence of British, the Nawab of Bengal had stormed the fort and killed several of them. The chief officer of the battalion planned an escape and a token force had been kept in the military fort, under the control of John Zephaniah Holwell who was a military surgeon and a top East India Company civil servant. The soldiers belonging to the allied troops who were mainly Dutch, in the meanwhile had abandoned the fight and the British eventually failed to resist the attack of the Nawab.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Why Nobel Prize was not Awarded Gandhi subsequently for 5 Times


Mahatma Gandhi Continues to be Strongest Models of Peace/Non-Violence

Over 60 years after his death, the leader of India’s independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi still continues to be one of the strongest models of peace and non-violence all over the world. Yet the query remains answered as to why he was not granted the world’s greatest honour for peace inspite of being nominated five times as well as shortlisted thrice for the Nobel Prize?

The issue had come up when Kailash Satyarthi, children’s rights activists of India, had been awarded the prize jointly with Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai. Norwegian historian and Nobel Peace Prize expert, Oivind Stenersen, had informed The Wall Street Journal that awarding Mr. Satyarthi the peace prize had been a smart move by the committee.

He commented that it always had a guilty conscience since Gandhi did not get the prize and that they knew that the committee had been looking for an Indian for quite some time. The selection committee had provided a host of reasons on the official website of the Nobel Peace Prize on why Mr Gandhi had never received the popular prize.

In 1937, during Mr Gandhi’s first nomination, the adviser of the selection committee, Jacob Worm-Muller had been critical about him stating that according to the Nobel Foundation, `he was undoubtedly a good, noble and ascetic person, a prominent man who is deservedly honoured and loved by the masses of India’.


Several Critics in International Peace Movement

Mr Worm-Muller, at the same time had written that ‘there were sharp turns in his policies that could hardly be satisfactorily explained by his followers. He is a freedom fighter and a dictator, an idealist and a nationalist; He is frequently a Christ, but then, suddenly an ordinary politician’.

He added that Mr Gandhi had several critics in the international peace movement and was not consistently pacifist and should have known that some of his non-violent campaigns towards the British could degenerate into terror and violence.

He also believed and had mentioned in his report to the selection committee, that Mr Gandhi was too much of an Indian nationalist and one could say that it is significant that his well-known struggle in South Africa was for the sake of the Indian only and not of the blacks whose conditions of living was even worse.

Mr Gandhi – First & Foremost a Patriot

One of the committees was also of the opinion that Mr Gandhi had not been a `real politician or supporter of international law, nor a humanitarian relief worker or an organizer of international peace congresses. Mr Gandhi had been nominated for the award again in 1938 and 1939, though was shortlisted a second time only in 1947 when the Nobel Peace Committee Advisor Jens Arup Seip had been less critical of Mr Gandhi than Mr Worm-Muller.

Selection committee chairman, Gunnar Jahn had mentioned in his diary that `while it is true that Gandhi is the greatest personality among the nominees, plenty of good things can be said about him, we should remember that he is not only an apostle for peace, he is first and foremost a patriot.

 Moreover, we have to bear in mindthat Gandhi is not naïve. He is an excellent jurist and a lawyer’. In 1948, Mr Gandhi had been shortlisted for the third time just days prior to his assassination which had prompted the selectors to think whether the awards could be given subsequently.

Monday, November 23, 2015



Yakshi – Female Earth Spirit - Symbol of Fertility

Yakshi is female earth spirits which is considered as a symbol of fertility by the Hindu, Jain and the Buddhist faith and are portrayed as wide-hipped voluptuous women with narrow waists, broad shoulders who caused a tree to bear fruit by simply touching it with her foot.

Here the figure is depicted smartly unified in the form of a column, the centre of which takes the shape of a leafy tree. The yakshi is generally depicted with her upper hands holding a branch of the tree with a graceful pose which is a traditional gesture in sculptures of yakshi. The ashoka tree is closely linked with the Yakshini mythological beings.

Yakshi with her foot on the trunk and her hands holding the branch of anartificial flowering askoka or less often other tree with flowers of fruits, is one of the frequent elements in India art that is found at the gates of Buddhist as well as Hindu temples.The sculptures of yakshi are generally perceived in intricate architectural motifs on the porticoes of temples as well as stupas.

These types of figures recognized often as mother-goddesses date back to the Indus Valley civilization which is the earliest known Indian urban culture.

Female Counterpart of Male Yaksha

Yakshi or Yakshini or Yakkhini are mythical beings and the female counterpart of the male Yaksha who are attendees of Kubera, the Hindu god of wealth. He rules in the mythical Himalayan kingdom of Alaka. They are considered to be guardians of the treasure that is hidden in the earth, resembling fairy.

 Thirty six Yakshinis, in Uddamareshvara Tantra, are described which include their mantras as well as ritual prescriptions. In early Buddhist monuments, Yakshis were considered important as decorative element and are found in several ancient Buddhist archaeological locations.

One will find an identical list of Yakshas and Yakshinis in the Tantraraja Tantra which states that these beings are givers of whatever is preferred.

 Though Yakshinis are generally generous, there are other yakshinis with spiteful characteristics in Indian folklore. In pre-Aryan days, the folk goddesses were protective deities in Indian religions and yakshis were worshipped by the rural folks with the expectations of boon or protection from evil.

Main Indian religions of later day considered these goddesses to attract the rural folks, making them accept these religions without reservation. Importance to yakshis in Jainism is seen from the fact, that there is a yakshi of each of the 24 tirthankaras and is the tirthankaras of the guardian deities.

Yakshis Have Special Place in Art History of India

Five out of these 24 yakshis, are celebrated in sculptures, terracotta figurines and bronzes, the popular ones are Ambica, the yakshi of Neminatha, the 22nd tirthankara. The others are the Jwalamalini, Padmavathy, Siddhakkiya and Chakreswari, the protecting goddesses of Parsvanatha, Mahaveera, Chandraprabha and Adinatha, respectively, the 23rd and 24th - the last, the eighth and the first tirthankaras.

Yakshis have now become folk deities again due to the decline of Jainism. Retired senior epigraphist, V, Vedachalam, of Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department who has done perceptive research on the origin and the growth of the yakshi cult has commented that `yakshis have a special place in the art history of India’.

From the fourth century B.C. during the time of the Mauryas, the Kushanas – second century B.C. and the Guptas – fourth century A.D. right to the 13th century A.D. yakshi has been celebrated in hundreds of standalone sculptures, terracotta figurines, bas-beliefs and stunning bronzes. Nonetheless, yakshis worship was recognized in a regular manner from the Gupta era. In Tamil Nadu one will find separate shrines for them dating from the 12th century.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Harem of the Mughals


The Mughal Harem – Sphere of Women, Men Prohibited

The Mughal Harem had been the harem of Mughal emperors of South Asia and the term was initiated with the Near East which meant a `forbidden place, sacrosanct, sanctum and was etymologically linked to the Arabic harim – a sacred inviolable place, female members of the family and forbidden, sacred. It meant the sphere of women which is generally a polygynous household and their set apart quarters were prohibited to men. Harems comprised of wives, female relatives, concubines and male infants.

Harems were not only a place where the women folklived; there were babies as well as children who grew up there. Within the confines of the harem, there were bazaars, markets, laundries, kitchens, school, playgrounds and baths. The harem had a hierarchy and its chief authorities were the wives and female relatives of the emperor and after them were the concubines and scullery slaves.

The mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers, aunts, step-sisters, sisters, daughters and the other female relatives also lived in the harem. The confines of this absolute city of women was so large that the lowest of these slave never lay eyes on the emperor Besides these, there were the ladies-in-waiting, maids, servants, cooks, women official and guards.

Guarded by Three Lines of Defence

The harem of the Mughal Empire is said to be guarded by three lines of defence, namely the trained Tatar and Uzbek women deadly with spears and bows and then the eunuchs who maintained discipline in the harem. Some of the eunuchs had been recruited as children locally or received as gifts from Ottoman and North African kings.

Several of the women in the Mughal Harem were the native girls from South Asia. Most of the local rulers belonging to vassal states had sent their daughters to the Mughal Harem to strengthen political relations with the Mughal Empire. Central Asian, Afghani and Persian girls were preferred by the Mughals who were the chief wives and concubine while the Persian girls included Georgian and Armenian girls who had been part of Persian Safavid dynasty.

The lives of the harem ladies were administered by strict rules of purdah and the ladies generally did not have the freedom of moving out of the harem as they desired. If they would go out, their face had to be covered behind a veil.

Lived in Great Comfort/Luxury/Materialist Pleasure

However, within the harem they could move around as they pleased. Moreover they were also provided with different kinds of luxuries and comfort and they life in the harem was full of fun and laughter. The image portrayed by foreigners like Bernier and Manucci who had the opportunity of accessing the harem as physicians showed that they lived in great comfort, luxury with materialistic pleasure.

 The ladies resided in grand apartments which were luxuriously furnished together with beautiful gardens, fountains, tanks and water channels attached. They were attired in expensive clothing made from the finest material, adorning themselves with jewellery from head to toe.

 They seldom went out and when they did go out, most of the high ranked ladies travelled in style and comfort in richly decorated howdahs on elephant backs and palanquins. Their daily requirements of the emperor as well as his harem inmates were satisfied by the royal departments

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The slumdog Princess: Descendant of India's Last Emperor


Descendants of India’s Last Emperor – Confined to Life in a Slum (Kolkata)

The descendant of India’s last emperor would have lived in luxurious palaces when they ruled over a huge and wealthy kingdom. However the lifestyle of Sultana Begum is far from the luxuries enjoyed by the rulers during the Mughal times.

It is said that Sultana Begum has been confined to a life in a slum which is on the outskirts of Kolkata and the 60 year old is the great grand daughter-in-law of the last emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar. She had to face difficulties to make ends meet on her basic pension inspite of her royal heritage. Since the death of her husband Prince in 1980, Mirza Bedar Bukht has been leading a life of poverty.

 This Mughal heiress has been compelled to reside in a miniature two-room hut in Howrah which is a slum area in Kolkata and shares a kitchen with her neighbour, washing in the street, utilising the water coming from public taps. Inspite of the fact that she is related to the 19th century royal family, she goes about her daily life on the pension of just about £60 each month. She has informed that her other daughters and husbands being poor are unable to help them.

Contributed to Architectural Legacy to Indian

The £60, according to Indian currency amounts to 6,000, by way of pension covers the expenses for herself, her six children, five daughters and a son. Her predicament, in recent years has been emphasized by several campaigners who had pushed authorities in providing more care for India’s royal descendants, most of which were left in the lurch after the British rule had ended the Mughal dynasty.

 Sultana has descended from the Mughal dynasty which had contributed to a great extent the architectural legacy to the Indian sub-continent from the 16th, 17th and the 18th centuries. The Taj Mahal is one such example of some of the finest monuments built by the Muslim emperors, though the Mughals had also built the Red Fort, the Agra Fort and the Lahore Shalimar Gardens most of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

It is said that Sultana had spent years, appealing to the central and state government for help for basic living provision and a pension but till date the government has only provided her grand-daughter Roshan Ara with a job and a salary of £150.

1858 - Exiled to Rangoon

However, the other members of the household who seemed to be illiterate had failed the basic government test when they had been offered jobs. Sultana had spent several years running a tea stall before it was closed down and she then focused her attention in producing clothing for ladies. Sultana narrates that she is grateful to some who had come forward to support her.

Her husband, the late Muhammad Bedar Bakht, the son of Jamshid Bakht and the grandson of Jawan Bakht had informed her that they had come from respectable royal families who had never begged for a living. She stated that she had always asked governments to provide her with what her family deserves.

In 1837, the great grandfather of Sultana’s husband, Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar had been placed on the throne and was the last of the Mughal emperors who had ruled India for three centuries. Towards 1857, when the Indian soldiers had amalgamated and rebelled against their British master, Bahadur Shah Zafar was their commander-in-chief. In 1858, when the revolution was crushed by the British, he was exiled to Rangoon, where he lived there for five years till his death at the age of 87.

He had been accompanied by his wife, Zeenat Mahal during his exile together with some of the remaining family members. He had died in exile on 7th November 1862 in Rangoon, presently Yangon, and the capital of Burma.

Mughal Empire – Dominant Power In Indian Subcontinent

He was buried at the site which was later known as Bahadur Shah Zafar Dargah. Towards 1991, in the event of a restoration work-out, the original brick-lined graved was identified and he was honoured as a saint by the Burmese Muslims natives. Zeenat Mahal, his wife who died in 1886 and the granddaughter Raunaq Zamani were also buried alongside his burial. Though several of the children and grandchildren of Bahadur Shah had been killed as a result of the failed Indian Rebellion in 1857, the descendants of his surviving children had lived in Detroit Michigan in the United States and in various areas of India and Pakistan. The Mughal Empire which originated in Persia was the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent in the mid-16th century and the early 18th century. It ruled at its highest point, for around a quarter of the population of the world. Under the Mughals, the Indian economy was prosperous due to the development of road system and a uniform currency as well as with the union of the country. Town and cities grew under the Mughals, though for most part, the military and political centres had not been dedicated to commerce or industry.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Real Truth behind Indian Independence Will Leave You Speechless


Facts – Indian Independence

We now live in a democratic and a free nation, credits of which goes out to several freedom fighters against the British. We can get some insight to the real hidden truths behind our independence and know the facts about `Indian Independence’, as well as after the independence issues that came up. We are aware that Jana Gana Mana our national anthem was written by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore actually composed to praise King George V. The song was sung on the day of the Indian National Congress convention, on December 27, 1911, at Calcutta which King George had also attended.

Jana Gana Mana had been chosen by Jawaharlal Nehru as the national anthem against Vande Mataram since Nehru was of the opinion that it would be easier to play the band. Vande Mataram which was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was first sang on a stage in 1896 at the Indian National Congress session which was 15 years prior to Rabindranath Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana debut on the very same stage. On the day of the nomination from India Congress committee for the position of Prime Minister, 12 out of 15 Congress committees had nominated Sardar Vallabhbai Patel against the wish of Congress and the remaining 3 committees were neutral and did not nominate any other name.

It was Mahatma Gandhi who sought for nominator of Nehru and informed him that no PCC had nominated his name with the exception of few CWC members. Nehru seemed to be disappointed and did not want to lose. It is said that Mahatma Gandhi then had requested Sardar Patel to withdraw his name from the nominations and Patel with due respect to Gandhi did so without wasting any time.

He thus made the way clear for the coronation of Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of India. According to Mahatma Gandhi, he believed that Nehru who was foreign educated with modern thoughts would be far more eligible than Patel. Moreover, he was also concerned that Nehru would have revolted for being denied as the Prime Minister and this could have given rise for the British with an excuse to deny transfer of power. Besides this he was assured of Sardar Patel’s loyalty and that he would never oppose him.

The transfer of power agreement 1947 had been signed between Nehru and Mountbatten for the Independence of India and it was mentioned that India would be a member of commonwealth dominion for about 99 years. No British law would be amenable or removable. Besides this, the Queen of UK would be head of state above president of India by rank and would not require Passport/Visa in order to enter India.

The ultimate decision of Independence from Dominion status would be decided only after or during the end of the tenure of 99 years of agreement. Due to this and several other such law agreements, many Prime Minister failed in performing independently to UK. The first unofficial Indian National flag was hoisted at Parsi Bagan Square – Greer Park, Calcutta on August 7, 1906 and was designed by Sachindra Prasad Bose. The flag had three horizontal strips, equal in orange, yellow and green in colour from top to bottom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mystery of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Missing Treasure


One of India’s Earliest Scandal Revealed

In the vaults of South Block, protected by Official Secrets Act, locked for more than half a century, one of India’s earliest scandals has been revealed. Hundreds of old documents which has created suspicions with regards to cash, gold as well as jewellery which were collected by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to finance his armed struggle for Independence are being drawn away.

One of the 37 secret `Netaji files’ in the Prime Minister’s Office – PMO and Ministry of External Affairs – MEA has dealings with the `INA Treasure’. Put together over the years, it deals with story of suspected rank greed and opportunism which overpowered Indian freedom fighters while they looted the treasury of the malformed Provisional Government of Azad Hind - PGAH.

The suspected loot had taken place immediately after the demise of Bose in a plane crash in 1945. However it is not about the missing Indian National Army – INA treasure worth several hundred crores of rupees but that the government of the day knew about it and had done nothing about it. It was revealed from the classified papers obtained by India Today that the Nehru government had ignored repeated warnings from three mission heads in Tokyo between 1947 and 1953.

Treasure Disposed of By Suspected Accomplices

An undersecretary and later foreign secretary, R.D. Sathe, in the MEA, had written a blunt warning to the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who was also the foreign minister in 1951, that bulk of the treasure, namely gold ornaments as well as precious stones were left behind by Bose in Saigon, presently Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Sathe concluded that this treasure had already been disposed of by the suspected accomplices. All warnings seemed to be ignored and no inquiry was ever made. Moreover, one of the former INA men, whom the diplomats suspected of fraud, was rewarded with a government sinecure.

These explosive revelations are included in 37 odd files that the PMO has refrained from declassifying for over a decade. The government line that no public interest was served by declassification now strains trust. The declassified papers in the National Archives indicate that the Nehru government began snooping on the Bose family which lasted for two decades from 1947 to 1968

April 1945 – Netaji Withdrew to Bangkok with all Treasury

Indian residents of Rangoon, the capital of Japanese, occupied Burma, had held a grand week long ceremony on January 29, 1945. It was the 48th birthday of Netaji, the head of the provisional government of the Azad Hind.

It was said that Netaji was weighted against gold, something which was disliked by him. Hugh Toye notes in his biography -The Springing Tiger, The Indian National Army and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The same week, donations worth over Rs 2 crore was collected which included over 80 kg of gold and Netaji had raised the biggest war chest by any Indian leader during the 20th century.

However by 1945, this was to no avail since the Japanese army together with the INA had crumpled due to increasing Allied thrust in Burma. On April 24, 1945, Netaji withdrew to Bangkok carrying all the treasury of the provisional government with him.

There have been conflicting accounts on how much gold had been taken by him. Chairman of the Azad Hind Bank, Dinanath when interrogated by British intelligence immediately after the war, had stated that Netaji had left with 63.5 kg of gold.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How Did India Pakistan Border Come To Be....

The Radcliffe Line had been declared as the boundary between India and Pakistan on August 17th 1947 which followed the Partition of India where the line is named after Sir Cyril Radcliffe. It was he who had commissioned to divide equally 4,50,000 km sq. of territory with 88 million people. The reason in creating the Radcliffe Line was to develop a boundary which would divide India together with religious demographics under the Muslim majority provinces that would become part of the new nation of Pakistan and Hindu and Sikh majority provinces would then remain in India.

The Indian Independence Act 1947 which came into force of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, on July 15th 1947, specified that India would be free from the British rule on 15th August 1947 precisely a month thereafter. Besides this, the act also agreed on the Partition of the provinces of British India into two new nations of the Union of India as well as the Dominion of Pakistan, which would be divided further into Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Pakistan was planned to be the homeland for Indian Muslims, while India with a Hindu majority was intended to be a secular nation.

The Radcliffe Line – Border between India/Pakistan

Partition – Basis of Religious Demographics 

Forty percent of India, prior to Partition, was covered by princely states that were not of British possession and was not part of British India. As a result, the British were unable to provide them independence, or partition them and the rulers belonging to these states were totally independent and could choose which of the two nation they would want to join or even remain independent.

All the rulers, however, decided to join India or Pakistan with the exception of only a small number who did not do so. The Partition of India which was done on the basis of religious demographics, the Muslim majority regions towards the north of India were to become part of Pakistan while Baluchistan and Sindh having a clear Muslim majority, automatically became part of Pakistan.

However, the challenge lay in the two provinces of Punjab with 55.7% Muslims and Bengal with 54.4% Muslims, which did not have any overpowering majority. The Western part of Punjab ultimately became part of West Pakistan while the Eastern part became part of India – Eastern Punjab was thereafter divided into three other Indian states.

Difficult to Draw Line

Bengal state was also partitioned into East Bengal that became part of Pakistan while West Bengal remained in India. After gaining independence, the North West Frontier Province which is situated near Afghanistan voted with intentions to join Pakistan.

However since the population of Punjab seemed to be scattered, it became difficult to draw a line which would divide the Hindus, Muslims and Sikh and hence no line drawn was preferred by the Muslim League which was headed by Jinnah, or the Congress headed by Nehru and Sardar Patel.

Therefore it was decided that a well-drawn line which would reduce the separation of farmers from their field while at the same time would minimize the number of people who would have to relocate, thus reducing the feeling of separation which comes up in a new surroundings.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Hidden Truths behind Jana Gana Mana Our National Anthem

Jana Gana Mana – Bore Several Controversies

Approximately 100 years since the Indian national anthem - `Jana Gana Mana’, was first sung in Calcutta, it then became India’s national anthem which bore several controversies. The national anthem has explored Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana and its vision of Indian universality. This national anthem has seen millions standing with reverence and attention, each time it is played.

However, there are critics who consider that the song is deferential to the British monarch, while others find that it fails to reflect totally on races and regions. However, 100 years after Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, had written and performed the song on December 27, 1911, at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress, this anthem has managed to maintain its grip on the Indian people as well as political imagination.

Jana Gana Mana was written by Rabindranath Tagore in honour of King George V and the Queen of England when they had visited India in the year 1911 and to honour their visit, Pandit Motilal Nehru included five stanzas which are in praise of the King and the Queen, where most are of the belief that it is the praise of our motherland.

Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea Not Included

According to the original Bengali verses, the provinces which were only under the British rule such as Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, and Maratha were mentioned and none of the princely states that were important parts of India now like Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra, Mysore and Kerala were ever acknowledged.

 Besides this, neither the Indian Ocean nor the Arabian Sea was ever included since they were under the Portuguese rule during that time. Jana Gana Mana indicates that King George V is the lord of the masses and Bharata Bhagya Vidhata or the bestower of good fortune’. Kumar Deepak Das is of the opinion that Tagore had incorporated British ruled regions of India in the Jana Gana Mana when most of the north eastern region was beyond the British authority.

He states that “there are insurgency and secessionist movement in the north-east. People there often feel neglected. If the Indian government agrees to modify the national anthem, such measures can resolve the feeling of alienation”. It was selected in 1950, as the national anthem of Indian after much debate that overruled Bamkim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s famous Bengali song `Vande Mataram’ in the face of Muslim opposition.

Petition Filed in 2005 in Supreme Court 

Towards 2005, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court with a demand in the inclusion of the word Kashmir in the national anthem and the deletion of Sindh which became a section of Pakistan after Partition.

Jana Gana Mana written in Bengali Sanskrit by Tagore remains to stimulate a spirit of regional as well as racial identity became superficial after India’s Sindhi community together opposed the deletion and claimed that the word Sindh is to be representative of the community. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the community and against the petition and indicated that a national anthem was a `hymn or song expressing patriotic sentiments or feelings and not a chronicle that defines the territory of the nation.

 Jana Gana Mana faced plenty of controversy from the day of its first delivery in 1911 at Calcutta during the Congress session. It is said that King George was scheduled to reach the city on 30 December and a part of the Anglo-Indian English press in Calcutta believed and reported that Tagore’s anthem was homage to the emperor. The poet refuted the claim in 1939 in a written letter stating that he should only insult himself if he cared to answer those who considered him capable of such unbounded stupidity.

Evokes a Feeling of Patriotism

However, whatever would be the story, singing the National Anthem does evoke a feeling of patriotism and connects one to their motherland, letting them to understand its meaning. If it had been written for the King and the same should not be the Indian National Anthem, then we can find several things in the form of monuments in the country that were built by British or Muslim invaders which has made us proud of these monuments.

The most noticeable shopping place in present time in Delhi is the Connaught Place which was named after the Duke of Connaught. It was the central business district and masterpiece of Lutyens Delhi. Then is the Parliament House in Delhi, with India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Teen Murti, Gateway of India and much more to inform us of British in India which are a section of praiseworthy areas of India. Official report of the Congress session wherein Jana Gana Mana had been submitted as a patriotic song together with the reports of various other newspapers also faced the same criticism of the identifications of the patriotic song.

There are other leaders who were supportive of Tagore and Jana Gana Mana like Mahatma Gandhi who considered the song to have found a place in the national life, while the first Prime Minister of India; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru noted that it was `a great national song, since it was a constant reminder to all people about Rabindranath Tagore.

Monday, June 1, 2015

9 Facts About Draupadi Which You Don't Know – Part I

Draupadi – Tritagonist in Hindu Epic – Mahabharata 

Draupadi has been described as the Tritagonist in Hindu epic – Mahabharata. As per the epic she is considered as the `fire born’ daughter of Drupada, King of Panchala.In the Mahabharata, she has been described as the most beautiful woman of her time with eyes like lotus petals and flawless features with a combination of youth and intelligence.

Being of slender waist and perfect features, her body radiated a fragrance like the blue lotus for two full miles taking the breath away of those around her. She was the mysterious, fiery though compassionate queen of the five Pandava brothers and also the main reason behind the great Mahabharata war. The unknown fact is that Draupadi symbolises binding of the five chakras in human body and hence she is referred as Kula kundalini that exist in the spinal cord of the humans.

Other unknown facts are brought to light about the well-known Draupadi of epic times. Draupadi has also been referred as Panchali which means one from the kingdom of Panchala, Yajnaseni – meaning one born from a Yajna or fire-sacrifice, Mahabhaaratii – great wife of the five descendents of Bharata and Sairandhri –an expert maid, her assumed name at the time of her second exile where she worked at Virat kingdom’s queen Sudeshna’s hair stylist.

Fearless Women – Rare Culture of Ancient Times

There have been several stories about Draupadi asking for a husband having 14 qualities in her previous birth where Lord Shiva grants her a boon. Since no man owned all the qualities, she was informed that she would be the wife of five men who would collectively have all the qualities. She then asked for the blessing from Lord Shiva with a husband with five of the best qualities, a man could possess such as – dharma, archery skills, good looks, patience, strength etc.

Draupadi seemed to be fearless women, which was rare in the culture of ancient times who demanded justice directly from Dhritarashtra, the king of Hastinapur when she had been insulted. As Sairandhri, once again she demanded justice directly from king Virata for being insulted by his brother-in-law, Kichaka. She boldly condemned these kings for their failure in protecting women. Besides them, she also condemned great warriors like Bhishma, Drona, Kripacharya as well as her husbands for not saving her from the humiliation during the episode of Cheer-Haran.

Draupadi – Purpose of Destroying Kuru Household 

Drupada, her father had created her for the main purpose of destroying the Kuru household which patronized Drona who used his students like the Pandavas and the Kauravas in conquering and dividing the Panchala. Draupadi was hence born an adult with no appreciation of childhood or parenting and she had been raised in hatred with the purpose of destroying a family.

 A popular belief in south India is that she was also an incarnation of Maha Kali, born in assisting Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, the brother of Goddess Parvati, to destroy the arrogant Kings of India. Hence they were considered brother and sister though Draupadi was born from fire.

She had no trust in her five husbands and had reasons in doubting them since they did not kill Jayadhrata, the husband of her sister-in-law who had dragged her out of her house onto his chariot with the determination of making her his mistress. They hesitated to kill Kichaka fearing of being exposed of their identities when he abuses her during their final year of their exile.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lost city of Dwaraka Where Sri Krishna Lived

Dwaraka City – Archaeological finding of underwater structures

Dwaraka is a city as well as a municipality of Devbhoomi Dwaraka district in Gujarat state of India and is one of the foremost Chardham four sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites. It is also one of the Sapta Puri, seven most ancient religious sites in the country.

This city is mostly identified with the Dwaraka Kingdom which was the ancient kingdom of Krishna and is believed to be the first capital of Gujarat. The lost city of Dwaraka is evidence that plasma mythology as well as electric universe catastrophe took place with further evidence that the ancient stories of awe and shock in the skies and solar systems were based on true incidents.

Archaeological discoveries have led to findings of underwater stone structures which indicated settlement during proto historic period with evidence of stone block with Gujarati script. The stone that are dressed showed that dowels had been used and on close examination of anchors that were found on the site, indicate that the harbour site dates to historical times along with the underwater structure being of late medieval period. The cause of the destruction of the ancient port could be the coastal erosion which probably took place during that time.

Dwaraka – State where Sri Krishna Lived 

Dwaraka, according to Vishnu Purana, got submerged by the sea after the death of Lord Krishna and was regarded as a great metaphor and a part of a story which was accompanied with great myths.

 Towards early eighties, an important archaeological site was discovered at Dwaraka, in India which was the legendary site of Lord Krishna. Recent discovery has led to believe that the whole coast of western India sank by about 40 feet around 1500 BC.

The earliest historical record of the lost city dates back 574 AD and occurred in the Palitana Plates of Samanta Simhaditya while the inscription is referred to Dwaraka being the capital of the western coast of Saurashtra, the important state in which Sri Krishna lived.

Archaeological Discoveries by Dr. Rao 

Recent archaeological discoveries by the pioneering team which was led by Dr. S. R, Rao, are the structures found under the sea bed off the coast of Dwaraka in Gujarat.

Dr. Rao, one of India’s respected archaeologists and an emeritus scientist at the marine archaeology unit of the National Institute of Oceanography, had excavated a large number of Harappan sites inclusive of the port city of Lothal in Gujarat.

The archaeological site discovered underwater at the Bay of Combat near Dwaraka dates back to 7500 BC and the oldest sites of ancient civilization.

The excavation done by Dr. S. R, Rao at Dwaraka site indicate that the descriptions that are found in the texts are not to be regarded as fanciful but to be treated as true events as seen by the authors.

The architecture of the old Dwaraka city of Shri Krishna is also considered to be majestic and amazing and this wonderful discovery has perplexed all those who had been speculating over the years that Vedas and Puranas were products of imagination and not just mythical stories.

Dwarkadhish Temple/Island of Bet Dwaraka

From all the temples at Dwaraka, which have been dedicated to Lord Krishna, two are of importance here, the first being the majestic and huge Dwarkadhish Temple also known as Jagatmandir and its sanctum also known as Nijmandira which has a shikhara of its own.

 It belongs to the 12th-13th century AD while the grand edifice inclusive of the five storeyed mahamadapa stands on 72 carved pillars belongs to the 15th century AD. The second is the `island of Bet Dwaraka’, which is said to be the pleasure resort of Krishna where his consorts Satyabhama and Jambavati seemed to have resided here.

Besides this, the island is also known as Sankhodhar or Sankoddhara due to the large quantity of conch shell found in this place. There is also a story behind this in the Padma Purana, where Sankodhara made attempts to steal or destroy the Vedas wherein Vishnu intending to kill him took the form of a fish. The Gargya Samhita on the other hand has a different version regarding Sankhodhara.

 Dwaraka earlier, according to mythology, had been known as Kushasthali which had been abandoned by King Revata after the town had been attacked repeatedly and when Revata returned he had found Kushasthali who had settled by the Yadava in what is known as Dwaraka. King Revata later on married his daughter to Balarama.

Mythology and History 

Mythology and history are intertwined so deeply in Hindi epics such as the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Ramayana that it tends to get difficult in identifying fact from fiction. Mahabharata is called history or itihaasa and while most scholars tend to agree that the incidents related in the Mahabharata or the Ramayana are based on historical or factual, there is a lot of speculation over the extend of the details and additions that could have taken place over the years.

For instance, Mahabharata relates that a billion people had died in the war at Kurukshetra, which could be an exaggeration on the number which conveys the huge loss of lifethat occurred within the eighteen days of battle at Kurukshetra while on the other hands, scholars are speculating that the modern day towns and places like Kurukshetra, Indraprastha, Mathura etc. seem to be the same as those mentioned in Mahabharata.

The city of Dwaraka which was founded by Shri Krishna and whose destruction he foresaw remained submerged for many years. Krishna was responsible in influencing the course and evolution of Hinduism more than Rama and it is natural to expect sociologist, archaeologist and historian together with religious scholars to take deep interest in this town and its history.

Underwater Cultural Heritages Needs Protection 

Recently more than two hundred experts from around eighty four countries had gathered under the aegis of UNESCO in Paris and examined a draft convention on the submerged city and unanimously agreed that the underwater cultural heritages needed protection from destruction as well as pillaging in Dwaraka. Krishna had built a mighty empire on a site which was selected for him by Vishnu’s learned `vahan’, Garud where the city he built was supposed to have extended over 104 kms.

The city was surrounded by a moat and well-fortified, spanned by bridges which were removed when attacked by enemies. Archaeological excavations have discovered artifacts which indicate that modern Dwaraka is the sixth settlement on this site while the earlier cities at various times had been washed by the sea.