“Every record had been destroyed or falsified, every book re-written, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…..Nothing exists excepts an endless present in which the Party is always right.” – George Orwell, 1984.
|Ancient Geography of India: Sir Alexander Cunningham, 1870|
The history of India has been manipulated and sullied similarly. So much so that even as Indians, we have forgotten our proud History as Indians and what we do remember is so full of remorse, so dense with defeat that instead of pride in being the descendants of one of longest-living, continuous train of civilization in the world, in spite of centuries of ruthless oppression, still surviving with a named identity, we are ashamed, embarrassed and confused. We are educated on propagandist history, which tells little and judges more, leaving us muddled, embarrassed and often fractured. There are earlier books written in the beginning of British rule, which were little apolitical and more factual. It is a pity that those books and those great writings are not even referred to in our history books and rather a leftist agend-driven history is what which is available to us. I am not a historian, I am rather a reader of History and write with a renewed pride in our national history.
The Making of Hindustan:
The story begins from the time when the super-continent called Gondwana which broke up some 10 Million years ago as the Indian plate moved and upwards, hitting the Asian continent, giving rise to the most prominent geographical feature which will eventually form the boundaries of the oldest civilization of Humanity- the Himalayas. The lands south of Gangetic plane has huge resemblance to the other lands which came from the same Super-Continent, namely Africa, Australia and Antarctica, in terms of rock formations, flora and fauna. The land which makes the Himalayas has the features of underwater earth and these two facts placed together comprehensively supports this theory. Once the break-away land mass hit the Asian Continent, pushing the underwater land upwards, giving rise to the Glorious Himalayas, it became fairly stable, with huge tracts of arable lands, blessed with gorgeous rivers and glorious rains. This land was later to become Bhaarat, India and Hindustan.
There is a prominent theory of Aryan invasion which we have been reading in our books. How words can change the nature of facts is amply demonstrated in the way this theory of Aryan invasion has been presented in the British and post-British era. This theory has been used for two purposes, One, to justify the cruel Islamic and European invasions in the later days; secondly, to create a wedge between the Southern and Northern Indians in the name of Aryan and Dravidian theory.
There is a truth in the fact that Aryans came to India from foreign lands, and Harappans had their established base by then in the Indus valley. It would however be unfair to call the movement of Aryans into India as invasion. It was rather migration. Aryans came into the peninsula from Central Asia Steppes, North of Caspian Sea. However, they did not arrive as an invading army of a powerful monarch on empire-building spree. We are talking of the period around 1700-1500 BC. That was a time when Human beings were emerging out of the forests and discovering their supposed superiority from other animals, walking on two limbs with remaining two free for fighting, defending, loving and creating; a mind which could eventually produce language; and an intellect which could tame fire. There are two things which stand out in Rig-Veda most prominently which very vividly paint the world we are talking about- Vach (Speech) and Agni (Fire). The two things which held human beings steady in a hostile and tumultuous world was Speech and Fire. It separated humans from other animals, intellectually and protected them, physically from the hostile hunters much powerful than Man.
Writing was still not there with Aryans, a warrior nomadic race when they landed into the Indus-valley. So speech was important, and the way to carry the learning of one generation to another, was from voice to voice, repetition to remember.
These are the words, spoken somewhere between the fast drying up banks of Saraswati and the marshy edge of Gandak, as the Aryans moved in Gangetic planes, which still seem to keep thundering in the Indian minds of current generation (As the Indian race continues to program the computers and win Spelling-bees in the 21st century):
“Come again, lord of speech!
Together with Divine mind;
Lord of Good, make it stay,
In me, in myself be what is heard.” – Atharva Veda
A nomadic tribe, comes out of hostile forest and keeps itself safe by creating fire, in the dark and dangerous nights. There is a lot around them which they do not understand. They are moving from the physical to the spiritual. This individual journey has not change since those days of Indus-valley to this day of Maslow’s hierarchy. We have those who have walked before us to lighten up the path enveloped in darkness; much difficult was the time when there was no past, and the canvass was threateningly clean. The Aryans who split in two groups in Iran (Arianna) and one of them moved Eastward. The group of Aryans which stayed back in Arianna would eventually have Darius, The Great as a worthy descendant, an empire-builder who ruled over Egypt, Persia, Kandhara, and Sind, who would be described himself in 500 BC as
" I am Darius the Great King, King of the Kings...King in this Great Earth, far and wide, Son of Hystaspes, An Achaemenian, A Persian, An Aryan, Having Aryan lineage".
The group of Aryans which landed in the Indus started on its path of building a new, spiritual civilization, and began its spiritual quest that early. It began attempts to understand the world and the only mean to do this was a newly found faculty- Speech or Vach, while it kept floating from one foreign land to another, eventually reaching the Indus valley. We note this joy in discovery of language in Rig Veda.
“When men sent forth the earliest utterances of speech, giving name to things, then was disclosed a jewel, treasured within them, the most excellent and the Pure.” – Rig Veda (1500-1000BC)
While the structured writing came to Indians somewhere between 500 to 800 BC, some efforts of writing began as early as 2000 BC (Buddhist relics are mentioned to have inscriptions as early as 4000 BC by the Greeks). Brahmi was the earliest language we find.
The inhabitants of Harappa and Mohejo-Daro were the initial residents and primarily business communities. They were known to sell the produce even in as far lands as Sumer. This is found in Sumerian inscription (2000 BC) mentioning a city on the mouth of the river at the sea, resembling Mohenjo-Daro. They called it Meluhha. One of the key commodities which the Meluhhans sold to Sumerian was Cotton which was also called as Sindhu by them. It is easier to be carried away and get trapped in the treacherous interpretations calling the Aryan migration as some sort of large design to colonize the natives. Of course, there were wars. Of course, Aryans hated the Muluhhans and derided them as lowly Pani (Mercantile tribe) as against more war-like and ferocious Aryans. Still, we cannot and must not look at the events of 1700 BC with the eyes of 2100 AD. At least we must not judge them.
The lands were then sparingly populated. Most tribes in those times were migratory and nomadic. They did not move from one place to another with White Man’s burden on their soul. They did not have a base elsewhere and colony somewhere. They had no base, and they had no sense of roots. They survived nature by running away from hostilities. Escaping the harsh and arid central Asia, they found abundance of water and a welcoming weather in the Indus valley. Possibly for the first time, they found majestic rivers like Sindhu (Indus) and Saraswati and Huge rains. Awed and amused, Aryans would pray to Saraswati and write:
“When the streams of rains poured from clouds, the Sindhu onwards rushes, like a bellowing bull.” – Rig-Veda
They found cities for the first time in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, each with approximately 35000 People. The men of Indus, the Dravidians who were not warriors and were largely business people confounded them. They had no military leader, and Aryans found it strange. They were warring tribes and much earlier understood the concept of Military leadership, as they had appointed Indra as their leader. They were the people surviing through a sequence of never-ending strife, moving from one place to another. They also did not understand the wonderfully evolved civic structure of the Harappans. Harappans had complex systems for irrigating the farms, built dams and were agriculturists. They had temples, Public and Private Baths and structures of modern living. Nomadic Aryans were confounded by their stationary lives. There was immense symmetry in the Harrapan life (even the bricks were quite symmetrical – 30x15x7.5 cms). They prayed and worshiped phallic symbols and Pashupati (Indus people were earliest worshipped to Shiva). For agrarian Dravidians, it was quite understandable to pray to a God who as Pashupati (the Lord of the Animals) as cattle was required to support their urban life supported by agriculture. Harappans used Copper as Bronze and even fought with weapons made of these metals. These were of course, no match of Aryan weapons made up of Iron. Aryans also, having travelled long distance, had built excellent Chariots driven by Horses, a surprise thing to be used in the wars for the Indus-Valley people.
Aryans did not conquer the Harappans, as the later day invaders would; they simply ran over the cities they did not understand. Probably Harappa was Hariyappa mentioned in the Rig-Veda which was conquered by the Aryan Commander, Indra.
“At Hariyappa, he smote the vanguard of the Vcreivants, and the rearfield fled frightened.”- Rig-Veda.
Agni, the Fire, was the God which reduced to ashes all the opposition they faced as Dravidians (As the later Historians called the Indus-valley people) fled their city, destroyed and lost in flames. Aryans did not make them slaves, did not acquire those cities Dravidians left. They burnt down the cities, adopted the customs and rituals of Dravidians, and took to worshiping Linga (the Phallus Structure) as the sign of Shiv, as they moved on with their nomadic existence.
As we see, they did not come to tame or conquer or bring the souls of the natives to Salvation. They were innocent victims of their times who accidentally chanced upon India. The same people who overran the Dravidians, and celebrated “Indra running over a rich city with a Hundred gates, inhabited by the worshippers of Phallus” became in time Shiv-Worshippers as they settled down, calling him Mahadev, the greatest of all Gods. Their intent was not to convert and conquer. They were in search of home which they found in India. They found home in India just as centuries earlier Dravidians had, when the pre-Hellenic people from East-Mediterranean, known to Herodotus as Termilai, landed here as Dramila or Dramiza. In those early days of mankind, there was no concept of Native, as human race sprang out of one single woman in Africa some 150000 Years ago. While Dravidians were earlier entrants into India (2500 BC), Aryans were later entrants (1700 BC). The races merged, settling around the Gangetic planes (the place where the closes descendants of Indus Valley inhabitants could be traced around modern Bihar and Bengal). The rituals of Harappans, whom Aryans blamed earlier to be Workers of Magic, invoking Agni to burn them to ashes- found space in Aryan religious practices as they settled down into sedentary agrarian life in the rich lands of India.
A nation was already formed by the time when it was recognized by Megasthenese as a Rhombic shaped piece of magnificent land blessed with incomparable natural riches, in 400 BC and which will be called as Yin-Tu (Hindu) or Thian-Tu by the Chinese in 200 BC.
Even though vested interests might tell the story otherwise, disclaiming a historical geo-political identity of India or Hindustan, this is the land which was declared in Vishnu Purana (Around 1000 BC) as:
“The land that lies North of the Ocean, and south of the Snowy Mountains is Bhaarat, for there dwell the descendants of Bharat.”
There begins the history of India- That is Bhaarat, and which stretches from the Himalaya in the North to the Oceans in the South.
I shall Continue on this Story, having embarked on it.
1. Gem in the Lotus- The Seeding of Indian Civilization: Abraham Eraly
2. The Ancient Geography of India: Sir Alexander Cunningham, 1871
3. Vedic India:Zenaide A Ragozin, 1895