Afghanistan’s History

Afghanistan’s History

There are several perspectives on Afghanistan’s name. Afghanistan’s name might come from “Upa-Gana-stan”:

  • “Upa” with a choti “a” at the end or “उप” means near
  • “Gana” or “गण” I believe might be a reference to Shiva’s Ganas (gouls, ghosts, unusual looking beings . . . possibly a reference to non homo sapiens of some kind, some say aliens)
  • “Stan”, I don’t know. Is this “Sthaana” or “स्थान”? If so this might mean position or venue or station or field or throne

An extremely wise fellow contributor from Brown Pundit reminded me of two other ancient names used for Afghanistan:

  • Panini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī refers to Afghanistan as ash-va-kaa-na (अश्वकान​).
    • Please note that the Aṣṭādhyāyī  is much older than Patanjali who is considered millennia older than Krishna. Traditional scholarship of Aṣṭādhyāyī  places it more than 7 thousand BC, which is not to say that the Aṣṭādhyāyī  has not in any way been modified since then.
  • Pakrit name “a-va-gaa-nna” (अवगान्ना).

The oldest part of the Rig Veda samhita refers to:

The top hyperlinked article also alleges:

  • “The Pakthoons are descendants of the Paktha tribe mentioned in Vedic literature.”
  • “Archaeological excavations in this region conducted by Sir Estine (an East India Company official) led to the recovery of uncountable shrines and inscriptions. He has authored four books on that topic featuring photos of icons, icons and inscriptions discovered. The photos show a sun temple and a Ganesha statue too. An Islamabad University professor Abdul Rehman has authored two books on those finds recalling the glory and prosperity of those times.”
  • “Regimes of two Hindu rulers “Kusham” and “Kidara” lasted for fairly long periods. During their rule a number of Shiva temples were not only in Afghanistan but in other West Asian regions too. Uzbekistan and Takzikistan formed part of the Afghan kingdom in those times. Tashkent has one of those ancient Shiva temples standing even today.”
  • “Professor Abdul Rehman states that Bukhara region Was known as “Shah Vihar” in ancient times. It was ruled by an Hindu king. When Arabs invaded that kingdom its queen traveled to Kashmir to seek military help. Arab chronicles mention her as ‘Khatoon’, meaning ’Woman’.”
  • “An Ayurvedic practitioner of Varansi (alias Benares) had treated the Khalifa for some ailment afflicting the latter. In those days it was Hindu Ayurvedic practitioners who were eagerly sought by Arab patients. A number of Arabs had translated Sanskrit Ayurvedic texts into Arabic. A list of those translated Sanskrit texts appears in a Volume known as al “Frisht“.”
  • “Baku (capital of the Azerbaijan region) known for its underground petroleum yields has still an ancient Hindu temple of the Divine Flame generated by the subterranean petrol and gas). During the Czar regimes in Russia a Punjabi priest officiated at that temple. The walls display some religious stanzas written in Punjabi Gurumakhi script. The market there also had Hindu merchants. Nearby was a locality too of Hindu inhabitants. Baku in Azerbaijani language actually signifies a Goddess. Therefore obviously Baku derives its name from a very ancient Vedic Goddess temple there.”

 

Afghanistan is also central to the ancient Sharada civilization:

The Sharada civilization [Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, Kashmir] represents many things. One is the convergence of the six major Shaivite schools (not just Trika) within Uttara Mīmāmsā (Vedanta) and the four major Tibetan schools via the shared 84 Siddhas. Later large streams within Sufism joined this convergence [which might be the topic of a future researched article].

Legend of Rama: Antiquity of the Janmabhumi Debate argues that many places of great significance to the Ramayana and Puranic stories are in Afghanistan:

In the opinion of Wilson the renowned Vedic translator Kandahar is similar to the Rig Vedic word Gandhara. Wilson further observes,:

Ibn Haukil mentions that in his time there were remains of a considerable city more to the west, by the people of which, Zaranj was built. He calls this places Ramshhristan, a curious compound of Indian and Persian appellations.

There were ruins ‘at astonishing number’ in Herat, at Farrah, and Peshawarun–all sites near the province of Dranjiana connected with the Vedic dynasty of the Srinjayas [who were prominent during the 18 day Mahabharata war]. It therefore becomes all the more curious to hear the name of the place called Ramshehristan.

Panini, the eminent grammarian of Sanskrit, lived here in about 350 BC. [for the record I think Panini lived far earlier and before Patanjali] In his composition of the a sutra (4.3.93) on the Sindh and Takshasila class (gana-patha), he includes Sindhu, Varnu, Madhumat, Kamboja, Salwa, Kashmir, Gandhara, Kishkindhya, Urasa, Darada and Gandika. These are geographical names and lie in the trans-Indus regions. The place mentioned by Panini as Kishkindhya is today known as Kalat in Baluchistan. A great linguistic puzzle is that the local people call Brahuis speak in a Dravidian dialect.

Afghanistan was not the name of a country before 1747 AD. The lands lying to the est of the River Indus were called by different times as Kamboja, Bahlika, Madra, Aratta etc. in the north; as Sarayu (Horayu) in the north-west; as Sarasvati (Harahvati) in the south-east; as Gandhara in the center; as Zranjiana in the south-west and as Kishkindhya in the south.

. . .

They were of five streams or Pancajanas. Their leader was Visvamitra, who lived in Satudri-Vipasa valley (RV III.22.1). They fought against the Srinjayas under Vasistha in the famous battle of the ten kings.

Several waves of the new people, the Aryan races–Druhyus, Turvasus and Anus went westwards from these places. These groups are variously known in traditional literature as the Persians (Parsu), Medians (Madras), Parthians (Prithus), Hyksos (Yaksus), Mittanians and Helenes (Alinas) etc. They originally settled at a places known as Shortugai in Badakhshan in North Afghanistan. Old Sumerian texts as also the descriptions in the Baudhayana say that Aratta was Badakhshan, Balkh, or Bactria in Central Asia. From here, they exported lapis lazuli to the Sumer. The Sumerian epic, Enmerker and the Lord of Aratta describes this in detail. The epic, found in the clay tablets of Boghaz Keui is dated c. 1700 BC. In the Mahabharata, Karna derides the Madras and Arattans as being lowly people! [in conversation with Salya during the 17th day of the Kurukshetra war]

. . .

The name Srinjaya is similar to Zaranj and Sarangaei of the Iranians, old Persians and the Greeks. These were the names of the Iranian tribes who lived according to Herodotus in Zranjiana or Dranjiana, an area on the River Sarasvati or Horahvaiti in the Arochosia-Helmand region. Divodasa, greatest among the Rig Vedic kings, was a Srinjaya. He was born here.  . . .

Horahvaiti region i.e. the Helmand-Arachosia region of what is today western Afghanistan . . .

Heldebrandt, one of the earliest scholars on the Ramayana in the West, was of the view that Sarasvati was the river Arghandab (Horahvaiti of the Zend Avestaiver, ) in Arachosia of modern Afghanistan (then Iran). Brunhofer, another scholar of the epic, adopted the Iranian link. Zimmer was in favour of placing the Rig Vedic Sarasvati in this area. Recently, Burrow has held that the early Rig Vedic Sarasvati  was the River Horaxvaiti of Iran, and the River Sarayu was the Afghan, Horayu. Among the Indian scholars, Jaichandra Vidyalankar, after a detailed rumination, identifies Sarasvati as the Iranian Haraqvati . . .

The Ishvaku, the family Ram belonged to, and the Vasistha family were linked to a very early time of the Rig Veda, originally from the north and north-west region called Harirud of modern Afghanistan, on the bank of the River Horayu, mentioned in the Avesta. Only in the Rig Veda there is the name Sarayu. In the same way, still earlier, the family of Atris hailed from the banks of the River Rasa in the region of South Russia and North Afghanistan today. In a very early hymn in the Rig Veda (53.9), Sage Syavasva Atreya extols in glory a fleeting dolumn of the Maruts moving southward–the horse-borne storm troopers. In the course of their journey, they cross the rivers Rasa (Ranha or Oxus, in modern South Russia), Krumu (Kurran), Sindhu (Indus-between Pakistan and India today) and Sarayu (Horayu or Harirud)

My own interpretation is that the Vedas, Purana Itihasas, Ramayana and Mahabharata  refer to some places north of Afghanistan in Turan (perhaps Sudakshina‘s army in the Mahabharata came from Turan) and west of Afghanistan in Iran (some believe that Pahlava refers to Arjuna‘s, Abhimanyu‘s, Parakshit‘s and Janamajeya‘s and Ashwamedatta’s ancestral line). Some even claim that the temple of Baalbek in Lebanon

and temple of Delphi in Greece are very closely connected to Arya culture and temples in the east:

Hopefully future articles will be written about Turan, Iran and further west. Again, please read the top hyperlink in full.

Article updated.

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Author: AnAn

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137 thoughts on “Afghanistan’s History”

  1. AnAn,
    It is a gorgeous looking map of Indian sub-continent. Gandhara, Gandhari, Gandharvas, Gandharva Vidya for music and arts are associated with the area of Afghanistan in Indian classical writings. Is it possible the ‘Gana’ represents any of it? With regards.

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    1. hoipolloi, I don’t know. If what you are saying is correct, then Gana does not represent Shiva’s Ganas. Yours is a plausible explanation of Gana too. Gana can also refer to military units or gang or band. Did you see all the links?

      I don’t fully agree with every aspect of the map. I suspect Tushara (which is described as a great non Arya civilization that extensively traded and exchanged knowledge with Arya Varsha) might refer to China. But I don’t know that Tushara refers to China and would love to be corrected if I am wrong. [Tushara doesn’t refer to Tibetans, who are treated as a fellow Arya compatriots with different names.]

      Is Kalayavana–who with his army fought with Krishna–a reference to North Africa? Maybe Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Ethiopia, Somalia (these are the known advanced ancient civilizations of Africa)? I don’t know.

      I would be very curious to get Milan’s thoughtful feedback.

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      1. AnAn:
        You have focused on linguistics to place Afghanistan in Rig Vedic age, and this harkens back to “The Vedic People: Their History and Geography, Rajesh Kochhar. OrientLongman, Hyderabad, India. 2000″.

        Rajesh Kochhar uses linguistics, place names, rivers in placing the formation of Rig Veda in Southern Afgahanistan, which I understand is not your aim here. There is also discussion in Iranian university theses placing the Rig Veda and the era around puranas a little bit norther and western of present day southern afghanistan, in the place where Northern Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekstan come together, but it is unclear if they are talking about the split off Avestan religion, and the switch from ahura/deva from good/bad to bad/good. This is in line with what you are arguing here.

        Kochhar’s one weakness is the somewhat outdated concept of Aryan from west Asia, but otherwise I give him three reasons that he may be right:

        1. Lack of material evidence in India that can be associated with the Rigvedicpeople forms the foundation of section 6 of Kochhar’s book entitled
        Indo- Iranian Habitat. Roy’s monograph,
        ” Early Aryans of India:(3100–1400 BC), (Navrang, New Delhi, 1989),also had the same premise , namely, “although in archaeological parlance we have nothing in the material remains unearthed so far which could positively be associated with Aryan or the Vedic people’
        Even though Kochhar’s thesis begins with the identification of the Indo-Iranian habitat in Afghanistan in Section 6 by the identification of Vedic Soma with the Avestan Haoma,the crux of his arguments is to resolve the paradoxes between the archaeological evidences and the literary tradition. In the words of Kochhar: ‘There is no material culture in India that can be explicitly associated with the Rigvedic people. As forthe post-Rigvedic period of the Brahmanas and Sutras, there is unanimity in associating it with the Painted GreyWare (PGW). There is, however, nothing at the PGW sites that can be explicitly associated with the literary texts. In fact these sites come no-where near their picture painted by the epics. The Mahabharata’s
        Hastinapura is the famed capital of the Kurus. The archaeologist’s Hastinapur is a smallvillage where people lived in huts andbred cattle…’

        If you further read the works of Roy and Kochhar, there is more linguistic and religious connections to Southern Afghanistan, or even further northwest.

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  2. I did mention STAN in my previous comments. Recently was a global discussion in Guardian about its meaning but without much success. One version was that it came from Town >…> Stan. Earlier, I asked pundits about their understanding (especially for Baluchistan) but I haven’t received any response. Well, we have Afghanistan, Pakistan, Hindustan, Rajasthan, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, etc.
    It is almost obvious that it has a Sanskrit origin. As I said before, Sanskrit and modern Serbian have thousands of identical or almost identical words with only one or two letters of difference. The linguistic rule is that if two languages have 2000 words identical, there are two dialects of the same language.

    Well, STAN is a frequently used word in modern Serbian language. The meaning is – the place of leaving. For example, ‘gde STANujes?’ means, ‘where do you leave?’ It is used in the meaning of apartment/flat/unit. For example, commonly is used as: I live in 2-bedroom STAN, I am renting a STAN in Lahore, I bought a STAN facing the nice park, government builds 1000 STAN-s for public servants, etc. Sometimes it has the same meaning as House or Home but not always. Not every Stan is a home, you may have several STAN-s and you may or may not feel that it is your Home.
    There are hundreds of words derived from the STAN. For example, STAN-iste, means Habitat, i.e. it can be applicable not only for humans then for plants and animals, too.

    Ergo, the meaning of Afghanistan is – the place where Afghans (Hindu, Kurds, Kazakhs, etc.) live.
    What about Baluchistan? In my research I found many Serbian surnames (tribes) who came as parts of Aryan expedition to SA. One of them is specifically mentioned – Belići. Here, the letter Ć (pronounced as Italian Ciao or CappuCCino) is typical at the end of most Serbian surnames (e.g. Djokovic, Todorovic, etc). The meaning of Belici in English is Whites (Bel=White, Belgrade=White City).

    In sum, the meaning of Baluchistan is – the place where Belici (i.e. Baluchi) live. This meaning can be even traced in Wikipedia but, not straightforward, it must be done in 4-5 steps which I suggested in my previous comments.

    Again, I do not state that it is the only meaning. Because I did not want to say this earlier while I was waiting for any other opinion. But, considering that the global discussion in Guardian hasn’t produced any plausible explanation nor any other version exists, here is a good place to be mentioned. It will remain as the only explanation until the further notice from anyone. Thanks for your time.

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    1. PS. Just to follow hoipolloi on this map. I zoom-ed the map and could read the toponyms. I found couple familiar names. Earlier, I was searching and asking pundits to help me for a town in India which was named after the leader of first Aryan expedition. He started his expedition from (now) the second largest town in Serbia, Niš (pronouncing as Nish). I could not find it but following some references I came to ‘Cambridge History of India 5’ where I found that this name is Nysa or Nishadas (it seems there are many toponyms with this name), between Kophen(?) and Indus, at Meros mountains, Hindu Kush.

      There are mistakes in the History because they write based on falsified European history and use the Greeks’ terminology although they did not exist in history at that time and have no connections with Aryans. They also make mistake related to Alexander the Great because he was a Serb, not a Greek. Knowing for his Aryan predecessor, he visited this town, 1600 years after him, with some presents for Aryan descendants. The History also makes mistake writing about possibilities for the name Nysa as the Aryan’s leader’s nurse, or the place where he was born or his favourite hill. It is actually the place where he started his expedition.

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    2. PPS. My apologies for spelling mistakes. It should be – the PLACE of LIVING (not leaving).

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    3. “The linguistic rule is that if two languages have 2000 words identical, there are two dialects of the same language. ”

      No, it isn’t. And there are not 2000 words identical in form and meaning in Serbian and Sanskrit. I’m sure you can find 2000 words that look similar and mean something kind of similar, but if you allow even a little liberality in form and meaning, you can find 2000 “identical” words between almost any two languages on Earth – especially between two languages that are actually related, even if only distantly.

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      1. Apparently, you are not in good mood. May I suggest a glass of red before commenting?
        If the linguistic rule is not 2000 words than how many? It must be some number when you conclude that two languages are the dialects of the same language. I don’t know what are your background and your mother tongue, you may have different rules. Can you speak Serbian (and know Sanskrit), how do you know that these languages are not similar? I did not mention 2000 words for Serbian and Sanskrit (I personally know hundreds), some researchers state twice of this threshold but I’ve never mentioned this because I still haven’t read the whole their research. I haven’t made a comment for dummies and the underlining assumption is that words like computer, radio, Internet, liberalism, etc are not used. Only native words originated in this language are used and considering that Sanskrit has not new words there is no such problem. I am glad that you at least accepted my STAN elaboration.

        Just to remind everyone that English and German languages were formed 800 and 600 years ago, i.e. at least 3500 years after Sanskrit. What is their connection with Sanskrit? Finally, for your and benefits of people who are lagging or came late, there are again some (in English) words which are identical in modern Serbian language and Sanskrit:

        Garden, fire, laughing, love, inflame, crazy, town, force, spark, sweet, sword, hellebore, cross, dark, spook, bell, learn, skin, mare, espouse, strike, chimney, when, who are you, whoredom, grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, world, dog, mouth, guest, mane, breading, belvedere, alive, then, supreme, traveller, friend, to sit, dead, by itself, give, door, virgin, cold, jungle, cloths, hide, light, bracelet, fuck…

        There are many words which are almost identical. Let see something very specific. For example, almost identical, more complicated, but single words are for: husband’s mother, husband’s brother’s wife, wife’s sister’s husband, wife’s brother’s wife, husband’s sister’s husband, etc.

        Is this coincidence?

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        1. The linguistic rule is that the two dialects belong to the same language if they’re mutually intelligible. Spanish and Portuguese have probably >90% of their words in common, but are considered separate languages because they’re not mutually intelligible.

          You can do an easy test to see if Serbian and Sanskrit are dialects of the same language. There are many people alive today who’ve learned Sanskrit well enough to have a conversation in it. Find a Serbian friend who hasn’t learned a word of Sanskrit, and then find someone who is fluent in Sanskrit but doesn’t know any Serbian. Put them in the same room, or have them talk over Skype, and only let them speak in Serbian and Sanskrit.

          If they can have a fluid conversation the same way a Serb can talk to someone from Croatia, then Sanskrit and Serbian are dialects of the same language. Otherwise, you’re just grasping at straws.

          “I am glad that you at least accepted my STAN elaboration.”
          Where have I? I haven’t even read your comment about it. However, “-stan” has a cognate in as divergent an IE language as English (“stand”), so it’s not surprising at all of there’s a cognate in Serbian.

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          1. Your explanation is neither scientific nor convincing. I think you are improvising. Your example is also not convincing. I can understand a Croat because this is the same language although they try to convince everyone that they are different and rapidly making new words which are sometimes very comical. On the other hand, I can hardly understand the Serbian language from people 300 km from Belgrade in south Serbia although they are Serbs and only Serbian is spoken in this area.

            Well, this is not the point. I don’t know what you want to prove. There are still people in India who can speak old Serbian and there are hundreds of toponyms identical with rivers and mountains in Serbia. For STAN, English cannot be the reference because the origin of many STAN names was before English was formed. It is actually in Sanskrit, 3500 years before English. If this is the truth it would be already known to everyone, especially to people in SA region, but I have never heard or read about this.

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  3. “Some even claim that the temple of Baalbek in Lebanon and temple of Delphi in Greece are very closely connected to Arya culture and temples in the east:”

    “Some” meaning a few random morons on Youtube. I might as well just watch Ancient Aliens.

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    1. Fraxinicus, it would take me a long time to explain temple science. Let us just say that these two temples conform very closely to south Indian temple science. For mediators there are also effects on the brain and nervous system that are very similar. I don’t know for sure why this is.

      [Some recent North Indian temples do not conform to ancient temple science.]

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      1. Just one late digression…Although your assertion related to Delphi was ridiculed by some (I am just a reader not the expert in the spiritual things of this kind), the fact is that Delphi was not built by Greeks. It was located in areas where Serbian tribes lived. The similar case is with Olymp. It was also not located in ancient Greece then in areas where Serbian tribes lived, who were indigenous people in today’s Greece before Greeks came much later in history from Egypt. The Pantheon of top 12 gods from Greek mythology was replicated from older Serbian mythology. There was recently one seemingly humorous question somewhere – why Greek gods are all full-blondes and none is similar to Tsipras except that they do not wear ties, too…Well, I find some new connections with Delphi (maybe so far unknown Aryan link) I will pass to you.

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  4. How about Aryan connection with Atlantis? Also it is generally established that ancient India had atomic power, vimanas, space ships. So, I am curious to know about connection of Aryans with the monoliths found in Moon, Mars, Jupitar, Europa and other places.

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    1. Shafiq, I know you are joking. I consider Atlantis to be connected with Egyptian civilization. I know of no direct records of Atlantis in any Arya texts (unless they call Atlantis a different name).

      I know of no indication of what people today call atomic power. What is Brahmaastra a reference too?

      “vimanas, space ships” . . . have you read the combat between Krishna and Shalva and the Saubha vimana?
      https://articlesreserve.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/the-battle-between-shalva-and-the-vrishnis/

      “monoliths found in Moon, Mars, Jupitar, Europa”
      I didn’t know there were monoliths on these moons and planets.

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    2. Thank God, someone else is part of the reality-based community! Anan’s tendency to see Indians and Arya Varsha everywhere is very bizarre. The historical consensus is that ancient Greek civilization had nothing to do with India.

      The Mahabharata is not history but fiction. No serious or rational person treats it as anything other than a literary epic. People are of course entitled to their religious views, but when they start conflating them with scholarship, we have a problem.

      As for Afghanistan, the name simply means “land of the Afghans (Pasthuns)”. “Stan” means “land” and it is ultimately derived from Sanskrit as far as I know.

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      1. Couple weeks ago you did not know the meaning of the STAN. It seems that you have worked very hard in meantime. But still, the ‘land’ sounds as your guessing (as far as you know). Mahabharata was not written as a historical book but it definitely reflects some historical context. These ancient books are the main tool of OIT proponents to explain what has happened in ancient history.

        The Bible also is not a historical book but we can see some past happenings which can be matched with archaeological, linguistic and genetics findings. For example, the Bible says about Nimrod, ‘the gigantic hunter’ who is ‘the first before the God’. It can be assumed that some real foundation for this story exists. And indeed, at the time when the biblical texts were forming, there was the strongest ruler of the known world, the ruler of Assyrian kingdom who founded Babylon and Baghdad was named after him and who made an expedition to India with his hunters whose protector was the god Arion. And really, couple decades ago, his grave was discovered and we can now see his golden crown, jewellery and very sophisticated steel arms.

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        1. “Couple of weeks ago you did not know the meaning of STAN”– Don’t condescend to me. I knew the meaning of “Pakistan” all along and I explained it to you (whether that comment was deleted or you didn’t see it is a different matter). For the last time, P is for Punjab, A is for Afghania (KPK), K is for Kashmir, S is is for Sindh and “Stan” is for Balochistan. It is an acronym that also happens to mean “land of the pure”. “Stan” meaning land is something fairly obvious that most South Asians know.

          People who use the Mahabharata to make historical points have real problems. It is a work of literary fiction. History is a serious academic discipline and people who think all of the ancient world was Indian (or Serbian) need to get a proper education before coming and posting ridiculous things. For the record, the Bible is also not meant to be used to make historical arguments. Proper History is that done by trained Historians. You all are entitled to your beliefs, but not to your own facts.

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          1. I have seen your previous comment, it was not as you are telling now. It was never about acronym, even now you are wrongly telling us about Sanskrit. Put ‘land’ in online dictionary, you will get a hundred of translations but you will not get the Stan. But never mind, I replied only because you deceived us that it was coming from Sanskrit (as far as you know).

            You are entitled on your opinion about Mahabharata or Bible but it is simply silly to ignore these books because other do not exist. In any literary unit you can see the reflection of the environment where and when it was created. I do not think that all of ancient world was Serbian, please do not put in my mouth your words. For everything I said I provided references. You are this one who cannot accept that Serbs were indigenous EU people and visited this region long time ago. I think, you would be much more comfortable if English or Americans were Aryans. What do you know about my education and which my statement was ridiculous? European history was heavily falsified by Vatican + English/Germans and what is the point of ‘proper’ education and learning falsifications. Stay cool, it seems that you have a lot of time on your side.

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          2. Milan says
            ou are this one who cannot accept that Serbs were indigenous EU people and visited this region long time ago. I think, you would be much more comfortable if English or Americans were Aryans.

            So Milan are you comfortable that the Roma are fellow Aryans originally from India.

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          3. “European History was heavily falsified by the Vatican”– There is no point arguing with people who believe loony conspiracy theories.

            I don’t care who was Aryan. I will go with properly trained Historians on this one, not random people on the internet.

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      2. I certainly do not agree with outlandish unsubstantiated arguments. Whatever arguments one may want to propose for ancient Indian history should be backed up by unquestionable facts. Nevertheless Indian history has certainly been messed up by the colonial and marxist historians. A lot of their unsubstantiated crap is today accepted as fact merely because they have been repeated by successive generations of scholars as if it were fact.

        Let me take the liberty to make a few corrections in your post :-

        1. Ancient Greece certainly had a lot to do with ancient India. For starters, there is very compelling evidence to suggest that Ancient Greek philosophy was derived from ancient Indian philosophy

        https://www.amazon.com/Shape-Ancient-Thought-Comparative-Philosophies/dp/1581152035/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531645183&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=the+shape+of+ancient+thought&dpPl=1&dpID=4166aui-L4L&ref=plSrch#productDescription_secondary_view_div_1531645233231

        2. The characters and places mentioned in the Mahabharata are mostly historical. But the events are said to have happened around 3100 BC. Unfortunately in India, due to woeful archaeological research, we know very little about those who lived before 600 BC so it is difficult to corroborate the events as related in the epic. But we now know that by around 3000 BC the people in the NW India were quite civilised and spread over a vast region with contacts with people in Central Asia with possibilities of migration and even conquest from NW India to Central Asia – quite in conformity with the events of the Mahabharata.

        3. The -Stan suffix is most likely derived from Iranian languages since the suffix is likely of Indo-Iranian rather than of Indo-Aryan origin. The -stan suffix is mostly found in places which have been historically been inhabited by Iranian speakers. All the place names with the -stan suffix are not very old and cannot go beyond 1000 CE around which time the Sanskritic influence in those regions had been significantly reduced.

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        1. There may have been some similarity between Ancient Greece and India. But they were quite capable of deriving their own mythology and their own philosophy. Any similarities are probably just because all ancient societies needed a god of thunder, a goddess of wisdom, etc. This tendency to think all civilizational ideas came from “Arya Varsha” or whatever is frankly bizarre.

          Serious people treat the Hindu epics as literary fiction. I have yet to see a non-Hindu actually take them seriously as History. I’m sure they are based on some kind of reality, but to actually attempt to place the events of this fictional story in a modern day country is a waste of time in my opinion. Enjoy your religious epics, but pardon the rest of us for not taking them as fact. Krishna is a made up character, and he certainly was not driving Arjun’s chariot. A monkey army was not running around trying to rescue Sita from Lanka. This is all fiction and Hinduism. More power to you, but when you take it as reality, you have a serious problem. In the interests of being unbiased, I am happy to admit that most of the Holy Quran is meant to be metaphorical. But we know for a fact that there was a man named Muhammad who existed in 7th century Arabia. We do not know the same about Lord Ram or Sri Krishna–who all rational people (including rational Hindus) admit are made-up literary creations.

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          1. We have details about the military battles that the Prophet (peace be upon him) fought. We know he went from Mecca to Medina. We know who his parents were. Karen Armstrong wrote an entire biography of him and did not rely only on the Koran. It is beyond doubt that an individual with this name existed. Whether you think he was a Prophet or not is a different matter.

            As for Jesus of Nazareth, Roman historians wrote about his trial and his crucifixion. So it is pretty clear that an actual person existed. Whether he was the Son of God or performed miracles are matters of religious belief.

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          2. I can go into some apocryphal details. The Nizam who ruled over my native land claimed to be related to the Prophet. King Abdullah of Jordan was reputed to be a direct descendent of the Prophet. The present king miraculously morphed into an Anglo. 🙂

            Zack always knows what he is talking about. But I have not heard any one questioning the existence of Prophet Mohammad. Both kaffirs or atheists. It is such a recent history. Indians are the direct witnesses to the birth of this religion. Boy, did they get a taste of it over the last thousand years in terms of death and destruction?

            About Jesus of Nazareth, “O kissa phir kabhi” as Shammi Kapoor character used to say in one movie.

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          3. Whether the contents of the quran are metaphorical is less important than whether its reception by Muhammad is itself a metaphorical event. Are you saying its being the word of god directly revealed to Muhammad is itself a merely metaphorical claim ?

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          4. “Serious people treat the Hindu epics as literary fiction”

            It depends which serious people you talk to. Serious Hindus- I am not one of them – consider Hindu epics as a truth. They were serious enough to go on rampage in Ayodhya. At a minimum you can respect their seriousness if not the tactics.

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          5. Religious Hindus are entitled to their religious beliefs. When they start thinking that those events described are reality (flying monkey army), they have a problem.

            As hoipolloi mentioned, people in South India used to understand that these stories were fictional.

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          6. “Religious Hindus are entitled to their religious beliefs”

            So they’re entitled to their beliefs but not actions based on their beliefs? Strange advice to Hindus living in India. No Hindu in India is going to take it.

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          1. Tend to agree. People who throw some ideas without any basis make confusion. There is online Sanskrit-English dictionary which can help. I think AnAn used this dictionary and got very close translation for STAN (place). In AnAn’s link about Afghanistan’s history is – The name “Afghanistan” comes from “Upa-Gana-stan” which means in Sanskrit “the place inhabited by allied tribes”.
            That is what I said – the place of living. In Iran also live ancient Serbs first Aryans (Media) considering that they lived in Asia Minor (Lydia, Lykia), Mesopotamia up to the Chinese border. There is a period when Serbian was the official language in Persia (so as in Assyrian kingdom) and international language in the Middle East.

            It is quite possible that these English words also draw from STAN. English is fairly new language and it took many words from Serbian which is much older and spoken in this part of Europe as well (Celts). For example, London and Thames are words of Serbian origin, the first name for London was Troy, the same as the ancient Serbian town in Asia Minor (not Greek, they appeared in history 400 years after the battle).

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  5. Some musings: In the movie, My Big Fat Wedding, the Greek father character says that everything was discovered by them, they civilized the whole world, etc. He was a restauranteur and father of the bride.

    There are connections to Greek and Indian cultures. Alexander reached Indus area around 2300 years ago. Fact.

    During Old Testament times India and Indus area are part of known world. Did it say that King Solomon gardens were adorned by peacocks from India? One report said King Solomon time coins are found in south India.

    Who influenced who to what extent, should be left to scholarship and not to the true believers. It is embarrassing sometimes to hear the faithful including pseudo scholars.

    I am waiting for the day when some one in the sub-continent to claim that personal computers with windows and apple operating systems originated in India and were brought to the West. The lofty buildings in Cyberabad, Deccan and Steve Jobs two years stay in India as a hippie are presented as exhibits.

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    1. Yes, Alexander of Macedon reached the Jhelum River. This doesn’t mean that the Greek gods (which existed long before Alexander) were influenced by the Hindu gods.

      After Alexander, an entire Indo-Greek civilization developed in Bactria (which I believe is in modern Afghanistan). This was part of the Seleucid Empire.

      The tendency of Indians to claim that theirs is the oldest civilization is frankly embarrassing. Sorry, the rest of us aren’t buying the RSS propaganda about the River Saraswati etc. There was an article in The New York Times recently about how stupid these Hindu Nationalist efforts are.

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      1. @Kabir: “Serious people treat the Hindu epics as literary fiction. I have yet to see a non-Hindu actually take them seriously as History.”

        Kabir, You are very considerate in saying the two famous puranas are fiction. I grew up in India’s southern region way back when. At that time we all know these puranas are made up stories akin to superman and batman. But we were asked to revere and observe the societal norms proclaimed in those literary epics. It is not correct to call them fiction, much less history. You read any fiction on the New York Times best seller list, you don’t find people flying alone in the sky when they travel. They take a plane. Our understanding growing up was these were fantasy-fiction. They are sacred alright. To wit, Hanuman flies in the air like a bird with no wings. Then he brings back a whole mountain called Sanjivani mountain with medicinal plants on his one palm while flying all by himself.

        This literal belief in the puranas as itihasas has started in the last 3 decades in sync with the increase in the popularity of sangh parivar from 2 seats in the Parliament to 300 seats. We in the south along with many others have an enlightened outlook; I mean less baggage. Cheers.

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        1. Yes, this belief that the epics are actual History does seem to be a fairly recent thing. Perhaps it started in the run up to tearing down the Babri Masjid? In order to break down an actual existing Muslim place of worship one had to prove that a fictional character named Lord Ram was actually born there.

          South Indians do seem to be more rational about all this than North Indians.

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          1. There were many south indians who took part in breaking the babri masjid. Even if lord ram was not actually born there(or tgere is no person called ram) , it is a fact that ram temple did exist at the same spot and hindus believed that it was his birthplace. Babur destroyed it to crush the will of hindus. The method of destroying masjid was wrong. It led to anarchy. Hindus should have gone to court and do what they r doing now.After all, We have historical evidences to prove our case.

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          2. “The method of destroying masjid was wrong”. I’m sorry, there is NEVER an excuse to destroy a minority place of worship, no matter which mythological character is supposed to have been born there. Minority places of worship are not destroyed in Secular states.

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          3. If it is any consolation for some, there were retaliatory riots in Pakistan to the BM incident. If news paper reports are to be believed people destroyed more than one Hindu temple in Pakistan at that time.

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          4. Yes, people in Pakistan retaliated to the destruction of the masjid in India. That was wrong.

            Pakistan however has never called itself a “secular” state. It has been clear all along that it is a Muslim homeland. Secular states are generally held to higher standards, as they should be.

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  6. Hindu opinion – or Hindutva opinion – is that BM is not “actual existing Muslim place of worship”. It stopped being a functional mosque for some time .Bringing fictional character is laughable – that makes Allah also fictional and mosque also an absurd proposition. I believe RamJanmaBhumi advocates have agreed to build a new mosque a little distance away . If Hindus can built with their own money with advice from Muslims as to architecture a new mosque as a way of showing goodwill towards Muslims and the present site of Janmasthan continues to be a Ram temple, I think problems will be solved. Then politicians will stop raking up the issue.

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    1. Allah may be fictional but the Masjid actually existed. That is the whole issue. You cannot destroy a minority place of worship and still call yourself a secular state.

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      1. I am not defending it as a secular state. The question is how best to solve big issues left over by history with least social conflict and disruption. Let’s not make too much of secularism from a European pov. Indian people are intensely religious and secularism to the extent it goes is a miracle. If India is truly secular state, India wouldn’t have allowed Muslim Personal Law or polygamy or triple talaq, etc.

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        1. Nehruvian Secularism is different from European secularism. India allows Muslims to follow their own religious laws when it comes to marriage etc. This is part of protecting the rights of the minority.

          According to your constitution, India is “secular”. Secular states never tear down minority places of worship. Hence, no decent person can defend the mob attack on the Babri Masjid. If India becomes a “Hindu Rashtra” then all bets are off.

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          1. Secular states never tear down minority places or majority places also. If India had been a secular dictatorship like Assad’ s Syria, it could have put down all public demands about RamJanmaBhumi with tanks.
            Otoh, a secular dictatorship would have quietly built Ram Mandir , keep it secret for many years and make it a fait accompli.
            Since India is secular and democratic, no easy solutions with lot of publicity and enough cynical politicians to fish in troubled waters.

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          2. Now you’re comparing yourselves to Assad’s Syria? Wow! If that’s the club you want to belong to, be my guest. Instead of aspiring to be like the United States or the United Kingdom, you say, “at least we’re better than Syria”. OK then. At least you’re better than Syria.

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          3. “aspiring to be like the United States or the United Kingdom”
            Why should India aspire to be a US or UK. India has it’s own tradition and will go according to its genius.

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          4. “you’re comparing yourselves to Assad’s Syria”
            Read again, I gave an If statement. No comparison. Otoh India doesn’t need lectures on the so-called
            Nehruvian secularism from those who rejected it when Nehru was alive and at the height of his popularity. India has lived with Nehruvian Secularism

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    2. Recent reports from India indicate the two communities are working out the future plan of action in a conciliatory fashion. Some 1500 prominent Muslims from all over the country are going to join at the BM/Ram mandir place to conduct Koran reading and prayers. People are learning to live with these events. We should desist from raking up the issue.

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  7. As for Jesus of Nazareth, Roman historians wrote about his trial and his crucifixion

    if you are talking about josephus, most ppl now believe that that was an interpolation by later copyists.

    aside from that, there’s no much.

    that being said, i think jesus is a historical figure, because christians alive 30 years after his death thought he was a real person, and they are probably right. we know these christians from independent roman sources. but that is only because christianity had become semi-important/useful (scapegoat) by then. during jesus’ ministry the romans didn’t really pay attention. there were lots of apocolyptic prophets.

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  8. . Karen Armstrong wrote an entire biography of him and did not rely only on the Koran. It is beyond doubt that an individual with this name existed.

    karen armstrong is not an academic historian. she’s a popularizer. that’s not to denigrate her, but your tendency to appeal to academic authority is strong so i need to point that out (i’ve read most of her books, i enjoy them and get a lot from them).

    there are two major non-islamic perspectives on the historicity of islam. one school does assume that muhammed was a real person. it more or less agrees with many standard aspects of islamic historiography. but there is a major revisionist schools which is not marginal that argues much of islamic historicity is in the 7th century is not what we think it is, especially the period before 650. this school would argue muhammad may not be who we think he is/was.

    i don’t want to get into the scholarly details, though read hugh kennedy vs. patricia crone for the main non-islamic views. i don’t agree with a lot of the revisionism, but it has made me rethink some of my priors.

    though i thought shafiq’s comment was pretty funny and spot on too 😉

    p.s. i don’t think *the shape of ancient thought* is properly characterized in these comments. it’s a long and subtle book. it’s less about indian=>greek influence, and more about common threads of interaction that existed over 1,500 years from the bronze age down to the classical period. there are more questions than answers in the book.

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    1. I have not read “The shape of Ancient thought” by Mcvilley (https://www.amazon.com/Shape-Ancient-Thought-Comparative-Philosophies/dp/1581152035) but blurbs of the book seem to be pretty interesting and I have bookmarked it for later. From the descriptions it seems that the author is arguing cross-fertilization of ideas through trade routes rather than contributions from a mother source. It seems very reasonable. World System theorists have been arguing about an ancient world trade system for several decades now (see Andre Gunder Frank).

      I have always thought that it is possible to comparatively analyze level of sophistication and complexity of philosophical and literary works of different cultures/civilizations, specially at a common time. It would be a good effort if some great polymath attempted to comparatively analyze philosophy, socio-political thinking of Greece, India and China during the Axial Age (roughly around 500 BC). My very limited knowledge and biased exposure lead me to to believe that Greek thought was qualitatively different than Indian or Chinese thoughts but I am very ready to be persuaded otherwise. Different civilizations had different strengths but I think that Greek focus on logic, individual human and systematization of knowledge, made it stand out among ideas of ancient world.

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    2. The point is that generally people agree that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Jesus of Nazareth were actually existing human beings. Lord Ram and Sri Krishna, on the other hand, clearly are mythological characters.

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      1. Whether a person called Muhammad (or Ram or Krishna) merely existed is a rather low bar on evidence. The salient facts about these people make them what they are claimed to be – not just their names on a voter roll. So, proof is needed not of whether someone called Muhammad existed but whether such a person actually heard from something called god (or allah), whether they ascended to heaven on some sort of a flying horse after their death etc.

        It is these incredulity-inducing claims that put them squarely in the company of mythological figures.

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      2. who are these people? hindus would beg to differ.

        the majority scholarly position in non-religious circles in western scholarship IS that jesus was a historical figure. but there is no unanimity like there is with the existence of the historical figures mentioned in the gospels (such as pontius pilate or herod), which have non-gospel attestations. the main reference that is not christian is josephus, and his is tendentious.

        as for muhammad, frankly using independent sources makes him even more of an apparition than jesus.

        the difference with ram and krishna is that their *setting* seems mythological, even if some geographical elements can be validated. so yeah, the evidentiary basis is even lower.

        ram and krishna are on the same level as abraham. abraham’s background furniture is real (egypt, etc.). but no one knows if there really was an abraham because of the texts/records are so many centuries later.

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  9. I’m shocked – by the Hindutva and Zionist tendency to destroy medieval monuments for myths.

    Would you be less shocked if even older monuments were destroyed by neglect?
    Mohenjadaro
    Ramappa temple
    Hampi

    Or if it is done by others? Bumiyan Buddhas, Nimrud (more recent and links not needed I hope)

    Sorry if this was meant in jest instead.

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    1. It’s not a tit for tat Violet.

      The point is that the Taliban and ISI are unequivocally wrong; no Pakistani on the internet would defend such acts (or so I hope).

      I’m surprised to see reasonable thinking Indians who would defend the destruction of an architectural jewel like Babri Masjid.

      It’s just sad..

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      1. Yes, when the Buddhas of Bamiyan were destroyed the entire world was in an uproar. What is the difference between that and the destruction of the Babri Masjid? One was done by a fundamentalist regime and the other by a “secular” state.

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        1. (For the record, I was and am against the destruction of mosques or any place of worship.)

          But there’s a clear difference between the destruction of the Bamiyan statues and the Babri Masjid, at least in the minds of the destroyers. The mosque was supposed to have been built over the remains of a destroyed temple in an attempt to humiliate and subjugate the local population (not sure if this is true; I’ll defer to the historians and archaeologists.) To the best of my knowledge, the Buddha statues were not known to have been built over earlier artifacts by Buddhist conquerors; the Taliban just wanted to destroy them as they considered them an abomination and an affront to Islam.

          Peace.

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          1. Agreed. Each act of destruction has it’s logic in the eyes of perpetrators and some are more equal than others. Wanton acts must be differentiated from those with some historical justification. Again I am not going overboard on their side also.

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          2. This difference is not important. The Taliban were a fundamentalist regime only recognized by a few countries. India is a “secular” state. There is NO justification for destroying a mosque, ever. If you hold yourself to the standard of fundamentalist regimes that is your problem.

            Whether there was a temple there or not when Babur got there is irrelevant. There was an actual mosque there which was destroyed by a Hindu mob. That is an act that brings shame to India.

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        2. “What is the difference between that and the destruction of the Babri Masjid? ”

          Because the world knows history of India, how thousands – or hundreds- of Hindu temples were destroyed by those who professed Islamic faith and left records of it with much glee and religious justification. People around the world can differentiate between wanton acts and where trouble was brewing for a long time.

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          1. The history of India does not justify a minority place of worship being torn down in a secular and democratic country. If you think it does, your morality is seriously in question.

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      2. Oy-vey!!
        Didn’t mean it as revenge/ tit-for-tat at all!

        I mean that medieval things are not very sacred in South Asia. We let them decay and destroyed for no good reason.

        Ramappa Temple is older and an engineering marvel ( floating bricks etc). But we let it fall down with sheer neglect. So, irrespective of religious motivation, there is no great love for old monuments.

        Everything need not be confrontational Zack. I thought my examples covered a wider range.

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    2. Violet
      No point in defending or justifying what happens in India with respect to what happens outside especially in primitive regions of the world. India has a history and going according to that. Even in Europe whose standards of secularism seems to be the standard for some people here, hundreds of churches and whole towns of great architecture were destroyed in the 20th century

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      1. @VCV,

        I don’t see a point in defending anything. In long game, I am already lost (my MtDna won’t go on 😀).

        But sometimes I am surprised by expectations of other people. I try to figure out why they are shocked by events when there is a reasonable chance for them to occur. This is one such attempt where I seem to have added fuel to fire. My bad.

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  10. Well, for hindus Mohammad is a mythological person. It is clearly stated by ASI, that a ram temple did exist there. For some centuries, some foreign barbarians came and destroyed it and made a masjid to worship a mythological person. We r reverting it to place of worship of our true god, lord rama. It is as if somebody vandalized your home, changed its structure and u could do nothing. But after some time u showed courage and retook your home. As some karsevaks sang ‘tel lagalo dabur ka, naam mitado babur ka’. 😂😂😂and’ram lala hum aayenge, mandir wahi banayenge ‘.

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    1. Lord Ram never existed. Sorry to break it to you. But The Prophet of God (pbuh) was an actual person.

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        1. Any evidence that they actually existed? Look, people are free to believe whatever they like, but reality is one thing and religious belief is another. Muhammad (pbuh) actually lived in 7th century Arabia. Jesus of Nazareth actually lived in Palestine.

          When we start confusing our beliefs with actual History, we begin to have issues.

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        2. From Muslim pov R/K are fictions. From Hindu pov Prophet Mohammed is a persona non grata , non person, since he is not part of any Hindu lore or parampara so whether he was historical or otherwise is immaterial . From an atheist pov , Allah is a fiction and someone claiming to a mouthpiece of a fiction is not to be trusted. A democratic society will respect all these pov.

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  11. There are some comments in moderation which I am responding to here:

    ‘For Hindus, Muhammad is a mythological character”– This is absurd. Non-Muslims don’t have to believe that he was the Messenger of God (peace be upon him). But there is a consensus that a merchant by this name did live in Mecca in the 7th century AD. The majority of scholars will agree with this fact, whatever their religion happens to be. You are entitled to your religious beliefs, not to your own facts. On this note, the belief that the Holy Quran is the divine word of Allah is an Islamic religious belief and non-Muslims obviously don’t have to agree with it.

    We have no evidence outside of your holy epics that such a character as Ram ever existed. There may have been a temple on the site of the mosque. But that doesn’t matter. In a secular state, historical minority places of worship are never torn down for any reason. Decent human beings (non-Hindutvadis) cannot justify this action. Whether Babar should have ripped down a temple to make a mosque is not the subject under debate. Two wrongs don’t make a right. India is not a “Hindu Rashtra” (yet) and as such tearing down mosques is completely and utterly unacceptable. If you want to be just like the Islamic Republic next door, go for it. But then the rest of the world will take you just as seriously as they take Pakistan and I don’t think you will like that very much. Shashi Tharoor recently got in trouble for saying that if Modi is re-elected India will become a “Hindu Pakistan” but it seems that is what the BJP’s fanboys want. Ironic when Pakistan is struggling to get out of the legacy of General Zia’s “Islamization”.

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  12. AnAn,

    Your post makes some serious errors of judgement when it comes to linguistics. If I were you, I would take it down – do more literature survey – and re-post a far more caveated and referenced version. Just my thoughts.

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  13. I have always felt that all this historical/ non historical figures with varying degrees of “historicity” attached to it. Like the battle of ten kings, which finds a mentions in Rig Veda , and a proto- Mahabharat war, might really be a battle which had occurred in Punjab between Punjabi tribes vs N-Western tribes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Ten_Kings

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    1. I’m sure your epics are based on some kind of reality. But they are still fiction. There’s nothing wrong with that. The Odyssey and The Iliad are fiction as well.

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      1. Just making a limited point on that when bulk of history of the subcontinent is dependent on oral traditions, its difficult to really separate real historical events with total fiction. My understanding is some real events getting exaggerated , and as it passed down the generation new things keep getting added up, till someone wrote down the initial thing. Later even this went through various alteration depending upon number of author(s).

        The example which i have linked is devoid of much fanfare (exaggeration) and is a straight up fight between two groups of tribes , probably because its one of the first draft of the event. Another example would be kings being elevated to the position of God(Chinese Five emperors, Pharaoh etc) by subsequent generations, and ultimately being worshiped as God themselves.

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        1. It’s not difficult to separate historical facts from fiction. Historians are trained to do this. This is why History exists as an academic discipline.

          Of course, when you go back to ancient times, you often don’t have proper sources for things. But still rational people can generally agree that flying monkeys did not exist.

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          1. That depends on what is considered rational. If you have to put Peace Be Upon Him on mentioning some figure who lived in ancient Arabia , who by all accounts was a nasty piece of work, won’t be considered rational by right thinking persons.
            Apart from the merits or otherwise of a person, any person, putting ‘peace be upon him’ would be considered totally superfluous and irrational.

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          2. I put “peace be upon him” after the Prophet of God’s name because I am a Muslim. It is considered extremely disrespectful to take his name without that phrase. But that is my religious belief and my respect for the laws of the country I am currently living in. It doesn’t mean you have to do it.

            It is not on the same level as believing in flying monkeys and deities with six arms.

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  14. Demolition of masjid led to riots throughout the country. It shouldn’t have happened. But i stand by my previous argument that masjid should have been destroyed legally. Suppose a dacoit comes in your house and kills most of your family members , loots your jewels and destroys your house. He makes his own house at that place. You r too helpless to do anything. But it is still your land. After some generations if you r powerful enough, you can take back your land legally. That is why hindus should have approached courts. We have all the historical evidence to support our case. And no, those evidences are real not mythological.

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    1. Your argument is absurd. India is not anyone’s house so that analogy doesn’t hold. Trying to defend the destruction of a minority place of worship doesn’t get you anywhere.

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  15. Vijay says (I don’t know why all his comments go into moderation):
    “Otoh India doesn’t need lectures on the so-called
    Nehruvian secularism from those who rejected it when Nehru was alive and at the height of his popularity. India has lived with Nehruvian Secularism”.

    The Hindu Right is trying their hardest to destroy Nehruvian Secularism. This was the one thing that made you better than the Islamic Republic next door– the fact that the Muslims left behind (or who chose not to go) were treated as equal citizens and not as second-class aliens. Now, if Rahul Gandhi meets some Muslim intellectuals and tells them he will address some of their concerns, just as he is supposed to address Dalit concerns etc, no less a person than your Raksha Mantri goes off on “Is Congress a Muslim party?”. You guys are rapidly losing the moral high ground that you had in comparison to Pakistan. Turns out you are just as screwed up as us. Seems the BJP’s playbook is to turn Hindus against Muslims. Is that the only way to win elections in the new India?

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    1. No. BJP won last Lol Santa elections on a sales pitch of ‘good governance ‘, ‘least government, most governance ‘ , etc . You can assess whether they delivered on their promises , but it was never a religious appeal, in fact even Ayodhya or Article 370 was on the election cards. You don’t realise how far Indian secularism has moved on

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      1. Yes, we saw how “good governance” worked. Now they are back on “Congress is a Muslim party”. Watch Nirmala Sitaraman speak. As Farah Naqvi wrote in The Wire, “Muslims are not the enemy Madam Raksha Mantri.”

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        1. If the minister had indeed said such a thing , it is very wrong although the language of Farah was also slightly over the top . The Indian political parties have to instruct their members especially at senior levels not to do loose talk in any media, dividing people, on the pain of dismissal if not adhered to. That said, Trump seems to have learnt a few things from India , unfortunately. However bad the words of some at election times, that should not be taken as the sum total ‘governance’ , which does not convince anyone. No particular policy of the BJP government can be termed anti-Muslim.

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          1. The entire BJP government is filled with anti-Muslim people. It is not only Nirmala Sitaraman who said these things. PM Modi himself said “Is Congress a party only of Muslim men?” This is not “loose talk” in the media. There seems to be a top down attempt to marginalize Muslims. What is the issue with Rahul meeting a group of Indian citizens who happen to be Muslim?

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  16. Kabir,

    Running a lone battle, defending (a kind of secular view point) of Islam.
    Very reasonable arguments as against (ahem) an issue you and I had a many/few weeks back.

    Vijay says
    From Muslim pov R/K are fictions. From Hindu pov Prophet Mohammed is a persona non grata , non person, since he is not part of any Hindu lore or parampara so whether he was historical or otherwise is immaterial . From an atheist pov , Allah is a fiction and someone claiming to a mouthpiece of a fiction is not to be trusted. A democratic society will respect all these pov.

    Vijay, just by saying Prophet Mohamed is persona non grata, means you accept that he is an historical person. So should Sikh Gurus (name whatever God they claim divine inspiration) be also persona non grata.

    Kabir says
    Whether God exists or not is a matter of belief. There is no way to objectively prove that.

    Neither can much of science be really objectively proved, it is a belief. One has to believe previous theories and build upon those theories. The difference between science and religion is that science is open to change. And again not really; science types that have vested in a particular theory (which may not be correct, vs wrong) will defend their theory. Scientific rules can be proved (until disproved) within existing constraints. The easiest to state is that Newton Laws, kind of approx correct but not in a relativistic frame.

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    1. Hi Sereno
      You can’t make a conclusion ‘Vijay, just by saying Prophet Mohamed is persona non grata, means you accept that he is an historical person’
      His historicity or otherwise is immaterial to Hindus since he doesn’t figure as a Hindu guru or acharya or even a character in a Hindu Purana. So he is a non person to Hindus.
      Btw you think Kabir gives a secular view of Islam !!!! Peace be upon you .

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  17. If indian muslims r really persecuted, then why don’t they flee to pakistan as Christians, sikhs, hindus of pakistan and bangladesh frequently do? Moreover, we have huge influx of illegal bangladeshi muslim migrants. India can never be hindu pakistan as hindus don’t have concept of ‘infidelism'(i dont think it is a word) . We respect every religion and think their gods to be true, not mythological. We have no ambition to impose our religion by converting people forcefully as is done by Pakistani muslims. It is everyday occurence in pak that a 55 year old ugly,already married man and a 14 year old hindu/christian girl ‘fall in love’and police, courts, media do nothing. 2 ahmeddiya masjids have been destroyed in last one month alone in pakistan but nobody gives a damn. In india, many karsevaks were shot at point blank by indian police. Even persecuted Rohingyas killed 100 hindus and forced their wives and daughters to become their wives(even while they were themselves forced to flee their country). After babri debacle, 308 temples in kashmir were destroyed. God knows the extent of destruction in pak and bangladesh. Hindus r deeply religious people. They r ready to rebuild babri masjid at some distance away from disputed site but ‘persecuted muslims’ r adamant. Hindus hold that place sacred due to ‘supposed mythological ram’ s birthplace ‘but masjid can always be relocated. Indian muslims have million times more freedom than minorities in other south asian countries. There r big muslim gangsters in india who r courted by politicians. Indian muslims have even desecrated our religious sites. Indian muslims have lynched hindus by accusing them of blasphemy. So the statement that ‘indian muslims r persecuted’ is overblown. Yes, cow vigilantism is a big problem. We have to allow beef in our country so this lynching by cow-terrorists stops. BUT INDIA CAN NEVER BE HINDU PAKISTAN.

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    1. If indian muslims r really persecuted, then why don’t they flee to pakistan as Christians, sikhs, hindus of pakistan and bangladesh frequently do? Moreover, we have huge influx of illegal bangladeshi muslim migrants.

      i think persecution is too strong of a word. that being said, how people move might more be a reflection of relative shittiness. tons of indians, paks and bdeshis migrate to the persian gulf, where they are treated as an inferior slave caste. but they make $.

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      1. But they aren’t refugees there, are they?We have 10 million illegal bangladeshi migrants here. Even according to Rohingyas they feel safer than bangladesh here. Indian muslims (rural and religious ones) r really very hostile. In my native village in uttar pradesh i have seen indian muslims celebrating victory of pak over India. Just like hindu nris who think they r indian despite having foreign citizenship. There are cruel muslim gangsters in my district like afjaal ansari who has murdered many prominent hindu politicians. There is shabuddin ansari in bihar who has bathed an entire family of three brothers with acid and done numerous murders and is still courted by politicians. Is there any minority in any other country of our region who has bombed religious sites of majority? All muslims r not bigots and i have many indian muslim friends who consider themselves atheist but still think batla house encounter as fake. India is nowhere near to US or UK in secularism and pluralism but we r still much better than our neighbors. We have to strive to be much better to maintain our plural fabric. We can always do better and first step should be removing beef ban and stop this mindless violence.

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      2. Is “geLf” (as our Malayalee brothers lovingly call it) a good example of emigration?

        Would Indians emigrate if they knew they could get an Emirati passport (in effect give up an Indian one – no dual nationality) and make their “slave caste” status perm?

        Dollars are worth something if you have access to a place to buy stuff with ’em, preferably at low inflation and high exchange rates.

        (Afghans reading the comment section and expecting stuff about their history would be like WTF!)

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    2. Add to that an occurrence like suicide bombing on religious grounds . Just today 149 people were killed in Balochistan by Islamic State bombing .

      ‘Pakistan …. deaths of 149 people, including nine children, in the country’s second deadliest militant attack since its independence.

      A suicide bomber hit a campaign rally in Mastung, in the south-western province of Balochistan, on Friday. More than 180 were injured’

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-44847295

      This is not isolated. Sch incidents have taken place before this.

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    3. Dear God! “Why don’t they flee to Pakistan”? Because they are Indian citizens. India is their country just as much as it is yours. That is what secularism means.

      I see we have to go back to basic principles with you people but I really don’t have the time for that right now.

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      1. Lol, you r clearly trying to evade my question. Why r persecuted hindus, Christians and sikhs fleeing Pakistan and bangladesh? Isn’t pak their country or r they cowards and not truly brave like muslims?

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        1. I don’t speak for Bangladesh as I am not a Bangladeshi.

          If persecuted Hindus are fleeing Pakistan, it doesn’t reflect well on Pakistan. Pakistan should be a country for all its citizens, not just for the Muslim ones. Then again, Pakistan has never pretended to be a secular state. The name makes it obvious: “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.

          If your standard is that you are better than Pakistan, I find that quite pathetic. Instead of aspiring to join the developed, civilized world, you just want to be better than your neighbor which otherwise you call a “failed state”.

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  18. It would be interesting what our resident Afghan( i think) ‘commentator ‘has to say about this article 😛

    Also would like to know whats is the afghan understanding of their own history pre Abdur Rashid.

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    1. I agree. Instead of understanding Afghan history , it has become part of recent Indian history. We should stick to the topic on hand.

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    2. In other Afghan related news, the US Administration is ready to hold direct talks with the Taliban, rather than insisting on an “Afghan owned, Afghan led” peace process. They finally realize this is the only way to end the war. The talks will eventually include the Taliban, the Afghan Government, the US and Pakistan. They also realize finally that Pakistan is a stakeholder and cannot be kept out of a successful process.

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        1. Peace will return to Afghanistan when all foreign forces , including USA and Pakistan , leave them to their fate. That is a very long way off. Afghanistan looks weak enough to invite foreign intervention , but is strong enough to tie them down in a war of attrition. Pakistan is under a delusion it can bomb it’s way to levers of power in Afghanistan.

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        1. Pakistan was mentioned in the New York Times article

          “Afghan officials and political leaders said direct American talks with the Taliban would probably then grow into negotiations that would include the Taliban, the Afghan government, the United States and Pakistan.
          “If we look backwards, the Bonn process is a pretty good paradigm for what ultimately a peace process is going to look like,” Ms. Wells said, referring to the 2001 talks in the German city that established the post-Taliban government in Afghanistan. “You are going to start off — the Afghans speaking to one another, but obviously the United States and Pakistan were critical in that inner core, and then you build out.“”

          https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/15/world/asia/afghanistan-taliban-direct-negotiations.htm

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    1. 1) please wait until the open thread to ask these questions

      2) if you have an RSS feed or check BP twitter page you will notice that zach has a tendency to publish and unpublish things *shrug* if you have BP in RSS you’ll get all that content since what is pushed can not be unpushed 😉

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      1. Sorry for my impatience!

        I’m not a social media person, but maybe I’ll subscribe to the RSS feed one of these days.

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      2. I tend to type posts from the mobile so it messes up the formatting – then I have to wait until I get on a laptop to sort it out.

        I’m not super tech-savvy – very much a Luddite as evidenced by my slightly breathless style of writing..

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  19. Rep to sbarrkum (you don’t have Reply button)
    ‘So Milan are you comfortable that the Roma are fellow Aryans originally from India.’

    If I understand, the question is if in Serbia is known that the origin of Roma people is from India. It is known, I think, by everyone and there is no any issue related to this. I think (should double check), the Roma people came to Europe in the 9th century AC. They live in probably all EU countries, in Serbia there are probably several hundreds of thousands. They were subjected to genocides in the past together with Jews and Serbs and because of this in some countries there are not so many left. In Croatia, for example, Hitler’s puppet regime organised conc-lagers and killed 1 million Serbs and about 100000 Jews and Gypsies.

    In Serbia, they are well integrated into society, there are many positive actions to improve their position, maintain their language and stimulate them to achieve higher education. They live together with Serbs and mix marriages are not rare. They are well represented in entertainment industry (I can give you some links if you like music). Indira Gandhi was a great fun of Serbian Roma musicians and she always proudly mentioned that she was a Gypsy, too. Considering the closeness between Serbs and Gypsies, Croats for example, who hate Serbs, as the worst insult call them Gypsies. Etc, I can answer some specific questions if required….

    PS. Btw, next time, for history lovers and others I will provide one Vatican’s fabrication and everyone can make up their own mind based on common sense. Txs.

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    1. Milan,

      I am impressed, I was expecting you to say something like; Roma are not really Aryan etc.
      You are consistent at the very least.

      At least for me kind of know about the Roma/Romani from the Internet.

      There are a few (probably about 100) of gypsy descendant families around the village I live. They look like the average Sri Lankan, when they wear clothes like the majority. One guy who came to do some work wanted to kill a monkey to eat. First against the law, second that was the first I heard of Sri Lankans eating monkey. It was a no about killing a monkey, not in my place.

      For the Indians who are reading, it sounds like I am this big landed proprietor dictating to the labor worker. In SL one has to beg and plead to get some work done. No talking down to the labor.

      Anyway Milan some famous of Roma descent Michael Caine (1933), Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977). Yul Brynner (1920-1985), Elvis Prisley (1935-1977), Bob Hoskins (1942-2014), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)
      http://mladiromi.me/eng/zanimljivosti/147-famous-celebrities-of-romani-origin

      I have been to this place (Kudagama near Tambuttegama), invited by classmate with links to Dilmah Tea.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkbY1JHwkvU

      The individuals are speaking Sinhalese. By looks they look no different from the avg Sri Lankan (and me).
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDqPzLQmEyw

      In the face of the changing socio-economic landscape of Sri Lanka, the once nomadic Ahikuntika community, whose livelihoods centred on traditional occupations such as snake-charming, monkey taming and fortune telling, are gradually disappearing due to economic hardships and interlinked pressures to assimilate. Dilmah Conservation developed its Ahikuntika Community Upliftment Programme in order to extend support for the establishment of stable and sustainable livelihood measures and the preservation of their distinctive cultural inheritance.

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      1. I haven’t noticed this before but now I am slowly getting impression that some of people here are fascinated with Aryans. They think about them in a context of Nazi propaganda (blonde, blue-eyed supermen), not as just regular guys whom you can see every day on the street or on TV. There is nothing superficial about them (yes they had the best steel swords, etc, at the time). Sometimes I feel here sparks of animosities and resistance to find out true facts about own history.

        I am not actually primarily interested in Aryans (Serbs or whoever) themselves. I am primarily interested in disclosing Vatican’s falsifications in European history and returning back to Serbs more than 3000 years of their stolen history. I am taking Aryans as key witnesses who can uncover European historical lies.

        But forget this for a moment and go back to your topic. Have a look couple links on the top of my mind with various Serbian Gypsy music (some sing in Serbian, some in Roma). Other also can watch some music and relax.

        Nice Gypsy Usnija:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhPT7eIdRlY
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6l07Cobtw0
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4honlU4aL1k
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4-MORq8LTs
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGYUWN26CTg
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IsBsg2uSS4
        from the movie (Golden Palm – Paris)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8tZfPiHtAU
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tElQmAjfqhI
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeoilDA7JEs
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqOL7LOR6ko
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2_bMAFKEQU
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPoe4HEPaIw
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm5bWZpnKdY
        This one is a classical music – Paganini
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wYDIUEyrg8
        and La Csardas
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcBb1u419w8

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  20. If your standard is that you are better than Pakistan, I find that quite pathetic. Instead of aspiring to join the developed, civilized world, you just want to be better than your neighbor which otherwise you call a “failed state”.

    ROFL. LMAO.

    he’s right. you know he’s right.

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    1. If you dont mind asking you, is collecting all this information your hobby, or do you work in this field?

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