Map of Civilizations

Since the above map is only really visible on clicking I thought I would share another map that was better colour-coded.

World scripts map
Turan & Turkey needs to go Purple asap..

A book that deeply influenced me as a child was the Clash of Civilisations. I thought Samuel Huntington’s contention that Civilisations correlate to religions was a bit too blunt. However what also influenced me was the first chaptre of Ludwig Von Mises’s book, “Nation, State & Economy.”

It now seems that a Czechoslovak state will be formed to which all Czechs and Slovaks will belong. However, Czechs and Slovaks do not, for that reason, yet form one nation. The dialects from which the Slovak language was formed are extraordinarily close to the dialects of the Czech language, and it is not difficult for a rural Slovak who knows only his own dialect to communicate with Czechs, especial ly Moravians, when the latter speak in their dialect. If the Slovaks, back at the time before they began developing an independent standard language, that is, around the turn from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century, had come into closer political connection with the Czechs, then the development of a Slovak standard language would doubtless no more have occurred than the development of an independent Swabian standard language in Swabia.
Yet for the Low German there are already two possibilities: assimilation to the German or to the Dutch standard language. Which of the two courses he takes is decided neither by linguistic nor genealogical considerations but by political, economic, and social ones. Today there is no longer any purely Plattdeutsch village; at least bilingualism prevails everywhere. If a Plattdeutsch district were to be separated from Germany today and be joined to the Netherlands, with the German school and the German official and judicial language replaced by Dutch ones, then the people affected would see all that as a national rape. Yet one hundred or two hundred years ago, such a separation of a bit of German territory could have been carried out without difficulty, and the descendants of the people who were separated at that time would be just as good Hollanders today as
they in fact are good Germans today.
The whole chapter is an interesting read but I always remember the Plattdeutsch example as a particularly striking one. I prefer to marry the two theories that nations do ultimately group into civilisations. The manner into which they do so isn’t black and white but isn’t so gray either.
When language and script do coincide it’s a perfect national and civilization overlap. When it doesn’t that’s when it gets interesting. Huge swathes of Latin America have significant and prominent indigenous language speakers; it seems there that Spanish culture is the “High Culture” that’s still assimilating the indigenous Quechua, Guarani and Aymara linguistic traditions.
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59 thoughts on “Map of Civilizations”

  1. “A book that deeply influenced me as a child was the Clash of Civilisations. I thought Samuel Huntington’s contention that Civilisations correlate to religions was a bit too blunt.”

    Me as well . Every Tom dick and Harry criticized it when it came out. Look around how Fukyama and their likes have back pedaling now and saying he may have a point. They are still fighting by stawmanning his arguments but they will lose eventually.

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  2. Problem with Huntington’s argument is that it relies on a post-facto grouping. I mean, yeah all West European’s identify with a ‘Western’ civilization after the total and utter victory of the Anglo nations. But this construct meant nothing when they were slaughtering each other in the millions, so what does it actually tell us ?

    When all is done and dusted in the violence associated with modernization across the world, the reckoning will tell us that violence within these civilizational lines will be many, many times higher than that across it. Even in the India vs Pakistan/Bangladesh faultline, the death toll in the Bangladesh genocide and war within Pakistan (more than 3 million) is many, many times more the casualties in Indo-Pak wars and Hindu-Muslim riots in India.

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    1. Highest death toll and numbers of missing was in Partition 1947.

      I would not call India and Pakistan two different civilizations, for reasons previously expressed. Personally, I don’t give a whole lot of importance to whether something is written in Devanagri or Nastaliq.

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      1. I would characterize the Pakistani situation as a mausi-khala dynamic.

        Pakistanis call their maids mausi/masi, a word derived from Sanskrit (literally means ‘like mother’), which Indians of course use for mother’s sister.

        OTOH, the Arabic word Khala is used by Pakistanis for their aunts.

        In a Pakistani household,
        A maid is someone with whom you interact everyday and is indispensable, but is not given the status of a relative.
        A khala/aunt, otoh, only visits once in a while, but she is given great honor, and you might even want to marry her daughter.

        So Indian civilization is Pakistan’s mausi, while Islamic civilization is its khala.
        Of course, for Indians, Indian civilization is the mother, while the West is the PhD advisor whose daughter you might want to marry.

        So the difference is in the attitude towards different civilizations rather than the ingredient civilizations themselves.

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        1. Don’t Indian Muslims use the word “Khala”? At least those who speak Urdu.

          I know Pakistani Punjabis who use the word “masi” for their mother’s sister. So I don’t think your analogy works that well.

          Also, what is “Islamic civilization”? South Asian Islam is not the same as Arab Islam and at least I would not put South Asians and Arabs in the same “civilization” (not that I think “civilization” is a particularly useful concept).

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          1. Agreed.

            “Languages don’t map perfectly onto “civilizations”. To me, this whole concept doesn’t make much sense.

            India itself has so many languages. Are Indians from different states part of different “civilizations”?

            Religion doesn’t map that well onto “civilizations” either. Which is why I keep saying that Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis are all part of the same “civilization”.”

            Also agreed.

            Kabir is on a roll today!

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          2. Agreed.

            “Languages don’t map perfectly onto “civilizations”. To me, this whole concept doesn’t make much sense.

            India itself has so many languages. Are Indians from different states part of different “civilizations”?

            Religion doesn’t map that well onto “civilizations” either. Which is why I keep saying that Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis are all part of the same “civilization”.”

            Also agreed.

            Kabir is on a roll today!

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          3. I dont think that the use of Khala by some Indian Muslims (this is quite rare actually) and Masi by some Punjabi Muslims disproves my analogy. The attitude of Pakistani Muslims towards Islamic countries and cultures is reverential, and that towards Indian civilization is of a tolerable background.

            Not saying any of this is wrong, people can pick and choose from the ideas they are exposed to. Just pointing it out.

            What perhaps Pakistanis dont realize is that the Bollywood Muslims they idolize have similar attitudes to both Indian and Islamic civilizations, favoring the Indian one more.

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          4. If the Sui Dhaga question was pointed to me, the answer is no. Had a choice between Sui Dhaga & Andhadhun, and we went for Andhadhun.

            Andhadhun is a fantastic movie. Was also great seeing Pune on screen.

            Sui Dhaga we will watch on Netflix.

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          5. U should watch it; excellent expression of “Indian civilisation.” It really brought aam Admi to the core in a very sympathetic, artistic and uncondescending way.

            I was shocked by how good it was /

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          6. “Khala” is an Urdu word while “Maasi” is a Punjabi one. Sorry, you are really stretching to make a (not particularly good) point.

            Again, you seem to be making an equivalence between “Indian” civilization and “Islamic” civilization. One is a nation-state while the other relates to a religion. This is not consistent.

            The main question to ask is do Indian Muslims belong to the “Indian” civilization or to the “Islamic” civilization? Your answer to this would really clarify the (what seems to me very strange) argument you are making.

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  3. Looks like Tamils (and other Languages) are not going to be happy re India. Only Hindi, the Official language?

    Sri Lanka, not catering to either Tamils (no Tamil script) or Sinhalese. The sinhaa reads shari.
    Sinhala its Sri and Indian langs Shri.

    Same as with King Asoka (Mauyra) being called Ashok

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    1. Languages don’t map perfectly onto “civilizations”. To me, this whole concept doesn’t make much sense.

      India itself has so many languages. Are Indians from different states part of different “civilizations”?

      Religion doesn’t map that well onto “civilizations” either. Which is why I keep saying that Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis are all part of the same “civilization”.

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      1. >Which is why I keep saying that Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis are all part of the same “civilization”

        I think the “Pakistan Studies” textbooks strongly disagree!

        Jokes aside, I wholeheartedly agree.

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  4. Civilization can be a misleading term. A better term would be metatribe.

    You shouldn’t read too much into script. It’s strongly correlated to metatribe but not a causative factor.

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  5. India is sthan and Pakistan is stan, without the h of hindooz.
    We are different in every way as Qaid-e Azam himself proclaimed in Lahore. To wit,

    A leading journal like the London Times, commenting on the Government of India Act of 1935, wrote that “Undoubtedly the difference between the Hindus and Muslims is not of religion in the strict sense of the word but also of law and culture, that they may be said indeed to represent two entirely distinct and separate civilisations. However, in the course of time the. superstitions will die out and India will be moulded into a single nation.” (So according to the London Times the only difficulties are superstitions). These fundamental and deep-rooted differences, spiritual, economic, cultural, social, and political havc been euphemised as mere “superstitions.” But surely it is a flagrant disregard of the past history of the sub-continent of India, as well as the fundamental Islamic conception of society vis-a-vis that of Hinduism, to characterise them as mere “superstitions.” Notwithstanding [a] thousand years of close contact, nationalities which are as divergent today as ever, cannot at any time be expected to transform themselves into onc nation merely by means of subjecting them to a democratic constitution and holding them forcibly togdher by unnatural and artificial methods of British Parliamentary statutes. What the unitary government of India for one hundred fifty years had failcd to achieve cannot be realiscd by the imposition of a central federal government. It is inconceivable that the fiat or the writ of a government so constituted can ever command a willing and loyal obedience throughout the sub-continent by various nationalities, except by means of armed force behind it.

    The problem in India is not of an inter-communal character, but manifestly of an international one, and it must be treated as such. So long as this basic and fundamental truth is not realised, any constitution that may be built will result in disaster and will prove destructive and harmful not only to the Mussalmans, but to the British and Hindus also.
    :
    The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literature[s]. They neither intermarry nor interdine together, and indeed they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects [=perspectives?] on life, and of life, are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, their heroes are different, and different episode[s]. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other, and likewise their victories and defeats overlap.

    TWO DIFFERENT CIVILIZATIONS = TWO-NATION THEORY. Only a ghaddar-e watan believes otherwise in sarzameen-e Pak. Show some muhub-ul watany beghairatis who challenge Pak’s raison d’etre… The Khan is watching!

    (Jangjoo is back. Did y’all miss me???)

    #StanisInTheHood

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        1. Saurav,

          TNT was used as an argument to make the case for Pakistan. That was the limited context. Qaid-e-Azam thought that the Muslim League’s arguments would have more weight if Muslims were treated as a nation and not as a minority. A conflict between two nations is generally given greater weightage than one between a majority and a minority.

          If you are to believe that Hindus and Muslims are two different civilizations, than Pakistani Hindus don’t belong in Pakistan and Indian Muslims don’t belong in India. That type of argument doesn’t lead to good consequences.

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      1. Two nation theory is still alive and well, alhamdullilah. Not just Khan bhai but the entire Pak qayadat believes in its sanctity.

        Pakistan nazriyati mulk hay. Dou qomi nazariya-e Pak, khatm ul nabuwwat and azadi-e Kashmir o al Quds sharif are central tenets of our Pak qomiyat. Don’t bullshit matey.

        Zayed bhai saying truth in his passionate style. Hubul watany issay kahtay hayn… Pak’s problem is corruption and too many admin issues.

        https://youtu.be/uJ-eEFd6Noo

        hindooz should watch it too to know what lions they are dealing with. We will raise parcham-e sitara o helal once again!!!

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    1. Jangjoo . . . bad boy. Never do this again. Can’t handle the withdrawal symptoms. 🙁
      Need you.

      Thanks for the link below. Can you explain why the Pakistani Army is so intent on killing the Afghan National Army. This year perhaps 12,000 ANSF brave martyrs will die in freedom’s cause. What can Afghans do to get Pakistanis to love Afghans? Afghans are true heroes of Turin.

      Thank you.
      #StanisInTheHood

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  6. “Problem with Huntington’s argument is that it relies on a post-facto grouping. ”

    Huntington was trying to make sense of the world post the Cold war. Of course the ingredients of his theory will rest on the world as was then. His other books on America is also about the america which is heavily made by the white man. Its a post facto analysis. Its absurd if he would have gone into what if;s (Japanese america or Arab America or latino america) . Even when the same “civilization” was slaughtering each other does not mean they were not the same “civilization”. Its like saying when the chinese kingdoms used to fight each other they were different civilization.

    The book and the article tried to articulate what would be the fault lines between different regions/groups of the world going forward. It wasn;t addressing the intra civilization conflict because that wasn’t what he was trying to address.

    Almost all his theories(rise of Islamic extremism, Muslim countries allying with China, the limitednes of western values, reversal of democratic values) are broadly in sync with we see today. And mind you he articulated it the 90s, while his detractors are still justifying what they wrote in 2000s

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    1. Sure, I am not really disputing his assertions. There must be a reason why most Pakistani Muslims think that marriage to a Moroccan is welcome, but to an Indian Hindu is unthinkable.

      My point is that if one is trying to understand and minimize political violence, Huntington’s models dont really help us lot. Most violence is not driven by such differences.

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        1. … add to that I think gender matters here. In both cases women ( Muslim and hindu) are the ones who face the most opposition. Don’t think Muslim or hindu men face the same if they are marring interfaith

          Example. Omar Abdullah hindu wife being accepted while the family severing all ties with sara Abdullah because she married a hindu

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  7. “The main question to ask is do Indian Muslims belong to the “Indian” civilization or to the “Islamic” civilization? Your answer to this would really clarify the (what seems to me very strange) argument you are making.”

    Indian Muslims belong to Indian civilization. More and more are realizing this.

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    1. I wouldn’t be that sure. Most of it boils down to lack of options rather than a true wanting. Where would the tamil or marathi Muslim really go? It’s a false choice. Let’s look at the only region which at least theoretically does have the option of swinging either way. Kashmir. Where does the Kashmiri Muslim really swing ? You and me both know the answer.

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      1. region which at least theoretically does have the option of swinging either way. Kashmir. Where does the Kashmiri Muslim really swing ?
        Saurav,

        What do you mean by the that?.
        Lesser twisted minds want to know.

        cheers

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        1. I am saying given a choice what would the sri lankan Tamils of 80s and 90s “really”want and what would the Tamils of 2018 begrudgingly accept?

          The answer to both these question we know. But we won’t say it. If that makes me twisted then …

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        1. Again freind. Feeling are not data. Sub categorizing them further and further ( Bohra Muslims not voting for pakistan etc ) doesn’t take away from the fact that the Muslim league won more than 60 percent of Muslim reserved seats in 47. It was quite clear what the Indian Muslim wanted. Even the ones living in Madras

          I hope as a Indian what you say comes true. Just like I hope what kabir says is true . But in both cases I will hold my horses

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        2. “Choosing Pakistan” doesn’t make people part of a different “civilization”.

          Conflating “civilizations” with nation-states is not tenable.

          This is becoming a tedious argument, so that’s all from me.

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          1. OK, I know you use the comments section to pontificate and question, but I am asking to escape doing work around the house (if I am on the laptop, my wife will avoid asking me to cook and clean on a Saturday morning); when and why did Germans rule India? Until 1870 Germany was subdivided to what, I can count, a dozen to 300 smaller states. The thirty year war and subsequent Kleinstaaterei until 1870 left Germany a weak principality where Austro-Hungary and France and the Russians walked in and walked out as they felt. Calling someone a german ruler meant nothing; for some 200 years Gemans had a million barons, principalities, abbeys, duchies and what not.

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          2. “focus on precision”

            I told you I am doing this to avoid cooking and cleaning on the all-important dasara Weekend. This is just to make the wife do the Sundal and kheer. I will do this as long as there is work to do.

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          3. I was wondering how Mahesh Bhatt (Alia’s father) could be a muslim.

            Wiki says
            Bhatt was born to Nanabhai Bhatt and Shirin Mohammad Ali.[5] Bhatt’s father was a Hindu Brahmin and his mother was a Gujarati Muslim.

            Bhatt married his first wife Kiran (born Lorraine Bright) whom he had met while still a student.

            Of Pooja Bhatt, (Lorraine Bights daughter) : mother’s side, she is of English, Scottish, Armenian, and Burmese ancestry

            Soni Razdan was born in Birmingham, UK, to Gertrude Hoelzer, a German and Narendra Nath Razdan, Kashmiri Pandit.

            Razdan married film director Mahesh Bhatt on 20th April 1986. Both converted to Islam as reportedly Mahesh Bhatt did not want to divorce his previous wife.

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    2. So Indian Muslims belong to Indian civilization while Pakistani Muslims (who basically have exactly the same culture as North Indian Muslims) belong to “Islamic” civilization?

      Your entire argument falls apart right there.

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      1. “Have the same exact culture”

        This is an exaggeration. These populations are being shaped by very divergent social, economic and political forces. Are Pakistani Americans exactly the same as Pakistanis ?

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        1. Culture is defined by language, food, clothing, rituals etc. These are largely the same between Pakistani Muslims and North Indian Muslims. They cannot be said to belong to different “civilizations” simply because one group chose to stay in Agra and Delhi while the other group moved to Pakistan. These groups intermarry. Punjabi Muslims in Delhi (assuming any exist) would be exactly like Punjabi Muslims in Lahore.

          Pakistani Americans are an example of a diaspora community, which is not what we are talking about. In any case, we are largely similar to other Pakistanis except that we have adapted to American culture.

          You have your own reasons to want to sharply differentiate between Pakistani Muslims and Indian Muslims. But it is really not possible to argue that 70 years of independence has fundamentally changed the underlying culture.

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          1. Men all over the world wear shirt & pant, eat bread, religiously follow English soccer teams. So do they all belong to the civilization ?

            Food, clothing etc are transient fads and mean little. What matters are stories and narratives. And the narrative of Indian history as per a secular Indian Muslim or Hindu will be totally different from that of a Pakistani Muslim. The smartest of Indian Muslim historians (Faisal Devji, Shahid Amin and Akeel Bilgrami) have spent a big chunk of their careers writing about Gandhi. And the high culture produced by secular Indian Muslims is deeply influenced by the secular ideology of India’s freedom struggle.

            You are more correct if you say that Pakistani Muslims and non-secular Indian Muslims are very similar. One can ask if the secular or non-secular Indian Muslims predominate in numbers. Saurav thinks its the latter, I am not sure but suspect it depends on certain variables.

            “These groups intermarry.”

            This was true a while ago but such marriages are rapidly diminishing.

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          2. Culture is what shapes most people’s lived reality. Men all over the world don’t speak Urdu/Hindi or wear shalwar kameez or eat biryani. Pakistanis and North Indian Muslims do. Once again, 70 years of separation cannot change the underlying culture that evolved over hundreds of years. That is not to say that there are not differences between Indians and Pakistanis, but I believe the commonalities are greater.

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  8. Andhadhun is superb. I rate Raghavan a bit higher than Kashyap. Just like I rate Rajkumar Rao over Nawaz. Sui Dhaga i will watch over weekend. at least in our movies we are “Make in India”, if not in real life.lol. Just like in our movies we show RAW running rings around ISI.

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  9. “Men all over the world don’t speak Urdu/Hindi or wear shalwar kameez or eat biryani. Pakistanis and North Indian Muslims do.”

    Salwaar-kurta as an attire for men is extremely rare in India. It is more common amongst women, both Hindu and Muslim, but is falling out of favour in urban areas. Biryanis and Hindi will keep evolving as they have been.

    But there are fundamental differences emerging in cultural practices. Consider marriage, the rate of cousin marriage among Indian Muslims is 25 % and it decreases as one goes north (https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/IJSSP-11-2012-0103). On the other hand, cousin marriage rate amongst Pakistani Muslims is more than 50% (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1017301/pdf/jmedgene00054-0051.pdf). It is evident that the resistance to cousin marriage amongst North Indian Muslims has much to do with the fact that this is practice is legally forbidden for North Indian Hindus.

    Hear it from a North Indian Muslim: https://www.quora.com/Can-Muslims-in-India-marry-their-cousins

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    1. Differences in cultural practices like cousin marriage don’t make people part of different “civilizations”. You are using this word in a very idiosyncratic manner. It was never my argument that Indian and Pakistani cultures have not evolved since 1947.

      To be honest, I find the whole concept of dividing human beings into “civilizations” quite problematic.

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