Are Indian Intellectuals Anti India – Salvatore Babones

Salvatore Babones a comparative sociologist chats with me on The Indic Explorer Channel on whether Indian intellectuals are against India and are largely to be blamed for the country’s poor standing Internationally and especially in the Western World.

You should also check out the concluding section of this discussion here (https://youtu.be/5HmGeHSkFdQ), after watching the above video.

The Indic Explorer YouTube channel focusses on the interplay of Indic culture with modernity explored through different facets in the socio-cultural sphere.

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Roshan Cariappa on Job Crisis in Big Tech & Startups

Roshan Cariappa chats with me on my podcast this week on ‘The Job Crisis in Big Tech Companies & Startups’.

The Indic Explorer YouTube channel focusses on the interplay of Indic culture with modernity explored through different facets in the socio-cultural sphere.

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USA, China, Taiwan. A Fateful Triangle.

Following was part of conversations with few well-informed folks about the subject.

Hamid

Fateful Triangle – China-United States & Taiwan

By Hamid Hussain

November 10, 2022

“Let China sleep; when she wakes, she will shake the world”.       Napoleon 1817

In the last two decades, United States and China have emerged as competitors for political and economic influence especially in the Indo-Pacific region. This has invariably influenced the military posture of both countries to secure economic gains. Most strategists are of the view that Taiwan will be the most likely cause of military conflict between China and United States. Continue reading USA, China, Taiwan. A Fateful Triangle.

The Survey of India

From Dr Hamid Hussain

Survey of India

Hamid Hussain

 “We travel not for trafficking alone.

By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned.

For lust of knowing what should not be known,

We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.” 

                                                                  James Elroy Flecker

 Eighteenth century India and its neighboring regions were an exotic place for outsiders and not much was known about the geography and people of this large swath of land. An odd traveler or explorer published the details of his perilous journey among strange and alien land and people for the home audience.  Arrival of East India Company (EIC) for trade and later territorial expansion brought modern scientific methods of exploration and mapping that filled up the empty spaces on maps. 

 During military operations, officers collected localized information about terrain, availability of supplies to support troops and animals and information about local population.  However, this information was localized and limited to military operation at hand.  Knowledge about land and people ruled by EIC rapidly expanded.  Over the years, a small group of extraordinary British and native explorers contributed to sciences of geography and anthropology. This was an area where political, administrative, military and spying arts freely intermingled.

 In eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, India’s frontiers were changing with territorial expansion of EIC.  In these decades, frontier moved from Oudh, Gangetic plains, Sindh and Punjab to Northwestern and Northeastern frontiers. In the context of defense of India, area of British influence also expanded to Tibet, Chinese and Russian Turkistan and Afghanistan.  The Royal Geographic Society (RGS) became the patron of the advancement of the field of geography on scientific grounds and published works of explorers of India and its neighborhood.

 In 1800, three separate surveys were started in India: Revenue, Topographical and Trigonometrical (later named Great Trigonometrical Survey – GTS).  In 1878, all three were amalgamated into a single Survey of India.  James Rannell (1742-1830), William Lambton (1756-1823), George Everest (1790-1866), Thomas George Montgomerie (1830-1878), Henry Trotter, William Johnson, James Walker, Colonel Frederick Bailey (1882-1967), Sir Thomas Hungerford Holdich, Godwin-Austin, Captain Francis Younghusband and others were exceptional individuals.  They were driven by a sense of adventure, exploration and duty.  They were highly committed individuals willing to suffer extreme hardships in strange and unknown lands. They instilled same spirit among their native assistants. Surveying in frontier areas was a dangerous task as locals correctly concluded that surveying was the steppingstone towards loss of their freedom.  There was an Afghan saying that “First comes one Englishman for shikar (hunting), then come two to draw a map, and then comes an army to take your land.  So, it is best to kill the first Englishman”. Continue reading The Survey of India

First AASI mtDNA genomes from Sri Lanka (2500 and 5500 BC)

The mitochondrial genomes of two Pre-historic Hunter Gatherers in Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean connected by the sea routes of the Western and Eastern worlds. Although settlements of anatomically modern humans date back to 48,000 years, to date there is no genetic information on pre-historic individuals in Sri Lanka. We report here the first complete mitochondrial sequences for Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from two cave sites. The mitochondrial haplogroups of pre-historic individuals were M18a and M35a. Pre-historic mitochondrial lineage M18a was found at a low prevalence among Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, and Sri Lankan Indian Tamil in the Sri Lankan population, whereas M35a lineage was observed across all Sri Lankan populations with a comparatively higher frequency among the Sinhalese. Both haplogroups are Indian derived and observed in the South Asian region and rarely outside the region.

No idea why this comes out of Sri Lanka first, and not India (bigger country), but it is what it is.

History podcast: Episode 16- The rise of the Mughals

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode, Omar and Jay discuss the rise of the “Great” Mughals. We start from the rise of Babur and follow through the empire his descendants. We do not cover the challengers to the Mughal hegemony (Maharana Pratap, Chattrapati Shivaji and Lachit Borphukan) OR the fall of the Mughal empire or other softer aspects in this episode. All that will be covered in the coming episodes.

 

They came not to bring peace but a sword


Recently there was a debate on Twitter about whether the legacy of the Indo-Aryans, one of the most impactful descendants of the Sintastha culture, was positive, significant and worthy of admiration. More generally, what have the descendants of the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic steppe done for us?

This is a complicated question. I think for Indian Hindus who revere the Vedas and the Vedic people the question has some broader and deeper implications. As I am not an Indian Hindu, any strident opinion on this is above my pay grade.

But I will repeat something that the Indo-Europeanist J. P. Mallory told me a few years ago: the reason that archaeologists fixate on the graves of these people is that these are among the few materials remains that they left. They were an agro-pastoralist society, and their arrival in Northern Europe 5,000 years ago saw the end of the ancient Neolithic traditions of megalith building. I think it is fair to say that these barbarians ushered in a “dark age” for a millennium in Europe.

What about elsewhere? In what became Greece the arrival of the steppe populations resulted in a synthetic culture that to be candid initially aped their Minoan predecessors, producing a coarser and more militaristic society. In ancient Elam, the arrival of the ancient Iranians resulted in the co-option by what became the Persians of much of the culture of the people of that region. Finally, the debates about India are endless in terms of what the influences on the Indic culture are in terms of whether they are Aryan or non-Aryan.

The daughter Indo-European societies were often quite culturally creative, in particular, the early Greeks and Indians. But I think this owes more to the fact that Indo-Europeans encountered either complexity (Minoans) or the faded elements of complexity (IVC), assimilated them, and leveraged their economic base to produce complexity and creativity societies. In contrast, Indo-European populations that remained closer to the ancient lifestyle, like the Slavs of the early medieval period, were culturally simple.

That being said, a skein of common Indo-European linguistic and oral culture did span Greece and India. Their origins were clearly brutal and barbaric, but the southern Indo-Europeans quickly assimilated and acclimated.

Filmmaker Vishal Chaturvedi-Should Creative People be Culturally Rooted

On the Episode 10 of my weekly podcast The Indic Paradigm on The Indic Explorer YouTube channel, I chat with Filmmaker Vishal Chaturvedi to understand if Creative People Should be Culturally Rooted.

We shot this episode in person in his studio. This was a special podcast which we jointly produced with him and his team from The Indic Library.

The Indic Explorer YouTube channel focusses on the interplay of Indic culture with modernity explored through different facets in the socio-cultural sphere.

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Nityanand Misra on Issues & Challenges with Sanskrit Learning in India

On the 9th Episode Part 2 of my weekly podcast The Indic Paradigm on The Indic Explorer YouTube channel, I chat with Nityanand Misra on Issues & Challenges with Sanskrit Learning in India.

The Indic Explorer YouTube channel focusses on the interplay of Indic culture with modernity explored through different facets in the socio-cultural sphere.

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Nityanand Misra- How to Name Your Child & The ‘Shanaya Phenomenon’

On the 9th Episode Part 1 of my weekly podcast The Indic Paradigm on The Indic Explorer YouTube channel, I chat with Nityanand Misra on The Best Practices to be followed on naming your child.

We also discussed about the new social trend called ‘The Shanaya Phenomenon’ where parents provide names which sounds cool, upwardly mobile, unique and metropolitan but have no meaning.

The Indic Explorer YouTube channel focusses on the interplay of Indic culture with modernity explored through different facets in the socio-cultural sphere.

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