India never existed

I deleted my post since I’m just going to put these tweets out there; it will make for a good podcast though.

I suspect in a 100 years we will still have Coloniser Experts opining on South Asian Nationhood and then being feted like white deities in the Desh..

0

92 Replies to “India never existed”

  1. I’m curious about what specifically you take issue with here. India not existing as a political/national concept, and Hinduism not existing as a coherent/confessional religion, aren’t controversial positions. These are the commonly accepted formulations on these topics, if you are studying past primary level in academia. Being white has nothing to do with it.

    Literally the only people who have problems with this are Hindu Nationalists, who, along with their rejection of the Indo-Aryan Theory, object not on scholarly or empiric grounds, but because it exposes their mythos for what is is (a modern-creation heavily influenced by 19th century Europe).

    3+
    1. You do realize that the concept of Hindavi Svarajya (Hindu Self-Rule) was a term coined by Shivaji Raje in the 17th century, right?

      3+
      1. “These are the commonly accepted formulations on these topics, if you are studying past primary level in academia. Being white has nothing to do with it.”

        This is certainly not the case nor is it even the leading formulation. Classical Indians had well defined conception of Arya-varta and the mlecchhas such as Hunas, Yavannas and the like dwelt beyond it.

        5+
        1. All of the classical references to India were very regionally based, heavily influenced by who was ruling the area. What was considered “Arya-Varta” was some area in the Indo-Gangetic region that had been conquered by Aryans and was being Vedicized.

          This is like me using a reference to the river valleys of the Tian Shan Mountains during a Scythian Dynasty, to try and argue that all of Central-Asia, from the Caspian to China, had therefore always been a coherent political/cultural unit. Its nonsensical.

          1+
          1. Do you believe the many countries and regions that participated in the Mahabharata did not share a common civilization and culture? Was Xinjiang not Sanskritized long before Christ?

            0
      2. 1.) There is doubt in the scholarly community about the authenticity of such a quote (some say its a later fabrication adopted by British-era nationalists).

        2.) Your reading of that quote is a perfect example of what I’m talking about though; reading back our modern biases onto history, rather understanding the history as its contemporaries did.

        Shivaji did not conceive of himself as a Hindu-Indian fighting against foreign Muslims (Hindavi in 17th century India had a general meaning of Indic-speaking persons, not Hindu/Indian). He thought of himself as a Marathi clansman fighting to liberate Marathi lands from non-Marathi rule. He had no such problem with non-Indic Muslims ruling other parts of India, and actively fought to conquer and loot unwilling Hindu-Indian rulers.

        Which is what we see throughout Indian history. A Hindu-Marathi would certainly see a Persian-speaking Muslim conqueror as a foreign occupier. But he would have the same feelings for a Hindu Gujarati conqueror. Sure, gun to his head, if he had to choose, I’m sure he would say the Persian-Muslim was “more foreign”, but that isn’t at all akin to some kind of Hindu/Indian identity as we understand it in the modern period.

        3+
          1. Yes, because we were born in the 20th century, when the “metaphysical concept” of India has already been delineated (though there is still disagreement in some areas).

            If you were to discuss this with Desis in the 1600’s, or the 1200’s, or 300’s, they wouldn’t have any idea what you were on about.

            3+
        1. INDTHINGS, there is the concept of the Indian muslim versus the global Islamist Jihadi muslim. Bharatiyas consider Gareeb Nawaz to be their own in a way that Aurangzeb has never been accepted. There is a concept of shared culture, values and civilization.

          0
        2. “Shivaji did not conceive of himself as a Hindu-Indian fighting against foreign Muslims (Hindavi in 17th century India had a general meaning of Indic-speaking persons, not Hindu/Indian). He thought of himself as a Marathi clansman fighting to liberate Marathi lands from non-Marathi rule.”

          You are now digging a deeper (and hopefully more comfortable) hole for yourself. Shivaji may not have seen himself as fighting against Muslims (although he was very definitely against Mughal hegemony) and certainly saw himself as being at the head of a Marathi nation but neither of these says anything about his religious affiliation. His letters bluntly speak of being “a protector of cows and Brahmins”.

          Your acrobatics between ‘Hindavi’, ‘Indic’,’Marathi’ and ‘Hindu’ are hilarious. But in ascribing an ‘Indic’ sensibility to Shivaji you are scoring an own goal.

          3+
      3. Europe did not exist as a political/national concept either. Does it mean the concept has no salience or that European culture doesn’t have some specific character distinct from other culture ? Pretty much no country existed in the past as it does now.

        3+
    2. INDTHINGS, have you read the 18 Mahapurana Itihasa, Mahabharata Itihasa, Valmiki Ramayana Itihasa (or Tusli/Kamban/Agastya), other Smrithis, or the Vedas?

      Suspect AudreyTruschke has not or is intentionally misleading. The concept of “Bharat” (lands related to son of Shakuntala and Dushyanta) has been a real thing since the time of Chakravyuh maharaja Bharata. What you can say is that the historic idea of Bharata was much larger than the current borders of India. But how can you say that the idea of an open architecture open system dharmic ecosystem that people today would recognize as something “Indian” did not exist?

      How would you define “Hindu nationalism”?
      https://www.brownpundits.com/2018/10/20/hinduttva-a/

      3+
  2. Strange that an author, who has written an entire book upon an Indian emperor (Aurangzeb), still claims that politically India did not exist in pre-modern times. Didn’t she know that Aurangzeb’s realm was more or less coterminous with modern India (some parts were not in it, like deep South and north-east, and some additional parts were part of it, like Afghanistan. But basically the same geographical area).

    I wonder what other gems we will find in her book! Must make an interesting read. 🙂

    7+
  3. About two and and half millennia ago, a Greek historian named Herodotus wrote about the land and customs of a country called India. Much of what he wrote about India was nonsense (Indians have black semen; there are gold digger ants in India, e.g.), but he was never in doubt that he was writing about a distinct geographical entity.

    More than twelve hundred years ago, an Ascetic called Adi-Shankaracharya established 4 “mathas” for the propagation of Hindu philosophies. These mathas happened to be located in Badrinath in the north, Shringeri in the south, Dwarka in the west and Puri in the east. Does it sound like he had some idea about the geographical extent of Hindu sphere, or was he just randomly opening offices wherever he saw fit?

    Nations which have millennia old histories cannot exist as unified political entities throughout their lifespan. There will necessarily be periods of political fragmentation. All ancient nations (China, Iran, India etc) have seen alternating period of political unity and disunity. To deny nations their very existence because of this political fragmentation is sheer intellectual lunacy.

    Frankly, this western position that India did not exist before colonial era is so ludicrous and offensive, that it does not even merit a reply. Truckloads of references can be quoted from the medieval texts, but what is the point.

    However offensive this position might be, it has been milked suitably in the past towards nefarious ends. I guess it was Churchill who first said that India was not a nation, it just appeared so in the maps. Jinnah latched on to this line and parroted this till he ended up bifurcating India.

    12+
    1. China is more a “nation” than India by virtue of cohesion
      Iran is more a “nation” than India by virtue of size

      India however is both an idea and a nation fused into one; a nationality and a supra-nationality that binds SAARC. We all know who is and who isn’t a Desi ..

      It doesn’t mean that India doesn’t contain multitudes

      1+
    2. “Foreigners wrote about a geographical entity called India”.

      Exactly, India has traditionally been a loose geographical term, like the Middle-East, or Transaxonia. Its never been understood (especially by its inhabitants), as a cultural/political entity. Europeans did this frequently, calling all the Black-African lands south of Egypt “Sudan”, or the Eurasian steps east of Russia as, “Tartary”. Yet its only modern-Indians who attempt to use these clumsy labels by foreigners as a basis for political/cultural nationhood.

      “Shankaracharya established Hindu-schools in many places across India”.

      Apart from the scholarly debate about whether this figure actually existed and what he did, what on Earth is this supposed to prove, even if granted? Buddhist monks did the same, often starting in China and travelling through Afghanistan, Xinjiang, and even India. Muslim Sufis would do the same, from Uzbekistan, to Iran, even into East-Africa. Is China a part of India? Is Tanzania somehow part of Uzbekistan? Of course not, only modern-Indians attempt to make such claims based on virtually nothing.

      “All nations have periods of fragmentation”.

      Right, except after the Han-Dynasty, separate polities in China would refer to themselves as Chinese. We have tons of written records explicitly telling us that pre-modern Chinese had a very coherent identity/civilization and it was recognized by both insiders and outsiders. Similar records are found visa-vis Iran.

      None of this is found for India. Indians would refer to themselves based on tribe/language, and sometimes acknowledge which empire happened to be ruling over them, but there was no concept of being part of a greater “Indian/Hindu culture/civilization”. This only really happened during the British colonial era.

      1+
      1. Exactly, India has traditionally been a loose geographical term, like the Middle-East, or Transaxonia. Its never been understood (especially by its inhabitants), as a cultural/political entity. Europeans did this frequently, calling all the Black-African lands south of Egypt “Sudan”, or the Eurasian steps east of Russia as, “Tartary”. Yet its only modern-Indians who attempt to use these clumsy labels by foreigners as a basis for political/cultural nationhood.

        you’re playing games with semantics. i agree than ‘indian’ as a category did not exist in the same manner as a category like ‘chinese’ or ‘roman’ (in late antiquity). but it is clear that sub-saharan africa does not exhibit the cultural continuities that south asia does. a unitary political identity may have been weak, but anyone contrasting south asians with non-south asians has an easy time of it. and did so from time immemorial.

        it is obviously true that the modern nation-state of india is a post-colonial creation in a way that the peoples’ republic is not. but from that it does not follow that the lineaments of an indanness did not exhibit itself manifestly to indians and non-indians in a form of contrast.

        7+
        1. To clarify, the argument isn’t that South-Asians had insignificant cultural/political continuity, its that the level of continuity isn’t remotely strong enough to justify claims of a pre-modern nation (like China or Iran). This is important, because its with such (false) claims of a defined civilization that modern Indians (on the right) attempt to exclude/marginalize groups they deem not Indian enough (non-Hindus, liberal Hindus).

          “Anyone contrasting South-Asians with non South-Asians had an easy time of it”.

          Apparently not, considering South-Asians themselves didn’t classify themselves as such until the late 18th century, and non-South Asians peering in would engage in differing and often crude descriptions of what classified a South-Asian.

          3+
          1. Apparently not, considering South-Asians themselves didn’t classify themselves as such until the late 18th century, and non-South Asians peering in would engage in differing and often crude descriptions of what classified a South-Asian.

            yeah, i’ve seen these arguments. basically before europeans no one had any self-conception.

            i don’t agree with this at all. doesn’t pass the smell test, but you can keep arguing

            7+
  4. I suspect in a 100 years we will still have Coloniser Experts opining on South Asian Nationhood and then being feted like white deities in the Desh..

    you need to stop worshipping white people bro. they aren’t gods. they bleed and they die. they aren’t eternal.

    (also, the ‘colonizer’ terminology is a pointer to the issue we were talking about in the china podcast: fixating on the past as if it is more alive than it is)

    3+
    1. If that were the case re worshipping the White Man; id be ranting and raving about Nick Jonas stealing our women 🙂

      In fact I commend him for subtly shaming South Asian culture for marrying a Desi Star, 10yrs old than him..

      Now Arjun Kapoor is following suit with Malaika Arora Khan (she’s a divorcee 15yrs older with a son – ex sister in law to Salman Khan).

      It still doesn’t excuse Audrey’s condescension.. they may not be gods but they show no contrition for what they wrought on our Subcontinent..

      0
  5. Frankly, this western position that India did not exist before colonial era is so ludicrous and offensive, that it does not even merit a reply. Truckloads of references can be quoted from the medieval texts, but what is the point.

    i think it’s a westphalian conceit. also, remember these same ppl might assert that ‘nationalism’ was ‘invented’ by the french in the 1790s.

    3+
    1. But, is she wrong? Is the nation a 17th-18th century concept or not? I am not talking “imaginary” nationhoods, but a real, geographical entity whose geography is fixed, and the citizens can relate to the nation as an entity?

      It could be argued that India is an “Imagined” entity where people think of their state first, and unclear on the nation. If tomorrow, let us say, Bihar and UP and kashmir cease to be part of India, would it matter to the nation of the India, at least in the imagination of the people?

      The idea that the new right is trying to establish a Hindu, Hindi and Hindustan concept of India, which is a nonstarter for half of the states.

      4+
    2. “i think it’s a westphalian conceit. also, remember these same ppl might assert that ‘nationalism’ was ‘invented’ by the french in the 1790s.”

      Couldn’t agree more. The westphalian conceit is nonsense. Have had discussions about this with academics. It comes from a lack of understanding of ancient history.

      0
  6. If you were to discuss this with Desis in the 1600’s, or the 1200’s, or 300’s, they wouldn’t have any idea what you were on about.

    i think this is wrong. at least for the elites (local people in premodern world had sharply limited purview of identity).

    these arguments remind of ppl mitigating muslim-christian conflict in the Mediterranean because amalfi sometimes sided with muslim pirates. so what? it’s complicated in realpolitik. but at the end of the day everyone understood that there was civilizational chasm.

    9+
    1. The difference is we have extensive contemporary records from Muslims and Europeans explicitly lauding their own civilizations (Christendom, Dar-Al-Islam), and referring to rival civilizations (Muhammadean Moors, Christian Franks). The modern commentaries that show France allying the Ottomans against Austria, or Christians joining up with the Barbary Pirates, don’t argue that the classical divides didn’t exist or didn’t matter, simply that they weren’t a one-dimensional red vs. blue constant struggle against the other that they are sometimes portrayed as.

      None of this is present visa-vis India. We have no records illustrating that pre-modern Indians understood each other to be part of a single Indian/Hindu civilization. For God’s sake, look at some of the pathetic arguments made on this thread (a Hindu guru might have visited Odisha and Uttarkhand).

      It is true that the first couple generations of Muslim invaders (Turks/Persians) explicitly thought of themselves as separate from the mass of Indians they had conquered, but whether its the Delhi Sultanate or Mughals, we see them becoming acculturated fairly quickly. Shivaji himself even allied with Persian-descended (and speaking) Muslim Deccani rulers, to fight against the “foreign” Mughals. Note, the Mughals being considered foreign not because of their ethnicity or religion, but because they had recently conquered these territories from more/longer established (and thus local) Muslim/Hindu rulers.

      3+
      1. It is true that the first couple generations of Muslim invaders (Turks/Persians) explicitly thought of themselves as separate from the mass of Indians they had conquered, but whether its the Delhi Sultanate or Mughals, we see them becoming acculturated fairly quickly.

        don’t agree with this. india remained a land of opportunity for ppl from persia and transoxiana for many centuries in part because of the muslim elites’ self-conception as distinct from the native indians. there are some indians of ‘foreign’ blood who are still keen on emphasizing their difference to this day (some of them are fake, some of them are clearly real as evidenced by their physical differences from ppl who converted from native groups).

        We have no records illustrating that pre-modern Indians understood each other to be part of a single Indian/Hindu civilization.

        let’s set that aside. i don’t have a mastery of the literature in this area and will leave it to others.

        but it is quite clear looking at the genetic and to be cultural data that they were part of a distinct cultural group. from the north to the south (i have presented data which indicates both indo-aryan and dravidian cultural complexes expanded simultaneously). this coherency is reflected in the perceptions of all foreigners, albeit they were also able to notice differences.

        10+
        1. I’m a bit confused by your first paragraph. Yes, India remained a target for lightning campaigns focused on loot and slaves from Central-Asia. But the dynasties that chose to stay in India showed the opposite effect (increasingly less shock and awe, more annexation, partnering with local Hindu elites, and developing Indo-Persian culture).

          Another example would be the high-value placed on the Central-Asian homeland by early conquerors (where they would completely abandon campaigns in India to defend the former), compared with latter dynasties (lands inside India given much more military/political attention than Central-Asia).

          And yes, some South-Asian Muslims today prize their real (or imagined) non-Indian blood. Though the same is seen visa-vis Hindus and their adoration for “Aryan” blood.

          I’m familiar with your DNA work, and I agree that South-Asians show cultural continuities with each other, that’s never been debated by anyone. We just don’t have evidence that this reached the level of a single coherent Indian identity.

          2+
          1. Another example would be the high-value placed on the Central-Asian homeland by early conquerors (where they would completely abandon campaigns in India to defend the former), compared with latter dynasties (lands inside India given much more military/political attention than Central-Asia).

            you can be within india and not be of it. that’s clearly the case with groups like armenians, or the ayetollah khomeni’s ancestors. Ibn Battuta is evidence that you can live wholly within an islamic matrix.

            my own family, though broadly bengali, exhibits varying degrees of affinity and affiliation with south asian matrix. some of this is recent, but a lot of it is quite old in particular ‘ashraf’ families.

            2+
        2. The modern commentaries that show France allying the Ottomans against Austria, or Christians joining up with the Barbary Pirates, don’t argue that the classical divides didn’t exist or didn’t matter, simply that they weren’t a one-dimensional red vs. blue constant struggle against the other that they are sometimes portrayed as.

          amalfi dates to before 1000 AD. why are you switching to the modern era? don’t you know about amalfi?

          2+
      2. “None of this is present visa-vis India. We have no records illustrating that pre-modern Indians understood each other to be part of a single Indian/Hindu civilization.”

        Never thought I will need to provide reference to refute such a moronic argument, but here is one – you can refer to the exchange of letters between Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur and Shivaji. The scene is from 1600s, and the backdrop is the war between Shivaji and Mughals. Jaisingh, as a mughal commander had come to Deccan to force Shivaji to surrender and accept mughal vassalage. In these letters, they both appeal to each others Hindu identity to stop hostilities and come to a peace deal. Shivaji exhorts to Jai Singh’s hindu honor to stop making war on a fellow hindu king, and Jai Singh tries to persuade Shivaji to surrender to a fellow hindu king because only he could get a good deal for him from the emperor.

        Think of it now. Language, geography, caste and political camp divided both these protagonists. (They actually exchanged letters written in Farsi.) Yet both of them were certain of their Hindu identity, and knew that they were “us”, and mughals were “them” . Of course the bond between them was hinduism, which also formed their national identity. Medieval nationhood was strongly tied to religion everywhere in the world. There is nothing special about Hindus in this regard.

        An average illiterate peasant of course had no sense of world beyond his village, but that was same for a medieval Russian peasant or a French peasant. Politically important personalities knew about the wider cultural world they lived in.

        Also, Mughals never really Indianized. We know that during Aurangzeb’s time there was a concerted effort to cleanse the Persian used in Mughal court from Indian influences, and make it more aligned with authentic Persian used in Persia. So much for the foreign conquerors going “injun”.

        9+
        1. Briefly:

          I haven’t found an academic source to confirm this letter is authentic, but assuming it is, so?

          I’ve already said above a Marathi Hindu would consider a non-Marathi Hindu as less foreign than a Turkic Muslim. The point however, is he would consider both foreign. He would recognize the Rajput as similar to him in comparison to the Mughal, but that’s it. Not as belonging to the same nation as himself.

          And we know this from Shivaji himself. This is political gamesmanship in the letter, appealing to the Hindu Singh to drive out the foreign Mughals, claiming he “wets his sword” with Muslim blood, that he would join a Rajput conquest of the Deccan. Please. Shivaji had Muslim soldiers and commanders in his army. He made the same clever plea to the Persian Deccani Sultans, asking them to join him in removing the “foreign” Mughals. He’s saying whatever he has to do to get what he wants. Couching the foreignness of the Mughals in their lack of Hinduism in one letter, their Turkic/Persian heritage in another, and their conquest of established Deccani Muslim land in the last.

          He considered none of these men or their kingdoms to be of his people. The widespread attacks by the Marathas on independent Hindu polities (including the Rajputs), often in alliance with Persian-speaking Muslim polities, is testament to this.

          If you want an analogy, this is similar to what the Mongols did when trapped in the Georgian Mountains during their attack on the Caucasus. They were faced with a coalition of many peoples against them, one of which was Cuman, a semi-nomadic tribe in the Western-Eurasian steppes. The Mongols pleaded with the Cumans, saying, “we have no quarrel with you, who sleep in tents, honor the blue-sky, and ride horses like us. Leave our enemies, and we won’t attack you”. The Cumans eventually left after being bribed, the Mongols killed the remaining coalition, then rode hard to catch up with the Cumans, and killed them too (though in our case Singh and the Rajputs never believed Shivaji).

          Yes, the Mongols and Cumans had similar cultures, nobody could deny that. But they didn’t consider themselves one nation/civilization based on those similarities. Pleas to the contrary to gain potential allies in wartime should be (and usually are) recognized for what they are. Political gamesmanship. Unless you believe the Mongols were penning a historical ode to pan-steppe unity (as you apparently do visa-vis Shivaji and Hinduism).

          3+
          1. Shivaji had Muslim soldiers and commanders in his army

            why is this such a slam-dunk point? tatars fought with the poles and protestants fought with the turks outside of vienna. the exigent circumstances for why this occurred is obvious. that being said, there was a civilizational axis at work.

            6+
          2. Understanding Mongol psyche is difficult for me, but one thing that stands out in their behavior is their astonishing blood-lust. When in doubt, they killed. They probably destroyed the Cumans because Cumans chose to remain neutral instead of joining them. So applying the principle of if you are not with us, you are against us, Mongols made short work of them.

            I am not denying that there is politicking in Shivaji’s letter. However there is no denying of Hindu bonds between the two either. You probably know the rest of Shivaji’s story too. Shivaji did in fact agree to accept mughal vassalage (if it was at a rank befitting his status 🙂 , and visited Agra with Jai Singh. The deal between Shivaji and Aurangzeb fell apart, and Shivaji escaped from a house arrest. Many historians believe Jai Singh had something to do with Shivaji’s escape. May be it was their Hindu bond working?

            Also, what difference does it make if Mughals had Rajputs in their armies, or Shivaji had Muslims in his armies? In the third battle of Panipat even Hindu Naga Sadhus fought on the side of Abdali. (They were part of Shuja’s contingent). Medieval military labor market frowned upon such petty communal considerations 🙂 A truly professional mercenary fought for whoever paid him money.

            5+
          3. Agree with both Razib and Snake Charmer.

            The Marathas got into bed with some Islamist Jihadi Takfiris in the third battle of Panipat. Big mistake.

            There is a SAARC ethos that transcends religion. Which allows muslims to be part of the Indic culture or Hinduism if they choose. Some are SAARC muslims or Hindu muslims. And others such as Aurangzeb chose not to be SAARC muslim–opting instead to commit genocide against Sufis, twelvers, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus. Fortunately Aurangzeb’s planned final solution against the Sufis, Shiites and Hindus was suspended thanks to a deal he made with Jahanara. Jahanara Begum gave Aurangzeb the legitimacy he lacked in return for Aurangzeb not behaving like a completely genocidal idiot.

            And of course the entire world owes an incalculable debt to Guru Gobind Singh–one of the greatest homo sapiens ever born, peace be upon him. And to Shivaji. Or else the global Daesh/AQ/Taliban menace may have begun sooner.

            1+
  7. The great historian and provocateur par excellence Audrey Truschke has often claimed that the Mughals were ‘Indian’. And now she is claiming that the ‘Indian’ identity did not exist at all in historical times. Is there any sound theory here other than espousing historical narratives which serve her partisan interest in current Indian politics.

    It seems to me she has realized that the best way to come into prominence and gain any relevance while having a very mediocre intellect and no genuine insights is to continually bait Hindus online on twitter. In the midst of a tweet-storm which this always generates a few idiots will also offer non-serious death threats and she will get additional badges of honor for getting trolled by ‘misogynist’, ‘fascist’ Hindus. Proof that they cannot let go of their ‘Brahmin Patriarchy’ and get riled up just because a ‘woman’ has deemed fit to opine on their history of oppression.

    How can any half decent academic institution employ someone with this level of hubris for her supposed credentials as a historian and whose views continually smack of bad faith.

    Whatever modern Hindutva-vadis are, they certainly aren’t inspired from Nazi Germany or European Fascism. We have our own separate grievances and a totally different ethos. Just because the RSS parades around in Khaki shorts doesn’t mean that Hindus had no concept of belonging to a common religion before picking it up from 20th century European Fascism. I expect this comparison to be made by polemical writers like Arundhati Roy. She makes no claims to academic rigor. But from a self-acclaimed historian, is it too much to ask for a little nuance or just plain sense.

    Liberals like her have no qualms about making history a political playground. And then they cry like banshees over the ‘saffronization’ of education whenever any right wing govt tries to cut away some of the Mughal or Delhi Sultanate history and replace it with the history of the Hindu subalterns like Jats/Rajputs/Gujjars. Most modern Hindus except some Khatri or Kayastha castes never had much historical interaction with Mughals and don’t really feel any deep connection to them. Learning more about our subaltern ancestors might really be better for us.

    9+
    1. The great historian and provocateur par excellence Audrey Truschke has often claimed that the Mughals were ‘Indian’.

      yes. i notice this whenever her controversies come to the fore.

      6+
    2. Elementary point. Saying Hindutva-vadis are inspired by European Fascism is not the same as saying Hindus are inspired by it. That you do not seem to see this distinction says as much as anything else in your long post. There was an Indian (and Hindu) nationalist movement against the British that explicitly rejected Hindutva as a legitimate expression of the Indian nation.

      1+
  8. I never get it when Zack calls someone, anyone, who opines on India and its history, a colonizer. As far as I know the USA never colonized India.

    Audrey is a well known historian of India, particularly the Mughal empire. The first of her two books talks about Sanskrit in Mughal court (confusingly they called it Hindi or Hindvi, but does not represent the present day Hindi). She shows the amount of translations that moved a bulk of sanskrit works into Persian and retained them until 19th century. Today, a large volume of sanskrit literature exists because of the Mughals; whereas Telugu and Tamil literature disappeared and rediscovered by Charles Philip Brown, and Mayuram Meenakshisundaram pillai’s students. Sanskrit was never lost.

    The lesser known work on Aurangzeb establishes a complex history; yes, he was a tyrant, but he aligned himself with some Rajputs, some Hindus and fought against others; but even then it was a confusing mess; friends became enemies, and then enemies became friends.

    I recommend both books, and you can buy them in India for 399 Rs.

    Now, I barely understand this frothing in the mouth; the nation of India was not equivalent to the nation concept until the British left. The example is that TN and Kerala both of which are very Indian states, were not part of India in most historical maps. West Punjab which forms virtually the centerpiece of the empires from Gupta to Mughal, has no Indian concept.

    Time to let go, even Indians are not offended any more if British and US historians talk about India. The prickly Indian of the Indira Gandhi era is no more. That means that we are more confident of our place i the world. The only people who take offence at every perceived insight are the Hindtva people.

    3+
  9. The advantage China had was that despite its centuries old foreign domination by Mongols and Manchus, its core Han identity remained intact. Therefore questions like whether a pre-modern China ever existed never arose.

    India was in the unique position that after 5 centuries of Muslim rule, a quarter of its population ended up Muslim. It was neither 100% Hindu nor 100% Muslim. So this quarter portion of the population presented a problem. Were they Indian? Were they un-indian? Were they sort-of-Indian? Or were they Pakistani Indians (to juxtapose them with Hindus who were supposedly Hindustani Indians – this is the stand Jinnah took.). It was in those politically charged days these questions about the very existence of Indian nationhood started being raised. I am dead sure that had India been 100% Hindu or 100% Muslim in 1947, such ludicrous questions wouldn’t even exist.

    The question was never resolved, but the whole result of this almighty fracas was that India said to-hell-with-it, and gave quarter of its territory to Muslims. India found its peace, and Pakistanis started going in their heads, are they Indians? Are they un-Indians? Are they sort-of-Indians? 🙂

    And someone please ban me from these blogs. Wasting way too much time here. Resolution of the day – this is my last post for today!

    6+
    1. As I’ve discussed above, the issue with India being a modern-construct isn’t about Muslims, its about the fact that we have no evidence that a coherent Hindu/Indian identity existed before the 18th century. All we have are modern Indians assuring us it must be true, because their sense of self would be threatened if their mythos is shattered (which is true of all peoples).

      Visa-vis Pakistan and India, you have it backward. The controversies about what it means to be Indian, Indus Valley ancestry, the Vedic Religion, the divisions between Dharmic thought, Tamil vs Aryan; this is all discussed and debated almost exclusively by Hindu-Indians. These topics don’t register in Pakistan. For better or worse, most Pakistanis are set in their identity (Muslims first, ethnicity (Punjabi/Sindhi) second).

      3+
      1. Pakistanis are set in their identity (Muslims first, ?????

        Is it so? Why did BD breakaway or there is Baluch army , Jiye sind, etc. Nothing is set in stone.

        0
        1. After the loss of East Pakistan, the Pakistani state doubled down on Islam as a way to head off any further ethnic secessionism. People are supposed to define themselves as Pakistani and Muslim as opposed to focusing on older primordial identities like Punjabi, Sindhi, Pathan etc. “Pakistan Studies” is a school subject focused on building a state-approved sense of national identity. There are now many people in Pakistan who when asked say that they are Muslims first, Pakistanis second. On the other hand, many people remain very conscious of their ethnicity, especially those from the less-developed provinces.

          I personally don’t think doubling down on Islam was a good strategy. It would have been better to learn the lesson that ethnic diversity needs to be respected and that all the constituents of the federation need to be kept happy.

          0
  10. Shivaji did not conceive of himself as a Hindu-Indian fighting against foreign Muslims (Hindavi in 17th century India had a general meaning of Indic-speaking persons, not Hindu/Indian). He thought of himself as a Marathi clansman fighting to liberate Marathi lands from non-Marathi rule. He had no such problem with non-Indic Muslims ruling other parts of India, and actively fought to conquer and loot unwilling Hindu-Indian rulers.

    also, i don’t buy this explanation as illuminating something deep: if it was ethnic-class shivaji should just have converted to islam. then he could have fought from a more ‘commanding’ cultural height.

    this is exactly what we see in iran and turan: conversion to islam allowed for the reemergence of a local elite who had been outside of the threshold of power when they were non-muslim.

    i have even suggested with tongue-in-cheek that hindus who wish to stay in bangladesh should just convert to islam. but people won’t/don’t because something is precious to them in hinduism. is this modern? some elaboration yes, but not all. the testament that there was something special is that india remained mostly non-muslim where proud iran bent the knee and welcomed the arab god as their own in the fullness of time. (though it did take a few centuries as zoroastrian polities persisted around the caspian until the 800s)

    10+
  11. “There was something special in India that kept it mostly non-Muslim”.

    There’s been a lot of good work done in the academic realm on this subject, and the general consensus is that “something special” was Brahmanism. The areas of South-Asia that did convert to Islam (Afghanisan, Punjab, Sindh, Bengal), had rejected the Brahmanical Caste System that took hold in inner-India, and were either a kind of “nominal” Hindu, or Buddhist, prior to their conversion to Islam. These peoples were of a more cosmopolitan bent (especially the Buddhists), and thus were amenable to adapting the vigorous new religion that erupted onto the scene.

    3+
    1. The areas of South-Asia that did convert to Islam (Afghanisan, Punjab, Sindh, Bengal), had rejected the Brahmanical Caste System that took hold in inner-India, and were either a kind of “nominal” Hindu, or Buddhist, prior to their conversion to Islam.

      the genetic data is pretty clear that caste persisted in punjab (1000 genomes data). though not in east bengal.

      i know the scholarly argument. eaton has a different opinion re: bengal.

      and yes, brahmanism can be thought of as the thing that united south asia. the brahmins were given respect in the south, and caste dates to south india to at least 2,000 years ago.

      arguably most european peasants weren’t very christian until the reformation and counter-reformation. but the priest and nobility class created the civilizational identity that we call christendom.

      8+
  12. I’m familiar with the data for Punjabis and its nowhere near extensive enough to make judgement either way. We should also note that its quite possible for Punjabis to have been practicing a caste-like marriage system (inter-tribal, based on skin color, etc), without it being “the” actual caste-system with all the weight of a Brahmanical society behind it (which would prevent conversion to Islam). Still, I think the few historical pieces I have seen about early-Punjabi attitudes (they basically thought the Caste-System was a scam and the high castes peddling it were swindlers) is worth appreciating.

    Regarding Eaton, he makes the argument I stated above. In Bengal he just notes that the frontier-like society in the East is what made the entrenched inward-looking Brahmanism lose out to Islam.

    The problem with equating Brahmanism to South-Asian, is it leaves out pretty important areas (Indus Valley region, Afghanistan, everything east of Bihar, a number of isolated tribal areas inside India, non-Hindus). There’s also the fact that the Brahmanical Caste System is generally considered to be an ugly wart on the face of India, a relic from its pre-modern past meant to be struggled against (at least in polite/educated Indian society).

    Regarding your last point, we should also note many Indian Muslims weren’t very Muslim until the surge in Orthodox Sunni consolidation starting in the 18th century. They previously engaged in a number of syncretic practices that are considered grounds for excommunication today. A thought for those who argue Muslims in India were always some kind of alien entity at complete odds with their surrounding Hindu society.

    3+
      1. Afghanistan east of the Hindu Kush speaks an Iranic language (not intelligible with anything other than itself), but that’s all. Genetically they are closer to North-Indians than Iranians, and historically have been part of what’s going on in North-India more than what’s going on in Iran.

        So in that sense, part of a greater India/South-Asia if we want to indulge such talk.

        4+
        1. Genetically they are closer to North-Indians than Iranians, and historically have been part of what’s going on in North-India more than what’s going on in Iran.

          this is false. though genetically eastern iranians (khorasan), afghans, and some northwest indians do form a distinct grouping.

          i think it is best to think of the pashtun areas s liminal to iran, south asian, and turan.

          1+
          1. Regarding the DNA, again, I defer to you. The studies I’ve seen show Pashtuns (and especially Pakistani-Pashtuns) clustering extremely close to Sindhis and some Punjabis, to an even greater extent than Tajiks. Pashtuns are obviously a very widespread people in Afghanistan, and I suspect the Pashtuns that you see clustering closer to Khorasan/Tajik populations are those Pashtuns who live in more central/western areas of Afghanistan, rather than the area bounded by the Hindu-Kush and KPK. Though this is postulation on my part.

            History wise, I don’t think there’s any argument this region of Afghanistan has had more to do with Northern-India than Khorasan or Transaxonia, though as you point out, this is by no means exclusionary as the region has been a kind of cultural cross-roads.

            0
  13. ’m familiar with the data for Punjabis and its nowhere near extensive enough to make judgement either way. We should also note that its quite possible for Punjabis to have been practicing a caste-like marriage system (inter-tribal, based on skin color, etc),

    you don’t know as much genetics as me, that’s pretty obvious. eg no way you have a good intuition if you think skin color assortative mating would do this (it won’t). as someone who has familiarity with a lot of global data sets, the punjabi lahore sample’s topology “looks south asian” in a way you don’t see much elsewhere. the endogamy has to be unnatural. most researchers wouldn’t believe the south asian data if it wasn’t real.

    please don’t try to geneticssplain me.

    There’s also the fact that the Brahmanical Caste System is generally considered to be an ugly wart on the face of India, a relic from its pre-modern past meant to be struggled against (at least in polite/educated Indian society).

    who cares? i don’t. i agree it’s an ugly wart. so? the past of christianity including witch burning. and anti-clericalism is right under the skin of a lot of westerners.

    Regarding your last point, we should also note many Indian Muslims weren’t very Muslim until the surge in Orthodox Sunni consolidation starting in the 18th century. They previously engaged in a number of syncretic practices that are considered grounds for excommunication today. A thought for those who argue Muslims in India were always some kind of alien entity at complete odds with their surrounding Hindu society.

    i have read ‘crossing the threshold.’ i know all this. additionally, parts of my family were part of the ulema who helped show nominally muslim peasants ‘how to be muslim.’ the hanafi way was something my father was indoctrinated into at a young age because of his family legacy. for various reasons local ‘traditionalist’ islams seem to cede ground to ‘orthodox’ versions the world around (see china or java for the exact same process you see in south asia).

    i bolded the last section because it’s best on this exchange with me you understand i’m not a ‘hindu nationalist’ invested in a particular narrative. i probably was more sympathetic to your view until a few years ago. i’ve moved beyond that for specific reasons (re: south asia) and also my conceptualization of what ‘nationhood’ or ‘civilizational identity’ means more broadly.

    9+
    1. I defer to you completely on genetics. But you left out the meat of my comment, namely, that if Punjabi endogamy was based on a tribal caste-like system, without the the all-encompassing society-structuring Brahmanical Caste-System, it would explain the genetic results, and historic findings about Punjabis being aloof from Brahmanism.

      I wonder also, if the samples being from Lahore have something to do with the results, given the city was a magnet for non-Punjabi Muslims emigrating from India. Would the mixing and being subsumed into Punjabis be contributory to the results?

      Regarding the Caste-System, I only mention it because the opinion of Indians should matter when defining what makes Indians “Indian”. And a lot of Indians hate the caste-system, and wouldn’t want to be defined by it.

      I agree with the rest, and am open to reexamining what constitutes nationhood/civilization. Currently, I think of it like this. If I could time-travel to the 1500’s, would I be able to convince the regions of India/Iran/China today that they were part of a single whole, defined by history, culture, race, whatever. I could do it for Iran/China. I don’t see how I could do it for Indians. Maybe I’m wrong.

      3+
      1. But you left out the meat of my comment, namely, that if Punjabi endogamy was based on a tribal caste-like system, without the the all-encompassing society-structuring Brahmanical Caste-System

        right, but what does ‘tribal caste-like system’ mean? i see nothing like this outside of south asia and there are plenty of tribal people. it’s a caste-like system that’s just like caste in terms of endogamy. ok. (bengalis don’t have this)

        I wonder also, if the samples being from Lahore have something to do with the results, given the city was a magnet for non-Punjabi Muslims emigrating from India.

        this is a good point. the samples are labeled ‘punjabi’ but i doubt the collectors were punctilious. that being said, there is one cluster which looks like a large endogamous caste, kind of like patels in the guju group. don’t know who these people are, trying to figure it out. (i label them ‘punjabi-outlier’)

        I could do it for Iran/China. I don’t see how I could do it for Indians. Maybe I’m wrong.

        in the 1500s iran was ruled by a turkic (though with greek and kurd origins) safavid elite which was transforming iran into what we think of iran to be as a shia nation. that being said, they deferred to the majority persian language as definitive in outlining what iran qua iran is and was. turkic dynasties like the safavids and qajars did fuse in a way with the native population through religious uniformity that the indo-islamic dynasties never did (the palhavis were from north iranian background, but the last shah’s wife was from an azeri military family).

        4+
  14. I don’t even understand why people get angry on Audrey anymore. It’s clear that the ideas she is getting ( as shown in comments section)have deep resonance in Significant Indian population ( India was not a country, Hinduism is not a Relegion). When the brown man/woman in willing to do colonizers bidding and repeat their talking points why should we get angry on the white man

    Someone rightly remarked on Twitter had she written half the stuff on Native American pops the way she writes on Hindus and Indians no university would have touched her with a barge pole. But then the Native American community doesn’t have its house-n****r, like the Hindus have ,so there is that.

    11+
    1. as an outsider this seems right. but, i actualy think it’s OK for whites to examine nonwhite history and vice versa. though *some* of the critiques of nonwhite/critical types of white outsiders are valid too.

      6+
      1. There are both pros and cons of examining any history through the lens of an outsider. Outsiders can bring in a perspective which is sometimes lost to native eyes. An Indian examining US history will immediately notice the inherent hypocrisy of men writing “All men are created equal”, and then going home in the evening to buy and sell fellow humans like cattle in slave markets. The same will be lost in the blind spot of American writers. Likewise, an Indian observer will sense defeatism in the harakiri of an impoverished samurai just because he can’t provide for his family. Japanese will see honor in the act.

        However, not being submerged in the cultural milieu, not having lived the actual experience can also cause serious errors of judgement. It can make someone miss subtle but important
        clues about the working of an alien culture.

        5+
        1. This came up in AP US History.

          Teacher was white, 1960’s era hippy liberal. Class was almost half minority. Someone asked about Washington, Jefferson owning slaves one day. The teacher sighed and said they were “men of their times”. That always seemed to be a weak explanation to me. I was an immigrant, it wasn’t my place to criticize I felt like. If the Americans wanted to revere whomever, that was their business.

          But now, we have Jackson’s place in history being threatened for being a bigot, because a large number of Americans themselves are against him (or at least a large and loud enough minority of Americans, with too few willing to speak in his favor). The confederate statues are gone. Even Washington and Jefferson’s place in history is under great peril. I don’t think a U.S. that is majority minority past 2050 will celebrate them. Maybe history will be revised and Adams will be made the great Founding Father.

          Churchill is under threat for being racist towards Indians.

          Closer to home, Gandhi is under threat for being racist towards blacks, his statue recently dumped in Ghana as the result of a campaign by an American educated female black nationalist academic.

          0
    1. Brilliant. Nicely said. Many of the most vociferous leaders of Hinduttva are Indian muslims. [Twelvers, sixers, Sufis, Ahmedis, females, liberal Sunnis, atheist Sunnis.]

      There is such a thing as Hindu muslim and Hindu christian that many muslims and christians identify with. Maybe it is partly a reaction to Indian muslims being tired of being attacked by Jihadis for being “Takfir” or lesser muslims. But this is a ground living reality.

      0
  15. I don’t think there is anything particular controversial in saying that while India (like any other place) has always existed as a geographical entity, it has not always existed as a modern nation-state. That is the distinction that Professor Truschke seems to be making. The nation-state is a fairly recent concept. Prior to the arrival of the British, India was divided into hundreds of princely states, the residents of which may not have necessarily felt like one nation. Parts of what is today the Republic of India were never part of any pan-Indian empire (someone has mentioned Kerala above). I don’t see what is so upsetting about this, since the borders of most nation-states are historically contingent.

    Professor Truschke is also correct in stating that “Hinduism” is in many ways a constructed category. It was the British who used it as an umbrella term in the census for anyone who didn’t declare their religion to be something that the colonial power recognized (like Islam). Previously, people may have described themselves as worshipping a particular god.

    Finally, regarding Zack’s point about “South Asian nationalism”, India is not the same as South Asia.

    2+
    1. Previously, people may have described themselves as worshipping a particular god.

      wow, didn’t know you knew so much about hinduism!

      or perhaps you are just repeating fashionable nonsense?

      5+
      1. This came up in my MA. One of my courses is called “Sacred Sound in South Asia” and we spent the first week discussing what Hinduism is. It being an umbrella term was one of the theories discussed.

        0
  16. Seems apt to quote Peter Sellers’s evergreen dialogue from The Party.

    “In India we don’t think who we are, we know who we are!”

    0
  17. I am way too jet-lagged, and probably not very worthy commentator for Brown Pundits anymore. However, I am amazed that the following parts are never brought up against this comment:

    “We have no records illustrating that pre-modern Indians understood each other to be part of a single Indian/Hindu civilization.”

    There are NO records for many things in pre-modern India, and so things that are ‘oral’ traditions and folklore are the best approximations for self-concept of pre-modern Indians. With that background,

    1. Rama Rajya – This concept is old and wide-spread. Irrespective of actual king, ‘Rama rajya’ is still an ideal conception of ‘best polity’ in Indian mind and old literature.

    2. Ramayana – Rama and co travels all the way from Ayodhya to south of Dandakaranya, and consider all of it as part of their kingdom. Rama calls it his duty to kill Vaali to protect rules of his kingdom. At least from Ayodhya to Lanka, the self-concept of Bharata exists. Sugreeva gives description of who are ‘us’ vs ‘foreign’ while describing the geography in Kishkinda kaanda. There are 300 or more tellings of Ramayanas, but all of them seem to think the trek from Ayodhya to Lanka is actual geography of India from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka (complete with Adam’s bridge).

    3. Rituals – Even among sudra folk invocation for promise from gods starts with ‘Bharatavarshe, Bharata kande, Jambu dveepe..’, and refers to their geography with respect to rivers Ganga/Godavari. Why care about Bharata varshe if there was no ‘concept’ of India ? (this also includes reference of years with respect to yuga/sakam and can’t be modern concept of calendar).

    4. Kaasi/Varanaasi – Grandmas wishing to die in Kaasi is much older than any invasions from Mughals or British. Again, this is referred commonly in old literature (of local languages) as the best thing one can aspire to. They are not showing off to anyone when they are singing these Bhakti songs etc in their native tongue.

    5. Distributed religious shrines/pilgrimage – Jyothirlinga, Sakti peeta, Pushkaras/Kumba mela (rotating between Northern and Southern rivers – and heavily attended by common folk; nothing can be more Indian thing than bathing in rivers – small and big).

    6. Himalayas + Rameswaram – Importance of both of them covers Vaishavites, Shivates, Northies, Southies.

    There is so much living tradition attested for so long, I don’t know why “records” are needed to catalogue them.

    13+
    1. Am travelling. Had a long comment but before it could be published the computer restarted for an update. Didn’t feel like writing another.

      To be honest I was so shocked by INDTHINGS’s comments I couldn’t take them seriously as something an intelligent person might actually believe. Was she/he an “internet personality” or a real person?

      The proof is Ananta (or endless).

      Maybe I was misunderstanding what INDTHINGS was saying? Maybe she/he meant that the prior concepts of Aryavarsha or Bharata or Hindustan (or whatever) referred to an area far larger than India (Turin plus east Iran + Xinjiang + Tibet + SAARC + South East Asia) and therefore cannot truly be called an Indian thing? Was that what was being said?

      One of the chapters in Kishkinda Kanda which discuss world geography is referenced here:
      https://www.brownpundits.com/2018/07/18/kailasha-and-narodnaya-central-to-arya-culture/
      Note that Indonesia is referenced as being part of India and not as being mleccha.

      1+
  18. Having given some more thoughts on the topic, I think I have some understanding of the thought process of the “other” side. INDTHINGS and Kabir are probably Pakistanis, or persons with Pakistani heritage. I don’t think they are intentionally being intellectually dishonest. Their writings simply speak their official government sponsored history textbooks. In Pakistani history books, the history starts with Muhammad-bin-Qasim’s arrival in India and closely follows the trajectory of various Muslim invaders. In this scheme of things, India and its pre-existing Hindu population simply becomes a vaguely painted backdrop. Pakistani philosophers reinforced this view in their writings. Sample Iqbal.

    Ae Aab-e-Rood-e-Ganga, Woh Din Hai Yaad Tujh Ko?
    Utara Tere Kinare Jab Karawan Hamara

    Oh, waters of the river Ganges! Do you remember those days?
    Those days when our caravan halted on your bank?

    As you can see, the theme is evoking the vistas of a wandering caravan settling down at the banks of Ganges. Who lived along these banks before them is not even mentioned, presumably because it was not even important. In this scheme of things India simply becomes a patch of land where some disunited tribes worshiping pagan local gods resided. Muslims form the first nation in this land.

    Indians on the other hand are brought up on a history rich in ancient Hindu past with suitable coverage of ancient polities like Mauryan and Gupta empires. Even their epics like Mahabharata mentions places like Panchal, Anga, Banga, Magadha etc, which they can immediately relate to modern Indian provinces. So they intuitively know India must have existed as a single cultural entity since antiquity. Pakistanis simply cannot have this intuition given their conditioning.

    And finally, I fully agree with one of the commentators on this blog that people like AudreyTruschke are simply seeking free publicity by acting as agent provocateur. I mean, one can still accept that it is a debatable topic if Indian nationalism existed in pre-modern times. But to claim that politically unified India did not exist in pre-modern times is stupid. Can’t she google “map of Mughal Empire” or “map of Mauryan empire”?

    5+
    1. Please don’t ascribe my views to my “heritage”. I was educated in the US and have read beyond “Pak Studies”.

      The theory that Hinduism may in some ways be an umbrella term created by the British was presented during my MA degree. The instructor is a white Englishman and cannot be accused of Pakistani bias.

      India did not exist as a nation-state in the modern sense. No one is denying that the Mughal Empire united large parts of what is today India, but that is not a nation-state.

      1+
  19. India/Hind definitely did exist as a distinct geographical/cultural/ethnic polity from at least the time of Achaemenids. Travelogues of Chinese monks, Persian & Arab chroniclers speak of Arab, Fars, Khorasan, Hind, and chin. In fact, there were debates in Abbasid courts about the qualities of each of these civilizations and their people. Amir Khusro wrote about the paradise called Hind. Hinduism was often referred as the religion of Brahmans.

    2+
  20. The studies I’ve seen show Pashtuns (and especially Pakistani-Pashtuns) clustering extremely close to Sindhis and some Punjabis,

    for historical reasons those were always sampled in pakistan. i’ll do a double-check….

    0
  21. What the hell was all this about ? Zack bhai, aapke mann ko thes lagi samajhta hu, per jasbaad par thoda qabu …

    2+
      1. Professor Truschke has extensively studied Indian history and written several books about it. That counts for far more than her being of “colonizer stock”.

        People cannot be stopped from addressing various subjects because of their race. That is just an absurd argument.

        0
          1. I don’t know but that has nothing to do with the objection that she is of “colonizer stock” and so should not say anything about India.

            If something that a Ph.D historian says bothers you so much, acquire a Ph.D in history yourself and then rebut her properly. Otherwise, she has the right to say what she wants to say in her field of expertise.

            0
          2. That in itself is colonial. I may be hypocritical for saying this but the fact is that most elite learning about the East takes place in Western education institutes.

            PhDs are built on supervisory linkages so in a lot of ways there isn’t that much change in the mindset.

            Yes there is a huge difference about who gets to say what.

            South Asia is a psychically shattered region, which is why BP exists. It is only when this wound (imposed by Colonisers) is healed can the region move collectively forward.

            There has never been an act of contrition for what the British did to India (the rape of the Subcontinent).

            0
          3. Holding Professor Truschke responsible for what the British did to India long before she was even born makes very little sense to me.

            She is an expert in her field. You can’t take away her right to speak because of her race. Either you acquire the necessary expertise to argue against her or you accept her right to put forth views that you dislike.

            0
  22. I could say that Germany never existed as a country or concept before 1990, because if you look at the maps before then they’re not the same. Is this form of logic not what this troll academic is claiming?

    How does one explain the Maurya Empire, which more or less has the same borders as the modern country of India, minus the bits that went to Pakistan, plus Tamil Nadu and Kerala? Plenty of archeology within the boundaries including the edicts of Ashok. Others then came and went including the Gupta empire and Mughal empire. Remarkable continuation overall in terms of borders.

    Perhaps her ignorance stems from her history education. I grew up mostly in the West. They teach nothing about Asian history. World history in 6th grade and again in 9th grade, started with ancient Egypt, then proceeded to the Middle East, then Greece, then Rome, then jump over and talk about colonization of the New World. There’s stuff from their own religious traditions mixed in – I can recall a public school teacher in New York teaching us about how the Israelites were exiled from Egypt then were lost for 40 years in the desert, showing us exactly the path they took on a world map, then the same thing happening in a different state, private school, different teacher in 9th grade. Many years later, I learned that there’s no evidence to support any of this and even many rabbis consider it to be metaphorical rather than historical!

    A history foundation like that is hopeless, no matter how many overseas junkets they take on their university’s dime later on to compensate under the pretense of creating their “scholarly work”.

    3+
      1. In what way was the Mughal empire under Aurangzeb not a modern nation state? Would you classify it more like an EU type (albeit more centralized) federation with local autonomy?

        Personally I find the very idea that nation states aren’t very ancient to be a modern conceit.

        0
  23. The old argument between Congress and Muslim league whether India was and is one nation is rehashed. It is not just westerners who dispute the notion of India as one nation.

    0

Comments are closed.