Browncast 72: Conversation with Salman Rashid

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In this episode we talk to Salman Rashid. Salman is an ex-army man who left the army to become a travel writer. He has written 10 books and countless articles, most of which can be found at his blog odysseuslahori.  We talk about partition, Pakistan, history, Alexander the Great and whatever else comes up..



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Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

11 thoughts on “Browncast 72: Conversation with Salman Rashid”

  1. Thanks Salman, pretty interesting stories. I also visited ‘odysseuslahori’ site and found some interesting names. You also mentioned in podcast that it should be truthful about history. In regard to this, there are a couple of my observations. You do not need to answer to me, but you as a history buff, can research for yourself:

    • There are some names: Balochistan’s Bolan (Pass), Lahori, etc. Do you know the origin and meaning of these names (e.g. Bolan)?
    • Who was Odysseus? In which battle he fought and against whom?
    • Ok, this Alexander’s mission is a falsification and he didn’t come from Greece. If this mission was true, what he was doing in India? His mission was something else what led him to India.
    • In a battle on the river Granicus (what does it mean this name and in which language?) he fought against Persians in which army more than a half were Greeks! Who fought in Alexander’s army?
    • And, what was the Alexander’s real name? Greeks were no fighters (if you see them today, you know why not), during the Romans time they were treated as non-fighting units, charged to build roads, etc. Then, who were the backbone of elite Romans legions (which, after 193AC gave 24 Roman emperors)?

    Thanks, hope you will enjoy researching the previous and wish you all the best!

  2. It was an interesting, honest & friendly talk, I enjoyed it a lot. There was a point regarding conversion to Muslims in rural areas where Rashid sahab mentioned that conversion happened by lower castes to escape discrimination etc. but historians like Jamal Malik have since refuted this as an unsubstantiated claim.

  3. The talk goes onto Alexander;s invasion of India (Punjab) and the Indian king who opposed him was King Porus.

    Most probably Porus – which is a latinized name of a Hellenized name of a sanskrit -or a Apabhramsa name , is a descendent of Puru who is a vedic character . So the Puru clan which was well-known in Vedic times (Dasarajna battle) continued to the age of Alexander as rulers or it was a prestige name which any local king would take.

    1. VV, there is a continuation of your comment. There are names of some Serbian tribes and places in India. I think Salman, will be a pretty busy guy for a while.

      “Old geographers, wrote that in their time peoples in India were divided into 60 and more of various peoples and tribes, among whom, in the so-called ‘India proprie dicita’ – and in the Porus empire – Pori regis triputaris – are the most notable were Malići – Maliki – who, in the time of Alexander, lived along the Hydroata River on the south side of the Kecin River. Among them, Alexander almost got killed. To their west lived the Dračići, Drakulići, whom Ptolemy called Kesperiani – Casperaei – a very brave and powerful people; behind them lived the Muzići, a very large and mighty people with a town Nis on the Coven River.

      Alexander, with the belief that this city was founded by Dionysius or Bahus, donated gifts to them. Pečela or Pećena on the Indus; Tasila at the influx of Haosta to the Indus, where was the chair of the mighty Emperor Tasila; Bukefala, named by Alexander in the glory of his horse, and Nikeya founded on the same place where he held the victory over Porus; Sanyala, where 17,000 people were killed and 70,000 captured; Minogora: Patala and Silopolye.”

    2. One of the things both Muslim and Sikh Punjabis agree on is how cringe it is when Indians try and co-opt Punjabi history/culture as generic “Indian” history/culture.

      This seems to be a largely North-Indian phenomenon. South-Indians and Bengalis don’t feel the need to pass off other South-Asian cultures as their own.

      1. Like what do we co-opt of the punjabis?

        Unlike the muslim punjabis the N-indian has its own religion, culture and language largely independent of Punjab. No one in N-India really cares much about Punjab , that;s why u hardly hear much news about them in mainstream Indian news.

        1. punjabi supremacists don’t tend to realize how heavy cultural overlap is between gangetic and indus plains. this is especially true among those whose cultural identity was crushed by islam

          1. Its not about Islam, Indian Punjabis are also sick of North-Indians aping their stuff as well. More so in fact, as many Muslim Punjabis don’t even want to admit there’s enough historic/cultural interaction for theft to take place.

            Poros the “Indian King” lol. Uninterrupted centuries of calling Punjabis mlecchas and shudras, but when North-Indians need a martial figure from the past, now Poros is an “Indian King”.

            Or the general attitude toward South-Indians ranging from either benign neglect to passive hostility, but that doesn’t stop North-Indians from trumpeting the Hindu Vijayanawhatever Empire bravely resisting Islamic invaders.

            We’ve talked previously about the cringe of North-Indians trying to claim the IVC, so I’ll skip over that.

            There’s aren’t really any Buddhists left in India to complain about this, but again, North-Indians gloating over the birth of Buddhism in and various ancient Buddhist Empires in the North, ignoring that Buddhism was a reactionary movement against North-Indian Brahmanism, and these empires were often adversarial to North-Indian Brahmans.

      2. This seems to be a largely North-Indian phenomenon. South-Indians and Bengalis don’t feel the need to pass off other South-Asian cultures as their own.

        the linguistic-cultural distance btwn bengali, let alone tamil, is so great that it would be bizarre.

        punjabi and the hindi dialects verge onto dialect continuum. (this is true a bit with bengal and eastern ‘hindu’ dialects, but not nearly as much from what i have heard/read).

      3. “Indian Punjabis are also sick of North-Indians aping their stuff as well.”

        Pray tell who are these ‘Indian’ Punjabis?
        I think the reverse might be more true. Pakistani Punjabis trying to ape north Indian culture with Urdu, Bollywood and all.
        The funniest is when these people go to the west and call themselves ‘South Asian’ or ‘brown’ so that they can pass off as Indians.

        “Uninterrupted centuries of calling Punjabis mlecchas and shudras”

        Lol. This is mostly hot air. You’ve been making these false claims since forever but run away whenever asked for any authoritative academic citation.
        I do admire your perseverance, though.

        “We’ve talked previously about the cringe of North-Indians trying to claim the IVC, so I’ll skip over that.”

        Much more reasonable and much less cringe than the British or Americans claiming the ancient Greeks. Or Pakistanis claiming Mahmud of Ghor. Lol.

  4. Very nicely done. Both the questions and the answers were most informative. On the conversion subject though the lower caste conversions is popular and believable but not necessarily and certainly not always true. A lot of the drive came for economic reasons. Wealthier Hindus found it advantageous to be part of the ruling class which invariably enhanced their status and prestige.
    Thanks again for an interesting interview.

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