Friday, April 30, 2010

Modern Sapta-Sindhu: Structuring the Development of India along 7 Major River Basins

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In my opinion, to understand India, her history and her civilization, we need to look at the classical concept of Sapta-Sindhu. Although the concept of Sapta-Sindhu has been changing with time, in all the given times, India's civilization along with her production centres, centres of learning, centres for military and political power and economic growth have been along the Sapta-Sindhus of contemporary time.

In Early Vedic times, the Sapta Sindhu means rivers of Punjab, Saraswat and kabul. In later Vedic period, it also includes Ganga-basin as well (Mandala 10, Nadistuti sukta). By the time of Vishnupuran (around 400BC) the pan-subcontinental view of sapta-sindhu was ascertained. It is included in 7 holy rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri.

I think in modern times, the 7 basins which I have marked in map above marks the centre of gravity of India. 

1 - Red - Indus Basin
2 - Red - Ganga basin
3 - Yellow - Krishna-Godavari Basin (I think they should always be considered together because people, rulers, and market of this region behaves in similar way with respect to Indo-Gangetic basin and Kaveri basin)
4 - Blue - Narmada-Tapti Basin
5 - Blue - Mahanadi Basin
6 - Blue - Kaveri Basin
7 - Black - Airavati Basin

It is impossible for the people from basin 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 to progress alone without being bothered by people from basin 1 (Indus valley) and without taking care of basin 7 (Irawati valley). With time (in not so distant future), people from basin 1 and 7 will have to be persuaded (forcefully or peacefully) to join in. 

The people from Basin 3 overlook the affairs of people from basin 2 and basin 6. The influence of rulers and market of this region spills over to aforementioned basins time and again. During most of the times, basin 4 and Basin 5 play secondary role to the interaction of basin 2 and basin 3.

Basin 6 is comparatively secluded from the affairs of basins 1,2,3,4,5 and thus has acted as perfect incubation facility for sustained growth (of market and produce). Furthermore, substantial parts of basin 6 are blessed with rains for 8 months, thus making Kaveri valley as one of the most fertile regions of India.

Basin 7 has to be taken into consideration as it acts  as a sole gate-way to India for another rising power in Asia, China.

The political unification of these 7 river-basins from source till mouth of the major river and their tributaries is the key towards stable India and world. This entire region of all these rivers is needed to be brought back into the fold of Indic civilization, so that even in case of political disintegration, India will stay..

The thought process continued in part 2 of this this series.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Partition of India - Part 1 - Reasons

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The Partition of India was one of the most traumatic incident in the modern history of India. Not only it divided an ancient civilzation, its blatant mismanagement rendered more than 1.5 million dead and about 10 million displaced and devastated. The emotional trauma to millions of other people in rest of India can be experienced but can't be quantified.

Here is the gist of fundamental reasons which led to this damaging chapter of human history.

Reasons of Partition
British interests - I will give these the prime importance over the Jinnah and ML.

The political aspect of Islam - The fact that Deen and Daulat cannot be segregated. That in sharia, fatwa, khilat, farman etc are not mere announcements, they are legal directives. And they are treated upon by the muslim masses as the same. The concept of dar-ul-islam and the real-politik of mullahs and zamindars of upper gangetic plains played supplementary role.

It was in British interest to create a state which does their bidding, so that they can maintain their strategic presence in middle-east and central asia vis-a-vis the "Great Game" with Russia. Without these interests, Pakistan won't exist then and now and in future. The geopolitical "JOB" of Pakistan is to act as a rental state for the British Empire (and now USA, britain's political successor) and increasingly China. Pakistan also serves purpose that of Military arm of Saudi Arabia against Iran (and possibly Turkey in future). All these players (but prima-facie, the British) made sure that Pakistan exists in space and times, in spite of all odds. It is unbelievable for anyone that British empire which quelled 1857 war of independence in one year and quit-india movement of 1942 in six months were unable to "silence" the handful supporters of Muslim league and private armies of muslim zamindars. It shows their complicity. The question is what made it so easy for British to "use" political Islam in India and middle east? If history of previous century is viewed some common-sense, it is seen that the political islam is used by the west (and now by china) to their interest. This was one of the major drives for British to jump in World-war 1. 

Ottoman Turkey was defeated and Islamic influence on Suez, and middle east was overthrown. By 1935, the Bedouin tribesman Ibn Saud (with help of British and USA) was established as king of Saudi Arabia. He was allowed to conquer the territories of Turkish empire and Yemen (which included Mecca and madina). And he was allowed to conquer the Persian gulf region (which has bulk of oil). The control of Mecca-Medina was the insurance of newly established "Saudi Arabia" against the expansionist territorial ambitions of Persia (and Turkey in future).

Turkey became westernised in 1924. Jerusalem (Palestine) became British colony after the first world-war. Jews started pouring in middle-east. This was facilitated by holocaust of hitler. In broad terms, all so called "islamic states" had a military leader (or monarch) in close association of Ulema which is controlled by British (now US and western) interests. Thus it is established that Ulema and Monarch and hence ordinary Abdul can be used for western interests.

Now, there are two ways to buy out Ulema. 
  1. To give them all the pleasures and continuous mollification of their Islamic ego and glorious past.
  2. Make them insecure of a "Kaafir" majority which will threaten the existence of Islam.
In India, both of them were employed. Firstly, all the races which participated in crushing the independence war of 1857 were declared as Martial races. Secondly, entire religion of Islam was declared martial. It worked particularly well in Punjab and NWFP. It was buttressed by encouraging the Ulema (based in Upper Gangetic valley) to dream about glorious past and their 1000 year rule over weak Hindus. It is interesting and this again proves the point that history is not only about facts, its also about how people choose to remember their past.

The Hindu population of Gangetic plains was deemed non-martial and effeminate (yes these are the words used by papers of royal society to describe Bengalis who comprised of the revolting Bengal army of 1857 which was later disbanded). The immediate example in front of the "officially martial" muslim zamindars and abduls were their Hindu neighbours who were deemed (officially, that is) effeminate and non-martial.

Here originates the popular image of coward Hindu Brahmin-Baniya which is still propagated in the mainstream media of Pakistan. One has to only search for youtube videos from Pakistani news channels to understand why is it so easy to control political islam against a particular target. 

One has to understand that just like communism, Islam aims for class-less and stateless society. Whereas, primary motivation of INC was nationalistic, the primary motivation of Ulema and political Islam was re-establishment of socio-political supremacy of Islam in India. One has to stop looking at Islam as a Moksha-Maarga like Sankhya-Yoga-Vedanta-Shaiva-Vaishnava-Jaina-Bauddha. Islam is essentially a socio-political ideology with tinge of divinity in it. Another example of such ideology which is primarily socio-political but which uses God for mass-mobilization is Socialism of Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave.

Now there are two opinions and options over how to establish an Islamic state in Indian subcontinent. One is to be a part of undivided India and then capture the power by all means (democratic, undemocratic, demographic, whatever) and declare India as Islamic state. OR to ask for a separate temporary Islamic state within India which will incubate the Islamic expansionist meme into rest of India. 

When elections of 1937 showed clean sweep of Indian National Congress (INC) even in Muslim majority provinces, it became clear that INC in general and the coterie around Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (MKG) was being groomed for eventual transfer of power. Many important people of INC who did not belong to Gandhian coterie were thrown out of power-struggle one by one. First to go was Muhammad Ali Jinnah (MAJ), then Subhashchandra Basu (SCB) and lastly Vallabh bhai Patel (VBP). Clearly, Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) was the "Chosen One", not only of MKG but also of British.

MAJ happened to stray away into Muslim league under the brain-washing of Muhammad Iqbal and using muscle and funding of Muslim Satraps of Gangetic plains, mobilized the political Islam of the region. SCB strayed away into wilderness (but not without shining brightly like a magnificent lightening in stormy night before going down). Patel, when thrown out of power-equation, was too old to go anywhere and do anything. He died within 3 years.

However, in spite of this apparent understanding which is clearly seen not only in actions of Gandhi-Nehru-Wavell and Mountbatten, but also the British policy makers of London, there was clearly some deal-breakers. MKG was not totally subservient to British manipulation. His decisions to resign from provincial governments in 1939, withdrawing support to British war effort in WW2 and Quit-India movement in 1942 taking advantage of British preoccupation in WW2 was an act of treachery (in eyes of British). From point of view of MKG, it was opportune time. All his competitors were out of business and equation. He was the undisputed emperor of entire INC and its struggle. There was no sharing of credit and power when India eventually became free. Gandhi could develop Free India according to his vision, now that all his opposing visions were either too weak or eliminated.

However, this is when MAJ offered the services of "political Islam" to British empire. British people, well aware of internal dissensions in weakened Indian society, took that help by MAJ and political Islam, either in desperation OR in cunningness. Perhaps both. What happened thereafter is well known. There was a meteoric rise of MAJ and Muslim League. It should be understood that the partition of India is merely a political event. It is essentially a cultural and civilizational event. This again is best understood if one sees India as a Cultural state, instead of a Nation-state.

The doctrine of partition (Nazariya-e-Pakistan) is an ideology which aims and aimed at total and forcible disconnection and alienation from parent Indian culture and civilization. Hence the territory which is controlled by a power which believes in this alienation was fought for by both the sides. The initial efforts were for entire Indo-Gangetic plains to be a Muslim state. Then when it became clear that Hindu majority of Upper Gangetic basin won't be allowed to go away, they settled for Punjab and Bengal. NWFP was taken for granted, of course.

Later, during negotiations and most importantly riots when it became clear that even Punjab and Bengal will have to be partitioned as well, we got the current political map of Indian subcontinent. Howmuchever Abdul Gaffar Khan wanted NWFP to join Indian union, NWFP was marked as partitioned India. There is context of "Strategic Depth" in military science. It refers to region of retreat and regroup and relaunch offence in case of initial defeats. Punjab is the strategic depth for army fighting in NWFP against CAR forces. Hence Punjab had to go as well. And Sindh provides sea access to Punjab and NWFP, hence part of Sindh and/or Baluchistan had to go. According to the declassified papers, this was the minimum requirement of British.

However, the pretext they used for partition was religion, so entire Sindh and bengal were brought into equation by ML. British had to agree, it was a case well fought by MAJ. However, in negotiations and riots, British were forced to partition Punjab and Bengal. Curiously, it was riots which sparked off negotiations. There was a huge Hindu population in Sindh. But Sindh was not burning like Bengal and Punjab in spite of the genocide, hence no negotiations and entire Sindh went to Pakistan. Sindh should have been partitioned too, like Punjab and Bengal. It is the people who indulged in riots forced policy makers to take their notice and redraw. It was the butchers of Kolkata which saved Kolkata from going to Pakistan. Gopal Pantha, the Butcher was the local Hindu Goonda of Kolkata who became quite popular (or infamous) for his terror.

Thus, it is understood that Independence and Partition of India is not a process which happened on 15th august 1947. It simply fructified on that day. It was a long fought struggle primarily by nationalists who were mostly hindus. I am not discrediting the support of countless muslims who contributed towards freedom struggle in their individual capacity as a part of INC OR some other organization. They are my and our forefathers to whom we are eternally indebted to. However the institution of Ulema had the vision of Dar-al-Islam while supporting OR opposing partition. 

This FACT has to be considered and remembered. 

Please follow up the topic in part-2 of this series wherein the historical reasons for this event of partition are discussed.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Menace of Maoism in India - Checking History for Possible Solutions

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There is something about the region currently infested by Maosim in Central India, which is time and again disregarded by power in Delhi. This is the region known as Gondwana. Akbar was incapable of conquering this region. This region held out against all imperial conquests of Mughals. Only when Aurangzeb descended on Deccan with his full force, kings of this region made an uneasy truce with Mughals and accepted their nominal suzerainty. To control this region and be at peace, one has to understand the history of this region. A number of old kingdoms were established by, or together with, ruling families of the Gonds and other scheduled tribes in this region. The first of these is mentioned in 1398, when Narsingh Rai, raja of Kherla, is said by Ferishta to have ruled all the hills of Gondwana. He was finally overthrown and killed by Hoshang Shah, king of Malwa. Between the 14th and the 18th centuries, three main Gond kingdoms existed; Garha-Mandla occupied the upper Narmada Valley, Deogarh-Nagpur occupied the Kanhan River and upper Wainganga River valleys, and Chanda-Sirpur occupied present-day Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, and eastern Adilabad districts.

The three Gond principalities of Garha-Mandla, Deogarh, and Chanda-Sirpur were nominally subject to the Mughal emperors. In addition to the acquisitions made in the north at the expense of Garha-Mandla, the Mughals, after the annexation of Berar in 1595, established governors at Paunar in Wardha District and Kherla in Betul District. Having thus hemmed in the Gond states, however, they made no efforts to assert any effective sovereignty over them; the Gond rajas for their part were content with practical independence within their own dominions. Under their peaceful rule their territories flourished, until the weakening of the Mughal empire and the rise of the expanding Bundela and Maratha powers brought misfortune upon them.

In the 17th century Chhatar Sal, the Bundela chieftain, deprived the Mandla principality of part of the Vindhyan plateau and the Narmada Valley. In 1733 the Maratha Peshwa invaded Bundelkhand; and in 1735 the Marathas had established their power in Saugor. In 1742 the Peshwa advanced to Mandla and exacted tribute, and from this time until 1781, when Gond dynasty of Garha-Mandla was finally overthrown, Garha-Mandla remained practically a Maratha dependency. Meanwhile the other independent principalities of Gondwana had in turn succumbed. 

Bakht Buland, the ruler of Deogharh, visited Delhi, afterwards was determined to encourage the development of his own kingdom. To this end he invited Hindu and Muslim artisans and cultivators to settle in the plain country, and founded the city of Nagpur. His successor, Chand Sultan continued the development of his country, and moved his capital to Nagpur. On Chand Sultan's death in 1739 there were disputes as to his succession, and his widow invoked the aid of the Maratha leader Raghoji Bhonsle was governing Berar on behalf of the Maratha Peshwa. The Bhonsle family were originally headmen from Deora, a village in Satara District. 

Raghoji's grandfather and his two brothers had fought in the armies of Shivaji, and to the most distinguished of them was entrusted a high military command and the collection of chauth (tribute) in Berar. Raghoji, on being called in by the contending Gond factions, replaced the two sons of Chand Sultan on the throne from which they had been ousted by a usurper, and retired to Berar with a suitable reward for his assistance. Dissentions, however, broke out between the brothers, and in 1743 Raghoji again intervened at the request of the elder brother and drove out his rival. But he had not the heart to give back a second time the country he held within his grasp. Burhan Shan, the Gond Raja, though allowed to retain the outward insignia of royalty, became practically a state pensioner, and all real power passed to the Marathas. 

Chanda, Chhattisgarh, and Sambalpur were added to his dominions between 1745 and 1755, the year of his death. In 1743 Raghoji Bhonsle of Berar established himself at Nagpur, and by 1751 had conquered the territories of Deogarh, Chanda, and Chhattisgarh. A number of rebellions against British rule took place throughout the 19th century. Some of these rebellions focused on protection of forests against commercial logging. In their efforts to subjugate them, entire communities were labelled "criminal classes" by the British.

There are few reasons why Mughals failed and Marathas succeeded in wresting total control over this troubled region. Firstly, Marathas themselves were masters of Guerilla-Warfare. They had fought mughals for almost 47 years (1660 to 1707) by this technique. 

Secondly, they took the benefit of internal dissent among the ruling policy makers of this region. They played a role similar to the one played by Sri Raama and assassination (Or Killing) of Vaali and instating Sugriva on the throne. Raghuji went further, he later drove away this sugriva and became the ruler of Kishkindha (in this case Gondwana - today's troubled spot) himself.

Thirdly, It is interesting to understand why were gonds trusting Marathas but offered fierce resistance to Mughals? because Marathas were closer to them culturally and martially. Mughals were sitting high up on sierra-mountains drinking expensive wine and giving orders. This is the reason why AP-police and to quite an extent MH-Police have packed up the menace from the infested parts of Maharasntra and AP respectively. The key is getting someone whom they identify with to tackle them by Saam-Daan-Danda-Bhed tactics. 

I agree that with added factors like PRC and our own communist parties, the dynamics becomes complicated. However, it is better if the actual confrontation is done by local police, rather than CRPF or IA backed up by Su-30 MKI. The central forces can strike at the logistical chain which supplies these people with arms. They can be involved in training the police-force. But not as premier strike-force. 

Lastly, this district of South Bastar and Dantewada is really secluded and primitive. Perhaps, this is the last reserve of these people. No rulers in the past went on to impose a complete rule in this region at least. It did not fall on any major trade-routes for British, so after cleansing the Mumbai-Kolkata rail-route and roadway and Hyd-Nagpur-delhi rail and road way, they let the tribals in this region be.

What needs to be done in long-run after all this is over is something similar to the naked tribals of Andaman. Let the tribals be along with their sacred forest, valley and riverine. Develop this region as tourist spot, instead of industrial spot. Things then will change with time slowly..