Trump & Modi: A Study in Contrast

https://www.pgurus.com/trump-modiji-study-contrast/

An opinion piece on the performance of Trump v Modiji
An opinion piece on the performance of Trump v Modiji

Within a week of taking charge, Donald Trump has clamped down on migrants from 7 Islamic countries. He is going to add Pakistan to the list soon. He has changed tariff to protect American interests. All because he wants America First.

  1. And here our Modiji is yet to scrap the Most Favoured Nation status given to Pakistan 20 yrs ago. Pakistan has not given such a status to us. Several persons have written to Modiji in this regard…but no response. And we keep on complaining about Pakistan sponsoring terrorism in India.
  2. Dr Subramanian Swamy has urged Modiji to stop the import of cement from Pakistan which is hurting the Indian cement industry. No response.
  3. Shiv Sena M.P. Rahul Shewale has suggested to Modiji to include Veer Savarkar in the official list of freedom-fighters so that his portraits can be displayed in govt offices. Yet again No Response.
  4. I have written to Modiji to convert Dawood Ibrahim’s hotel in Bhendi Bazar into a police chowky. No response.
  5. Dr Subramanian Swamy and S. Gurumurthy have written to Modiji about NDTV’s controversial financial transactions. The channel’s former CFO himself has provided highly incriminating details. No response.
  6. Again, a mass of evidence has been given to Modiji about the dealings of P Chidambaram and his son Karti. No response.
  7. Sharad Pawar’s name was shown in the Board of Firectors of SGFX Financials whose share value mysteriously shot up in a few months from about Rs 60 Cr to Rs 7 lakh Cr only. Pawar denied any link to the company. He also said he would complain to the EOW of Mumbai Crime Branch against those who included his name in the board of directors of SGFX. This was some months ago. I put an RTI query and the cops replied that they have received no complaint from Pawar. I wrote to Modiji seeking an enquiry into the affairs of SGFX. He did respond… He conferred the Padma Vibhushan on Pawar!!! Jai Ho!!!

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Shocking Picture of Corruption and Betrayal by Congress and the Gandhi Family!

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/drishtikone/2013/04/wikileaks-and-the-shocking-picture-of-corruption-and-betrayal-by-congress-and-the-gandhi-family/

This past week has been a treasure trove of Wikileaks information for Indian politics.  And interestingly, it leaves the “First Family” of Indian politics – the Gandhis – in a dump.  Wheeling-dealing Rajiv Gandhi, Authoritarian Sanjay Gandhi, a corrupt household, and unpredictable Indira Gandhi.  The Congress in general has come out to be a cesspool of betrayal and corruption.

First, Rajiv Gandhi was said to be the middleman for the Saab-Scandia deal as early as the 1970s (Rajiv Gandhi played a middleman for Saab-Scania aircraft deal in 1970s).  His clean image notwithstanding, he was a corrupt man, which came out in the Bofors scandal.  Interestingly, the Congress media campaign to discredit Wikileaks has started and Congress cronies are writing Opeds already (read Brijesh Kalappa’s Rajiv Gandhi and WikiLeaks: More noise than substance). His bio gives an insight into this backside sucking: He is gifted with the prowess for distinctive sharp-edged analysis and has the advantage of surmounting well accepted beliefs by his inquiring nature. He continues to work closely with several leaders of the Indian National Congress.

Second, about Sanjay Gandhi, the other son.  The US cables, seem to have predicted and also discussed Sanjay Gandhi pretty accurately.  His influence, his manner, way of governing etc.

“Under his aegis, the Youth Congress is organizing itself for a more activist role as the Congress’s cadre arm,” one cable said. It pointed out that Sanjay has a significant and growing number of “allies” within the council of ministers and the top levels of the bureaucracy who also exert influence on major policy decisions. “Sanjay has so far proceeded slowly, methodically and successfully. But the chances for him to make mistakes or to build up an anti-Sanjay — and indirectly an anti-Mrs Gandhi-lobby may increase as he attempts to widen his personal influence and activities and operates more publicly,” it accurately predicted.

By February, 1976, the cables predicted that Mrs Gandhi’s future decisions would probably be influenced by a swelling cynicism and resentment among the urban educated including the bureaucracy about the increasingly personalised nature of the regime she has been building. “Many who supported the emergency gains in discipline and efficiency are now bitterly criticizing, or at the very least, increasingly uneasy, over the rate at which Sanjay Gandhi is expanding her personal influence with his mother’s assistance in apparent preparation for the succession. Influential opinion makers, including some Congressmen, are becoming progressively less guarded in their private criticism of Mrs Gandhi, the suppression of political and press freedom and the expanding activities of the domestic intelligence apparatus,” the cable said.

Wikileaks also discuss Indira Gandhi and how she was constantly placing anti-American envoys as heads of Indian Consulate in US.

Then American envoy Daniel Patrick Moynihan described Kaul, who was handpicked by Indira as India’s ambassador to the US in 1973, as an extremely “arrogant man whose career was marked by a pro-Soviet bias and concomitant Anti-American words and deeds.”

But the Wikileaks also puts a rather negative spotlight on Indira Gandhi from the stand-point of her evaluation of Pakistan and Bhutto, who went out to humiliate India and Indians in the run up to get the Nukes.

According to WikiLeaks, as reported in TOI, Gandhi had written to the then Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1974, in the wake of India’s first nuclear test in Poharan, offering to share information if proper conditions for trust were created. But he rejected the offer, said the cable.

As per US cables, revealed by WikiLeaks, former Prime Minister Gandhi was quoted as saying, “I have explained in my letter to Prime Minister Bhutto the peaceful nature and the economic purposes of this experiment and have also stated that India is willing to share her nuclear technology with Pakistan in the same way she is willing to share it with other countries, provided proper conditions for understanding and trust are created. I once again repeat this assurance.”

Given the history with Pakistan, and the debacle with China, it seems that Indira was also beset with the same disease of naivette’ as her father, Nehru!

Another damning leak from the Wikileaks is that of the Mole in Indira Gandhi’s household – or her cabinet.

Even though the US establishment struggled during the Emergency to read Indira Gandhi’s political moves, it seemed to have had a source in the Gandhi household between 1975 and 1977.  According to the latest cables released by Wikileaks, on a few instances the dispatches from the US Embassy in New Delhi repeatedly refers to a “household” source and “sources close to the PM’s household.”  By the middle of 1976 the cables had began to accurately predict that Gandhi would be calling national elections in 1977. It is not clear how much of help they had received from this Gandhi household source.

A day after Indira Gandhi announced the emergency on June 26, 1975; a US Embassy cable said the key figures behind her move were son Sanjay Gandhi and her secretary R K Dhawan. “This is confirmed by a source close to the PM’s household. Both are non-ideological, extremely authoritarian in their general approach, and focused only on keeping Mrs. Gandhi in power,” the dispatch said.

The Wikileaks also goes on to say that YB Chavan was being courted by the Americans.

Yashwantrao Chavan, finance minister under Indira Gandhi was a key politician courted by the Americans as a possible counter to the Prime Minister, who US President Richard Nixon famously abused.

So, was YB Chavan the mole in Indira’s cabinet?   In his controversial book, “India’s Biggest Cover up“, Anuj Dhar had suggested that India was cowed down during the 1971 war, due to the leaks made by a mole in Indira’s cabinet to the Americans.

The 1971 case relates to an alleged mole in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet who was reported to have leaked information on Cabinet meetings to the CIA. The leaks, it has been alleged, could have adversely impacted the India-Pakistan war.

His attempts to get the name through RTI have been thwarted.

The 1971 case relates to an alleged mole in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet who was reported to have leaked information on Cabinet meetings to the CIA. The leaks, it has been alleged, could have adversely impacted the India-Pakistan war.

When you look at what this mole “achieved” for US and for Pakistan, it is no less than shocking!

THE Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is one of those organisations that are commonly and freely talked about in India but about which informed studies are scarce. The role of the mole in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet in December 1971 is very evident in Jack Anderson’s Papers and those released by the United States State Department much later.

Indira Gandhi, true to form, tried to make political capital out of the affair during the election campaign in 1979, immediately after the publication of Thomas Powers’ authoritative work The Man Who Kept the Secrets. Neither critics nor fawning admirers called her to account.

What steps did she take against the mole? His identity was no great secret. It is surely a matter of deep concern that at the height of the Bangladesh war a record of the Prime Minister’s talks with the Soviet Ambassador should land on the table of Henry Kissinger within 48 hours or less. Three things are incontrovertible. A mole did exist; he was not officially identified; and Indira Gandhi did not punish him ever.

Anuj Dhar moved the Central Information Commission on this matter. After its direction to provide the information, the Ministry of External Affairs accepted that records of discussions of meetings between the then External Affairs Minister, Swaran Singh, and U.S. Secretary William Rogers on October 5, 1972, were available; but, PTI reported, “it refused to disclose them claiming confidentiality”.

Dhar rightly complained, “While the Ministry is claiming confidentiality clause, the U.S. government has declassified the memorandum of conversation between Singh and Rogers titled ‘Indian Allegations Regarding CIA Activities’.”

freedom of information act

The author’s researches have sadly received little notice. This book testifies to his labours and his grasp of the material on the subject. He explains how the Freedom of Information Act can be invoked to unravel secrets about India. The memo of the October 5, 1972, talk is reproduced:

“Secretary [Rogers] initiated discussion this subject saying he was perplexed at Prime Minister Gandhi’s public remarks regarding CIA activities in India. Initially [Swaran] Singh tried to side step issue in light hearted manner saying Mrs. Gandhi paid compliment to CIA for its activities.” But shedding flippancies, he added: “It has not been difficult for GOI to come to know of CIA activities. … For example, GOI had information that proceedings of Congress Working Committee were known to U.S. officials within two hours of meetings. Said when this happens it offends people.” Were the delinquent members of that body identified and punished?

CIA infiltration

Anuj Dhar writes, “The final twist in the tale came in 1988 in Bombay. … Now defunct newspaper Independent carried a story reportedly based on a (R&AW) communication to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi exonerating Morarji Desai and implicating deceased stalwart Yashwant Rao Chavan, Finance Minister during the 1971 war. This led to an ugly uproar and the paper’s editor Vinod Mehta, in his words, ‘had to flee Bombay’.

“Now, the story from the horse’s mouth. Documents 27 to 30 in this book confirm the CIA’s infiltration of Indian establishment at the top level in December 1971. Rendered unidentifiable due to redactions, a ‘reliable source’ (see back cover for the first page of document 29) leaked out the details of confidential Soviet-Indo deliberations and, more horrendously, ‘India’s war objectives’ as elucidated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi….

What we are seeing is the unravelling of one of most corrupt and betraying political organization in India.  It is important to look at Congress for what it entails and what it has given to Indian in terms of legacy.

In short, the history .. .and the future needs to be rewritten!

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President Trump Hannity Interview In The White House 1/26/17

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Shiv Sena calls off Mumbai pact with BJP: You stabbed us, I set you free

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bmc-polls-shiv-sena-bjp-sena-devendra-fadnavis-uddhav-thackeray-no-alliance-4493468/

Thackeray did not, however, comment on Sena’s continuance in the BJP-led government in the state.BMC, BMC poll, Shiv Sena, BJP, BMC polls, BJP Shiv Sena alliance, sena bjp, devendra fadnavis, Uddhav Thackeray, BMC Poll dates, Sena BJP, BJP Sena, India news, indian express news


The Sena and BJP have been governing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) together since 1997 with the Sena playing the lead role. But the Sena grip has loosened — its seat count fell from 103 in 1997 to 75 in 2012.

Accusing the BJP of “backstabbing” his party and declaring that he was “not going to go with a begging bowl to anyone”, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray announced Thursday that he was calling off the Sena alliance with the BJP. He said his party would contest elections to urban bodies in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra on its own.

Thackeray did not, however, comment on Sena’s continuance in the BJP-led government in the state. The Sena has been targeting the BJP in the state and at the Centre, its attacks more pronounced after the demonetisation announcement.

In first remarks, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP would usher in change in the state on its own. On Twitter, he wrote: “Power aint our ultimate goal but a medium of devpt. We’ll take along those who come with us & leave aside who dont. Transformatn is inevitable!”

BJP Ally Shiv Sena Targets PM Narendra Modi Over Demonetisation
Addressing party workers in Mumbai, Thackeray said: “We lost 25 years. I am announcing a new path for the Sena. Henceforth, I am not going to go with a begging bowl to anyone. From now on, everything that is there will belong only to my Sainik, the saffron flag and Bal Thackeray. Today, I announce that the Sena will not have an alliance with anyone for the upcoming elections.”

The Sena and BJP have been governing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) together since 1997 with the Sena playing the lead role. But the Sena grip has loosened — its seat count fell from 103 in 1997 to 75 in 2012.

The BJP, which believes it has gained ground in Maharashtra, especially after the 2014 assembly elections, wanted to field 114 party candidates for the 227 BMC seats. But the Sena wanted the BJP to contest only 60 seats.

There was speculation earlier that talks between Thackeray and Fadnavis would resolve the crisis. But Thackeray said the BJP did not seem interested in the alliance and he never received a call from any senior leader. He said the Sena put up with the alliance “for the sake of Hindutva and the belief that Hindu votes should not get divided”.

He accused the BJP of backstabbing its ally. “The posts of the PM and CM are with you. We have never hankered for power. Did we ever ask for the post of the Deputy CM or lucrative ministries? But you (BJP) have taken it further, deciding to attack us in our own home. I am not the one to take this lying down. Today, I set you free,” he said.

Thackeray also claimed that the BJP was “staring at defeat” in Uttar Pradesh. “The one who removed the picture of Gandhi is now being forced to say Hey Ram in UP. They know they are losing in that state, so they have started taking the name of Ram and Ram Janmabhoomi,” he said.

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IMMIGRATION REFORM: President Trump Details Why A Border Will Help The US AND Mexico

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Must Read !! How leftist historians and intellectuals have systematically distorted Hindu history

http://postcard.news/must-read-how-leftist-historians-and-intellectuals-have-systematically-distorted-hindu-history/

Must Read !! How leftist historians and intellectuals have systematically distorted Hindu history

January 24, 2017

The greatest damage done to the Hindus in modern day has been by the leftist historians who distorted the entire history. They glorified the brutal invaders whose sole aim was to destroy Hindus, and sidelined the brave Hindu rulers who fought to protect the Hindus. Next time any Marxist “intellectual” tells you that Hindus and Hinduism have survived due to the strong foundation of secularism, just ask them if that was the case, why did Hinduism come to an end in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, or even in Kashmir valley ? Why is Hinduism under constant decline in parts of Bengal and Kerala ? Once upon a time, all the above countries or regions had a huge Hindu population, and they do not exist anymore.

Marxist historians have been fooling the mass by saying Hinduism has survived attacks of thousand years due to its tolerance. Let us debunk the MYTHS :

  1. Hinduism has NOT remained strong over the periods. It has not survived strongly. Rather, it has been steadily moving towards an end. A religion which was spread all over the subcontinent and as far as Burma, Thailand and Cambodia is today restricted to India ( that too only 70%). Hindus have been slaughtered in every country one by one. Today, they remain (majorly) only in India, and that too under threat in Bengal, Kashmir, Kerala, parts of UP and Bihar.
  2. Whatever Hinduism has survived in India is NOT because of our tolerance. It is because there were Hindu rulers who fought fiercely for us and gave up their lives protecting Hindus from reign of terror unleashed by invaders since 1000 AD. Their reign ensured that Hinduism was not completely wiped out from India, unlike other countries.

– Prithviraj Chauhan protected us from Mohammad Ghori.

– Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj united us against the Mughal terrorists and Adil shah.

– Maharana Pratap bravely fought the Mughal and ensured Hinduism survived.

– Lachit Borphukan, the brave commander of Raja Ram Singh defeated the Mughals in battle of Saraighat and ensured that Northeast was never under the influence of Mughals.

– Guru Govind Singh ji, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur put a check to Aurangzeb’s brutality on Hindus to ensure that Sikhism and Hinduism continue to survive in North India.

– The are hundreds of other local rulers who fought bravely and put a check on atrocities on Hindus. However, they were sidelined by the Marxist historians and never given the due place they deserve.

  1. This whole Marxist History that Hinduism has survived because of tolerance and secularism is a sugar pill to make Hindus believe the lie, and remain weak… Secularism and Tolerance have been propagated since long only to make Hindus timid and weak. There is a huge difference between genuine tolerance and staying mum when you are being attacked from all sides.
  2. If the virtues of Tolerance and secularism were the reason of the survival of Hindus, Bangladesh would still be having 35% Hindus, Pakistan would stil be having 15% Hindus. Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kashmir would still be having a huge chunk of Hindu population.They were all killed and driven out.

If you open any school level textbook of history, most of the portion is dedicated to Mughals, Ghoris, Ghaznis and other invaders who killed Hindus, destroyed Hindu temples, raped Hindu women and forcefully converted Hindus. However, only a few paragraphs (and at times, not even that) is for our true heroes like Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Prithviraj Chauhan, Guru Govind Singh and others who fought for us !

Kshitij Mohan

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How India Went From World’s Education Capital to Depths of Illiteracy – Part II

http://indiafacts.org/india-went-worlds-education-capital-depths-illiteracy-part-ii/

We continue our series on the universities of ancient India, which imparted a multi-disciplinary education to students of advanced learning. In this second part, we look at India’s temple universities, graduation ceremony, funding of scholars and the saga of transmission of knowledge outside the frontiers of mainland India.

Choices, choices

A student who completed basic education in ancient India and wished to learn more, had a plethora of institutions to choose from, depending on whether he wanted to specialise in the Vedas, logic, medicine, sciences, classical music or any other subject. Thus, a student who wanted to learn classical music could, for instance, move to Varanasi and learn from the maestros in the city’s ancient college of music. If he found a friend keen on studying in Varanasi’s college of astronomy, then perhaps the two could travel together. Travelling was a risky proposition in those days when the land was covered with forests abounding in predators, and parents would celebrate when their children returned home after four to 12 years of higher education.

In the Kathasaritsagara, there is a reference to a Brahmin, who decided not to send his son for further studies to Nalanda or Varanasi, which were closer to his place of residence in the Ganga plains and instead took the risk of choosing a far-off Valabhi university located in today’s Gujarat (Bose, 1990). Valabhi’s graduates were known to secure employment in government services. Its courses in political science (niti) and business (varta) were well known alongside religious studies of Hinayana Buddhism (Apte).

An interesting reference to co-education is found in the Sanskrit play Malatimadhava written by Bhavabhuti (in the eighth century) where a female student Kamandaki is indicated to be a classmate and close friend of male students Bhurivasu and Devarata at a famous university in Padmavati. All three characters hail from different regions. (Mirashi, 1996)

There seems to have been a remarkable mobility of students and teachers across the universities of ancient India. Thus, we find professors in Nalanda, such as Sthiramati and Gunamati who had earlier established Valabhi University in the west. Dinnaga and Dharmapala, two famous scholars of Nalanda were both natives of Kanchipuram in the south. Ratnavajra, a noted professor at Vikramshila hailed from Kasmira (Kashmir). Xuanzang himself, after finishing his studies in Nalanda went to teach in Orissa upon receiving a directive from King Harsha (Mookerjee, 1960). The famous Bhaskara II, hailed by some as the greatest mathematician ever, taught at Ujjaini, but hailed from Bijapur in the south (Puttaswamy, 2012). Clearly, many of the learned people of yore travelled to centres of excellence in their areas of interest.

Bhaskara II, head of the astronomical observatory at the famous Ujjaini University in central India was a native of Bijapur in southern India.

Funding of higher education

An interesting aspect about the education system was that it was subsidised for pupils and teachers by the ruling kings as well as communities that lived around universities. The Nalanda University was described by Xuanzang as having been endowed with buildings and lands by ruling kings of the time. He also mentions that the revenues of 100 villages were allocated for meeting the expenses of the university. The students and teachers received clothes, food, bedding and medicine free of cost. (Mookerjee, 1960)

However, according to the Jatakas, students who wished to study at Takshshila were required to either pay their tuition fees at the beginning or if they lacked cash, to pay in the form of services to the teacher, such as bringing firewood. Most Brahmin students were too poor to pay upfront and would opt to carry out menial tasks. Some would get permission to pay at the end of their studies, and there were instances of Brahmin students soliciting financial assistance from households. We also hear of some winning state scholarships and not being required to pay any fees. Often, families living around the universities would generously host meals at their residences for the students. (Mookerjee, 1960)

There was a well-established ecosystem to support learning. Since the ethos of the times demanded that Brahmin scholars lead a simple life engaged in the pursuit of knowledge without amassing riches, it fell upon the shoulders of wealthy non-Brahmin families as well as humble farmers to support those who were devoting their entire lives to learning and teaching (Hazra, 1987).

Graduating the Indian way: Samavartana

Given that ancient Indians set so much store by learning, it should not come as a surprise that they had a meaningful rite of passage to mark the graduation of students, called Samavartana or Snana. In the presence of students, teachers and invited guests, the graduating student would offer his guru-dakshina (gift to guru), after which the guru would recite the snataka-dharma from the Taittiriya Upanishad. This would be followed by a homa (fire ritual) and snana (ceremonial bath). (Kane, 1941)

The Snataka Dharma recitation from Shiksha Valli in the Taittiriya Upanishad was an important ritual in the graduation ceremony.

A partial translation of the Snataka Dharma recitation is as follows:

Never deviate from Truth,

Never deviate from Dharma,

Never neglect your well-being,

Never neglect worldly activities (for gain and welfare),

Never neglect Svādhyāya (self study) and Pravachana (teaching of Vedas).

 

We all know the famous shloka

Maatru devo bhava,

Pitru devo bhava

Acharya devo bhava

Atithi devo bhava

This verse stating that one’s mother, father, teacher and a visiting guest are all equivalent to Devata comes from the Taittiriya Upanishad, which also was recited during the Samavartana. Equipped with holistic knowledge and blessings from the guru, a graduate or vidya-snataka (one who is bathed in learning) would be ready for the next stage of life – usually teaching and of course, marriage.

The temple universities of India

Photo courtesy Kanniks Kannikeswaran

An interesting aspect about ancient Indian temples is that often, they became centres of knowledge dissemination and debating. There was a continuity of learning with conferences and assemblies of learned scholars that have been mentioned in the Rig Veda itself, for disseminating the philosophies that form the core of Vedic literature.  Well-endowed temples became magnets attracting students and teachers, which led to annexes being built for the temples and even entire colonies housing intellectuals from a variety of disciplines.

Multiple inscriptions on several temples of southern India reveal the extent to which higher education had got institutionalised. Ennayiram is one such location in Tamil Nadu, which abounds in inscriptions giving minute details related to the subjects taught, number of students, endowments and so on. For example, an inscription from the time of Rajendra Chola I (11th century) lays out the endowments given for the boarding and tuition of 340 students studying at a Vedic college. The college received 45 velis (300 acres) of land. Each student of Veda was noted to cost 6 Nalis of paddy per day and ½ Kalanju of gold per year. A student studying the more advanced Vedanta, Mimamsa or Vyakarana got 66% more. Meanwhile, a teacher was noted to receive a meal allowance equivalent to that of 16 students per day. The inscription notes that 75 students were studying the Rig Veda, 75 Yajur Veda, 10 Atharva Veda, 20 Chandoga Saman, 20 Talavakara Saman, 20 Vajasaneya, 25 Vyakarana, 35 Prabhakara Mimamsa, 10 Baudhayaneya Grihya, Kalpa and Gana, 40 Rupavatara and 10 Vedanta (Mookerjee, 1960). In 2013, archaeologists found more lines of inscriptions in the basement of a temple in Ennayiram (Subramanian, 2003). Clearly, there is a lot more waiting to be unearthed.

A temple inscription in Ennayiram, Tamil Nadu describing a college attached to a temple along with a hostel and hospital. Photo courtesy: Tamil Nadu Tourism (http://tamilnadu-favtourism.blogspot.sg)

Even the medical care of students was accounted for. Some inscriptions describe colleges with attached hospitals and hostels. One hospital is described to have 15 beds, a physician, a surgeon, two errand boys and two nurses. It was even equipped with a pharmacy with medicines such as Haritaki, Bilvadighrita, Vajra-kalpa and Kalyanalavana. (Mookerjee, 1960)

Ancient academies of excellence

Apart from temples, there was the ghatika, the agrahara and the mathha. Ghatikas were groups of learned acharyas, which carried out deep discussions on Vedic matters. Ghatikas are said to have played a key part in making Kanchipuram (also called Kanchi) a hub of Vedic studies. They even played a pivotal role in the selection of kings. Numerous poet-scholars and saint-philosophers who produced the finest of Tamil literary works are associated with Kanchi (Rao, 2008). As we have seen earlier, some of the brightest went on to teach in famed universities in other parts of India.

Agraharas were entire settlements of learned Brahmins with their own rules of governance and were funded by generous donors (usually non-Brahmins).  Mathhas were also educational institutions and along with Agraharas served like modern academies of excellence (Mookerjee, 1960).

Agraharas were entire settlements of learned Brahmins. Photo courtesy incredibleindiaphotogallery.com

Inscription after inscription in southern India talks of the revenues of villages being entirely allocated for supporting agraharas with Brahmin scholars sometimes numbering 108, sometimes 308. The revenues were to be used in supporting the sacred task of learning and teaching, which included building libraries called “Sarasvati Bhandara” (Mookerjee, 1960). The learned Brahmins, who often held titles such as Chaturvedin,

Trivedin, Somayajin, Shadangavid, Bhatta, Kramavid, Sarvakratuyajin and Vajapeyin, which denoted their specialisation in different texts. Mookerjee puts it eloquently when he says:

“These learned settlements were centres of light and life, showing how theory and practice should go together, how precept should be supported by example, ethics by conduct, learning was to be lived and truth or religion was to be realised in the activities of daily life.”

 It is important to highlight the contribution of the Kerala school of mathematics and astronomy (14th to 15th century) in the context of Indian systems of advanced learning. Concentrated in a geographical area around Thrissur in Kerala, a rich tradition of mathematics developed and flourished amongst the Namboodri Brahmins. They discovered the infinite series, which laid the foundation for calculus centuries before Newton. There is strong circumstantial evidence that Jesuit missionaries who visited India in the 15th century carried back mathematical concepts from Kerala to Europe (Joseph, 2000).

The brilliant scholars of Kerala were believed to be mainly motivated by the mysteries of astronomy. However, George Gheverghese Joseph, in his famous book The Crest of the Peacock – The non-European Roots of Mathematics argues that these mathematicians seem to have revelled in their love for pure mathematics. Why else would Madhava (the founder of the Kerala School) indulge in long and tedious calculations of sine tables to 12 decimal places?

Famous names associated with the Kerala School are Parameshvara, Neelakanta Somayaji, Jyeshtadeva, Achyuta Pisharati, Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri and Achyuta Panikkar. GG Joseph points out that some non-Brahmins such as Sankara Variyar and Acyuta Pisarati were also part of the Kerala School and many from “lower” castes, such as carpenters, construction workers and artisans were conversant with precise calculations, indicating that the symbiotic society did not fit into the neat framework of the caste system envisaged by modern researchers.

How Indian scholars transferred knowledge to China

In the first century CE, Chinese emperor Ming-Ti sent 18 persons to study Buddhist doctrines in India. When they returned, they took back many books and also two Buddhist scholars Kasyapa Matanga and Dharmaratna. Kasyapa was in Gandhara, when he was invited by the Chinese envoy. His journey from Gandhara to China was fraught with hardship as he passed through the steep mountains of Chinese Turkestan and the harsh Gobi desert. There was also a language problem. However, the two pioneering scholars persevered and opened up opportunities for hundreds of professors from Indian universities to work in China. A large number of Sanskrit manuscripts were carried to China. Among the well-known Indians who migrated in the first three centuries were Samghavarma, Dharmasatya, Dharmakala, Mahabala, Vighna, Dharmaphala, Kalasivi, Kalaruchi and Lokaraksha (Mookerjee, 1960).

Kashmir, which was a prominent centre of Buddhist learning supplied a steady stream of erudite scholars to China. One such scholar Gunavarman from Kashmir’s royal family first went to Ceylon and Java where he made a name for himself. The Chinese emperor invited him to China, personally received him in Nanking, became his disciple and built a temple for him. A few scholars from southern India also got pulled to China, such as Dharmaruchi who lived in China for 20 years between 693 to 713 CE and translated 53 works into Chinese (Mookerjee, 1960).

Hundreds of Sanskrit works were painstakingly translated into Chinese by the Indian scholars with the help of Chinese intellectuals. It was a mammoth task considering the totally different syntax and structure of the two languages and many scholars even recorded their struggle and discomfort.

The first printed book in China was the Indian treatise Vajjra-Chhedika-Prajna-Paramita Sutra (or the famous Diamond Sutra), which was translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva in 402CE. Kumarajiva was prodigiously talented.  He studied in Kashmir, Kashgar and Koutcha, and it is said there was a battle for his services between the King of Koutcha and the Chinese Emperor, whose general imprisoned him. For 12 years, Kumarajiva translated more than 100 Sanskrit works, which are considered masterpieces of Chinese literature! He is also known as the teacher of the famous Chinese traveller Fa-Hien (Mookerjee, 1960).

Statue of Kumarajiva in front of Kizil Caves, Kuqa, Xinjiang, China. Photo Courtesy Yoshi Canopus

Unlike Kumarajiva, another scholar, Dharmakshema’s life was cut short by an assassin, when two Chinese rulers competed for his services. Reference is also found to a well-travelled and much-in-demand scholar Amoghavajra who earned titles such as Prajna-moksha and Tripitika Bhadanta from a Chinese emperor. The poor man was made to return from the shores of India the very moment he landed back in the year 749 because the Chinese emperor decided there was little time to be lost. It is not just in modern timelines that employees get called back from vacations by hard-hearted bosses. Amoghavajra collected more than 500 texts from different parts of India to take back to China and translated at least 77 works, including Dharanis and Tantras. In China, he is known as the founder of Tantrik Buddhism (Mookerjee, 1960).

Several Indian mathematicians and astronomers from the best universities held high positions in China’s scientific establishments. One Indian scientist called Gautama Siddha (Qutan Xida in Chinese) became the president of China’s official board of astronomy in the 8th century. He translated the Indian navagraha calendar into Chinese. He also introduced Indian numerals into China. The invention of printing is also attributed to Buddhist scholars who went from India to China and printing was used as a means to spread Buddhist thought. (Sen, 2009)

Knowledge transfers from India to Greece, Islamic world and Europe

The antiquity of civilisation and the ecosystems set up for the propagation of knowledge turned India into a veritable garden with exquisite flowers that attracted honeybees. Royle, in an essay on the antiquity of “Hindoo medicine” mentions Barzouyeh, a royal physician in the court of Persian King Khosrau (531-579 CE), who returned from India with medical texts as well as a variety of herbs and who was proficient in Sanskrit (Royle, 1837). There was a thriving trade between India and western Asia in ancient times, which involved not just spices and textiles, but also medicines.

In his talks on the antiquity of Indian medical systems, Raj Vedam, co-founder of Indian History Awareness and Research has laid out the trajectory by which the knowledge of Ayurveda was transmitted from India to Greeks/Romans, the Islamic world and then Europe. He points out how the scientific concepts articulated by the Indian Rishi Kanada (6th Century BCE), for example, were taken up by the Greek philosopher Democritus (4th Century BCE). According to Bertrand Russell, Democritus travelled widely and had visited Egypt and Persia “in search of knowledge”. Hippocrates, considered the father of western medicine was a student of Democritus.

Excerpt from page 62 of JF Royle’s “An Essay on the Antiquity of Hindoo Medicine Including an Introductory lecture to the Course of Materia Medica and Therapeutics delivered at the King’s College”

Dr Vedam also states that the library of Alexandria played a major role in transmitting texts from the East to the West.  It has been well chronicled that the library administrators went to any extent (“buy, borrow or steal”) to get the “most original, most authoritative copies” (Philips, 2010). The Materia Medica compiled by Greek physician Dioscorides during 50 to 70CE, which was used for 16 centuries in Europe, contains a large number of Indian herbs (Vedam, 2016). Another data point offered by Dr Vedam is the fleeing of Nestorians to Persia to escape the persecution of the Christian Church and from there to Kerala in the fifth century that served to transmit Indian medical knowledge back to Syria.

The fifth Abbasid Caliph Haroun Al Rashid had an Indian physician Manka in his court, who translated ancient India’s indispensable medical text – the Sushruta Samhita into Persian. The imprint of Indian scholars on Islamic sciences, not just medicine has been well-acknowledged by the Islamic scholars such as Alberuni themselves. Indian scholars were often invited to Baghdad. The works of Muslim intellectuals such as Al Kindi, Al Farabi, Al Farghani, Al Tabari and Al Khwarizmi played a paramount role in transferring Indic knowledge of mathematics, medicine, astronomy, philosophy, chemistry and even music to the Islamic world (Khan, 2009). While the Islamic scholars often credited their knowledge to Indic sources, the European scholars often plagiarised from Arabic texts without references. The Renaissance was propelled by the works of Arabic scholars, which were passed off as original works by Europeans (Hasse, 2016).

In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Toledo School of Translators in Spain employed many scholars to translate major Arabic works into Latin (Bronowski, 2011). These translators produced a prolific output and helped to transfer a substantial amount of ancient Indian knowledge to Europe. The transfers continued with even greater intensity during the colonial period from the 14th century onwards when the contents of hundreds and hundreds of Indian books made their way into monographs and books in Europe. A catalogue of the Indian books and manuscripts that were translated into European languages during this period would itself form a bulky book! A case in point is the Bibliotheca Malabarica, a catalogue of over 100 Tamil manuscripts collected by the missionary Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg during his first two years in India (1706–1708).

Garcia D’Orta, Portuguese traveller to India wrote a detailed treatise “Colóquios dos simples e drogas da India” on the medicinal plants of India in 1563. Photo Courtesy Martins Correia.

We have seen how India’s ancient systems of education helped to fuel a knowledge revolution around the world. However, in the 11th century, marauding incursions by Muslim invaders disrupted the idyllic world of university learning in India. This was followed by European colonisation, which led to further erosion and degeneration of India’s traditional learning systems. All this and more will be discussed in the next article, which will conclude this series.

The author would like to acknowledge the valuable inputs of the members of Indian History Awareness and Research (IHAR) and specially thank Kanniks Kannikeswaran for supplying pictures from his personal collection.

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