- Jayarava looks at some of the urban myths behind the swastika
- In a post on Indian and Greek theater, mAnasa-taraMgiNI writes
- The barbarity of Aurangzeb is well known. What about Jehangir?
- Kals has a new project and she welcomes anyone interested to join
- When India got independence, Tawang was part of Tibet. It became part of India in 1951 due to the work of Major Bob Khathing. Pragmatic Euphony has the story
THE URBAN MYTH that the Nazi swastika goes one way, but the sacred symbol of India goes the other way seems to still be current. Sadly, this is not true. The official Nazi Party emblem, adopted in 1932, was the clockwise swastika, and this is often seen on Buddhist images as well. Jains even use the rotated svastika. Both clockwise and anticlockwise are used in Indian religious iconography, and both are found, for instance, in the Tibetan Unicode block: U+0FD5 卐 (right-facing/clockwise), U+0FD6 卍 (left-facing/anti-clockwise). The svastika is also a Chinese character, and is pronounced wàn. If you look at Google maps of Japan you’ll see temples marked with the 卍.
The Christianized West sees the Greek theater as one of the important precursors of its modern culture and as a direct ancestor of its theatrical traditions. What is missed as a result of this equation is the real nature of the Greek theater because it, unlike modern Western society, was a product of heathen sensibilities, just like its Hindu sister culture. The key point underplayed by modern Western treatments is that the Greek theater, like its Arya counter part was not merely for the enjoyment of men but also for the gods. This is what Gupt calls hieropraxis (the sacred drama). This element is very clear in the nATyashAstra and the fact that through the centuries the chief patrons of nATya was the Arya orthropraxy, both in its smArta and sectarian tAntrika manifestations.
Not even high-ranked nobility was safe from Jahangir’s fury. There’s a story that his chamberlain broke one of his favourite Chinese porcelain dishes. In a panic, the chamberlain sent a servant to scour China for a replacement. Two years later, the servant still wasn’t back, and Jahangir asked to see the dish. Quaking, the chamberlain informed him that it was broken, whereupon the Emperor exploded in rage. He ordered the guard to lash the poor man a hundred and twenty times with a corded whip, as he watched, and then told his porters to beat him with cudgels until those broke. As the English traveller William Hawkins (who was the imperial court at the time) reports, “At least twenty men were beating him, till the poore man was thought to be dead, and then he was hauled out by the heels and commanded to prison.”
British Raj is my small project of sorts, an attempt to chronicle and compile a host of material – books (A Passage to India, Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire, The Far Pavilions, The Siege of Krishnapur, Train to Pakistan, The Discovery of India etc), photos, videos, articles etc – that tell the story of the era preceding India’s ‘tryst with destiny’ which can be viewed by anyone interested in the subject.
This will include book reviews (for useful recommendations, check India- Book Recommendations), movie reviews, excerpts from books, snippets from articles, links to interesting websites, quotes, photographs and just about anything history and literature-wise relevant to the British Raj. I hope to post as and when something interesting comes my way and hopefully, once a week.
On 17 January 1951, Khathing, accompanied by Captain Hem Bahadur Limbu of 5th Assam Rifles and 200 troops and Captain Modiero of the Army Medical Corps left Lokra for the foothills, bound for Tawang. They were later joined by a 600-strong team of porters. On 19 January, they reached Sisiri and were joined by Major TC Allen, the last British political officer of the North East Frontier Agency. Five days later the party reached Dirang Dzong, the last Tibetan administrative headquarters, and were met by Katuk Lama, assistant Tibetan agent, and the Goanburras of Dirang. On 26 January, Major Khathing hoisted the Indian flag and a barakhana followed.
If you find interesting blog posts on Indian history, please send it to varnam.blog @gmail or as a tweet to @varnam_blog. The next carnival will be up on July 15th.