- Patanjali is credited with the creation of Yoga, but what he wrote was not about Hatha Yoga. So when did Hatha Yoga originate? Koenraad Elst says
- In a long post, Anuraag Sanghi writes about the secret of the Indian socio-political system
- Recently Wendy Doniger wrote a review of John Smith’s Mahabharata and she did not mention any of the Indian works.Fëanor wonders why.
- According to Vijay, Pallava stone sculptures of the Dharamaraja Ratha and Chola Bronzes towards the closing years of Sri Raja Raja Chola are the finest examples of art that he has seen.
- In his seminar paper Law and Order in 17th Century Mughal Sindh, Sepoy looks at the resistance movements and disorders under the Shah Jahan regime.
- Maddy explains how Muthuswamy Dikshitar composed the Nottu Swara Sahitya influenced by Western music and compositions.
- Without help from the local kings, could the British have conquered India? Calicut Heritage says
I don’t think any other asana postures except those for simply sitting up straight have been recorded before the late-medieval Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and such. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna calls on Arjuna to “become a yogi”, but he gives no instructions in postures or breathing exercises. Libertines practising the whole range of Kama Sutra postures got more exercise in physical strength and agility than the yogis of their age, who merely sat up straight and forgot about their bodies.
Bharat-tantra, the Indic socio-political system, addresses three basic human aspirations. If humans are deprived of these basic ‘wants’, these aspirations, it is cause for war – as per India’s wisdom narrative. These aspirations are ज़र zar (meaning gold), जन jan (meaning people) and ज़मीन jameen (meaning land).
This makes the basis भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra different from Western politico-economic systems, that are based on four factors of production (land, labour, capital and enterprise). भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra treats these three elements as ‘aspirational’ while Western theory sees these four factors as ‘exploitative’.
Aficionados are no doubt aware that there are several single- and multi-volume editions of the Mahabharata published in India alone. At a pinch I can mention Ramesh Menon’s works, and Kamala Subramaniam’s, and Bibek Debroy’s. The abridgements by R. K. Narayan and C. Rajagopalachari are usually the first introductions to this tale. There are also the reimaginings by Pratibha Ray (Yajnaseni) and M. T. Vasudevan Nair (Randaamoozham) (further retold by Prem Panicker in Bhimsen), Shivaji Samant (Mrityunjay) and P. K. Balakrishnan (Ini Nyan Urangatte). This article in the Telegraph describes other efforts by Namita Gokhale, Amruta Patil and Devdutt Pattanaik. And the grand-daddy of them all is the otiose Victorian version by K. M. Ganguli.
The upper tiers of the Dharamaraja Ratha in Mallai, hold in their midst some of the finest specimens of artistic expression, for not being confined to any cannons the unrestrained imagination of the Pallava sculptor ran riot, faultless and matchless in their execution, working within the cramped confines of its upper tiers, the whole structure being a monolith carved out of mother rock top down, with zero scope for error, what these immortal artists did to the hard granite is the very pinnacle of artistic brilliance.
Three main themes emerge from the present scholarship on resistance movements. First, Mughal administrators sought to extract higher and higher revenue payments from peasants who were already unable to bear their tax burdens. Second, the zamindars were engaged in a power struggle with other landholders as well as with the Mughal administrators. Lastly, the peasant uprisings were led by – and often fueled by – the zamindars as pawns in their struggle for autonomy from the central powers. Sindh, in the seventeenth century, provides an excellent venue to examine these themes.
So as we saw, the Celtic tunes were to affect Dikshitar prodding him to create a new genre called Nottuswara – ‘Notes Swara’ (nottu being the Tamil slang for notes) based on these British tunes but set to Sanskrit devotional lyrics. You can call them Indi Celtic fusion in today’s terms. Many of these are based on the folk music tradition of the British Isles and are not from the Western classical music traditions. 39 or 40 of such compositions were considered to have been completed by Muthuswamy.
It would appear that the idea of territorial sovereignty was a western concept imported into India by the colonials in the 18th Century. Our rulers – the Mughals as well as smaller rulers like the Zamorin – had viewed the state more as an economic unit which could be controlled to extract revenue for the state.
Ultimately, it looks as if our rulers were too keen to offer portions of their territory on a platter to the colonial powers in return for protection, weapons, money or even a cask of red wine, as in the case of Jehangir!
The next edition of Indian History Carnival will be up on October 15th. Send your nominations to varnam dot blog @gmail or as a tweet to varnam_blog