Indian History Carnival – 52: Diana Eck, Rahimi, Education, Namberumal Chetty, Kashmir War

  1. Chandrahas has a review of Diana Eck’s India, A Sacred Geography
  2. Thousands of years before India was a nation-state (1947), a colony of Britain (the 18th century), or a cartographic vision on a map (1782), it was, in Eck’s view, conceived as a geographical unit in the hearts and minds of the faithful, and particularly in the religious imagination of Hinduism.
    Pilgrims thought of India as the land of the seven great rivers, as a space marked by the benediction and caprice of the gods who resided in the great northern peaks of the Himalayas, as woven into unity by the great centers of pilgrimage, or dhams, in the north, south, east and west. Seeking the marks and manifestations of the sacred, they fashioned with their footprints a map of a vast subcontinent suffused with the presence of the gods and stories of their appearances in different incarnations.

  3. In 1502, Vasco da Gama massacred the pilgrims of  the ship Meri and it turned the tide of events in Calicut. Now Maddy writes about the events a century later involving another ship which created a diplomatic furor
  4. The owner of the ship was none other than the prodigious lady trader Maryam Uz Zamani, the mother of Jehangir. Maryam was the Hindu princess from Amber who had married Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605) in 1562 as part of a political alliance between her father Raja BiharI Mall Kachhwaha and the emperor. Many people are/were under the impression that she was a “Jodh Bai,” a lady from Jodhpur, as suggested by some historians, but this is not apparently correct (Jahangir himself, however, married a Jodh Bai. She was mother to the future Shah Jahan and died in 1619.The capture of her ship was as you can imagine an insult to the reigning emperor’s family.

  5. In a short post Tyler Cowen writes about the role of British in eradicating literacy in India
  6. It turns out it was worse than I had thought. I’ve been reading some papers by Latika Chaudhary on this topic, and I learned that educational expenditures in India, under the British empire, never exceeded one percent of gdp. To put that in perspective, for 1860-1912 in per capita terms the independent “Princely states” were spending about twice as much on education as India under the British. Mexico and Brazil, hardly marvels of successful education, were spending about five times as much. Other parts of the British empire, again per capita, were spending about eighteen times as much.

  7. I had no idea who Thatikonda Namberumal Chetty was or his achievements till I read this post  by Sriram
  8. In 1887, Namberumal was to land his first big job – the construction of the Victoria Public Hall on Poonamallee High Road, to Chisholm’s design, though there is a theory that he was also the contractor for the GPO, designed by Chisholm and completed in 1884. It was with Chisholm’s successor Henry Irwin that Namberumal struck a great working relationship. The Irwin-Namberumal combination was to create some of the most wonderful buildings of the city including the High Court and Law College, the Bank of Madras (now State Bank of India), the Victoria Memorial Hall (now the National Art Gallery) and the Connemara Public Library.

  9. Was the war of 1947 – 48, a war of lost opportunities for Pakistan? There is a lengthy post at Military History blog which concludes
  10. Mr Jinnah was unlucky unlike Nehru in having no Patel by his side. When Bucher the British C-in-C of the Indian Army advised the Indian government not to attack Hyderabad till the Kashmir War was over,and Patel insisted otherwise, Bucher threatened to resign. Patel simply told him on the spot that he could resign and then ordered Sardar Baldev Singh,the Defence Minister ‘The Army will march into Hyderabad as planned tomorrow morning’15. Mr Jinnah was undoubtedly; by virtue of having taken an iron and most resolute stand on the division of the Indian Army; the father of Pakistan Army.

That’s it for April. Will see you on May 15th with the next carnival. If you have any links, please e-mail me at varnam.blog @gmail. (Thanks Sandeep, Feanor, as usual)

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