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Indian History Carnival-68: Linguistics, Perumals, Peacock Throne, Cotton Textiles, Wazir Khanam

 A map showing the approximate present-day distribution of the Indo-European branches

A map showing the approximate present-day distribution of the Indo-European branches

  1. Giacomo Benedetti writes about Indo-European linguistic theories, specifically some issues he finds in the Indo-Iranian branch

    It seems that the average linguist is not aware of the problems of this theory and generations of linguists did not find anything strange in the fact that ‘Indo-Iranians’ have transformed every e and o without exception into a, which is also not very useful for distinguishing words. The only justification that I can imagine for such an incredible theory is that the substrate language did not know e and o, like Classical Arabic. But this would imply that the Indo-Iranians were practically unmixed with the original Indo-European speakers and we also wonder why did they develop those sounds later in every Indo-Iranian language. And how is it possible that no Indo-Iranian dialect preserved them?

  2. Calicut Heritage has a post on Prof M.G.S.Narayanan’s book Perumals of Kerala (which was his Ph.D thesis) and the information it reveals

    He marshals arguments based on sound epigraphical evidence to disprove the existing accounts of a hundred years’ war between Cheras and Cholas which led to the disintegration of the Chera dynasty and the rise of smaller principalities. He re-examines and re-interprets the Keralolpatti chronicle which was once accepted as history and then rejected as nonsense. He discovers sufficient epigraphical and other evidence to support “the Keralolpatti legend about the last Perumal’s partition of Kerala and conversion to Islam. However, there is a vital change regarding the date of this event – the popularly accepted date was 825 AD but the new date is 1122-24 AD. The ‘Partition of Kerala’ is found to be the transformation of districts of the Chera kingdom into independent principalities”. (page 20)

  3. Maddy has the fascinating tale of Shah Jahan’s Peacock Throne and some theories on where it might be now

    Nevertheless inconsistencies in the various accounts about what actually happened to the peacock throne during the last days of the Moghuls, keep people guessing and researching. Perhaps someday some more of those jewels as listed and detailed by Tavernier will be found in NE Iran, or perhaps in Tehran or Afghanistan. Still it will be difficult to find out what actually happened to the throne that cost twice the Taj Mahal. As for the people who sat on it, the curse of the throne ensured that almost all of them died violent or horrible deaths. It is like someone said, vanity kills!!

  4. Kazuo Kobayashi explains how the demand for Indian cotton textiles among Africans underpinned the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century.

    European merchants bartered with local brokers along the African coast for slaves and other African products. They had to barter with highly desirable goods since discerning African brokers were known to reject the goods that Europeans brought across. The list of commodities imported from Europe into Africa included textiles, iron, brass, military goods, cowrie shells, beads, and alcoholic beverages. Indian cotton textiles comprised a large proportion of the imports. In the case of Anglo-African trade, piece goods of Indian cottons were the most important trades in exchange for African slaves, making up 30 per cent of the total export value in the mid-eighteenth century.

  5. India Ink blog has an interview with literary critic and novelist Shamsur Rahman Faruqi who has written a 984-page fictional account about the life and times of Wazir Khanam, the mother of the famed Urdu poet Daag Dehalvi

    I didn’t do any systematic, formal research. As I wrote, I did consult a few books when I needed to verify some particular detail, dates mostly. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the novel had always existed in my head as an amorphous, identity-less entity. Facts, memories, impressions — and of course my reading before I’d began to compose the novel — it was all there — a chaos, especially because I didn’t have anything like an idea to write a novel with Wazir Khanam as the chief character.

  6. The next issue of History Carnival will be up on September 15th. Please e-mail your nominations to varnam.blog @gmail. Please make sure they are blog entries and not newspaper articles.

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