Sunday, November 19, 2006

42. A BIG Q.

If one were to travel by a time machine and go back to the distant past, one may find so many striking aspects. The archaeological finds tell us that human life and culture existed even 400,000 years back. The great Indus Civilization had been there for millenia before Christ. Though India was not a single nation then, though its scattered parts were ruled by different dynasties, big and small, there had been great civilizations and great achievements in various fields.

Some such things are:

The sixth Century B.C. saw the rise of Buddhism. Though it failed to withstand the onslaught of brahminic Hinduism within India it crossed the borders of this land and got rooted in many eastern countries. It is always said that the two great religions till this day, Hinduism and Buddhism were given to the world by India.

Nalanda :Founded in the 5th Century A.D., Nalanda is known as the ancient seat of learning. 2,000 Teachers and 10,000 Students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied at Nalanda, the first Residential International University of the World. The University flourished during the 5th and 12th century.

380-412 A.D. Chandra Gupta II. Under this emperor his kingdom witnessed unprecedented flowering of art, literature and sciences. Kalidas, the famous Sanskrit poet and dramatist, Aryabhatta, the famous mathematician and Varahmihir, a great astronomer adorned his court.
The fourth Century saw the rise of Pallavas in Deccan and their meteoric rise made art , culture, music, and architecture flourish. Mahabalipuram a.k.a. Mamallapuram with its shore temple and monolithic stone temples still stand as mute testimony to the greatness of the Pallavas, withstanding all natural havocs like the recent tsunami even.

985 A.D. The Chola Dynasty in Deccan rejuvenated the art, culture, architecture of this part of the land. Rajaraja Cholan, the Great (985-1014) built the Prahadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur a.k.a. Tanjore. It was an architectural marvel. The cupolic dome at the top of the temple, is octagonal and rests on a single block of granite, a square of 7.8 m weighing 80 tons. It is still a wonder how did they raise such a monolithic stone of that size to that great height.
1336 A.D. The empire of Vijayanagaram had its own glorious period.

The traveler in the time-machine would have witnessed all this past glory till this 14th Century. At what quirk of fate, no one knows for sure, all these glorious past came to an abrupt end with this century.

At this point of time only the Western world began to develop in leaps and bounds through the Industrial Revolution. It mainly started in England and spread to all of West later.
To quote some developments:

16th - 17th C. The methods of making glass, clocks, and chemicals advanced markedly.
1760 – 1830: It was the period of agricultural revolution in England which changed the whole English countryside.

1705: steam engines were discovered and got manufactured in large numbers. 1750-1830: Revolution by technological growth made the cost of making cloth nine tenth cheaper. 1830 - a railway line was opened from Liverpool to Manchester 1831 Michael Faraday’s discovery of electricity.

There was no looking back from that point onwards for the West, while East stayed back. India with all its glorious past was left high and dry and the momentum which touched the West 500 years ago is yet to touch India.

The big question that could come to any body’s mind is how come India with such a glorious past could go to nothing in this period, from 1500 to 2000? Of course in the recent years India is rising up strongly in all spheres proving that people have been all along capable of rising to greater heights. But what happened to them in those dark years? Is it only because of successive invasions and finally colonization by British? It cannot be that alone. There has to be something more than that. Some logic is missing.

Anyone having an answer?


sam said...


Narayanaswamy.G. said...

I've had the similar thoughts many times. May be this is the darkening done by the Britishers? or may be we were busy fighting with the british rather than inventing?

Jokes Apart, i personally feel that there are so many changes in our Lifestyle brought in by the british or our ancestors copied them. May be that act has got in a deviation in us and we took these many years to adjust to it? or we took these many years to Master it!

Saravanan said...

Rather than blaming it only on Britishers, may be we have to think back what we ourselves have done for the nations improvement?

Main reason could have been ignorance in people and the real quest for raising was diminished in those process?

S.K said...

Pray elucidate as to what you meant by "brahminic Hinduism"?
Is it a seperate strain of Hinduism or, you are one of those incurable brahmin-baiters.

Dharumi said...

sorry about this l...o...n...g delay. left this english blog high and dry for too long!

answer to your Qs lay there in my tamil blogs. may i request you to go thru them and to judge me yourself?

163. நான் ஏன் மதம் மாறினேன்…? - 5

2. 187. CATCH 22* / மதவாதம் -எஸ்.பா.வுக்கு பதில்.

hope there would be another post, probably the next tamil post in my blog. the title i have thought of is 'hit the bull's eye'

Orani said...


I have totally forgotten myself that we have this english blogs too :-). Pretty much we have abandoned it, isn't it so?.

Anyway, here is my guess as to what could have happened in those darkened periods of time.

My simple explanation is, we could have fought all those foreign invasions leaving behind our nurturing and the creativity skills yet busy protecting what actually we had had with us.

It is something like this, when our body faces a grave danger from an invading harmful germ, our whole system goes on fight resisting all its might, in stead of concentrating on beuatifying and replenishing the body itself. I believe the same thing happened to India during those bleak times.

delphine said...

After a very long time I have had a refreshing History Class. Very interesting Sir.

sam said...

doc delphine,
but you have forgotten a recent 'history lesson'! i remember requesting you to drop that 'sir'!

K.R.அதியமான். 13230870032840655763 said...


India achieved freedom in 1947 after intense struggle and sacrifice by a dedicated and idealistic people. We have slowly lost the high ideals and honesty since then.

The main culprit is the socialistic economic model
followed since 1950, coupled with population explosion. Socialistic polices, in the name of egalitarianism, created crony capitalism (license,permit, quota raj), along with confiscatory tax regime and double digit inflation.

The government printed enormous quantity of money to finance its huge programs and investments. It resulted in double digit inflation. Additional resources were raised through very high taxation (upto 95 % income
tax rate). The triple attacks of inflation, license raj and high taxation eroded our values and morals. A bloated bureaucracy was created to administer the economy, which was a breeding ground for corruption and cronyism. Tight controls and regulations strangled
economic growth with high unemployment.

Industrialists and traders began to evade taxes which were perceived to be unfair. The tax administration became increasingly corrupt. Respect for the rule of
law slowly decreased. The cynicism spread slowly and political parties promised the heaven for the people and began to purchase votes. Subsidies and propaganda
of government machinery changed the values and outlook of common man, who began to look upon the government to for all his wants. When the voters began to sell
their votes for money and other considerations, corruption set in. Irresponsible trade unionism
(especially of government sector employees) eroded work ethics of the organized sector, while the
unorganized sector (who are the majority) were helpless and squeezed.

Individual initiative and enterprise were discouraged
and a whole generation of Indians became job-seekers instead of job creators. There were isolated pockets of excellence where enterprising attitude of locals
resulted in prosperity for the region. For example textile industry grew in Coimbatore district while trucking industry in Namakkal.

Reckless borrowing of governments, which were living beyond their limits, resulted in a debt trap and high inflation. All this took our nation to near bankruptcy
in 1990-91. And since liberalization began in 1991,
economic growth is high and the hidden potential of our economy has been unleashed.

We are a living proof of the prediction of Lord Keyenes who said '..there is no surer way of
undermining a nation’s character than by undermining her currency..'

'High taxation leads to evasion, which makes people cynical ; and this cynicism is a slow poison which ultimately destroys democracies' says Peter Drucker
in his book, The New Realities. (1999)

Our cynical attitude is highlighted in the way vested
interests and apathy have distorted, reservation
policy, trade unionism, subsidies and environmental issues.Economic health can be restored, but morals of a people, once lost, is difficult to repair. It may
take many decades for full restoration.