Archive for February, 2010

History we don’t see – staring in our faces

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment
Satellite images of Kampilya

Satellite images of Kampilya

Recently, imposing changes have been recognized in river courses in Pakistan (Sindh), Punjab and Rajasthan: a change of paramount importance has been the disappearance of the Sarasvati river around the 19th century BC, recorded in the rigvedic literature as the most prominent among the Indian rivers. This ecological disaster destroyed the developed Indus-Sarasvati civilization, compelling a considerable number of people to migrate and to settle down in other alluvial planes. In our satellite image it was possible to read the footprint of the arrival in the Ganges Valley of those migrating people. Of course, that intuition had to be tested on the field.

The Ca, Foscari University of Venice, the CNR of Padua and the VAISonlus (a non-profit association) organized the first field survey “Kampilya Mission” under the direction of Marcolongo and myself. On February 6, 1996, the second day of the expedition, we found the imposing walls of a fortified city.

In the following missions, in 1997 and 1999, we verified the regular rectangular shape of the layout of Drupad Kila, Fort of King Drupada, as it was called by the villagers. In fact, Kampilya is mentioned in the Mahabharata as the capital of the Southern Panchala Kingdom, at the time of the mythical King Drupada. The walls of the city measure 780 by 660 meters and are perfectly oriented toward the points of the compass. What is very surprising about this layout, orientation and size is that another city recently discovered in Gujarat, Dholavira, has precisely the same features. The plans of Kampilya-Drupad Kila and Dholavira coincide perfectly, something recognized also by Dr Bisht, the director of the excavations on that second town. The problem is that Dholavira was a town of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, 2,000 years older than Kampilya. This fact offered evidence of the continuity of only one urban model from the Indus-Sarasvati to the Ganges civilizations in the time frame of two millennia. (via Asia Times: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING INDIA Part 10: The Kampilya archeological project).

While India has been giving huge coverage to inane ideas and theories from various English speaking archaeologists, two Italians, Gian Giuseppe Filippi, Bruno Marcolongo, collaborated with ASI to do some interesting work.

Marcolongo has done interesting work in Italy, Mongolia and Yemen – part from India. Using remote sensing tools.

Mrtyu-Concept of Death in Indian Traditions

Mrtyu-Concept of Death in Indian Traditions

Gian Giuseppe Filippi, Professor of Indology, University of Venice, has written two (at least) very interesting books on Indian philosophy. One of his books, deals with “explores the Indian view of mortal existence–from an individual’s conception to his/her journey to the Kingdom of Yama–with rare scientific objectivity–by unveiling a complex network of sentiments, beliefs, scriptural references, customs, etc.”

What ever conclusions they (Filippi and Marcolongo) derived, were predictable – and simple. Something, that English speaking, Anglo Saxon historians have been trying to deny for the last 170 years. And Indians are wasting time, trying to convince these English speaking ‘skeptics.’

All this was not surprising. The sheer lack of coverage by Indian media was shocking. Apart from two really small write ups in two Hindi newspapers, there was no coverage of this project.

I am reminded of another Italian, Trombetti, who was the first to link and understand the link between Elamite culture and Tamil-Dravidian languages. A vital element, in understanding Mesopotamia, Assyrian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Egyptian history.

Dramatic win for India at Eden Garden

February 18, 2010 3 comments
Dhoni and Laxman - the partnership that put India on top

Dhoni and Laxman - the partnership that put India on top

India wins!

India wins!

After an innings and 6 runs defeat at Nagpur, and losing the toss, on the first day at Eden Garden, India had a tough job on hand to beat South Africa.

Not having star batsmen like Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, made India’s middle order batting look fragile.

Couple that with bad weather on the fourth day, and it looked like South Africa could just about escape with a series win.

As if that was not enough, India also lost the services of Zaheer Khan, due to injury, the main strike bowler in the last day. When India needed him most.  This win does two things. It emphasises MS Dhoni’s leadership skills. And that India’s position at the top is no fluke.

Another back breaking effort by Bhajji!

Another back breaking effort by Bhajji!

Scores –

South Africa

1st innings – Total Score: 296/10 (85 Overs); Hashim Amla 114

2nd innings – Total Score: 290/10; (131.3 Over); Hashim Amla 123 not out.


1st innings – Total Score: 643/6 (153 Over); Virender Sehwag – 165; Sachin Tendulkar –  106; VVS Laxman 143 not out; MS Dhoni 132 not out.

Can’t Rescue States With Deficits – EIB

February 11, 2010 1 comment
This may hurt European pride

This may hurt European pride

Can EU ignore Greece …

If Greece is left to fend for itself, it may reduce the credibility of the EU among its own member states.

European Investment Bank President Philippe Maystadt said the bank can’t rescue member states struggling with budget deficits.

“The EIB’s mission and statute do not allow for bailouts in terms of budget deficits or balance-of-payments support to individual member states,” he said in a statement posted on the Luxembourg-based lender’s Web site today. (via EIB Says It Can’t Rescue States With Deficits (Update1) – BusinessWeek).

The problem with EU

Race to the bottom ...?

Race to the bottom ...?

Greece may turn out to be the acid test for the EU and the Euro. Britain and Sweden are suggesting that IMF is better suited to handle the Greek situation – rather than the ECB. Germany and France, being the economic and political leaders of the Euro-pride brigade, are worried about IMF entry into Europe.

The crisis has exposed the EU’s Achilles’ heel — states remain independent to spend as they wish, but their decisions can affect all 16 eurozone nations. Countries that help Greece risk having their own borrowing costs rise as a result, and could see other struggling eurozone economies get in line for aid. (from Star Tribune)

Meanwhile, the Greek Prime Minister winged his way to India – and announced that Greece will solve its own problem – and does not need either the EIB, ECB or the IMF.


Mukesh Ambani weighs in on taxi drivers’ side. Infrastructure for the poor – III

February 7, 2010 3 comments

… During a panel discussion at the London School of Economics organised to release Rajya Sabha MP N.K. Singh’s book Not by Reason Alone: The Politics of Change … Mr. Ambani’s remark (ed) that while India’s corporate world had moved away from ‘licence raj’ after economic liberalisation, Mumbai’s “poor taxi-walla is still dealing with licence raj” was received with applause from the gathering. (via The Hindu : News / National : Mumbai belongs to all of India: Mukesh Ambani, bold letters added).

Concerned Mukesh Ambani

Kolkatta taxis - not much better off than Mumbai taxi-wallahs

Kolkatta taxis - not much better off than Mumbai taxi-wallahs

Mr.Ambani is seriously and really surprised and bothered that ‘liberalization’ has left the poor and the small people in India behind.

I could suspect that Mr.Ambani was scoring brownie points in London. Or I can suspect he was being simply ‘correct’.

But this simple observation is so direct, that it would be churlish on my part to recognize this remark for what it is. Mukesh Ambani is bothered about this regulatory overload.

You are right Mukeshbhai! As usual, in ‘Desert Bloc’ political duratantrik systems, which ‘modern’ India explicitly follows, the poor are forgotten. That is not unusual.

Your care and concern, Mukeshbhai,  is unusual.

Kolkatta taxis – not much better off than Mumbai taxi-wallahs (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Buffalo Soldier burial used to Whitewash ‘Red Indian’ genocide

February 7, 2010 4 comments

Buffalo Soldiers kill Native Americans on the Trail of Tears

Buffalo Soldiers kill Native Americans on the Trail of Tears

In 1889, he was part of a small detachment assigned to protect a U.S. Army pay wagon, which was caught in an ambush by a band of bandits. A gunfight ensued and almost all the soldiers were wounded or killed. Mays was shot in both legs. The bandits made off with $29,000 in gold coins. (via Buffalo Soldier gets Arlington burial after 100 years –

After the American Civil War, as African slaves in America were ‘freed’, they were left with little or no economic opportunities. Except killing. In the US Armed forces. As Buffalo soldiers. To kill ‘Red Indians’.

A 100 years later, CNN still describes these ‘Red Indians’ fighting for their survival as ‘bandits’. But the White colonizers and aggressors were the ‘brave’ frontiersmen’ whose ‘saga’ is told and re-told in countless ‘cowboy’ books and ‘Westerns’ by Hollywood.

Will the ‘Desert Bloc’ ever stop these killings or whitewashing these genocides? Of course, there will always be the apology option!!

Neo-Colonial Discrimination in legal proceedings

February 5, 2010 1 comment
Looking at double standards - again!

Looking at double standards - again!

One major consequence is that Westerners can go to any place in the Non-West and, when in legal trouble with local laws, often expect the preferential treatment of not being prosecuted and of being released, with such excuses as “clemency,” “human rights,” “freedom,” and the like, in a way that they do not reciprocate the same preferential treatment to non-Westerners who are in legal trouble in the West. In fact, these non-Westerners are, more often than not, suffer from pervasive discrimination in Western societies, to the extent that not only they are not given any “clemency” but also they often receive harsher punishment than otherwise. (via The Western Neo-Colonial Discrimination against Non-Western Laws – Pravda.Ru).

The writer makes a ‘interesting point – where every non-Westerner in the West is subject to the ‘law of the land.’ Take the cases of Rajarathnam, Anand Jon or Vikram Buddhi. But, since the West is superior to the Rest, Western natives are not subject to laws of the non-Western countries. As this post from Pravda points out, there is an underlying double standard which pervades Western behaviour.

Interestingly, till recently, one had a feeling that the Oil rich Middle East expected much the same!

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