Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reducing Cow-slaughter at EID – a suggestion from Stephan Knapp.


The Islam festival of EID is approaching in which in some areas many
hundreds of cows and bulls are slaughtered, making the streets flow with blood.
I've received requests from people asking how to help make this stop, or at
least reduce the number of poor cows that have the necks sliced open a then
left to die in the streets. Even in some areas of India where there are
laws against cow slaughter, the police and politicians do nothing about it.

One idea for everyone where this kind of thing goes on is that there should
be a campaign to get as much of this slaughter on video and film as
possible in order to document it, and then post it in as many places as possible,
such as on youtube, vimeo, and dailymotion. There needs to be a way to get
this out to as many people as possible so that the world sees what a
so-called sophisticated or religion of peace does in honor of such festivals.
The only way to get them to stop is to make them an embarrassment of world

You will not be able to stop this slaughter by talking philosophy with
these people. But many people in the West are now becoming highly adverse to
animal cruelty, and to show this kind of "celebration" with film of the
slaughter of so many animals is a way to create awareness of what goes on,
create an impression that people will react to, and hope that such a reaction
will become an uproar to a degree in which this slaughter can be reduced by
the criticism focused on this kind of harsh activity.

I have seen some of the videos out there, and they are most difficult to
watch for anyone of any sensitivity, and also making such videos of the
slaughter of so many animals will not be easy. But, other than trying to stop
this yourself, videos and film can create the awareness wherein larger
numbers of people may be able to participate in a campaign of asking why this has
to happen, and demanding that it stop, and embarrassing the Muslim
community in general that they begin to rethink the reasons for slaughtering so
many animals. At least it is worth a try, and can certainly expose a most
harsh aspect of this tradition.

Hari OM,

Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Catholic Church involved in Kudankulam Nuclear Plant agitation: Dr. Swamy asks for PM's explanation

Catholic Church involved in Kudankulam Nuclear Plant agitation: Dr. Swamy asks for PM's explanation

   October 17, 2011.

 Statement of Dr. Subramanian Swamy,
 President of the Janata Party.

            I demand an explanation from the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as to why his Secretary Mr. Pulok Chatterji, with the help of the Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, has entered into negotiations with the Catholic Church in Mumbai to help resolve the protests taking place against the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant.  Does this mean that the Catholic Church is behind the agitation in which case it is highly objectionable and calls for action under IPC Sections 153A & B, 295A and 505(2).  It also exposes that the PMO is under the clutches of the Catholic Church probably due to the extra-constitutional authority exercised by the now ailing Ms Sonia Gandhi who appears to regard Mr. Pulok  Chatterji with the PMO as her personal civil domestic servant judging by his role when she was hospitalized in New York. During the period of her hospitalization, Mr. Pulok Chatterji was frequently seen arranging for pizza and other snacks for her large Italian entourage numbering about fifty and living in plush apartments in New York close to the hospital.

            The Prime Minister, if he is committed to secular, that is, not prejudiced against the majority Hindu community and biased in favour of the Christians because they are patrons of Ms. Sonia Gandhi, should put an end to this condemnable negotiation on the viability of the Kudankulam Plant.  The Church has no business to decide whatsoever on whether a new reactor set up after Government approval is to be opposed or supported.  Let the Catholic Church restrict itself to religious matters otherwise persons like myself would be free to investigate the practices of the Church such as in appointment of Bishops on direction from the Vatican, and receipt of funds from  abroad.  


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Was India an illiterate society before Ashoka?

If we look for rock edicts of the Ashoka kind from the Hindu rulers of the past, say Mahabharatha period, we would not get any! Those working on rock inscriptions as the source of discovery of writing or literacy or the existence of past kings of India would be disappointed to see no trace of them in the distant past. The reasons must be gathered from the Hindu way of life and thinking. The Hindu kings of the past considered everything as the gift of God or the result of one’s past karma. They did not take pride in their works. They did not find it correct to record them in any form.

The recording of their lives and events was the job of the Rishis. They did it on palm leaves in Sanskrit and it was handed over through the system of Gurukul (teacher- student). All the Puranas, Ithihasas and other works have come to us in that way only. 

The first ever ‘boasting’ was done by Ashoka in the language that Vediks of olden times did not approve / did not consider as worthy. The development of writing of a language different from Sanskrit was done by Jains and Buddhists only. So any effort to establish olden past of the Vedic kings and Vedic society by means of inscriptions carved on rocks in Brahmi or Tamil Brahmi scripts will not yield results.

Given below is the conclusion of a review of an article on old writing systems. The entire article can be read in the link given below.


Excerpted from

....But can we imagine such a state of affairs, given what we know (admittedly not too much) of the state of society and culture in India, especially in the northeast, before this time? If we can put any trust at all in the traditional lore of the Purâ.nas and the testimony of the Pali canon, Magadha was the site of great and prosperous empires, notably that of the Nandas, decades if not centuries before the foundation of the Mauryan dynasty in around 320 BC. Can we believe that these dynasties with their legendary riches, and the remarkable intellectual and cultural life of India in the time of the Buddha and Mahâvîra, existed in a totally illiterate sphere? It is certainly true that intellectual activity in India has always strongly favored oral over written means of expression, and both von Hinüber and Falk have effectively put to rest the already discredited skepticism about the possibility of oral composition and preservation of the Veda, Pâ.nini's grammar, etc. (see e.g. Falk pp.321--7). But the fact that Pâ.nini did not use writing in composing the A.a.tâdhyâyî does not necessarily mean that he was illiterate (cf. Falk p.259); it may only mean that writing was not considered an appropriate vehicle for intellectual endeavors of his kind. Even given the very different cultural role of writing in India as compared to many other ancient civilizations, it is hard to conceive that practical affairs such as the keeping of records and accounts in a fabulously wealthy empire like that of the Nandas could have been kept in order without any form of writing at all, or at least without some alternative system of memory-aids like the Inca quipu . Thus one is tempted to think along the lines of William Bright (cited by Falk, p.290) of some type of writing that was "perhaps used for commercial purposes, but not for religious or legal texts." [15]

Admittedly, we have not a shred of concrete evidence for this, and it is perhaps better to stick with what we have and assume that business affairs, like cultural ones, were conducted in pre-Mauryan Magadha simply on the basis of the highly-developed memory skills so well attested in ancient and modern India, perhaps with the assistance of a system of numerical notation such as that hypothesized above. This, it would be hard to deny in light of the evidence that Falk, von Hinüber, et al. have laid out before us, is the most likely scenario on the grounds of the unfortunately meager evidence that is left to us. Still, we should not fall into the trap of thinking that the last word has been spoken. Admittedly, it hardly seems likely, after all the years of waiting, searching, and the dashing of false hopes, that some major archaeological discovery will reveal a whole new picture of the origins of writing in the Indian heartland, or reveal a sustainable (rather than purely hypothetical) connection with the Indus script. Nevertheless, it would be unwise to rule out surprises in the future, and we should leave the door open, as does Falk (p.340), to discoveries that could revive theories of an early development of Brâhmî. But we must also agree, if reluctantly, with his final sentence: "Zur Zeit erscheint dieser Fall jedoch kaum zu erwarten" (p.340).

Existence of oldest script found in Tamilnadu.

The details of an important archeological discovery at Porunthal near Palani is given  below. The focus seems to be on the writing found on the pot which is said to be the oldest found so far. It is characterized as Tamil Brahmi and this finding puts this writing pre-Ashokan. Based on the literary inputs connected with this region, I think the findings have the scope of being termed as IVC based, giving strength to the theory of Dravidan origin of Tamils in the Indus valley. 

But in my opinion this finding is proof of the migration of people from Dwaraka / IVC regions to Tamilnadu about 3500 years ago when the last submergence was experienced in Dwaraka. I have been repeatedly highlighting this migration which was originally told by Naccinaarkkinyar in his commentary to Tholkaappiyam. 

This region around Palani was the hub of the settlers from Dwaraka who happened to belong to late IVC period. 18 groups of skilled workers have migrated to Tamilnadu from Dwaraka. The potters were one among them. They were referred to as “VeL kO” or” kalam-sey-kO” in the Sangam texts. There even exists a reference to one “Vet ko Kuyak kOdan” (வேட்கோ குயக்கோடன்)  who was said to have argued that “Aryam is good, Tamil is bad” (ஆரியம் நன்று, தமிழ் தீது) I don’t know what the die hard Tamil chauvinists would say for this. The Vel kings have been much liked by Sangam poets including Auvaiyaar. They have spoken in support of Vel kings in comparison to Tamil kings (Chera, Chola, Pandyas).  
Coming to the finding sin Porunthal, there is every possibility to expect a semblance to works in pottery, writings on pottery and metal works found in the IVC. The potters and metal writers (inscribers) were from the IVC only. Therefore whatever writing system is seen on the pots found in Tamilnadu can not be taken as an indigenous (Tamilnadu based) development.

A never ending discussion is going on in linguistic circles on the origin of writings systems. My next post is one on that. Writing or inscribing on clay and metals was a commercial necessity in the IVC centers and the different regions of Middle East which had trade connection with India and Europe. An exchange of writing techniques and borrowal of writing itself cannot be ruled out among this trading community which was spread through regions that are culturally different today. If the Porunthal writings seem to be the oldest available as of now, that is not the beginning of writing. That writing system could have existed before the IVC period but got an expression when the potters got job in IVC centres and later in Porunthal / VeL’s regions in Tamilnadu. 


Porunthal excavations prove existence of Indian scripts in 5th century BC: expert

Kavita Kishore

New results from the analysis of paddy grains found in the Porunthal graveyard archaeological site prove that writing systems in India were in existence in the 5th Century BC, predating the arrival of Asoka, according to history professor at the Pondicherry University and director of the excavation project at Porunthal K. Rajan.
Rice paddy samples that were contained in an engraved pot found inside one of the graves were found to be from 450 BC when analysed using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) by the Beta Analytic Lab, USA, he said, addressing a private gathering organised by the Manarkeni journal. 

Earlier, paddy sample from another grave was dated at 490 BC, but many scholars were unwilling to accept evidence obtained from only one sample. The analysis of the second sample proved that Tamil-Brahmi writing existed in the 5th century BC and was not invented in the 3rd century BC as was previously believed by scholars, he said. This was also the first time anyone had discovered Tamil-Brahmi script along with rice in any archaeological site. Scholars were still debating on the exact letters that were written and its meaning, he said. 

Another significant discovery from the gravesite is that the paddy samples obtained in the graves in Porunthal were cultivated paddy of the Orissa Satvaika variety, he said. 

The Porunthal site is located 12 km South West of Palani and was discovered to have archaeological value in 2006. In 2009-2010, Mr. Rajan and his team of 80 students started excavation at the site, which was divided into two sections – one area for habitation and one area with a graveyard. There were over 100 graves in the region, but with modernisation of the area, several graves have been destroyed and now only 30 graves are still intact, he said. 

In the graves that were studied, it was found that while most of the containers found in the graves were made after the person's death, there was one container that showed signs of use. The team also found a pot with around 2 kilos of rice paddy, which had been sealed in airtight containers. These graves also contained a large number of beads, which were predominantly glass. The pottery in the grave was also engraved with Tamil-Brahmi script, he said. In two of the graves, the team found over 11,000 beads, which were made from glass or paste. The beads were originally made in the Vidarbha region, indicating a trade relationship between the two regions, he said. 

The team had also unearthed a skeleton adorned with a necklace of beads in one of the graves, but they had not yet analysed the bones, he said. The excavation team also found pottery with a peacock design on it.
In his speech at the event, editor of the Manarkeni journal D. Ravikumar expressed distress at the destruction of various archaeological sites in the Porunthal region by quarries. History scholars T. Subramaniam, K. Vijayavenugopal and Raj Gouthaman spoke. 


Pictures of Porunthal excavations:-

                           Terracota figurine found in Porunthal excavations.

A Note on Porunthal Excavations

Porunthal  (77° 28’ 38” E; 10° 22’ 58” N), a tiny village, situated on the foothill of Western Ghat about 12 km southwest Palani lies close to major trade route connecting Madurai, the Pandya capital on the south and Vanji, the celebrated Chera capital on the bank of River Periyar in Thirssur District of Kerala. Famous Roman coin hoard site Kalayamuttur discovered in 1856 lies on the bank of river Porunthilaru, 6 km north of Porunthal village.  It yielded 63 gold coins issued between 8 BC and 193 AD. Similar Roman coin hoards were discovered at Budinattam near Udumalaipettai, Attu Pollachi and at Pollachi on the same west bound trade route. The celebrated Ayiraimalai with goddess Korravai worshipped by the Sangam Age Chera kings lies on this trade route. This Peruvazhi (highway) connecting Kerala and Tamil Nadu served as an important trade route since Early Historic times.

Historically, the village Porunthal was part of the territorial division known as Vaikavur nadu, named after the main village Vaikavur or Aviyur. Other names mentioned about these territorial divisions were Avi-nadu, Vaikavi-nadu, Vaiyavi-nadu and Vaiyapuri-nadu, all denoting the same region. The fragmentary inscription dated to 11th century AD found on the footstep of Marutha-Kali-Amman-Koil mention this village as part of Vaikavi-nadu. Vaikavur was the ancient name of present pilgrimage town Palani. Another name of Palani was Pothini. One of the important clan groups settled in this area was Aviyar kudi. Vel-Avi-k-ko-p-perum-pekan, the famous Vel chieftains, ruled this region. Sangam poets like Kabilan, Van-Paranar, Aricil-Kilar and Perunkunrur-Kilar (Purananuru 143-147) composed in praise of this chieftain. The Sangam literature Akananuru (Akam. 1 and 61) and Purananuru (142) mention this place as Pothini belongs to the Vel chieftain Nedu-Vel-Avi. Further, the place Pothini was noted as a pon-udai-nedu-nagar-pothini meaning the big houses having gold. As per Sangam poem Padirruppattu, another important chieftain Vel-Avi-k-ko-Paduman had matrimonial relations with Cheras who ruled this region with capital at Karur (ancient Vanji) located on the confluence of river Amaravathi with Kaveri. Due to his close relation with Cheras, this chieftain Vel-Avi-k-ko-Paduman had a palace near Vanji.

The famous Jain centre Ayiraimalai lies about 15 km northwest of this site. Jain beds were found in the natural cavern on the eastern side of the hillock. Several Jain sculptures in bas-relief were found at the entrance of the cavern and the inscriptions in vatteluttu character clearly point to the fact that this centre was survived as great Jain centre. The Sangam poem Patirruppattu (21, 70, 79) mentioned this place as Ayirai which had the Cheras family deity Goddess Korravai.

Some important trade guild inscriptions issued by the celebrated trade guild Ainurruvar/Tisai-ayirattu-ainurruvar were located about 5 km from Porunthal down the stream at Tamaraikulam and Rajapuram. Tamaraikulam lies on the right bank and Rajapuram lies on the left bank opposite to Tamaraikulam. It is quite interesting to note that both the sites met with trade guild inscriptions suggesting the east-west trade route that would have crossed the river at this point. The inscription issued during the reign of Vijayanagara king Mallikarjunaraya engraved on the north wall of the Subramanya Temple at Palani referred to this trade route as Peruvalzhi that goes to Kolumam (South Indian Inscriptions Vol. 5, No.286).

The village Tamaraikulam, located north of Porunthal village on the right bank of the river Poruthalaru, was known for several archaeological findings. The habitation mound, locally called Tukkottai, yielded several graffiti marks engraved on the shoulder portions of black and red ware, russet coated ware and red ware. Besides, iron furnace, TC pipes, tuyeres, hop scotches, etc., were collected from the disturbed habitation mound covering an area of about 10 acres. Urn burials with skeletal remains were found exposed earlier.

A Tripurantaka bronze image was discovered a decade ago while digging a basement for the construction of a school building. Again, two years later, another Nataraja bronze image was unearthed. Besides, Bairava and Saptamatrika sculptures were found at Sengalu-nir-medu. A trade guild inscription belongs to 1192 AD issued during the 9th regnal of Parakesari Viracholan, a Kongu Chola, was unearthed in the cultivated field. It refers to the trade guild Ainurruvar. Another inscription found at Rajapuram speaks on an endowment made by the Pathinen-bhumi [tisai-ayirattu-ainurruvar] to the Siva temple.

Keeping potentiality of the region, the entire Amaravathi valley was surveyed as part of Ph.D programme by V.P.Yatheeskumar, Research Scholar of Pondicherry University and nearly 175 archaeological sites were discovered. The site Porunthal was one among them. The habitation mound covering an area of about 5.5 ha. of elevated field locally called paci-medu meaning bead mound (paci > bead; medu > mound) lies south of Marutha-kali-amman-koil. In support of this name, innumerable beads made of glass and paste were collected on the surface. The occurrence of fragments of tuyeres, slag and furnace materials on the surface clearly suggested that the site might have survived as bead manufacturing centre for a longer period of time. Iron Age grave yard, consist of stone circles entombing cist/urn burial numbering around 50, was noticed at the foothill near the present hamlets Chinnagandhipuram, Kavalapatti and Puliyampatti. Dolmen sites were located at Periyaduraikombai and Salpulparai. Black and Red ware, Red ware and Black ware were collected from 2 m deposit.

The availability of early historical vestiges in and around Porunthal like coin hoards, trade guild inscriptions, graffiti marks and brick structures, was instrumental for selecting the site for excavations. Prof. K.Rajan, Head, Department of History, Pondicherry University initiated the excavation programme with generous financial support of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil and Archaeological Survey of India. Such excavation programme is undertaken for the first time in Pondicherry University under the direction of Vice Chancellor Prof.J.A.K.Tareen.

Three trenches were laid in the bead mound to identify various technological aspects of glass making. Three floor levels were identified in 1.5 m cultural deposit dating between 1st century AD and 3rd century AD. There are nearly 2000 glass beads of various sizes and colours collected from 50 sq.m digging area. The 50 sq.m amounts to 0.25 % of the total bead mound.  If one exposes the entire mound of 5.5 ha. area, one may encounter with minimum of a million beads. These too are the refuses left by our ancestors as the best ones were being used or sold.

Luckily, the team encountered with a glass polishing furnace in one of the trenches. The ashy material collected from the furnace alone yielded 60 beads. Quite interestingly, more than twenty identical red ware bowls with short base and wide mouth noticed near the furnace along with triangular terracotta pieces. The edges of the terracotta pieces were smoothened due to constant rubbing. Prof. P.Shanmugam, former Professor of Archaeology, University of Madras felt that these symmetrical bowls and the triangular terracotta pieces made out of pottery might have been used for polishing the glass beads. The non-availability of long tubular specimens near to the furnace and the availability of cut-pieces (beads) suggest that there would have been some more furnaces where one could expect the first stage of glass bead making. There are several hundreds of paste beads lying on the northern part of the mound with glass slag.

The excavations revealed two phases of glass bead making. In the later phase of the industrial activity, most of the beads, nearly 90%, are paste beads. In the early phase, green glass beads were predominate. Such green beads meant for export to Roman world during early historic times collected in recent excavations at Pattanam, the ancient Muciri port of Cheras, said Dr.P.J.Cherian, Director, Kerala Council of Historical Research on his visit to the site. This industrial site needs to be fixed in wider trade net-work keeping in view of its closeness to  ancient trade route. Prof. Y.Subbarayalu, Head, Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry who studied extensively on trade guild inscriptions of this area expressed the view that this region should be seen in the back drop of continuous commercial activity witnessed along this route during medieval times. Dr.S.Rajavelu, Assistant Superintending Epigraphist of Archaeological Survey of India, further explores this area and copied such trade guild inscriptions at Kothaimangalam and Karaiyur.

The second trench dug on the western side of the trench yielding furnace had ashy material suggesting greater industrial activity. This trench yielded more than 1000 glass beads. More than ten red ware bowls placed in a row near the furnace also noticed in this trench. The other important antiquities recovered from this single cultural deposit were ivory dice, terracotta ear lopes, ear rings, games men and hop scotches. Other important antiquities to be noted were a male figurine and a humped bull, all made of Terracotta. The well-modelled male figure with prominent human facial feature made out of pinching method has elongated body, broad shoulder and short legs, all suggestive of archaic figure generally dated to 1st century AD. Such unique terracotta figurines were not reported elsewhere in Tamil Nadu. Near to these figurines, a square Sangam Age copper coin was also recovered. Since it is in bad state of preservation, symbols on the coin yet to be identified. Besides, a celt was recovered near the floor of the second trench.

A brick wall with width of 90 cm, probably corner of a building, unearthed in the third trench laid in the southern fringe of the mound had four courses of brick built by using English bond method. Two sizes of brick were exposed measuring 7x21x42 cm and 8x24x48 cm, all in the ratio of 1:3:6 showing the technological skill of the early historic people. The binding material used in the structure was clay. Dr.D.Dayalan, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India expressed such brick structures were generally found in the urban centres, port towns and capital cities of early historic times like Kaveripattinam, Uraiyur, Pattanam and Arikamedu. The present Porunthal evidence reflects its commercial nature.

Prof.K.Nachimuthu, Tamil Chair, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi opined in the back-drop of Sangam literature, this region has a unique place in early historic times. Sangam Age chieftains like Pekan and Kumanan hold sway over this region under the celebrated Cheras. Their territorial holding pattern also goes along the trade route, which suggests that these chieftains would have also played a considerable role in the flourishing trade net-work. The Sangam Age poet Porunthil Ilang-Kiranar who hails from this village Porunthil composed poem in honour of Mantharal-Cheral-Irumporai is suggestive of the literary activity of those times (Akananuru 19, 351and Purananuru 53).

A Note on a Grave

Several burials belonging to Iron Age as well as Early Historic phase were noticed 2 km west of the site near the foothill. They were of cist burials, both of simple and transepted variety. One of the graves having a diameter of 12.50 m was opened. The cist with passage was meticulously placed at the centre of the stone circle made of huge boulders. The cist was divided into two parts resulting with southern and northern chambers. The dividing transept slab also had a porthole. The southern chamber yielded four-legged jars and pots of red polished ware, bowl of black and red ware and plates of black slipped ware. These were placed on a bench like floor slab at the front porthole level. More than 3000 beads made of steatite, etched and plain carnelian, agate and quartz were recovered at this level. These grave goods were placed close to skeletal remains. These cultural items were placed on a slab suggesting a kind of ritual taken place at this point. The northern chamber yielded grave goods consist of four legged jars and pots of red slipped ware, conical black and red ware vase, black slipped ring stand and black and red ware pots. These pots placed one upon the other. On the floor slab, several ring stands made of black slipped as well as red slipped ware were found.

Interestingly, one ring stand of a red slipped ware was placed almost at the centre of the northern chamber. Around this ring stand, 22 etched carnelian beads were placed like a garland. Inside the ring stand, five more beads were also noticed. On the exterior surface of the ring stand, four symbols were engraved. The first three symbols look like a Tamil-Brahmi script and the fourth one is definitely a graffiti mark. The first three symbols are relatively smaller in size when compared with the fourth symbol (graffiti mark). Like fourth symbol, several identical graffiti marks were found in almost all the pots placed as grave goods. This graffiti mark also engraved on the ring stand on its opposite side. But the first three Tamil-Brahmi like symbols were found only on the ring stand. If we consider these group of symbols as graffiti then the grave may be placed in Iron Age and if we consider the symbols as Tamil-Brahmi script then the grave could be dated to early historic times. Keeping the historical importance of these symbols, opinion is sought from leading epigraphists of this country. Sri.Iravatahm Mahadevan clearly identifies the first three symbols as Tamil-Brahmi script and read it as va-yi-ra. Iravatahm Mahadevan is dated to 1st century AD. Dr.S.Rajavelu of Archaeological Survey of India and Dr.V.Vedachalam also agrees with Sri.Iravatham Mahadevan. Prof.Y.Subbarayalu, Head, Dept. of Indology, had some reservation and he feels that it is likely to be graffiti marks and it needs close examination. Prof.P.Shanmugam of Madras University and Dr.S.Rajagopal goes along with the opinion of Prof.Y.Subbarayalu. Such examples having a pot engraved Tamil-Brahmi script reading visaki unearthed earlier in a grave at Kodumanal.

Besides, a pair of stirrup was placed close to this ring stand. Around the stirrup, thousands of steatite beads were placed. In total, this grave alone was yielded about 7500 beads of steatite, carnelian, quartz and agate along with iron swords, arrow heads and several pots like ring stands, bowls, plates, dishes, bowls, legged jars and vases. These were the highest number of beads so far collected from any grave of Tamil Nadu.  Another important finding was of paddy placed as grave good in one of the biggest 90 cm high four legged jars. Such huge quantity of well preserved paddy nearly 2 kg was collected first time in the grave. The occurrence of paddy in a grave of 2000 years old reflects their agricultural potentiality. The richness of the grave goods, size of the chamber, the high level of rituals performed and occurrence of the unique script, paddy and stirrup points to the greatness of the man who buried in the grave. Skeletal remains also collected from the grave. In all probability, as rightly pointed out by Prof.Y.Subbarayalu, this grave would have been meant for a chieftain or a clan leader.

Several scholars who visited during excavations appreciated the collective will and dedication of the students from various universities like Mangalore University, Sri Venkateswara University, Tamil University and Pondicherry University. Such participation helps to enhance the human resource in this field. During excavations, students have been exposed to different scientific aspects of archaeological research such as excavations methods, surveying, geology, plant science, GIS and epigraphy by scholars like Dr.Anupama, Mr.S.Prasad and Sri.Muthu Shankar of French Institute of Pondicherry, Dr.V.Subramaniam, Reader in Geology, National College, Trichy, Senior Epigraphists Dr.R.Poongundran, Dr.V.Vedachalam and Senior Archaeologists Dr.C.Santhalingam and Dr.T.Subramanian.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Family system is the remedy for economic problems -says Prof R. Vaidyanathan

Yet another well articulated article from Prof Vaidyanathan on the cause of economic crisis of the West.
A society is the sum of all families and the as such
the economy thrives on the well being of all or majority of the families.
When families crumble, disorder is the result.
A State taking up the responsibilities of the families in such a scenario would lead to
what we are seeing in the West.

Prof Vaidyanathan has brought out the problems of such a scenario
in contrast to how we in India can remain better off
with insulated family support.
In this context, I have a growing worry about
how the emerging culture of freebies and State support for mediclaims and food subsidy
are going manifest in the long run.
Where is the line of demarcation for
how much and how far to go on such issues
in a highly populated country with a considerable section of people under deprivation? 
On the other hand,
I think we can lay assured
that the basic cultural trait of the Indian society even among the poor
to save for marriage and for gold will not easily go away.

Thinking from my astrological experience
with various types of people from various economic strata,
I have seen a predominance of family issues between family members in the 80s,
predominance of job issues in the 90s (perhaps due to liberalization blues)
and issues between spouses in the last decade.
I am even coming across 2 -time divorcees nowadays.
Today people are able to manage money matters and even job losses,
but managing inter personal issues with spouses is an issue.
This is quiet disturbing, yet the silver line is that people do not want to remain single.
They somehow want to lead a calm married life. 
This makes me think that family system will not vanish
atleast during my life time.
A strong dose of Hindu system of family values
must be nurtured and propagated to save families,
through which we can save our economy itself.



Why the decline of the West is best for us – and them

By R Vaidyanathan
PROFESSOR OF FINANCE                                             

Ten years ago, America had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash. Now it has no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash. Or so the joke goes.

Only, it's no joke. The line is pretty close to reality in the US. The less said about Europe the better. Both the US and Europe are in decline. I was asked by a business channel in 2008 about recovery in the US. I mentioned 40 quarters and after that I was never invited for another discussion.

Recently, another media person asked me the same question and I answered 80 quarters. He was shocked since he was told some "sprouts" of recovery had been seen in the American economy.

It is important to recognise that the dominance of the West has been there only for last 200-and-odd years. According to Angus Maddison's pioneering OECD study, India and China had nearly 50 percent of global GDP as late as the 1820s.   Hence India and China are not emerging or rising powers. They are retrieving their original position.
The dollar is having a rollercoaster ride at present. Reuters

In 1990, the share of the G-7 in world GDP (on a purchasing power parity basis) was 51 percent and that of emerging markets 36 percent. But in 2011,  it is the reverse. So the dominant west is a myth.
Similarly, the crisis. It is a US-Europe crisis and not a global one. The two wars – which were essentially European wars – were made out to be world wars with one English leader commenting that 'we will fight the Germans to the last Indian'.

In this economic scenario, countries like India are made to feel as if they are in a crisis. Since the West says there's a crisis, we swallow it hook, line and sinker.
But it isn't so. At no point of time in the last 20 years has foreign investment – direct and portfolio – exceeded 10 percent of our domestic investment. Our growth is due to our domestic savings which is again predominately household savings. Our housewives require awards for our growth not any western fund manager.

The crisis faced by the West is primarily because it has forgotten a six-letter word called 'saving' which, again, is the result of forgetting another six letter word called "family". The West has nationalised families over the last 60 years. Old age, ill health, single motherhood – everything is the responsibility of the state.

When family is a "burden" and children an "encumbrance," society goes for a toss. Household savings have been negative in the US for long. The total debt to GDP ratio is as high as 400 percent in many countries, including UK. Not only that, the West is facing a severe demographic crisis. The population of Europe during the First World War was nearly 25 percent and today it is around 11 percent and expected to become 3 percent in another 20 years. Europe will disappear from the world map unless migrants from Africa and Asia take it over.

The demographic crisis impacts the West in other ways. Social security goes for a toss since people are living longer and not many from below contribute to their pensions through taxes. So the nationalisation of families becomes a burden on the state.

European work culture has become worse with even our own Tata complaining about the work ethic of British managers. In France and Italy, the weekend starts on Friday morning itself. The population has become lazy and state-dependent.

In the UK, the situation is worse with drunkenness becoming a common problem. Parents do not have control over children and the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation in London  said: "There are all signs of arteriosclerosis of a culture and a civilisation grown old. Me has taken precedence over We and pleasure today over viability tomorrow." (The Times: 8 September ).

Married couples make up less than half (45 percent) of all households in the US, say recent data from the Census Bureau. Also there is a huge growth in unmarried couples and single parent families (mostly poor, black women). Society has become dysfunctional or disorganised in the West. The government is trying to be organised.

In India, society is organised and government disorganised. Because of disorganised society in the West the state has to take care of families. The market crash is essentially due to the adoption of a model where there is consumption with borrowings and no savings. How long will Asian savings be able to sustain the western spending binge?

According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal (10 October 2011), nearly half of US households receive government benefits like food stamps, subsidised housing, cash welfare or  Medicare or Medicaid (the federal-state health care programmes for the poor) or social security.

The US is also a stock market economy where half the households are investors and they have been hit hard by bank and corporate failures. Even now less than 5 percent of our household financial savings goes to the stock market. Same in China and Japan.

Declining empires are dangerous. They will try to peddle their failed models to us and we will swallow it since colonial genes are very much present here. You will find more Indians heading global corporations since India is a very large market and one way to capture it is to make Indian sepoys work for it.

A declining West is best for the rest and also for the West, which needs to rethink its failed models and rework its priorities. For the rest—like us—the fact that the West has failed will be accepted by us only after some western scholars tell us the same. Till then we will try to imitate them and create more dysfunctional families.

We need to recognise that Big Government and Big Business are twin dangers for average citizens. India faces both and they are two asuras we need to guard against. The Leftists in the National Advisory Council want all families to be nationalised and governed by a Big State and reform marketers of the CII variety want Big Business to flourish under crony capitalism. Beware of the twin evils since both look upon India as a charity house or as a market and not as an ancient civilisation.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Durga Puja has early traces in Tamil lands.

Vijaya Dasami popularly known as Durga Puja is an ancient custom in India including Tamilnadu. But year after year we used to hear the Dravidian protagonist, Karunanidhi denigrating that custom along with other customs. According to him Vijaya dasami is an Aryan practice imposed on Tamils by the Brahmins (Aryans). The following article written in Tamil by Mr Bala Gauthaman and published in Dinamani News magazine explains with suitable evidences from inscriptions and Sangam texts that Vijaya dasami and Ayudha puja had very much been an integral part of the Tamil society.

After reading this article, I get reminded of 2 descriptions from Silappadhikaram which speak of this custom prevailing among the native Hunter community living in hills (Kurinji) and the worship of Mahishasura-mardhini. This custom also contains another practice which now exists as Kumari worship in Nepal. 

In the chapter tilted Vettuva vari, it is said that the priestess of the Durga temple went into a trance and called for the worship / appeasement of Durga because the community was not prospering well. As part of worship of Durga, the hunter community chose a young girl from the community having specific characteristics and dressed her like Goddess Durga. The dressing up is similar to what we hear of the Kumari of Nepal. A third eye is also painted on her forehead. They sing and dance keeping her as the Goddess. 

                                                      Kumari of Nepal

The narration goes further to describe the song and dance sequences of the Hunters in praise of Durga. There is it said in more than one places that she (Durga) is the one who killed Mahisha. The slaying of Mahisha is described leaving no doubt about this worship being the precursor of the Durga Puja of today. There is also the mention of the dance of Durga on the wooden poles (marakkaal aattam) which is one of the 11 ancient forms of Dances mentioned in old Tamil texts. At the end of the worship an animal sacrifice was done. There is no clue about which animal was sacrificed. But going by the practice of large scale sacrifice of buffalos in Nepal and the sacrifice being done for the sake of Mahishasura mardini, it is possible to assume that they sacrificed buffalos.

There is another reason to support this. This worship and the song (vari-p-paadal) describe the profession of the hunters as taking up the flag of Lion with Goddess Durga leading them in the front in their incursions into other people’s territories with the aim of stealing the cattle. The stolen cattle are distributed among all the people living in their area. The song goes on as a conversation with Durga showing her how they have distributed the stolen cattle among different people. The song also tells that in return for the cattle riches that Durga helped them to get, the hunters paid her back with the blood of the sacrificed animals. In all probability the sacrificed animal is a cattle or Buffalo which signifies Mahisha asura, whom Durga slayed.

This practice of dressing a girl as Durga and worshiping Durga as Mahishasuramardini was being done whenever the Hunter community sensed some bad times for them. This means that this worship could have taken place many times in a year or once in many years depending upon the ‘need’ they felt in their status of well being. This worship existed before Silappadhikaram times, that is, two thousand years ago. In contrast the Kumari Puja in Nepal and Durga Puja in Calcutta have risen at later dates. The picture found in Wikipedia article on Durga Puja shows a hunter in Durga puja.

                              Image of Durga in an early 19th century lithogragh.

In my opinion the worship described in Silapapdhikaram must have been there even before Mahabharatha times, for we have a mention of a place called Mahisha in South India  in Mahabharatha in the narration of Sanjaya to Dhristharashtra after he got the Divine Eye to see the war at Kurukshetra. This Mahisha is present day Mysore. In Tamil it was called Erumai or Erumaiyur meaning Buffalo.  This region may have been one of the oldest places occupied by hunters whose form of worship got modified as Durga Puja in later times.

Looking into further antiquity, I would say that worship of Durga existed 1000s of years ago in the sunken parts of Kumari lands which I would call as Shaka Dweepa, because there comes a description of a place called Durga-saila in Sanjaya’s description of Shaka dweepa in Mahabharatha. He locates this place in the now-sunken mountain range called “Ninety East Ridge” which coincides with the 90th meridian. Andaman and Nicobar islands are the  visible parts of this ridge . The location of Durga saila is just above the Equator according to his narration. We have to find out if the Anadaman tribes also have a practice of worshiping a female deity after their hunting expeditions.  

From Durgasaila in an undated past, the worship of Durga could have come to Tamil lands among the Hunter community and then spread throughout India.

-          Jayasree



ஆயுத பூசையும் அறிவாலய மடாதிபதியும்!

First Published : 10 Oct 2011

ஆயுத பூசை இந்த ஆண்டும் வந்தது. வழக்கம்போல அரசியல் தலைவர்கள் வாழ்த்து தெரிவித்தனர். வழக்கத்துக்கு மாறாக கருணாநிதி, சென்ற ஆண்டைப் போல, ஆரியர் திருவிழா என்று சொல்லவில்லை. திகார் திகிலில் சிக்கி இருப்பதால், சென்ற ஆண்டைப் போல திராவிட பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் பாடம் படிக்க வேண்டும் என்று யாருக்கும் அறிவுரை வழங்கவில்லை.

இவரின் கலைஞர் தொலைக்காட்சி விடுமுறை தின நிகழ்ச்சி என்று தன் சிறப்பு மசாலாக்களை ஒளிபரப்பியது. கருணாநிதி குடும்பத்தைப் பொறுத்தவரை திராவிட- ஆரியப் பித்தலாட்டம் எப்பவும் அரசியலுக்குத்தானே தவிர, குடும்ப நிறுவனங்களின் வியாபார ஆதாயத்துக்கு ஒரு நாளும் குறுக்கே நின்றது கிடையாது.

தொன்மையான தமிழ் நூல் தொல்காப்பியம். ஒரு மன்னனையும் அவன் அரசாட்சியையும் எப்படி புகழ்ந்து பாட வேண்டும் என்று இலக்கணம் வடித்துள்ளது. ""உளியின் ஓசை பாடல் அரங்கேற்றம், 50-ம் திரைப்பட கதை-வசனம், பெண் சிங்கம் வெற்றி விழா'' போன்றவற்றை எல்லாம் புகழ்ந்து பாடுவதை பிழைப்பாகக் கொள்ளக்கூடாது என்பதற்காக எழுதப்பட்ட இலக்கணம் தொல்காப்பியம். ஆனால், ""பூங்கா கண்ட நவீன தொல்காப்பியர் கருணாநிதி''யின் கண்ணில் படாத, தொன் பெரும் தொல்காப்பியத் திணைக்கு பாடான் திணை என்று பெயர்.

இதில், "மானார்ச் சுட்டிய வாண்மங்கலமும்'' (பொருள் அதிகாரம் - 91) என்று ஆயுத பூசை பற்றிக் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ளது.

மானார் என்ற சொல்லுக்கு மாண்புடையவர், போர் பயிற்சி பெரும் மாணவர், வெற்றி பெற்றவர் என்றெல்லாம் உரையாசிரியர்கள் பொருள் படுத்துகிறார்கள். ஆனால் அனைவரும் ஒப்புக்கொள்வது, இவர்கள் போர்க் கலங்களை நீராட்டிப் பூசை செய்கிறார்கள் என்பதுதான். இதன் மூலம் ஆயுத பூசை போற்றிப் பாடப்பட வேண்டிய ஒன்று என்று முதல் தமிழ் நூல் குறிப்பிடுகிறது. இப்படி ஆயுத பூசை போற்றிப் பாடப்பட வேண்டும் என்று அறிவுறுத்துகிறது தொல்காப்பியம்.

எதிரியின் கோட்டையை சுற்றி வளைத்து பிடிப்பதைப் பற்றிய விவரத்தைச் சொல்வது உழிஞை திணை. இதில், "வென்ற வாளின் மண்ணோ டொன்ற'' (பொருள் அதிகாரம் - 68) என்று வெற்றி பெற்ற வாளை அபிஷேகம் செய்யும் குறிப்பு உணர்த்தப்படுகிறது.

"உடன் படு மெய்'' என்பதற்கு ஆசிரியரும் மாணவியும் இணைவதை உதாரணம் காட்டிய தொல்காப்பியப் பூங்கா எழுதி வக்கிரப் பார்வை பார்க்கும் கருணாநிதிக்கு ஆயுத பூசை எப்படிக் கண்ணில் படும்?

சென்ற ஆண்டு (2010) ஜெயலலிதா ஆயுத பூசை வாழ்த்து தெரிவித்தவுடன், ஜெயலலிதாவை ஆரியர் என்றார் கருணாநிதி. அப்படி என்றால் ஆயுத பூசை கொண்டாடுபவர்களும் ஆரியர்கள்தானே? சங்க இலக்கியமான பதிற்றுப் பத்து, மள்ளர்கள் ஆயுத பூசை கொண்டாடியதை விவரிக்கிறது. ஆயுத பூசையைக் கொண்டாடிய பாவத்திற்காக மள்ளர்கள் ஆரியர்களாகி விடுவார்களா?

றொன்மிசைந் தெழுதரும் விரிந்திலங் கெஃகிற்

றார்புரிந் தன்ன வாளுடை விழவிற்

போர்படு மள்ளர் போந்தோடு தொடுத்த
கடவுள் வாகைத் துய்வீ யேய்ப்ப''

என்கிறது பதிற்றுப் பத்து (பாட்டு-66).

மள்ளர்கள் கேடயத்தையும் பூ மாலைபோல் பல வாள்களைக் கட்டி தொங்க விட்டும், அவற்றை பனை நாரினால் தொடுத்த வாகைப் பூ மாலை இட்டும் வணங்கினர் என்ற செய்தியை இந்த பாடல் தெரிவிக்கிறது. இந்தக் குறிப்பின்படி, இந்த விழவு மழைக்காலத்தில் நடந்திருக்க வேண்டும். வாகை மரம் மழைக்காலங்களிலும் பூக்கும் என்று இந்திய தாவரங்களைப் பற்றிய நூலான Flora Indica or Descriptions of Indian plants, Vol I By William Roxburgh, Nathaniel Wallich  குறிப்பிடுகிறது.

வாகை மலருக்கு வட மொழியில் "சீர்ஷா' என்று பெயர். அளகாபுரி நகரில், பெண்கள் கடம்ப மலரை தலையிலும் செந்தாமரையைக் கைகளிலும் "சீர்ஷா' என்ற வாகையைக் காதுகளிலும் அணிந்து கார் காலத்தில் அழகு பார்த்ததாக காளிதாசரின் "மேகதூதம்' குறிப்பிடுகிறது.

தமிழகத்தில், "வள்ளல்' என்ற சொல்லைக் கேட்டவுடன் நம் நினைவுக்கு வருபவர் அதியமான். இந்த அதியமானுக்கும், தொண்டைமான் என்ற மன்னனுக்கும் போர் மூளும் தறுவாயில், அப்போரைத் தடுக்க தமிழ் மூதாட்டி ஒüவையார் அதியமான் அரண்மனைக்குச் சென்றார். தொண்டைமானின் ஆயுதக் கொட்டிலில் போர்க் கலங்கள் நெய் பூசி, அலங்கரிக்கப்பட்டு வைத்திருந்ததைப் பார்த்து, தொண்டைமானிடம் அதியமான் அரண்மனையில் உள்ள ஆயுதங்கள் எல்லாம் கொல்லன் பட்டறையில் இருக்கிறது. ஆனால் இங்கோ பூசையில் வைக்கப்பட்டு இருக்கிறதே என்ற கேட்டதாக செய்தி ஒன்று காணப்படுகிறது. அரண்மனைக் கொட்டிலில் ஆயுதங்களுக்கு பூசை செய்யும் பழக்கம் புறநானூற்றுக் காலத்தில் இருந்த விவரம், முழுமையாகவும் முறையாகவும் சங்க இலக்கியம் படித்தவர்களுக்குத் தெரியும். பலருடைய உரைகளை ஒருங்கிணைத்து "சங்கத் தமிழ்' என்று தனது பெயரில் வெளியிட்டு மகிழ்ந்தவர்களுக்கு எப்படித் தெரியும்?

ம் நூற்றாண்டில் வாழ்ந்தவர் கருவூர் புகழ் சோழநாயனார். இந்த சோழ மன்னனின் பட்டத்து யானை, கோயிலுக்கு மலர் கொண்டு சென்ற பக்தன் சிவகாமி ஆண்டாரின் பூக்கூடையைத் தூக்கி எறிந்தது. இதைப் பார்த்த எரிபத்த நாயனார், பட்டத்து யானையையும் அதன் பாகனையும் வெட்டிச் சாய்த்தார் என்கிறது பெரிய புராணம்.

இதில் கவனிக்க வேண்டிய விஷயம் என்னவென்றால், அந்த பட்டத்து யானை புரட்டாசி நவமியன்று அபிஷேகம் செய்யப்பட்டு, அழைத்து வரப்பட்டது என்பதுதான். வாகனங்களை ஆயுத பூசை காலங்களில் அபிஷேகித்து, மரியாதை செய்வது 5-ம் நூற்றாண்டுத் தமிழர் மரபு. கி.பி. 897-ம் ஆண்டு திருவக்கரை சந்திரமௌலீஸ்வரர் ஆலயக் கல்வெட்டு, சித்ரா பௌர்ணமி மற்றும் புரட்டாசி ஓணத் திருவிழாக்கள், அபிஷேகத்துடன் கொண்டாடப்பட்டதாக

"சித்திரை திங்கள் சித்திரையும்பிரட்டாதி ஓணமும்''

என்று தெரிவிக்கிறது. (South Indian Inscriptions, Vol 13, No 317, Archeological Survey of India)

புரட்டாசி மாதம் திருவோண நட்சத்திரம், வளர்பிறை தசமி திதியில் வரும். அதுவே விஜய தசமியாகக் கொண்டாடப்படுகிறது.

விழுப்புரம் மாவட்டத்தில் 12-ம் நூற்றாண்டைச் சேர்ந்த இறையான் நறையூர் (இலவா நாசூர்) கோப்பெருஞ்சிங்கன் கல்வெட்டுகளில், புரட்டாசி ஓணத் திருவிழா ஒரு பிரசித்தி பெற்ற பெருவிழாவாகக் கொண்டாடப்பட்ட தகவல் காணப்படுகிறது. விஜய நகரப் பேரரசு கி.பி. 1336-ல் தோன்றியது என்பது ஓரளவு வரலாறு படித்தவர்களுக்குத் தெரியும். இப்படி இருக்க, நாயக்கர்கள் ஆயுத பூசையைப் புகுத்தினார்கள் என்று சொல்வது கருணாநிதியின் அறியாமையா அல்லது வாடிக்கையான விஷ(ம)த்தனமா?

தான் உய்யா விட்டாலும் கவலையில்லை. உலகத்தின் கடை நிலை மனிதன் உய்தால் போதும் என்று, சமூகத்தின் மிகவும் தாழ்த்தப்பட்டவனுக்கு இறை வழியைப் போதித்த இராமானுசரின் ஸ்ரீபெரும்புதூர் கோயில் கல்வெட்டில், நவராத்திரி கொலு கொண்டாடப்பட்டதற்கான குறிப்பு 16-ம் நூற்றாண்டிலேயே பதிவு செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது. இந்த இலக்கியக் குறிப்புகளிலும் கல்வெட்டுக் குறிப்புகளிலும் இடம்பெறும் மள்ளர்களும் (தேவேந்திர குலத்தோர்), மன்னர்களும், புலவர்களும், புரவலர்களும், நாயன்மார்களும், ஆழ்வார்களும் நம் மூதாதையர்களும் தமிழர்களில்லையா?

அறிவாலயத்தால் அங்கீகரிக்கப்படுபவன் மட்டுமே தமிழன், கோபாலபுரத்தாருக்கு எடுக்கப்படுவதே விழா என்று பூனை கண்ணை மூடினால் உலகம் இருண்டுவிடும் என்று கருதுபவர்களுக்கு இதெல்லாம் எங்கே தெரியப்போகிறது?