I have been guilty of not reading regularly the excellent blog maintained by Jayakrishnan Nair (‘Varnam’). He is part of the Takshashila Institution. I too blog on its ‘National Interest’ platform. So, he is a fellow blogger.
One has to learn from his single-minded focus on history and archealogical evidence pertaining to civilisations. There is a wealth of learning waiting to be grabbed on his blog site.
You must note one style of JK. In the first paragraph of his posts, he states the existing position or hypothesis that he, then later in the post, either sets out to refute or validate. That first paragraph is not his view. He provides a quick overview/summary of the current ‘state of play’ on the subject.
This odyssey into ‘Varnam’ this morning happened because I was catching up with the emails that are sent out by Rajiv Malhotra (author of ‘Breaking India’ and ‘Being Different’) email group.
He had posted about a book, ‘Is Indian civilisation a myth?’ a book written by one Prof. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, chair professor of Indian history at UCLA. The professor apparently tries to argue, according to RM, that there is no civilisational India. Bah! Of course, I am assuming here that RM had read the book fully and has captured its core message correctly.
If it were true, then even cursory evidence from Indian literature and the peripatetic lives and teachings of our saints would convey that India was a strong civilisational entity.
In its own small way, this aricle by Aatish Taseer refutes effectively the purported message of Prof. Sanjay Subrahmayam’s book.
Also, when we take showers, before we pour water over our body or head, we say a small sloka to invoke all sacred rivers and praying to them to come and be part of the water that we are going to pour over ourselves:
‘Gangaicha, Yamunaichava, Godhavari, Narmade, Saraswati, Sindhu, Cauvery Jalesmin Sannithim Kuru’. If nothing else, this sloka alone should establish the civilisational unity of India.
In their own small way – this is not likely new information for many of you – Varnam’s blog posts revalidate how water (or its disappearance) played a central role in the disappearance of civilisations and kingdoms and countries. Modern India is hugely at risk on that score too. That was the fate of Harappa and Cambodia.
We should make ‘Varnam’ a habit. We will be wiser.