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Do Colored People Exist if There Are No White People to Observe Them?

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TaylorSwiftApr09 William Dalrymple in The New Yorker has a reflection up on the 1947 partition of the subcontinent, The Great Divide. It is fine so far as it goes. He reminds us of the scale of the tragedy, millions of deaths, as well as the depravity of the barbarity, as “infants were found literally roasted on spits.” Some day I will have to educate myself about this period, as I only have vague recollections of reading fragments of Freedom at Midnight as a child. I recall stopping at the point where the authors reported how a group of men broke into an obstetrics unit at a hospital and took a newborn who had just breathed their first and smashed its brains out on the walls, while the mother and hospital staff watched in horror. That was enough to get a flavor of the “action.” Fortunately my family did not suffer during this period, Bengal was relatively quiet in comparison to the atrocities washing over Punjab (as many of you are aware, my family experienced more hardship in the 1971 war, though as they were relatively privileged Muslims who were also not very involved in the arts or politics they were not actively targeted).

But there is one section whose assumptions and implications rub me the wrong way. Let me quote:

In the nineteenth century, India was still a place where traditions, languages, and cultures cut across religious groupings, and where people did not define themselves primarily through their religious faith. A Sunni Muslim weaver from Bengal would have had far more in common in his language, his outlook, and his fondness for fish with one of his Hindu colleagues than he would with a Karachi Shia or a Pashtun Sufi from the North-West Frontier.

Many writers persuasively blame the British for the gradual erosion of these shared traditions. As Alex von Tunzelmann observes in her history “Indian Summer,” when “the British started to define ‘communities’ based on religious identity and attach political representation to them, many Indians stopped accepting the diversity of their own thoughts and began to ask themselves in which of the boxes they belonged.” Indeed, the British scholar Yasmin Khan, in her acclaimed history “The Great Partition,” judges that Partition “stands testament to the follies of empire, which ruptures community evolution, distorts historical trajectories and forces violent state formation from societies that would otherwise have taken different—and unknowable—paths.”


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Ten years ago I read Nicholas Dirks’ Castes of Mind. It is a work of history which shows how many caste identities were fashioned de novo under the impetus of British bureaucratic taxonomic impulse (see Census of 1891). Though Dirks is too subtle to assert that the caste system was created by the British, the general thrust of the work is clearly one which emphasizes the role of recent historical contingency in establishing the social order of South Asia as we understand it. The subhead is after all: “Colonialism and the Making of Modern India.” The British are then the agents who operate upon the formless void of the Indian subcontinent’s amorphous peasant culture. They came, they saw, and they created.

Even when I read Castes of Mind I was moderately skeptical of the narrative, as there had been enough genetics done to suggest that South Asian populations were stratified by caste. By this, I mean that caste status as much, or more, than geography predict the genetic structure of Indian society. It was already evident, for example, that South Indian Brahmins were closer to North Indian Brahmins than they were to South Indian Dalits when it came to genetic relatedness. Brahmins and Dalits are two caste groups which are clear and present throughout South Asia (the “middle castes” tend to vary from region to region, and the classical warrior and trader castes do not exist in South India, though there are notionally Sudra groups which occupy their roles). Even those who prioritize the role of the British would accept that the Brahmin and untouchable categories predate the reification of the colonial period. But what the latest genetics is telling us is that caste endogamy has been a feature of Indian life for at least 2,000 years, and perhaps longer. Not only are Brahmins distinct from Dalits, but castes with a less clear position in the classical varna typology, such as the Reddy community of South India, clearly have had long histories as a coherent groups. The British could not have been the dominant causal force in shaping caste as a ubiquitous feature of Indian life if they were already genetically endogamous even before the Muslims arrived.

And so with religion. The contemporary revisionism, which now is approaching mainstream orthodoxy, is that South Asian religious life before the arrival of the British, and the Western outlook more generally, was characterized by a quietist syncretism where communal boundaries were fluid to the point of confessional identity being a flimsy veil which could be shed or shifted dependent upon context. An alternative history then might be proposed of a united subcontinent, where Hindus and Muslims were coexistent, or, perhaps where a Hindu and Muslim identity did not even exist. The cognitive psychologist Pascal Boyer likes to characterize a theory as giving you “information for free.” You don’t really have to know anything, you can simply deduce from your axioms. Though the model of South Asian ethno-religious history I allude to above obviously integrates ethnographic and historical realities, it constructs a post-colonial fantasy-land, where South Asian religiosity was without form or edge before the arrival of Europeans and their gaze collapsed the wave function. Before the instigation of Europeans people of color were tolerant of religious diversity, varied sexual orientations, and practiced gender egalitarianism. In other words, India was like the campus of Oberlin college, except without the microaggressions, and more authentic spirituality!

51J39W7ZRFL._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_ The first problem with this model is empirical and specific to South Asia. Before white Europeans arrived in the Indian subcontinent to roil and upend its social order, to transform its culture, there was already a ruling race of self-consciously white people doing just that. They were the Turks, Persians, and a lesser extent Arabs, who introduced Islam to the subcontinent. As alluded to in Dalyrmple’s piece in some ways Islam was conceived of as a sect of the foreigners by the natives, as well as the Muslims themselves. This is not an entirely strange state of affairs, in the first century or so of Islam the religion was the tribal cult of the Arab ruling caste of the Caliphate. Only with the rise of the Abassids and maturation of Islamic civilization as a pan-ethnic and post-ethnic dispensation did the “converted peoples,” in particular the Persians and Turks, become full members of the Ummah, and turn it into the universal religion that we understand it today (though even today there is an ethnic dimension in Islam, for example, the Islamic State accepts that the Caliph must be an Arab of the Quraysh tribe).

For many centuries Islam in South Asia recapitulated this pattern ancient pattern, whereby those who descended from converts were received as second class citizens (and still called “Hindus,” which simply meant a native of Hindustan). And to this reality must be added the dimension of race, for the Muslims from the west viewed the native peoples as black, and many elite families with origins in Persia and Central Asia maintained their endogamy for generations partly as a matter of racial hygiene. When Muslim elites did intermarry with the descendants of converts, it was invariably with those descended from high caste groups. The Mughal Emperors did wed women from Hindu backgrounds, but these were the daughters of powerful Rajputs, whose values and armies fused with the Muslim invaders to create what we understand as Islamicate civilization.

Yet there are many other stories besides the standard one of the rise and fall of Mughal India. In Crossing the Threshold: Understanding Religious Identities in South Asia, the author shows how the arrival of Islam in the subcontinent often involved a complex process of cultural interaction mediated by esoteric strains of the Ismaili sect. It is not relevant for the purpose of this post to review the nature of Ismaili Islam, but it is important to note that Sunnis view this group as deviant and marginally Muslim. With the arrival of the Mughals there began a long period of persecution of Ismailis in the Indian subcontinent as the new arrivals attempted to enforce conformity on the Muslim population. Both Crossing the Threshold and Mullahs on the Mainframe, an ethnography of a particular Ismaili sect in Gujarat, report that many of the Sunni Muslim communities of the subcontinent may be descended from people who entered Islam via Ismailism. Under the Mughals heterodox Muslim sects like the Ismailis were subject to more persecution than non-Muslims (this echos a similar dynamic in Late Antiquity, where more of the Christian animus was directed toward heretical sects than pagans). In Gujarat this resulted in mass conversions to Sunni Islam. In other regions it might have resulted in a “compromise” state of shifting to a Twelver Shia identity, which though not Sunni, was generally accorded more respectability than Ismailism. These people would be anticipating the life of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, whose recent ancestors (most accounts state his grandfather) converted from Hinduism to Ismailism, but who himself was an entirely irreligious man who avowed a Twelver Shia faith for purposes of formality.

The author of Crossing the Threshold suggests that for many centuries there existed in the subcontinent under the more tenuous and patchwork pre-Mughal Islamic rulers many liminal communities, which straddled the line between Muslim and Hindu. So long as the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent viewed themselves as strangers in a land which offered them opportunities for profit, there was a certain freedom in being viewed as an amorphous black-skinned mass of “Hindus” whose only importance was in the tax that they provided their overlords. The Mughals changed that. Though they were in origin Timurid princes from Central Asia, their long ascendancy in the subcontinent produced a genuine synthesis with the indigenous substrate. By the later years of the dynasty their symbolic and ceremonial roles as Emperors of India became so entrenched that even resurgent Hindu groups such as the Marathas retained the Mughals as figureheads, much as the Zhou dynasty persisted for centuries after its genuine preeminence had faded.

516ZEEEK2XL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_ Over the 150 years that the Mughals dominated South Asia with their armies they also changed the nature of Islam in the subcontinent thanks to their broader connections. The Naqshbandi Sufi ordered was associated with the dynasty, and objected when rulers such as Akbar bent or rejected what they perceived to be Sunni Islamic orthodoxy. And the Naqshbandi were in a place to judge what was orthodox, as they were an international order with branches across Sunni the Muslim world. The historian S. A. M. Adshead discusses the role of what he calls the “Naqshbandi International” in binding the Islamic world back together after the shattering of the Mongol invasions in Central Asia in World History. It was no coincidence that attempted to root out deviancy and enforce what they saw to be uprightness.

China was another zone of Naqshbandi influence. Unlike India China proper had (and has) never been ruled by Muslims. After period of prominence under the Yuan (Mongols) the Muslim groups became another minority, tolerated by the Han Chinese, but viewed with curiosity and confusion. While the Muslims of what is today called Xinjiang were part of the Turkic world, and even when conquered by the Manchus administered as a separate domain from China, those resident in the east were relatively isolated from the Ummah, and swam in a Han sea. The Dao of Muhammad: A Cultural History of Muslims in Late Imperial China tells the story of the intellectuals among the Muslims of eastern China, who were confronted with accommodating the reality that they existed at the sufferance of non-Muslims, and could only advance to prominence and prosperity playing the game according to the rules of the Han majority. At the popular level in places like Ningxia there emerged Muslim apocalyptic movements which bore a striking resemblance to heterodox variants of Pure Land Buddhism, but among the intellectuals there arose the conundrum of how to render compatible orthodox Islam and Neo-Confucianism. So long as China was reasonably isolated from the rest of the world, this process dynamic proceeded without interference and followed its own logic. What emerged can reasonably be described as a synthesis between Islam and Neo-Confucianism, which resembles in its broad outlines the sort of fusion which occurred in early Christianity after the ruling elites took up the religion and imparted upon it their own philosophical presumptions. Just as some Christians perceived in their religion the completion of the project of the ancient Greek philosophers, so Hui Muslim intellectuals in the cities of eastern China in the 18th century saw in Islam not the overturning of Chinese culture, but its extension and perfection.

Suffice it say this movement among educated Chinese Muslims did not give fruit to a vital modern tradition. Several waves of Islamic reform have blasted into China from the outside world, first from Central Asia, and later from the Middle East proper in the age of modern transport and pilgrimage. The Islamic-Confucian synthesis in its full elaboration was a stillborn sect, pushed aside by the popularity of world normative Islam and the decline in prestige in the 19th and 20th century of Neo-Confucianism. Similarly, the Islamic-Hindu synthesis championed by the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh and prefigured by his great-grandfather Akbar, was forestalled by the emergence of Aurangzeb. Remembered as pious and steadfast by many modern day Muslims, he is reviled by Hindus, and most Western historians, who perceive that the sun set on religious pluralism due to his actions, seem to take a dim view of him. But Aurangzeb was closely associated with the Naqshbandi over much of his life, and he may be less important to the broad social movement of South Asian Muslims being drawn into an international system, with a standard set of beliefs and practices, than we think. Rather, Aurangzeb’s life arc may be consonant with both the indigenization of Islam in the subcontinent, and its need to align itself with external norms.

513yXnWcqDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ Though I use the Indian subcontinent as my primary illustration, the dynamic is likely more general. In The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity Phillip Jenkins notes that though many claims are made for indigenous African churches, that is, those which have no connection to global denominations and movements and tend to more freely integrate African practices, as African societies become more Christianized they tend to become more mainstream and orthodox in their affiliation. What Jenkins is observing is that with development and modernity indigenous and local practices tend to fade into the background, as African Christians become influenced by the ideas and traditions of Christians from other regions of the world. Individuals who consider themselves part of a religious community start to adhere to the practices and norms of that community’s history.

Despite the homogenization and delineation of identity categories in India there are still liminal communities in the mode envisaged by Crossing the Threshold. The Meo people of Northwest India are Muslims who maintain many Hindu traditions. But the trend among the Meo is to become progressively “more Muslim,” and those Meo who leave their homeland assimilate into the conventional Sunni Muslim milieu and lose their distinctiveness. The Ismaili Khoja community of India is another example of a Muslim group with many Hindu customs and beliefs which has become more “orthodox” within historical memory. In this case the arrival of their spiritual leader, the Aga Khan, from Iran in the 19th century seems to have triggered an Islamic reformation of views and mores. And just as there may have been many groups which moved toward a more standard Muslim identity, there were likely those who became more self-conscious in their Hinduism, as that tradition coalesced as a negation of the exclusive confessionalism of Islam. The Hussaini Brahmins customarily participated in Shia Ashura, and have an origin story which places them at Karbala on the side of the sons of Ali. As noted above it was not unknown for high caste Hindus to enter Islam and intermarry with the Muslim nobility. Over time their Hindu origins may have been obscured, as they constructed wholly Muslim origin narratives. The Hussaini Brahmin community might illustrate a case where the process was halted, and reversed, albeit with a retention of some of their Islamic practices and beliefs. In Crossing the Threshold the argument is made that it the critical aspect for the Sunni Muslim eminences enforcing the new orthodoxy was that Muslim and non-Muslim be clear and distinct categories. Therefore, better a Hindu than a heretic.

51k6n6ma-NL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ What have I left out of the story? Note that white Europeans are notably absent from the narrative. To some extent this is an artificiality. European “factories” were present on the margins of Mughal India. Jesuits supplanted Muslims as astronomers in the court of Ming China, and were disputants on religious topics in the court of Akbar the Great. Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, were all closely associated with each other in Central Asia, to the point where it is difficult to tease apart the arrows of causality. In China it seems likely that some varieties of Christianity with ultimate roots in Persia and Central Asia were subsumed into strands of Pure Land Buddhism. But, the point is that history and peoples are subject to general patterns and dynamics, and European colonialism may be thought of as just one important contingent factor. A critical one, but one factor nonetheless.

41JdP75Eu8L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_ It is hard to deny the influence of European culture and Christianity on Indian national and religious worldviews. Consider Hindutva. Conceived of as a form of Hindu racial nationalism by Vinayak Savarkar, himself an atheist who advocated the dismantling the caste system, it is difficult to understand it without considering the dominant winds of culture in the early 20th century. Those winds invariably blew out of Europe. The colonial imprint, the mirrored reflection of British racial nationalism, is real. Today the intellectual descendants of Savarkar promote bizarre beliefs like the idea that ancient Hindus had flying machines and nuclear weapons, and that astrology is a true science and Ayuvedic medicine is superior to that of the West. It is hard not to see in these beliefs a funhouse distortion of Western movements, such as Christian Science and Creationism. Similarly, the Islamic Creationism of Harun Yahya is explicitly indebted to American evangelical Protestants!

And yet within South Asia the broad trend of confessionalization predates the arrival and dominance of Europeans. It seems entirely likely that a division between Islam and what became Hinduism in the subcontinent was inevitable, as modernity and globalization seem to produce crisper identity groups, which are not diffuse, inchoate, and locally rooted. Yes, illiterate peasant naturally practice syncretistic traditions, but when the illiterate peasant becomes a town dweller a different sort of religious practice takes hold. There is a reason that the city-dwelling Christians of the Late Antique world were contemptuous of the marginally Christianized peasantry, the pagani. The last European people to convert to Christianity were the Lithuanians, in the late 14th century. But the peasantry retained enough of their customary religion that veneration and recollection of sacred groves seem to have persisted down to early modernity.

51W2mxRBC9L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_ The Reformed Dutch scholar Atonie Wessels wrote a book titled Europe: Was it Ever Really Christian? His thesis is that from an orthodox Protestant perspective which privileges the beliefs and practices of the individual, it can be argued that much of the European peasantry was operationally pagan down to the Catholic and Protestant Reformations of the 16th and 17th century, followed by the secularization of the continent that began after the Peace of Westphalia. In short, during the period after the fall of Rome and Renaissance the elites were steadfastly Christian, but peasants were only nominally so, with their spiritual life dominated by superstitions rooted in local traditions. In contrast, the emergence of Protestant and Catholic identities during the Reformation resulted in a broad based Christian feeling and identity among the populace. So much so that when the Hohenzollerns converted to Calvinism in the early 17th century their subjects remained steadfast in their Lutheranism. But as the populace became more conventionally Christian, the elites began their long slide toward secularism, finally resulting the rise to power of Frederick the Great, who in matters of religion was apathetic at best.

The European example is important, because it shows that even without exogenous European colonialism confessionalism occurs as a society modernizes. The seeds of this confessionalization are clear in South Asia even before the rise to power of the British raj, as Hindu rulers such as Shivaji privileged their own native traditions as against that of the Muslims, while earlier the rulers of Vijayanagar had served as patrons of native religion while the north of the subcontinent was dominated by Muslim polities. It does seem fair to state that Sanatani is not comprehensible without it dialectic with Islam. But, it is important to remember that Buddhism as an organized religion with a missionary impulse predates Christianity by centuries. Obviously institutional religious identity in the subcontinent is not dependent upon the ideas of Europeans and Muslims. What differed with the arrival of Islam is that it was a Weltanschauung which was not digestible to the native cultural traditions.

Though the various Muslim ruling warrior castes held themselves aloof from the people of India, being within the subcontinent, but not of it, it seems inevitable they presumed that their domains were now a permanent part of the Dar-ul-Islam, just as Iran or Central Asia was. Certainly Ibn Battuta could travel in an entirely Muslim India, which operated in parallel with the practices of the vast majority. Over time no doubt the Muslims assumed that the subcontinent would be won over as Iran had. It is hard to remember now, but in the first few centuries of Islamic rule there were periodic anti-Muslim nativist religious eruptions which attempted to overthrow the Muslims, who were perceived as aliens. Prophets arose which told of a time when Islam would fall, and the old religion of the Iranians would come back to the pride of place that it had had. A detailed exploration of this lost world can be found in Patricia Crone’s The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran, but these movements always make cameos in even traditional works of early Islamic history, such as Hugh Kennedy’s When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World. But by 1000 A.D. the majority of Persian peasants were Muslim, and Zoroastrianism and its affiliated movements slowly went into their long decline (though still retaining influence through various heterodox Islamic and post-Islamic religious movements).

61H+zZL41QL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ In India you have a world where the vision of the Iranian prophets came to be, where Islam which seemed eternal and ever waxing in numbers and influence, lost its hold on power and native dynasties which championed local religious traditions arose. There are many differences between the situation of Iran and India. In no particular order, India is far more populous than Iran, local non-Muslim rulers always managed to retain independence at the far corners even at the height of Islamic power and dominion, and the cultural distance between the Muslims and the natives of India was arguably greater than that between the Arabs and the Persians. Even though the Iranians and northern Indians share Aryan cultural roots and influence, reflected in language and religious ideas, those are distant affinities. In contrast, the Arabs had long been present on the margins of the western Iranian world, and the ecology of much of Iran and Mesopotamia was familiar to them.

One peculiarity of the historiography of India under the Muslims is that many scholars claim that local intellectuals, mostly Brahmins, behaved as if their conquerors did not even exist. This sort of involution though may be less strange than seems on first inspection. Ashkenazi Jews in Central and Eastern Europe are to a great extent a people without a history, as their intellectual class devoted its energies to Talmudic commentary, not recording the history of their people. India was massive, and transformations were pregnant within its cultural matrix in response to the Islamic challenge. The Sikh religion seems an obvious case of synthesis, which while that of Hindu reformist movements such as Arya Samaj seem to sublimate the external variables.

61LXo6U7a4L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Though the British may have been a proximate cause for the communal conflicts that tore apart the subcontinent in 1947, they were not the deep cause. As Victor Lieberman observes in Strange Parallels: Europe, Japan, China, South Asia, and the Islands, after 1000 AD there arose several polities dominated by cultural aliens along the edge of Eurasia, such as that of the Muslims in India, the Tai in Southeast Asia and the Manchu in China. But unlike the latter two cases the Islamic elites never sufficiently rooted themselves in the local culture to establish a coherent and unified national identity. While the Manchu racial sense of distinctiveness persisted down to their overthrow, their cultural assimilation to most Han mores was so total that rulers such as Kangxi Emperor arguably became exemplars of Confucian rulers. Though the Tai imposed their language of the Mon and Khmer people whom they conquered, they fostered a genuine cultural synthesis by patronizing the Theravada Buddhism of their subjects and espousing it as their national religion. While the kings of Thailand patronized Brahmins to give their rule a tincture of Hindu legitimacy, the Mughals were styling themselves as Padishahs.

If Dara Shikoh had defeated Aurangzeb and the British had never brought India into their Empire, would history have been different? I would like to hope so, but I doubt so. Akbar had attempted to create a new religion, but it did not last beyond his life. By the 17th century what was becoming Hinduism, and Indian Islam, were already sufficiently developed that they were becoming cultural attractors. Not through cognitive bias, but the weight of inertia of their cultural history and precedent. The transition from Akbar, to Jahangir, to Shah Jahan, and finally Aurangzeb, is one from an individual who brooked the displeasure of Naqsbhandi shiekhs, to one who worked hand in hand with them. An alternative vision is one where the heirs of Akbar turn their back on their dreams of Fergana, and rely upon Rajputs to dominate their lands instead of a mix of Central Asians and native Indians, Hindu and Muslim. Perhaps the Mughals would have become indigenized enough that they would transform into that they would have become fully Indian in their religious identity. Ultimately the answers of history are more complex than can be dreamt of in your post-colonial philosophy, and the white man is neither angel nor the devil, but a subaltern of historical forces.

 
• Category: History • Tags: History, India, Religion

125 Comments to "Do Colored People Exist if There Are No White People to Observe Them?"

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  1. This is a very, very good post.

    You are one of the few people I think I could recommend Randall Collin’s The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change to. I’d like to see your take on it.

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  2. One peculiarity of the historiography of India under the Muslims is that many scholars claim that local intellectuals, mostly Brahmins, behaved as if their conquerors did not even exist.

    Great observation! But perhaps such indifference goes back much further in history? According to the Achaemenids, they ruled India (or some parts of it in the northwest). Yet, if one were to go purely by Indian sources, even those located in the northwest (like Panini), the Achaemenids might never have even existed. There’s an article that discusses this topic. Any thoughts?

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  3. Very good analysis and I agree.

    And yes 2000 years ago is when people became strictly endogamous. Read about
    ManuSmriti:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manusm%E1%B9%9Bti

    That actually made caste system rigid. I have read Reich’s paper and this coincides with introduction of Manusmirti. After arrival of Buddhism and after Mauryan empire (especially Asoka) patronized it, Brahmins made a comeback with this. They made the caste system very rigid. Even people became vegetarian to counter Buddhism and animal sacrifice was eliminated from vedic rituals. Strict punishments were introduced through Manusmriti for people who violated Manu’s laws. The punishments are harsh for lower castes.

    Some people say this was introduced during Pushyamitra Sunga: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushyamitra_Shunga

    Also, like the conflicts between different sects of Islam, within Hinduism there were conflicts between Shaivists and Vaishnavists. There were conflicts between Jains, Buddhists and Vedic people. These lines are now blurred. The pan-Hindu identity is a recent one. Read about Ramanujacharya https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramanuja . He had to flee Tamil Nadu to karnataka in 11th century because he was a Vaishnavite but the ruler was a Shaivaite.
    He actually converted many lower castes to Brahmins. So, if the Brahmins in South India have 2-5 percent lesser North European component than their North Indian counterparts, it is because of such inter-mingling and conversions.

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  4. “The European example is important, because it shows that even without exogenous European colonialism confessionalism occurs as a society modernizes. The seeds of this confessionalization are clear in South Asia even before the rise to power of the British raj, as Hindu rulers such as Shivaji privileged their own native traditions as against that of the Muslims, while earlier the rulers of Vijayanagar had served as patrons of Hindu traditions while the north of the subcontinent was dominated by Muslim polities. ”

    Are you thus implying that early to mid Mughal India (c.1526-1707) was actually undergoing a form of “modernization” similar to that of early Modern Europe, and thus eventually producing very similar if not the same results?

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  5. Family had this confessionalism debate two weeks ago but I had no examples! Thanks.

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  6. The best way for India to avoid the post-colonial hindu-muslim conflict would have been a gradual gaining of independence with the Windsors as emperors and because they are christians, as a balancing force between the dominant faiths and as a safeguard of religious tolerance.

    PS Probably because of an error this article is accompanied by a photo of Taylor Swift.

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  7. Are you thus implying that early to mid Mughal India (c.1526-1707) was actually undergoing a form of “modernization” similar to that of early Modern Europe, and thus eventually producing very similar if not the same results?

    basically to a first approximation, yeah. by ‘modernity’ though delimited to the sort of identities we’re talking about here….

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  8. this is one of the explanations for why the lithuanians waited so long to become xtian (there was a false start 100+ years before it happened). it allowed them to stay neutral between the western and eastern christian powers (by the time of the personal union with poland most of the lithuanian empire’s population was eastern rite).

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  9. Interesting write-up, did the Muslim invaders in India really lead to the racialization of Indian society? No doubt British colonialism did have a relatively pivotal role to play as well, but if you’re right, than the British merely amplified the trend rather than create it wholesale.

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  10. i believe it predates the muslims. see the link to the genetics paper. but, i have read that the modern skin color terms in northern india can be traced back to the muslim period.

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  11. what’s whiter than taylor swift?

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  12. The photo is the pathway from insights and explorations found in the article to July, 2015.

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  13. I’m interested in genetics, evolution, history, religion and philosophy.

    And sometimes I write pieces that bring all of these subject areas together in a coherent and challenging way.

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  14. I think the more plausible explanation was that Teutonic Order preferred Lithuanians to stay pagans, so it will be easier to enslave and exploit them.

    Here is a historical [fiction] book by “The Knights of the Cross” [1] by Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz [2] which talks about “Crusades” of Teutonic Knights against pre-Christian Lithuania.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Knights_of_the_Cross
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henryk_Sienkiewicz

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  15. what’s whiter than taylor swift?

    She’s pink, not white. The only trully white people I know are Castithan [1] from Defiance:

    http://en.defiance-wiki.com/wiki/images/3/3d/Castithans.jpg

    BTW: they pejoratively call Humans “pink meat”.

    Also in the last series they have a rogue Castithan warlord who leads VC (Votan Collective) forces against Humans. Graphic scenes with many beheaded Humans – clearly inspired by ISIS/dayish:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/oxrmxf4d8sgwgtf/AACQ2FVWEpzFQWxtHiMK84kJa?dl=0

    [1] http://en.defiance-wiki.com/wiki/Castithan

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  16. here’s a scholarly monograph making the thesis i presented: Lithuania Ascending: A Pagan Empire within East-Central Europe, 1295-1345 . the two aren’t in total conflict as theses. the last pagans in the baltic were under the rule of the balts, and the rationale was obviously part material.

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  17. Great observation! But perhaps such indifference goes back much further in history? According to the Achaemenids, they ruled India (or some parts of it in the northwest). Yet, if one were to go purely by Indian sources, even those located in the northwest (like Panini), the Achaemenids might never have even existed.

    Well, it’s important to remember that pre-Islamic South Asian historiography is very weak.For a quick comparison, look over any standard survey of Graeco-Roman history from, say, 500 BC to AD 100.It will be thickly studded with quotes and facts lifted from Greek and Roman historians: Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, Sallust, Tacitus, etc

    In contrast, a similar survey of South Asian history for the same period will be noteworthy for the extreme paucity of references to Indian historians.Indeed, for the period 500 BC to AD 100, external events (Persian and Greek incursions/conquests) are quite useful for establishing dates, etc.

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  18. Yet, if one were to go purely by Indian sources, even those located in the northwest (like Panini), the Achaemenids might never have even existed.

    RE: Pāṇini,

    His life illustrates some of the difficulties that attend South Asian historiography:

    Nothing definite is known about when Pāṇini lived, nor even in which century he lived. It is known that he was from the city of Pushkalavati in Gandhara. Most scholarship suggests a 4th-century BCE floruit (corresponding to the Pushkalavati archaeological site), contemporary to the Nanda Empire ruling the Indo-Gangetic Plain, but a 5th or even late 6th century BCE date cannot be ruled out with certainty.[citation needed] Pāṇini’s grammar defines Classical Sanskrit, so Pāṇini by definition lived at the end of the Vedic period. He notes a few special rules, marked chandasi (“in the hymns”) to account for forms in the Vedas that had fallen out of use in the spoken language of his time. These indicate that Vedic Sanskrit was already archaic, but still comprehensible.

    An important hint for the dating of Pāṇini is the occurrence of the word yavanānī (in 4.1.49, either “Greek woman”, or “Greek alphabet”).[6] Some Greeks, such as the Persian admiral Scylax of Caryanda, were present in Gandhara as citizens of the Persian Empire well before the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 330s BC;[7] the name could also have been transmitted via Old Persian yauna and the administrative languages Elamite or Aramaic, so that the occurrence of yavanānī taken in isolation allows for a terminus post quem as early as 519 BCE, i.e. the time of Darius I’s Behistun Inscription that included the province of Gandara (Sanskrit Gandhāra).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%81%E1%B9%87ini

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  19. yep.

    i used to accept materialist explanations. e.g., indian sources were written on palm leaf, etc. but the major lacunae we have in regards to a civilization like that of the sassanians in regards to written sources tells me that not all societies value this sort of textual record… (the chinese and greeks & romans were exceptional)

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  20. Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Quote note (#174)
    says:
    • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    […] Khan on the awesome power of the White […]

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  21. Good read, very interesting links too, thanks, Razib! I can’t help wondering if the British may have been responsible in the same way as the forest fire-suppression may be responsible for the catastrophic wildfires. A relatively successful pacification of the ethnic strife may result in the figurative “accumulation of the combustible material”.
    Additionally, to what extent the global shift to the democratic forms of government, with majority rule yet typically no minority protection, may have resulted in the flare-up of the ethnic hostilities? Especially in the times of social and political upheavals where little is certain, and one of the remaining certain cards in an aspiring leader’s deck is the ethnic and religious solidarity and xenophobia?

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  22. Indeed, for the period 500 BC to AD 100, external events (Persian and Greek incursions/conquests) are quite useful for establishing dates, etc.

    True, but there seem to be a number of Buddhist texts recording events of that period though, like the Ashokavadana that talks about the life of Ashoka. How reliable it is, I don’t know, since it seems to describe supernatural events (like the old Greek and Indian epics). I guess the same can be said about the Puranas, which do provide a reference genealogy for dynasties in north and central India.

    I wonder if the lack of attention devoted to historiography was due to the peculiar philosophy of reincarnation that was adopted in India ca. 500 BC. If there’s no beginning or end (or rather, those are endpoints on an infinite timeline), and souls keep transmigrating from one body to another, why bother keeping historical records? Better to focus on living life in a way that will guarantee good karma, and focus on developing philosophy instead.

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  23. True, but there seem to be a number of Buddhist texts recording events of that period though, like the Ashokavadana that talks about the life of Ashoka. How reliable it is, I don’t know, since it seems to describe supernatural events (like the old Greek and Indian epics). I guess the same can be said about the Puranas, which do provide a reference genealogy for dynasties in north and central India.

    Sure, there are things like the Mahavamsa and the Ashokavadana, but they are not really comparable to Herodotus, Thucydides, etc.

    I wonder if the lack of attention devoted to historiography was due to the peculiar philosophy of reincarnation that was adopted in India ca. 500 BC. If there’s no beginning or end (or rather, those are endpoints on an infinite timeline), and souls keep transmigrating from one body to another, why bother keeping historical records? Better to focus on living life in a way that will guarantee good karma, and focus on developing philosophy instead.

    That notion has been tossed around.If memory serves, Steven Pinker (in The Blank Slate? Being separated from one’s library is an agonizing experience) discusses the relationship between India’s undeveloped historiographical tradition and re-incarnation.

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  24. The Sasanians did seem to have recorded their history. How else would have Tabari & Firdowsi written a history of pre-islamic Iranian Sasanian kings ?

    As far as India is concerned, there is evidence that Indians had a tradition of recording history. It is unlikely to have been as voluminous as the Chinese. However, we have the Rajatarangini from Kashmir as well as Gopala Raja Vamsavali from Nepal both of which profess to give a long history of their respective kingdoms stretching thousands of years. Infact, Kalhana, the author of Rajatarangini mentions in his work that he had consulted as many as 9 previous histories of Kashmir.

    As for mainland India, there are genealogical histories of kings of very ancient kings given in Puranas which stlop just before the rise of the Gupta kings. These Puranic genealogies have been very valuable in the histories of Nandas, Mauryas, Sungas, Kanvas & Satavahanas among others.

    Even for later periods, though we do not have an detailed histories surviving until today, we have evidence that history must have been written by the ancient Indians. For example, Kautilya recommends that the King should study among others, a history of the past kings. Bana (7th ccentury) in his Harsacharita, mentions several kings of the past who met inglorious ends due to their vices.
    We also have the Rudradaman inscription in Junagarh, which describes the reparation of a water tank under Rudradaman. In it it is said that the tank had been originally built by Chandragupta Maurya and was expanded upon during Asoka Maurya’s rule by his Governor Yavanaraja Tushaspa.

    We also have medieval chronicles such as Ain-i-Akbari, where there is brief mention of pre-Islamic kings of many provinces before the coming of Islamic rule.

    All this point to some sort of historical tradition existing among ancient Indians that appears to have been lost later on.

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  25. The Sasanians did seem to have recorded their history

    name any of their *written* annals. don’t evade the question or i will ban you (i’ve looked at your previous comments, you have an annoying tendency to bluster and filibuster).

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  26. As far as India is concerned, there is evidence that Indians had a tradition of recording history. It is unlikely to have been as voluminous as the Chinese.

    That’s precisely the point.No one is arguing that pre-Islamic India was completely without historical records.People simply note that, in comparison to Greece-Rome and China, historiography was quite undeveloped in India.

    However, we have the Rajatarangini from Kashmir as well as Gopala Raja Vamsavali from Nepal both of which profess to give a long history of their respective kingdoms stretching thousands of years. Infact, Kalhana, the author of Rajatarangini mentions in his work that he had consulted as many as 9 previous histories of Kashmir.

    Kalhana (lived circa 12th Century AD) is not exactly pre-Islamic.And the WIKIPEDIA article on him notes:

    Kalhana (sometimes spelled Kalhan or Kalhan’a) (c. 12th century), a Kashmiri, was the author of Rajatarangini (River of Kings), an account of the history of Kashmir. He wrote the work in Sanskrit between 1148 and 1149.[1] All information regarding his life has to be deduced from his own writing, a major scholar of which is Mark Aurel Stein. Robin Donkin has argued that with the exception of Kalhana, “there are no [native Indian] literary works with a developed sense of chronology, or indeed much sense of place, before the thirteenth century”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalhana

    As for mainland India, there are genealogical histories of kings of very ancient kings given in Puranas which stlop just before the rise of the Gupta kings. These Puranic genealogies have been very valuable in the histories of Nandas, Mauryas, Sungas, Kanvas & Satavahanas among others.

    Royal genealogies are not the same thing as, say, Thucydides.Ancient Greece also had ancient King lists.Cf, for example, the Spartan King list:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kings_of_Sparta

    Even for later periods, though we do not have an detailed histories surviving until today, we have evidence that history must have been written by the ancient Indians. For example, Kautilya recommends that the King should study among others, a history of the past kings.

    Which means what? Was he talking about a formal work of history like the History of the Peloponnesian War? Or was he talking about legendary kings who fought in the Kurukshetra War?There’s a big difference between the former and the latter.

    Bana (7th ccentury) in his Harsacharita, mentions several kings of the past who met inglorious ends due to their vices.

    And?

    We also have the Rudradaman inscription in Junagarh, which describes the reparation of a water tank under Rudradaman. In it it is said that the tank had been originally built by Chandragupta Maurya and was expanded upon during Asoka Maurya’s rule by his Governor Yavanaraja Tushaspa.

    And that’s not the South Asian equivalent of Herodotus….

    We also have medieval chronicles such as Ain-i-Akbari, where there is brief mention of pre-Islamic kings of many provinces before the coming of Islamic rule.

    A 16th century (AD) text….

    All this point to some sort of historical tradition existing among ancient Indians that appears to have been lost later on.

    The key phrase being “some sort.” Whatever it was, we have no evidence that it came close to what existed in Greece-Rome and Ancient China.

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  27. nobly savaged

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  28. RE: The Tendency of People to assign Imperial Agency only to Europeans,

    Back in Graduate School, I attended a seminar where the prof droned on for quite some time about The Opium Wars.The litany was quite standard:Capitalism, racism, Western Imperialism, etc.

    What fascinated me, though, was that the Taiping Rebellion went unmentioned.Indeed, there wasn’t even a casual allusion to it in the required reading. I brought it up in class, and no one had heard of it.I then brought up some other major blood-lettings in 19th century China that occurred at about the same time:

    Panthay Rebellion:

    Religious Civil War war between Hui (Muslims) in YunnanProvince and Manchu-ruled China

    Estimated Deaths:

    Panthay Rebellion (1855-73) 1,000,000
    Raphael Israeli, Islam in China (Lexington Books, 2007) p.286: one million
    Damian Harper, China, (Lonely Planet) p.648: one million
    Clodfelter, v.1, p.401: one million

    http://necrometrics.com/wars19c.htm#Panthay

    Which occurred at about the same time as another Muslim Revolt:

    The Hui Rebellion in Gansu Province:

    Hui Rebellion (1862-78)
    Dillon, China’s Muslim Hui Community, p.60: General Zuo reported to Beijing that only 60,000 of the 700,000 Muslims in Shaanxi survived the revolt. Colonel Mark Bell, a British observer, claimed that the population of Gansu plunged from 15 million to 1 million
    Eckhardt: 300,000 died in the Moslem Rebellions (1860-72)
    COWP: 300,000 died in the Moslem Rebellions (1863-72)

    http://necrometrics.com/wars19c.htm#Hui

    Needless to say, no one had heard of those, either.Everyone seemed to think that Manchu China, barring the Evil Occidentals, was an entirely peaceful place….

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  29. These days, leftist scholars are more likely to admonish non-NAMs, so Chinese, Japanese, South Asians can be just as evil as whites. So good ol’ Idi Amin Dada was motivated by evil Indian merchants, and Angola is fucked up due to Chinese investors.

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  30. As Victor Lieberman observes in Strange Parallels: Europe, Japan, China, South Asia, and the Islands, after 1000 AD there arose several polities dominated by cultural aliens along the edge of Eurasia, such as that of the Muslims in India, the Tai in Southeast Asia and the Manchu in China. But unlike the latter two cases the Islamic elites never sufficiently rooted themselves in the local culture to establish a coherent and unified national identity. While the Manchu racial sense of distinctiveness persisted down to their overthrow, their cultural assimilation to most Han mores was so total that rulers such as Kangxi Emperor arguably became exemplars of Confucian rulers.

    (Razib Khan)

    Razib, the Manchus in China is a very bad example here ( for that matter a quite popular example as well for many authurs when talking about China), as it contains multitudes of misunderstanding of Chinese history and that of the Manchus:

    1. The timing above was quite wrong, for about 700 years. The Manchus started to enter the Great Wall of China only as recently as mid 17th century, not 1000AD.

    2. Most importantly, “the Manchus´domination of China” was drastically different from your other examples from the very start and in the most critical area:

    The Manchus never “dominated” China in its classic terms. Most non-serious Western historians have never figured this out that the Manchus were merely “a lottery owner who happened hitting the jackpot” at a time after the demise of the all mighty Ming Dynasty at the hands of corruptions, severe Northern China famines , and 2 very powerful Han Chinese peasant armed rebellions that literally forced the last Ming emperor to hang himself. Ming died from internal Han rebellion, not from the Manchus.

    At the time, the Manchus were merely one of Ming´s vassel states. Militarily, technologically, economicaaly, socially, etc in any sphere one can measure, Ming China were light years ahead of the Manchus. Actually Ming China as whole was like “USA” at its time, whereas the Manchus were slightly better than “Porto Rico”, even less than “Mexico”in comparison. Therefore, it is not a question of `Manchus dominated China` in the classical domination setting, otherwise it would be like some wierd nonsensical expression that`The Porto Ricans dominated USA`, wtf?

    Any tribe, or any vassel state of Ming China near its capital Beijing at a time could become `the jackpot owner`, the Manchus were just so very closely based and got lucky. The Manchus were let marching through the Great Wall freely by the defected Han generals and took Beijing with ease. The follow-on “Manchu conquest of China” was greatly consisted by defected Han Chinese army themselves dressed in Manchu´s uniforms. So the Manchus didn´t conquer China, the Han Chinese rebel traitors who helped the Manchus did.

    Above historical background knowledge explains many people´s puzzle why the Manchus have been assimilated so quickly and almost entirely into the Han soon after?

    It is because, to recap:

    1. Even though Ming China knew not that much about the Manchus, being the vassel state of Ming (“vassel state” is not an accurate translation, it ought to be translated as “Servant State”, as opposse to Master State that was Ming) the Manchus knew very much about Ming China, Han people, and Confucius long before they entered the Great Wall.

    2. Except forcing the Han to abandom Han Chinese´ traditional costumes and cut hair, the Manchus were blown away by the the Han Civilisation, of course. So who `dominated` whom indeed? The Manchus entering Beijing were just like some Porto Rico army generals just entering the NYC and being given the power to goven the entire USA. What they can do? Do you seriously expect the Manchus would dominate Han culture with theirs? Just like the Porto Ricans would dominate the American culture with Porto Rican culture? No Way! The Porto Ricans, like the Manchus, will have no choice but assimilate into the majority and more importantly, into a culture and a civilisation that is light years superior than theirs.

    So the Manchus were just the shell-the surface, the core has always been the Han Civilisation since the very start to the end (even though the damage they caused to China was dearly that its impact has still been felt till this day). This is also the major reason why Manchu´s Qing Dynasty is generally considered by the world historican authorities as part of Imperial China, even though most Han Chinese would take Qing Dynasty as allien as well.

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  31. 1. The timing above was quite wrong, for about 700 years. The Manchus started to enter the Great Wall of China only as recently as mid 17th century, not 1000AD.

    look, don’t assume that people can’t use wikipedia ;-) i think lieberman made that analogy partly because of the relationship with the jurchen

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurchen_people

    also, stop being patronizing. you’re hung up on semantics. lieberman (and me) is quite aware of how he manchus found themselves atop the chinese-state system. the point of making the analogy was to show how the various gunpowder empires differed in their origin.

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  32. lieberman (and me) are quite aware of how he manchus found themselves atop the chinese-state system.

    Any other parallels elsewhere (suppose not, given China’s special geographic and historical geopolitical circumstances)?

    But in any case, you have any good informative reading on the topic and about how Manchus so quickly came to assimilate into the Han elite milieu?

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  33. and transformations were pregnant within its cultural matrix in response to the Islamic challenge.

    Is this a post-modern, transcendent poetry or a Bollywood movie review? ;-)

    Regardless, it makes up for all the historic apathy of the Indians …

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  34. I read “Freedom at Midnight’ too , and was also sickened by “The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II’ by Iris Chang . I believe the British are swine , the worst of the worst . Everywhere they ruled is worse for their presence except Africa . But people don’t need to be manipulated to do those things to their fellow man . They are more than willing and ready . You mentioned in another post about German nurses throwing Jewish baby’s out of windows ( which I am skeptical about BTW ) but true or not we’re all ready to slaughter our fellow man enthusiastically , that’s our basic nature . Neither your rational science nor the progressive’s insane obsessions will change that . For thousands of years our true nature has always asserted itself . Mankind is the least fit of creation’s fruits to carry on . And I don’t except myself from that , I would kill the innocents and gut their parents as quickly as you and all your commenters .

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  35. i quite enjoyed China’s Last Empire: The Great Qing . also, Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K’ang-Hsi. he’s arguably the closest that the world has had to a marcus aurelius after marcus aurelius ;-)

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  36. i’m already behind on reading the books you’ve recommended and i’ve purchased ;-)

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  37. I know very little about Indian History or Society. I wonder why was the caste system stable. Wouldn’t the incentive for lower caste populations be to convert to Islam and tell the Brahmins to sod off? Of course, why didn’t Buddhism have same effect in earlier eras?

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  38. (psst… “Puerto Rico”)

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  39. You must be implying (incorrectly) that Islam has no hierarchy of its own, but I digress. To answer your question, many did. Many, many became Muslims, Sikhs, and Buddhists… don’t let this fool you into believing that they somehow were fully accepted into these new communities. Razib’s family is probably an example.

    One thing missing in most discussions of caste, including this article, is the difference between varna and jati.

    Essentially, most Western literature confuses (rightly?) both. Varna is considered of a more karmic nature. Jati is clan-based (blood lineage) and largely drives most marriages. Varna too, but not as much as jati.

    Also @ razib – Arabs only really gained Sindh. Their footprint in India is negligible unlike the Central Asians. An argument can be made that their influence via Islam was large… but Arabs specifically, no. I would also argue that Arabs, Persians, and Turkics are not white by any European standards. True, their complexion is lighter (except for Iraqis and Saudis and Yemenis and Kuwaitis, etc.)… but Turkic faces (as shown in their arts are flattish and mongoloid. Persians are falsely known as white (see reliefs in Vorderasiatisches museum). Iranians (northern Iranians, Sogdians, etc.) are arguably white. And though you can give examples of west asian autosomal DNA to demonstrate “whiteness,” the fact is, they are not. Whites are Northern Europeans with some inclusion of Southern Europeans when feeling generous.

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  40. Caste in India never had a 1-to-1 correspondence to class, at least until the 20th century when knowledge and education became the key to wealth and power in a modern economy. Think of castes as endogamous guilds symbiotically linked together, each with its circumscribed functions, privileges, and responsibilities. Caste provided a sense of community as well as social security.

    The lower castes, though they were supposed to perform menial (mean?) tasks, never had the atomized and hopeless existence of the lowest classes of western capitalist economies. And historically, Brahmins, though they had the highest status, were expected to lead Spartan (if not poor) lives. A few did ascend to high administrative posts, and received wealth and property for services rendered to local kings, but that never seemed to be the norm.

    Add to all of this the sacralization of caste: when “God” has decreed a certain social system, isn’t everyone duty-bound to abide by it? And don’t forget reincarnation, which was discussed earlier in this thread; the lower castes could “graduate” to higher castes in their subsequent lives if and only if they fulfilled their caste-prescribed duties in their present lives. (Not all incentives are economic, unlike what the economists and Marxists would have you believe.)

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  41. “The Sasanians did seem to have recorded their history
    name any of their *written* annals. don’t evade the question or i will ban you (i’ve looked at your previous comments, you have an annoying tendency to bluster and filibuster).”

    Might it not be possible that they, like many other ancient Greek/Roman historians who were relied upon (but not actually named in sources per say and had to be reconstructed), were simply not preserved and transmitted during the turmoil of the Islamic transition (c.600-800 AD) and from later ideological biases (similar to how the Byzantines didn’t bother to preserve many Classical and Hellenistic historians and reused those books as Bibles)? Would that not be a simpler explanation of their absence?

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  42. Buddhism had followers through out India (this includes present day Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan , South India and Sri Lanka) during Mauryan empire.
    After that, Brahmins made a comeback with ManuSmriti by making caste system rigid. They restricted study of Vedas only to Brahmins. Caste system was strictly imposed as per Manu laws through the rulers (mainly Guptas). Some people say this patronage of caste system created feudals and resulted in downfall of Guptas.
    They brought the concept of Karma i.e., lower castes are born as lower castes because of their bad karma in previous incarnation. Bhagavadgita and Purusha sukta of Vedas were added during Manu’s period (around 200BC to 100 AD) to reinforce this theory. Basically to make people believe that God has created caste system and no one can violate that. The original Vedas was not rigid about caste and it never said it is by birth.

    Brahmins borrowed concepts from Buddhism and converted to vegetarianism to counter them, eliminated animal sacrifice in vedic rituals. This reduced the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism.

    How they made vedic studies exclusive to Brahmins:

    http://www.academia.edu/1179139/Upanayana_domestic_ritual_a_response_to_social_change_into_Class-based_society

    ManuSmriti:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manusm%E1%B9%9Bti

    see also my previous comment (3rd one )

    wiki article on decline of Buddhism:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Buddhism_in_India#Decline_of_Buddhism_in_India

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Buddhism_in_India

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  43. Continuing from previous comment:

    so, by restricting access to vedas, they were the performers of Hindu rituals and they used to get lands as fee for performing rituals. They thus controlled the property and created a feudal society. The Buddhists lost patronage.

    Before Buddhism arrived they used to do the same through Ashvamedha yagna and other yagnas, which was a ritual sacrifice. This had placed Brahmins in forefront. Buddhism was critical of animal sacrifice and especially after agriculture started to flourish, people realized sacrificing animals was not worth. Buddhism gained popularity during Mauryan empire and started creating a more even society and also made Brahmins redundant. So, they had to make a comeback and they made it through the ruler Pushyamitra Sunga : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushyamitra_Shunga

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  44. Also, it should not be forgotten that Buddhism was completely destroyed in India.

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  45. Very good! Enjoyed reading it! It is rather unfortunate that the title: “Do Colored People Exist if There Are No White People to Observe Them?” does not do justice to the much broader themes covered within the article.

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  46. Has there been similar genetic analysis of Tutsis and Hutu in Rwanda and Burundi? I see the argument all the time that the Belgians and the Germans socially constructed the Tutsis and Hutus, but little explanation for why they differ in height and facial features.

    • Agree: joe webb
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  47. I have recently read about the Muslim Chams of Indo-China, that the French observed in the late 19th century practicing what appeared to be a polytheist Islam (?!?), in which a mother goddess and sun god were venerated, along with Allah, on behalf of whom they would abstain from sex on Mondays, the day of his birth. Many years later, it was observed that villages had removed the non-Islamic contributions to their religious traditions as a foreign Muslim passing through the area on his way back from the Pilgrimage to Mecca read them the riot act.

    It seems to be an extreme example of religion transmuting far from its original source, but on the other hand, these Cham villages appear to have operated within the framework of confessionalism — they identified as Muslims, and could be redirected back to the mainstream fairly readily. The role of pilgrimage in the major religions seems important, though more important in Islam than others.

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  48. i have done one such analysis:

    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/tutsi-differ-genetically-from-the-hutu/

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  49. yes. also, they did not circumcise or fast during ramadan in an orthodox way. a similar case are the hidden christians of japan:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_Christians_of_Japan

    they maintained a strong confessional identity, but over time their religion transformed in content into a sect of buddhism. when they meet foreign christians after japan’s opening it created a lot of cognitive dissonance. many become orthodox. but others withdrew and continued to practice their crypto-syncretistic religion (though from what i have read most of these people are assimilating to a typical japanese religious identity).

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  50. similar to how the Byzantines didn’t bother to preserve many Classical and Hellenistic historians and reused those books as Bibles

    in defense of the byzantines, most of the humanistic works of antiquity we have because of them (the muslims were not that interested, while the latins had direct access only to latin works, or copies of greek works from muslims). in particular, constantine vii.

    the sassanids actually patronized scholars. they supported the last pagan scholars of the athenian academy after justinian shut it down, and also supported scholarship by institutions such as the church of the east. i’ve tried to look for histories of the sassanids, but it’s really thin in english (less so in german). but, if you read God’s Rule, which discusses the root’s of islamic kingship, and much of it comes from the persians, you will get a sense that the culture of the zoroastrian persian nobility was to a large extent an oral one. this is why there was such a fertile body of mythology and legend and oral history for ferdowsi to draw upon. the jews and christians, and in central asian/turan, you had plenty of text producing cultures within the sassanian domains. but there’s a major lacunae of the ruling race itself, with much of the flavor of what we know coming through ferdowsi.

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  51. Also @ razib – Arabs only really gained Sindh.

    i know. why are you telling me that? i referred to arabs though because some arabs did take up muslim rulers’ offers to settle in their territories (e.g., ibn battuta) to serve them, though far fewer than persians an turks for obvious reasons. i have read books about the conquests of the ummayyads, so you don’t have to lecture me about this..

    I would also argue that Arabs, Persians, and Turkics are not white by any European standards.

    who cares what you argue? the west asians considered themselves white in comparison to the black natives. in Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane there is reference to an influx of ‘black slaves’ so that ‘whites’ are in a minority in cities such as kabul after trips to india by local historians. the muslims of india themselves started to distinguish between white muslims (west asian) and black muslims (descendants of native converts). finally, when the europeans initially arrived they distinguished between a small group of native whites, muslim elites, and the black masses.

    the european idea of whiteness constrained to that continent, and especially northern europe, is an innovation of the 19th century. in the 18th century ideas of whiteness were much broader. see this immanuel kant essay from 1775, of the different human races, where he explicit talks about parsis obviously being foreign because they are white, unlike the rest of the indian population.

    keep your “facts” to yourself from now on.

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  52. The commenter named SD has every appearance of a biased partisan, with his constant attribution of evil motives to, in his opinion, the accursed and Machiavellian Brahmins. I would take anything he says with multiple grains of salt.

    The caste system is the one thing that preserved Indian society through a millennium of domination by Muslims and Europeans. There is not a single other society, anywhere in the world, that can claim this sort of persistence.

    The power of caste identity, including the practice of untouchability, in the farthest reaches of South India, where Brahmin influence is recent and limited, suggests that endogamous caste groupings are probably derived from the pre-Aryan substrate of the subcontinent, with Indo-Aryans merely superimposing themselves on a vast and well-differentiated system.

    Caste gave people a communal identity separate from their religion, and in most ways it was far more important than religion. You dined, married and socialized with people of your caste, you performed occupations that were often monopolized by your own caste. If you converted to Islam, your caste members would shun you.

    This was true even for those on the lowest rungs of the caste hierarchy – even today, most traditional members of the lowest castes frown upon their children marrying a member of another caste, even if that other caste were of higher status. Caste conveyed a sense of pride, and even if the other castes think your caste is lowly, you yourself always had a sense of your own traditions being better than those others.

    Christian missionaries have begun to realize this – they target entire castes in a village for conversion, as opposed to winning over converts individually as is their practice in other countries.

    With anonymous urban living, caste bonds are weakening. It is for the best that the ugly forms of discrimination of the past centuries are dying out, but I do wonder if a homogenous Hindu society will leave itself open to rapid replacement, as was the case with Iran and Turkey.

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  53. your comment is a mix of stupid and interesting. the stupid:

    The caste system is the one thing that preserved Indian society through a millennium of domination by Muslims and Europeans. There is not a single other society, anywhere in the world, that can claim this sort of persistence.

    the balkans and spain managed to maintain a xtian identity. also, there are still millions of copts in egypt. don’t engage in ignorant hyperbole or i’ll ban you.

    suggests that endogamous caste groupings are probably derived from the pre-Aryan substrate of the subcontinent, with Indo-Aryans merely superimposing themselves on a vast and well-differentiated system.

    this is defensible, and there is genetic evidence to support this.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0050269

    Christian missionaries have begun to realize this – they target entire castes in a village for conversion, as opposed to winning over converts individually as is their practice in other countries.

    this is very stupid. the reality is that communal conversion has been the historic norm between the fall of rome and the modern era, when individualism was more common. even down to the modern period collective conversion occurred in melanesia and polynesia, though individual conversion had to occur in australia, because the leaders didn’t have the social weight they did in other societies.

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  54. Razib – I apologize for not being clear. I meant a “pagan” system surviving under a missionary monotheist ruling caste. Zoroastrianism, Ancient Egyptian religion, Greco-Roman paganism, the cults of the Maya, Inca and Aztec and other native Americans, the pre-Islamic and pre-colonial religions of Africa, the Australian aboriginal religion – where are they all now? Pagan religions, in general, never developed the intellectual ability to resist the attractive power of missionary monotheism, since they were usually an accretion of multiple native cults, and therefore couldn’t come up with an “us vs them” ideology easily.

    Islam surviving under Christianity, and Christianity surviving under Islam, are not surprising. Islam and Christianity are unique among current world religions in their creedal nature (there is one truth, and no others), their internal egalitarianism, and their aggression towards other religions. This is an excellent combination of traits for a society to have, if your goal is to expand, displace others, and promote in-group loyalty. The egalitarianism is the carrot that draws people in, the “one truth” doctrine motivates and promotes zeal, and the aggression is the stick that corrals fence-sitters into conversion.

    In a way, the success of monotheist missionary religions may be compared to the rapid spread of the ideas of the French revolution. Egalitarianism and Fraternity, mixed with ideological certitude, and hostility to other ideologies. And it is also mirrored by the appeal that Communism held.

    Buddhism is also based on a single founder, egalitarian and has a missionary streak (as you mentioned in your article), but it does not often impose its version of truth as the only truth, or actively try to stamp out competing traditions (except in a few cases like Myanmar and Sri Lanka recently, but those aren’t typical, in my opinion).

    Geographically, where did Hinduism lose the most ground to Islam? The Northwest and Bengal, the two regions where Buddhism was strongest, where caste identities had dissolved the most. And in South-East Asia, where again, the Indian caste system was weak or non-existent. Buddhism itself folded like a cardboard box whenever it came in contact with Islam, whether in Central Asia or Kashmir or South East Asia.

    I don’t know if you have spent much time in non-urban India, but if you did, you would realize that one single traditional “Hinduism” doesn’t really exist. It is an agglomeration of very strong caste or region-based cults, that are loosely tied into an overarching whole by the pan-Indian Brahmin-Sanskrit culture.

    The closest thing to Hindu survival under Islam and Christianity might be Jewish survival in the diaspora, although I guess technically you can’t call them pagans. Their persons were severely aggressed against, but their faith was given a modicum of respect by their Christian and Muslim rulers, since their own faiths were based on Judaic texts. Jews match Brahmins in their devotion to their faith, but other Hindu castes are much less vested in the particularities of their religious texts.

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  55. On Husseini Brahmins. Although there is a modern phenomena of “Husseini” Brahmins, I’d like to point out that the historical evidence that Rahib Dutt (the Mohyal leader who apparently martyred himself and his sons for Ali) is likely a fanciful story to appeal to Muslims, while extolling the real cultural values of the Mohyal community. The Ashura celebration of these Mohyals could be equated to neo-pagan revivals… or essentially any ritual made up in the contemporary era without historical continuity or legitimacy. As an aside, Rahib (the given name) and Razib are isoglossal.

    It is not impossible that some Mohyal mercenaries would have been in Karbala offering services, but the stories of such are for the moment only based on tenuous folklore.

    The earliest written information on Mohyals comes from the 1700s. The largest written documentation of the community, from 1911 (see Russell Stracey “History of the Muhiyals, the Militant Brahman Race”). Mohyals did look distinctly different from other communities (pre-partition), and temperamentally and physically are closer to Pathans and NWFP inhabitants.

    Genetically, those males tested within the community belong to the r1a1a y-haplogroup. And though Brahmin in caste, it is/was largely military in function. Many landholdings (villages and large tracts of land) were in Mohyal hands which does give credence to some of the folkloric stories.

    The more likely origins of the community is that the 7 clans are the descendants and vestiges of the Brahmana Shahi of Afghanistan, who may themselves have been either a continuity of the earliest Aryans, or perhaps Central Asians (Kushanas, White Huns, Turks) who integrated into Hindu culture and imposed themselves in the highest caste.

    As large parts of North India (including Afghanistan) were devastated by the Central Asian invasions, unless written records are discovered, only folklore exists, which despite its value, is limiting in establishing authentic history. Only a mix of circumstantial evidence, more thorough genetic testing, and perhaps yet-to-be discovered history will offer more insight in the future.

    All this to say that the Husseini Brahmin anecdotes in the article are to be taken with a grain of salt.

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  56. It is safe to say that men are evil but the term racist describes how evil can be codified, manipulated and put into laws and carried out by the state to defend that law. That is the true reality where the European colonialist and his US American brethren excelled! Japan was brutal and they were warlike in their zeal to domiante but based on that set point of victory or defeat, the superior weapon(s) had to be used to show who the real boss is and who will become that.

    For a winner in the future to be decided, is is only such a strategy that will decide winners and losers. Regardless of Idi Amin’s purges, it is his evil actions (behaviours) that are the key!

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  57. It is not impossible that some Mohyal mercenaries would have been in Karbala offering services, but the stories of such are for the moment only based on tenuous folklore.

    i assume it’s made up. that should be pretty obvious if you read the post.

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  58. There are actually 3 version of the truth but the ones that counted and stuck was the codification of the peoples of India as ‘black’ by the British overlords, who took over from the Muslims. Add the myth of the Indo-Arian hype just due to the lighter skin of the Northerners vis a vis the South then you have Ms Rai, and others like her, who do not originate from the former (North India). How about climate and diet as an influence of the colour hegemny reinforced by British generalization of their own prejudicial behaviour which stuck and become the raison d’etre of Indians as ‘black’.

    Then you have the Sayyids of East Africa who have integrated into the Indian population (the obvious ones of present) vs those who through intermarraige, woulld only show up in DNA genotyping then people will be mystiifed of what they have analyzed.

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  59. >>Ten years ago I read Nicholas Dirks’ Castes of Mind. It is a work of history which shows how many caste identities were fashioned de novo under the impetus of British bureaucratic taxonomic impulse (see Census of 1891).

    I think the point Dirks was trying to make was that the British and other westerners reified caste identities through the census and other studies (e.g. Bishop Caldwell’s) and used them to create divisions which ultimately helped solidify their rule (the old “divide and conquer” business they have been so very good at). The assumptions of the census were based on much false science and had the effect of racializing identities, ie. Aryan v Dravidian.

    The latest findings show that ANI-ASI admixture is significant and prevalent through all caste groups (excepting the fringes of the subcontinent), despite jati stratification. In this sense, Indians are one and are the product of a very ancient mixing. In the long run, the findings will strengthen, rather than weaken, Indian nationalism.

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  60. Pagan religions, in general, never developed the intellectual ability to resist the attractive power of missionary monotheism, since they were usually an accretion of multiple native cults, and therefore couldn’t come up with an “us vs them” ideology easily.

    i think that hinduism and buddhism aren’t really pagan in terms of their structure, though i understand that many monotheists would accuse them as such. but i see your point.

    but it does not often impose its version of truth as the only truth, or actively try to stamp out competing traditions

    this is an interesting issue. i think to a first approximation you are on to something. BUT, please look at the arrival of buddhism in tibet, china, and japan, where we have some evidence. in all those cases there were many similarities with how christianity expanded into pagan europe. in tibet and japan buddhism eventually won over the elite after a period of conflict. but, it explicit integrated bon and shinto cults. bon has no independent existence now, while shinto is distinctive because it was brought to the fore after the meiji restoration. in china buddhism became a very powerful religion by the 6th century, and was in conflict with local confucianism and daoism. ultimately it was suppressed and marginalized, and become a demotic cult, and state confucianism established its monopoly.

    in sri lanka and burma buddhism does have the features of evangelizism that you mention. but it might be imitation. the buddhism renaissance in the 19th century of sri lanka was influenced by protestant views, and burma and sri lanka have long had connections.

    one king of cambodia was raised as a muslim and attempted to impose the religion on his subjects. it failed, they revolted. also, malay rajahs in southern thailand (the peninsula) converted to buddhism. though therevada buddhism in mainland SE has the status of a national religion.

    finally, the indonesian case is illustrative. though please note that he triump of islam took centuries. they did not ‘fold’, rather, the native hindu-buddhist (hinduism was more powerful by this period than buddhism, as is clear when you note that bali remains hindu, and some javanese convert to hinduism, but nto buddhism). islam arrived in aceh around 1000 A.D., but the last hindu kingdoms of east java were not conquered until 1700 (the kingdom of majapahit did not collapse under the attacks of muslim sultans until the early 1500s).

    p.s. you don’t mean “creedal,” you mean exclusive. buddhism is also creedal.

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  61. SD apparently believes in the kind of historiography beloved of Arya Samajists
    and Dalits alike in which there was some sort of egalitarian Vedic or Buddhist
    golden age until the Brahmanas and their “medieval” obscurantism came along
    and screwed everything up. Clearly he hasn’t actually read the Manu Smrti.
    For one thing it does not condemn meat eating (vegetarianism is but one option
    and onions and garlic are more immoral than meat.) or Vedic animal sacrifices
    (which are still occasionally performed to this day and that’s not even
    counting the common Tantric animal sacrifices.) And it is actually more lax
    on inter-caste relationships than later mores. While ones dharmapatni or
    “religious” wife should be of the same varna, one could also have bhogapatnis
    “pleasure” wives of any varna. (Ideally hypergamous though.)

    The last one is interesting in light of your post. Today monogamy is the
    social norm. Many will flatly deny Hindu polygamy even exists anymore. (It
    does albeit on the down low.) And if you press the evidence before them they
    will concede something like “well ok but they are just imitating the Muslims.”
    A strategy for establishing confessional boundaries in a fluid and pluralistic
    religion like Hinduism is in opposition to another confession. Perhaps the only
    strategy?

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  62. “As Alex von Tunzelmann observes in her history “Indian Summer,” when “the British started to define ‘communities’ based on religious identity and attach political representation to them . . .”

    Is this a reference to the reservations system? I did an amazon-scan of her book for the word “reservation” but came up nil. (The book also has the subtitle “Secret History of the End of an Empire”) Reservations were introduced in some states in 1901. The thing about post-colonial history is that I have a very different sense of time. Quite violent and disturbing acts can be committed within a short period of time, but society doesn’t change that quickly.

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  63. I saw on one of those videos, actresses without makeup, that Rai’s “blue” eyes were contact lenses. One photo of her in her early youth was surprising–I don’t know what people of her region look like, but she looked like a regular sub-continental Indian to me, and she had the dark eyes that almost all Indians have.Rai is not an anomoly. She’s just made-up, like most film stars.
    I mean if people want fake eyes and hair, that’s show-biz, but I would have thought that they’d know that about her.

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  64. “the european idea of whiteness constrained to that continent, and especially northern europe, is an innovation of the 19th century. in the 18th century ideas of whiteness were much broader. see this immanuel kant essay from 1775, of the different human races, where he explicit talks about parsis obviously being foreign because they are white, unlike the rest of the indian population.”

    Great point. That anyone not anglo saxon or prussian is a “person of color” is part of the Ignatiev Flying Circus of the late 20th century.

    I never made it through Origin of Species, but in one chapter, Darwin dismissed discussing middle eastern peoples as if they were a separate racial category (he had been describing manifestations of blushing among various races), because of the their close, and “general similarity” to Europeans.

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  65. ” Before white Europeans arrived in the Indian subcontinent to roil and upend its social order, to transform its culture, there was already a ruling race of self-consciously white people doing just that. They were the Turks, Persians, and a lesser extent Arabs, who introduced Islam to the subcontinent.”

    and

    “I would also argue that Arabs, Persians, and Turkics are not white by any European standards.”

    These made me think what Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur and Mu’izzadin muhammad ghori thought of Indians, whether in Punjab or in North. Some thoughts are found in Babar namah [1], page 445 onwards; babar hated India which he found to be of little charm. He found Indians to be crude and lacking in food, wine, meat, melons, women and overall found Indians to have no curiosity regarding animals and plant life. On the other hand, he was an cute observer dividing parrots by family, providing observations on rhinoceros, and describes in detail the change of color of geese.

    We think of Babar or Ghauri viewing Indians as dark an hence they being superior; not so; in the words of Babar and transporting ourself to Central Asia of 15th century, it was apparent that the world of central Asia was culturally, lireally, economically superior to India of 16th century of 11 th century. The indians almost wore few clothes; ate little meat; drank little wine; knew no Persian; not well versed in quran; neither in astronomy. They were simplistic, savage-like and a bit aboriginal. I am positive that That the Muslim invaders viewed Indians as aborigines or American Indians or how Normans viewed the English. It was not simply color, but the whole package; they viewed them as a simplistic, aboriginal people who had to be ruled, cultured and educated. They developed a very small noble class an interacted with a small Maratta noble class.

    In summary, I think the Muslim ruler/Indian ruled dynamics cannot be interpreted based on color, or religion; a holistic way of thinking is needed here.

    One thing is not in doubt; the British view and administration of India was almost a mirror image of babur’s, and I conjecture, Ghazni’s.

    1. Baburnama retrieved from https://ia802606.us.archive.org/4/items/baburnama017152mbp/baburnama017152mbp.pdf

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  66. “Ashkenazi Jews in Central and Eastern Europe are to a great extent a people without a history, as their intellectual class devoted its energies to Talmudic commentary, not recording the history of their people.”

    A nice point in passing, too rarely appreciated by modern Ashkenazi, who only “remember” past persecutions completely out of context. Better understanding of the contexts would probably lead to better relations (less mistrust and latent anti-Gentilism) between Ashkenazis and Euro-Americans even today. I am thinking of things like the arenda system in Ukraine and the revolt it led to led by the Cossacks, directed against the Polish nobility and their Jewish estate overseers from political and economic motives, not religious, primarily.

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  67. Any quotations from any of these sources in particular which show the separation of local Indians and conquerors being conceived of as “black” and “white?”

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  68. Laws of Manu:

    http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/extra/bl-lawsofmanu2.htm

    Translated by G. Buhler:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_B%C3%BChler

    Just click on the chapters on the right and search for word ‘sudra’. This will make it fast. If people have time and patience they can read all the chapters.

    I never said caste system was not present before ManuSmriti. I only said it was made rigid and sever punishments were imposed. I never said ManuSmriti asked people to become vegetarian. But, it was the first to bring restrictions on diet.

    I was brought up in a Brahmin family. I am not religious and I can see things differently from others.
    I don’t believe in saying caste system was the ultimate invention on this planet like some people have said. I don’t believe that caste system helped India to survive and for Hinduism to survive. I don’t see any reason to defend it.

    Anyway, this topic is deviating from what Razib has written and hence this will be my last comment on this topic.

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  69. I saw on one of those videos, actresses without makeup, that Rai’s “blue” eyes were contact lenses.

    I normally don’t care about these issues, but what you said provoked me to do a Google search. The truth turns out to have been the opposite of what you say. The brown eyes you might have seen in some pictures were contact lenses, and her eyes’ natural color is grey-green (looks like blue). Here is one link that discusses this topic, but you’ll find many others by doing a simple Google search, so please don’t spread misinformation.

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  70. The indians almost wore few clothes; ate little meat; drank little wine; knew no Persian; not well versed in quran; neither in astronomy. They were simplistic, savage-like and a bit aboriginal.

    Are you asserting this as a matter of fact, or are you quoting someone? Since when did lack of knowledge of Persian or the Quran make one a savage or an aborigine? Babur got a culture shock in India, which has a very different climate, flora, fauna, and available food compared to the Ferghana valley. Every western expat who lives in India for a year or two writes blogs posts with similar gripes. But how does that make 16th century Indians savage or aboriginal compared to Central Asians of the same time? Certainly they weren’t in the 10th century when Al-Beruni tried to compare his culture to theirs.

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  71. Anonymous
    says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    Razib,
    What do you make of the recent findings, by certain genetics bloggers, that there is around 40% ‘European-like’ genetic admixture in the Gujaratis?
    Personally, based purely on visual evidence, I’m sceptical.
    Apparently, the theory is that the admixture is related to that of the ‘Corded ware’ horizon of eastern Europe, and can by way of ‘Aryan’ settlements in central Asia.

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  72. Before the instigation of Europeans people of color were tolerant of religious diversity, varied sexual orientations, and practiced gender egalitarianism. In other words, India was like the campus of Oberlin college, except without the microaggressions, and more authentic spirituality!

    As much as I appreciated the erudition of the rest of the lengthy post, this paragraph was the most amusing of the bunch.

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  73. was also sickened by “The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II’ by Iris Chang .

    It does not diminish the horrors of the so-called Rape of Naking to point out that Iris Chang was a propagandist and an activist rather than a truth-seeking historian and, regrettably, was quite mentally unstable (she committed suicide due to “depression”). Let us just say that her account of the Nanjing massacres is controversial and disputed.

    I believe the British are swine , the worst of the worst . Everywhere they ruled is worse for their presence except Africa .

    Yes, definitely, Singapore is a hell hole of poverty and strife today due to the legacy of the British rule, those swine, while, for example, the former Belgian Congo is stable and prosperous due to the benevolence of the Belgian Force Publique and the compassion of the Arab employment opportunity providers.

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  74. You are free to ban me but stop making silly threats. As for the source of Sasanian history here is a link -https://books.google.co.in/books?id=LU0BAwAAQBAJ&pg=PR17&lpg=PR17&dq=The+historical+sources+of+sasanian+history&source=bl&ots=sIt-PbfuOX&sig=pTM8F_mN6BTefoZU1CmkxeLBYDg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDMQ6AEwB2oVChMI3Ov53Oj4xgIV2AuOCh2MMAb2#v=onepage&q=The%20historical%20sources%20of%20sasanian%20history&f=false

    I am sorry for the clumsy manner in which I posted the link but I know no better way of doing it on this forum. As the above link tells you, the very important Arabic account of Tabari on Sasanian history was based on a Sasanian royal chronicle in Middle Persian known as Xwaday-Namag or ‘Book of Kings’.

    Another link in the same clumsy manner -https://books.google.co.in/books?id=kJnaKu9DdNEC&pg=PA252&lpg=PA252&dq=Xwaday+namag&source=bl&ots=3DMfKF0PTo&sig=y_b4lElHfZcYkm0mGF7_a0U0CY8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCIQ6AEwAmoVChMIwZGZ5ev4xgIVgSOOCh2RRgCO#v=onepage&q=Xwaday%20namag&f=false

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  75. It does not diminish the horrors of the so-called Rape of Naking to point out that Iris Chang was a propagandist and an activist rather than a truth-seeking historian and, regrettably, was quite mentally unstable (she committed suicide due to “depression”). Let us just say that her account of the Nanjing massacres is controversial and disputed.

    A range of estimates on deaths:

    Nanking Massacre, 13 Dec. 1937-Feb. 38:
    Spence, The Search for Modern China: 42,000
    Gilbert: >200,000 civilians and 90,000 POWs
    Dict.Wars: 200,000
    Rummel: 200,000
    P. Johnson: 200-300,000
    27 Aug 2001 Newsweek, quoting Japanese textbook: “The number of dead is said to be over 100,000 and it is estimated to be over 300,000 in China.”
    Palmowski, Dictionary of 20th Century World History: “perhaps as many as” 400,000
    Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking (1997) cites these:
    Liu Fang-chu: 430,000
    James Yin & Shi Young: 400,000
    Sun Zhaiwei: 377,400 corpses disposed of
    Wu Tien-wei: 340,000
    District Court of Nanking: 300,000
    International Military Tribunal of the Far East: 260,000
    Fujiwara Akira: 200,000
    John Rabe: 50,000-60,000
    Hata Ikuhiko: 38,000-42,000

    http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#Japanese

    And here’s one massacre that I just heard about:

    Japan (1923)
    Massacre of immigrant Koreans following earthquake in Kanto
    Andrew Nahm, Korea: Tradition and Transformation (1988): 20,000
    Eckhardt: 10,000
    Japan’s War Responsibility Center: 6-10,000 [http://www.jca.apc.org/JWRC/exhibit/Korea59.htm
    PGtH: 4,000 Koreans beheaded by Black Dragon Society as scapegoats for earthquake.

    http://necrometrics.com/warstat6.htm#Korea3

    The Home Ministry declared martial law, and ordered all sectional police chiefs to make maintenance of order and security a top priority. A false rumor was spread that Koreans were taking advantage of the disaster, committing arson and robbery, and were in possession of bombs.[12] Anti-Korean sentiment was heightened by fear of the Korean independence movement, partisans of which were responsible for assassinations of top Japanese officials and other activities.[13] In the confusion after the quake, mass murder of Koreans by mobs occurred in urban Tokyo and Yokohama, fueled by rumors of rebellion and sabotage.[14] The government reported 231 Koreans were killed by mobs in Tokyo and Yokohama in the first week of September.[15] Independent reports said the number of dead was far higher, ranging from 6,000 to 10,000.[16][17][18] Some newspapers reported the rumors as fact, including the allegation that Koreans were poisoning wells. The numerous fires and cloudy well water, a little-known effect of a large quake, all seemed to confirm the rumors of the panic-stricken survivors who were living amidst the rubble. Vigilante groups set up roadblocks in cities, and tested residents with a shibboleth for supposedly Korean-accented Japanese: deporting, beating, or killing those who failed. Army and police personnel colluded in the vigilante killings in some areas. Of the 3,000 Koreans taken into custody at the Army Cavalry Regiment base in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture, 10% were killed at the base, or after being released into nearby villages.[12] Moreover, anyone mistakenly identified as Korean, such as Chinese, Okinawans, and Japanese speakers of some regional dialects, suffered the same fate. About 700 Chinese, mostly from Wenzhou, were killed.[19] A monument commemorating this was built in 1993 in Wenzhou.[20]

    In response, the government called upon the Japanese Army and the police to protect Koreans; 23,715 Koreans were placed in protective custody across Japan, 12,000 in Tokyo alone.[12][21] The chief of police of Tsurumi (or Kawasaki by some accounts) is reported to have publicly drunk the well water to disprove the rumor that Koreans had been poisoning wells.[citation needed] In some towns, even police stations into which Korean people had escaped were attacked by mobs, whereas in other neighbourhoods, residents took steps to protect them.[citation needed] The Army distributed flyers denying the rumor and warning civilians against attacking Koreans, but in many cases vigilante activity only ceased as a result of Army operations against it. In several documented cases, soldiers and policemen participated in the killings,[22] and in other cases authorities handed groups of Koreans over to local vigilantes, who proceeded to kill them.[23]

    Amidst the mob violence against Koreans in the Kantō Region, regional police and the Imperial Army used the pretext of civil unrest to liquidate political dissidents.[21] Socialists such as Hirasawa Keishichi, anarchists such as Sakae Osugi and Noe Ito, and the Chinese communal leader, Ou Kiten, were abducted and killed by local police and Imperial Army, who claimed the radicals intended to use the crisis as an opportunity to overthrow the Japanese government.[21][24]

    Director Chongkong Oh made two documentary films about the pogrom: Hidden Scars: The Massacre of Koreans from the Arakawa River Bank to Shitamachi in Tokyo (1983) and The Disposed-of Koreans: The Great Kanto Earthquake and Camp Narashino (1986). They largely consist of interviews with victims, witnesses and perpetrators.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1923_Great_Kant%C5%8D_earthquake#Postquake_violence

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  76. “I am sorry for the clumsy manner in which I posted the link but I know no better way of doing it on this forum.”

    Get goo.gl Url Shortener extension for Chrome

    As for the rest, I know nothing about this exceedingly complex subject.

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  77. By contrast, as an off-topic factoid, the total number of fatalities from all the pogroms together in late 19th century Russia numbered in the low hundreds (or maybe even less than a hundred, I can no longer remember) according to Walter Lacqueur’s History of Zionism. I found this totally surprising.

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  78. Read Babur Namah, my reference from page 444 onward; Babar has a very complicated and a pronounced opinion of India. You cannot dismiss it as an opinion of a man who wrote a blog; even if he lived only for 4 years in India.

    secondly, what is wrong with the opinion of a western expat in India who lived for one year? would you prefer that he has lived 10? Al biruni was in India less than 2 years. There were 5 centuries between babar and Al-Biruni, and in the 5 centuries, Samarkand and Bukhara and Khorasan and to a lesser extent, Anatolia, was the seat of world power; India was ruled by slaves and discards from the Turk armies.

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  79. By contrast, as an off-topic factoid, the total number of fatalities from all the pogroms together in late 19th century Russia numbered in the low hundreds (or maybe even less than a hundred, I can no longer remember) according to Walter Lacqueur’s History of Zionism. I found this totally surprising.

    Yeah, Jewish deaths due to pogroms in late 19th-early 20th Century Russia/Ukraine were not very numerous:

    Eckhardt, civil conflicts in 1905-06:
    Pogrom, Russians vs Jews: 2,000
    Peasants & Workers vs Govt: 1,000
    James Trager, The People’s Chronology (1992): Pogroms in Russia kill some 50,000 Jews by 1909 (“1905″)
    OnWar.com: Pogroms in Russia (1903) k. 50,000 Jews
    NOTE: I can’t find supporting evidence for these high numbers killed in the pogroms. Most individual events seem to have killed dozens, and very occasionally hundreds.
    “In the famous pogrom of Kishinev in 1903, there were 49 Jewish deaths out of a Jewish population of about 50,000; in Bialystok in 1906, 70 deaths out of about 48,000 Jews.” (http://www.west.net/~jazz/felshtin/redcross.html)
    “During 1903 and 1904, 45 pogroms occurred, 95 Jews and 13 non-Jews were killed, and 4,200 people were severely injured.”

    http://necrometrics.com/20c30k.htm#Romanov

    You don’t see really large scale anti-Jewish violence until the chaos of the Russian Civil War:

    Bruce Lincoln, Red Victory: a History of the Russian Civil War 1918-1921
    Death sentences by the Cheka: ca. 100,000
    Pogroms: as many as one in 13 Jews k. out of 1.5M in Ukraine [i.e. ca. 115,000] (citing Heifetz)
    Nevins, citing Heifetz and the Red Cross: 120,000 Jews killed in 1919 pogroms [http://www.west.net/~jazz/felshtin/redcross.html
    Richard Overy, Russia’s War (1997): Cheka responsible for maybe 250,000+ violent deaths.
    Paul Johnson
    50,000 death sentences imposed by the Cheka by 12/20
    100,000 Jews killed in 1919

    Figes, Orlando (A People’s Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution, 1997)
    10 million deaths from war, terror, famine and disease.
    Including…
    Famine (1921-22): 5 million
    Killed in fighting, both military and civilian: 1M
    Jews killed in pogroms: 150,000

    http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm#RCW

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  80. Yes.

    Supposedly Akira Kurosawa was profoundly affected by the 1923 Kanto earthquake and the subsequent mob attacks on ethnic Koreans. His older brother encouraged him to spend a day wandering Tokyo in the aftermath of the great quake to steel himself to tragedy; his father was almost lynched because he was mistaken as a Korean (and also because Kurosawa’s scribbling near a well was thought to be a secret Korean code for a poisoned well). His film “Ran,” in particular, is said to be a reflection of those particular experiences.

    I agree with commenter “donut” on one thing – no country or people have a monopoly on human depravity. Civilization is a thin veneer and can crumble quickly, something we tend to forget all too easily in the so-called First World.

    I have a friend who escaped from former Yugoslavia during the civil war. Her first husband and children were killed during the war; only she was able to escape and make a new life in the U.S after much hardship. She is an ethnic Serb who always saw (and still sees) herself as a Yugoslav rather than a Serb, and grew up happily in Croatia and Bosnia (with ethnic Croat and Bosniak relatives and friends).

    She both witnessed and endured in person incredibly abhorrent depravity and suffering. Casual murders of babies; mass rapes of women and children; and torture and disfigurement for enjoyment of the tormentors. She blames no single group of peoples. She harbors no enmity toward non-Serbs. She just describes it as a world gone mad and people seized by mass hysteria, something to which most human beings are not, unfortunately, immune.

    She was shocked (and to this day remains traumatized) by not just the sheer brutality into which her relatives, neighbors, and friends descended but at the speed with which they did so. It’s almost as if, one day it was all good wine, food, and intellectual conversations on the beautiful Adriatic, and the next day it was mass murder, rape, and torture.

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  81. I don’t have anything particularly salient to say, but I wanted to express that on a personal level, reading this post meant a great deal to me.

    Way back in 1999-2000, I was doing my junior year abroad at University of Warwick. One of my four courses that year was on the history of British colonization of India. My research paper for the class for the year was on the degree to which the Partition of India was directly caused by British colonialism. The basic thrust of my essay, was examining the degree to which Benedict Anderson’s idea of nation as “Imagined Communities” applied to the formation of a distinct Hindu and Muslim identities during the British Raj. I partially rejected Anderson’s model as working for India, but I also rejected the idea that the pre-British sense of nationhood was any more developed than the notion of “Christiandom” in the Middle Ages – that distinct Pan-Hindu or Pan-Muslim identities in India were anything more than contingencies which developed in reaction to British rule, which over the late 19th century tended to systematically alter the balance of power between Hindus and Muslims in favor reducing the historical privilege of the latter, which made the eventual partition of India fairly inevitable by the first few decades of the 20th century.

    Looking back on the essay now, it was a piece of trash in terms of prose – although maybe I shouldn’t have expected much from myself at age 20. It must have been better than the norm though, given I recall my professor saying unlike most students, I knew how to write, and I got the British equivalent of an A in the class. Regardless, while I’m not sure I would have held to my thesis today regardless, consider me thoroughly schooled by your post here.

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  82. Thanks.

    I understand now the origin (Persian) of the Modern Hebrew word Yavan (Greece)

    sf

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  83. It’s interesting to see that it is usually white westerners who are likely to deny the existence of distinct power relations and existence of separate communities in South Asia before colonialism. Same people are more than willing to own up to a more nuanced situation of community interactions in Europe, but never in South Asia or anywhere not in the west. Ironically, a very Eurocentric mindset.

    Speaking of Eurocentric mindsets, one very interesting thing Razib pointed out was that the “hegemon = white / subaltern = faceless mass of coloureds” dynamic was hardly invented by Europeans, I don’t think they even independently developed it themselves, necessarily (how’s that for cultural appropriation ; -) )

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  84. I agree with you on one thing – no country or people have a monopoly on human depravity. Civilization is a thin veneer and can crumble quickly, something we tend to forget all too easily in the so-called First World.

    However, that does not absolve leaders who actively agitated for, directed and commanded mass murder, rape, and torture.

    What happened in former Yugoslavia and Nanking was not spontaneous rising of the masses.

    Japanese high command at Nanking made a decision to discard that thin veneer of Civilization and unleash the beasts that lie inside the hearts of their men.

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  85. However, that does not absolve leaders who actively agitated for, directed and commanded mass murder, rape, and torture.

    No, it does not… which is why such leaders are prosecuted for war crimes but entire peoples are not, in general, collectively punished (except for circumstances such as eastern Germany c. 1945-46).

    What happened in former Yugoslavia and Nanking was not spontaneous rising of the masses.

    No. But hitherto “decent, civilized” people and soldiery quickly and enthusiastically take to brutality under certain conditions, even without specific directions from high commands as such. They often go “overboard” and military commands end up having to restrain their men harshly in order to restore military discipline.

    It reminds me of the way a pack of dogs is seized with a certain group instinct (I call it blood in the eyes, because their eyes turn red-colored), pounce on a prey, and tear it apart with hysterical joy.

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  86. , who wrote “I am sorry for the clumsy manner in which I posted the link but I know no better way of doing it on this forum.”

    Another way to shorten very long URLs is to use TinyURL.

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  87. let’s put this into perspective:

    What Japanese Imperial Army did in Nanking had NO contemporary parallel.

    American Occupational force did not go on rampage in Tokyo or Berlin.

    In a East Asian setting, when Chinese army captured Seoul in 1951, more than a decade later, Chinese didn’t go on rampage as Japanese soldiers did in Nanking.

    Yes, JIA behaved exactly “the way a pack of dogs is seized with a certain group instinct (I call it blood in the eyes, because their eyes turn red-colored), pounce on a prey, and tear it apart with hysterical joy.”

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  88. this sounds like bullshit. could you say more? how is it different from the mass rapes of by the russians as they pushed into german territory. or the SS killing units which roved the eastern front on the look out for jews and other types ready for extermination.

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  89. I merely pointed out that American army did not carry out Tokyo or Berlin massacre, even Communist Chinese army did not carry out Seoul massacre.

    So obviously there are different options for army to behave in war.

    If your point is that Japanese soldiers are on the same level as SS killing units which roved the eastern front on the look out for jews and other types ready for extermination. Yes, I agree!

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  90. Here is my mini-rant about the subject of Barbarity of Operation Barbarossa,

    Of course, it is quite easy to browse Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Front_(World_War_II)#Casualties

    but, most of the sources have attested to huge scale of depravity of not only SS, Einsatzgruppen or other Nazi outfits but Wehrmacht itself.

    In the waning days of the war, America drops couple of nuclear bombs on Japanese to incinerate them, torches Dresden and reduces other parts of Fatherland to rubble and Russian army carries out plunder, looting and rapes on its way to Berlin. I would say Russians were amateurs.

    Given the fact that all wars are inhumane and all armies have carried out atrocities at one time or another, what we are left with is, the how many shades of Red was the blood that was spilled.

    In this game of counting skulls, no one holds a candle to the Germans and Japanese.

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  91. I maybe be entirely ignorant of other mass atrocities during World War II.

    World War II is chockablock with atrocities.

    But I am not aware of another massacre of a city carried out by an army AFTER its capture on the scale of Nanking.

    On December 1937, Nanking is swelling with refugees fleeing onslaught of Japanese Imperial Army in the lower Yangtze Delta, the most populated area in China .

    And on the march of IJA from Shanghai to Nanking, we have the famous contest to kill 100 people using a sword:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contest_to_kill_100_people_using_a_sword

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  92. No, it does not… which is why such leaders are prosecuted for war crimes but entire peoples are not, in general, collectively punished (except for circumstances such as eastern Germany c. 1945-46).

    For one, Commander of Imperial Japanese Army at Nanking,Prince Yasuhiko Asaka, who denied the existence of any massacre and claimed never to have received complaints about the conduct of his troops, was never prosecuted

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  93. In the waning days of the war, America drops couple of nuclear bombs on Japanese to incinerate them, torches Dresden and reduces other parts of Fatherland to rubble and Russian army carries out plunder, looting and rapes on its way to Berlin. I would say Russians were amateurs.

    The US bombed areas that were not under its control mainly to destroy Japanese industry that was clustered in civilian areas, whereas the Russians carried out atrocities in areas that had been overrun, in ways similar to the Germans and the Japanese. While not quite on the scale of Japanese and German war atrocities, the Russian effort was qualitatively similar. The US did not drop the A-bombs after the Japanese surrendered – it dropped them to compel surrender.

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  94. let’s put this into perspective:

    What Japanese Imperial Army did in Nanking had NO contemporary parallel.

    You are going to have to qualify this statement. What do you mean by “contemporary” and “parallel”?

    Numerous nation-states engaged in “anti-partisan” operations during World War II, especially Germany, that resulted murder, rape, and torture of civilians in large numbers, even setting aside deliberate genocidal operations, and deliberate, massive attacks on civilians (firebombing and nuclear attacks, in particular).

    American Occupational force did not go on rampage in Tokyo or Berlin.

    Among the major Allied forces, British troops behaved the most honorably toward conquered civilians, followed perhaps by the U.S. forces. But the troops of the latter also engaged in numerous cases of war crimes including murder and rape of French, German, and Japanese civilians (not long after the Allies landed in Normandy, there were already hundreds of cases of complaints of rape by American troops in the area).

    Among the troops of the Western powers, French North African troops were particularly notorious for mass murder and rape in Italy and Germany.

    And, of course, the Soviets “take the cake” among the Allied powers in their extreme brutality toward civilians, especially women, in the conquered areas (hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of women were mass-raped by Soviet troops; some women were raped 50-60 times; women ages 8 to 80 were raped; frequently they were gang-raped in front of their fathers or husbands, and then shot together afterwards). Soviet troops even raped freed Poles and Russians as well as concentration camp inmates!

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote a poem about his war experience titled “Prussian Nights”:

    Twenty-two Hoeringstrasse. It’s not been burned, just looted, rifled. A moaning by the walls, half muffled: the mother’s wounded, half alive. The little daughter’s on the mattress, dead. How many have been on it? A platoon, a company perhaps? A girl’s been turned into a woman, a woman turned into a corpse. It’s all come down to simple phrases: Do not forget! Do not forgive! Blood for blood! A tooth for a tooth!

    He was, by the way, arrested and imprisoned for criticizing the conduct of the war by Stalin as well as the treatment of civilians by the Red Army.

    In a East Asian setting, when Chinese army captured Seoul in 1951, more than a decade later, Chinese didn’t go on rampage as Japanese soldiers did in Nanking.

    The context is very different. The Red Chinese “volunteer” army in Korea fought as allies of North Koreans, and did not see Korean civilians as enemies.

    On the other hand, during World War II, various Chinese armies (of all stripes) probably engaged in all manners of war crimes, which were never reported in the West. To be very fair, the Chinese communist forces in general were well-disciplined and indoctrinated to treat civilians well to win their hearts and minds. Chinese communist crimes came afterwards – once they were indisputably in control (unlike, say, the communists during the Spanish Civil War, who imposed a red terror in the midst of the war and murdered thousands of priests and nuns, burnt churches, and liquidated political rivals/enemies).

    Yes, JIA behaved exactly “the way a pack of dogs is seized with a certain group instinct (I call it blood in the eyes, because their eyes turn red-colored), pounce on a prey, and tear it apart with hysterical joy.”

    Men of all races and stripes are capable of such brutality, especially men who endured intensely stressful combat and losses, and in particular those who were maltreated and oppressed by their own leaders. For that matter, civilian “volunteers” have also engaged in numerous acts of war crimes in the modern era.

    This is not to diminish the sheer scale of the war crimes of Japan and Germany in World War II. But the nature of their crimes were not extraordinary – such crimes during war were committed elsewhere, by others, before and after. As the phrase attributed to Cicero goes: inter arma enim silent leges.

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  95. For one, Commander of Imperial Japanese Army at Nanking,Prince Yasuhiko Asaka, who denied the existence of any massacre and claimed never to have received complaints about the conduct of his troops, was never prosecuted

    He is neither the first nor the last perpetrator of war crimes to avoid prosecution.

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  96. Indeed, the British scholar Yasmin Khan, in her acclaimed history “The Great Partition,” judges that Partition “stands testament to the follies of empire…”

    The phrase “the British scholar Yasmin Khan” itself stands testament to the follies of empire.

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  97. Eisenhower himself disagreed with Truman regarding the need for “first and only use of nuclear weapon” on a civilian population, but he was overruled.

    Maybe there was an urgent need to test out the results of costly Project Manhattan (and who knows better about carrying out “scientific” experiments on civilians than Germans or Japanese?) before the window of opportunity closes or maybe it was necessary to teach a lasting lesson to those who carried out one of the few attacks on US soil (much like the 9/11 atrocity years later).

    Regardless, having suffered almost no casualties or large scale economic destruction (in fact, WWII was the largest Keynesian fiscal stimulus, making some economists wish for alien wars today), Americans have no context for the experience of loosing 1/5th of population (that would be 60m casualties for America) to war. War has been a distant fantasy for Americans (esp for their political class) long before the advent of the video game quality of drone wars.

    So, I would say both qualitatively and quantitavely, Russian reaction was rather muted. Unlike War-on(of?)-Terror or Nazi war-of-annihilation, or Japanese preview-of-ISIS-style mega-butchery, Russians have better case of ascribing it to unruly mobs within their ranks.

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  98. Soviets “take the cake” among the Allied powers in their extreme brutality toward civilians, especially women, in the conquered areas (hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of women were mass-raped by Soviet troops

    may need sources because it does seem to have “Brian Williams” quality to it. I have not heard of even German sources putting it in “millions”. In the end, it was a veritable hell for even the few who have had to endure that.

    But the nature of their crimes were not extraordinary

    Compared to who, Genghis Khan?

    Akin to your Graphic description of Russian horrors, may be a link to infamous Unit-731 or Dr. Mengele (who continued his valued “research” in Argentinian country-side long after the war, albeit in less gruesome fashion) is in order. Nothing like that has been recorded on the side of any Allied military forces (at least during the WWII), unless it’s a case of victors writing the history.

    It seems Western Europeans enjoyed their days of despotism during the colonial era,

    http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v9/9.11/1columbus.html

    http://study.com/academy/lesson/history-of-the-belgian-congo-imperialism-genocide-atrocities.html

    Germans/Japanese quickly caught up and far exceeded all that in few short years of WWII.

    There is a tendency in the West for false-equivalence of the soviet war-crimes with those of Axis powers because in the end, they were both enemies.

    As sad as the story of Anne Frank is, hardly anyone in the west remembers or even knows about Tanya Savicheva or the Siege-of-Leningrad that would put Genghis Khan to shame.

    We judge ourselves by our ideals, but we judge others by their actions.

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  99. It’s alright to say “people of color”; it’s NOT alright to say “colored”!

    http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/jan/26/benedict-cumberbatch-apologises-after-calling-black-actors-coloured

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  100. “For many centuries Islam in South Asia recapitulated this pattern ancient pattern, whereby those who descended from converts were received as second class citizens (and still called “Hindus,” which simply meant a native of Hindustan). ”

    This is not correct. They were known as “Hindis”, not “Hindus”.

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  101. What would white crybabies do without the “other” to blame their own racial suicide on?

    Wake up and look in the mirror?

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  102. “..German nurses throwing Jewish babies out the window…” It’s always babies with these emotional-button-pusher stories. Like the invading Iraqis throwing Kuwaiti babies out of the incubators. Always be sceptical of atrocity stories, but always be ready to understand that sometimes they are true.

    I remember Billy Wilder being interviewed by Dick Cavett years ago (for the yung’uns, Wilder was a famous film director, Some Like It Hot, lots of other famous films. He talked about being a young man in Germany and how he didn’t experience anti-Semitism that he recalled. Cavett, through the fog of recieved wisdom, said, “I’ve always heard [Jewish] people from Germany say that and wondered why.” Exasperated, Wilder said, “Because it was true! I didn’t see that much of that in everyday society.”
    Throwing babies out of windows takes quite a bit of savage indoctrination in a highly developed society for whom that was a capital crime, from the pov of both law and human sentiment. I am no longer convinced that most Germans were at that stage, whatever psychos might have been recruited for concentration camps. If one or two lunatics threw a baby out the window, that doesn’t change my mind.

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  103. ok. I won’t spread it anymore. This is a very serious untruth.
    Maybe the site I saw was telling a boo boo.

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  104. “what’s whiter than taylor swift?”

    Jim Gaffigan. He said growing up some kids in elementary school would tease him and call him an Albino because he is super ghostly pale with platinum blond hair.

    He also joked that he is so White that he looks like the off spring of Elton John and a blonde Scandinavian woman.

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  105. As Captain Beefheart once said to Frank Zappa, “Everybody’s colored or else you wouldn’t be able to see them.”

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  106. If I remember correctly Benjamin Franklin did not regard German immigrants to North America as being “white” when he argued that there should be fewer of them and more from Britain.

    I guess that in today’s world, on a global scale at least, whites are becoming an exotic minority. You see it when you watch old Hollywood movies made in the 1930′s. You don’t see scenes like those anymore.

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  107. may need sources because it does seem to have “Brian Williams” quality to it. I have not heard of even German sources putting it in “millions”.

    Didn’t look very hard, did you? See: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/may/01/news.features11

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  108. It would make sense that the Manchus (Qing dynasty 1644-1911/12) would become Sinified as their former ‘horde’ mentality would change as they became more sedentary and therefore integrated themselves into the social milieu while being apart from it. That is the definition of culture/socialization/ where the dominant culture become the raison d’etre of the foreigner based on his change of status in his new ‘homeland’. It is not a matter of superior culture vis a vis non superior culture but of the offspring growing up in their current natural environment vs that of their foreign born parents (born in another clime/location). There will be a language gap, a culture gap,, etc that faciliatate the young adopting modes of expression based on their birthplace.

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  109. Probably take action to raise the birth rate, as Israel has.

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  110. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_crimes

    >>Western estimates of the total number of rape victims range from tens of thousands to two million

    Is “millions” a western way of saying “tens of thousands to almost 2 million”?

    Anyway, its a shameful chapter for the Soviets and as disgusting as it all must have been for numerous victims, it still pales in comparison to the atrocities of the Nazis towards the “untermensch”.

    If Europeans gradually and eventually, do progress towards civilization, they will lose even the imagination to comprehend that and start eulogizing the largest empire-builders since Great Khan.

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  111. Thanks friend. The following is a test case.

    https://goo.gl/eJS4tp

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  112. If Europeans gradually and eventually, do progress towards civilization

    Is it sarcasm?

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  113. This was a great post, even by Razib’s standards.

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  114. >>Western estimates of the total number of rape victims range from tens of thousands to two million

    Is “millions” a western way of saying “tens of thousands to almost 2 million”?

    No, millions means millions. Let’s recap what I wrote originally, shall we? And let me boldface the relevant portion:

    And, of course, the Soviets “take the cake” among the Allied powers in their extreme brutality toward civilians, especially women, in the conquered areas (hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of women were mass-raped by Soviet troops; some women were raped 50-60 times; women ages 8 to 80 were raped; frequently they were gang-raped in front of their fathers or husbands, and then shot together afterwards).

    Most Western historians agree that the number of women raped by rampaging Soviet troops in eastern Germany c. 1945-1946 was at minimum in the hundreds of thousands. The upper range is usually estimated around 1.5 to 2 million. Try not to create straw men by reading selectively.

    Anyway, its a shameful chapter for the Soviets and as disgusting as it all must have been for numerous victims, it still pales in comparison to the atrocities of the Nazis towards the “untermensch”.

    This is not, pardon my crudeness, a penis-size contest. While there is little doubt that the scale of the Nazi and Japanese atrocities was enormous (and much greater than those war crimes committed by the Allied powers, especially the Western powers), the point was, and remains, that all peoples and nation states are capable of brutalities that contravene what we in the West call civilized norms. In other words, while the sheer scale of the Nazi and Japanese war crimes was unprecedented (in part because of ideologies, but also because of the historical circumstances of the time, i.e. the apogee of the centralized, industrial state, which facilitated killing in a massive scale), the nature of their war crimes is hardly unique.

    And none of their crimes in any way excuses the way Soviet troops behaved in their zone of occupation, with their wanton and widespread murder, rape, and looting. If anything, their crimes are yet another cautionary example of those perpetrators who see themselves as “special victims” of others giving themselves license to commit vile atrocities of their own (as the Germans did after World War I).

    There were large-scale murder, rape, and torture of noncombatants, and even wholesale genocides of entire peoples, before World War II and there will be more war crimes in the future as long as there are military conflicts involving human beings. One of the surprising lessons (at least for some European intellectuals) of the Yugoslavian civil war was that even civilized and cultured white Europeans were not immune to committing grotesque war crimes under certain circumstances… that commission of such crimes was not limited to dark-skinned “savages” or unusual “exceptions” like the Nazis.

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  115. the Siege-of-Leningrad that would put Genghis Khan to shame.

    Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant (To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace). Tacitus, I believe. Much older than Genghis Khan (to whom Tamerlane’s later atrocities are often attributed).

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  116. The British outlawed female infanticide in India by about 1844. I don’t think Indians agreed with the law until much later.

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  117. >>Is it sarcasm?

    Yeah, kinda …

    Journalist: What do you think of Western civilization?
    Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

    Not that India ever was or is an Apogee of anything; like nestor illustrates below.

    Although, Steven Pinker asserts violence has gone down but capability for violence certainly keeps improving and the centralized/industrialized western states are way ahead of all the rest combined.

    So, it would be nice if they didn’t make a hobby of fire bombing hot tropical places every recession.

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  118. >>Much older than Genghis Khan

    I hope we won’t have to go beyond Neanderthals and Savage Apes to explain away our crimes.

    This is a genetics blog, so might as well.

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  119. If Iris Chang had instead said, hundreds of thousands to perhaps half a million

    she would earn herself the title of truth-seeking historian.

    Also, after perusing sources for detailed records of those abominations, her mental instability and consequent depression/suicide would not invite derision, perhaps?

    may be not from the civilized west but …

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  120. That’s precisely the point.No one is arguing that pre-Islamic India was completely without historical records.People simply note that, in comparison to Greece-Rome and China, historiography was quite undeveloped in India.

    It is a bit late in the day but it is necessary that I reply to you.

    I have nowhere implied that Indian historical records should be compared with Greco-Roman & Chinese records. However the assertion was being mafe that India was a ahistorical society that did not care much for recording its history. Hence my reply was to refute such a false notion.

    Further, just because India has a lot less of its historical records preserved for posterity it does not mean that historiography in India was quite undeveloped as compared to Greco-Roman or Chinese society. Creating comparatively fewer historical records does not imply having an undeveloped historiography.

    Kalhana (lived circa 12th Century AD) is not exactly pre-Islamic.

    Kalhana lived in atleast 2 centuries before Islam made inroads into Kashmir. Therefore he is pre-Islamic. His inspiration for historiography were not Islamic savants but 9 earlier native historians of Kashmir who were either Hindu or Buddhist.

    Robin Donkin has argued that with the exception of Kalhana, “there are no [native Indian] literary works with a developed sense of chronology, or indeed much sense of place, before the thirteenth century”.

    Donkin is wrong. Many Indian books of the earlier period did have a dating system and a chronology. The chronologies or dates are not really accurate, a symptom likely of textual corruption with the passage of time. Just to illustrate – the Puranas give the following years for post-Mahabharata era dynasties in Magadha :- 1006 years for Brihadratha dynasty from the time of the war. After Brihadratha, the Pradyota dynasty for 138 years. After Pradyota, the Shishunaga dynasty for 362 years. The Puranas also give us the no. of years from the birth of Parikshit (in the year of the Mahabharata War) to the rise of Mahapadma Nanda, which appears in variously as 1015, 1050 or 1500 years. There are more such dating devices used in the Puranas but I’ll restrict myself to the above. Surely there is some confusion in the exact no. of years. But that is likely due to textual corruption. It can be clearly seen that ‘there was sense of chronology’. Moreover, the Puranas also give you the places in which the various dynasties ruled. So there was also ‘a sense of place’. The most obvious example is the plethora of dynasties ruling across India, along with the places under their reign, that the Puranas mention after the fall of the Satavahana rule. Read Pargiter’s ‘The Purana text of the Dynasties of the Kali Age’ for more.

    Royal genealogies are not the same thing as, say, Thucydides.Ancient Greece also had ancient King lists.Cf, for example, the Spartan King list:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kings_of_Sparta

    No one is comparing this with Thucydides. Hence please avoid such meaningless comparisons. I have already shown you above how the Puranas are not just genealogical lists but have a dating system as well.

    Which means what? Was he talking about a formal work of history like the History of the Peloponnesian War? Or was he talking about legendary kings who fought in the Kurukshetra War?There’s a big difference between the former and the latter.

    Here is what Kautilya meant – https://goo.gl/lhv1c3. If possible, please also read the entire paper as it is a good read.

    The key phrase being “some sort.” Whatever it was, we have no evidence that it came close to what existed in Greece-Rome and Ancient China.

    The point I made was not about any comparison. The point was about whether Indians had a sense of history and place. Please keep this mind and avoid bringing in unncessary comparisons.

    Here is something more to reflect upon :-

    1. We have plays such as Malavikagnimitra by Kalidasa – a play on the story of Pushyamitra Sunga’s son Agnimitra, Mudrarkshasa – a play on the rise of Chandragupta Maurya through the help of Chanakya, Devichandraguptam – a play on Chandragupta II of the Guptas etc. All such plays or dramas are largely based on historical names, persons, places and events. They pre-suppose the existence of proper historical lore about these earlier periods from which these plays/dramas were inspired.

    2. Besides Rajatarangini, there is a historical chronicle of the kingdom of Nepal. I have read a Buddhist version of it. Though it is not as well-developed as Kalhana’s work, it dates the kings and kingdoms with reference to the Kaliyug Era and later on by other eras. It also mentions in brief events taking place in the reigns of several of the kings. Then there is a dynastic chronicle in Orissa by the name of Madala Panji, in Tripura by the name of Rajamala. Todd in his book was able to furbish a genealogy of the kings of Delhi from very early times. This genealogy is not known from the Puranas.

    3. Several Jain authors of the medieval period, such as Merutunga and Hemachandra, write about the history of past kings dating them with reference to the Mahavira Era of 520 BC. and also the Vikram Era of 57 BC.

    4. We have in Tibetan works of Bu-Ston and Taranatha, history of Buddhism in India, however garbled, from the earliest times. Taranatha mentions several Indian sources for his history. Many of the historical accounts given in Taranatha’s history are not found in any other text. Taranatha’s account also supposses that the Buddhists of India also had records of their history.

    5. There are several biographies of ancient Buddhist sages including that of Buddha himself as well as that of Vasubandhu and others. From the Buddhist texts of the period of Buddha as well as the Jataka texts, we get very detailed information about the political, religious and social conditions prevailing in India at that time. From Vasubandhu’s biography we learn of the religious orthodoxies prevailing in his time in Gandhara, Kashmir and in middle-India. We also learn of the political dynasty ruling in Ayodhya in the time of Vasubandhu.

    6. We also learn of history of the respective regions contemporary to the period in which texts such as Vikramadevacharita, Harsacharita, Gaudavaho etc. were composed. These are all texts which are historical in nature.

    7. Let me also mention what Bana says regarding past kings to understand its significance. Skandagupta, an officer of Harsa, warns of the dangers of mitaken trust and resultant carelessness by referring to Kakavarna, son of Shishunaga, who had a dagger thrust in his throat; the assassination of Brihadratha Maurya by Pushyamitra Sunga; the murder of Devabhuti, the last Sunga king by the daughter of his slave-woman at the instance of his minister Vasudeva Kanva and so on. He also refers to a king named Nagasena, whose kingdom fell when his policy was disclosed by a Sarika bird. All this means, Bana had such historical narratives of the past from which he could source these examples.

    8. Kalidasa wrote plays such as Raghuvamsa & Meghaduta which showed his acute knowledge of Indian geography. Panini in his Ashtadhyaya also mentions more than 20 kingdoms existent in his day, several of which were later recorded by the Alexander’s historians. Varahamihira is also quite well-versed in Indian geography and so is Rajashekhara in Kavyamimamsa. The Puranas even contain information about the geography and the people & places of Central Asia – https://www.scribd.com/doc/162969334/Geography-of-Puranas. Then there was Dharmagupta of Lata who wrote an important treatise on Central Asia – https://goo.gl/kO4X6T.
    Therefore Indians had a sense of place as well.

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  121. “White people” and “colored people” are pigments of an infertile paradigm; they exist as verbal symbols. Criteria used to separate persons into races–genes, appearance, culture, geography– reveal divergent disciplinary foci. No human being is “white” or “colored.” These terms describe skin colors, not persons. The tail does not wag the dog. Racial classification has DNNA problems–definitions of races cite selected features of a person, but claim the whole person belongs to a race; the Number of races varies across the social and natural sciences; the Names of races are a study in diversity (for example, Darkies, colored, blacks, Negro, African American, . . .) and the Actions attributed to races do not correlate. “White people” did not enslave “black people.” Certain human beings imposed a system of labor organization on other human beings that had inhabited Africa. Identifying perpetrators of atrocities racially, sexually, ethnically, and religiously may be useful for selective, moral condemnation, for demonstrating that A is more evil, having killed more human beings than B. Such comparisons do not contribute to ending killing, and those killed are largely unconcerned. Human beings do violence to others from whom they invariably separate themselves. An observer, however, is not obliged to uncritically appropriate the categories historical actors used in India, Persia, or Europe. The denominations are innumerable. Indeed, they are not identities, but identifications derived from criteria of classification. Human beings do not have identities. “Human” is the identity–the name of the entity. To genderize, tribalize, racialize and ethnicize the past is to adopt its “holy” and naturalistic legacies. Bury them, or continue to bury bodies, en masse.

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