March 21, 2008

Was it an Administrative Blunder by British East Indian Company against Sikhs during the uprising of 1857?

A battle was fought in Chattra District in October 1857. The rebels were defeated and their two leaders, Jai Mangal Pandey and Nadir Ali Khan were executed in Chattra. During the battle the European soldiers had also died. A contingent of Sikhs soldiers, who were part of Rattary’s Battalion (Presently, 3 Sikh Battalion of Indian Army) had also fought to suppress the uprising in Chattra. Some of the Sikhs soldiers of Rattary Battalion had also died. It is on record that those Sikhs soldiers were buried along with English soldiers near Catholic Ashram, which is one kilometre away from Chattra city. There is a Divisional Forest Office nearby. The inscription on the cemetery reads,
“In the grave are buried "The 56 men of Her Majesty's 53rd Regiment of foot and a party of Rattrys sikhs who were killed at Chatra on October 2, 1857 in action against mutineers of the Ramgarh Battalion.”

Rattrays Sikhs was a battalion raised by Captain Thomas Rattray of 64th Regiment of Bengal Army as per a decision of British East India government taken in 1855. The battalion was to be a Corps of Military Police. It was raised in Punjab out of the Sikhs soldiers who had fought in Anglo Sikh war against the British forces. It was raised as Bengal Military Police Battalion.

It is known fact that the as per the Sikhs religious rites, they are cremated. They are not buried. However, in the episode mentioned above, the Sikhs were buried. The same fact is displayed on the Government website of the District of Chattra.

A Disclaimer
I understand that the Pandits of History would strongly object to the above type of posting. It is in a way, a journalist kind of reporting wherein in a scoop is being reported. The readers may find a motivated reporting here. However, my only intention is to bring out an activity or an incidence which went against the established belief of one community. I accept somewhere by nationalism is working behind the site to report this. However, even then, I will plead that it is an attempt to bring out an incidence which could be used as an evidence and argument by those historians who want to counter the Cambridge or Pan Britannica History.

Official Site of Chattra District of Jharkhand State of India.

Rattrays Sikh on Sikh Philosophy Network.

March 09, 2008

The Quasi Commercial Library of Gods

I have been browsing this site for long.

It is all Nine:

Exactly nine years back, on ninth March, 1999, this site became alive on the cyberspace.

It is a library of “electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, and occult and esoteric topics.”

I kept thinking about writing about this site. I thought out numerous titles for this site. During the course of the tumult in thoughts, I had been going through the contents of this site. The site owner, John B. Hare, California, equates it to a ’Public library’. I had thought of calling it Gyan Marga as per Advita Philosophy of Shankaracharya. I had even thought of calling it a Concert of Gods. I had been thinking of similar titles also. Finally, I decided to make a noting on this site on this very day, which is an anniversary of the site. I however, call it Quasi Commercial because I am unable to break away from the present realities. The owner has called it Sacred-Text.

I was undecided about writing on the contents of this site. It is beyond my capabilities and learning. Hence, I am only making a note of it here on my blog for the time being. No doubt, I will definitely come out with separate posts on the contents of this site which as per the owner is all about the texts and the texts written by dead people a long time ago. However, there are text which were not written at all by any identifiable being. In order to use the terminology of scholars of Linguistics, in which the owner of the site himself is trained, it is site of texts which is full of Shrutis and some Smritis (revealed and written out of memory).

March 05, 2008

Desired Ethics and Norms for Internet Scholarship

Manan Ahmed had commented on the resolve of Danah Boyd as follows:
Danah Boyd wrote her resolve to publish only in open access journals. I couldn't agree more - being an ardent supporter of scholarship that is freely accessible. One of my biggest complaint about our academic world is about the inaccessibility of research to anyone without institutional affiliation or a hefty bank account. The impact of which is that, academic work in the humanities remains largely confined to a handful of readers and commentators.

Continuing with the ethics desired from the internet scholars, rather scholars as such, Ahmad had taken two case studies of Harvard University Resolve and the mission and motive of JSTOR. He mentioned about the help he had rendered to his friends in Delhi and Karachi. He had done so because he knew that there in Delhi (or may in Karachi also, apologies as I am from India) it was not all that smooth to get “institutional affiliation or a hefty bank account.”

He had pointed that “the Sciences were so far ahead of the Humanities on the Open Access issue.”

He also observed that “JSTOR results were already included in Google searches (through but, often, also in normal search).”

All his observations are sounding music to my ears.

The open Access issue had attracted my attention when Google launched Google Print (Now Book Google.) The Google was threatened with legal warnings.

The Google Book is online now. There are many books which are available online. I have collecting such links wherein one can find the whole book or an article online.

Now wonder that whether I have stopped buying the books and journals. The answer is big “NO”. It is rather that I have bought more books, journals and magazines (I have other interests also and most of new subscriptions are related to other fields) after taking to blogging where I usually collect links to complete books. The only change in my reading activity that had occurred is that I have reduced my visits to the libraries. There is so much on the internet now that one can develop his arguments and material provided he has the right knack for mining the internet. The reduced visits to Libraries is also a different issue as such. It is not that the need of Library has been reduced. It is a different story that why I do not visit library now. However, the actual activity in pursuing your sources for developing an argument in order to write an article or notes for your professional use has remained the same. The availability of appropriate material through internet is an added facility. The actual activity of reading, collection, classification, deriving inferences, and then writing has remained the same. Getting a PDF of a good article does not reduce your activity for pursuing the knowledge. No, not at all. You have to undergo the same process in order to learn and then disseminate. I believe that Open Access just make you more effective by reducing the time to acquire the required material. It also reduce the cost. The main beneficiary is the society for which all such resources were generated through huge grants on which the copy right claims have been acquired by the practitioner. As one of my friend jokingly commented on a work of a scholar when he published the letters of Lala Lajpat Rai as his research work that the letters belonged to Lala Lajpat Rai and now copyright would be enjoyed by the bugger whereas the funds came from the taxpayers money. Joke apart, the Open Access is something which appeals and demands for new norms in the field of learning, education and research with the advent of new technologies which facilitate the communication among the scholars.

Sources Used:
Cliopatria: A Group Blog on History New Network

Seed of Varna System in Purush Sukta

बराह्मणो.अस्य मुखमासीद बाहू राजन्यः कर्तः |
ऊरूतदस्य यद वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत |

The above lines belongs to 10th Mandal of Rig Veda as 90th Sukta. It has been attributed with the status of religious sanction to the social differentiation of Indian society in four varnas or classes. It is argued that the four classes later became the anchor sheet of complex caste system based on Jatis in the social order and social differentiation of Indian social system. This theory is propounded by Marxist Historians and carried by the NCERT books adopted by CBSE board in India. It has become the basis of various thesis of the Indian scholars for explaining the development of caste system in India. According to the thesis of A. L. Basham, the tenth Mandal was compiled around 1000 BCE and it is the latest mandal. The caste system of India developed later as an edifice of Indian social system with Purusha Sukta forming the foundation of the system.

In the above mentioned lines, the word rajanya is used for the Kashtriyas. Now it is a question to be verified that when did the word Kashtriya replaced the word Rajanya. The Punjabi form of Kashtriya is Khatri. I am not an linguistic expert and can not explain this transformation. However, those Punjabis who generally call themselves as Punjabi belong to Khatri class. They are supposed to be the warrior class of the Indian society. The warrior class of medieval period call themselves as rajputs. The word Rajputs has more affinity with the word rajanyas. On the other hand, the Khatris are not generally found among the warrior class now these days. They do not divide themselves into castes or jatis. They divide themselves into Parivars. They are mostly found in the field of business which is a field meant for Vasiyas and Sudras. In case of film industry of India, especially Mumbai film world, we find Kapoors, Puris, Chopras, Chawlas, Khannas, Mehras etc who are all Khatris. The other Parivars which considers themselves of a superior scales like Sonis, Jalotas, Sobtis, Suds and some parivars of Malhotras are mostly found in business field of India. The Arora Khatris who generally call themselves as Soods, Sahdevas, Chadhas, Vermas and many of them call themselves as Chugs, Chopras, Chawlas etc but with different gotras in order to form a Parivar are found in the field of trading and artisans class. I understand that some of my observations are subject to criticism by the Khatri clans but this is what I have learned from Khatri class people at the time of organising their marriages and death rites.

Further, the word Shudras has appeared in the above mentioned richa. The scholars declare that this word appears only here in the whole of Rig veda. It means that the ideas of Shudra had appeared by 1000 BCE. The earlier words are Panis, Dasu and Dasuya.

Anyhow, my only motive is to identify the above mentioned Richa which is considered to be a starting point in the field of social history and sociological explanation of Indian Society.

Internet Sacred Text Archive

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