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آریایی بودن از افسانه تا حقیقت

  آریایی بودن از افسانه تا حقیقت
معرفی کتاب Aryans, Jews ,Brahmins’ (2015) اریایی – یهودی – برهمن
در اواخر قرن نوزده مذهب به حاشیه رانده شد اما گرایشات قومی و نژادی بسیار قوت گرفت موضوع قوم آریایی که بیشتر در کتب مذهبی و افسانه ای و استوره ای آمده بود رنگ علمی به خود گرفت عده ای بر اساس متون قدیمی مدعی شدند قوم آرین از شمال دریای خزر  بسوی آسیا مهاجرت کرده اند عده ای دیگر گفتند  آرین ها ساکن فلات ایران و هند بوده و به اروپا رفته اند و بعد در دوره سرما زدگی شدید مجدد به آسیای غربی مهاجرت کرده اند.
امروزه فرضیه علمی کوچ بشر را از شاخ آفریقا در 50 هزار سال قبل به خلیج فارس و اروپا و سپس در هزاره های بعد برگشت مجدد به آسیا مطرح می کند بر این اساس انسان در پروسه مهاجرت به اروپا تغییر رنگ و قد و هوش داده است.. فسیل شناسان و باستان شناسان فسیل آریایی هایی را در ایران کشف کرده اند که 50 هزار سال عمر دارند پس افسانه مهاجرت اولا بسیار بسیار قدیمی تر از آن است که کتب قرون گذشته آنرا فرضیه واقعی می دانستند.
کتاب زیر به این دعوا اشاره دارد.

My study begins by charting the initial discussions regarding the Aryan in the work of Voltaire and his quest for an Aryan urtext in the Ezour Vedam. Voltaire sought in India a sophisticated culture as far removed as possible from that of the ancient Hebrews. In this respect, ancient India provided him with an alibi in the true sense of the term, an elsewhere upon which he could superimpose his critique of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

As canonical Sanskrit texts were gradually translated into European languages and disseminated, 19th-century mythographers sought to read the history of the Aryans through their myths. Aryan India was cut to fit the Romantic ideals of a revealed monotheism and the development of a people’s unique character, and their gradual degeneration. With the appearance of Max Mueller’s edition of the Rig Veda and his voluminous commentary, the Aryans were no longer merely Europe’s distant cousins. Their textual presence finally confirmed the existence of a tradition as old as (if not older) than that of the Bible. In the West, this “discovery” of the Aryans through the Veda effectively displaced the Jews from their central position on the world stage. The Jews could now be assigned a subaltern role in history. For the remainder of the 19th century, this myth of the Aryan was employed to construct an ideal imaginary past for Europe. It fostered nationalism and, in the process, identified a mythic scapegoat in the figure of the Jew. The Jew and the Aryan would now become the operative dyad, as seen in the work of Nietzsche, Gobineau, H.S. Chamberlain, and finally in the ravings of Nazi ideologues.

At roughly the same time that the European Romantics were speculating about their imaginary Aryan ancestors, the Hindu reformer Raja Rammohan Roy was laying the foundation for the Brahmo Samaj with translations of Sanskrit scriptures into vernacular languages. In order to affect his reform, Rammohan Roy felt that this literature needed to be liberated from

Brahmin custodians. Toward this end, the raja sometimes even rewrote texts to depict an ideal Aryan past in which certain religious practices (such as idolatry and sati) did not exist. With his translations, he established rules for textual validity and corrected the excrescences that he felt had led to extreme practices. The raja’s reform strategy was subsequently emulated by Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, who also sought to make Sanskrit canonical sources available to a wider range of believers by developing a series of interpretive strategies to extricate Vedic revelation from its hermeticism and ritualism. In order to portray the Aryans as sophisticated, Dayananda “translated” the Veda to show that they had knowledge of telegraphy and chemistry. The myth of the Aryan Golden Age promulgated by both these Hindu reform movements set the stage for the development of Hindu nationalism.

By the time of Tilak, an ideal portrait of the Aryan had been activated to foster national self-esteem. Like Dayananda, Tilak attributed to the Aryans knowledge of science and technology. As valiant survivors of an ice-age glacial catastrophe in the Arctic, the Aryans travelled from the North Pole to civilise the world. Tilak’s Aryans were so advanced that they survived this migration and brought their considerable skills (and their scriptures) to the lands they invaded. Vivekananda would further develop this theme of racial and cultural superiority. Unlike other Indian reformers, Vivekananda did not limit his campaign to the domestic front but exported it abroad. It was before Californian and Chicagoan society matrons that he detailed his vision of an Aryan future grounded in a racialist argument. In this glorification, it was clear that the Brahmin descendants of the Aryans would be the only true beneficiaries of this myth-making.

Jyotirao Phule and B.R. Ambedkar, however, recognised that these various theories needed reinterpretation in order to locate the struggles of the oppressed castes within the historical perspective of the Aryan conquest of India. Phule began by revising the Aryan invasion theory to define culture by its subculture. He turned the myth of the Aryan back upon the elite, by taking just those strengths and virtues attributed to the Aryan by Western Orientalists and Brahmin reformers and transferring them to the lower castes. Instead of appealing to an Aryan Golden Age, Phule called for the reestablishment of an alternative mythical age — a non-Aryan Golden Age during the reign of King Bali. More importantly, by challenging the myth of a utopian Indian past, he introduced the new category of reason into the discussion.

Ambedkar began his mission where Phule left off. Ambedkar started by challenging the authority of the Veda as the source of Aryan identity. He called into question its canonicity and infallibility and rejected its racial portrayal of the Aryans. He also questioned textually based social reform that clearly served the needs of the privileged, lettered castes. Ambedkar concluded that all privileged-caste Hindu speculation regarding the Aryans was nothing but a strategy devised to support Brahmin superiority, justify their overlordship over non-Brahmins and satisfy Brahmin

arrogance. In their anti-Aryan polemics, both Phule and Ambedkar launched a radical attack on Hindu revivalism, codified as it was in the elite myth of the past.

Valorising the irrational in myth was (and is) symptomatic of the same disease that enables the irrational to flourish in politics. It is this “underside” of myth that my book examines: how Europeans and Indians deployed myths regarding the ancient Aryans in their various reform and nationalist projects. In both the East and the West, the resulting conclusions were, unfortunately, the same. If you did not possess Aryan blood, you could not be civilised and those peoples identified as non-Aryan “others” needed to be neutralised or even destroyed. Phule and Ambedkar saw the danger inherent in the Aryan myth, challenged it, and sought to debunk it.

If someone had told me when I was writing this book that its thesis would be relevant today, I would have been surprised. But as I assess the present situation, I am astonished by the degree to which its thesis resonates today. I never envisioned that the Aryan myth could be resuscitated so easily, as in those instances when the elected leader of a secular India discusses the genius of the ancient Indians having knowledge of plastic surgery, aeronautics and reproductive technology; or when, on a recent visit to New York, he praises the superiority of modern diasporic professional Indians. Are such recent claims to past and present Indian exceptionalism any different from those of Dayananda, Tilak, or Vivekananda? The myth of Indians inhabiting a Golden Age of technological and moral advancement is the same. It has its believers, as recent events have demonstrated. In light of this ongoing deployment of the Aryan myth, our task becomes clear. We must remember the work of Phule and Ambedkar, and look to their legatees to challenge this mythmaking and offer a counter-narrative.

Excerpted from the preface to ‘Aryans, Jews ,Brahmins’ (2015) published by Navayana. Figueira is professor of comparative

literature at the University of Georgia, US.

– *اروپائیان از خاورمیانه ریشه می گیرند:مقاله به زبان انگلیس.

* – زبان فارسی

http://parssea.org/?p=7095

ریشه زبان هندو ایرانی

جشن هولی و جشن نوروز شباهتها و ریشه ها

اهمیت زبان فارسی در عصر دهکده جهانی

Similarities between India and Iran

         India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his book Discovery of India,

“Among the many people and races who have come in contact with Indians and influenced India’s life and culture, the oldest and most persistent have been the Iranians”. Iranians and Indians throughout the history, even before settlement of Aryans in the vast plateau of Iran and India, had continuous traffic between them. The two countries that lie apart over distance of miles and distinct neighbors have shown ethnic ties and persistent similarities in many aspects of routine living.

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The similarities between India and Iran go far beyond ties of times; Sanskrit scholars in India had accounted linguistic similarities between the Indian veda’s and the Iranian Zend Avesta. Even today the similarities tend to exist, from delicacies to art and from entertainment to religious practice both share commonalities.
India has a unique connection with Persia (Iran), which dates back to the BCs. In 532 BC Iran’s greatest king, Cyrus took control of north-west India and his successor Darius extended the territory further to the east. The invaders brought with them their culture and ingredients like spinach, pistachio, almond, pomegranate, saffron and rosewater. It is interesting to note that during this time they were introduced to rice, a grain indigenous to India, which soon became and still is an Iranian staple. With the tint and mix of both shared culinary sciences the world has witnessed delicious authentic cuisines.
The two countries have similarities in the field of art and culture too. Paintings on the walls of Dukhang of Alchi monastery in Ladakh reproduce Sassanian (a period in Iran) motives on textiles. The walls depict round medallions with mythical animals that were evident in Iranian scriptures. The blue turquoise color that is now seen on most mosques of Iran was utilized by the Buddhist monks as color of meditation on Indian planes. The most ancient stringed instruments that were created by Iranian’s decades ago are being a motivated influence over the Indian music. Sufism was the result of spiritual interaction between Persia and India. Sufism, originally borrowed from India, returned to India with a distinct Iranian stamp. The mysticism of Islam came under the impact of Hinduism and its philosophy of Vedanta. Hinduism also accepted some Islamic elements such as equality and monotheism. Many Hindu saints combined tenets of Islam and Hinduism. Emperor Akbar (1556-1604 AD) even promulgated a new religion – ‘Din-e-Ilahi’ – a combination of the prevailing religions in India.
Trade expanded mainly because prehistoric Iranian’s introduced coinage, which facilitated exchange. India exported spices, black pepper and imported gold and silver coins from Iran. The grape, introduced from Persia with the almond and walnut, was cultivated in the western Himalayas. One of the earliest Indian words for a coin is Karsa (also a small weight), which is of Persian origin.

indian palace
If one traces the existence of religious practices early Persian’s (prior to Muslim invasion) had similar religious practices as that of the Indians. Prominent importance was given to Sun and the sole source of the Zoroastrians then. There are several parallelisms between medical, physiological and pathological doctrines of the Ayurveda and those of the Avesta in its surviving texts represented by the Vendidad, the Yasna and the Yashts.

IMG_3082 (2)ارجمند (2)1313فردوسی
The Persian word din (religion) is similar to dhena of the rigveda where it means ‘speech reflecting the inner thoughts of man’. Its Avesta equivalent is daena, a common word in Gathas meaning inner self of man.
A thread that was a compulsion for the males of the society to wear was a commonality between the two countries, the practice of sacrifice to fire as representation of Sun was carried on in both civilization. Rituals, names of God and goddess were found to be on similar line of thought. Over years and Mogul invasion of India the values deemed to reduce over the ethnic sharing, during the British colonial rule the ties became negligible.
The people of India and Iran, two ancient neighboring civilizations, have enjoyed close historical links through the ages. They had a common homeland and share a common linguistic and racial past. Over the several millennia, they interacted an enriched each other in the fields of language, religion, arts, culture, food and other traditions. Today the two countries enjoy warm, friendly relations and cooperate in a wide range of fields.

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Even today the ties between the two nations are considerably strong and are working towards achieving more goals from each other. It is improbable to deny the prehistoric existence of healthy cultural and trade ties that existed between the countries. The ties that the two country shares are growing over years, Indian universities are a popular destination for Iranian students for higher studies. Several high ranking Iranian officials and professionals have studied in India. There are a large number of Iranian students studying in universities at Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi. The ties between the two countries are expected to flourish over years without being sidelined by the world politics.

همایش تخصصی روابط بین ایران و هند در عصر معاصر:

 برگزار شد.

 

 

اروپائیان از خاورمیانه ریشه می گیرند.

       _heritage_khorasan_

تقریبا همزمان با ظهور هیتلر و دیدگاههای نژاد پرستانه اش مبنی بر برتری نژاد آریایی  دیدگاههای دیگری نیز مطرح شد یکی از این دیدگاهها که بیشتر در هند طرفدار پیدا کرد این بود که اروپائیان از  تمدن رود سند  ریشه می گیرند بعدها گفته شد که ریشه آنها در تمدن بین النهرین و ایران است. اما امروزه با پیشرفت علم حداقل تا الان دانشمندان ثابت کرده اند  که انسان از شاخ آفریقا وارد دریای سرخ و بین النهرین و غرب خلیج فارس شده و از آنجا پراکنده شده اند بخشی به سوی اروپا رفته اند و در آنجا به خاطر تغییرات آب و هوایی تغییر رنگ و شکل داده اند در اثر جهش و یا تکامل  مقاله زیر در مجله  نیچر تا حدودی همین بحث را مطرح می کند

If people like Adolf Hitler and Max Mueller are born again, they may have to bring in another theory to substantiate their racial superiority. The Europeans’ claim for racial and civilisational superiority has been demolished and proved wrong by an international consortium of researchers which included genetic engineers, bio chemists, molecular biologists, archaeologists, historians and  scientists.

A five-year-long study by this team have found that modern day Europeans are the descendants of three distinct groups; the indigenous hunter-gatherers in Europe, Middle Eastern farmers that migrated to Europe more than 7,500 years ago and a mysterious population that spanned North Eurasia which genetically connects Europeans and native Americans.

“We examined bone samples of German farmers who lived 7,000 years ago, bone samples of nearly 8500 year old hunter-gatherers who lived in Luxembourg and Mottala in Sweden. This was compared with human genome samples collected from 2400 persons of 200 diverse population groups,” Kumarasamy Thangaraj, senior principal scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, one of the lead researchers in the team told The Pioneer over telephone from his laboratory in Hyderabad.

The findings of the research are being published as an article in the latest issue of Nature, a highly venerated international scientific journal. According to Thangaraj, the findings disprove the age old Aryan theory once and for ever. “Initially we had demolished the Aryan-Dravidian divide. We found that there is no scientific basis for the claim of people in south India that they are Dravidians who are distinct from others in the subcontinent. But we found that people all over India has same genetic traits. The new findings demolish the Aryan theory,” said Thangaraj.

Dr David Reich of Harvard Medical School, said that the Europeans are mixture of three ancient population. “Earlier it was believed that the Europeans had only two ancestral descendants,” he said.

Some of the findings by this research are interesting and path-breaking. “It was the Middle East farmers who migrated to Europe some 7,500 years ago who taught the Europeans about farming and animal rearing. The modern day European population learnt consuming milk and dairy products from their Middle East ancestors,” said Thangaraj.

Dr Ch Mohan Rao, director, CCMB, said the study has thrown light into the origin of the contemporary Europeans. Dr Lalji Singh, former director CCMB and and one of the scientists said that the next project would focus on establishing the link between the ancestral north Indians and  .

Indians, Indo-Europeans, proto-Indo-European languages and civilisations

Aryans and Others

And at the end is an interesting article on Aryans and others by Prof Figueira on the subject, which becomes very relevant in India today when in the wake of majority in the parliament, with only 31% of votes, right-wing BJP leaders and their fanatic fringe outfits are trying to subordinate every other way of thinking, culture and language to their yoke. But for a crushing defeat in Delhi state  elections by Aam Adami party(Aap) led by Arvind Kejriwal, PM Modi and his party, especially its lunatic fringe would have made life miserable for many Indians, especially from minorities.

 

In the evolutionary ladder of governance, societies have moved up from the tribal model when the warrior chief, sometimes the head priest too, was the ruler. Security of the tribe and wars was their major preoccupation.

Then perhaps emerged city-states, kingdoms and after the tyranny of the elected and electable, real Democracy! This unfortunately is like the problem of a moving object. Never solved .In present times there are really no true democracies. The USA which Pres Obama claims as the oldest democracy is nothing but oligopoly in which, the corporate interests, led by military-industry complex decide who will be the next president, finance his election and then he is at their call whether it is Bush or Obama.

 

In India we do not even have a representative democracy because with percentage of votes of 31% only ,BJP has got a majority in the central Parliament .In India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh rules with a majority after getting only 29% of the votes caste. I call them tyrannies because once a party gets elected; it keeps on using all unfair and fair means to get re-elected. Let that pass.

After the kingdoms and religion-based empires emerged, in Europe nation states based on some kind of common denominator, language, ethnicity, religion of people, etc came up .It was based on a common denominator. Never mind. It still persists. In creating language and common ancestry based nation states lots of myths have been created. To please the Turks, Kemal Ataturk, father of the secular Turkish republic had claimed that all languages emerged out of Turkish and Anatolia was the land of origin of the human race. Or something to this effect. Similar claims have been made by all nation states , beginning with Europe and elsewhere.

 

I made some study about the origin of Aryans, Indo-Europeans, proto-Indo-Europeans and their  languages, especially after my retirement from Turkey in 1996 and my stay there for more than year and half, where I found ample material at the British Institute of archaeology in Ankara. I have come to the conclusion that the terms, proto-Indo-European of proto-Indo-European languages from which all races and all similar languages have emerged is like finding a common denominator  ie taking bits and pieces from all tribes ,languages and cultures. A bit like defining the most fundamental particles in physics, mostly pure mathematics and speculation.

 

As for civilisations and culture, let me quote from my article on Eastern foundations of Western civilization, on Alexander, origins of western civilisation, Iliad and Odyssey etc

‘How Alexander “the Great “has been glorified as a Western conqueror of the East.  He was a small town homosexual boy who was taught the intricacies of state protocol, running of an empire and the divinity of the emperor by older civilisations of Asia Minor, Egypt and Persia. If he had followed the advice of his teacher Aristotle and not learnt from the so called barbarians, his vision would have remained limited and shallow.  The desert Arab tribes were civilized by the Byzantine courtiers and princesses in Damascus and Sasanians from Persia in Iraq after being conquered by Muslim Arabs.  So were the nomad Central Asian Turks and Mongols (also by Chinese) by the Persians.   

As there was little comparable civilisation in Western Europe and certainly USA in pre Christian era, they claim that there civilisation, culture and thought originates from the Greeks of Aegean and Asia Minor (Turkey).  According to them, Greek civilisation and culture evolved and flourished in Crete and evolved when Greeks (pirates) coming from the Aegean islands settled on the west coast of Asia Minor (called Ionia-Yunani) .Therefore Minoan civilisation of Crete forms the basis of Greek and hence Western civilisation.  

 It is too simplistic and illogical, if not downright absurd. Why not Cyprus, Malta, Sicily?  At that time, there were flourishing civilisations in Egypt, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Persia, Sogdiana and India. Persian Empire extended up to western Turkish coast with Sardis as its outpost. Most Greek city states in Asia Minor were under the Persians, who could cross over the Dardanelles or the Bosporus at will or occupy Greek lands.  The first Greek victory over Persians is celebrated as Marathon race in sports.  The first victory of the West over East!  

Cretian civilisation is derived from Egyptian and Phoenician.  Both are indebted to Mesopotamian, verily the mother of all civilisations, which evolved mostly between Tigris in Euphrates in Iraq and southeast Turkey.  The evolution in human progress took off six millennia ago.  But fourth millennia BC was remarkable, not only in Mesopotamia but in the Nile valley and the Indus Valley. From family unit’s polity developed into villages and cities, kingdoms and empires.  The cities were ruled by a god and in his name by the king.  To begin with, the first deity was Earth, Mother Goddess. Civilisations in Mesopotamia were created by Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, Assyrians and others. Nile got cylindrical seals from Mesopotamia and the beginnings of writing.  The Nile civilisation is magnificent, well preserved but unidirectional and flourished in isolation, without the stimulus of exchange.  

If one studies the Egyptian or Pharoanic civilisation, much has been contributed to it by the Nubians of Upper Egypt.  Many Pharaoh’s had thick lips and crinky hair.  Or La, Egyptians are bad enough and now to claim that the Sudanese might have influenced the Greek and hence the Western Judo-Hellenic Christian civilisation. Yes, after the development of civilisations in Mesopotamia and the Nile valley, it filtered to eastern Mediterranean, which became a cradle of civilisations, with exchange of ideas through trade and people. That is how the island of Crete acquired civilisation. 

The achievement of a civilization may be expressed in terms of its best points—moral and ethical, aesthetic, scientific, and, not least, literary. Legal theory flourished and was sophisticated. Early on, it was expressed in several collections of legal decisions, the so-called codes, of which the best-known and the earliest is the Code of Hammurabi.  Throughout these codes recurs the concern of the ruler for the weak, the widow, and the orphan.

There are 25 firsts achieved by Sumerians.  These include wheels, the plough, the loom, the potter’s wheels, the brick, and the sail, working with metals and finally writing. Technical accomplishments were perfected in the building of amazingly accurateZiggurats (temple towers resembling pyramids), with their huge bulk, and in irrigation, both in practical execution and in theoretical calculations.  At the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, an artificial stone often regarded as a forerunner of concrete was in use atUruk (160 miles south-southeast of modern Baghdad); The ultimate weapon to spread civilisations remains systematic writing.  

Judaism, mother of all revealed Abrahmic religions in West Asia is claimed to be the first monotheistic religion.  But it could have been perhaps influenced by Avestan/Zoroastrian/ pre-Vedic religions in Mesopotamia. In 14th century BC it was an Aryan Mitanni (a kingdom at the borders of Turkey and Syria) princess Gilukhepa, perhaps the well known and famous Nefertiti, who fully supported her husband Pharaoh Akhenaton’s (AmonhotepIV) efforts to bring in (and perhaps inspire) monotheism, for single God Aton (Sun or Mithra like!). This concept was too sudden and undermined the vested powers of the priests.  It was dislodged and soon after Akhenaton was removed from power.  New work in Egypt is moving in that direction.  It was from Egypt that Moses led the Hebrews out to lay the foundations of Judaism.  

Now let us take the story of Iliad and Odyssey. For Western culture and civilization, they are almost like Mahabharata and Ramayana are for India, making its author Homer one of the most influential authors in the widest sense. The two epics provided the basis for Greek education and culture throughout the classical age and formed the backbone of humane education down to the time of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity.  The Homeric epics had a profound impact on the Renaissance culture of Italy.  Since then the proliferation of translations has helped to make them the most important poems of the classical European tradition. 

Iliad was finalized probably around 750 BC and Odyssey 650 BC (Greek writing started around 650 BC).  It is felt that Odyssey, so different from Iliad was not composed by Homer, the blind bard born in Asia Minor, but probably by a young lady (a Jane Austin) somewhere on the Sicilian coast with time to spare.  Let that pass. But there certainly is historical basis for the story of abduction of Spartan King Manaus’s wife Helen by Trojan Prince Paris.  Manaus’s brother King Agamemnon of Achaeans, then decided on a voyage of punishment and retrieval. This is when strangely an artificial line, straits of Dardanelles, has been introduced by the Europeans to divide the world into East and West and the victory over Trojans is taken as of the west over East.  Why?  Later Alexander made offerings at Troy (also at Egyptian oasis Siva) before embarking on his conquest of Asia. Ottoman Sultan Fethi after conquering Constantinople also visited Troy.   

We need not go into the details of the two epics and Troy.  But in the search to find the exact place and the time of the events, credit might be given to Heinrich Schliemann.  Inspired by Iliad’s description, he started digging at Troy site but damaged the real Troy.  He was a mythomaniac and big liar.  Paris’s father King Priam King of Troy is an hour’s walk on the Asian side from the Dardanelles.  This strategic site, controlling the sea borne trade from the Mediterranean and Aegean to the Black Sea and beyond has been inhabited since fourth millennium BC. Troy 6, site of Homer’s Iliad has been dated to about 1260 BC.  

At the same time, there was the majestic and magnificent Asian Hittite Empire (1800 BC to 1200 BC) in central Turkey, whose capital Bogazkoy‘s citadel has a circumference of five kilometersThe Troy fortress measures 200 yards by 150 yards.  Excavations show that Troy perhaps fell as a result of weakening by an earthquake.  It was assaulted and set on fire, women and children taken as slaves.  Evidence from Hittite archives indicates that Troy was a small state in alliance or subordinate to it. It was attacked when the Hittite empire was in decline and fighting its new enemy the Assyrians in the East.  So all this 10 year long Great Trojan war drama was a storm in a tea cup in the ocean of Hittite Empire, which extended from north of Turkey to Syria and up to Babylon (Iraq.)  Hittites were contenders for the control of Syria with the Egyptian Pharaohs and local Aryan kingdom of Mitannis in Turkey and Syria.   

The regions linking the river basins of Euphrates and Tigris, Oxus and Jaxartes, Indus and Ganges have contributed more to religion, culture and civilisation than the rest of the world put together. Comprising of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan and the Indian sub-continent, there has always been natural interaction in the area through travel, trade, migration and conquest for over five millennia, with many civilisations having also evolved and flourished in desert oasis.  The more civilized areas were dominated first by Indo-Europeans charioteers and then the horse riders from Asian Steppes who shaped the Eurasian history.  Aryans of India migrated from the steppes of north of the Black and Caspian Seas and Kazakhstan from 3rd to 1st millennia BC.  Later Turks and Mongols migrated from the eastern Asian steppes to the Indian sub-continent, Iran and Turkey then known as Asia Minor, where as mentioned earlier had evolved and flowered ancient Greek and Hellenic thought, culture and polity as a result of interaction of incoming Greeks with the existing Asian civilisations of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, and India beyond.  Turkey has more Greek sites than Greece and more Roman monuments than Italy. 

With a continuous history this area has been the cradle of most civilizations, thought, philosophy and religions; pre-Vedic to Vedic religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Avestan, Zoroasterism, Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity with its various strands and schisms, Islam and such bye-lanes as Alevis, Alawaites, Yezidis, Druzes and many others.  Indo-Iranian, Ural- Altaic and Semitic languages have mingled with each other and local languages to produce such a mosaic of languages and tongues.  Culturally, linguistically, ethnically and spiritually there is no region in the world which is so rich and diverse but also has so much in common. 

Let us now take western (hence Greek) philosophy, which begins with Thales (who predicted 585 BC solar eclipse). Thales who established the Miletian school (near Smyrna-Izmir, Turkey) speculated that everything consisted of liquid, his disciples Anaximander said there was unity behind multiplicity and Anaximanes that everything was vapour. They are considered spiritual forefathers of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  By 6th century BC schools of Jain and Buddhist philosophy were well established apart from Upanishads, Yoga, Charakva and Sankhya, which have an even older tradition perhaps going back to 8thcentury BC.  While religion and philosophy in India are fused; Buddhism, Jainism and some other schools started as philosophy of life without creating or relying on Gods.  Socrates with his inner (intuitive) voice and trances with Plato made a team like Ramakrishna Paramhansa with Swami Vivekananda i.e. intuitive speculator and philosopher with his eloquent spokesman. We know about Socrates only from Plato’ writings. 

The Orphic and Pythagorean and later Parmenides philosophy or cults are similar to Indian philosophy.  Perhaps the ideas had traveled via Alexandria, hub of eastern Mediterranean, then held in high regard as a place for learning and wisdom , where  Greeks and others used to congregate and learn. Ugarit port on the Syrian coast was another meeting place for traders, travelers and wise men from the west i.e. Cyprus, Crete etc and east i.e. Iraq, Persia and India beyond.  Greeks and Indians were employed in Susa, capital of the Persian Empire, which also ruled north India.  So exchange of ideas and philosophy was normal. Scylax, a Greek origin Persian subject from Asia minor was commanded by Emperor Darius to navigate river Indus from Kabul to its delta on the Arabian Sea, from whose records Herodotus and West learnt about India. 

Earlier Greek writings and thought had everything; logic, speculation, myths, mystery and beliefs.  It’s a difficult to say when the divergence between East and West commenced.  And why? European rationalism and renaissance! Does it have something to do with the colder climate of Europe, which made them think more rationally and did not lend to development of intuitive powers.  We can see the divergence even in the evolution of Christianity, Western and Orthodox.  Western theology turns towards dualism making a distinction between the spirit and the matter. Eastern theology maintains that spirit and matter are the two interdependent manifestations of the same ultimate reality.  Christianity has been influenced by Mithraism (from pre-Vedic cult ), then very popular with Roman legions, senators and even Emperors who built Mithra temples all over central and east Europe and Asia Minor. Christmas is celebrated on 24 December eve, time of  Mithra’s birth ( when the Sun starts waxing ).   

The divergence between conscious intuition of the East and rational thought of the West was perhaps complete after de la Carte announced  “I think therefore I am. ‘ Of course there’s no place for intuition in this.  But many western scientists have declared that only intuition had led them to the discoveries of science.  Zen masters use Kaons, apparently illogical riddles, to unlock intuitive powers. West then took as faith Darwin’s theory of evolution that mutations cause species to change at random and the fittest survives and not Lamarck’s theory that species change because they make determined effort to change.  It has played havoc with human history. Survival of the fittest theory brought in colonialism, imperialism and cultural orientalism. West also evolved divisive nationalism, Marxism, capitalism, ideological totalitarianism.  For these causes and ideologies many scores of millions were butchered in, so far the most violent of all , the 20th century.  

As for Mahabharata and Bhagvad Geeta they could not have been composed in India before 1500 BC , because horses skeletons are found first in Frontier province of Pakistan of the subcontinent . Horses’ natural and original habitat was the Eurasian steppes where they were first domesticated around 2500 BC and then used with chariots , evolved  perhaps in Khorasan area ie central Asia, Persia, Afghanistan etc.( More above)

 

Let me also quote from my other articles on Indo Aryans or Indo-Iranians and cultural assimilation of Iran from which India has borrowed and which India refuses to acknowledge.

 

Old linkages between India and Iran
India’s linkages and relations with Iran are ancient and almost umbilical. Not far from Iran’s western border, around the junction of Turkey, Syria and Iraq in the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates, a chariot-riding Indian-Iranian military aristocracy, embedded among indigenous Hurrians, ruled its Mitanni kingdom between 1500 BC to 1200 BC. It used pre-Vedic Sanskrit phrases, worshipped common Daivya and Assura gods like Indira, Nasatya and Varuna, Mithra. The Mitannis had apparently separated from the main Aryan body, which after many centuries in the region of Amu and Syr Darya had moved on to Iran. Then after some acrimony there was a split into factions: Vedic with Daivya gods and Avestan with Assura gods, with the Vedic stream going on to the land of Sapt Sindhu, ie northwest India and beyond. On a theory based on linguistic, cultural, religious and other similarities, Iranian and Indian Aryans are, if not racial cousins, at least linguistic and cultural ones.

During the Muslim rule, Persians came as bureaucrats with the Turkish rulers in India and left a deep influence on Indian culture, civilization and languages; Hindustani, Urdu and Hindi. From Akbar’s time, the Persians formed the majority of the Muslim Amir ul Umra, that is, courtiers and civil servants. To get in with Persian and its derivative Urdu as the language of the court and administration (even during the British era), even the Hindus took on some of their traits, like Moghului cuisine (Persian cuisine is the mother of most cuisines, except French and Chinese) and meat eating. Also adopted were a love of music and dance. Kayastahs dominated the civil services during the British rule.

Iran: A cradle of civilizations
Situated at the crossroads and itself a cradle of many great civilizations, Iran has exercised great civilizing influence since ancient times. Whosoever (King of Kings, Sahanshah in Darius’s words, its Hindu equivalent being Maharajdhiraj) ruled what now constitutes Iran, they exercised great political and cultural influence not only in the neighborhood but also in far-off places.

During the classical Greek political and social evolution in western Asia Minor which Turkey was then called, the Persian Achaemenid dynasty had its satrapies and outposts on the Aegean coast, known as Ionia, from which the word Yunan for Greece entered the eastern lexicon. In 517 BC it was Persian Emperor Darius who ordered Scylax, his Greek subject from Caria (western Turkey) to survey the river Indus from Peshawar to its exit into the sea, part of his empire. And for the first time, the West became acquainted with India. Herodotus’s chapters on Indian history were based on records of that exploration.

 

But Islam did not liberate the sophisticated and evolved Persians, deeply influenced by spiritual and speculative Avestan, its excessive rituals and love for the intoxicant soma having been curbed earlier by Zoroaster’s reforms (Buddhism was a similar attempt against Brahmanical rituals and excesses in India around the same time). Then the Persians lost their language, Pehlavi, which emerged a few centuries later as Persian in modified Arabic script. Having been ruled by Arabs, Turks, Mongols and Tartars for eight-and-half centuries, there emerged the Sufi-origin Persian Safavids, who became finally masters of their own land, which more or less comprises present-day Iran. At the same time, to preserve their sect and survive, Iranians after centuries of foreign rule developed an uncanny ability not to bring to their lips what is on their minds, and have institutionalized it as takiyya, ie dissimulation.

They had modified simple Arab Islam into a more sophisticated and innovative Shi’ite branch, with the direct descent of Imam Ali’s progeny from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, echoing their deeply ingrained sense of the divinity of rulers. They strengthened (against the Arab caliphs and Turkish sultans) the status of the imams, who among more egalitarian Sunnis are no more than prayer leaders, in line with the Indian-Iranian tradition of placing priests higher than rulers (as are Brahmins in the Indian caste system). By tradition, Azeri (Turkish) speaking Iranians become chiefs of the armed forces. Ayatollah Ali Khameini is an Azeri speaking Iranian.

The status of the imam evolved into the doctrines of intercession and infallibility, ie, of the faqih/mutjahid. (Somewhat like Hindu shankracharyas and the fraternity of learned pandits). The speculative Aryan mind fused the mystic traditions into Sufi Islam, bringing out the best in Islamic mysticism and softening the rigors of austere and crusading Islam which had emerged from the barren sands of Arabia. There were unparalleled contributions by Rumi, Hafij, Attar, El-Ghazali, Firdaus, Nizami, El-Beruni, Omar Khayyam and others to Islamic philosophy and civilization. Their answer to interminable Islamic theological arguments on free will vs predetermination was that the opposites were the obverse and reverse sides of the divine mind, similar to the concepts in Hindu philosophy. Hindustani poetry, music, painting and architecture owe much to their Iranian cousins. Sufis played more than an equal role in the conversion to Islam of India as did the sword or material inducements. Sufi pirs are still as revered as Hindu or Sikh holy men in India.

Given below is the article by Prof Figuiera.

 K.Gajendra Singh ,15 March, 2015,Delhi.

Aryans and Others

Written by Dorothy M Figueira | Updated: March 13, 2015 3:08 pm

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/aryans-and-others/

one of the three ancestral European population.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/europeans-superiority-is-a-        myth.html

سه گزارش از چابهار و ساحل مَکران

INDIA SHOULD NOT LOSE INTEREST IN CHABAHAR on the Makran Coast.

  After years of policy paralysis in India that led to desperation among Iranians about New Delhi not taking enough interest in developing the strategic Chabahar port, there is a ray of hope from the Modi Government in the context of changing regional geopolitical realities

A visit to a strategic location is often an exciting experience. But sometimes it could induce a sense of utter frustration and helplessness in you.

Our maiden trip to the port city of Chabahar in Iran led to such mixed feelings.

Import of Chabahar

Situated in the Gulf of Oman, along the Makran coast, Chabahar has been in news, off and on, in Indian media for its strategic relevance for India, especially since 2003, when then Iranian

president  Khatami visited out country. India and Iran signed an MoU to develop the port and build supportive infrastructure to promote bilateral trade and provide India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Following this, there were reports that an Indian company owned by the Hindujas signed an MoU with Iranian authorities to develop the port infrastructure in 2004.

Chabahar is at a distance of about 480 nautical miles from the Indian port of Kandla in Gujarat and about 840 nautical miles from Mumbai. It connects Afghanistan-Iran border point at Zaranj through Iranian cities of Zahedan, Zabol and Milak.

The total distance is about 987 kms. it is on the path to the strait of Hormuz and the persian gulf .

India has already built the 219 km long Zaranj-Delaram stretch inside Afghanistan which connects the route to the Afghan ring road. India can also connect Turkmen city of Asghabat through the Iranian city of Mashhad, another about 900 kms north of Zahedan.

Given the strategic import of the port for India — which finds it difficult to access Afghanistan and Central Asia through Pakistan — one would have expected India pushing for fast-track development of such a crucial project. A decade hence, however, nothing concrete seems to have happened on the ground. It is a classic case of Indian inaction.

Rashtrapati palace W

Iranian seriousness about Chabahar

During the visit, we noticed that despite the sense of lethargy and lassitude from the Indian side, the Iranians have started developing the port and ancillary infrastructure on their own. The road from Chabahar to Milak is complete. The first phase of the port construction is nearing completion. The two terminals at the port — Shahid Behesti and Shahid Kalantari — with five berths each (six multi-purpose and four container) are operational. The port is handling traffic of more than 2 million metric tonnes and the port authorities hope to increase it up to 82 million by the end of the third phase of the project.

Petrochemical Complex

 

In a dusty corner of the city, about 20-25 kms away from Chabahar airport, Iranians are fast developing a petrochemical industrial complex close to the port. Their aim is to turn Chabahar into the third major hub for petrochemical industries in Iran (the first two are in Bandar Imam & Assaluyeh). The complex is being built with investment by SATA (Armed Forces’ Social Welfare Investment Organization), and executed by an Iranian company called Mokran Negin Development Co, a subsidiary of Nemat Business Development Company (NEBCO), reportedly founded by Mr Mohammadreza Nematzadeh, the incumbent Industry Minister. The company has laid down roads, drawn up electricity lines and is in the process of building water connections. Eight Iranian companies have already invested there. Various companies from China, Oman and Europe have evinced their interest in the project.

A railway station is being built up to connect the zone with the port. There are efforts to connect Chabahar with Zahedan and Mashhad by rail. A new pipeline is also being considered for transferring South Pars ethane gas to Chabahar. Another pipeline is being laid from Iranshahr (220 km long) to supply Methane gas from Iranshahr to Chabahar. These pipelines will provide the feedstock for the petrochemical plants.

The information provided by the Iranians suggests that the entire industrial zone will contain 16 basic petrochemical complexes, built with an investment of about $10 billion, in three different phases. There will be plants producing urea, ammonia, Methanol, polypropylene, olefin and dimethoxyethane. They will also set up an aromatic complex and a crystal melamine unit. Iranians are looking at a total investment of about $80 billion by the end of the project. We were also told that all economic activities in the Free Zone would be exempt from taxes for 20 years.

Chabahar Free Zone

Chabahar Free Zone (CFZ) has been developed well. The township is fully operational with a shopping mall, hotels and well-paved roads. A close interaction with officials of the CFZ, Port and Maritime Organisation led us to believe that there is a lot of enthusiasm in Iran today than ever before about developing Chabahar as a port-cum-industrial zone. The managing director of CFZ, Hamed Ali Mobaraki, along with his teammates, impressed upon us the need for India to sustain its interest in Chabahar and help Iran build the infrastructure to harness the full potential of the port.

There was a clear sense of desperation about India not taking enough interest despite the clear strategic advantages that would accrue from investing in Chabahar. While they would like India to come in as a partner, it seemed that they were fast losing their patience with Indian indecision and opening their doors to other possible investors.

Chinese interests

During the course of the discussions, our Iranian interlocutors also informed us about the growing Chinese interest in Chabahar in recent months. After developing Gwadar in Pakistan, which has proved a bad investment, the Chinese are perhaps eying the potential of Chabahar as yet another alternate port they can develop as a strategic asset in the region.

 persischer meer

We were shown a Chinese dredger operating at the Shahid Behesti terminal with Chinese workers. China has also started a heavy oil refinery opposite the upcoming petrochemical industrial complex. One could see the familiar squat barracks coming up at the construction site. A special market complex — a la ‘China Town’ — selling Chinese goods has already been set up in the city. Chinese interest in Iran is well-known. However, their interest in Chabahar is comparatively new.

In general, there has been a resurgence of Chinese interest, keeping the geopolitical shifts at the global level. In Tehran, in the hotel we were staying, we could see and overhear Chinese businessmen (to be read apart from tourists) engaged in animated discussions with their local contacts about how best to invest in Iran. Chinese pragmatism seems to have overtaken Indian conservatism in Iran.

Local perceptions

Chabahar is situated in the Iranian province of Seistan-Balochistan bordering the Pakistani state of Balochistan. The local people in Chabahar, cutting across sectarian affiliations, either spoke or understood Urdu and were quite warm and friendly towards Indians. Many of them send their children for education to India. There is a big craze for imitation jewellery in the city and many Baloch businessmen are engaged in this trade.

 

Moreover, unlike the Balochistan province of Pakistan, Seistan-Balochistan was quiet and peaceful and as somebody noted in Iran, Chabahar was ‘much more business-worthy’ than Gwadar. Many local businessmen, both Baloch and non-Baloch, expressed their surprise at Indian reticence and held that if China was braving Chabahar despite ‘zero linguistic and cultural links’, India must not be so hesitant.

Views in Tehran

Back in Tehran, in our interaction at the track II level with think-tanks, academics and students, there were repeated references to Indian callousness about Chabahar, despite its enormous strategic salience for India. There was a pervasive feeling that the primary reason for Indian vacillation was real or artificial fear of the US. It was pointed out to us that Iran would love to work with India on Chabahar, but it cannot hold its interests hostage to Indian fear of the US. There was a mention of the decrease in the level of oil trade and the adverse effect of sanctions on India-Iran bilateral trade. Some analysts even hinted at the proactive role India could have played in mediating the difference between Iran and the US rather than getting bogged down with US sanctions. Overall, there were huge expectations from India laced with an inevitable sense of dismay. Iranians were astonished at the way India was conducting its Iran policy against its own strategic interests. Our tame arguments to the contrary could not cut much ice.

Need for a new ‘Look West’ Policy

 

We came back with the feeling that Iranians are fast losing their patience with us, but they would still welcome us more than any other country to invest in Chabahar. They are upbeat about the P5+1 talks on nuclear issues and clearly see in it an opportunity for them to bounce back as an economic power in the region. There is already a beeline of foreign companies to Iran trying to assess the ground situation for prospective investment and Iranians are not going to wait endlessly for India to invest in Chabahar.

Moreover, the growing interest of China and European countries in Iran in general and Chabahar in particular could displace India from Iranian strategic calculations. Therefore, it is high time for India to shun its cautious and conservative approach and enhance its participation in developing Chabahar as a strategic hub as an integral part of its — what can be called — a new ‘Look-West’ policy. The Indian foreign office has so far engaged itself in empty policy rhetoric over Chabahar; now it is time for action.

One can only hope that the new government in New Delhi will adopt proactive diplomacy in this regard. Regional geopolitical realities are changing around us. This warrants recalibration of our foreign policy priorities.

(Dr Ashok Behuria is Coordinator of South Asia Centre and a Fellow at IDSA. The views expressed here are his own)

Saturday, 31 May 2014 | Ashok Behuria |www.dailypioneer.com

persian gulf map

...

India’s Opportunity in Iran Port

As the Modi government defines its foreign policy priorities, one of the issues that needs urgent attention is the finalisation of India’s investment in the development of Chabahar Port in Iran. This is particularly important because the window of opportunity available to India to have a presence in Chabahar may be closing rapidly. India and Iran had agreed to cooperate on the development of this Iranian port way back in 2003 when Iran’s president Mohammad Khatami had visited India but nothing much has been achieved in these 11 years.

It appears the previous government was close to approving US $100 million investment in the development of the port but could not take the decision. The new government could pick up the threads and quickly seal the deal.

The strategic importance of Chabahar Port for India cannot be overstated. Located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran on the Makram coast and just outside the Persian Gulf, Chabahar is a natural gateway for India to Afghanistan and Central Asia. In the last 10 years, the Iranians have invested considerable sums of money in the development of Chabahar city. A 600km-long highway linking Chabahar to Zahidan in the north is operational. Zahidan is only about 240km from Milak on the Iran-Afghanistan border. Across Milak is Zaranj in Afghanistan where India has built the Zaranj-Delaram highway. Thus, there is already an excellent road connectivity between Chabahar and Afghanistan via Zahidan.  The Iranians have also started the construction of a railway line from Chabahar to Zahidan where it will connect with the Iranian rail network and to Central Asia and CIS.

The Iranians are constructing a vast petro-chemical complex at Chabahar which will receive its gas feedstock through a pipeline from Iranshahr which is only about 200km from Chabahar and is an important point on the proposed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. A gas pipeline from South Pars gas field to Iranshahr has already been built.

The Iranian government has set up a Free Trade Zone at Chabahar to attract investors. It is understood that some CIS countries and Afghanistan have already been given land in the Free Trade Zone. The Iranians are keen to attract Indian investors in the Free Trade Zone.

Chabahar Port has good growth potential. It is functional and is already handling 2 million tonnes (MT) of cargo every year. On completion of the three proposed phases of development, the port will have the capacity to handle 82MT of cargo per year by 2020. The port traffic will be generated through imports, exports and transit of goods. Chabahar Port is much safer than Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s troubled Baluchistan province, 76km from Chabahar. It will certainly take away Afghanistan’s transit trade through Pakistan. A recent report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn highlighted that Afghan transit trade dropped by 54 per cent in the financial year 2012-13 partly due to development of Chabahar Port. The Iranians are counting on the rejuvenation of economic activities in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US and foreign troops from the land-locked nation for further development of Chabahar.

The Chinese are entering Chabahar in a big way. They have begun work on a heavy oil refinery there. A Chinese dredger is functional at Chabahar Port for land reclamation activities. A market selling Chinese goods has also been opened in Chabahar. It is reported that a Chinese company has interest in the development of the Chabahar petro-chemical complex.

Chabahar offers great strategic opportunity for India not only to enter Iran but also to reach Afghanistan and Central Asia. Apprehensions about the commercial potential of Chabahar are overstated because the Iranians are already investing in Chabahar and many other nations are also showing interest. In fact, the US $100 million investment that India is planning appears to be on the conservative side and should be increased. Indian companies will have good opportunity to supply equipment for the construction of the railway line to Zahidan. Since Chabahar lies only about 1,000km from Kandla port in Gujarat, a direct shipping line should be considered to bypass Dubai, give boost to direct India-Iran trade and enhance transit trade to Afghanistan and CIS.

A number of Indian official delegations and private companies have visited Chabahar but no worthwhile investment has been made or business deal concluded. This has disappointed the Iranian officials and businessmen. They think India is not serious. The local Baluchi population is friendly towards India and many speak fluent Urdu. Some traders regularly visit India to source Indian goods but they face problems transferring money and also in the absence of a direct shipping link. Indian Basmati rice, imitation jewellery and foodstuff, etc. are in good demand in that part of the world.

India will continue to face problems with regard to transit of goods to Afghanistan through Pakistan. The use of the Chabahar route can resolve access problems.

India’s involvement in Chabahar Port will also strengthen India-Iran ties which are increasingly becoming strategic in content. The lingering bitterness in Iran about India’s vote against Iran at the IAEA on the nuclear issue in 2005 will also lessen. India has stood by Iran through difficult times as it continued to import Iranian oil even at the time of sanctions and despite the closing down of payment channels. This is often not appreciated either in Iran or in India. Indian oil import from Iran averaged over 200,000 barrels per day in 2013. Two-way trade was over US $16 billion. India needs to build an independent relation with Iran without affecting ties with Saudi Arabia, GCC or the US. Our diplomacy should be aimed at deepening strategic partnerships with GCC as well as Iran considering that relations with one do not contradict ties with the other.

The likelihood of a rapprochement between Iran and the West will increase Iran’s importance. Chabahar will certainly gain from this rapprochement. If India does not enter Chabahar now, it may be too late and more expensive to do so later. Increased Indian presence in Chabahar now will pay rich dividends later. India should adopt a long-term strategic vision and not a narrow commercial approach towards the development of Chabahar Port and investment in Chabahar Free Zone.

The author is director general, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

Email: directorgeneralidsa@gmail.com

The great Game Folio: Iran Transit
C. Raja Mohan | Twitter@@MohanCRaja
To develop Chabahar’s hinterland, Iran laid out a road link to its frontier with western Afghanistan.

India’s dream of connecting to Afghanistan via Iran could soon move a step closer to reality if New Delhi, Tehran and Kabul sign off on a draft memorandum of understanding on transit trade that has been finalised recently. Since Pakistan denies India overland access to Afghanistan, Delhi has long sought an alternative through Iran. The idea first came up when Iranian President Mohammad Khatami came to Delhi in January 2003 to participate in the Republic Day celebrations. India then agreed to participate in the development of Chabahar on Iran’s Makran coast as the future entrepôt for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
To develop Chabahar’s hinterland, Iran laid out a road link to its frontier with western Afghanistan. India, in turn, built Route 606 from the Iran-Afghan border to the circular highway that connects all the major cities in the country. The Chabahar project is a winner for the three countries. It would reduce landlocked Afghanistan’s total dependence on Pakistan to access the Arabian Sea. The port will help India skirt Pakistan into Afghanistan and establish Iran’s position as a gateway to Central Asia.
A variety of political and economic factors delayed the implementation of this vital project through the last decade. In a renewed political commitment to the project, senior officials of India, Iran and Afghanistan met in Tehran on the margins of the non-aligned summit in August 2012 and agreed to accelerate the development of Chabahar. The three sides have just wrapped up talks on the terms of transit trade through Iran. India must now fast-track its investments in Chabahar and develop dedicated shipping links between Iran and India. This should be one of the top foreign policy priorities for the next government in Delhi that takes charge at the end of May.
Sagar Mala
The BJP, which hopes to run the next government, has already talked about building modern ports all along the Indian coastline under what it calls “Project Sagar Mala”. If the BJP is serious about expanding India’s sea connectivity, it must promote India’s active participation in the development of maritime infrastructure beyond borders. In other words, Delhi must imagine an “Indian Ocean Sagar Mala”.
Over the last decade and more, the Indian government and corporate sector have struggled to grasp opportunities for building sea ports in other countries. The difficulties in developing the Chabahar port is symptomatic of the broader challenges that India faces in implementing large-scale infrastructure projects in the neighbourhood and beyond.
After much effort that began more than a decade ago, India is yet to complete the Kaladan transport corridor to Mizoram via Myanmar. This involved building a port at the ancient town of Sittwe
on Myanmar’s Rakhine coast, developing the part-riverine corridor to the Mizoram border and expanding the road network from Mizoram to the rest of the Northeast. In Sri Lanka, India was surprised a few years ago when Colombo asked China to build a new port at Hambantota that Beijing completed in quick time. India is yet to get its act together in getting its companies participate in the second phase of development at Hambantota.
The managers of a potential Indian Ocean Sagar Mala project in the coming years could learn much from the problems encountered in the last few years and develop an effective policy framework for the participation of Indian companies in emerging port projects in east Africa, Oman and Myanmar.

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The cash surplus Kandla and Jawaharlal Nehru ports in western India will be assigned with the task of developing and operating the multi-purpose terminals.The southern Iranian port will also provide India with a link to Afghanistan and the central Asian republics.

Both ports will come together to form a Special Purpose Vehicle under a revenue-sharing agreement with the Port and Maritime Organization of Iran. The agreement would be for a minimum of 20 years. Analysts hope that with a new government in power in New Delhi, this project will be given the final go-ahead as India has been very keen to develop the port for over a decade. Sources say India’s External Affairs ministry which has the final say since it has been piloting the project for years, is expected to make a onetime financial grant along with an annual grant. This investment will make the project financially viable .The estimated project cost is around $100 million. Trade analysts anticipate the initial business to be slow. However, it is expected to pick up and become highly profitable in the coming years once the project gets underway.

Book Review: South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures

 

 

 

Book Review: South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures

5 November 2013

 

My review for The Friday Times

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South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures is a comprehensive volume of essays edited by Adil Najam and Moeed Yusuf. Given the importance of the South Asian region, this book attempts to fill in a huge gap that has existed for decades. Discourses on South Asia for reasons well known, have been obsessive about all things security and in recent times terrorism. The editors note that South Asia “sits atop a globally strategic location” and gladly move on to other important topics, which makes this volume a useful contemporary reference. The introduction notes the immense potential for energy trade as well as the significant regional security implications for the world at large. This is why the future of South Asia is not just important to those who live in the region; it is duly a global concern. The 37 papers authored by 44 experts, in the volume trace the multiple futures and mercifully avoid the common fallacy of reducing South Asia to India and Pakistan and their bitter rivalries.

The introduction summing up the book rightly identifies that the idea of South Asia is a contested one and its ownership – political and economic – would determine the future. Commenting on the term Southasia introduced by Nepal based Himal magazine, the editors state: “…the future of the geography we know as South Asia will depend, at least in part, on what happens to the idea of Southasia. We are not in a position to say what that will be just yet, but it is clear that the aspiration of Southasianness is entrenched more deeply in the South Asian mind than we had imagined. It is an idea that our regional politics has often rejected and fought against. But the resilience of the aspiration suggests regional politics may eventually have to embrace it.” Thus the emergence of Southasia, a regionalized identity, will be a political process and the book suggests that there is no one course or prediction to hold it.

In this context the paper, the paper by US based Pakistani historian Manan Ahmad Asif entitled “Future’s Past” contends that though the immediate history of Pakistan and India might broadly be cause for pessimism (such as the violent partitions of ’47 and ’71), there is nevertheless a greater, storied and shared history that can be recalled in order to realize how communities in South Asia can peacefully co-exist.

Asif argues that our “immediate past” is what informs our understanding of the present, leading to interpretations that are rooted in differences and in ‘otherizing’. As he points out, “We take these ahistoricized words [coercion, submission, invader, Muslim, indigenous] and categories and proceed to give them universality that they don’t deserve even for the here and the now.” Similarly, he points out how the British too saw the divisions and focused on them, thereby exacerbating them. One cannot disagree with Asif when he posits: “To imagine a South Asia where difference is mutually comprehensible is also to look at the desi diaspora around the world.”

“We take these ahistoricized words [coercion, submission, invader, Muslim, indigenous] and categories and proceed to give them universality that they don’t deserve”

The editors of the volume identify the following common themes around which the book is organised: ‘Idea of South Asia’, ‘Regionalism’, ‘The South Asian State’, ‘Security and Development’ and ‘South Asia and Its People’.

The essays highlight how South Asia is a more of a competitive region than a cooperative one. The troubled experience of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and other attempts at regionalism testifies to this reality. Smaller states with much to gain from regionalism are themselves exasperated with Pakistan and India – the primary reason behind the regions failure to integrate. As pessimism reigns however, there are murmurs of optimism as Pakistan and India seek to open trade, perhaps leading to the reinvigoration of SAARC.

The theme pertaining to South Asian State is an insightful part of this volume as it traces the trajectory of the postcolonial states and how they have failed to maintain the social contract leading to a less charitable view of the future in many quarters. At the same time, the essays also highlight the immense potential for ‘constant metamorphosis’ of the state idea and are open to change with sufficient external and internal impetus. A pertinent observation extracted by the editors relates to the possibility of an inclusive, regionalized state. In a similar fashion the papers tell us that a region confronted with multitude of conflicts trumpets human development. The editors and some of the essays emphasise ‘co-dependence’ of security and development and an outcome which would be more people-centric rather than the current state or military oriented security discourse common in South Asia.

In her cogent essay, ‘Towards cooperation for poverty reduction?’

Safiya Aftab mentions the importance of entwining poverty reduction with economic growth, arguing that even if South Asia’s rate of development hovers around an acceptable 8%, that in itself will not lead to a reduction in poverty – or at least not a considerable enough reduction. She posits that there needs to be a “serious realignment of government policy towards income redistribution and investment in human development”, and that in the face of a lack of regional integration, growth on itself will not solve the region’s significant issue of poverty. A focus solely on economic growth without factoring in human development and wealth redistribution will only lead to greater disparity in wealth and prosperity, which in turn can lead to social unrest. South Asian states need to revisit their dependence on neo-liberal prescriptions and read Aftab’s essay carefully. In fact, the key factor influencing the future of the region relates to the future trajectories of economic cooperation.

Another well-researched essay in the volume, ‘Trade Relations: Some Predictions and Lessons by Pradeep S. Mehta and Niru Yadav tells us the gritty realities. The authors state how in 2011 “the total trade of South Asian countries amounted to $928.17 billion, with only $28.23 billion exchanging hands through regional trade.” Only less than 4% of South Asia’s trade was interregional making it the least regionalized areas of the world. Despite the numerous free trade agreements, political mistrust and a lack of political will have led to states pursuing their own bilateral FTAs, thereby circumventing the choked provisions of regional agreements such as SAFTA.

The key theme of volume – South Asia and its people – highlights how the countries in the region need to shift from a state centric position to people-oriented polities. There is now an emerging consensus that the people of South Asia are dynamic cultural, economic and political agents. With advances in technology, a burgeoning young population and democratic consolidation the power of South Asians to drive ‘change’ and demand rights is likely to increase. Regional cooperation initiatives such as Aman ki Asha and other movements are showing the path.

گزارش عملکرد دو دوره نخست وزیر هند من موهان سینگ

indian palace

اشعار فارسی نقاشی شده بر کاخ ریاست جمهوری هند بزرگترین کاخ ریاست جمهوری قرن بیست

PM’s opening remarks at Press Conference

 

“First, let me wish you all a very happy New Year.

 

Let me say at the outset that I do believe we are set for better times. The cycle of global economic growth is turning for the better. Many of the steps we have taken to address our domestic constraints are coming into play. India’s own growth momentum will revive.

 

An important development in the year that has gone by is the demonstration of the strength of our democracy. Our people have demonstrated their faith in the institutions of democracy by voting in record numbers in the recent assembly elections. Our party did not do well in these elections, but we welcome the extent of participation, and we will reflect on what the results tell us for the future and learn appropriate lessons.

 

Our democratic Constitution and the institutions of our democracy are the cornerstone of Modern India. All of us who wish to build a better India, rid of poverty and corruption, must respect these institutions and work through them. They are the legitimate instruments in our hands, with all their limitations. No one individual or authority can substitute for the due processes of democratic governance.

 

Over the past decade we have been through many ups and downs. During my first term in office, India witnessed for the first time in its recorded history a short acceleration of the rate of economic growth to 9.0 per cent. This exceptional performance was followed by a slowdown initiated by the global financial crisis. Over the past couple of years, all Emerging Economies have experienced a slowdown. India was no exception.

 

Economies have ups and downs and we should not focus overly on the short term. We should recognize that even if we include the years of slowdown, the rate of growth achieved in the past nine years, is the highest for any nine year period. And it is not just the acceleration of growth that gives me satisfaction. Equally important is the fact that we made the growth process more socially inclusive than it has ever been.

 

In 2004 I committed our government to what I said would be “A New Deal for Rural India”. I believe we have delivered on that promise very substantially. We followed farmer friendly policies including raising support prices for farm produce, expanding credit to farmers, and through increased investment in horticulture, in rural development, and rural infrastructure, especially roads and electricity. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has assured agricultural labour of a floor and has increased their bargaining power. Improved delivery of health and education services is giving new hope to our brothers and sisters living in rural areas of our country.

 

These initiatives have ensured that agricultural GDP has grown faster than ever before. India has become one of the world’s largest producers of food-grains, sugar, fruits and vegetables, milk and poultry. Rural wages have increased in real terms much faster than earlier. Rural real consumption per capita has increased four times faster. Because of these developments the percentage of the population below the poverty line has fallen much faster in the period 2004 to 2011 than it did in the previous ten year period. As a result, the number of people below the poverty line has come down by 13.8 crore.

 

Education has been a key element of our strategy to increase the productive capacity of our economy and improve access to better jobs. I have myself been a beneficiary of liberal scholarships and public investment in education. I can, therefore, well understand the critical importance of investing in education.

 

I take great pride in the fact that we have transformed the educational landscape of our country. Through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, through new scholarships for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Minorities, and with a focus on the Girl Child and young women, we have widened educational opportunities. We have set up new universities, new institutes of science and technology, new industrial training centres and enabled the flowering of individual enterprise in skill building and education.

 

I also feel satisfied with our legislative effort. Despite unprecedented parliamentary holdups, we have passed several important laws that seek to empower our people and our democratic institutions.

 

I do not wish to elaborate on our achievements in the economic arena. These are spelt out in detailed booklet which has been separately distributed and I would be happy to answer questions. There are however three points which I would like to mention.

 Parssea.orgpersian gulf rashtrapati.parssea

نقشه  نقاشی شده  خلیج فارس  با نام پرشن گولف در کاخ ریاست جمهوری هند

First, I am concerned that we have not been as successful as we need to be in generating employment in the manufacturing sector. This is an aspect of performance which we are working hard to correct. We need a much stronger effort in support of small and medium enterprises which can be a major source of good quality employment. Our Manufacturing Strategy gives high priority to this objective for the future.

 

Second, we have also not been as successful in controlling inflation as we would have wished. This is primarily because food inflation has increased. However, we should remember that those who produce food gain from higher prices. Also our inclusive policies have put more money in the hands of the weaker sections.

 

To keep food prices in control we need to increase supplies and also improve marketing arrangements and logistics. This is especially important for items which are perishable, such as fruits and vegetables. Much of this work lies in the domain of the States.

 

I am happy to say that the Food Security Act that we have passed will to some extent shield the common man from rising food prices.

 

The worry about inflation is legitimate but we should also recognize that incomes for most people have increased faster than inflation. I have already mentioned that real wages in rural areas have increased faster than before. Per-capita consumption in both rural and urban areas has increased significantly.

 

Third, we are deeply committed to the objective of combating corruption. An array of historical legislations has been enacted to make the work of the Government transparent and accountable. Governance has been made more answerable as never before. Most of you have been routinely using the Right to Information Act to access Government documents which was not possible earlier.

 

There is much public concern on high profile allegations of corruption, notably in regard to 2G spectrum allocations, coal block allocations and cases related to land. We have taken major steps to change the existing procedures for allocation of spectrum and coal by shifting to auctions so that these problems do not arise in future. Where some decisions taken earlier, when allocations were made administratively, have come under question, they are being investigated. Any wrong doing will be punished through due process of law.

 

Land issues are in the domain of state governments and we have consistently advised state governments to ensure transparency in these cases.

 

Let me conclude with a few words about the external environment. The one lesson we shall all learn from our experience over the past decade is that the world around us is becoming more challenging. This is both a function of our greater integration with the world and of the international community’s expectations from a rising India. This is India’s manifest destiny. We should recognize it as such and learn to deal with it.

 

India will continue to invest in its defence and national security, in providing security to its own people and ensuring regional security and stability. At the same time, we will continue to seek better relations with our immediate neighbours knowing that the destiny of the Indian sub-continent is linked through a shared history and a shared geography.

 

It has also been my effort to build long term, stable and mutually beneficial relations with all major powers and all our Asian neighbours. We should continue to benefit from global opportunities and contribute to global efforts in creating and managing global institutions to deal with global challenges.

 

I have enormous confidence in our people’s ability to deal with challenges at home. In a few months time, after the general election, I will hand the baton over to a new Prime Minister. I hope it will be a UPA chosen Prime Minister and our party will work to that end in the campaign for the General Elections. I am confident that the new generation of our leaders will also guide this great nation successfully through the uncharted and uncertain waters of global change.

 

As we enter the New Year we will continue to implement our policies, with vigor and commitment, aiming to revive growth, promote enterprise, generate employment, eliminate poverty and ensure the safety and security of all our people, particularly our women and children. Our Government will work ceaselessly till its last day.

 

Thank you and Jai Hind.”