Roman

Breaking Hinduism from inside – religions as commodities in some voices of the Hindu Right.

Posted on August 31, 2017. Filed under: Christians, economics, Hindu, History, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, religion, Roman, Uncategorized |

R Jaganathan has written a piece in Swarajyamag  (will-breaking-up-hinduism-into-its-parts-preserve-it-better-than-trying-to-keep-it-as-one) proposing allowing what he dubs “Hindu” “castes” to centrifugally evolve independently of any commonality of “Hinduism” and even if it leads to – towards new religions.

Let us look at the key building blocks of this thesis:

“The reason why caste has remained stubbornly invulnerable to reform – efforts have been on since the time of the Buddha – is because it has two dimensions, one good, one bad. On the one side, there is exploitation and oppression; on the other side, there is a beneficial dimension. As many people have pointed out in the past, caste is a form of social capital. This is why deras exist. And, in a first-past-the-post democracy, caste has become even more important, for it is the numbers you bring to a coalition that decide your position in the political power structure. All political parties thus seek dera support, or that of caste groups.”

Jaganathan is here starting with the first fundamental weakness of his thesis: he proclaims that there is both a “good” and “bad” side to “caste”, and the primary reason he thinks that “caste” has been persistent from Buddha’s times in spite of repeated attempts at “reform”.  Even in the subsequent development of his thesis, and the solution he proposes – is “allowing” castes to “separate” if necessary from “Hinduism” which however he does not recognize as an integral whole. Apart from the confusions and contradictions implied in his alternate portrayal of Hinduism as a single entity or concept (“greater than sum total” of components or as an entity from which a caste can distinguish or exclude itself) and as something impossible or infeasible to be a “whole”, he calls to “allow” such separation – implying thereby that there exists a super-authority latent in “Hinduism” that has the power and should do so. He fails to recognize that this in turn implies that “castes” on their own have no benefit in separating, and an external authority to caste has to take the initiative to jettison the castes from implied “main”-body.

Since so far, by his own claim, castes have benefited from being “castes”, or “minorities”, and therefore persisted in remaining “castes”, his alleged “bad” side – that of exploitation, must therefore be deemed by castes to be more than compensated for by “benefits” – so much so that they had so far not had any incentive to move away from their “minority” status. Thus Jagantahan wants a divorce enforced by one party in a marriage which he himself acknowledges as being more beneficial than exploitative to the other party so that the other party has not taken initiative to file suit.

Having started with this explanation of “bad and good” Jaganathan then sets out to elaborate on what he thinks are the “bad” side to build a case for “divorce”.

“Two major forces – urbanisation and capitalism – are autonomously working to lower caste inequities. Both ensure mobility between trades and professions. But the process is slow and difficult to manage in the context of electoral democracy. The net result is thus a preference for sub-optimal solutions like increasing reservations based on caste, and a non-merit based system of job-creation that delivers poor outcomes.

Worse, the existence of caste involves a constant demonisation of all Hindu denominations, since anyone claiming to be Hindu is deemed to be favouring casteism. This leaves all Hindus stuck with guilt, again making us less than confident in our dealings with others.”

Thus Jaganathan’s fleshing out of the “bad”, adds basically the following three aspects:

(a) capitalism and urbanization driven “mobility” that reduces “caste” based inequities are hampered by electoral democracy which gives advantage to leveraging identity to extract benefits disproportionate to contribution.

(b) caste based claims of “reservation” hampers merit-based job-creation in turn negatively affecting the economy.

(c) existence of caste apportions “guilt” to and demonizing of all “Hindus” and psychologically hampers confident Hindu engagement of “others”.

For (a) Jaganathan somehow fails to catch the significance of his own observation earlier that existence of caste is not jeopardized even when Indians went out of Hinduism as in Islam or Christianity – which he points out as having failed to create spaces for groups he terms “Dalits” and “shudras”, and that these non-Hindu religions still push for “caste-based” reservations even for those converted “out” of Hinduism. Thus by his own earlier observation, electoral democracy providing advantages to being “minority” will not stop “casteism” suddenly simply because a “caste” has separated from “Hinduism”.

For (b) since Jaganathan is apparently a pro-capitalist – if non-merit based job-occupation negatively impacts the economy, then in a hopefully free-market “capitalist” economy, the market itself will build up pressures to adopt merit-based recruitment, as otherwise a capitalist venture will lose out in competition to one that is able to recruit more merit. Thus here again the answer is then not jettisoning “caste” but allowing greater freedom to the market to decide employment.

For (c), confident dealing with “others” does not seem to have been much of a problem for Swami Vivekananda – at a period when “casteism” was likely more overt and rampant. Moreover, in the current period – the bulk of Hindu population does not really have to engage with the “other” on theological or religious questions unless they are going abroad or are specifically engaged in fields where other religions and ideologies hold the sway. Even here, the lack of confidence probably comes more from a lack of knowledge of and willingness to confront the “others” with their own respective “inequities” and historical or continuing inequities and injustices such as racism, sectarianism, oppression of minorities and dissent, and social exclusion.

 “It does not matter if castes become separate religions, retaining only a loose link with Hinduism; it does not matter if groups that are currently identified with Hinduism want to break away, and seek minority, non-Hindu status, as some groups within the Lingayats want to do. If the Ramakrishna Mission wants to be treated as a non-Hindu denomination, why not allow it to do so? It will not actually become less Hindu because of this nomenclature change. In fact, it could become more innovative and grow faster.

Here’s the point: As long as Hinduism remains a very loose aggregation of incompatible castes and groups, it cannot move or change very fast. It is easier for even a slow running to win if he runs alone; three-legged races are tougher to win.”

It is here that Jaganathan’s underlying thought process starts to expose the memes he is using to drive his thesis – he is converting religions or faiths into consumer products on offer in a marketplace of ideologies and belief systems. His liberal use of market terminology tells us that once he makes the equation of religions to commodities on a market, he abandons any lingering concern about the nature of religions modeled as commodities or whether religions can at all be realistically commoditized. Once Jaganathan makes the equation he forgets this possible incompatibility between religions and commodities and switches to thinking entirely in terms of inanimate commodities in a market. Thus he freely talks of “innovation” and “growing fast”, assumes there are producers of new “innovative” commodities of religions within existing caste groups who can outpace other manufacturers.

There are many problems with the religion-as-commodity-in-a-free-market model. To explore this one needs to check up as to what exactly can be the “commodity” nature if any, in a religion, and what then will compose the competing “other” manufacturers of religion and the “market” in which that competition happens.

(a) To compete, two different manufacturers of religions must be satisfying the same needs in the “buyer” of “religions”. Is there a common set of needs satisfied by all “religions” or do different religions address different needs in the same buyer or different buyers? Does Islam and “Hinduism” satisfy the same needs?

(b) what is the currency of exchange in the market of religions? for any such market must develop a unit of comparison and this is something that the buyer gives up to the seller? is it people, following, material contribution to increased manufacturing? If following or numbers is a measure of valuation – how can the author dub the current versions of Christianity or Islam as T.Rex? for they have succeeded more than Hinduism in that currency and without much innovation.

(c) what makes a buyer change his or her preference for one religion as commodity to another? does that change follow free-market rules? Historically almost every known religious innovation had to be shoved down unwilling throats by state sponsored coercion. Islam from its foundation was raiding and pillaging until it could militarily subdue northern Arabian tribes and then spread its “commodity” further into the Levant and Persia by war. Christianity did not make much of a headway until a “minority” faction found it to be useful for imperial power consolidation in Rome and even after that its spread into much of Europe had to be by military conquest. The first claimed “monotheistic” innovation by Akhenaten is assessed now to have been imposed by royal authority and violence.

The peak of this commodity-market model in author’s mind surfaces here:

In the corporate world, when companies become too unwieldy, they demerge to create faster growth for the demerging parts. Hinduism should allow its constituent units to demerge, and this will make each one stronger. A looser and voluntary federation works better for Hinduism than trying to create a large agglomeration that circumscribes the freedom of movement for each of the parts.

This comparison is interesting, for it implies that in Jaganathan’s mind he is totally switched into and focused on real world commodities and their prices and profits to corporate models. He conveniently forgets that the “demergers” are supervised by an authority external to the market – a state, ostensibly to encourage competition to the benefit of the consumer. What authority external to “Hinduism” is going to supervise this “de-trustification” of “Hinduism”? How is that authority going to determine what is of benefit to the consumer in the absence of clear-cut market mechanisms and prices? Is this authority also going to apply the same principles of “anti-trust” to non-Hindu religions too?

In Hinduism, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Hinduism is thus served best by freeing its parts from the whole so as to create new wholes that will work more coherently. Whether these mini-Hinduisms will survive or perish depends on how fast they are able to adapt to change and modernise themselves for the new age.

Some of the demerging parts will become new religions, and possibly better ones. Some will deal with caste better than others. Some castes could become religions too. And some will regress and perish. But Hinduism as a whole will be alive in spirit in vibrant new ideas.

Even politically, trying to pretend that 80 per cent of Indians are Hindus of one kind is counter-productive. It denies benefits that minorities get by being small. Small is beautiful.

Here Jaganathan drives the final logical nail into the “coffin” of his own thesis: if being “small” and “in the minority” is beneficial then that presumes the existence of a “big” and “in the majority” in contrast to which the “small” can remain “small” and the “minority” can remain a “minority”. By pushing the “small” and the “minority” out of the  “majority” framework of Hinduism, Jaganathan is actually condemning them – by his own logic – to losing all the benefits of being “small” and “minor”.

This is the age of the start-up, not megaliths. Remember T-Rex did not survive evolution. It is unlikely that religions organised like T-Rexes – most of the Abrahamic religions fit this description – will survive an era of fast change.

Jagnathan forgets that in the age of startups it is a few megaliths that dominate – the Google or Apple or Microsoft or Amazon – who by their sheer size and structural incorporation of ever increasing variety of capabilities to satisfy needs in turn gobble up most other innovative startups, and these megaliths have virtually no competition because they already satisfy what at least currently are the basic consumer needs from that sector.

 

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United States of Elite versus Donald Trump : Sunni-Saudi-Anglo-Euro-Jihadi axis towards war.

Posted on August 23, 2017. Filed under: Afghanistan, Arab, Army, China, Communist, economics, economy, Egypt, Hindu, History, India, Iran, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Jihad, Muslims, Pakistan, religion, Roman, Russia, Saudi, Shia, Sunni, Syria, Taleban, terrorism, Trump, UK, Ulema, US Presidential elections, USA, Wahabi |

Postulate One: European consumption levels could historically be only maintained by exploiting resources and productivity outside the self-defined territory of Europe (as in Roman expansion dependent on Egyptian grain and “barbarian” slave labour and fecundity).

Postulate Two: USA is an extension of western Europe as shaped in British state form revised under imagined and reconstructed Roman Republic with perceptions and constructions of both what is “European” and what is not – based on cumulative claims of history, both regional and global.

Postulate Three: Europe prioritizes consumption of its elite over ideology.

Most of what is happening now in the USA, in its politics, its legislative bodies, its government and state institutions – all the way to its attitudes towards and handling of or engagement with Islam, Middle East, and Asia can be deduced from the three postulates.

The Roman Republic generated several interesting phenomena that is rarely put in perspective when analyzing modern-day politics of the “western” world. The contest between the Plebs and the Patricians was a contest for power and say in state affairs between the increasingly self-aware Plebs (stemming from their co-option into the armies under people like Marius the uncle of Caesar in turn driven by elite hunger for land and slaves in the ever-expanding “periphery”) and the “Patri-cians” claiming descent from leading founding fathers of the historical Roman colony in Italy and who thereby had hogged the material and monetary benefits of the state formation exercise over the centuries. The Romans went through a phase of submission to non-Roman “rule” as well as “kingship” to finally overthrow “dynastic royalty” but evolving or recasting a new form of authoritarianism legitimized by representative bodies of people – closely followed in essence in the process of formation of USA.

All these are pretty well-known in standard history lessons: what is less discussed is how Roman institutions also institutionalized politico-financial corruption together with formation of well-organized coteries that infiltrated, and manipulated the Roman state institutions for combined business, political and power benefits – running almost as “organized crime”. In fact the model of “mafia” now popularized by Hollywood, typically labeled as originating in remnants of old Roman empire in the medieval such as “Sicily” or “Naples”, had their roots in the system of Roman knights/captains put in charge of various zones/districts of historical Rome. The blurred lines between ambitions of impoverished Patricians like that of the Caesars or the still wealthy Patrician Sulla, the stinking rich Crassus, or the yuppie military genius of a country bumpkin-from-peasant-north maternal uncle of Julius – Marius : they all formed a politically-financially-incestuous vicious competition of various groups of “mafia”.

Thus it is crucial to drop the Hollywood imagery of the “Godfather” and expand it in the reality of US politics on the more historical Roman “mafia” of the Republic and transition-to-empire phase of Rome. Such an “extended” mafia can be both “criminally organized” and “patriotic” or more “transnationally minded” just like the ancient Roman “mafia”.

The current phase can be thus understood as a phase of competition between two domestic groups of “mafia” (in the extended “Roman” sense I am using) where one side has grown close to the Sunni-Saudi interests over a cold-war, and inheritance of Indian Ocean geostrategic burdens of defunct British “political” empire (as in every mature and jaded “empire”, the formal fall of empire-state leaves behind a network of transnational finance and elite of ex-colonies connected firmly to an integrated shared “interests” with the ex-empires successor). This means this side shares the political and hence even religious biases of the Saudi Sunni axis which grew up under British imperial patronage as a supposed barrier to restrict the Ottoman grasp over the “passage” to India. This in turn led to panic scramble by then Russia and Europeans powers wary of the British to try and gain access to Indian Ocean aligning a veritable rivalry between “western” (France/UK) and “eastern” (Germany/Russia) Europe to push to the Persian Gulf. However the ancient contest for supremacy between the west and east of Euphrates that had once ended the Greeks and Cyrus’s house allowing Rome to grow, and similarly exhausted Byzantines and Parthians to allow Islamic jihad to flourish in the “frontier” no-mans land between the two sides – continued in the Arab versus Iran contest, and was used by the completely emasculated remnants of Arab tribes to reassert claims against the “east” and try to repeat their 7th century success using the British and French need to secure the Gulf.

Discovery of oil has gradually shifted the balance of power within the front of  Sunni-Saudi-“western” axis, and WWII drew up an extended “frontier” of two hostile “fronts” running roughly North-East – South-West from Balkans through Syria-Iraq into Persian gulf.

The “western” Anglo fear of Russian breakthroughs in this sector combined with Arab jealousy of the more pre-Islamic nationhood retaining Iran with all consequent better human capital not destroyed as much as in Saudis under mullahcracy – drove the US attempt at wooing Communist China away from USSR, in return China extracting economic entry into global capitalist flow, and an attempt to ring-fence Iran and central-Asian routes from Russia down south by encouraging Islamism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

However even if this strategy largely succeeded in weakening USSR and led to its overthrow, two problems had been created for US “mafia”: the immensely financially networked with US Saudi lobby’s growing influence among the “mafia” and China’s capture of the US consumer market using its totalitarian state economy and control over Chinese labour. After US had to necessarily engage in the mop-up operations consequent to fall of USSR and Sunni-Saudi lobby’s grasping the opportunity to expand its long-held jihadi ambitions to revive Caliphate style re-conquest of the Middle East, and beyond, parts of US mafia must have realized the growing threat of China’s economy.

However during the long cold-war era, Sunni-Saudi axis had been allowed to become politically entrenched in influencing US foreign policy and thus in the US state institutions and its political class as well as in the instruments of ideological hegemony of modern states – like the media, academics of “humanities”. The faction of US mafia that realizes the supreme importance of China as a threat to their interests (by disrupting the mafia’s finger in the global – “outside of territory” economic exploitation) was the force that allowed someone like Donal Trump to come through. Looking from this perspective, it becomes clear why he had to be “promoted” – they needed an “outsider” or “outcast” or deemed “dilettante” political actor, therefore less likely to have been compromised by the existing pro-Sunni-Saudi pro-China cliques.

That the majority of US state institutions are waging a virtual but desperate war to remove “Trump” from power is simply a manifestation of the failure of the “cold-war” legacy portion of the administration and ideological establishment to grasp the drive and perhaps even realpolitik “sense/pragmatism” of the anti-China “patriotic mafia” as the need of the hour for “US” interests just as overthrow of USSR was in then US interests.

So Trump is being driven to make superficial “compromises” while he is trying to protect the underlying agenda of cutting China down to size. However the pro-Sunni-Saudi US mafia does not want China to be cut down to size as both the Saudis and the Chinese favour each other as hedges for their respective geostrategic ambitions. Saudis do not really want Pakistan to be cut down to size as Pakistan is most helpful in delegating tasks of wahabization and radicalization that serves Saudi geo-strategic ambitions while China does not want Pakistan to be harmed as Pakistan provides a corridor to Indian ocean as well as a useful jihadi counter-balance to India whose territory and population the Chinese see as an obstacle to their own imperial ambitions.

So even if Trump announces a troop increase in Afghanistan, the reality of the situation will simply help Saudi strategy for the zone. The Sunni jihadi assets were first tested on Syria – seen as a rival Shiite state, and on Iraq – but it quickly spiraled out of control revealing the extent of jihadism that Saudis have unleashed which even they can no longer fully control. Russian backing stalled overthrow of the Syrian regime, so that means the “western/European” and Saudi-Sunni jihadi assets need to be “saved” and protected by the pro-Saudi-mafia/European elite from total destruction so they can be unleashed against the real intended targets – Iran and Russia. This means there will be an attempt to carve out a “sovereign” protectorate style enclave for those dubbed “free Syrian army” on the eastern parts of Syria, thereby giving them breathing space and regrouping recouping as well as a Sunni buffer which in turn faces a Kurdi enclave on the east – thereby balancing each other and buffering each other. However the jihadis will be most effective in the greater anonymity of northern Afghanistan and even frontiers of Pakistan to be effective against Iran and Russia. Hence the bulk of the ISIS jihadis will be “helped” by “west” and Saudi-Sunni lobby to “escape” to northern Afghanistan.

US boots on the ground , in the hands of local networks of politics remaining from British imperial days – will effectively be a force that facilitates – willingly or unwillingly – the fall of the “north” to jihadis, while a “progressive” regime will gradually shrink to the south and east of the country around the big cities in the south even while under US “protection”.

The Saudi-Sunni penetration of the US state implies that Trumps “threat” to Pakistan will in effect have little impact. The Sunni-Saudi lobby has slightly different geo-political ambitions compared to what even the pro-Saudi lobby thinks it has. The Sunnis want a repeat of their seventh century jihadi performance – they want one sweep of continuous jihadi territory from Arabia through India into Indonesia in the east, and all the way to Gibraltar in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

For myself, I see benefit in the expansion of Sunni jihad across Afghanistan and Pakistan and towards India. Jihad destroys pre-existing nationalisms – even the artificial and opportunistically foisted ones like that of Pakistan. It will also weaken the part of the modern Indian state that is ideologically and for other reasons, similar to the pro-Saudi lobby within US “mafia” and which can use state coercive resources to protect the Islamist interests against the non-Muslim majority of the country.  Any genuine resistance to jihad can only come from the vast non-Muslim populations of India but only when their state power actively is no longer able to protect the Islamic infrastructure and allows new state forces to come up that can resist and roll back jihadis back to where it started – in the deserts of Saudis. Jihadis expanding in north Pakistan and Afghanistan will also finally roll-back Chinese presence and effectiveness in this zone.

So the future is bleak and bright.

 

 

 

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How Islam came to India and why now it needs to go from India -14 : removal of capital from the Indian economy under Islam

Posted on March 2, 2013. Filed under: Afghanistan, Arab, Army, economics, economy, Hindu, Historians with political agenda, History, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Jihad, Kashmir, Left, Muslims, neoimperialism, Ottoman, Politics, rape, religion, Roman, Russia, Salafi, Saudi, Sunni, Taleban |

[authors note :  posting on the theme that started the blog, after a long time. This item in the original series was drafted a couple of years go. But I realized that this portion may take up several blog-size posts, rather than one. Workload is heavy so – this sequence might come hence irregularly, but I am serious about taking up laying out the economic consequence of Islamic dominance on India. So please be patient.]

Removal of capital from the Indian economy by Muslims took place directly under three major forms (1) repeated invasions amounting or not amounting to permanent acquisition of territory with specific removal of capital in kind in the form of looted bullion and other valuables, as well as removal of human capital in the form of skilled and unskilled labour, and the basic reproductive unit for human labour, women, all as enslaved and exported commodity out of India, (2) extraction of capital by settled Muslim elite from the Indian economy for hoarding, and funding luxuries originating outside of India meant for pure consumption with no reinvestment or economic input into the local market (3) subsidizing religious activities primarily benefiting foreign Muslim countries and economies (4) Islam’s essential economic understanding amounting to only the desert-economy of Arabia and a complete failure to understand more sophisticated economies as reflected in the Muslim’s disastrous state interventions in the Indian market – also removed capital by impeding creation of value and growth and ultimately consumption and destroying already accumulated capital.

The indirect removal of capital was mainly under five forms (1) ruining and utterly destituting the basic producers of the economy, and extracting almost all surplus for personal consumption thereby preventing reinvestment and ultimately reducing total capital (2) continued and vastly increasing expenditure on military hardware and “software” such as horses imported from outside of India (3) destroying the non-Muslim intellectual classes and pre-Islamic centres of education that had promoted a wide variety of research into science and technology   and substituting this by theological seminaries run by fundamentalist Muslim clergy usually imported from Islamic heartland in the middle east and whose qualifications usually did not rise beyond a strict Wahabi or Salafi interpretation of the Islamic religious texts learned by rote (4) institutionalization of endemic corruption and system losses that increased the cost of capital, and thereby its ultimate devaluation (5) Sadistic and violent Islamic military religious policy aimed at subjugation of the non-Muslim populations ultimately forcing productive social units off the land and the economy into forests or rugged badlands from where they either carried out military struggles [raising the cost of administration and expending capital on maintaining ever-increasing armed forces on the part of the Islamic administration] or engage in low-surplus marginal productions and economies.

removal of material capital through repeated invasions

Accurate estimates of capital removed by Islamic invaders are very difficult to arrive at, mainly because of lack “undisputed records” of “looting” and amounts. Most surviving records of looting and shipping of loot back to the respective power centres of the raiding armies, are naturally, from side of the raiding armies  themselves or from subsequent chroniclers who draw upon or claim to draw upon earlier, relevant, and contemporary Islamic sources. As in the case all over the world, although historians try to shout a lot about absence of records of “trauma” on the part of the victims, who are not necessarily known to be illiterate, there is a persistent pattern of lack of such records, and we consistently find such records only from the “winners”. Logically thinking, such a situation is most natural to expect – a “traumatized” society is most unlikely to find time and resources to devote to keeping records “reliable” enough for modern professional historians with their highly selective and opportunistic use of logic in favour of hidden or sometimes not so hidden political agenda or political/academic patronage from interested regimes. Such a society is more likely to be obsessed about survival.

If we use modern, more closely observed from various sources, “history” of invasions by hostile regimes into an area, especially invasions that are also associated strongly with a particular hegemonistic ideology – we see certain persistent patterns – (1) specifically targeting the intellectuals [and try and eliminate them physically altogether] of the invaded society (2) destroy or suppress circulation of records, books, and other archival material of the invaded society (3) disrupt communication by actively discouraging native languages and imposing the languages preferred by the invaders (4) removal of capital resources from the invaded society (5) almost always a systematic programme of ethnic cleansing through genocide, a state sponsored regime of rape or enforced prostitution of the women of the invaded society – [which for very obvious physical reasons, targets more the women of the elite of the invaded society, and a section more likely to be a second line of repository of cultural heritage, or knowledge] thereby achieving two invader objectives in one stroke – removal of reproductive resources from the invaded society and increasing reproductive resources of the invader.  This is what happened under the Nazis, and under units of the Red Army as retribution for the activities of the Nazis when they overran Germany in the final phases of WWII, under the Imperial Japanese army in South East Asia, Korea and China [there are indications that Bose’s INA had come to an agreement with the Japanese Army command that such activities will not be carried out in their joint march towards the Indian border, and a recent interview on the Delhi based news channel NDTV reported eye-witness accounts from a Naga dignitary of the period – that in spite of what the British administration had tried to say, the Japanese occupation forces never “used” Naga women the way the British officers were habitually prone to do], and then by US army units stationed in Japan after the capitulation of the latter, with similar patterns repeated in the wars between the African nations and regional-ethnic conflicts, in the persistent accusations [disputed hotly by historians] of such practices by the Pakistani army in its various operations in the subcontinent, [the British army’s record in India during the Raj appear to be increasingly coming under the cloud in this regard].

If we extend the modern experience to the “historical” period, we can see, that it is consistent with records of the Roman empire, or the Persian, Parthian, Egyptian, Chinese, empires. Historians appear to have no problems in accepting the claims of the Spanish or the Portuguese about the Latin Americas, even though hardly anything survives that can hold up to historian’s claimed level of reliability from the side of the “victims”. Similarly, hardly anything survives of records of trauma of the  various Italian groups subjugated by the Romans, not all of whom were illiterates (e.g. Etruscans),  or of the various Germanic and Celtic tribes of Europe, but historians appear to have no problems with the Roman records of claims of ethnic cleansing, torture, destruction, looting or organized rape and enslavement. There are hardly any historian voices trying to say that the records of repression on the Jews as claimed in Roman texts by Roman authors were propaganda, since nothing much exists from contemporary Jewish sources [ the most famous one, that by Josephus, can also become suspect as he was being patronized by the Romans at the time of his wrtings – and he is not very sympathetic to the Jewish cause either]. Historians even quote figures of dead, slaughtered, raped, straight from the Roman texts.

The only exception in this general pattern of historians’ acceptance of records of repression by an invading regime is that applied to Islamic armies into the Indian subcontinent, where all their records of repression are demanded to be treated as false and propaganda for glorification.

We will start with trying to get an idea of the amounts involved in the loot by the Islamic armies removed from India.

Muhammad bin Qasim [C.E 711-713 – the first Islamic record of a relatively successful invasion] Besides the treasure collected from the various forts of the Sindhi King, worship rights of Hindus were allowed only in exchange of pilgrim tax, jiziyah and other similar cesses. The campaign expenses came to 60 thousand silver dirhams and Hajjaj paid to the Caliph 120 thousand dirhams. In Muhammad bin Qasim’s administration of the conquered territories the principal sources of revenue were the jiziyah and the land-tax. The Chachnama speaks of other taxes levied upon the cultivators such as the baj and ushari. The collection of jiziyah was considered a political as well as a religious duty, and was always exacted “with vigour and punctuality, and frequently with insult”. The native population had to feed every Muslim traveller for three days and nights and had to submit to many other humiliations which are mentioned by Muslim historians.

Multan (Punjab) “…He then crossed the Biyas, and went towards Multan… Muhammad destroyed the water-course; upon which the inhabitants, oppressed with thirst, surrendered at discretion. He massacred the men capable of bearing arms, but the children were taken captive, as well as the ministers of the temple, to the number of six thousand. The Muslamans found there much gold in a chamber ten cubits long by eight broad, and there was an aperture above, through which the gold was poured into the chamber…” (Futuhul-Buldan  of Ahmad bin Yahya bin Jabir,  aka  al-Biladuri).
Multan (Punjab) “Then all the great and principal inhabitants of the city assembled together, and silver to the weight of sixty thousand dirams was distributed and every horseman got a share of four hundred dirams weight. After this, Muhammad Qasim said that some plan should be devised for realizing the money to be sent to the Khalifa. He was pondering over this, when suddenly a Brahman came and said, ‘Heathenism is now at an end, the temples are thrown down, the world has received the light of Islam, and mosques are built instead of idol temples. I have heard from the elders of Multan that in ancient times there was a chief in this city whose name was Jibawin, and who was a descendant of the Rai of Kashmir. He was a Brahman and a monk, he strictly followed his religion, and always occupied his time in worshipping idols. When his treasures exceeded all limits and computation, he made a reservoir on the eastern side of Multan, which was hundred yards square. In the middle of it he built a temple fifty yards square, and he made a chamber in which he concealed forty copper jars each of which was filled with African gold dust. A treasure of three hundred and thirty mans of gold was buried there. Over it there is an idol made of red gold, and trees are planted round the reservoir.’ It is related by historians, on the authority of ‘Ali bin Muhammad who had heard it from Abu Muhammad Hindui that Muhammad Qasim arose and with his counsellors, guards and attendants, went to the temple. He saw there an idol made of gold, and its two eye were bright red rubies……Muhammad Qasim ordered the idol to be taken up. Two hundred and thirty mans of gold were obtained, and forty jars filled with gold dust… This gold and the image were brought to treasury together with the gems and pearls and treasures which were obtained from the plunder of Multan.” (Chachnama)

Yaqub bin Laith (CE 870-871) was a highway robber who succeeded in seizing Khurasan from the Tahirid governors of the Abbasid Caliphate and founded the short-lived Saffarid dynasty.
Balkh and Kabul (Afghanistan) “He first took Bamian, which he probably reached by way of Herat, and then marched on Balkh where he ruined (the temple) Naushad. On his way back from Balkh he attacked Kabul…
“Starting from Panjhir, the place he is known to have visited, he must have passed through the capital city of the Hindu Sahis to rob the sacred temple – the reputed place of coronation of the Sahi rulers-of its sculptural wealth…The exact details of the spoil collected from the Kabul valley are lacking. The Tarikh -i-Sistan records 50 idols of gold and silver and Masudi mentions elephants. The wonder excited in Baghdad by elephants and pagan idols forwarded to the Caliph by Yaqub also speaks for their high value. The best of our authorities put the date of this event in 257 (870-71). Tabari is more precise and says that the idols sent by Ya’qûb reached Baghdad in Rabi al-Akhar, 257 (Feb.-March, 871). Thus the date of the actual invasion may be placed at the end of CE 870.” (Tarikh-i-Tabari)

Mahmud of Ghazni [first quarter of C.E. 1000] Mahmud extracted 2,50,000 dinars as ransom from Jayapal (1001-02 C.E.). Jayapal’s necklace worth 2,00,000 gold dinars was appropriated by Mahmud, and twice that value extracted from the necklaces of his imprisoned or executed relatives. All the wealth of Bhera which was “as wealthy as imagination can conceive”, was captured in (1004-05 C.E.). In 1005-06 the people of Multan were forced to pay an indemnity of the value of 20,000,000 silver dirhams. When Nawasa Shah, who had reconverted to Hinduism, was deposed (1007-08), the Sultan confiscated his wealth amounting to 400,000 dirhams. Mahmud seized coins of the value of 70,000,000 Hindu Shahiya dirhams, from the fort of Bhimnagar in Kangra, and gold and silver ingots weighing some hundred maunds, jewellery and precious stones. There was also a collapsible house of silver, thirty yards in length and fifteen yards in breadth, and a canopy (mandapika) supported by two golden and two silver poles. This vast treasure could not be shifted immediately, and Mahmud left two of his “most confidential” chamberlains, Altuntash and Asightin, to arrange for its gradual removal to Ghazni. In subsequent expeditions (1015-20) Punjab and the adjoining areas were sucked dry. Over and above the looting by Mahmud, there was additional looting by his soldiers. From Baran Mahmud obtained, 1,000,000 dirhams, from Mahaban a large booty, from Mathura five idols which when melted [Should we apply the Thaparite algorithm of dividing by 10 or 100?] alone yielded 98,300 misqals (about 390 kg) of gold, and two hundred silver idols. Kanauj, Munj, Asni, Sharva and some other places yielded another 3,000,000 dirhams. Somnath yielded 20,000,000 dinars. [Utbi, the Secretary to Sultan Mahmud, reports this and if he exaggerated then as this was a contemporary record, the Caliphate would come to know of this and would be able to calculate that Mahmud had not sent full share of the Caliph. This is a part usually not much mentioned by the Thaparite School and generically dismissed as part of boasting].

Archaeologically there is a significant absence of Indian coins or artefacts made of precious metal from this entire period in the Punjab and Sind area. [The Thaparite school of Indian history typically remains silent on this or jokes that this could be a possible pointer that the stories of these Hindu kingdoms with fabulous riches are simply stories and fantasies and they probably never existed. In this sense nothing contemporary specifically archaeologically associated with the early founders of Islam including its Prophet has been found in Arabia. [Sunni Wahabis dispute the authenticity of the Ottoman collections in this regard]. However the Thaparite school will never dare raise a similar joke in the Arabian context. This also helps the Thaparite school in trying to prove that “Hinduism” did not exist in general before the pre-Islamic period. However it is a general principle of the Thaparite School to accept archaeology only if it supports the Schools hypotheses and it very angrily reacts and disparages archaeology if it dares to differ from its diktats] The flow of bullion outside India stabilized Ghaznavid currency and debased the Indian. The gold content of millenial north Indian coins reduced from 120 to 60 grams with a similar reduction in the weight and content of the silver coin. This in turn reduced credit of Indian merchants in the international market.

India had always been an exporter against bullion and had accumulated bullion from domestic sources as well mines of Tibet and Central Asia. Mahmud collected in loot and tribute valuable articles of trade like indigo, fine muslins, embroidered silk, and cotton stuffs, and items and raw ingots of famous Indian steel, lavishly praised by Utbi, Hasan Nizami, Alberuni and others. [this is the source of the famous Damascus steel coveted by both by Europe and the Muslim world.  One valuable commodity taken from India was indigo. From Baihaqi, who writes the correct Indian word “nil” for the dye, it appears that 20,000 mans (about 500 maunds) of indigo was taken to Ghazna every year. According to Baihaqi, Sultan Masud once sent 25,000 mans (about 600 maunds) of indigo to the Caliph at Baghdad, for “the Sultans often reserved part of this (valuable commodity) for their own usage, and often sent it as part of presents for the Caliph or for other rulers”.

Mahmud also started the later consistent Islamic traditions of looting wealth and women whenever the Islamic heartlands of middle East or central Asia became “impoverished” as a result of intensive and destructive Islamic looting. Utbi writes “It happened, that 20,000 men from Mawaraun nahr and its neighbourhood, who were with the Sultan (Mahmud), were anxious to be employed on some holy expedition in which they might obtain martyrdom. The Sultan determined to march with them to Kanauj”. This is the tradition of Ghazis, (the Arabic root means one who has gone for a Ghazwa, literally a tribal raid typically mentioned in the context of looting wealth, animals, and women) as imposed on India. Even after the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, Muhammad Ghori declared jihad in “Hind” (1205 C.E.- 13 years after the second battle of Tarain, decisively destroying his strongest Hindu opponent Prithviraj), “in order to repair the fortunes of his servants and armies; for within the last few years, Khurasan, on account of the disasters it had sustained, yielded neither men nor money. When he arrived in Hind, God gave him such a victory that his treasures were replenished, and his armies renewed”.

Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) “…He now attacked the fort of Bhim, where was a temple of the Hindus. He was victorious, and obtained much wealth, including about a hundred idols of gold and silver. One of the golden images, which weighed a million mishkals, the Sultan appropriated to the decoration of the Mosque of Ghazni, so that the ornaments of the doors were of gold instead of iron.” (Tarikh-i-Guzida :  of Hamdullah bin Abu Bakr bin Hamd bin Nasr Mustaufi of Kazwin)

[to be continued]

Link to previous post in sequence how-islam-came-to-india-and-why-now-it-needs-to-go-from-india-13-economic-decline-under-islam-fate-of-producers

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Why a terror blast at inner-city Hyderabad : Owaisi’s Caliphate? Possible green on green Sunni Wahabi/Salafi jihad against Shias and Ahmedyyas.

Posted on February 22, 2013. Filed under: Ahmedyya, Arab, Bangladesh, Christians, Communist, Egypt, Hindu, History, Hyderabad, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Jihad, Maoism, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics, religion, Roman, Salafi, Saudi, Shia, Sunni, terrorism, Wahabi |

Indian and international media will have a field day speculating on the twin blasts killing many and injuring even more in the Indian city of Hyderabad, India. The security agencies of India, perhaps under proper political correctness imposed by “secular” regimes, will discover “saffron” hands behind the blast.

However, I would like to speculate on another possibility. That of “green on green” jihad by one sect of Muslims against others. The bane of all monotheistic, organized, textual and doctrinaire religions is the need for evermore apparent perfection and purity. That in turn almost always leads to hyperfine distinctions in interpretation of fixed ancient texts, based on which each new faction derides and when feasible, tries to eliminate the other factions if necessary by violent means. The reason as to why strictly textual religions almost surely land up in such political struggles for power is an entirely different issue, and not for this post.

The fact of the matter is however, that all three of Judaism, Christianism, and Islamism – would have fared far better had they not bled each other and themselves, in fratricidal and internecine bloodshed sourced from this contest over who is the “purest” within the family -so to speak. The Byzantine and Italian Roman church’s murderous jealousy of Arrianism had no small role in the eventual fall of Gothic Christian power in Spain to yield place to  Al Andalus. In the end the “Roman” calculation paid off through the Reconquista -but meanwhile almost 800 years of Islamic rule had to be endured (how “glorious” or “civilizing” it was – is issue of another debate).

The Byzantine iconodule versus iconoclast violence, and the three-cornered fight with the Coptic brotherhood, led to possibly quick capitulation of Coptic Egypt before Arab Muslim armies, and the roll-back of Byzantine power from south of the Bosphorus before the early pious Caliph armies.

The violent iconodule versus iconoclast Christian contest again perhaps had a significant influence on how early Islam shaped itself and placed itself as, with similar intra-faith conflicts starting up within Islam from its earliest days.

Most of the world has become aware of the intolerance of the most influential, (because of oil and “western” connections) faction of Islam – that of Sunni Wahabism, and in another direction also Salafism. However what is often overlooked is that as much as the Ummah theological leadership is looking to subvert the non-Muslim world for eventual conquest and enslavement, they reserve an equal violence for those they deem “less pure” than themselves in doctrinal interpretation of the unchanging text.

Recently Hyderabad was in the news – because a scion of the wealthy Islamic clan of the Owaisis of Hyderabad, had made typical Islamist speeches warning of violence towards Hindus. Owaisis have old family connections to pre-Independence reactionary regimes of the Nizam.  The Nizam was a key figure of Islamism in pre-Independence India, and had many close and influential friends among the planners and plotters of the British ruling circles. Nizam was a reluctant joiner of the Republic, and as a last ditch effort had unleashed his genocidic jihadi Razakars on the majority Hindus of his state, in looting, raping and massacres as per true jihadi legacy prior to the Indian army marching into the capital. In fact a certain ancestral clan relative of the current Owaisi’s had been very active in the Islamist movement that turned violent, and had been imprisoned by the Indian government after accession of the state.

It has been suggested by some researchers that he was “released” and quietly allowed to emigrate to Pakistan and his Islamist party under its new avatar MIM allowed to “revive” post-Independence because the Congress got increasingly worried at the resurgence of the Communists in the state and the city.

Subsequent Congress governments, appear to have coincided with the increasingly sharp religious identity politics among competing factions of both Christianism and Islamism that in a lop-sided but indirect way also involves the Maoists. The pulse of this three-cornered and very murky religious politics can be estimated from under the heavy fog of media and regime protection of so-called “minority” sentiments in the periodic and too stinky to be entirely suppressed scandals involving financial and other sorts of corruption that also reach into religious halos.

But what perhaps has gone under the radar for a long time, is the observation that more Sunni influence appears to be showing up in Andhra Pradesh – and its capital city Hyderabad – mainly though the tell-tale signs of spread – the mosques and “dawa” institutions. With such growth, and a possible Gulf connection behind providing the material means to sponsor such institutional growth – has come the inevitable signs of Saudi-esque  Wahabi intolerance – against other Muslim factions deemed “less pure”.

These less pure factions are those of the Shia and the Ahemedyya. Orthodox Sunnis berate the Ahemedyyas verbally when they are militarily powerless, and behead or torture to death when they have state protection – as in Pakistan and in some cases even in Indonesia or Bangladesh. Hyderabad is actually a significant centre for the Ahmedyyas and the Shias.  In fact , just the previous year there were reports headlined :

India: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque Attacked by Militant Clerics and Mob in Hyderabad

Source: http://ahmadiyyatimes.blogspot.ie/2012/03/india-ahmadiyya-muslim-mosque-attacked.html

The new angle to be looked into Islamic terror on the subcontinent is the added Sunni Wahabi and Salafist trend of also cleaning up their intra-Islamic rivals, especially Shias and Ahmedyyas.

 

 

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Islamo-Judaic Relations : politically correct mythology – 4 : From departure of Muhammad to Islamist Conquest of Palestine and Syria

Posted on March 1, 2012. Filed under: Antisemitism, Arab, Christians, diaspora, Egypt, exile, Gaza, Historians with political agenda, History, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Israel, Jew, Jihad, Muslims, Palestine, religion, Roman, Syria, terrorism |

From the successful genocide at Khyber and land grab, in the late 620’s until his death, Muhammad tried to expand the reach of his army towards Syria and Palestine. His first attempt with an open declared campaign (for the first time in his life, because previously he had always relied on surprise and deception) against Heraclius was a disaster, and at this time we have reports of increasing dissent against his leadership. So Muhammad renewed his earlier strategy of covert and piecemeal targeting of isolated communities and tribes.

During this phase he was taken ill and passed away, according to the Hadiths, exactly at the time when a new and larger expedition was being planned against the then Byzantine held territories of Syria and Palestine. The expedition did take off, and similar expeditions were then subsequently organized until finally at the Battle of Yarmouk a large Byzantine army was defeated and Heraclius abandoned Syria and Palestine and went back to Constantinople. This is just within 10 years of Khyber. However many cities held out.

Some Bedouin nomadic tribes at this period did hover around in the frontierland between Byzantium and beyond (the southern desert of Palestine, west of the Euphrates (Hira) in the Syrian desert, Palmyra), where for a long time due to the competition with the persians, the Byzantines had come to an arrangement of benefits and payment to enlist the large nomadic Arab tribes as a bulwark against raids from beyond. The arable inner regions and the cities were populated by Aramaic speaking Jews and Christians. The contemporary writings of the Church Fathers and in Talmudic sources show that they had little or no identification/sympathy with the Bedouins (who spoke a different language) and actually were quite hostile because they faced constant raids. [1]

Moshe Gil, [1] quotes surviving sources from the defeated indigenous non-Muslim populations, to show that they

“reflect the attitude of the towns and villages in Palestine quite accurately; the attitude of a sedentary population, of farmers and craftsmen, toward nomads whose source of income is the camel and who frequently attack the towns, pillage and slaughter the inhabitants, and endanger the lives of the wayfarer. These sources completely contradict the argument to the effect that the villagers and townsmen in Palestine accepted the invasion of those tribes bearing the banner of Islam with open arms of their so-called racial affinity.” [This is a copyrighted book, so I cannot quote extensively. Those interested do look up]

The whole Gaza region up to Kaiseria [Caesarea] was sacked and devastated in the campaign of 634. Four thousand Jewish, Christian, and Samaritan peasants who defended their land were massacred. The villages of the Negev were looted. Cities such as Jerusalem, Gaza, Jaffa, Caesarea, Nablus, and Beth Shean were isolated and closed their gates. In his sermon on Christmas day 634 CE, the patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, says “the Christians are being forcibly kept in Jerusalem…chained and nailed by fear of the Saracens, whose savage, barbarous and bloody sword kept them locked up in the town”. In 636, Sophronius, [Day of the Epiphany 636], writes of the destruction of the churches and monasteries, the sacked towns, the fields laid waste, the villages burned down by the “nomads” [generic name for Arabs including Islamics whom the Byzantine Christians were yet to recognize as any significant independent faith system] who were overrunning the country. In a letter the same year to Sergius, the patriarch of Constantinople, he mentions the ravages wrought by the Arabs. Thousands of people perished in 639, falling victim to the raids as well as the famine and plague that resulted from these destructions. [2] For Jerusalem, according to one version of the terms of the treaty with the Patriarch for surrender, “Jews” would not be allowed to remain within the city.

According to Baladhuri (d. 892 C.E. – his name also comes up in connection with records of campaigns in Sindh in India), 40,000 Jews [20,000 according to some translations] lived in Caesarea alone at the Arab conquest, after which all trace of them is lost. [3] Tabari further reports that 4000 survivors were taken prisoner and transported out of the region and given as slaves to Muslims in Al-Jurf. [4]

Gil further shows that the period of the conquest was also that of the destruction of the synagogues and churches of the Byzantine era, remnants of which have been turning up in archaeological discoveries. Towns in the western strip and the central strip (the region of the red sand hills and the swamps) in the Sharon, decreased from fifty-eight to seventeen. It is estimated that the erosion of the soil from the western slopes of the Judaean mountains reached as a result of the decultivation during the Muslim period to almost 2,000 to 4,000 cubic meters. The direct evidence of the destruction of agriculture and the desertion of the villages is shown by the fact that the papyri of Nessana are completely discontinued after the year 700. [1]

Similar conclusions have been reached in archaeological analysis with Negev being reduced to a wasteland. Gil has translated these observations by the 10th century Karaite [The rationalist movement within Judaism started by Maimonides] commentator Yefet b. Ali recording that there was great destruction in Palestine and that there were places which remained uninhabited, while there were other places to which people returned and settled:

“the places which were completely destroyed so that no memory of them remains, like Samaria…are the places which have been destroyed and ruined, but despite this there are guards and people living there, such as Hebron and others” [1]

There is no reason to expect, like some of us probably do – that just within 10 years the entire spirit of Badr, Khyber would be forgotten and abandoned by Islamism – all of a sudden when they overrun Palestine.

[1] Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099

[2] Bat Yeor, “Islam and the Dhimmis”, The Jerusalem Quarterly, 1987, Vol. 42,

[3] The origins of the Islamic state, being a translation from the Arabic, accompanied with annotations, geographic and historic notes of the Kitab futuh al-buldan of al-Imam abu-l Abbas Ahmad ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri -p213 [4] Ibid p216-218

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Islamo-Judaic Relations : politically correct mythology – 2 (the strange case of no-Roman-trauma)

Posted on February 4, 2012. Filed under: Antisemitism, Babylon, diaspora, exile, Israel, Palestine, religion, Roman |

Who repressed the Jews or expelled them “more” -Babylonians, Romans or Muslims? The case of Babylonian versus Roman debate.

(the “Roman violence on the Jews and the resultant Jewish Diaspora” : )

The Myth : “In A.D. 70, and again in 135, the Roman Empire brutally put down Jewish revolts in Judea, destroying Jerusalem, killing hundreds of thousands of Jews and sending hundreds of thousands more into slavery and exile.

Hebrew University professor, Yisrael Yuval, dubs the above a “myth” in “The Myth of the Jewish Exile from the Land of Israel: A Demonstration of Irenic Scholarship” Common Knowledge – Volume 12, Issue 1, Winter 2006, pp. 16-33

“The first point to make is that well before the revolt against Rome in 66-70 c.e., there were Jewish communities outside Palestine, most notably in Babylonia and in Egypt, but elsewhere as well. References to the dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the civilized world are found in the book of Esther, Josephus, and Philo. There is no indication that these communities were small, satellite communities. There is no contemporary 1st and 2nd centuries c.e evidence that anything like an exile took place. The Romans crushed two Jewish revolts in 66-70 c.e. and in 132-135 c.e. As per Josephus, the rebels were killed, and many of the Jews starved to death.”

Some POW’s were sent to Rome, and others were sold in Libya. But nowhere does Josephus speak of Jews being taken into exile. Yuval claims that there is much evidence to the contrary and apparently there was always Jewish emigration from the Land of Israel.

The first known reference to the exile of the Jews occurs in remarks attributed to the third century Palestinian rabbi, R. Yohanan found in the Babylonian Talmud, a work that received its final formulation several centuries later (c. 500 c.e.): “Our House has been destroyed, our Temple burnt, and we ourselves exiled from our land” (Gittin). The editor/s of the Talmud apparently referred this statement to the Roman exile. Similar statements can be found elsewhere in the Babylonian Talmud attributing to rabbis living in the Land of Israel the view that the Romans were responsible for the destruction of the House, the burning of the temple, and the exile from the land. Yuval however says that on examining other Babylonian sources, and most sources from Israel, the statements “most likely” refer to the First Temple, and the exile by the Babylonians.

 Yuval summarizes the sources as:
“In other words, it seems that the triple expression—destruction of the House, burning of the Temple, exile from the land—originally (in the sources from the Land of Israel) referred to the First Temple and were applied to the Second Temple only in Babylonia.10 In the Tannaitic and early Amoraic sources, Rome is accused only of destroying the Temple, not of exiling the people from their land.11 A broad historical and national outlook, one that viewed the “Exile of Edom” (Rome being identified with the biblical Edom) as a political result of forced expulsion, did not survive from this period. Nor would such a view have been appropriate to the political reality and the conditions of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel, which were certainly very well known to the members of that generation.”

Note that Yuval is here being cautious as academics are trained to be – he carefully phrases his conclusion in the typical modern professional historian’s style of weaving new narratives within the old by posing speculating questions hinting at alternatives, but he does not commit entirely to this alternative because he might not have the incontrovertible proof and therefore his claim remains a hypothesis.
Chaim Milikowsky, professor and past chairman of the Talmud department at Bar Ilan university, has argued that in 2nd and 3rd century tannaitic sources, the Hebrew term rendered as “exile” has the meaning of political subjugation rather than physically being driven from the land (cited in Yuval, p. 19, n.1)  Commentators propose that “Zionists” supposedly were somewhat at a loss to explain how Jewish rabbis could create the Mishnah and subsequently the Talmud of the Land of Israel if there was a mass exile. Of course here the assumption is that “mass exiles” are exiles of whole nations or countries with nothing left behind.

An interesting historical paradox is of course overlooked here : what made the Babylonian “exile” so qualitatively different from the Roman “one”? The impression of a massive exile and trauma under Babylon is based on the same Jewish scholarly voices that are derided for fraudulently claiming similar trauma at the hands of the Roman. So if the Jews in the Roman period deliberately, or out of ignorance, drew upon and confused with the trauma of a period much earlier – what makes their representation of the Babylonian trauma so reliable and truthful? What if the Jews were also “emigrating” “all the time” even under the heyday of Babylonian rule? What if they were making up or confusing the Babylonian interlude with earlier reconstructions of trauma – say from the Egyptian “experience”? Modern archeologists and historians like Prof Zahi Hawas, seem to strongly support the theory [and conclusion] that Pharaonic society was not a “slave” society, and therefore the accusations of slavery within the Mosaic tradition is similarly suspect? 

By challenging and denying the reliability of one historical reconstruction of trauma by the use of another assumed historical trauma, even the earlier justifying one becomes unreliable and suspect – thereby making the whole exercise a futile speculation.

However, for the comparative trauma debate – modern scholarship appears to go for the version that Roman “atrocities” were a myth invented by “Zionists”. I would rather not go into the problematic aspects that this raises: was it the need to absolve an European “iconic heritage” (the Roman) from responsibilities of anti-Semitism? Was this need based on a panicked over-reaction to trying to absolve the role of the early Church in anti-Semitism and hence by association the modern Church? Was the urge to delegitimize the “Zionist” an overkill? These are issues to be debated or explored in how subconscious hidden political inclinations might still be colouring historiography – but for our purposes, it seems then that the Romans were not the chief culprits and they were perhaps not the cause of Jewish trauma as per modern so-called professional historians.

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