India, Bharat, Hindustan, Aryavart, Tamilnadu, Malaydesh, Kalinga or Gondwana?
|Ill. 1: Bhill children at Holi festival in Satpuda Ranges, Gujarat|
Bhill aborigines in India do not use their thumb in archery to this date.
Call this a living memorial of Ekalavya, or unwritten history.
Cult of Tree Worship and Holi Festival are animistic customs from antiquity.Other societies adopted them with different meanings and/or reference.
Bhill's Holi Festival is unique.
After our Independence there was debate on what should be the name of our nation; I read somewhere. Now I don’t remember particulars. In that discussion, it was impossible for 'Gondwana' to appear, even by accident. However, anyone uses any of the names, India, Bharat or Hindustan, according to one’s convenience/occasion.
Word ‘India’ comes perhaps from 'Hind'. The Persian word 'Hindu' is derived from River 'Sindhu'. However, 'Bharat' is not a translation of 'India'. But why two names? Is this a sign of two minds or deceptive policy or inferiority complex?
Our neighbour Sri Lanka, a small nation, was also a British colony. But they had no difficulty to push the name 'Ceylon' away. East Bengal pushed aside 'East Pakistan' and by taking 'Bangladesh' preserved their identity.
Why then did we get stuck? In reality, we are very much in need of, and fond of, certificates from others, especially from the white people. And also we are fond of names (hero worship), to change names, also to call names!
However the name 'India' might have been continued as a memorial of our political and intellectual slavery. It is possible, if we see our craving for imported foreign goods that is visible after Independence. What to do? We also do very much love history or the Past!
I was going through a Marathi book on linguistics. Its basis was Marathi is Aryan language and it evolved from Sanskrit to Prakrit to Marathi. (I think the book is based on this hypothesis.)
|Ill. 2. Social and Cultural sub-groups in India|
Something similar might have happened while deciding the name of our nation! They might have missed the context to the diversity of country's history, geography, society and culture etc. Whole attention may have emotionally been moving around Aryan culture!
Naming a Nation needs dedicated handling. Basically the British brought the scattered States and regions together and gave it a shape of a 'nation'. It should also be kept in mind that by this time the disciplines of archaeology and anthropology were well established.
|Ill. 3: India in Vedic times (author unknown)|
In Persian the region north of Vindhya ranges was named 'Hindustan.
The word 'Hindu' itself is Persian, derived from name of river Sindhu. Indus Civilization existed around river Sindhu. That civilization vanished, but people survived. Great empires / civilizations vanish, but 'ordinary' people prevail.
This is a simple lesson of history. God may be merciful, but Srishti - Mother Nature - is ruthless. Otherwise where are Aryans and Vedic culture today? Whatever culture is visible around today is probably a parody or adulteration or caricature?
Before Aryans came here there were Indus Civilization, Dravidians, and even long before them there were Aborigine communities. The aborigines had languages and cultures, and they do have even today.
Truly ever since Homo sapiens came in existence they received the gifts of language and culture from Srishti - Mother Nature. And they also received wisdom to change or transform their 'way of living' according to the state of place-time-environment.
All the aborigines of the world have their ‘way of life’ attuned to Nature. In other words: This is ‘religiousness’ imbibed in their body-mind-conscious for millennia; this is vocation (Sahajadharma); this is not a 'religion' or ‘magic’ that civilized societies are used to, or do understand.
Therefore, despite several and different assaults upon the aborigines by civilized societies time to time, those who survived annihilation, they continue to sustain until now. Living in natural environment, they are not in proto-historic state. However, having gone through the test time their 'will to live sanely' is extraordinary and steadfast.
But to deprive Adivasis – aborigines – of their natural habitat and environment by taking away or destroying it means to kill Adivasis; it amounts to annihilation even if they are kept physically alive.
It may be acceptable to the State by the prevailing laws, but it is not 'justice'. To impose civilized 'life-style' is injustice; their conversions to other faiths or dogmas are religious atrocity or blasphemy! There are no superior or inferior cultures.
In the Law of Srishti – Mother Nature – there is no room or regard for civilized orthodoxy. Moreover there is no place at all for any hierarchies created by humans in the realms of Mother Nature. Such civilizations are lost in the past. History is the witness. This is well established by the recent tsunami that hit Japan.
Historians, while writing history, have several subjective and objective constraints / limitations. History, however, by its residue – by-products – of its contemporary cause and effect, means-goals, is always / constantly present before us, and also within us by mimesis. One must have ability to read it with courage and impartiality.
During geological time, there are constant movement /upheaval in the Earth. But they may not necessarily be visible. In the history of Earth a super-continent separated into five pieces and spread out across oceans. They are present South America, Australia, India, Africa and Antarctica. But India then in the super-continent was not the same as is today; it was only the southern part of Deccan Plateau. Himalayas and North India did not exist then.
|Ill. 4: Gondwana in the History of Earth (Source: scotese.com)|
Eduard Suess [1831-1914], Austrian geologist did put forward the idea of super-continent (1861 A.D.) and named it 'Gondwanaland'.
Gondwana situates in central India, where Gond aborigine tribes live since unknown times. Even now there is (?) thick forest. Eduard Suess had no vested interest in India, Gondwana or Gond people. Indeed he was a world citizen.
|Ill. 5: Map of Central Provinces (1903 AD) shows Gondwana|
As civilized societies took over their habitat
the Adivasis retreated in the remaining forests.
A known eaxapmle is destruction of Khandav Wana in Mahabharata.
|Ill. 6: The British time map shows Gondwana in Central Province|
The British Map shows ‘Gondwana, but India/Bharat fails.
However, present Indian maps don't even mention the name of the unique region. Isn't this enough reason to show how mean and racist the present Indian rulers are?
While declaring 'secular state' on one side, how modern India, or 'the first world India', continues their Aryan racism is evident from this example! By ignoring their historical presence, the Govt. has eliminated the presence of entire Adivasi – aborigine – world, The Fourth World India!
In the Constitution of India there are these words, “India, that is Bharat”. (I am an ordinary citizen, and not an authority on constitutional matters.) By now, I understand, there have been about ninety-four amendments to the Constitution. Hundred years ago the British made a draconian law, 'Land Acquisition Act', which had been amended only about ten times. Now, we hear, it is being rewritten, anew?
Indian Republic has now passed 60 years. Though late, at least Supreme Court of India has awakened to acknowledge presences of Adivasis. On January 12, 2011 the SC of India gave an important verdict in reference to Adivasis – aborigines – of India, which reaches the first and decisive step.
(See link: India, largely a country of immigrants says Supreme Court of India
< http://remidesouza.blogspot.com/2011/02/india-largely-country-of-immigrants.html >)
So far, this work is done by the 'Govt-the-Judiciary' of the Govt. of India. Now the work that remains is for the 'Govt-the-Lawmaker' and the 'Govt-the-Executive' to do. This is harder task to do.
It is harder because to remove or to break a 'mind block' is not an easy task. Boundaries of continents change; courses of rivers change; mountains erupt where there are plains; sea shores change; borders of nation change; once a super power USSR gets dissolved. What is in a name?
Beginning with the name, what historical errors Independent India / Bharat has been making? Whatever errors, they must be corrected. Then present errors in making / future errors could be avoided. This action certainly makes long range effects on national and international levels. For example, there may be resistance from the partisan Orthodox / vested interests, as well as new directions to thinking, and the honour of the nation will scale Himalayan heights.
Eduard has already introduced the meaningful historical name 'Gondwana' 150 years ago by naming the super continent. It refers to ancient 'aborigine peoples' and 'forests' on the Earth (Both are vanishing because of assaults and annihilation by the powerful civilized societies). Now only stamps of amendment procedures to the Constitution remain!
Gondwana: 'Gond' stands for, beyond the particular, all aborigines and also wandering – gypsy, Laman, Banjara, Romano, shepherd etc. – communities of the World who hail from ancient times. 'Wana' represents Forests, tree cover, natural / organic 'Agri-Aqua-Horti-culture' farming, but not mechanised-industrial farming.
From here onwards begins the chain of corrections of material and moral errors in the practices and policies. It also must begin with writing (or re-writing?) new textbooks on history, geography, civics, sociology, economics, politics, commerce, and other subjects, for the old and young generations.
Millions Unemployed people – the educated and the literate-illiterate – will get 'work' for this action in all regions; because the primary sources are the People. Hundreds of languages will get “scripts” and bring literacy that has been languishing for ages. This is more down to earth ‘urgent need’ and 'less costly' then sending a spacecraft in the sky.
'Lotus', the national flower, the seat of mythical Sarasvati, will then truly bear a thousand petals. May it symbolize the control over destruction of plants and forests; may the Adivasis and peasants, instead of just hearing words of promises, see in reality the days of 'plenty full water, plenty full fruits' – Sujalam Suphalam – hopefully!
Remigius de Souza | Mumbai | Holi: 19-03-2011.
1. This post is translation from the original Marathi post published on author's blog Remichi Marathi Boli.
2. Illstration 1. Photograph of Bhill children was clicked 40 years ago by the author.
3. Illustration 2. Social and cultural sub-groups of India, after the cover page of 'Seminar', Issue 226, 1978, New Delhi.
4. Sources of other illustrations: Internet.
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.