[QUICK THREAD: WHOSE BIRYANI?]
1/9
The following screenshot landed in my DM this morning. Found it intriguing, so decided to waste some time on it. This very short thread is about what I learned.

(screenshot courtesy @Prattyasamutpd1)
2/9
The claim that rice cultivation originated in India is debatable at best. There's two conflicting origin stories. One says it started in China, the other days India, the jury still being out on which one's older.
ucl.ac.uk/rice/history-r…
nature.com/articles/natur…
3/9
Even if rice did originate in India (a claim not conclusively supported by evidence yet), a dish doesn't belong to you if an ingredient came from your country. By that measure, Indians should shun wheat and buffalo milk. Idiotic, right?
web.archive.org/web/2013040322…
3/9
Biryani, sure that thing in its present form originated in India. But where in India and how? It was in the Mughal kitchens as a synthesis of Indian and Persian cuisines. Not sure how it gives any one community it nationality a right over it.
4/9
So, as anyway established, biryani originated in a Mughal kitchen as an Indian corruption of Persian pilaf. Now, some say pilaf is a corruption of Sanskrit pulao. At least one Indian author concludes on those lines. His name is K T Achaya.
5/9
In his book titled "Indian Food, A Historical Companion," Achaya claims that pulao finds a mention in Yajnavalkya Smriti, a Sanskrit text from around 400AD. Problem is, Achaya's reliability. Here's a critique shedding him to smithereens.
latimes.com/archives/la-xp…
6/9
So where does pilaf come from anyway? The first documented recipe can be traced back to a very precise name, Ibn Sīnā. That's why he's considered the father of modern pilaf. This man certainly isn't Indian.
7/9
The second primary reference to pilaf comes from the 16th century Persian philosopher, Mullā Ṣadrā. Again, no mention of India other than in the context of the Mughals. Also, do note what it says about rice cultivation in Iran long before the arrival of the Turks.
8/9
So Indology claims ancient Hindus were coming biryani because rice doesn't grow in the original Mughal homeland. Okay, that'd be Uzbekistan. Well, the region has known rice since at least 400AD. Babur came to India in 1505.
phys.org/news/2020-05-a…
9/9
Conclusion? Biryani is as Muslim as the kebabs, and as Indian as the cooks that invented it. Anyone who claims it because one of its ingredients "supposedly" came from india should immediately give up potatoes, tomatoes, chillies, and much, much more.

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More from @Schandillia

14 Oct
[THREAD: FROM TURTLES TO JANTAR MANTAR]
1/58
Long ago, a man got into a tiff with a turtle, kachhapa in Sanskrit. And emerged victorious, upon which he and his progeny assumed the title of Kachapaghat — literally, destroyer of turtles. With time, this corrupted to Kachwaha.
2/58
This, of course, is an etiological myth retrofitted to the clan's story around the 16th century to lend it a mystical aura.

There's one more, that traces the clan all the way to Kush, son of the mythical Hindu king, Ram. This is where the Kushwaha variant comes from.
3/58
Origin myths notwithstanding, Kachwahas are Rajputs. At least that's how they've self-identified since medieval times.

The story of this dynasty, as recorded, goes back to the beginning of the 11th century when a Dulha Rai arrived in Rajputana, today's Rajasthan.
Read 58 tweets
19 Sep
[QUICK THREAD: THE YAVANAS]
1/22
Long, long ago, a people inhabited the regions around the Aegean Sea — Roughly what's today Greece and western Turkey. They were called the Pelasgians. Classical Greek folks like Homer called them, often reverentially, their ancestors.
2/22
One day, upset over something their king did, Zeus unleashed upon the world a mega flood to wipe the slate clean. Everyone died. Except Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha. Deucalion had built a boat to wait out the deluge. Later, the couple had a child.

His name, Hellen.
3/22
Hellen went on to court a water-nymph and together they had 3 sons, Dorus, Xuthus, and Aeolus. Dorus and Aeolus went on to spawn 2 primordial tribes of the region, namely Dorians and Aeolians, respectively. Xuthus further had 2 sons, Achaeus and Ion.
Read 22 tweets
17 Sep
[THE TEN SOCIAL MEDIA COMMANDMENTS]
0/10
Been practicing most of these for a while, will be more stringent now on. Doesn't amount to much, but that's my contribution to a cleaner, more evolved ecosystem. At least my own immediate vicinity.

Will you?
1/10
No hashtag, no trend-hopping.

Trends tempt opinions; often even on issues we otherwise wouldn't. This dilutes intellect. Energy that could've gone into deserving causes closer to hear get wasted on trivial garbage-of-the-day. Tweet to opine, not opine to tweet.
2/10
No sharing scandalous videos.

Not even to condemn. Not even to ridicule. Their makers thrive on reach; don't give them that. Issues can be highlighted without scandalizing them for shallow publicity. A rape can be condemned without sharing its livestream.
Read 12 tweets
14 Sep
[QUICK THREAD: THE JADEJAS]
1/63
Muslims took much from India, but they also brought much. One of those gifts was opium. From toothache to gonorrhoea and from cholera to male impotency, this thing was closest you could get to panacea back in the day.
2/63
Besides being an excellent analgesic (we still use morphine to kill severe pain), it was also a decent aphrodisiac and the mediaeval world's most sought-after date rape drug. But the latter wasn't exactly its most sinister application. That goes to something else.

Murder.
3/63
These were no ordinary murders because these weren't seen as crime, at least not at first.

Going further back...

Sure Afghans introduced us to opium. But not to opioids. That stuff predates them, and even Islam, by centuries if not millennia.
Read 65 tweets
1 Sep
[QUICK THREAD: XERXES, RIKSH, AND THE BIG DIPPER]
1/10
This brilliant thread by Crystal speaks of the word for dog in a tongue that went extinct more than 3,800 years ago. Do read even if you not into linguistics. And once done, come back to the rest of this.
2/10
Crystal's thread rang a bell. The word "ur" sounded familiar! There's coincidences, many coincidences.

About 6.5-4.5k years ago in the region around the Caspian, there lived a people we today call the Proto-Indo-Europeans. They spoke a tongue we call the PIE language.
3/10
The PIE folks didn't write anything down do there's no way for us to know for sure how they sounded or what their grammar was like. But with methodical linguistic extrapolations and educated guesswork, we've managed to reconstruct it with remarkable fidelity.
Read 10 tweets
31 Aug
[THREAD: VALLEY OF FLOWERS, FLOWERS OF CARNAGE — II]
1/166
A convoy of 4x4 army vehicles left the Trehgam base at 9 on the night of Feb 23, 1991 and barreled down a snow-covered road through the mountains. It was a bright moonlit night.

...about to get very dark.
2/166
Led by a Col. K S Dalal, the convoy carried at least 125 armymen of the 4 Rajputana Rifles, 68 Mountain Brigade in 4 companies: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta. The brief was clear: Get there, seal exits, search every home.

A cordon-and-search operation.
3/166
These operations are a standard response to any intel on a militant hideout in a village. This one was also triggered by one such tip. Of the 4 companies, Alpha and Delta were to "cordon," and Bravo and Charlie to "search."

Destination was an hour away.
Read 167 tweets

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