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For Your Discovery. Exploring: India, Itihāsa, Ideologies, Invisible Hands
প্রদীপ্ত মৈত্র (Pradipto Moitra) Profile picture J Profile picture 3 subscribed
Mar 22 7 tweets 4 min read
Indian Civilization's 3-Body Doctrine

In Hinduism, the Jivatman is said to be composed of 3 aspects:

-Sthula: Physical
-Sukshma: Mental
-Kāran: Causal

The Upanishads & Yoga Sutras explore this doctrine in-depth.

But what if we applied this doctrine to India itself? 🧵Image Sthula

Regarding the Jivatman, sthula refers to the physical body that we use to engage with our senses & feelings.

It is the physical matter of our body. Our sensory organs help us observe the world.

Our Prana, the life force that sustains us & physiological processes.Image
Mar 4 11 tweets 9 min read
One of my most fascinating visits in India was going to Jama Masjid in Delhi.

Some confirmations & other surprises from my priors 🧵 Image Walking up to Jama Masjid firstly consists of walking through a bazaar up till the main gate & stairs.

Saw both Muslims & Hindus in the bazaar (more of former while latter were less & mostly shopping).

The grandness of the gate is the first thing that stands out to you once you reach. This theme of size & grandness is an important spark of thought as I walked across the mosque.Image
Dec 4, 2023 6 tweets 5 min read
The Jewel in the Crown 🧵

The Making of the British Raj

With the Marathas enduring a catastrophic result at the Third Battle of Panipat, an opening formed. Pink men dressed in funny coats who had no business in the Indian heat began to show up at the edge of Indian waters.

They wanted to trade.

They were obsessed with measuring. Their curiosity was amusing to many local Indians, but these pink men or angrezis (Englishmen) would pay no mind and would continue to write and exchange.

Some parts of India were rough for them, so they hired local security in addition to bringing their own foreign units. They paid better than the permanently drunk nawab or opium-addled raja and were much more reliable.

The English were rivaling the mercantile castes in their money-making abilities. Arcane foreign financial methods and obsessive measuring grew their rich chests as if they were employing a Miami-based plastic surgeon.

From the rattle of the coin purse eventually grew the rattle of sabers. Humble operations in Calcutta in the early 18th century would transform into a financial juggernaut that possessed the most fearsome army in India by 1815.

The British East India Company combined financial power, military discipline, and most importantly, institutional brilliance to conquer India in its entirety.

The Anglo was the new Ashoka.
Image Some say that the British “made” India with their imperialism. If you’ve read this far, you know that’s not the case. But why the British are essential in the idea of India is twofold.

Firstly, British bureaucracy and administration proved to be a better way to organize government than many earlier Indian editions.

This doesn’t point to an inherent superiority of the English or the deficiency of Indians; it’s just to say that there is something special about how the British organized society and state.

It’s one of the biggest reasons the British Empire succeeded. Compared to many Indian crowns, the British East India Company brought better rule of law, less corruption, and even better public infrastructure, as more reliable transport meant easier trade.

Money that was spent on a kingdom’s defense and courtly excesses was now routed to commercial pursuits. Early days proved more peaceful under the East India Company, but over time the operations became increasingly extractive.

More consequential, though, was the eventual meddling in Indian internal affairs and society. This, combined with the aforementioned economic extraction, would bring tumult to the British Raj.
Nov 28, 2023 5 tweets 3 min read
The Call of Swaraj 🧵

Indian Proto-Nationalism in the Maratha Empire

While great kings such as Rana Sanga, Krishna Devaraya, Lachit Borphukan, Mihira Bhoja, and others all resisted the Islamic advance, there is one ruler who stands out.

The Tiger of the Deccan, Shivaji Bhonsle possessed a vision that would become the prototype of Indian nationalism centuries later.

At 15 years of age, Shivaji sought to create a “Hindavi Swaraj” or a country based on the self-rule of Hindus.

This is a stark ideological departure from previous Hindu kings primarily attached to land or caste, with a recent exception being from the still smoldering ruins of an adjacent Vijayanagara, an empire that, in many ways, is an ideological antecedent for the Marathas.
Image After a bit of dancing between vassal and rebel for the Adilshahi Sultanate and Mughal Empire, Shivaji launched his mission for self-rule.

What initially began as a territorial tussle soon evolved into a war for survival as Aurangzeb sought to eradicate the Marathas from root to branch.

The Western Ghats would soon roar “Har, Har Mahadev!” as Maratha guerrilla tactics made the hills appear to have eyes and bushes possessing swords sharpened by the armor of Mughal soldiers.

The war would drain both the coffers and spirit of the Mughal Empire. With the Mughals in retreat, the Marathas began a marathon in pursuit.
Nov 27, 2023 6 tweets 4 min read
The Scourge of the Sultanates 🧵

How the Advent of Islam Calcified Indian Identity

Chinese pilgrims to India did not note any violence between Hindus and Buddhists during their visits. Barring a few exceptions, Indians had no problem bowing to Buddha or Bhairav, Madhav or Mahavir, and so on.

The concept of religion itself was very different from modern Western or medieval Middle Eastern notions. This is why the arrival of Islam caused such a shock.

An “Other” was indeed recognized.Image While early Indians had the concept of “Mleccha” denoting people who did not follow Vedic lifestyles, there were no mass mandates for violence against them.

This contrasted with the levels of religious persecution and conflict that appeared as Islam entered India. Waves of Islamic invasions from Central Asia would leave parts of India as wastelands.

Temples were destroyed and looted, Hindus were enslaved and carried off to the steppe, and many Indians were faced with the choice of conversion or death.

Nomadic horse archers invading from the grasslands of central Asia were a regular feature for India. And indeed, each wave was laced with cruelty.

But the Scythians, Huns, and other invaders who came to India prior assimilated, becoming Indians themselves as they bowed to Indian gods.

But this recent bout of Muslim Turks was different.Image
Oct 10, 2023 5 tweets 5 min read
Indian Politics as the Ultimate Game of Thrones 🧵

The Transformation of the BJP into India's Big Tent Party

I’ve written much about modern Indian politics, and I don’t think I’ve encapsulated it better than this:

“There is nothing that quite mimics the bloodsport and realpolitik of Game of Thrones like Indian politics. Hereditary houses and regional satraps are now collapsing as a dragon-bellied leviathan engulfs India in an unending fire. From the ashes of the old guard spawn new elites eager to stamp themselves into the saga of the saffron march. A peerless leader of ordinary origin puts storied royalty to the sword as internal rivals are bashed by his hilt and banished to the hills.”
Image Like Indira Gandhi before him, Modi has become the nucleus of Indian politics. The BJP has become the most potent political machine on the planet under the helm of Narendra Modi and his trusted lieutenant, Amit Shah.

Term 2 of the NDA began with a bang, three to be precise.

Since independence, Kashmir had a temporary law that enabled it more autonomy than most other Indian states. Combine this with the latent supremacist and secessionist sentiments mentioned earlier, and the state has always gone through fits of rebellion as a result.

The government abruptly removed this act, Article 370, as well as removing the statehood of the province of Jammu and Kashmir.

Terrorism has plummeted since then with a trickle of Indians from other states moving in, something not allowed prior.

As critics raged against this decision, the BJP would celebrate another controversial and emphatic victory via the Supreme Court.
Jul 14, 2023 13 tweets 6 min read
🚨Came across @EqualityLabs' caste survey recently & I have to say it is quite possibly the WORST example of statistical & methodological rigor I've ever seen in my life!

How multiple outlets & politicians rely on it is beyond me.

Let's take a look together 🧵 Image First let’s see the results.

They are very damning of Indian-Americans characterizing caste discrimination as a widespread phenomenon & lower castes generally feeling unsafe in America due to said discrimination. Image
May 2, 2023 54 tweets 32 min read
The India They Saw - Vol 3: 16th-17th Centuries

India through the eyes of European visitors who had finally found a way to the origin of so many legends & luxuries - India. Explorers, merchants, missionaries, & more recount tales of the subcontinent.

🧵 Image The legendary origins of Kashmir are narrated by Francois Bernier, a French traveller from the 1600s. Kacheb (Persian name for Kashyap) was said to have desiccated a Great Lake to form the eponymously named Kashmir.

Kashmir’s borders & beauty are further elucidated.
Apr 10, 2023 29 tweets 17 min read
Notes I’ll be taking on The Rise & Fall of the British Empire by Lawrence James

🧵 Image Initial colonial ambitions driven by:

1. Competition with an adversarial 🇪🇸.
2. Promise of either richer life or less persecuted life.
3. HUGE success of tobacco farms in Virginia/Maryland.

English were very wrong in climate estimates which initially led to discouragement. The winter of New England & Canada was brutal to them while they thought Maryland downwards would be Mediterranean. Instead they were greeted with tough winters and mosquito laden deathly humid & hot summers.

South American tobacco seeded in Virginia changed the game.
Mar 17, 2023 15 tweets 6 min read
New Post!

My challenge to Critical Caste Theory via the heterodoxy of history.

Shudra kings, the bhiksha of Brahmins, caste in Buddhism, Bhakti poets, Dalit revolutionaries, & much more paint a very different picture of what caste was, is, & will be.… The primary purpose of CCT is to homogenize and accentuate a version of the caste system - the classic oppression pyramid.

Across time & space in India, caste is posited as a system akin to the Atlantic slave trade & rhetoric mimicked from CRT.

Heterogeneity is heresy.
Mar 15, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
Why is Pakistan failing? Because corruption.

Why is there corruption? Because of the zamindari/feudal system of law.

Why is there a feudal system? Because the army benefits & controls via it.

Why do people excuse the army? Because they protect us from India.

Why is India…… Pakistan, founded on simply being “not Indian” & Islamic identitarianism, cannot reform because the Army uses the specter of the Hindoo India as an eternal enemy galvanizing folks for decades.

Any dissent means you challenge the defenders of Islam. Both establishment &……
Mar 1, 2023 7 tweets 7 min read
Dattatreya, the Lord of the Forest, is one of the most enigmatic Gods of Hinduism.

A primordial ascetic traveling across India with pilgrimages following his footprints, Dattatreya took upon 24 Gurus from his journeys & the wilds 🧵 1. The Earth 🌏: Forbearance, tolerance, & healing even those who hurt you.

2. The Water 💧: Purity, serve all with humility, & transparency.

3. The Fire 🔥: Being unsullied by the material world, knowledge, & teaching others.

4. The Wind 💨: Detachment, freedom, & truth.
Feb 4, 2023 26 tweets 7 min read
What is Critical Caste Theory?

A mix of Critical Race Theory & Ambedkarite thought, this ideology is being galvanized top down not only in India, but especially from beyond 🧵 Critical Caste Theory posits caste as the prime axis of Indian society, politics, & religion. Specifically - caste discrimination and oppression.

India’s history can be boiled down to the battle between castes & the superstructure of upper castes oppressing lower castes.
Jan 24, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
The Rise of Magadh

Weaving Itihāsa, history, & theology, the opening of the serial "Chanakya" details the rise of India's greatest Mahajanapada at the dawn of the Axial Age.

From the Ramayan to the Mahabharat to Mahavir & Buddha's journeys, a city-state emerges into an empire. First mentioned in the Vedas, the region of Magadh was a land of mystique soon settled by Brihadratha establishing his dynasty.

The warrior-ascetics mentioned in the Vedas, the Vrātyas, were said to have originated from this land.

Jan 15, 2023 13 tweets 3 min read
There is a churn happening in American society surrounding one of its most successful minorities - Indian Americans.

Gas station owners & Dunkin Donuts clerks are now transitioning into Tech CEOs & politicians at an alarming rate for some folks.

A backlash is forming 🧵 I'll preface this by saying an overwhelming amount of Americans seem to either admire or pay no special mind to Indian Americans.

The issue is at the edges of the political spectrum: Among the far-right and far-left.
Jan 3, 2023 7 tweets 3 min read
How India has progressed in the few years 🧵

Firstly tap water access driven by the Jal Jeevan Mission @jaljeevan_ Electrification across India
Nov 29, 2022 6 tweets 3 min read
The Nāsadīya Sūkta is known as the Hymn of Creation in the sacred Vedas of India.

Let’s see what @midjourney makes of it:

There was neither non-existence nor existence then;
Neither the realm of space, nor the sky which is beyond;
What stirred? Where? In whose protection? There was neither death nor immortality then;
No distinguishing sign of night nor of day;
That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse;
Other than that there was nothing beyond.
Nov 9, 2022 9 tweets 2 min read
A few days ago, I was in a CH room with some conservative friends.

I told them that they needed a new grand vision to combat against the grand vision of wokism. I suggested they take cues from Hindutva as it’s a successful non-LW movement in a very tough political environment. One person suggested the New Right.

I told them no - there’s too much dog-whistling of white nationalism, it’s too online, & it’s unserious at its core.

I told them that Conservatives need to be expansionary. They must reach out to perturbed Democrat voting blocs.
Nov 6, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
India as a model for the Global South is an interesting proposition & one still some ways ahead.

The economic plan is still panning out & still much to see but the socio-cultural portion is most unique I would say. Integral to India’s rise is its self confidence.

India’s intellectual class, heirs to the British Raj & purebred colonial pedigree, are under a massive siege at the moment. As a nouveau middle class led Hindutva is transitioning from electoral onslaught to intellectual attacks.
Oct 31, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
Ambedkar will meet the same fate as Gandhi & Nehru in due time.

As Gandhi & Nehru were desacralized by the internet, Ambedkar will be desacralized by a pseudonymous internet.

The BJP’s or any party’s arrests for blasphemy will only further his descent as light is shined on him. In general, I think it is good to see independence era Indian leaders in a *mostly* good light. Take the good from them, learn from the bad. Honor them but in no circumstance deify them.

What is happening with Ambedkar is utterly wrong. He is not a demon. But he is a false god.
Aug 30, 2022 10 tweets 5 min read
No party on this planet parallels Orwell’s Animal Farm than India’s Aam Aadmi Party, the AAP. From its idealistic roots to opportunistic power struggles, & eventually becoming consummately the corrupt force it was supposed to fight against.

The AAP = Animal Farm In both stories, we start off with a principled old leader who rises up against the corrupt regime, inspiring common folks (aam aadmi) across the land. He attracts various disciples who claim to be his greatest followers.

Anna Hazare = Old Major