Sunday, September 21, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
India has a rich and interesting history, taught to us in a very boring way. Even though we used to run away from our history teachers, there was a message that we all took from our not so pleasant history lessons. The lesson was: “Our elders had sacrificed a lot, and fought hard for our independence; they earned it from the cruel British”…and we believed them. As we grew older we learned history from other sources, and realized that the reason we earned freedom was far more complex than just the efforts of our elders. Though victorious, British were left wounded after World War II. The victory in World War II was mostly due to the efforts of Russia and USA, while Britain was left drained out of energy and resource. The grand empire was crumbling like a cookie, and they were not strong enough to keep their prized possession, India. And we also learned that, while the British rule in India was cruel, not all British were. So, was the history taught to us biased? Should we be ashamed?
Sunday, February 23, 2014
At the beginning of the christen era Funan kingdom rose to power because of its interaction with traders, especially Indian. However, by the end of 5th century the Funan Kingdom was on a decline. The trade route has shifted from Isthmus of Kra to Indonesia. Indonesia had the best spices and the traders now directly contacted them rather than Funan. Ironically, the prosperity of South East Asia started by the Funan led to their decline, while Srivijaya (Indonesia) thrived. There was a desperate attempt by Funan kings to change from a trade dependent economy to one that was agrarian. Many irrigational canals were built, but could not stop the downfall. By the mid of 6th century Funan Kingdom was dead. The political instability pushed the Khymer people further inland and they settled around the great lake of Tonle Sap. It was here that the Khymer Empire began to take its root.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Hindu religion, it is said, forbids people to cross the ocean which they call ‘kala pani’, or black waters. Beyond it lays the land of demons; once you go there you lose your identity, your religion. It was probably a desperate effort from the Brahmins to stop the adventurous traders who were making their own destiny. The traders were growing rich and powerful, challenging the authority of the priests. Indian traders have been adventurous since the time of Indus Valley Civilization. Rome once banned Indian traders as they were draining out their treasury. Sindabad, an Indian sailor from Sind found his way into the Arabian Tales. The efforts of the Brahmins went futile.