In Pragati: An earlier date for Indo-Europeans in Northwest India

Between 4500 BCE and 2500 BCE, in the steppes north of Black and Caspian seas, in what is Southern Ukraine and Russia, there lived a group of people who spoke a language, called Proto-Indo-European (PIE). This language was the ancestor of later languages such as English, Sanskrit, Latin, Old Saxon, and Lithuanian among others. Once […]

In Pragati How old is Proto-Dravidian?

(This article appeared was published in Pragati in Julu 2013. This is an expanded version of an earlier post) According to linguists, there is a relation between the Sanskrit word satam, Latin centum, Old Saxonhunderod and Lithuanian simtas; these words derived from a common word in an ancestral language named Proto-Indo-European (PIE). The word in […]

In Pragati: What caused the decline of Harappa?

(This was originally published in Pragati) In The Wonder That Was India, A L Basham presented a dramatic picture of the decline of the Harappan civilisation. According to him, from 3000 BCE, invaders were present in the region. After conquering the outlying villages, they made their move on Mohenjo-daro. The people of Mohenjo-daro fled, but […]

In Pragati: The missing prophets of 1857

From the late eighteenth century to mid-nineteenth century, as the world changed through conquest, colonialism and capitalism, a set of people rose around the world, reacting against such changes. Ironically, global historians – historians who look beyond regional and local causes – call these men prophets in an ode to Abrahamic religions. During this period […]

In Pragati: Holy War by Nigel Cliff

(This book review was published in the September 2012 issue of Pragati) Urumi, a Malayalam historical film released last year was set in 1502 CE, the year Vasco da Gama made his second voyage to India. The turning point in that movie is when Gama captures Miri- a ship filled with pilgrims returning from Mecca- […]

In Pragati: Another nail in the Aryan coffin

(This article appeared in March 2012 edition of Pragati) The Aryan theory has gone through many revisions: Historians and archaeologists like A L Basham and Mortimer Wheeler advocated an invasion theory where invaders triumphed over the natives due their military prowess and superior weapons. These invaders originated in Central Asia: one branch migrated to Europe […]

In Pragati: Book Review – Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road

(This review appeared in Oct 2011 edition of Pragati) In the 19th century, Britain went on a world wide bloodthirsty rampage: they were involved in the Crimean War (1853 – 1856), Anglo-Indian war of 1857, Second Opium War (1856 – 1860) and the Anglo-Sudan War (1870s) and a photographer named Felice Beato was present to […]

In Pragati: Secrets of the cellars

The 8th century CE was a period of Hindu resurgence in Kerala. Adi Sankara, who wrote about Advaita with literary force and philosophic depth lived during this period. The Tamil poets—Saiva nayanars and Vaishnava azhvars—created large volumes of influential devotional literature and triggered a popular mass movement. Economically these were prosperous times due to extensive […]

In Pragati: Book Review – Churchill's Secret War by Madhusree Mukherjee

Three days after Germany invaded France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, Winston Churchill inspired Britain with the words, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” These words—Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat—is the title of a book by John Lukacs which analyses Churchill’s motivational speeches during World War II as American and […]

In Pragati: Book Review – Operation Red Lotus by Parag Tope

In late 1856, some strange practices began to surface in parts of north India. Red lotus flowers were circulated in garrisons which housed the Native Infantry. The subedar would line up the troops and then hand a flower to the first soldier, who would hold it and pass it down the line. The last one […]