Was Buddhism a social reformation of Hinduism?

There is an academic notion that Buddha was not just a religious teacher, but a social critic and a revolutionary social theorist. He is also considered a social reformer who challenged the Brahmin orthodoxy. Buddha also reacted against the social structure made up of the four castes, which denied individual autonomy and human freedom. This […]

Indian History Carnival–79: Monasteries,Wodeyar, Ali Asker, Railways, Feminism

Ananya Deb visits the Buddhist monasteries in Maharashtra and has some pictures as well These five spots, when plotted on the map, reveal that they are on two lines going east from the sea – one going North East, the other South East. They run in the same direction as two major highways which emanate […]

Indian History Carnival–73:Bodhicaryāvatāra, Carnatic Music, Deccani Paintings, Burmese Ramayana

Early Tibet has the history of Bodhicaryāvatāra or “Way of the Bodhisattva”, which is one of the most  read texts in Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Writing much later still, in the 17th century, the Tibetan scholar Tāranātha claimed that there were three versions of the Bodhicaryāvatāra: a version from eastern India in 700 verses, and two […]

Indian History Carnival–72: Aryan Invasion Theory, Buddha, Ramayyan Dalawa

Koenraad Elst writes about the Vedic Conference that happened in Kozhikode in January and how the Aryan Invasion Theory still lives on Having spent time in the real world, interacting with real scholars, I know the real situation, which is that the AIT is still taught from all the important platforms. People who tell you […]

Abraham Eraly's Facile Spring

Abraham Eraly has a new book on the Gupta period which is considered a Golden Age in Indian history. There are two reviews of The First Spring.  The first review by Bibek Debroy has Eraly’s theory on why this period was considered as the Golden Age. First, Buddhist (and Jain) ethics emphasised equity and access […]

Indian History Carnival – 43: Sree Padmanabhaswamy, Vasco da Gama, Buddha, Indus Script

manasa-taramgini has an interesting post which goes into the question of illiteracy of Indo-Aryans. This TED talk will provide a good introduction to the subject. Indeed when one analyzes the early brAhmI inscriptions from megalithic sites in India and Lanka they routine co-occur with graffiti. The dravidianist Mahadevan claims that the use of these symbols […]

The Destruction of the Buddhist site of Mes Aynak

Last December, the Hosni Mubarak’s government gave 2.8 square kilometers of land around lake Qarun to developers to build a tourist resort. If the resort was built, a Neolithic site would have been lost. Now, due to the revolution, that land deal has been revoked. Archaeologists say the remains of rain-based Neolithic farming in the […]

A 17th Century Tibetan Deception

In 1679, China under the powerful Qing dynasty was trying to claim power over Tibet. The Fifth Dalai Lama was in his final years and the future looked bleak. To ensure that the spiritual and political leadership continued  he came up with a brilliant plan: he announced that he was retiring and appointing an official […]

Threatened rock art of Pakistan

At this point in time, survival of some ancient rock art may not be the most important item in Pakistan, but here it is anyway. Due to the construction of the Diamer-Basha Dam, some 30,000 carvings and inscriptions will vanish forever. The Shatial, Thor, Hodur, Thalpan, Naupura, Chaghdo and other sites of northern Pakistan having […]

Indian History Carnival – 40: Gandhi, Disaster Management, Buddha in Tanjore, Suicide Bombers

(Image via Melanie-m) What do our ancient texts say about disaster management? Sriram writes about a talk he attended which quotes Kautilya and Kalhana. In Tamil, the speaker gave details of how in Tiruvizhimizhalai the saints Sambandar and Appar sang songs during a famine for which the Lord gave them one gold coin for every […]