Monday, November 06, 2006

hampi -- the remnants of vijayanagar

nov 6th, 2006

yes, ghostwriter, it is a very good idea for all of us nationalists to troop to hampi, to view what i consider the true 'teardrop on the face of time' -- the wantonly destroyed city, which at its peak was the world's largest and richest city, with a spread of 550 sq. kilometers. huge, it was, and enormously wealthy.

here is what i wrote in some unpublished material about how vijayanagar saved south india and preserved its civilization:

The South had the good fortune to be protected by that great bulwark: Vijayanagar. During the time of this empire, there was a flowering of the intellect south of the Vindhyas, while the north was engaged in warfare. For instance, there is the little-known Kerala School of Mathematics and Astronomy around 1400 CE, which invented the ideas of the calculus and infinite series.

For 300 years, Vijayanagar – this under-appreciated, 'forgotten empire' – ensured that traditional Indian-ness remained un-extinguished. And that is the simple answer for why the South is better off: because of Vijayanagar, which ensured cultural continuity. To support that point, in the South the areas that are most under-developed today have large Mohammedan populations: parts of Andhra, northern Karnataka, and Malabar in Kerala, i.e. places that faced jihads, violent conversions and loss of cultural continuity.

i have a lot of photos of my visit to hampi some years ago. the best time -- in fact the only time -- is in december because it is blazing hot the rest of the year.

both the glory and the destruction are amazing. it had seven huge bazaars, each of which are the equivalent of a giant shopping mall (one is a kilometer long) where according to contemporary travelers, they sold gemstones by the liter, not individually -- they were so abundant. and one of the bazaars was the prostitutes' bazaar -- there were that many customers for ladies of the evening!

and when the mohammedans won a victory -- apparently because mohammedan generals in the vijayanagar army turned coat and beheaded the 90-year-old king during the battle to ensure their fellow-mohammedans' victory -- they burned the city for six months! they wanted to reduce the place to ashes and the erase the civilization of the place. the only thing that survives are mutilated stone sculptures, but they are themselves so magnificent you would think that the entire citizenry did nothing but sculpt the whole time.

it brings tears to one's eyes.

and this is the reason that marxist 'historians' have downplayed vijayanagar -- because it was the biggest obstacle to mohammedan advances and shows how hindus resisted mohammedanism fiercely; it shows how incredibly prosperous india was and could be again; and it shows how, protected by vijayanagar, hindu culture survived in the south, which is the reason the south is now doing well.

all of which negate the hogwash perpetrated by the 'eminent donkeys'.

best book on the history of vijayanagar is this ebook freely downloadable from the web:

a forgotten empire, vijayanagar

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3310

i have some other books of pictures that i bought in hampi, for instance:

hampi, from the dept of archaeology, karnataka, photos by t s satyan, text by srinivasachar


4 comments:

AGworld said...

Key question -- can we do it again?
Make a 500 sq km city (the size of mumbai today) that can match and exceed the singapores of the world -- and be a place where hindus can be a majority and hold their head high? Unlike in india today, when you're made to feel ashamed of being a hindu?

Or have we fundamentally lost to plot to the 4Ms?

I would like to hope there's a chance

indianpatriot said...

Deccan Airlines is introducing a direct Bangalore Hampi flight.
There are many places in India which still maintain traditions of Vijayanagar empire but it escapes the traditional pseudo secular English media. Here is an example from Toilet Paper of India.

hundred kilometres north of Bangalore, I am at Mathoor, a quaint hamlet that sits pretty with coconut and arecanut (supari) plantations along the Tunga river. Here I feel I am caught in a time warp.

Out of the train at the station platform, I see students and teachers wearing white dhotis and angavastras wrapped around them as they sit under a peepul tree the open-air class is in session. This village of 5,000 residents, Hindus, Muslims, tribals and all others speak Sanskrit, the language of the gods.

The postman, while delivering mail is heard saying: "Today you have two letters and a bill" in Sanskrit. I see graffiti on the wall to keep the village clean, in Sanskrit. Siddique Ahmad and Kysar Khan, both graduating from school, relate slokas as effortlessly as their classmates.

They sport "nishtantu doorvani" (wireless long-distance voice, i.e., mobile phone) and explain that Sanskrit study begins from the Montessori level, and parents and children talk Sanskrit at home.

I speak to Avadhani, a Vedic scholar, who explains that the practice goes back to 1512 AD when the emperor of Vijayanagar gifted the village, known as a centre for learning Sanskrit and Vedic studies since ages, "to the people".


The gift deed inscription on copper plates is with the archaeology department. There are students at Mathoor who have come from England and Europe to learn Sanskrit. Many village people have moved to the cities as Sanskrit professors, software engineers and even violinists.

An illustrious example is that of Mathoor Krishnamurthy, director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bangalore. After class, the children are seen reading comics in Sanskrit and playing games. Boys will be boys and disputes arise even in these tranquil, archaic surroundings.

I notice two kids fighting in Sanskrit, and a bystander shakes his head disapprovingly at that kind of behaviour, points to the boy who yells louder and says to me with a grimace: "Sarameya matighoorghoorayate" (growls like a dog.)

Two young women are exchanging their nishtantu doorvani sankhye (mobile phone numbers) in Sanskrit as my train pulls out of the station

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MORHIA said...

Thanks for shedding some light , on the old majestic vijayanagar.

Madhwa said...

Rajeev,
While no doubt Vijayanagar was crucial in saving the South of the Vindhyas from Islamic aggression, your observation(or lack of it!) on the absence of or ruining of the local culture in the northern part of Karnataka, is dead wrong! In fact, the people of northern karnataka, especially, Hindus, are over achievers in music and literature. Some of the greatest Kannada poets(Dr.Bendre, one shining example!) and greatest of all times Hindustani muscians, BheemSen Joshi, Mallikarjun Mansur, Kumar Gandharva, Gangu Bai Hanagal, et. al.,are from this "Manly Rea". Please do not humiliate these great people because of your lack of knowledge about these places! In fact, Madhwa saints flourished in these parts of Karnataka. Vijaya Dasa, Shri Pada Raja, are some Hindu Madhwa luminaries that kept Hinduism alive! In fact, the famous Madhwa Saint Sri Vyasaraja ruled Vijayanagar as a proxy to Krisnhadevaraya when the latter abdicated the throne for an year due to Sarpa, Dosha, so the legend goes...