Re: Indo-European Studies

Gerold Firl (
31 Jul 1995 13:02:40 -0700

In article <3v90gr$> (Virendra Verma) writes:

> Before invasion, Arabs had a profound respect for Indians in matters
> of astronomy, mathematics, economics and science. During 12th
> century, Mohmd Gazni discovered that Brahmins had lost in touch
> with these technological advancements. Ignorance and dogma of
> Brahmins led to the decline of Indian society. It encouraged
> Arab invasion.

India was a rich land compared to the eastern mountains and the plains
beyond, an ever-present temptation for invasion. Testing raids were a
constant occurance. Signs of weakness in the lowlands combined with the
presence of aggressive peoples to the west (the former a fairly regular
pattern, the latter almost a constant) would lead to invasion. Forget about
astronomy and mathematics; barbarians were interested in the military
balence of power and the potential for profitable conquest.

The real beginning for islamic incursions was late 10th century, continuing
through the 16th.

The interesting question is why india has been at such a consistant
military disadvantage WRT their western neighbors. Maybe the best way to
look at the question is by drawing a map of territorial carrying-capacity
and looking at the gradients; there is very little motivation for
inhabitants of the punjab, or the ganges valley, to move toward the poor
mountainous lands of the hindu kush or himalyas to the west and north,
while the rich lands of india represent a lucrative prize for nomads.

> Brahmins, fearful of their losing power on Indian/Hindu
> society, opted for cooperation with the Arabs. For example, when
> Mohmd Gazni was looting somnath temple, Brahmins advised the kings
> not to defend the temple as the God will automatically take care of
> the Arabs.

Well ... the indian path of renunciation extolled in the ascetic ideal,
existing in opposition/complementarity with the sensual ethic of the kama
sutra/tantric budism/early krishna worship, was not an ideological base
well-suited to preserving a martial ethic. It's more than just the
brahmins, it's indian society as a whole.

Hindu armies don't seem to work very well. Any idea why?

Contrast with the organizational model which islam provides for a military
unit. In islam, each soldier is part of a chain of command which leads,
ultimately, to allah himself. The entire society is structured around a
heirarchy, where the ultimate source of command is irrefutible; the
allmighty. A child raised in such a society has an excellent background
for becoming a soldier. Discipline is reinforced by both material and
supernatural sanctions raised to the highest levels immaginable. The hindu
mindset was not directed towards martial success.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf