Odisha mariners were aware of monsoon before its discovery by Greek navigator Hippalus

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,583
USA
#31
India is so varied & diverse that it is very difficult to generalize. Did travel outside India / sea voyage attract caste penalty? - Yes & No. Do Indians eat beef? - Yes & No. Was there practice of Sati? - Yes & No. Do Indians believe in Hindutva? - Yes & No. Did Brahmins eat meat/beef in Vedic times? - Yes & No. Is caste system strong today in India? - Yes & No.

Every generalization for India has exceptions. So does a general answer to "Did travel outside India / sea voyage attract caste penalty?"
This is true when it comes to India and its history. As historian Prof. Stanley Wolpert puts it: "Nothing is obviously true of India as a whole. Every generalization that follows could be disproved with evidence to the contrary from India itself. Nor is anything "Indian" ever quite as simple as it seems. Each reality is but a facet of India's infinity of experience, a thread drawn from the seamless sari of her history, a glimpse behind the many veils of her maya-world of illusion".

That doesn't mean that one can't make generalizations about India, but one has to be lot more careful, and know that exceptions are really exceptions.
 
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Bart Dale

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Dec 2009
7,095
#32
I read it and the article is lacking in primary sources, contemporary sources of the time, and just repeats what is the common myth/belief.

For example, it it claims that Portuguese noticed s reluctance of Indians to engage in maritime.tradd, but not actual Portuguese source is quoted and the one source that is reference is some secondary source just repeating the common myths. A relictance js not the same thing as a refusal, and it noted there were Hindu merchants overseas, which undermines the very existence of that belief.

The article does confirm my belief that it was a belief invent by the high Castle Indian soldiers so they would not have to travel overseas or any where they did not like. The one revolt it mentioned was because they soldiers just did not want to travel, lying claiminc it was because they feared they might have to travel by sea she they were really going by land. The India soldiers just didn't want to travel, is all.

It is obvious that many Indians both in the past and now don't adhere to this belief. But it is a useful belief to invoke anytime you don't want to to travel overseas, you be willing to go Paris, but suddenly your religious beliefs won't allow you to go to some less desirable place overseas.

Since it was not universal, and not necessarily even common belief, it does not explain away any failures of Indians to establish great overseas empires like the Europeans .
 
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Aupmanyav

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Jun 2014
5,212
New Delhi, India
#33
.. it does not explain away any failures of Indians to establish great overseas empires like the Europeans.
I think it does. We were home-loving people, who had all that we could desire. Why should we go to far lands and engage in wars? If some merchants in coastal areas go for trade and come back with the monsoon, that was OK, but nothing like sweet home (even if that was in Thar desert). :)
ps: I long for my home city, Jodhpur, though we have severed all connections with Jodhpur.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#34
I think it does. We were home-loving people, who had all that we could desire. Why should we go to far lands and engage in wars? If some merchants in coastal areas go for trade and come back with the monsoon, that was OK, but nothing like sweet home (even if that was in Thar desert). :)
ps: I long for my home city, Jodhpur, though we have severed all connections with Jodhpur.

All.may be true, but then it wasn't a fear of loss of caste that kept them in India, but a love of home. The Hindus just preferred home over travelling abroad nothing wrong with that. Your own discription does not mention fear of a loss of aste as a motivation.
 
Oct 2015
998
India
#35
This is true when it comes to India and its history. As historian Prof. Stanley Wolpert puts it: "Nothing is obviously true of India as a whole. Every generalization that follows could be disproved with evidence to the contrary from India itself. Nor is anything "Indian" ever quite as simple as it seems. Each reality is but a facet of India's infinity of experience, a thread drawn from the seamless sari of her history, a glimpse behind the many veils of her maya-world of illusion".

That doesn't mean that one can't make generalizations about India, but one has to be lot more careful, and know that exceptions are really exceptions.
Thanks @kandal for the quote from Dr. Stanley Wolpert.

You are right, we have to make generalizations about India as a whole, but with care. For writing history of India as a whole, it is essentially narrate in terms of such generalizations. .

What is your assessment about five popular American/Australian authors on Indian history? Stanley Wolpert, AL Basham, Kulke & Kulke, Trautmann, and John Keay.


As regards Dr. Stanley Wolpert, I have refered to 'Encyclopedia of India' which he edited (4 volumes). It has good content on cultural themes, like Performing Arts, issues which normal histories omit. Haven't read the textbook he authored. Overall he comes across an empathetic scholar on Indian history compared to others.

May be, we could take discussions on this subject to a more appropriate thread. Probably, we should have another thread to discuss India specific historians, their approaches, strengths and weaknesses.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,583
USA
#36
Thanks @kandal for the quote from Dr. Stanley Wolpert.

You are right, we have to make generalizations about India as a whole, but with care. For writing history of India as a whole, it is essentially narrate in terms of such generalizations. .

What is your assessment about five popular American/Australian authors on Indian history? Stanley Wolpert, AL Basham, Kulke & Kulke, Trautmann, and John Keay.

As regards Dr. Stanley Wolpert, I have refered to 'Encyclopedia of India' which he edited (4 volumes). It has good content on cultural themes, like Performing Arts, issues which normal histories omit. Haven't read the textbook he authored. Overall he comes across an empathetic scholar on Indian history compared to others.

May be, we could take discussions on this subject to a more appropriate thread. Probably, we should have another thread to discuss India specific historians, their approaches, strengths and weaknesses.
I would say academic historians, Wolpert and Basham are great. They have produced great books on Indian history for commoners based on scholarly research that are easy to read and understand. I do not know much about Kulke and Trautmann. I wouldn't put John Keay in the historian category. He is more of a reporter of what other's views, so he tends to be on the light side. I liked his book on the discovery of Indian history though.

I believe historians should be like the judges and should not take sides and be empathetic only to the discipline of history.
 

kandal

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Aug 2015
2,583
USA
#37
"BALI YATRA" FESTIVAL IN ODESHA!
Of course Bali was an insignificant Island without any significant Ports for trading ----It doesnt mean Traders left from Odisha to Bali straight away and returned home! ---They began their journey when the monsoon changed its course every year during late Oct--Early November ---Hence coincides with "Karthik Poornima" festival !! They travelled first down south to Srilanka and then east towards "Suvarna Diwa"[ Golden Island] as known in the Vedic Litertures----which includes Sumatra, Java and also Bali island [Indonesia]---They interacted not only with Indonesia with Malaya, But also Cambodia and Philippines in Ancient times!
Maritime Connection with Bali Island is based on 79 pottery Sherds and other Artifacts excavated at "Sembiran" --North Bali, especially with the Arikemedu dated to 2BC--2AD.
Oriyan sailers were the pioneers of SE maritime trading ---So great was the maritime glory of Kalinga- the Poet Kalidas in his Rahuvansa referred the king of Kalinga as the " Lord of the Sea" And the Indians living in SE Asia even today known as "Klings" :):)
I do not believe that the king of Kalinga being named the lord of the sea, carried any weight. For example, the King of Calicut, Kerala, India where Vasco de Gama reached first, was also named Samudiri (lord of the seas), but neither he nor his associates wouldn't dare to travel the seas for fear of losing their caste. He had to maintain a navy of Muslims to fight off Portuguese naval aggressions.

In fact, when Vasco de Gama invited the Hindu ruling elite to come and visit his ships that were moored a little out in the Arabia sea for protection against any local attacks, none of them visited his ships. Only the lowly fishermen folks visited. He couldn't understand why. It took another voyage or so before he figured out such Hindu prohibitions.

I would assume this Bali yatra is just a local tradition. Pushing history here is a stretch. The great ancient Hindu temples in Indonesia are in Java in Prambanan near Yogyakarta (now abandoned and a historic site), and not in Bali.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,212
New Delhi, India
#38
The Hindus just preferred home over traveling abroad nothing wrong with that. Your own discription does not mention fear of a loss of aste as a motivation.
Indians have always moved from one region to another without any fear, the boundaries of kingdoms never mattered. That is why you have Gaur brahmins in Bengal and Saraswata brahmins in Goa. Even the warrior clans moved freely establishing new kingdoms. For example, the Rathores (Rashtrakutas) of Manyakheta in Karnataka moved to Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh (Jayachandra) and finally landed up in Jodhpur, Bikaner in Rajasthan and Idar in Gujarat.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,212
New Delhi, India
#39
I do not believe that the king of Kalinga being named the lord of the sea, carried any weight. For example, the King of Calicut, Kerala, India where Vasco de Gama reached first, was also named Samudiri (lord of the seas), but neither he nor his associates wouldn't dare to travel the seas for fear of losing their caste. He had to maintain a navy of Muslims to fight off Portuguese naval aggressions.

I would assume this Bali yatra is just a local tradition. Pushing history here is a stretch. The great ancient Hindu temples in Indonesia are in Java in Prambanan near Yogyakarta (now abandoned and a historic site), and not in Bali.
Muslims were ccepted in the Kerala matriarchal society as Mapilla (son-in-laws), so the difference between Hindu and Muslims did not exist.
"Mappila (the great child, a synonym for son-in-law/bridegroom) was a respectful, and honorific title given to foreign visitors, merchants and immigrants to Malabar Coast by the native Hindus. The Muslims were referred to as Jonaka or Chonaka Mappila ("Yavanaka Mappila"), to distinguish them from the Nasrani Mappila (Saint Thomas Christians) and the Juda Mappila (Cochin Jews). These three were the dominant the trading communities of historical Kerala."
Mappila - Wikipedia

As for Bali, it is your opinion. Most people here differ with that.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,905
Portugal
#40
In fact, when Vasco de Gama invited the Hindu ruling elite to come and visit his ships that were moored a little out in the Arabia sea for protection against any local attacks, none of them visited his ships. Only the lowly fishermen folks visited. He couldn't understand why. It took another voyage or so before he figured out such Hindu prohibitions.
Are you mentioning the ruling elite of Calicut in Gama’s first voyage?

I recall that in the first voyage many Indians went to the Portuguese ships to sell fish and other merchandise. And that some Indians returned to Portugal with the Portuguese, if they were Hindus or Muslims, I don’t know.

One thing is curious is that the Portuguese often mentioned the Hindus as “gentiles”, and often on the first accounts they had difficulty to differentiate the Indians (even thought in the beginning that they were Christians).

A side note, I recall an interview of the Indian historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam (a biographer of Vasco da Gama) when he stated something that at the time somewhat surprised me: “...Hinduism is a recent invention, as religion did not exist 400 or 500 years ago. What existed in India was a series of small religions, and it was only during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that Hinduism was invented, a kind of agglomeration of the whole religion.” (translation by Google)

The quote is from the interview that is partially online: ″Até ao século XX, Vasco da Gama não representava grande coisa para os indianos″ (sorry it is in Portuguese).
 

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