Whose Common Era?

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Students are taught a one-sided history, no matter the school or state. 

Millennia of history, written by winners of wars and purveyors of ethnocide, is unravelling. Disrespect and erasure of non-European civilizations has been etched into the fabric of the English-speaking world at all levels, especially in the public education system. In elementary school, the history of this settler colonial state starts with Christopher Columbus sailing West across the Atlantic Ocean in three tiny ships to trade with Indians. No discussion of the fact that India was prosperous [1] and complex with a Vedic literature [2] that plausibly seeded Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Democritus. Instead, there is a mention that India had nice spices. We get pablum on how the Christian/Catholic Capitalist Settler Colonizers used brutal violence to expand their Dominion in their New World, while the Native American Indian was nearly eradicated. Instead of 500 years of attempted genocide against the Indigenous people of this land, children are taught that Indians helped the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving. We are going from Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 to Columbus sold 9-year-old girls into slavery, to be raped. It is written in the words of his men [3] and his own words [4]. I will not hold back my words.

Starting with the word “Indian” itself, Europeans mislabeled a diversity of cultures and civilizations, which has stuck. The ancient people of the Americas were diverse and complicated, but nearly wiped out and replaced. The mislabeling of an oppressed people by the oppressor in the oppressor’s language, is part of the conceptual framing of colonization and ethnocide. Fundamentals of the way society is organized in the English-speaking world, are about to change. The resurgence and rejuvenation of indigenous human civilizations shall be crucial to transcending the European colonizer’s Christian narrative that used Manifest Destiny to conquer, destroy, and create the modern world. The strategic pre-meditated systematic assimilation and then destruction of numerous indigenous civilizations needs to be recognized and reconciled if this truly shall be humanity’s common era.

Mahmud of Ghazni [4] is very much like Christopher Columbus in that he documented his ruthless barbarity in his own words, in his own journals, and in the letters shared with his people. Plenty of Muslim mosques are known to have been built using materials from razed Hindu mandirs to express social order and religious hierarchy under Islam. We were never even given a hint at the numbers of Hindus who were erased -- murdered, captured, enslaved, raped and/or forced to convert -- to create the Mughal Empire and then the British Raj. In that same way, winners of wars project a heroic accounting of history to justify the spoils of their barbarity.

There was no lesson on the rapacity of the East India Company [5] and how $45 trillion in wealth was extracted from India through a sophisticated colonization plan [6]. The colonial roots go deep in America’s education system and it is no accident that winners write the history and then project their narrative. In high school, the first Advanced Placement class many students take is European History. For teenagers in America, it is the one-sided history, the accumulating micro-aggressions in popular culture, and the continued bullying of Hindu youth to this day [7], that illustrates the fact that we are only scratching the surface of Hindudvesha [8].

The Mughal Empire was a unique civilization where a minority of Muslims dominated the more numerous Hindu, Jain, Buddhist plurality, and under which Sikhism grew along with a sophisticated government that codified apartheid. Europeans learned Sanskrit to interpret Hindu texts, especially the Vedas [9] and then proceeded to tell Hindus what their ancient texts really mean while laying the groundwork for conversion to Christianity – the ultimate gaslighting. Both Muslims and Christians co-opted key parts of Hindu culture to facilitate their control of the land, resources, and people.

William Jones “discovered” Hinduism, James Mill denounced it, Thomas Macaulay disrupted it, Max Mueller digested it, and Jawaharlal Nehru regurgitated the colonizer’s narrative about Sanatana Dharma. At the crux of the battle for history is the specious speculation of European Christians like Max Mueller and Mortimer Wheeler that Vedic civilization was seeded by Aryan invasions [10], later changed to migrations [11]. The Aryan empire, especially the hypothesized Aryan invasion seeding Vedic culture around 1,500 years Before Christ (fitting the literal Biblical timeline) has been thoroughly refuted [12][13]. Across multiple disciplines such as archeology [14], linguistics [15], astro-archeology [16][17], genetics [18][19], and through common sense, the evidence shows there was no Aryan invasion or large-scale migration bringing Vedic civilization to India. Yet, academics and some European Indologists still believe, regurgitate, and defend weak positions, while avoiding debate. The alternative is the more coherent and parsimonious explanation that Vedic civilization grew out of India [20]. As we discover more ancient archeological sites [21] we get a fuller version of history that shows that the Indus River Valley Civilization was flourishing millennia before a fictional Aryan people migrated. Harappa was robust with representation of Vedic knowledge systems in the form of altars, rituals, idols, figurines, and urban planning 5,000 years ago [22].

Because generations of people have been indoctrinated in the Eurocentric global education system with a whitewashed history, the critical period of 1453 to 1492 needs attention as a fulcrum of civilizational battle between the Abrahamic peoples. We are on the verge of the refutation of the Eurocentric global economy dependent on violence and exploitation since Inter Caetera in 1493 and the other Papal Bulls of the 1400s. The crescendo of Muslim jihad forced the Catholic Church to reformulate their crusade in 1453 when Constantinople was claimed as Istanbul by Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire. On one side of the world, the Roman empire evolved and spawned the English-speaking United Kingdom, which created and distributed the self-reproducing colonial project across the planet in competition with the equally rapacious Spanish, Portuguese, and French colonial projects, all supported by an unbroken line of Catholic Popes. Colliding into it, was the Muslim world which assimilated [23] and then tried to erase thousands of years of Hindu contributions, expanded the scope of slavery in Africa [24], and stretched from the Great Wall of China to the Steppes of Europe. There is a pervasive oppressive denigration of all things indigenous, and with the conflation of the Hindu and Indian identities, the complicated genocidal-existential tension that exists across civilizations continues through modern day geo-politics.

Our global economy has evolved from blatant slavery, mass murder, dispossession of land, and genocide through “civilizing colonization” to a complicated geo-political framework where independent and semi-dependent nation states and non-state actors with layers of religious, economic, geographic, genetic, cultural, political, and historical identities are constantly triangulating against each other and for their people.

The systematic effort to marginalize, disrespect, and trivialize Hinduism has been an ongoing project of Europe for nearly three centuries. Most Americans are not aware of this, and some subconsciously buy into simplified false narratives that depict Hindus as tribal, superstitious, hierarchical, oppressive, violent, and dangerous. The British creation and enumeration of caste [25] still shapes public consciousness, while stereotypes and generalizations supported by anecdotes regurgitated by a biased media are held up by a colonial academic framework and continue to poison public discourse.

Hindus throughout the common era have been a huge, fractious, and diverse population. Divide and conquer was used expertly by claiming Varna as a system of hierarchy and oppression where the Brahmins ruled, dominated, and oppressed the others. Do public intellectuals, teachers, and spiritual leaders oppress wide swaths of society today? Could that even be possible? It is the epitome of hypocritical anti-intellectualism to claim that educators and curators of knowledge, wisdom, and indigenous culture were the ones oppressing laborers, exploiting merchants, and manipulating soldier/administrators to subjugate society. The insidious genius of English colonization was to undermine, destroy, and denigrate all forms of Hindu knowledge systems, language, and culture to the point that a section of Indians, including a former Prime Minister, participate in and support the devaluation of Hindu knowledge, tradition, culture, and contributions.

History from different perspectives presents different theories, facts, experiences, biases, and even timelines. There are forces on all sides that would use religion, violence, economics, and knowledge systems as tools for power and control. Throughout ancient history with modern warfare no outlier, lies and manipulation buttressed by ideologues have led to hundreds of millions of unnecessary human deaths and the destruction of cities. Instead of the cycle of violence, let us elevate Vedic thought and dharmic principles towards enlightenment for those who seek it, while moving all of us towards peace, comfort, opportunity, and a new common era founded on the unflinching truth.

Posted in Distortions in Hindu History, Global Impact of Hinduism, General
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