Sunday, September 25

“Godnapping” in the Ancient Near East

this was so fascinating, kings would kidnap the God Statues of the countries and kingdoms they conquered and took them back...

now this is something that India should have done as well, instead of breaking the idols and temples and mosques, you take it away to your own kingdom, eh? much better idea, no?

See the article here.

I captured the cities of TarbaŠĻ£u and Yaballu. I carried off 30,000 people, together with their possessions, their property, their goods, and their gods. I destroyed those cities, together with cities in their environs, making them like the tells after the Deluge. – Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 BCE)
When Mesopotamian polities went to war, the successful party gained more than just territory. Triumphant kings boast in their inscriptions that they carried off royal family members, deportees, and precious goods and treasures. Often nested in these lists is a more unusual type of loot: the gods of the losing king or polity were also moved into the victorious king’s homeland. This particular removal of gods, called “godnapping” by modern scholars, is attested over a long period of Mesopotamian history, from the start of the 2nd millennium through the 5th century BCE. But how can a mortal carry off a divine being against its will?
Ancient Near Eastern gods were represented on earth by cult images. Often anthropomorphic, the images were made from a wooden core with precious metals and stones as decoration. These statues would have stood in temples, locations that were thought of as the houses of the gods, and received offerings there. Because of the perishable nature of the core material, none of the original cult images have survived until today, but there are texts that describe the creation of these statues and the rituals that imbued them with the divine spirit. Reliefs also depict these divine images, as seen in an example from the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III’s palace reliefs in Nimrud, which features Assyrian soldiers carrying off an enemy’s gods. Most of the evidence for godnapping, however, comes from texts, including royal inscriptions, chronicles, and letters.

Friday, September 23

A beggar running alongside King George V's coach, 1920 - I will just leave this here

for more details, click here

Turns out the beggar is actually an old soldier. That is how kings and governments repay soldiers..hate hate hate war...rubbish.

Thursday, September 22

The Defining Moments in Bengal: 1920–1947

a very interesting book and its review is here.

I quote

The history of Bengal has been the focus of a great deal of recent scholarly attention. It has benefitted from waves of topical and methodological interest, but there has long been a need for a comprehensive book on the late colonial period that encompasses revisionist historical perspectives and their conclusions. Since most of the early Congress leaders came from Bengal, in histories written in the 1960s and 1970s that sought to study the clash between British colonialism and Indian nationalism, Bengal featured prominently. As the field of Indian history began to encompass provincial history in addition to nation-centric narratives, Bengal came to assert itself more eloquently by the end of 1970s. What followed were specific focuses on the theme of partition, the history of the subaltern groups, historical experience of women, peasant and working class struggles, communalism, and Hindu and Muslim nationalism. This multipronged approach enriched the area of study overall. Lacunas that remained were quickly corrected. For instance, in partition studies, Bengal was relegated to a backseat because of an overwhelming interest in Punjab, though Bengal was also partitioned. But subaltern studies in the 1980s rescued Bengal from this neglect by encouraging studies on the Bengali peoples’ experience of partition, particularly women and scheduled castes and tribes. No oversight prevailed for long. Now Sabyasachi Bhattacharya’s The Defining Moments in Bengal 1920-1947 offers a welcome broad history within the framework of the ‘constitutive elements of the life and mind of Bengal’ (p. vii), his argument for starting the book with 1920 being that the decade saw a ‘redefinition’ of Bengal’s identity and the birth of a “new ‘Bengali Patriotism’” (p. vii). 

Wednesday, September 21

so when and where can you see solar eclipses? Tintin Knows

this was such a mind boggling map

you would have expected the eclipse to be visible on so much more of the Earth's surface, at least I would, but not in this case!

read and wonder.

I am always reminded of Tintin in the Prisoners of the Sun whenever I hear Solar Eclipse, do you remember it?

Tuesday, September 20

Sunday, September 18

Slavery, Agriculture, and Malaria in the Arabian Peninsula.

this book review was an eye opener

talks about the prevalence of Arabian slavery for African Males...and the genetic footprint says that African DNA has now been included in the Arabian footprint...that will make them all upset, eh?

but interesting book review, will have to read it

Saturday, September 17

10 Ways to Adapt to Prison

this was an eye opener

and strangely enough, i saw many parallels while you enter any new company...

  1. Say less. When in doubt, say nothing at all. Listening, really listening, will educate you to the lingo and to what’s happening around you.
  2. Look, but don’t stare. Be mindful of what’s going on around you, without appearing to be paying attention to anything in particular. Don’t look in someone else’s cell — you might see something you don’t want to see.
  3. Choose your words wisely. Take care. Much weight is placed on what you say and how you say it. Refer back to №1.
  4. Blend in with your clothes. Be neither the best nor worst dressed. Go for basic colors and clothes, and keep them in good condition. Be mindful of gang colors: red, yellow, blue.
  5. Stay off the gate when you’re locked in your cell; don’t join the chorus of conversation. You can easily be played for a fool in this forum, and play easily turns to drama.
  6. Keep your own counsel. Your problems are your own. Most of your peers are dealing with similar issues, so they don’t particularly care about yours. No one in here owes you his time and patience.
  7. Be mindful of the doors you open — lending, borrowing, giving, and receiving can all lead to unforeseen consequences. Check for any attached strings. Find a few good friends.
  8. Don’t gamble or use drugs — there’s a sucker at every table, and if you can’t easily pick him out, it’s you.
  9. You are always on stage in prison, and people-watching (and ear-hustling) is taken very seriously in the land of the perpetually bored.
  10. More than any other outside influence (peers, staff, prison conditions), you can make life in prison harder on yourself. The time is what you make it. Get past self-pity, take accountability for your actions, and be receptive to good breaks when they come your way. If you’re not careful, prison can ruin you. But this can also be a place where you square yourself away, and actually learn how to live.

Friday, September 16

Diaspora Studies - India - Kenya

I have been looking spasmodically at the Indian diaspora area a bit (it is slightly connected to my current research, how food and condiment and spices and herb usage spread and fused with local cultures) and I am still getting the impression that we dont have that much of diaspora studies compared to say Chinese or Black or Irish diaspora studies. Curious that. A friend told me that its in English studies that its more prevalent, so have to check it out.

Anyway, came across this book, looked quite interesting.

Indians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora by Sana Aiyar

Indians have contributed to Kenya’s multiracial tapestry for centuries. At Independence, Indians constituted two percent of the population and formed its petty bourgeoisie. By 1968 Kenya hosted over 170,000 Indian residents. Occupying key roles in the economy and civil service, Indians played no small part in the twentieth-century history of Kenya. Yet, as Sana Aiyar argues inIndians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora, an overwhelming emphasis placed on singular territoriality, coupled with the racially bounded nature of scholarship on Kenyan nationhood, has resulted in the historiographical marginalization of Indians, who are assumed to be historically insignificant.

Thursday, September 15