collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘buddhist’

The Northern Alliance and history repeating itself

Following was written in Nov. 2001:

The current events in A’stan have an uncanny resemblance to some very
less known events in Central Asia that affected India’s history in a
significant way. I just felt that I must post this as there may be
lessons to be learnt from this in today’s context. After having
smashed many Indian rulers, Shihab-ad-Din Muhammad Ghori, the Afghan
Sultan, decided to settle scores with his Northern neighbor Muhammad
Shah of Khwarizm. In 1204 AD Ghori marched on Muhmamad Shah with a
large force to seize territory north of the Amu Darya. His forces
were strengthened by the mercenaries and cannon-fodder (there were no
cannons then) he had acquired from the Ghaznavid territory of Punjab
after he had taken over that. Compare this with the struggle between
TaliPaks and the NA of today (Literally the descendents of these
respective parties). Ghori routed Shah on the banks of the Amu Darya
and marched into Khwarizm. The great Mongol ruler, the Ghur-Khan of
the Qara-Kitai, had excuses to open hostilities with the Moslem Ghori
as his troops had executed buddhist merchants (In return the Ghur-Khan
had some Mullahs nailed to their mosque doors). The Khwarizm Shah
Muhammad who was his vassal saw a great opportunity in this, and
humbly approached his suzerain, the Ghur-Khan, to make common cause
against the Afghan Sultan Ghori who was now marching straight into
Central Asia (A superpower, and the NA make an alliance!). The
Qara-Kitaian Mongol cavalry was sent forth under their able commander
Tayanku-Taraz who defeated Mhd. Ghori near Hezarasp and Shah got to
occupy the territory. Then, the Mongol cavalry trashed Ghori in a big
way in Andkhoi, west of Balkh and sent him fleeing into India with all
his entourage. Here, he was of course killed by the the Khokars in
1206. Soon aided by the Mongol suzerain of his, Muhammad Shah seized
most of A’tan starting from Herat, then Ghor and finally Ghazni. This
ironically drove the whole Ghorid clique into India to take shelter in
Delhi with their agent Qutub-ad-Din, who invited them with open hands
and used them extensively in India in war against the infidels. The
most prominent of the hordes that migrated in this event was the
Khalji horde- one of the biggest nightmares we have ever seen in our
history.

The fleeing TaliPaks of today being redirected to India is a real
dangeras the Ghorid agents in Delhi. Also note the western press until
a few days ago was waxing eloquently about the Afghani invincibility.
The true superpowers of the past ages- the Mongols on two occassions
and Timur-i-lang, have thrashed them badly. So after all history is
repeating itself- is it not ironical that even the USA has to follow
the footsteps of the Kha’Khans of yore (from Baghdad to Balkh)!

bAvari in the land of the assakas

The sutta nipAta, which is the oldest of the bauddha Pali texts gives a
remarakable account of the brAhmaNa penetration
of southern India. A brAhmaNa named bAvarI lived in srAvasti in the realm of the
ikshvAkus prior to the time of the
buddha. He is said to have borne 3 marks of a great being and was a purohita of
the ikshvAkus and a teacher of the
prince. He however, lost interest in his comfortable position and sought to
become a recluse teacher. He along with his
students travelled to dakkhinApatha and entered the realm of the horse tribe,
the assakas (ashvakas). Their land lay in
the basins of the godAvarI and the mUlaka (mULa) rivers. The rAja of the
assakas was a certain andhakarAjA, who gave
the bAvarI a plot of land for a 1000 coins. bAvari and his team lived here
subsisting on roots and fruits. They encouraged
the settlement of a large village of local in their vicinity. By visiting this
village bAvarI and his students collected a large
amount of offerings from the village and conducted a great vedic sacrifice.
After that he was apparently informed by a deva
of the coming of the Buddha. Now in his previous janma bAvarI was supposed to
have been the yadu king kattavAhana
who ruled north of those regions.

Who were the assakas of the godAvari region? Being the horse tribe they were
clearly the megalithic horse men of the
vidarbha region whose archaeological sites are extensive from the 800-600BC.
They appear to have spread from here to
the entire southern penisular country. Now the deities of the of pastoralist
tribals of south India are all horse riding
deities similar to the assakas. Further the mahAbhArata alludes that the abhirAs
overtook the yadu realm after the
intercine killing and the fall of dwAraka. Now the same abhirAs and other
pastoralists of peninsular India called gollas,
yadavas, abhirAs etc associate themselves with the yadus. The name of the king
of the assakas andhakarAjA is also a
yadu name, so also is kattavAhana. It may hence be reconstructed that after the
fall of the Indo-Aryan yAdavas their
native mercenary cattle breeders gradually took on the yadu paraphernalia and
expanded southwards. By 800 BC they
appear to have formed the powerful assaka state that had alread assimilated many
elements of the Indo-Aryans, probably
including prakrit and some elements of the Aryan religion. They still
predominantly maintained their own deities, who were
now depicted in horse borne form. They may have also transfered the names of
some ancient yadu heros, like kArtavIrya,
to their deities. This may also explain certain tamil ruler claim decent from
the yadus of dvAraka. They probably were in
reality descendent of the assaka complex. However, the fact that bAvarI had
reached their land and instituted brAhminical
practices suggests that the brAhmin presence was probably carried to the Tamil
regions directly with the expansion of
these megalithic people. Hence it is no surprise that the earliest Tamil
literature already shows a brAhminical influence.

> Is assaka < azvaka or asmaka? Many history books give only the latter
> name. Since some Prakrits comtemporary to Pali confuse the palatal and
> the dental sibilants, <asmaka> could be later hyper-sanskritisation of
> assaka. What do you think?

I could come up with the following:
OIA>Pali/Pkt
vismarati>vissarti (forget)
rashmi>rassi (rein, hindi: rope)
So we have a very occassional sm/shm>ss. Hence theoretically asmaka can give
rise to assaka.
However, there is some evidence to support your proposition that asmaka was
reconstructed back from Pkt by using
templates like rashmi or vismarati. There is another ashvaka tribe that lived in
the NW. They were a sub-branch of the
kambhoja, aNu lineage and are called as such in the Pauranic sources. They are
refered to as the assakenus by the
Gandharan Greeks. But the later writer asanga terms them as asmakas, suggesting
that he reconstructed it from assaka
into asmaka.

In the Hathigumfa inscription one line is said to state that khAravela sent a
large army westwards to strike terror amidst
the assakas. This confirms the position of the assakas of bAvarI. Apparently
this was an out flanking operation to prevent
the assakas from making common cause with the draviDas attacking kalinga by sea.

Muhammad Tuglaq’s invasion of China

“1337 A.D.

Mahomed Toghlaq had heard about the great wealth of China and decided
to possess that for himself, so says Ferishta. The saner of his
courtiers warned him against doing so. They told him that such a
daunting task was beyond his capability. Mahomed Toghlaq instead
decided to listen to sycophants. He put together a great force that
comprised of 1,00,000 horses and made his nephew, Khoosrow Mullik its
commander. He ordered that forts and camps be built all the way
across the Himalayas. That task accomplished, the army made its foray
into China. The Chinese awaited them in strength. They were far
numerous, better equipped, familiar with the mountain terrain and
physically superior. Mahomed’s army was attacked with a fury they had
not even imagined before – and routed. As they made a retreat, the
Chinese, who had the advantage of attacking from a higher altitude,
chased them mercilessly. To make the matters worse, rains and floods
cut off the escape routes of Mahomed’s army. The Chinese massacred
them within 7 days and just a handful returned to tell the story.
Once the enemy was humiliated, the Chinese returned, not even
bothering about the territory that was theirs for the asking.”

To be precise this massive defeat that was handed to Mohamed bin Tughlaq in
1337 was by the armies of Toghan Timur,
the Mongol Kha’Khan who was then ruling over China. The army was comprised of
light Tibetan cavalry divisions and a few
heavily armored Mongol squadrons. Ironically this was one of the weaker Mongol
armies at time when the Mongol empire
in China was already only a pale reminder of the fierce force that it was under
Kublai, the ancestor of Toghan. This was
also one of the rare occassions when a Buddhist army gave the Moslems a much
needed punch in the face. The Tibetan
Buddhists, unlike the Indian BUddhist maintained a large force of horse borne
archers. Tughlaq’s men while having good
horses were simply out of touch with involved archery shootouts after their easy
conquests in India. This battle is a very
important data point to show how the Turkic armies had degenerated since the
days of Alla-ad-din due to the neglect of
archery.

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