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Bharat Ek Khoj (Hindi: भारत एक खोज, Urdu: بھارت ایک کھوج,English: Discovery of India)

Bharath-Ek-Khoj-desibantu

Bharat Ek Khoj (English: Discovery of India, Hindi: भारत एक खोज, Urdu: بھارت ایک کھوج, ) is a 53-episode Indian historical drama based on the book “The Discovery of India” written by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, . The drama was directed, written and produced by Shyam Benegal with cinematographer V. K. Murthy in 1988 for state-owned Doordarshan TV serial.

The series dramatically unfolds and explores the 5,000 year history of India from its beginnings to the coming of the independence in 1947. It’s cast include Om Puri, Roshan Seth, Tom Alter and Sadashiv Amrapurkar. Jawaharlal Nehru was portrayed by Roshan Seth, who had previously portrayed Nehru in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982). While Seth enacted the part of Nehru as the story-teller at key points in every episode, Om Puri provided the narration.

Bharat Ek Khoj portrays the Indian history with some fictional stories . The timeline and the historical records it provided was a good source of knowledge about Indian history.

Lyrics


Bharat Ek Khoj: Opening track     

Sanskrit:Nasadiya Sukta,Rig Veda 10.129.1

nāsadāsīn no sadāsīt tadānīṃ nāsīd rajo no vyomāparo yat |
kimāvarīvaḥ kuha kasya śarmannambhaḥ kimāsīd ghahanaṃ ghabhīram ||

Hindi Adaptation Rig Veda 10.129.1

सृष्टी से पहले सत्य नहीं था, असत्य भी नहीं
अंतरिक्ष भी नहीं, आकाश भीं नहीं था
छिपा था क्या कहाँ, किसने देखा था
उस पल तो अगम, अटल जल भी कहाँ था

Hindi Adaptation Rig Veda 10.129.7

सृष्टी का कौन हैं कर्ता
कर्ता हैं यह वा अकर्ता
ऊंचे आसमान में रहता
सदा अध्यक्ष बना रहता
वोहीं सच मुच में जानता.
या नहीं भी जानता
हैं किसी को नहीं पता
नहीं पता
नहीं है पता, नहीं है पता………..

Bharat Ek Khoj: Closing track     

Sanskrit Rig Veda 10.121.1

hiraṇyagharbhaḥ samavartatāghre bhūtasya jātaḥ patirekaāsīt |
sa dādhāra pṛthivīṃ dyāmutemāṃ kasmai devāyahaviṣā vidhema ||

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.1

वो था हिरण्य गर्भ सृष्टि से पहले विद्यमान
वही तो सारे भूत जाति का स्वामी महान
जो है अस्तित्वमान धरती आसमान धारण कर
ऐसे किस देवता की उपासना करें हम हवि देकर

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.5

जिस के बल पर तेजोमय है अंबर
पृथ्वी हरी भरी स्थापित स्थिर
स्वर्ग और सूरज भी स्थिर
ऐसे किस देवता की उपासना करें हम हवि देकर

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.7

गर्भ में अपने अग्नि धारण कर पैदा कर
व्यापा था जल इधर उधर नीचे ऊपर
जगा चुके व एकमेव प्राण बनकर
ऐसे किस देवता की उपासना करें हम हवि देकर

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.9

ॐ ! सृष्टि निर्माता, स्वर्ग रचयिता पूर्वज रक्षा कर
सत्य धर्म पालक अतुल जल नियामक रक्षा कर
फैली हैं दिशायें बाहु जैसी उसकी सब में सब पर
ऐसे ही देवता की उपासना करें हम हवि देकर
ऐसे ही देवता की उपासना करें हम हवि देकर


Bharat Ek Khoj: Opening track     

Sanskrit Rig Veda 10.129.1

nāsadāsīn no sadāsīt tadānīṃ nāsīd rajo no vyomāparo yat |
kimāvarīvaḥ kuha kasya śarmannambhaḥ kimāsīd ghahanaṃ ghabhīram ||

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.129.1

Srishti se pehle sat nahin thaa, asat bhi nahin
Antariksh bhi nahin, aakaash bhee nahin thaa.
Chhipaa thaa kyaa, kahaan, kisne dhaka thaa?
Us pal to agam, atal jal bhi kahaan thaa.

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.129.7

Srishti kaa kaun hai kartaa?
Kartaa hai va akartaa
Oonche aakash mein rahtaa.
Sadaaa addhyaksh banaa rahtaa.
Wohee sach much mein jaantaa.Yaa nahin bhi jaanataa
Hain kisi ko nahin pataa,
Nahin pataa,
Nahin hai pataa, nahin hai pataa.

Bharat Ek Khoj: Closing track     

Sanskrit Rig Veda 10.121.1

hiraṇyagharbhaḥ samavartatāghre bhūtasya jātaḥ patirekaāsīt |
sa dādhāra pṛthivīṃ dyāmutemāṃ kasmai devāyahaviṣā vidhema ||

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.1

Voh tha hiranya garbh srishti se pehle vidyamaan.
Vohi to saare bhoot jaatee ka swami mahaan.
jo hai astitvamaana dharti aasmaan dhaaran kar.
Aise kis devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar?

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.5

Jis ke bal par tejomay hai ambar.
Prithvi hari bhari sthapit sthir.
Swarg aur sooraj bhi sthir.
Aise kis devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar?

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.7

Garbh mein apne agni dhaaran kar paida kar,
Vyapa tha jal idhar udhar neeche upar,
Jagarth Devon ka ekameva pran bankar,
Aise kis devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar?

Hindi adaptation Rig Veda 10.121.9

Om ! Srishti nirmata swarg rachaiyta purvaj rakhsa kar.
Satya dharma palak atul jal niyamak raksha kar.
Phaili hain dishayen bahu jaisi uski sab mein sab par,
Aise hi devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar,
Aise hi devta ki upasana kare hum havi dekar.

.

Episode 1 : Bharat Mata Ki Jai

Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Episode 1) The scene opens with a panoramic visual of India and its colourful landscape. Occasionally,as Nehru reached a gathering , a great roar of welcome would greet him-‘Bharat Mata-Ki Jai’! He would ask the crowd unexpectedl *more.. y what they meant by that cry, who was this ‘Bharat Mata’, whose victory they wanted? His question would surprise them and then, not knowing what to answer, they would look at each other. He persisted in hs questioning. At last a vigorous jat, wedded to the soil from immemorial generations, said that it was the Dharti ( the good earth ) of India that they meant. What earth was it? Their particular village patch, or all the patches in the district or province, or in the whole of India? Nehru would then endeavour to explain that India was all that they had thought and much more. The mountains, the rivers, the forests, and the broad fields which gave them food, but what counted ultimately was the people like them who were spread out all over this vast land. Bharat Mata was essentially these millions of people, and victory to her meant victory to these people! Travelling by train, the landscape and the landmarks flash past his eyes. He wanders over to the Himalayas and sees the mighty rivers- the remote Brahmaputra, the Yamuna, and Ganga – that flow from this great mountain barrier into the plains of India, from there source to the sea. India unfolds with its water fall and rivulets and seas, with her richness of life and its renunciation, of growth and decay, of birth and death. He visits old monuments Ajanta, Ellora and the Elephanta caves. He sees the lovely building in Agra and Delhi where every stone tells its story of India’s past . At Saranath, near Banaras , he could almost hear the Buddha’s first sermon . the inscriptions on the Ashoka Pillar’s of stone make there inscription speak to him. At Fatehpur-Sikri, he almost hears Akbar converse with the learned of all faiths . Slowly, the long panorama of India’s history unfolds it self before him with its ups and downs, its triumphs and tragedies. To him, there is something unique about the continuity of a cultural tradition through 5000 years of an unbroken history .

Episode 2 : The Beginnings

The Beginnings (Episode 2) When Nehru stood on a mound on a Mohenjo Daro in the Indus valley and all around him lay the house and streets of the ancient city that existed over 5000 years ago, he had the astonishing though, that any culture or civilization *more.. that has a recorded history dating back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic rock-arts should have a millennium-old continuity, while changing and progressing all the time. India was coming into close contact with the Persians and the Egyptian, the Greeks the Chinese , the Arabs, the central Asian, and even the people of the Mediterranean. Spread as far a part as Kathiawar in the west and Ambala district of the Punjab, people of the Indus cities had many contacts with the Sumerian civilization of that period. Indian manufacturers reached even the markets on the Tigris and Euphrates in ancient Mesopotamia. Our story unfolds lively transactions in commerce and art, exchange of silver based currency, temple rituals and processions carrying living goddesses on sequined shoulder thrones with scrumptious cross –country love affairs on the side. There is an over all stamp of sophistication in the decorated earthenware, the engravings on the seals, the humped bulls and the exquisitely supple-bodied dancing- female and statuettes. There is a surprising wealth of ornaments of gold, silver, precious stones and vessels of beaten copper. Who were these Indus people with their unsurpassed glyptic arts? Where did they come from and how cid they connect to there civilization of Persia, Mesopotamia and Egypt? It was an urban civilization where the merchants were wealthy and streets lying with small shop, giving the impressions of an Indian bazaar today. How did it decline and yield to the hordes of horse-riding invaders looking aggressively for farming space and abundant animal-wealth? We see the enactment of epic storey, the mysterious figure of Gilgamesh. The superhuman warrior in a fearsome mask, being placed for mercy, when equestrian marauders suddenly over run venue of the drama. Between the Indus valley civilization and the present in India, there are many gaps about which we know little, felt Nehru. But there is always an underlying sense of continuity, of an unbroken link, which join modern Indian to the far distant period of our half a millennium, when the Indus valley civilization probably began.

Episode 3: The Vedic People and The Rigveda

The rise of the Aryans, with their river-bound agricultural community, took place perhaps 1000 years after the Indus valley period. Could the Indus valley civilization disappear altogether? More likely, thought Nehru, it was a synthesis and fusion between *more.. the new Aryans and Dravidians who were probably the representatives of the Indus valley. There were other tribes and peoples who came to India from the northeast and became absorbed in India. The agriculturists were naturally looking for cattle-wealth as well as water even at the expense of others and were always deliriously happy when they reached a riverfront thet would perpetuate supply of sweet water to the fields. They sang paeans of praise for water: give us strength, O waters, like the mother’s milk to the infant and rid us of ailments; Give us cheers, O water, and offer us the elixir of life…. The other vital ingredient of life was fire to ignite which dry woods were rubbed . soon came the elaborate rituals of Yajna (the sacrifice fire) and fire-workship: We won’t perish, O fire, if you give us protection from perils and pestilences…. The compulsions of animal farming drove the Aryans to adopt many subterfuges like sending a partly-hooded (and protected) female spy to the antagonists and demand that they surrender their cattle-wealth to the superior race led by “Indira”; an early genric terms of any leader of men. On receiving denial, armed skirmishes would follow, with the Aryans routing the foes and usurping their cattle. In India , Nehru avers , in every period when her civilization (like that of the Aryans) bloomed, one would find intense joy in life and nature, not any precept of life-negation. There is a palpable pleasure in the act of living : development of art and music, literature and dancing, painting and theatre. We see, for instance, the addicted males drinking and gambling away the hole night and the hapless wives pining in the solitude of night, with death lurking behind. There was also the freedom to choose a successor to the dead leader as another “Indra”and to define new domains of power by letting loose a roaming horse and challenging any chief who would dare restrain it. The Vedas were the outpourings of the Aryans, who perhaps brought their ideas from their common stock, out of which grew the ‘Avesta’ in Iran, and elaborated them in the rich soil of India, surmised Nehru.

Episode 4: Caste Formation

The advent of the Aryans in India raised new problems, racial and political. The conquered race, the Dravidians, had a long background of civilization behind them, but Nehru has little doubt that the Aryans considered themselves vastly superior and a wide *more.. gulf separated the two races. Then there were indigenous tribes, nomads and forest-dwellers. Out of the conflict and confrontation of races gradually arose the cast system, which in course of the succeeding centuries was to affect Indian life so profoundly. As the drama reveals initially the tiller of the soil functioned also as priest, soldier or trader, and every one shared his problem with every one else. Indeed there was no privileged class. The caste division, originally intended to separate the Aryans from the non-Aryans, ricocheted on the Aryans themselves. Nehru figures out that, in an age when it was customary for the conquerors to exterminate the conquered races, caste enable a more peaceful solution: fitting the growing specialization of functions. Gradually, from among the mass of agriculturists evolved the Vaishyas as farmers, artisans and merchants; the kshatriyas, as warriors, rulers; the Brahmins, as priests and thinkers. Below thwm were the shudra, as labourers (inferior to farmers) and unskilled workers, Mythologically, Brahmins came from the mouth of Brahma, Kshatriyas from his arms, Vaishyas from his things and Shudras from his feet. Nehru points out that this was in keeping with the spirit of the time and kindred civilization like the Iranians had a four-fold division, though not petrified into castes and the Greeks were entirely dependent on mass slavery. That these castes must have been in a fluid condition and rigidity came in only later, is illustrated from the epics. In the Valmiki Ramayana, a Brahmin and his wife bring their 14 years old child and roundly condemn, for this event, their righteous king Ram who is inclined to accept the blame in the Mahabharata, the Pandava-guru Drona denies martial training to Ekalavya, the talented son of the hunter- chieftain, but the youth practices before the guru’s status and becomes a mighty archer. Discovered later, Drona asks him to cut of his richt thumb by way of guru’s ‘fee” to save the Kshatriya ‘pride’. Probably, cast was neither Aryan nor Dravidian, but an attempt at the social organization of different race, rationalization of the facts as they existed at the time, opines Nehru. It brought degradation afterwards, and is still a burden and a curse.

Episode 5: Mahabharata Part 1

When the fiery Pandavani performer Teejan Bai from chattisgarh, holding aloft an Ektara and alternating verse with prose describes the dialogue between the Pandava King Pandu and Queen Kunti, she is receating familiar episodes from the Mahabharata. Indeed *more.. the Ramayana and Mahabharta were the oldest names faliliar to Nehru from his earliet childhood. His mother and other ladies told him stories from the epics, taking him every year to the popular open-air performances ehwre the Ramayana story was enaced as Ramlila and vast crowds to witness it. These narratives and shows represented the typical Indian method of catering for various audiences, from the highest intellectual to the simple unread and untaught villager. Nehru opines that the Ramayana was an epic poem with a certain unity of treatment, while the Mahabharata was a vast and miscellaneous collection of ancient lore. Both must have taken shape in the pre-Buddhist period, though additions were no doubt made later. The Mahabharata eventually acquired 100,000 shlokas (verses)! Teejan Bla takes forward the narrative by donning roles of Kunti and Madri, who are anticipating their five mighty sons. Gambling games were common in the past-Vedic times and the dramatic narrative describes the royal bout of dice, where the eldest Pandava prince yudhishtira plays against the devious Kauravas and loses. He forfeits his money, jewellery,kingdom, weapons and horses, and even four brothers and himself, pawning quite unjustly wife Draupadi. The infamous Kauravas are seen attempting to disfobe Draupadi in the Pandavani performance, which leads to Bhima’s resolve to wreak vengby killing violently the Kaurava brothers, Duryodhana and Dusshasana, in the eventuality of war. The Pandavas are banished of the forest and, on return, Krishna acts as an earnest plenipotentiary to prevent war, but without success. The inevitable battle ensues, but since only the killing of relatives and friends is foreseen, Arjuna wonders what is the whole purpose. As Nehru observes, Arjuna is the symbol of the tortured spirit of man, which from age to age has been torn by conflicting obligations and moralities. In the classic discourse of the Bhagavata Gita, we are taken step- by –step to higher and more impersonal regions of individual duty and social behavior; of the application of ethic to human life; and of the spiritual outlook that should govern all. Essentially, the Gita deals with the whole human existence and is a call to action: to meet the obligations and duties of life, but always keeping in view the spiritual background and the larger purpose of the universe. Inaction is condemned, and action must be in a spirit of detachment, not concerned with its results. Nehru views the message of the Gita not sectarin, but universal in its approach.

Episode 6: Mahabharata Part ll

An enchating Kathakali dance unfolds stylistically Bhima’s drinking blood from the killed Dusshasana’s entrails and tying Draupadi’s hair. As the Pandava Kaurava battle revealed battle revealed, the post-Vedic fights were not over animals, but over *more.. land-holdings. The end of the Mahabharta war sees a battle royal between Bhima and Duryodhana as depicted graphically in the rare tragedy Urubhangam (The Shattered Thigh) by the classic Sanskrit poet playwright Bhasa. The king Duryodhana is fallen in the blood-soaked battlefields and his guru Balarama (Krishna’s Brother) is visibly incensed at the palpable unfairness of ‘striking below the belt’ by Bhima at Krishna’s instance. Duryodhana bemoans his lot and regrets his past misdeeds. Visited by the parents and son Durjaya, duryodhana consoles them and urgs them to view Kunti and Dropti as there kith an kin. The battle scarred Ashwatthama the son of Guru Drona Turms of looking for a vanish glory in war without the accolade of victory, taunting Durodhana that Bhima has trust his pride and spirit , along with his thise, when he struck him with the mace and seized him by the hair, Ashwatthama vanishes into the night , weapons in hand to slay the Pandove Sons were sleeping. Drawing from another classic play, andhayug, by Dharamveer Bharti we see the Kaurva king Dhritarashtra, wife Gandhari and there messenger Sanjay- with divine eyesight- confabulating and Ashwathama defing the saga-viyas , who wants him against unleashing Brahmashatra ‘the war had of ultimate distruction’ and curses him with eternal perdition of leprosy. The war is virtually over and Gandhari dilever his crushing corse Krishna- ‘ just as he did not prevent the war save her progeny of one hundred sons from getting slain, Krishna would bear entirely war and himself dying and ignominious death by and ordinary hunter’s involuntari’. The doomed destiney is excepted magnanimously by Krishna. The curtain also arrises on Bhishma, the Kaurav grate grandfather, wating on his battled, induced arrow –bed to breath his last and Youdhishtira seeking his valuable counsel for conducting governance time to come. The veteran warrior delivers many gems and Nehru thought his special emphasis on social well fair was not worthy, since it was against the prevailing tenets of individual perfection. Nehru quoted approvingly aphorisms like : ‘truth, self control, asceticism, generosity, non-violence, constancy in virtue, these are the means of the success, not cast or family ‘. Virtue is batter than immortality and life, true joy entails surfing a dig against avarice. The silk warm dies of its wealth and an injunction to the advancing people, ‘Discontent is these spur of progress”.what a treasure –trove of thoughts.

Episode 7: Ramayana Part -1

O hunter- don’t dare brake the love-chain, by killing mail-dove immersed with its consort in the conjugal bliss, proclaims the meditating saga Valmiki, outraged by the sudden forest- carnage and is amazed at his own utterance, for, he has just composed *more.. the word’s first time of verse! Nehru consider the Ramayana, its written by Valmiki, as a unique epic poem and loved by the people. He coated from the French historian Michelet extolling the Ramayana: there lies my grate poem, as vast as the Indian ocean, blessed, gilded, with the son, the book of divine harmony wherein is no dissonance. A serene peace reigns there, and in the midst of conflict an infinite sweetness, a bound less fraternity. Which spreads over all leaving things, an ocean of love, of piti, of clemency . Here are the Ramkatha singers from the north, with Rama’s name emblazoned on there apparels, praising enthusiastically the sterling virtues of Rama, the maryada purushottam, one of infinite purity, self control, sincerity, affection and boundless love. In the production of bhasa’s play, Abhishek, Sita is play fully tring out a valkal (arboreal skin) and accosting Rama on his impnding Abhishek (coronation). There is an evasive reply from Rama refring to a whisper of the made Manthara in to king Dashartha’s years and the foreboding of evil in Rama’s for a valkal , meant only for mendicants. Soon the premonitions prove true with brother Lakshmana storming in and accusing Rama of his nonchalance, when there is a conspiracy going on against his coronation. Rama stands by the parental commitment and abdicates the throne in favour of brother Bharata. It is clear now, Rama is proceeding to the forest for 14 years and wife Sita and Brother Lakshamana have instead on joining hands. The repentant king, having taking to his deth bed, is ranting about Rama, Bharta, on return, is beside himself with rage at his mother machinations and refuses to recognize her in the eventual coronation as there has to be king on the throne to protect the subjects, as inevitably as clouds have to be present to yield rains, he resolves to put Rama footwear on the throne and remain its ‘parton guardion’. Next, the forest- dweller Rama is to protect the medicating sagas against the marauding rakshasas(demns) against sita’s remonstrations. Intrusting contrast is visible between unban Ayodhya and the thickly-wooded Dandakaranya, and the forest-dweller demons are perhaps non Aryans : then part of an Aryanaisation Process. Yet Sita argument is quite valid: what is the rational for Rama to take upon himself the risk of eradicating the forest dwellers who are disturbed by the Aryans : advancing to the forest with there occupations and ritul? The Rama ends on the note of ‘clash of civilization.

Episode 8: Ramayana Part ll

While the Ramkatha singers are all praise for Rama’s many battles with the Rakshasas (demons), the vignette in lathakali dance show the fierce fights between Man and Demon, with defeat writ large for the latter. Ravana now enters the scene, suave and di *more.. gnified as would befit one whose father was from the higher class and who had received initiation into advanced scholarship. Listening to his sister Surpanakha’s ranting on how she was victimized by Rama and Lakshmana, and her raising an alarm that many demons including Khara and Dushana, Ravana’s kin, were killed in the northern forests, Ravana reluctantly enters into the fray and decides to punish Rama by kidnapping Sita. In a saga’s disguise, Ravana meets Rama in his panchvati cottage and receives surprisingly warm hospitality. Convincing rama to go away and capture the Himalayan Swarana (golden bear ) neaded for holding last rites of his departed father, he force fully and openly abducts Sita. The resistance offered by Jatayu, the super- bird and Rama’s dovotee, an his consequent fight to death come alive in the srailela chhau style with mask’s and musical support by flute and big Dhamsa(drum) . on discovering Sita’s disappearance, Rama curses himself. Incidentally, the non-Aryans compised not only domens but also Vanaras (Monkeys) . to rival kings of the latter are brothers Vali and Sugrive , whose enacted in seraikela Chhau Dance, supported by Ramkatha singing. Rama poses as the representative of the Ayodhya king Bharat and inlist the support of Hanuman to explore lanka. A vivid Kathakali enactment depicts the burning of Lanka by Hanuman and Seraikela Chhau the fight between Rama and ravana, describing the fall of the Titan, Ravana. Just as the above narrative has many departures from the popular Ramayana legends,a fascinating feature here is Rama’s desire to learn the statecraft from his archenemy Ravana. The fallen Ravana is still conscious enough ignore a haughty Lakshmana, but when Rama sits at his feet, the dying demon slowly opens up with his hard-earned experience as Marg Darshan (road-map) to Rama Kindness, love and charity to other are quintessential qualities; performing good deeds is important; anger, vanity and hatred are tantamount to bad deeds and to be discarded. Ravana’s mind went for severe ignominy to Sita: intelligent persons would not commit such acts. Nehru considers the epic Ramayana and its many legends containing enough grains of truth to abide by in the society, such as, truthfulness, keeping one’s words, heroism and, above all, undertaking sacrifices. To stick to one’s ideal may be difficult, but insurmountable to achieve.

Episode 9: Republic & Kingdoms

There is a widespread aerial view of ancient India. Nehru observes that in all probability, this India was a collection of small agriculturally based states. There were many tribal republics, some of which covered large areas. There were also petty kingdo *more.. ms and even city-states with powerful guilds of merchants. Nehru notes that whatever the form of organization, the tradition of city or village autonomy was very strong, and even when an over lordship was acknowledged, there was no interference done the line with a prevalent primitive kind of democracy. The above is illustrated in the working of the four principal kingdom in central and Northern India Kashi, Koshala, Panchala, and Magadha. The local autonomy is seeing as grately prized in the dramatic narrative , there is altercation when the traders liberty is severely interfered with cross border taxation by neighbouring kingdoms and royal councils take up consequent complaints. Ensuing discussion, local autonomy emphasized class affiliation are mentioned at the elder quote legends of a King army defeated by saga’s performing yajnas and sacrifices with primitive weapons. What emerges is the essential dichotomy between the democratic consils of shakyas and the autocratic kingdoms of koshala. Despite the Buddha Tathagata’s advice to his clan-people to resist if attacked, a treacherous koshala army which does not honour there commitment of honourable détente routs them. The floodgates open to koshalas control with the superior military force and all round devastation wrought in the shakya community. Nehru point out that kingship, originally elective, become hereditary according to the rule of primogeniture . women were normally excluded from this ride from the first born child. The king (or leader) was held presponsible if any thing went wrong. There was council of ministers (or adviser) and some kind of state (or autonomous) assembly. Where there was a king, he was frirly autocratic, thru functioning with established conventions. The high priest had and important position in course as an adiser. That the subject’s happiness was the king’s happiness was best enumerated in the Rama legend from the Ramayana and held as the ideal epitome of king ship.

Episode 10: Acceptance and Nagation of Life

Nehru finds in India tostreams of thoughts and action: the acceptance of life and the abstention from it developing side by side with the emphasis on the one or the other varing in different perioud. Yet the basic background of that culture was not on of *more.. other – worldliness or world-worthlessness. Even when it discous the world as maya (illusion) , it will took the world as it is and tried to live its life and enjoy its manifold beauty, in the upannishad times, from around 800bc the ethics of individual perfection grew, with the dictum. There is nothing hire then the person. There is a famous story of Nachiketa who journey to the land of the death and pleases Yamraj with his earnest quest for truth. In the promises boon, the youth seeks the ultimate warty of what happens after death. Enunciating the suprime philosophy of life, Yamraj says that only body dies dies not the soul, which persists to eternity. Nehru refers to mens restless life, ever questioning why, in surch of what, dos the water run out and cannot stop its flow for a movement? And the super human confidence : O sun of refulgent glory. I am the same person as makes the what thou art from the strong current of materialism came the lokayata shastra (folk- based tresties ) as reveld probdha Chandrodaya , an extant work derived from the atheist sage charavaka. The seen is that of nihilism, where the materialists denounces the Vedas, priest craft and traditional beliefs, inveighing against all forms of magic and superstitions then we see the ajeevika sampradaya (believrs in destiny) who are dancing asserting that there is no other world, no heaven or heal , no soul separate from the body. Nehru asserts that both budhism and Jainism wer brake aways from the vadic religion. Both lay emphasis on non violence and buildup organization of bhikshus (celibate monks ). Nehru feels that there was a certain relism and rationalism in there approach. Writing on the day of Bashakhi Purnima, when the Budha was both born and achieved parinirvna,(dimes) Nehru visualizes the prince Siddhartha noticing old age, disease and death for the first time and then the life – forsaking Sannyasin (ascetic). The colourfull odissi dancers in court cannot divert him and he leaves home at night in surch of truth .the seraikela Chhau, creates vividly, the ambience of the departures, of rigours in meditation, of many hindrances and finally the arriving at the truth. In teaching Nehru emphasized how the Buddha avoided extremes and adopted the doctrine of the Middle Way. Even the idea of nirvana (enlightenment) was far from mere nothing ness but a positive condition of life –affirmation. To graphic parables on the brigand Angulimala catch inner significance of Buddhism. Nehru points out how the images of the Buddha radiate sublime serenity and complete faith in human redemption.

Episode 11: Chanakya and Chandragupta – Part-1

After the gradual spread of Buddhism in India, Nehru notes that there were process to bring about racial fusion and amalgamation of the petty states and republics to build up a united, centralized state into a powerful and highly developed empire. Alexand *more.. er’s invasion of the northwest gave the final push to this development and two remarkable men arose who could take advantage of the changing conditions and mould them according to their will. They were chandragupta maurya, a little known ambitious youth and chanakya, his friend minister-counsellor, the Brahmin. Nehru cites Vishakhadatta’s classic Mudra Rakshasa, a play of the early Christian millennium. Chandragupta accosts chanakya the building author of Artha shastra, on the Ganga-banks and gently persuades him to become his friend, philosopher and guide. Chanakya is misunderstood and insulted by the power full emperor Nanda supported by the prime minister Rakshasa of the Magadha kingdom. Exiled and enraged , both leave for Taxlia to meet the Greek Garrisons and eventually Alexander himself . Chandragupta is fired by ambition to emulate Alexander whose conquest’s and glory are well known, and waits for an opportunity. The news of Alexander’s injury and eventual deth in Babylon (323 BC) is that god sent opportunity when Chandragupta, and Chanakya rouse the masses and capture taxila immediately. Seleucus, Alexander’s general, makes an abortive attempt to reestablished the Greek authority by crossing the Indus, but is roundly defeated by Chandragupta and his allies, brought over by an apple to nationalism. Under chanakya’s counsel, peace with the greeks is bought by Chandragupta marrying seleucus’s daughter, ignoring his earlier betrothed suvasini, the Magda counselor’s daughter. At nandas court, the lyrical chhau dance of Suvasini mesmerises the emperor who claims the daseuse to become his consort, against protestations of her counsellor father, Shakatara who is imprisoned. Suvasini makes a reluctant bride, but concedes only when she is infoned that the scheming Chanakya has freed hir father and taken him to join Chandragupta encourage. Shakatara is strengthened with Sariputra, ganadhipati (chief of republic), of autonomy of operations under the central kingdom. The scene ends with much bonhomie among the allies.

Episode 12: Chanakya and chandragupta – Part-11

The scene now opens with special entente with virochak, son of the deceased king Poras. For jointly rooling the kingdom with Chandragupta on an equally shared bases. This is agreed and chanakyas plans a pincer movement’s of troops with an element of sur *more.. prise into Patallali putra. Emperor Nanda and quen Suvasini are caught totally unawares. The royal couple while fleeing the capital in disguise, is discovered and Nanda killed with a poison arrow obviously, in Chanakya’s grand stratagem, honesty and humanity come only next to the “empire”. A squirming Chandragupta accuses Chanakya to have a heart of stone. The bereaved Quine spurns both chanakyas offer, and Malayaketu’s more politically motivated offer to marriage and seeks refuses in the buddhist monastery. In a last ancounter with Suvasini, now a Bhlkshuni (nun) Chandragupta, Wile looking for patronage of the Buddhist songha (organization), share his personal disillusionment with grand stand politics with her. In a last act of diplomatic skullduggery Chanakya prevent raksha from feeling and instead, persuades him to utillse his emperls talent in the service of noe emperor Chandragupta his erstwhile carchenemy. As Nehru summarises like Machiavelli in Europe, Chanakya was bold and scheming proud and revengeful, never forget his purpose, availing himself of every device to delude and defeat the enemy. He sad with the reins of the empire in his hands and looked upon the empror more as a beloved people then as a master. Chanakya’s final victory was obtained by sowing discord in enemy’s ranks. At the victorious movement, he induced Chandragupta to handover the insignia of his own hi office to the rival prime minister, rakshasa , whos intelegent and loyalty to his old cheaf nanda had impressed him gridy. So the story ends: not in the bitterness of defeat and humiliation, but in reconciliation and in laying the form and enduring foundation of a state. The curtains is drawn when Chanakya demits office. A Nehru’s worlds simple and austere in his life, uninterested in the pomp and pageantry of high position, Chanakya redeemed his pledge and accomplished his purpose and then retired, with drawing him self, Brahmin like, to a life of contemplation and completion of his first love writing Artha shastra. Nehru describe chandragupta empire covering the hole of India except for South, from the erabion see to the Bay of Bengal and extending in the north upto Kabul. For the first time recorded history, a centralized State Rose in India, with its capital in patliputra while the state was an autocracy, there was a great deel of local autonomy in the town and village units, and elective eldors lookafter the local affairs. This local autonomy was highly prized and hardly any king or emepror interfered with it. In a purly agriculture age, there was the thing like the control of the state.

Episode 13: Ashoka Part-1

The scene opens in Ashoka’s many-pillared hall in his place at Pataliputra (dug up in Nehru’s time in an incredible state of preservation). Ashoka, grandson of Chandragupta succeeded to the great Magadha Empire around 273 BC. Already the empire includ *more.. ed a far greater part of India and extended right intoCentral Asia, Of Ashoka Nehru quotes hg wells approvingly: Amidst the tens of thousands of names and monarchs that crowd the columns of history… the nameof Ashoka shines, and shines almost alone, a star from the Volga to japan his name is still honoured. China, Tibet, and even India , though it has left his doctrine,preserve the tradition of his reeatness… There is a discussion in the royal court of Bindusar about the wisdom of Ashoka continuing as a prince, as a viceroy in the north-western province of whichTaxila, the university centre, was the capital. There is some confidential information on the incipient feud between the designed Yuvraj (heir apparent) Sushima and Ashoka related to their incumbency to throne after the imminent demise of the ailing king.the prime minister assesses the espionage report on revolt in Taxila and sends Sushima there, Ashoka is at Ujjain meeting the business-leader there for possible support and obtaining his charming daughter for matrimony. There is an appeal for grant of land to build a Buddhistmonastery which finds ready support with ashoka, notwithstanding some Brahminical resistance. There are complaints about multiple taxation incurred by the business community which Ashoka solves gaining their confidence. The sick Emperor Biudusar is worried about quelling the Taxila unrest and is keen to call Sushima to Pataliputra to make him the heir-apparent. Ashoka anticipates the royal mind and ignoring a command to proceedto Taxila, turns up in the capital. By another slight of hand, he declares him as Raj-Pratinidhi(the royal representative) even before Sushimagets a chance. The feud for succession now hots up and the bed-ridden emperor can do precious little. By planning well ahead Sushima’s return route to Patliputra is obstructed by an outwardly polite Ashoka and Sushima’s plot for a frontal attack next morning is nipped in the bud by a swift assassination. The other princes, who could possibly prove recalcitrant, are also swiftly eliminated The way of Ashoka to his gloried destination is appreciably clear.

Episode 14: Ashoka Part-ll

Ashoka is now the Emperor and is relaxing with a vina recital in court. There is an interruption by the Buddhist emissaries from Ujjain on a tiding of gratitude for the nearly-completed monastery. The fun-loving youngest prince Tissa is disrectful to the *more.. visitors and makes matters worse by joucularly climbing on the imperial throne. The vaxed Ashoka gives him capital punishment for the fross misdemeanour and mitigates it by granting a reprieve of seven days on the ‘throne’ with boundless merriment! Tissa, already under a Damocles’ sword, hardly enjoys the reprieve and, when finally pardoned, seeks solace in Buddhism. As Nehru notes, only the southeast and a part of the south were beyond the empire’s way. The old dream of uniting the whole of India under one supreme government fired Ashoka. On the news of skirmishes againt the business community by the small Kalinga-rulers and disruptions in trade, Ashoka mounted an all out attack on Kalinga on the east coast and, despite brave resistance by the independent people of Kalinga, his armis triumphed. There was terrible slaughter in this war, as officially recoeded in one of Ashoka’s edict, cited by Nehru: Kalinga was conquered..150,000 persons were thence carried away as captive: 100,000 were slain many times that died…thus arose His Sacred Majesty’s remorse for having conquered the Kalinga, because the conquest of a country previously unconquered involves the slaughter, death and carrying away captive of the people, that is a matter of profound sorrow and regret… A highly paenitent Ashoka, goes out to re-call his missing brother Tissa. Traveling over hills deals, the emperor locates Tissa’s monastery, but the monk-brother declines to return, saying he has discovered the ultimate Truth in his new reclusive life under Buddha’s teaching. Ashoka dons monk’s robe himself and both brother devote themselves to the spred of Tathagata’s gospels of righteousness and goodwill. Ashoka creates public works for the people by digging wells, building roads and hospitals, and planting trees. He creates a unique communication system, by issuing numerous edicts carved rock and metal spread out all over India. These edicts that are still with us, exhort the cause of eduction, show respect for all faiths, prohibit animal sacrifice and encourage abstention alcoholic. Above all, he makes himself available at any hour and at any place to work for the commonwealth. As we see, an ardent Ashoka sends his own son and daughter, Mahendra and Sanghamita, to Sri Lanka conveying his greeting and Buddha’s message. Nehru records how his ambassadors went to Syria, Egypt,Macedonia, Cyrene and Epirus making an appeal to the mind and the heart . there was no compulsion. His messengers went to Central Asia also, beside Myanmar and Cambodia. Because of the growth of foreign contacts and missionary enterprises trade between India and other countries also grew.

Episode 15: The Sangam Period and Silappadikaram – Part-1

Nehru noted that in South India, for more than 1000 years after the Maurya Empire had shrunk and finally ceased to be, great states flourished. Unlike the virtually land-locked North India, Southern India was especially noted for its trade by sea. They we *more.. re also sea-powers and thei ships carried merchandise to distant countries. In the south, Chola, Chera, Pandiya, Chalukya and Pallava Empires were coextensive, from before the first century onwards, with their counterparts in the north. Since repeated invasions in North India did not affect the South directly, they led indirectly to many people from the north moving south including builders and artists, craftsmen and artisans. The south became a centre of old artistic traditions and remained a stronghold of ancient culture for centuries. The famous sangam (confluence) literature providing a literary meeting point between the courts and the remote rural areas was a phenomenon of 4th to 1st century BC. With the resonants percussion playing of Mridangam, we witness some of the best Chola sculpture of statuettes and hear recitation of the Sangam poetry Agam verses of internalized romance and love; and Param verses of edullient ambience of festivities. Nehru cites the legend of the northern sage Agastya who went to south to establish bonds between the Aryan and Dravidian civilization. Siloppadikaram was the most famous Tamil epic from the 2nd century BC. By Prince llango Adigal, that has its tale rooted in the ordinary lives from the chera and Pandyan kingdoms, and provides rich cultural knowlwdge to understand both ancient and modern south India thinking. The merchant Kovalan is married to an extraordinarily beautifulKannagi and they live in a haven of bliss, till Kovalan sees a vivacious courtesan Madhavi displaying her classical dance in Mohiniattam style, accompanied by Sopanam music and instruments of vina and Edekka. Kovaln is mesmerized and cannot resist bidding 1000 gild-coins to win over madhavi. When, after her enchanting dance in Dasiattam (presentbharatanatyam) style, Kovalan holds Madhavi in his arms, the whole world is forgotten, let alone the pinning Kannagi at home. Wheneventually Kovalan returns to his place of trade, the bulk of customers have deserted his thriving business. Despite disappointment and occasional efforts to get Kovalan back madhavi continues her dancing for other clients. Meanwile a thoroughly repentant Kocalan returns home,all is forfiven by the faithful Kannagi and both set out for the far city of Madhurai in search of new business opportunities.

Episode 16: The Sangam Period and Silappadikaram – Part-l

Having left their old home at Puhar, kovalan and Kannagi undertake a new voyage of life to Madurai with the pair of gold anklets of Kannagi as their only asset. The road is long and arduous, the wayside perils are many, and kannagi is not too fit. The asc *more.. etic’Meta’they meet under a tree-shelter generously offers to come as a fellow wavfarer in the difficult sojourn. A sudden attack by a rustic bully and his ladylove is fobbed off, thanks to the ‘Mata’. Avoiding missives from the pursuing Madhavi is a persistent task for Kovalan, as well as ignoring false directions, till they reach the local temple of Kartikeya, a Laka Deveta (folk god), deing propitiated by the village belles dancing and singing Jaya Jaya Shiva Suta Murugan… Unexpected hospitality from a simple village-women is a godsend for them, at which point the ‘Mata’ leaves them in her hands. The tearful couple finds shelter and succour at a new home and it is time for kovalan to try his luck in business in the bustling city of Madurai. The tired Kannagi settles down with the benevolent houdeholder eho even asks her teenager to arrange with friends some entertainment for her in the form of a kolattam folkdance, executed with striking sticks. But for Kovalan in the unfriendly crowds of Madurai, traders are typically untrusting as in any other city. To make matters worse, his gold anklet has an uncanny resemblance to the queen’s recently stolen piece of jewellery and the craft goldsmith has some sekeletons to hide! The king’s court is agog with a classical danseuse displaying her Mohiniattamskills, to some discomfiture of the jealous queen, when the goldsmithbarges in and barges in and persuades the king to give him two armed escorts to catch the ‘thief. An unsuspecting Kovalan, tried and resting, is nudged awake and inspite of his protestation, is goaded to instant death. when the news reaches Kannagi, her indigation overcome her sorrow and she stride into the royal court, challenging the total miscarriage of justice. once proven that it was a false accusation that led to her husband’s murder, she rises in fury, cursing the whole town to burn out and ravaged by floods. The miracle does happen and the awed people put Kannagi on a goddess’s pedestal leading to the penning of the epic. Nehru concludes that in India during every period when her civilization bloomed, we find an intense joy in life and nature, the development of art, music, dance and literature, and even a highly sophisticated inquiry into sex relations. He though it to be inconceivable that a culture or view of life, based on other-worldliness or world-worthlessness, could have produced all these manifestations of vigorous and varied life!

Episode 17: The Classical Age

The seasons and their changing landscapes are always celebrated in out busts of songs redolent in joy. Thus in spring the wide valleys, flower-bedecked mountains, the boating lakes and the romping deer are paid an ode to, in spring’s own raga Vasanta.th *more.. e pitter-patter of the rains are welcomed by the smiling maiden getting happily drenched, to the melody of Malhar, unique to the season. Autumn has the frolicking fish in the ponds and the beaming bevy of children, enjoying sugarcane juice. And, winter has the has somber vina to catch the mood of the wrinkled woman in a threadbare blanket, trying to get some warmth from her smoky oven. According to Nehru, the age of the Guptas was no doubt a golden one enlightened, vigorous and highly cultured, but the efflorescence of culture began in the kushana time. The Ajanta frescoes are full of tenderness and love of beauty and life. Painted by the Buddhist monks, these frescoes take one back into some distant, dream- like and yet real world. We have here women in plenty: princesses, singers, dancers seated and standing, beautifying themselves or in procession. Nehru feels how well those painter-monks must have known the world and the moving drama of life! By the gupta time, even the kings and emperors saw themselves in the image of the Gods and Goddesses as sculpted on their coins. Nehru refers to Kalidasa, acknowledged as the greatest poet and playwright of Sanskrit literature, who probably lived in the 4th century at Ujjain. There was a contemporary playwright Shudrak, known for his tender play Mrichchakatikam (The clay cart). Interestingly, Nehru noted that the language of the old plays of Kalidasa and other is mixed. In the same play, educated people speak Sanskrit and ordinary, uneducated folk, usually women, in Prakrit, the language of the masses. The lyrical and poetic passages which abound are in Sanskrit. The Mrichchakatikam opens with the beautiful courtesan Vasantasena adorning herself and daydreaming about her lover, the chaste but poor Charuddatt. A charlatan loses 100 gold-coins in a gambling den and flees to take refuge at her place. She repays the debt, and on learning that he was the servant of Charudatta, finds out more about her paramour. The evel eye of the King’s brother-in-low falls on Vasantasena, returning though a garden after her tryst with charudatta, and unable to seduce her, nearly kills her. Being royally connected he is able to fix the blame on the innocent Charudatta and manipulate justice to send him to the gallows. The timely arrival of Vasantasena, who did not die, saves his neck and the lovers are happy. Nehru cites approvingly the opinion of Joseph Wood Krutch, a noted American critic: Such a play can be produced only by a civilization which has reached stability; when a civilization has though through all the problems it faces, it must come to rest upon something as calm and naive like this…

Episode 18: Kalidasa Part-l

Nehru cited traditions that Kalidasa lived during the reign of the Chandragupta ll Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty. Vikramaditya came rested on the literary and cultural brilliance of his court where he collected some of the most famous writers, artist *more.. and musicians, the ‘nine gems’ of the imperial court. As one of the gems, Kalidasa was among the fortunate who experienced life’s beauty and tenderness more than its rough edges. His writing reviled this love of life and a passion for natures beauty. In our times Mohan Rakesh have scripted the play Ashadh Ka Ek Din on Kalidasas life in his native village where he thrived early in the romantic companion ship of beautiful mallika. A lovers tryst on the river front is seen as disturbed by a deer-cub short by a hunter, who turn out to be aware of kalidasas poetic prowess. The kings messenger calling the genius to join Ujjain royal court soon arrives and a reluctant mallika bids him adieu. The lovelorn poet writs his long poem meghadutam (the cloud messenger) where a lover made captive and separated from his beloved, ask a cloud, during a rainy season, to cary his message desperate longing to her at Alkapuri, crossing over hills and dales, lakes and rivers, dense forests and roaming deer. Kalidasa in real life, is now confeered royalty under the title ‘Matri Gupta’ his new princes wife Priyangumanjari, pays a visit to Malika’s village out of curiosity-but the indignant Mallika spurns all offers of royal help, now sure that kalidasa would never return. Meanwhile, kalidasa move on his magnum opus, the play Abhijnanam Shukantalam presented here blinding dialogue with full-throated Naty sangeet (dramatic Songs) inspired by kirloskars Marathi musical Shakuntala and sung with gusto by the protagonists to take dramatic action forward. The king Dushanta comes hunting to a forest fair there is the hermitage of the saga canva. The king is prohibited from hunting the hermitage deer, but is offered hospitality bu the sagas beautiful foster-daughter Shakunlala in no time the king falls hermit girl reciprocated by the latter and encouraged by companions Anasuya and Pryamvada . after a brief interlude of sweet romancing they get married. On Kalidasa Nehru court approvingly the American scholar, Ryder Kalidasa understood in the 5th century what Europe did not learn until 19 th …that the world was not made for man, that man reaches his full stature only as he realizes the dignity and the worth of life that is not human. That Kalidasa seized this truth is a magnificent tribute to his intellectual power, a quality quite as necessary to great poetry as perfection of form.

Episode 19: Kalidasa Part II

Nehru cities the French critic Sylvan levy in The Indian theatre : Theatre is an excellent expression of civilization even in its infancy. With its translation and interpretation of real life it can be confined to a single striking form free from insignif *more.. icant accessories and generalization with symbols. Abhijananam Shakutalam opens with Shakuntla wrapped in thought of king Dushyanta and his oblivious to arrivel of the irascible saga Durvasa. The latter take immediate offence, cursing shkuntala to forget the one whose sweet memories has made her unmindful of his presence. Her companion Anasuya and priyamvada panic and, at their entreaty, Durvasa softens his curse to make it in applicable on production in signia. The time arrive know for the hermit-girl to leave for her aboard, but entourage is give a distinctly cold welcome by the king. Having forgotten all about his marriage and even pregnancy of Shakuntala, the king expresses righteous bewilderment at very suggestion of a runaway marriage and the hermits are equally indignant at the king refusing to accept a lawfully wife. The meeting breaks amidst much acrimony and Shakuntala is reported to be whisked away from her ignominy by heavenly fairies. The scenario changes from Kaladasa play to Kalidasa as in Ashad Ka Ek Din. Mallika is Chastised by an uncle for having declined royal bounty. When who appears but Kaladasa himself, virtually glosing over his long absence and hoping to finds thing as they were when he had left, Kaladasa regrets his ears in Ujjain as ‘Matrigupta’ unable to adjust to royalty and never forgoting Mallika in all his creative outpourings. He offers to begin life with Mallika once again, but the ‘present’ intervenes, she is married now and has a child. Kaladasa walks out to never to returned again. Nehru alludes to Sylvan levy again. The Indian orginallity lay in the expression of aholistic approach in its dramatic act, it combined and condensed the dogma, the belief system and institution… And here was Ryder assessing poetical fluency as well as intellectual grasp of time since the world began. Because he processed this harmonious combination, Kaladasa rank with Sophocles, Virgil and Milton.

Episode 20: Harshvardana

Nehru notes from the fourth century onwards the Guptas ruled for about 150 years over a powerful and prosperous state in the north. For almost another 150 years their successor continued but the empire shrank and became smaller and smaller. New invader fr *more.. om Central Asia were pouring into India and attacking them when some of their chiefs became aggressive in the 7th century , they were crushed by the king of Kanauj, Harshvardana who thereafter build up a powerful state right across Northern and Central India. Although an ardent Buddhist, he encourage both Hinduism and Buddhism. A poet and dramatist himself, he gathered round his court many artist and poet, making his capital Ujjaayini (now Ujjain), a famous center of cultural activities. In the new artistic revival, Banabhatta from Thaneshwar was and important literary figure. Besides authoring Kadambari, india’s first novel in prose , he penned harsha Charita, the emperor biography. Here we witness Katha Vachan (story telling) by Banabhatta to his avid listener. Finally Harsha position was consolidated with ujjain as the seat of a powerful kingdom spread over entire north India up to the eastern and western seas, from the Himalayas to Vindyanchal and contain in the south by Pulakesin II of the Chalukya empire. Nehru notes that when Harsha was reigning over his powerful kingdom, Hsuan-tsang, the Chinese scholar pilgrim was studying in Nalanda university. Hsuan-tsang came over land and cross the Himalayas into India. As ardent Buddhist he travel all over the country. In a grand congregation of Shamans, Brahmins and Bhikshus in Buddhist monastery on Ganga-banks, ‘Mahayana’ wins. But when the monastery gutted by fire cause by opponent, Hsuan-tsang serenely infers that is only proves the point of mortality of every thing in Mahayana conviction! While the arsonist-leader is banished the local prince arragned a daramatic-show for entertaining Hsuan-Tsang and other dignitaries of his own play Nagananda,where he himself participate as an act of atonement. The play depicets the fairy antagonism between Vasuki, the king of Nagas(snakes) and Garuda, the bird-mount of Vishnu. The compromise reached is that a snake would be offer as food to Garuda everyday. Moved by the wailing of an old women whose son is about to be devoured, the pious prince offers himself clad in symbolic red as a sacrifice to Garuda. Nehru recorded that Husan-Tsang returned the way he came via Central Asia carrying large number of manuscripts with him. Harsha died in 648AD, after which his empire disintegrated into small principalities.

Episode 21: Bhakti

The celebrated statue of Nataraja (dancing shiva) is panned lovingly: his feet, arms, benign face and the evil figure firmly under his foot. Nehru gives the significance of the cosmic dance in Epstein’s words: Shiva dances creating the world and destroy *more.. ing it, his large rhythms conjure up vast aeons of time and his movements have a relentless magical power of incantation…The accompanying Bhajan seeking direct communion with god is by Shankara, the great saint of the south, whom Nehru described as a man of amazing energy and vast activities- a combination of a philosopher and a scholar; an agnostic and a mystic; a poet and a saint; in addiction, a practical reformer and an able organizer building up four great Maths(monasteries) at four far corners of India. By the 7TH century the devotional movement of Bhakti militating against the straitjacket of priesthood swayed through the south. We hear popular songs from Pathu-paatu (Ten poems) addressed to Murugan (Kartikeya). We also witness the rise of the Bhakti poetry by Alvar, who compose, on Vishnu, Large number of Prabandham (verses) that bridge the literary language of court and spoken language of common man. We see the powerful Pallava king Mahendravikram Varman being customarily eulogized in court. The king is a playwright too and his farcical play Mattavilasam is enacted after a prologue, in his presence. Pouring scorn over the internecine quarrels among the orthodox Brahmins, Buddhists, Jains, Shaivites, Kapaliks(shakti- workshippers) and Pashupats (sec of Shiva worshippers), the scene shows a burgeoning altercation between a drunkard Kapalik along with female ‘Shakti’Devasoma nad a capricious Buddhist monk, over the farmer’s lost begging-bowl and the appeal to a Brahmin to solve the dispute. They meet a madcap Pashupat on the way and the scene ends in a confused melee. The amused king consoles some of the indignant viewers that god is above all these sectarian division! By the 8th century, the major Nayanar Bhakti-poet Appar is seen singing devotional songs on Shiva, telling followers to always look within for one’s own God. The priests, who feels threatened, prevail upon the king Mahendra Varman to puts Appar on a raft in the high sea. But the people rescue him and , when brought to the king, the saint-poet’s words and songs Induce the king to follow his path. By the 12th century, the Shaivite reformist movement is seen spearheaded by the Karnataka poet Basavanna and there emerges Lingayat Sampradaya (community) carrying forward a great lyrical-philosophical tradition. By the 13th century, the momentum spreads to Maharastra and saint Jananeshvar translates Bhagavata Gita into Marathi and people are seen singing in their own language: adopt the religion of humanity and sing God’s name as you like. Then comes the great saint –poet Tukaram and his devotional Abhangs which are still sung echoing from village to village.

Episode 22: The Chola Empire Part-I

Nehru observes that in south India, after the lapse of 1000 years after the Mauryan empire collapsed, there were great states like the Chalukya Empire in the west followed by the Rashtrakutas. Further south were the Pallavas who were mainly responsible fo *more.. r the colonizing expeditions from India in the eastern seas. Later came to the Chola Empire that spread right across the peninsula and conquered Sri Lanka and South Burma. King Mahendra Varman of the pallava dynasty adopted the vedic religion and promoted religious consciousness by building temples and settling Brahmins with gifts of land. Trade and commerce flourished with more than 500 businessmen allowed to form a guild. Of the Chola dynasty Raja Raja Chola was contemporaneous with the Turk invasions in the north but was buffered by the Rashrakutas. The Chola dynasty continued their sway over the eastern seas and their ships carried merchandise to distant countries. The story of building the mighty Brihadisvara temple is presented, albeit based on scant historical information, Raja Raja Chola has ruled in Tamil Nadu for sixteen years, yet the mystery of the murder of his uncle and predecessor, Uttam Chola, has not been solved. Blame is laid on his cousin Sundara Chola, who has taken refuge in the neighbourhood kingdom of Chera. The king, after his death, confiscates his family property with in the Tamil territory. Through out all this. ‘Rajmata’. The arch aunt-queen, strongly suspects Raja Raja to be guilty of uncle’s murder and usurping the throne. To get rid of this suspicion the king offers to build a temple to commemorate Uttam Chola at a site of Rajmata’s choice. An unexpected gift arrives from the far-away king of the Shailendra dynasty of Kamboj (Cambodia), with a model of a temple that commemorates the king himself. The idea germinates in Raja Raja’s mind: why not build the temple, unparalleled in history, which would carry his own name? A secret plan is hatched away from the knowledge of ‘Rajmata’ to employ the best of architects and sculptors and even to bring in the finest of singers and dancers for performing in the temple. He would also build a flourishing city of Tanjavur all around the temple. The project is passed on, regardless of all opposition, including an incipient rebellion.

Episode 23: The Chola Empire Part-II

In order to employ the best architect the royal messenger reaches a remote village where the designated architect is preoccupied with a village temple. He is almost forced to abandon his project and come to the Chola king along with his sculptor assistant *more.. . Fortunately, later, he is allowed to revert to his village for one year to complete the work there as preparation here would take that much time. Meanwhile, the encounter between Raja Raja and ‘Rajmata’ hurtles to a showdown as the king reveals his plan to build the grandest of all temples in his own name. Raja Raja is even prepared to fight against the fledgling Chalukya king Satyashreya if a demand for a large Shiva Linga (phallus) from the Narmada riverbed is not met. The architectural plan models the universe with sanctum santorum as the mount Maru and icons of the gods are facing appropriate direction. The temple would be surrounded by walls with in which there would be priestly abodes and out side the walls would rise a brand new city of traders and common man. Soon arrives the mammoth shivalinga, the like of which has seldom been seen. On hearing the enchanting Bhajan on shiva on Chidambaram temple being son in a procession, the king ordains those talent musicians to be brought here . Any religious procession out side would used a bronze icon of Shiva with Nadaswaram accompaniment while the stone icon would reside inside the Temple. A minor affair of heart between the young sculptor and the royal princes is settled short of capital punishment for the farmer, with the due regard to his talent . so-brihadisvara temple comes up as one of the loftiest in India. The son raja Rajinder Chola builds a similar temple near by Gangaikunda Chola Puram . he dies in 1044AD. And the empire stutters to fall. Nehru pauses here to note that in the 1000 years since the first century AD, waved after wave of Indian colonists spreed east and south east to reach shrilanka, Birma (mianmar) Malaya, Java,Sumatra, Borneo, Siam (Thailand) Combodia and Indo-China. Some of them manage to reach formosa (Thaiwan), Philippines and selebes. What led to these extraordinary expeditions across the perlousseas. One cardinal feature of these adventure must have been trade and commerce as a supreme passion in India followed by spread by Indian civilization and culture overseas.

Episode 24: Delhi Sultanate Part-l & –Afghans & Prithviraj Raso-l

Nehru records that while Harsha’s death in 648 AD ended his powerful reign, lslam was taking shape in Arabic. Its revered prophet Mohammad, who had vitalized his people with faith and enthusiasm, died in 632 AD. Soon after, Arabs carried the banner of l *more.. slam right across the Iran and central Asia in the east by the 8th century, but their conquests in 712 AD did not go beyond Sind in India. Though there was no more invasion for nearly 300 years contacts grew between India and the Arab world with Indians getting to know the new religion, Islam, before it came as a political force. Missionaries came to spreed the new faith and they were welcome in the old tradition of India to be tolerant to all faiths and forms of worship. Nehru notes that the new Arab Empire under the Khalifas took the capital to Baghdad. Evenafter the Turks came from Central Asia and Sultan Mahmud of ghazni, a Turk, arose in Afghanistan as a warrior, ignoring Khalifas, Baghdad still continued as the cultural centre of the lslamic world. By 1000 AD, Sultan Mahmud began his raids into India. These raids were bloody and ruthless, and on every occasion Mahmud carried away with him a vast quantity or treasure. As we see, the conflict mounts between Mahmud of Ghazni and Khalifas of Baghdad with the dwindling power of the latter, AI-Beruni, the famous scholar and traveler, and the noted Persian poet Firdausi, author of Shahnama, are both contemporaries of Sultan Mahmud and sing paeans of his praise in court. Al-Beruni seeks permission to come to India and record glimpses of Indian life. Firdausi remains a universally applauded poet. As Nehru notes, Mahmud died in 1030 AD and another 160 years elapsed without further invasions of India or extension to Turkis rule beyond the Punjab. Then an Afghan, Shahab-ud-Din Ghori, captured Ghazni before marching to Lahore and then to delhi. But as we witness here, he is cautioned to compromise by an Indian messenger before launching his vaunted journey against the Rajput King of Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan. The vainglotious Ghori retaliates by killing the messenger ! Prepration, progress and outcome of the battle are narrated by the court-singer. After an utter defeat of Ghori, we see how Prithiviraj most magnanimously extends his hand of friendship to Ghori, squrned haughtily by the latter. Still he is allowed to go scot-free in lieu of 700 iraqi horses, 30 elephants and 30 shields, apart from Prithviraj presenting him with bejeweled necklaces. In a charming legend, Prithviraj is eulogized as a popular hero for his love of Sanjukta, the beauteous daughter of king Jaichandra of Kanauj. Sanjukta returns the love in ample measure and puts her nuptial garland round the neck of Prithvirj’s staru as doorkeeper, which his father erected contemptuously! In a reckless venture, Prirhviraj comes on horseback to claim his bride and return to Delhi.

Episode 25: Delhi Sultanate Part-ll – Prithviraj Raso-2 & Alauddin Khiliji

We eavesdrop into the bedchamber of Prithviraj and his lovelybride having an idyllic union, with Samjukta serenading her lover. But the bliss is short-lived, as there are rumblings of war needing him to march out,but without any support from other kings d *more.. ue to his illicit affairs. The Langa song narrates his fateful fight against shahab-ud-Din Ghori once again when prithviraj is defeated and held captive. There is no reciprocation of the earlier chivalrous treatment meted out to the Afghan Sultan, and the Rajput king is blinded and thrown into prison. He is repentant for neglecting his fighting skills by being immersed in dalliance. The song revives a legend that Prithviraj avails of an offer to hit his target blindfolded and strikes a fatal arrow on the Sultan’s heart by following his voice of command. Nehru muses that Pritviraj lost his life, throne and delhi, the seat of empire all for the love of a woman. But his love is still sung and he is a hero, while Jaichand is looked upon almost as a traitor. As noted by Nehru, Delhi passed into the hands of invaders and the throne was captured by the Slave dynasty ruler Qutn-ud-din Aibak who started building the famous Qutb Minar.1290 AD saw the end of the Slaves dynasty and a great Afghan ruler, Alauddin Khilji, ascended the throne in Delhi. The Afghans, initially rigid in their daith, came as fierce warriors and made India their home and many of them even married Indian women. Alauddin himself married a Hindu lady, and so did his son. The unfolding drama show how Alauddin olans with his minister to develop espionage network, watch the aristocrats and their social relationships like marriages and keep the army in battle-ready condition.on the economic front, he arranges control of prices and market norms for ‘profit plus’ for conducting business. On the religion front, mass conversions take place, as this helps the Hindus to avoid the vexatious Jiziya tax. The drama also show the Sultan’s rapid reprisal system on receiving complaints of bribery and use of force, wherever called for. His policy helps in extracting lrgesse from Gujrat and South India kingdoms.

Episode 26: Delhi Sultanat Part-lll – Padmavat & The Tughlak Dynasty

Nehru notes that the Rajput forces of Chittor became weakened in the early 14th century as a result of Afghan plundering and dominance. The legend of the Afghan Sultan’s lust for the charming queen Padmavati of Chittor was a typical instance of morbid f *more.. eudalism in operation, as recorded in Malik Mohammed Jyasi’s ‘Padmavat’. The dramatic saga starts with the particular misbehaviour of Tantrik Raghav Chetan who was expelled by Rana Ratansen of Chittor. Dying for revenge, he appears in Alauddin’s court and instigates him with tales of Padamvati’s beauty-on less than a heavenly fairy’s apart from the five other ‘jewels’ of Chittor like the hunter-tiger and peying bird. Ratan Singh rebuffs the usual messenger from the Sultan, demanding these assest, and the Chittor fort is laid siege upon by the mighty Afghan forces. When the Rana’s army gets depleted, the Rajasthani folkdance ‘Ghumar’ is arranged as a morale-booster. In order to save the army’s further shrinkage, Ratansen agrees to a compromise formula to meet the sultan and allow him to see the queen from a distance to satisfy his curiosity. After the proverbial Rajput hospitality is availed of and the queen is appropriately viewed, the unsuspecting Rana is ensnared into Afghan captivity and brought to Delhi as prisoner. The entertainment in Aladdin’s court is on with a Kathak danseuse performing Padhanat. Temptation of high reward bring the dancer incognito to Chittor, to coax the desperate queen to come to Delhi as a Yogin to rescue Ratansen. Gora and Badal, to faithful follower of Padmawati, save her from falling into the sultans trap, reach Delhi daringly free the Rana from bondage and away on a waiting horse. Nehru moves onto Mohammad Bin Tughlaq who, too had spread his empire far and wide like Alauddin’s. he ruled in the early 14th century and had along reign of 47 years. His son, Feroze Shah Tughlaq , one of the well-known Sultans of Delhi, had a Hindu mother and so did Ghyas-Ud-Din Tughlaq. As recorded by Nehru the Afghan ruler and their minions merged well with India. There dynasties become completely Indianised with their roots in this country, looking upon India as their homeland, and the rest of the world as foreign. Nehru infers that it is wrong to talk about the muslim invasion as Islam did not invade India, it had come to India some centuries earlier. There was a Turkish invasion (Mahmud), an Afghan invasion, and then a Mughal invasion but the Afghan were from a border group, hardly stranger to India, and the period of their political dominance should be called the Indo- Afghan period.

Episode 27: Synthesis

Nehru refers to the effect of the Turk-Afghan conquest as two fold. On the one hand , those who remained in the Afghan –occupied territory became more rigid and exclusive retiring in to their shells and trying to protect themselves from foreign influenc *more.. es. On the other hand, there was a gradual approach towards these foreign ways both in thought and life. A synthesis emerged especially in music, which, rooted in old Indian classical patron, developed in many directions. The popular language were also developed at the same time. The wave of Bhakti movement was spreading fast to remove caste and creed barriers. In the south, there was Sant Namdev who moved to the north and preached Bhakti to the common man through his lilting songs. Muslim mysticism and Sufism grew, one of whose most venerable Peers was Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmar Sharif. One of his famous disciples was Amir Khusrau, a Turk who was contemporary of Namdev in the 14th century. He was a poet of the first rank in Persian, the court language of the Afghans, and also a musician who introduced many innovations in the Indian classical ragas and musical instruments. We hear some of his Sufi songs and those of Mullah Daud during the time of Feroze Shah Tughlaq. In a romantic interlude, we listen to the langa singer playing on the Ravanhatta instrument describing to King Rupchand the ethereal beauty of one princess Chanda married to vaman, but ignored and unhappy, and now back in her father’s fold. The musical narrative describes together with visuals how the handsome Lorik, shining like the sun, steals Chanda’s heart. Taking grave risks, Lorik climbs up a rope to Chanda’s chambers and after mutual passion, is reluctantly turned away. In the teeth of Vaman remonstration, Lorik and Chanda cross the flooded river and move to the other shore to set up an idyllic abode. With the passage of time, the helpless Maina spends day and night in sorrow and anger. The repentant Lorik eventually returns a gracious Maina agrees to accept Chanda in the royal household, but the forlorn lady dies mean while of snake bit. Lorik, besides himself in grief, give up his life in Chanda’s funeral pyre. The legends, ascribed to Mullah Daud, are sung with great gusto even today. Back to history, Nehru notes the Saint-poet Ramanand in the south in the 15th century and his still more famous disciple Kabir, a weaver of Banaras, who is professedly neither Hindu nor Muslim. Kabir’s poems and songs became, and are still, very popular crossing all religious barriers. After Kabir, Guru Nanak appears in the north as the venerated founder of Sikhism. We listen to some beautiful shabads. The growing popular language, Hindi, was in courage, and an attempt was made to forge symbiotic links between the religious faiths of the Hindus and the Muslims to bring about this synthesis.

Episode 28: The Vijayanangar Empire

Nehru records how, late in the 14th century. Timur Lang the Turk, swooped down from the north and smashed up the Delhi Sultanate. After this terrible affliction, North India remained weak and divided into small potentates. But south India was comparativel *more.. y well off with Vijaynagar as the largest and most powerful of the southern kingdoms. This stste and the city attracted many Hindu refugees from the north. From contemporary accounts, it appears that the city was incredibly rich and beautiful, Said Abdur-Razzak, a traveler from Central Asia: the city is such that eye has not seen nor ear hard of any place resembling it upon the whole earth. There were arcades and magnificent galleries for the bazaars, and rising above them all was the palace of the king, surrounded by many rivulets and streams flowing through channels of cut stone, polished and even… With splendid aerial views of Vijaynagar, we can hear Nehru approvingly quoting Domingo Paes, the Portuguese visitor who came in 1522AD after visiting the Italian cities of the Renaissance: The city of Vijaynagar is as large as Rome and very beautiful to the sight; its is full charm and wander: with its innumerable lake and waterways and fruit garden. Its is the best-provided city in the world and ivory trying abounds. the chamber of the place are a mass of every, with roses and lotuses carved in ivory at the top; Its is so rich and beautiful that you would hardly find any where another such… In the issuing ensuing drama, Krishna, Deva Raya is seen occuping the throne after some place intrigues up standing the aspirant Achyuta Deva Raya. Nehru quotes Paes : his the most fear and prefect king that could possibly be, cheerful of this position and very merry: he is one that seeks to honour foreigners, and receive them kindly, asking about all their affairs whatever the condition may be. We witness the king watching classical Kuchipudi dance presenting mandodari Sabdam and eulogising Ravana in same breath as the king and confabulating on expanding the northern boundaries to Bijapur. To “honour the foreigner” is evidenced in receiving the Portugese delegation and their gifts. Deals are stuck with their Governor Albuquerque of goa to procure horses and guns, besides trade relation, in preference to the Arab trade for horses. Events noted in the Portuguese diary are: retention of an outstanding swordsman from Malaysia for training the infantry and arrangements made with Albuquerque to get Portuguese expertise for improving Vijaynagar’s water distribution system. Bijapur is subjugated and so is Kalinga, with the latter’s prince held captive. In the widespread kingdom, many temples are built with the king emerging to represent godhead. The hughty Kalinga prince duel with the Malaysian swordsman results in the former’s defeat, followed by suicide. Bijapur’s recalcitrant rebel Adil Khan is subjugated. The ageing king is taken ill and his attempts to fix the succession issue prove futile, with the vast empire showing signs of decay. Even when the Deccan king began terming up among themselves, the sprawling empire refused to read the signs on the wall.

Episode 29: Feudalism in India

Nehru recounts that while India had widespread monarchy, the hold of its power different from that of European feudalism where the king had the authority over all persons and things within his domain. In a herarchy of authority, both the land and people b *more.. elong to the feudal lord. In India, in contrast, the king had the right only to collect taxes from the land and the revenue-collecting power was all he could delegate to others. Thus, the individual peasant paid his due to the aristocrat revenue collector who, in turn, paid it to the king. The scenario opens with a bullock-cart race, which the common man is hugely enjoying. Enacting episodes from masti’s Kannada novel Mallige, the landless labourer, Saguna, and his fiancée are accosted by the revenue collector’s wife who lords over them, having fixed Mallige’s marriage some were else. The lovelorn couple takes recourse to a holy Swami ji who advice prudence and declines to intervene. Undeterred, they pursue Swami ji his urban Ashram and he now advises them not to go against the lady for six months. The lady still insists on getting Mallige settled after five months, when the desperate couple catches hold of the Naik, the higher intermediary and seeks his intervention, which finally comes. The scene shifts to the declining Vijaynagar empire and its decadent feudalism. Ramaraya, Krishna’s, powerful son –in- law, thwarts Achyuta Deva Raya, royal treasurer and the nominated successor of Krishna Deva Raya, in his aspiration to the throne. Trouble is brewing in Chandumandal under Udya Varman and needs to be subjugated. In the ensuing battle under Achyuta Raya, the ace rebel shilappa is taken prisoner. Achyuta dies in 1542. Nehru notes that amidst all these internecine feuds, the peasant is unaffected, as there is no advantage in dispossessing him. The twin concepts of landlord system as well as full owner ship by the individual peasant of his patch of land where both introduced much later by the British and had disastrous results.

Episode 30: The Fall of Vijaynagar

As Nehru notes, in the sunset years of the Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar, it faced the Bahmani kingdom in the other great state of Gulbarga. The latter is now sit into five states: Bijapur, Golconda, Bidar, Berar and Ahmednagar. There are ample incidents fo *more.. r the involvement of the sultanates in the Vijaynagar succession and vice versa. To enhance his chances, Rama Raya seeks the aid of Bijapur. In fact, Rama Raya seen as a consummate intriguer is safely ensconced as a regent and proceeds to pursue a tortuous policy of advancing Vijaynagar’s frontiers by exploiting the rivalries among Bijapur, Golconda and the other Bahmani successors. As the events here show, Rama Raya succeeds in fomenting mutual enmities only too well. During 20years of complex intrigues where Rama Raya believes in making personal appearances rather than sending emissaries, loyal or otherwise, he provokes the sultanates to such an extent that they come to fear for their very survival. He invites, for instance, Adil Shah of Bijapur and entertains him to a spectacular torchfire dance before professing fraternal affection for him. This immediately sows discord against Bijapur amongst other sultanates. It appears likely that Rama Raya occasionally outrages their Islamic sensibilities by intruding while ‘namaz’ is being offered by a sultan. Certainly, and fatally, Rama Raya over stretches those frayed loyalties on which Vijaynagar’s cohesion had depended. In the drama, this becomes evident when the four sultans from the Qutub Shahi, Nizam Shahi, Adil Shahi and Ibrahim Shahi clans patch up their differences and consolidate their gains by judicious inter-marriage in 1564. while Rama Raya refusesto pay heed to the writing on the wall and remain blind in his faith in Vijaynagar’s superiority, the four sultans turn on him in concert. To meet the gathering storm, Rama Raya summons his Nayaks even from as far south as Madurai. Most do respond, but the Vijaynagar forces are as seen in the battle scenes, catastrophically routed in the battle of Talikota in 1565. Rama Raya himself is wandered, a fact initially concealed to prevent loss of moral, but eventually beheaded, and the losses are colossal. The magnificent city of the Vijaynagar, scene with its massive walls and ingeniously designed gatehouses is deserted and the Nayaks withdraw to their individual territories. Still the city, like the kingdom appears to have suffered less from the conquering fanatics and more from the deepening internal crisis of authority paving the way, among other, for foreign invasion including those by the Portuguese from the high seas.

Episode 31: Rana Sanga Ibrahim Lodhi and Babur

As Nehru observes, while Vijaynagar was flourishing in the south and the petty sultanates reigned in Delhi in the 14th and 15th centuries , there were individual strongholds of Orissa, Bengal and Awadh in the east, and Gujrat, Malwa and Rajasthan in the w *more.. est. In the north, however, the Turkish, Afghan and Mughal conquests resulted in rapid development of India’s contacts with central and Westran Asia. Babur a prince of the Timurind line, established himself on the throne of Delhi in 1526 and his frank dairy Babur-Nama remains a graphic guide to his tempestuous times in India. Under Rna Kumbha of Mewar, the great plateau of capital Chittor was fortified. Drawing upon Jnmaes Tod’s Annal and Antiquities of Rajasthan, the curtain opens on Mewar where the princes prothviraj, Jaimal and sangram Singha (later Rana Sanga), sons of King Raimal, are seen heading for a remote-dwelling Yogin to foretell their royal destiny. With the prophecy favouring Rana Sanga, the braggart Prithviraj eliminates Jaimal and attacks and injuries Rana Sanga. Prithviraj is banished from the kingdom, yielding the throne to Rana Sanga. Even with a single hand and a single leg, Rana Sanga is fiercely patriotic and contemplates power beyond Ibrahim Lodi in Delhi inviting Babur. Babur on receiving the missive from Rana Sanga, launches his successful bid in 1525 with a highly mobile force and with the new gunpowder technology. There have breen terminal rivalries after the death of the powerful king Sikander Lodi, amidst his son and successor Ibrahim Lodi in Delhi and his sibling in Jaunpur. In 1526, Babur’s army meets Ibrahim lodi’s troops with the latter’s advantage of 10:2 at Panipat and wins through a superior strategy by attacking on the two flanks as well as from behind, turning the enemy’s bulk into his disadvantage. Rana Sanga, who had encouraged Babur to invade, simply hoped for a Lodi rout and then a Mughal withdrawal, leaving the coast clear for his own ambitious. As the song of Guru Nanak conveys, Babur’s final coming to India was a matter of moral degradation for India. He moves out to give battle, amidst unfavourable soothsaying, defection of forts and desertion of Indian recruits. He turns on the Rajputs, though much superior in number, at Khanua and has a fiercely-contested fight, relying, on semi-fortified arrangement of ditches and chained carts interspersed with artillery nad matchlock-men. According to Tod’s Annals, defeat results from treachery, making Sanga retreat and leaving the mughals supreme in the heartland of Northindia. After winning his spurs at panipat and khanua, Babur sends Humayun, his favourite eldest son and designated heir, to Afghanistan. When told that Humayun is ill, he offers his own life and takes to bed, never to get up again. He is buried in his favourite garden in Kabul.

Episode 32: Akbar Part –l

As Nehru noted, Babur died within four years of his coming to India and much of his time was spent in fighting and laying out a splendid capital in Agra. Hanking for Central Asia, Humanyun lost the whole empire in India. Humayun encountered Sher Shah Suri *more.. , a well-prepared Afghan contender for sovereignty and, in the ensuing tussle in 1540 near Kunauj, he barely escaped with his life, but the Mughaltroops were decimated. Humayun became a fugitive. The enthroned sher Shah Suri had a short reign, installing energetic administrative reforms with excellent roads, horse-backed postal system and stylized monuments. His remarkable reign came to an end in 1545 with his death. By 1555, Humayun reclaimed Delhi, but stumbled to his death next year. His son Akbar, barely 13, came out of the seraglio where he was under protection of uncle Bayram Khan, as regent, and reigned from 1556-1605. drawing from Abul-Fazal’s imperial memoir Akbar-Nama, we see scenes of market prices beign controlled (with Akbar intervening incognito). The young king proceeds to marry jodhabai, the Rajput princess of Amber, and abolishes the discriminating Jaziya tax on the Hindus. As Nehru observes, Akbar surrounds himself with a group of brilliant men devoted to him and his ideals among whom are famous brothers Abul-Fazal and Fyzee, humorist birbal, the trusted Rajput Raja Man Singh and the valiant general Abdul Rahim Khankhana. But the quarrel continues with the orthodox Ulemma, to whom the Sufi saint Sheikh Mubarak is hauled up. Whilw most Rajput chiefs are amalgamated in the imperial system of broad-based Omrah (nobility), Rana Udai Singh of Mrwar, and his valorous son Pratap Singh, prove recalcitrant, notwithstanding Man Singh honest persuasions. Akbar lays a punitive siege of Chittor, but despite the defeat at Haldighat, and flight of Udai Singh and Pratap Singh to sancutuary in the hills Chittor is never re-occupied. As Nehru states, his royal court became a meeting place, almost an lbadatkhana (prayer-hall), every Friday, for men of all faiths and those who had new ideas or inventions. His tolerance of views and his encouragement of all kinds of beliefs and opinions, including Sufism, angered some of the more orthodox Muslims like the Sayyads. Included in Akbar’s theological forays are, as we find, Pprtuguese priests. In 1580 the padres hasted from Goa confident of the most sensational conversion of all times! In the veent, they are disappointed as were all other disputants. Akbar’s quest for spiritual enlightenment was to seek a faith that would satisfy the needs of his realm as well as his conscience. As a result, he came up with a new religious order Din- E-IIahi. The cultural amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim in north India took a giant step forward, with Akbar as popular with the Hindus as with the Muslims.

Episode 33: Akbar Part-ll

Nehru mentioned that Babur is an attractive person, bold and adventurous, fond of art and literature. Akbare, his grandson, is even more adventurous and had greater qualities, daring and reckless, an able general, and yet gentle and compassionate, an idea *more.. list and a dreamer, but also a man of action and a leader of men who roused passionate loyalty in his followers. No wonder, he had a brilliant reign, under which the Mughal Empire flourished the most. In the ensuing drama, we see Akbar in the sunset year of his life, missing some of his intimate courties like Bridal. He diverts his mind by listening to mian Tansen extolling raga Mian-Ki Malhar. He suddenly takes ill and poisoning is suspected, as Akbar’s many conquests are now overshadowed by rivalry and rebellion. In Salim’s camp, the prince is reluctant to quell the unrest in Bengal, despite Raja Man Singh’s exhortation. Instead, he proceeds to Allahbad to be near Agra, the seat of power. Akbar is surprised at this move and also worried about the unrest in Ahmadnagar. He sends AbdurRahim there to support prince Murad. The unconcerned Murad is immersed in wine and alcohol, and Akbar tries to retrieve the situation by calling him back. Akbar is seen enjoying Tansen’s rendering of raga Jai Jaiwanti when he hears the news of Murad’s demise, brought by Abul-Fazal from Deccan. The bereaved king seeks solace from queen jodhabai by presenting her a portrait of Murad. At the cost of enraging Akbar, Salim proceeds to Agra with a large army and, in a blatant assumption of Indian sovereignty, has his own genealogy inscribed on an ashoka pillar, Abul –Fazl, sent to deal with the prince, is murdered. Akbar receives the sad news while listening to Tansen’s soothing raga Darbari Kanada. While Jodhabai remonstrates with him to control Salim, the latter’s rare encounter with the father results in Salim getting resoundingly slapped and being interned. Akbar’s extra indulgence for his eldest grandson Khusau over Salim’s hesd gets unstuck and there is no counting on the thitd son Daniyal either. Salim furtively resorts to alcoholism again. The rest is painfully brief, with a critically-ill Akbar breathing his last, while hearing Tansen’s raga Bhairavi in the background and a joyous Salim assuming the throne. The visuals capture the panorama of Akbar’s monumental architecture of Fatehpur Sikri and Buland Darwaza. Nehru concludes that Akbar in his long reign from 1556-1605, had erected edifices that lasted for another 100 years, in spite of inadequate sucessors.

Episode 34: Golden Hind

Nehru notes that in Jehangir and Shah Jahan’s time, the ‘Grand Moghuls’ were so well established that it attracted trade and commerce from far and wide-Iran Iraq, Egypt and other outlying countries. Meanwhile, the Europeans also came to the western *more.. coast. From their port of Bassein, the Portuguese had acquired an adjacent trickle of islands (including Bon Bahia, or Bombay), which afforded good shelter for their shipping and, later on, extracting ‘protection money’ from the Indian merchants for letting their goods reach the Red Sea by affording naval security. During Jehangir’s time, the British navy defeated the Portuguese in India seas and Sir Thomas Roe, an ambassador of James I of England, presented himself at count in 1615 and succeeded in getting permission to start ‘factories’: starting with Surat and then founding Madras in 1639. the drama unfolds these entangled trading phenomena. We find the Surat trader’s guild discussing seriously about their linkages with the Portuguese vis-a-vis the Ahmedabad traders who seem to be opposed to paying the ‘protection money’, and the emerging English naval power. They are unwilling to get involved with the warfare for the sea-power among the Europeans and wish to concentrate on trade by placating whosoever is in control of the high seas. When a particularly nefarious Portuguese agent is slair anonymously, the matters reach a head and the Portuguese obstruct the imperial merchandise. Shanty Das, the chief of the guild gets panicky at this affront to the royalty and takes the matter to Agra where he gets to know about the latest machination of the English. While prince Khurram, in charge of the wast coast, is afraid of enraging the well-entrenched Portuguese, Shanti Das’s guild, true to their business instincts, want to remain clear of the European power-conflict, as long as their merchandise of assuredly heigh quality reaches safe to the Red Sea ports. Roe’s hobnobbing at Jehangir’s court is for nothing short of undisputed rights of passage against the Portuguese. Jehangir, in turn, is keen on getting good gifts like the English horses, although the perilous sea-Journey could kill the bulk of the animals in transit. Presenting clear evidence of their superior naval power and offering supply of sophisticated weapons, Roe wins the day. Nehru comments that although the British now controlled the sea-routes and practically drove away the Portuguese (except for Goa), this bore no significance for the Mughal rulers of their advisers. When the Mughal Empire was visibly weakening during Aurangzeb’s reign, the British made an organized bid to increase their possessions by war in 1685, but were defeated. Even then, the overflowing energies of Europe were spreading out in India and the east, just when India’s political and economic condition was rapidly declining to forestall the new upsurge.

Episode 35: Aurangzeb Part-I

Nehru remarked that Akbar’s empire spread far in north and South and his grand rule continued to evoke admiration all over Asia and Europe. The scene opens in 1656 with prince Aurangzeb, as shah Jahan’s governor in Mughal Deccan, driving a hard bargai *more.. n with Golconda’s queen. He demands a hefty indemnity, against acceptance of Mughal over-lordship by Golconda, which had put up a hard-fought resistance and colluded with Bijapur earlier .Their wealth had always been a preoccupation of the redoubtable Aurangzeb. But soon the interests of the empire and Deccan police are subordinated to consideration of the sucession. This happened under orders of Shah Jahan, at the behest of Dara Shikoh, Auragzeb’s elder brother. The next year, exactly the same situation recurs when Aurangzab invades Bijapur upon the death of Muhammad Adil Shah and Dara Shikoh intervenes anxious to thwart his brother’s change of succeeding, Twice disappointed, Aurangzeb has to be content again with an indemnity plus territory. While Dara Shikoh is Shah Jahan’s favourite, his designated mouthpiece and heir, and the only Delhi-based contender with the reigns of imperial patronage in his hands, his one failt is that he is not an orthodox Muslim, as a scholar of some repute, he loves to consort with Sufis, Hindus and Christians. Shah Jahan is taken gravely ill in 1657. this information is willfully suppressed and Aurangzab, already deeply frustrated, gets this news from his faithful sister Roshan-Ara. The suspicious Aurangzeb now fears the worst and writes to Dara, alleging suppression of the news of father’s death. The latter, preoccupied with a kathak dance, is taken aback but being more interested in Peers and Fakirs, shows no inclination to take up the cudgels of the empire. Meanwhile, the rumour of the emperor’s death, or incapacity, spreads and the scare is enough to send the potential successors to arms. While the shrewd Aurangzeb bides his time, Prince Shuja, another brother and governor of Bengal, is quickly in the fields after a hasty coronation. The youngest brother, Nurad, follows suit in Gujarat anointed by Gujarati priests. However, on getting a conciliatory letter from Aurangzeb in which a division of the empire is offered, Murad commiserates and joins forces with him. Dara’s desperate attempts to save the situation with the Emperor’s knowledge and sympathy from the other sister Jahan-Ara is of no avail, as Aurangzeb is still distrustful of his placatory missives. While Aurangzeb and Murad are spoiling for fight, Dara is unwilling to battle. He is still keen to abdicate in favour of Aurangzeb and join the ranks of Fakirs. Aurangzeb’s presents that he and Murad are coming to see an ailing father wears too thin. With great reluctance. Dara prepares for war, initially protesting his relative inexperience and with eventual courage born out of his desperation.

Episode 36: Aurangzeb Part-II

The denouement leads inexorably to Aurangzeb imprisoning his father and not sparing any of the brother. After Murad joins action with Aurangzeb both move north together to fight Shah Jahan’s army with a strong artillery-detachment and ample cash enrichm *more.. ent from Bijapur and Golconda indemnities. They win hands down. In 1658, a second and more decisive battle finds the dilattant Dara with a dazzling array of 50,000 facing the resolute Aurangzeb with his dust-smothered veterans from the Deccan. The sunners are allowed to wreak devastation and Dara’s forces are decimated. Aurangzabe occupies Agra. Dropping all pretence of rescuing Shah Jahan from the ‘infidel’ influence of Dara, he besieges the fort and denies even supply of water bargaining for opening the fort-gates. He then confines the ailing emperor amongst the marble-terraces of his Agra fort, where he remains under the lonely care of daughter Jahan-Ara as a semi-senile spectre of his former glory, until death comes eight years later. The feckless Murad is warned by his well-wishers and still enjoys Kathak dance in his court. During another spree of drunkenness and Kathak Mujra, he is inveigled by Aurangzeb’s men and suceremoniously beheaded. Shuja, re-emerging from Bengal, is defeated once more, and flees to the distant Arakans and finally unto oblivion. Dara continues to flit from camp to camp through the Punjab, Sind and Gujrat, and is engaged in Ajmer. Having lost his beloved wife en route, he is betrayed and turned over to Aurangzeb. Still a popular figure especially with Delhi’s non-Muslims, he is paraded though the streets in chains to their utter dismay and is hacked to death. Nehru notes that the last of the ‘Grand Mughals’, Aurangzeb tried to put the clock back and, in the process broke it up. The Mughal rulers were strong, so long as they put themselves in line with the genius of the nation and tried to work for a common nationality and synthesis of the various elements in the country. When Aurangzeb began to oppose this movement and suppress it, and to function more as a Muslim than an Indian ruler, the Mughal Empire began to break up after he died as a broken man at the age of 90, in 1707.

Episode 37: Shivaji Part – 1

Nehru notes that during the declining years of the Mughal Empire ;there was a ferment of revivalist sentiments; which was a mixture of religion and nationalism at all in its present sense.An equally important factor was the cracking up of the economic str *more.. ucture and repeated peasant uprising some of them on a big scale. The Marathas, especially had a wider conception, a principal of national attachment which united their chiefs as in one common cause In the growth and consolidation of the new Maratha power Shivaji born in 1627. became the symbol of a resurgent Hindu nationalism. The scene opens with a dialogue between a fort keeper beholden to his task and and a fellow storyteller who recounts the glory, valour and inspirational leadership evinced by shivaji. The folk poet srivallabhs balladic songs re-create the halcyon days of shivaji. Bereaved son of shahaji and brought up by Dadaji Konde’ he has began collecting complaints in his jagir from the oppressed peasants, harassed by the marauding soldiers of both Mughals and Adilshahi kingdom of Bijapur. Shivaji has the highest regard for his widowed-mother Jijabai and takes oath, under jer guidance, at the hill top temple of ‘Mata Bhavani’. To revive Hindu kingship at a time of awesome and orthodox Muslim supremacy. The ballads relate how Shivaji pines to break away from the shackles of the Bijapur thralldom and chalks out a daring strategy to capture forts in the western ghats and along the adjacent Konkan coast. To start with, it is assault not conflict of Purandher Fort, as a test case. He appeals to a rival chieftain shankaraji to use his energy and courage, and become the fort-keeper. The ploy succeeds and an ally is born. There is a round of thanks-giving prayers at the Bhavani temple. Nehru comments that while the empire was rent by strife and revolt, the new Maratha power thus began growing in western India.as an ideal guerrilla leader of hardened mountaineers whose cavalery could go far and wide Shivaji drew inspiration from the classic and traditions to build up the Marathas as a strong fighting group, gave them a nationalist background, and made them into formidable fighting force.

Episode 38: Shivaji Part-II

Nehru noted that Shivaji, having openly raised the standard of revolt, sacked the city of Surat, sparing the English and their factory, and anforced the Chowth (one-fourth) tax payment, as he did in other distant parts of the Mughal dominions in western I *more.. ndia. Since the Marathas stood no chance of driving them off, there is negotiation conducted by Afzal’s trusted envoy Krishnaji Shastry. Shiva would make a token recognition of Bijapur’s suzerainty and Afzal world leave shiva in undisturbed possession of his forts.

Episode 39: Comapany Bahadur

nehru observed that the hundred years that followed the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 saw a complicated and many-sided struggle for mastery over India. The Mughal Empire rapidly fell to pieces and their Subehdors (viceroys) and Mansabdars (governor) began to *more.. function as semi-independent rulers. The real protagonists for power in India during the 18th century were four two Indians factions-the Marathas, Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan in the south; two foreign factions- the British and the French. Nehru further observes that in Bengal, Lord Clive, with treason and forgery, won the battle of Plassey in 1757, a date that marks the unsavoury beginning of the British empire in India. This was followed by another and more decisive win at the battle of Buxar between the British and the deposed Mir Qasim in alliance with the emperor Shah Alam and the Nawab of Awadh in 1764, and all that remained of the Mughal power in northern India was shattered. The drama unfolds with the rapid succession of Nawabs of Bengal to the now titular Raja Nanda Kumar. The successors are increasingly emasculated from their revenue-earning capacity by the company and Clive now insists on amore skewed treaty for earnings from comprehensive taxation on all items other than salt. Not satisfied, Clive invites Raza Khan, an old hand from nawab Alibardi Khan’s time, to join the top echelon. Nanda Kumar is confined to the capital Murshidabad while Clive has freedom of the commercial capital Kolkata, after the company has extracted the highly-lucrative Diwani(revenue-administration) of Bengal-Bihar-Orissa. A scheming Clive is seen enjoying Kathakj dance in typical period costume, while pressure is mounted for appointing British civilians for the junior jobs at Nawab’s cost. A desperate Raza, wishing to plan for efficient revenue-machinery prevalent in Alibardi’s time is pushed to the wall. Incidents of British graft in Purnea and Dinajpur mount, and the exchequer is on the brink of bankruptcy. Protestations by Raza fall on deaf ears. As Nehru records, an early consequence of the British rule in Bengal and Bihar was a terrible famine, which ravaged the two princes in 1770, killing over a third of the population of this rich, vast and densely-populated area. Warren Hastings appears on the scene and the signed documentary by Raza is now put to forged use by virtually blackmailing him, besides physically assaulting him surreptitiously. Hasting’s case against Raza is the last straw and the exalted man dies of a broken heart in 1791, looking back over this period, Nehru says, it almost seems that the British succeeded in dominating India by a succession of fortuitous circumstances and lucky flukes. With remarkably little effort, they won a great empire and enormous wealth, which helped to make them the leading power in the world.

Episode 40: Tipu Sultan

There is an opening panaroma of several impressions painting showing, as Nehru observes, the 1st to 4th Mysore Wars towards the closing years of the 18th century fought by Haider Ali and Tipu sultan. They were formidable adversaries, who inflicted severe *more.. defeat on the British and came near to breaking the power of the British and came near to breaking the power of the East India Company. In the scene, we see Haider on his deathbed extracting promises from son Tipu to continue resistance to the British and moves to draw inspiration from the American War of Independence. If they could defeat the English, why not us? Upon Haider’s demise in 1783. Tipu symbolically forsakes the throne untilthe last rites and concentrates on organizing joint efforts to drive the British out. For this purpose, he sends enjoys to the Peshwa Nana Sahib of the Marathas, the Nizam of Hyderabad and Nawab Shujaud-Daula of oudh. With remarkable prescience, he plans to mobiles foreign powers too against his adversary by sending missions to the Ottoman Sultan of Turkey in Constantinople and to King Louis XVI of France in Versailles. While, on the home front, he attempts to re-organise the governance of his kingdom on systematic basis, his joint efforts prove futile with Nana Sahib refusing to trust him and the Nizam openly preferring the English to Tipu. His overtures abroad in Turkey come to nothing and Louis XVI, despite professing friendliness, sends only skilled technicians and gardeners but no army. Tipu, outnumbered and outgunned, is faced with a treaty on humiliating terms – an eight –figure indemnity, the surrender of half his territories, and British custody of his two sons, aged only 8 and 10, as surety. Unexpectedly the terms are all complied with by the ‘Tigerof Mysore’ and while he is busy restoring his truncated kingdom to an enviable prosperity, there is an extenuating fact that the victorious Napolean has made no secret of his design on the British in India. Governor General Wellesley hails Napolean’s correspondence with Tipu as the needed pretext to lay siege on Mysore. Srirangapatnam is stormed and sacked with devilish ardour. Tipu fights bravely to the end, is betrayed and goes down with a rare show of bravery along with some 9000 Mysore troupes. Nehru notes that Tipu’s final defeat in 1799 by the British left the field clear for the final contest between the Marathas and the British East India company. Every other ruler acknowledged the influence of one or the other. While the Nizam bought permanent peace by ceding territory, the Marathas after some notable initial victories over the British, were finally crushed by 1818 and accepted the overlordship of the East India company. The British then become the unchallenged sovereign of a great part of India, governing the country directly or through puppet princes.

Episode 41: The Bengal Renaissance and Raja Rammohun Roy

Nehru observes that as the British become dominat in India as the formost global power they represented a new historic force that ushered in many changes inducted from the West. Bengal witnessed and experienced these agrarian, technical, educational and i *more.. ntellectual change long before any other region of India, as it had a clear 50 years of British rule before it spread over wider areas. In the 18th century, a towering personality arose in Bengal, Raja Rammohan Roy, who combined in himself the old learning and the new. More than a scholar he was a reformer and tried to reforms his own faith, ridding it of evil practices like Sati, that were associated with it. The drama opens with a hapless girl being dragged to the funeral pyre of her ded husband. Rammohun discovers to his horror that it was his sister-in-law, just widowed, who had committed Sati with his mother’s tacit approval. Revolting against the cruel custom, he calls for a gathering of scholars, where he forcefully argues against it and calls it murder quoting religious treatises. They vow to spread the message to school widows at one stroke. There is immediate social repercussion from the orthodox community, forcing Rammohan to resign from the membership of Hindu College, which he had founded. The movement, however, spreads and the British educational evangelist, Derozio supports it along with protests against child-marriage. Deeply versed in Indian thoughts and philosophy, a scholar in Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic and adept in Greek, Latin and Hebrew besides English, Rammohun proves a formidable force against the diehard orthodoxy spearheaded by Radha Kanta Deb and forges ahead against idolatry of Hinduism and resolves to establish a monistic Brahmo Sabha. He also persuades a reluctant William Bentinck, the British Viceroy, to persuade the Press to support the reformist movement. We hear the new Brahmo Sabha singing choral Dhrupad to praise one God and to profess egalitarianism against all castes and creeds. Rammohun proceeds to translate the Upanishads into Bengali to spread religious awareness. Against stiff resistance, even from within his family, Rammohun carries on with the reformist movement, when Radha Kanta Deb’s group puts up contrary petitions to the Privy Concil. Derozio’s drive from modern education, with readings from his inspiring poetry in the Hindu College also gathers momentum, but he himself gets expelled. Rammohun decides to travel to England to carry his message in the teeth of opposition against sea-voyage. Meanwhile, Bentinck legally prohibits Sati and Rammohun has the task of countering the mass petitions. He never returns from England, dying there in 1833. Nehru concludes that the spread of new knowledge continued till the 20th century and Bengal played a dominant role in British Indian life.

Episode 42: 1857 Part-1

Nehru notes that, after nearly 100 years of British rule, the Bengal peasantry was devastated by famine and crushed by new economic burdens, while the new intelligentsia looked to the West and hoped for progress coming through English liberalism, as also *more.. in Western and Southern India. But in the upper provinces, the people generally suffered from the rapacity and ignorance of the officials of the East India Company. Absolute power over vast numbers of people had turned their heads and they suffered no check or hindrance. The scene opens with two Brahmins preparing to leave for the capital to meet Ahalyabai Holkar, Malwa, in anticipation of her benevolence. While availing of the Brahmins frugal hospitality, the Indian Sipahi group music apprises them of the many changes wrought by the British, who wield the trader’s balance in one hand and the martial sword in the other and about the ouster of Indian lords taking place in Orissa, Bihar and Tanjore. The drama shows the queen of Jhansi beging capitulated to Majao Elise of the British against pension and abode in the Gawalior fort. The music narrates the agony in Bengal and then the breaking point how cartridges of the new rifle are being greased with a tallow, probably containing both Pigs and Cows fat and how these cartages need to be bitten open with the teeth, thus defiling faith of both Hindus and Muslims. The dramatic event of the Sepoy, Mughal pandey articulating the protest, being gunned down in full view of others and becoming the first martyr proves the last straw. At Meerut, a particularly insensitive British command court-marshal 85 troops for refusing to use suspect cartridges and then publicly humiliates them in front of the entire garrison. Next day, their comrades-in- arms rise to free them, brake into the armoury and begin massacring the local Euripon community. After some initial hesitation about Lucknow or Kanpur, the mutineers head for Delhi and seek out the higher authorities of the Mughal emperor Bahudar Shah Zafar. Already 82 years old and having neither subjects nor troops, the effete king first hesitates, but finally endorses the insurgents cause. With the Mughal co-option, the regimental mutiny acquires the character of political revolt whose legitimacy as a right full representative of the old order, is no doubt superior to the challenged British regime. As the events of 1857 unmistakably show, the old order was begin restored: Bahadur Shah was appointing a government council; Oudh had erupted; Kanpur had fallen; and Agra, Allahbad, Varanasi, and Gwalior seethed with dissent. The symbolic feudal head in Delhi was a good enough rallying point for one and all.

Episode 43: 1857 Part- 2

Nehru opines that the 1857 Revolt that completed 100 years of British presence in India since Plassey, was essentially a feudal rising, though undoubtedly there wrre nationalistic elements in it. Those who had joined the Revolt were, as a rule, the disinh *more.. erited and those deprived of their power and privileges, or those who feared that some such fate awaited them. In the ensuing drama, the loyalty of the rank and file is sought to be strengthened in the name of continued Mughal rule, and the belief that the British rule in India being limited to only 100 years is cited aloud. Mughal Firman is proclaimed from Red Fort ramparts, laying down a new hierarchy and setting up an administration. While the patriotic music announced father marches to Kanpur and Oudh, the British muster troops on the Ridge, north of Delhi, and attempt to explain away their ‘mistakes’ in Lucknow and elsewhere. After the city falls to a British assault and, after another orgy of looking and indiscriminate massacre, the emperor is exiled to Rangoon. The rebellion is now seen in the vast-Gangetic plain where Oudh become the main arena of a genuine populist uprising rooted in rutal support. In Lucknow, although the British Collector assiduously cultivates Nana Sahib, the adopted son of the last Peshwa, with promises of protection by General Wheeler, the mutineers prevail upon him to replace the Mughal as their figurehead and provide leadership. Assuming the defunct Peshwa-ship, Nana Sahib takes the surrender of the 400 British in Kanpur. There are, however, two massacres of hapless British captives and, in the face of the avenging British forces now approaching from Allahbad, Nana Sahib and his able Marathi commander Tantia Topi escape to Nepal, never to be heard of again. Even the recapture of Kanpur by the British, the rebel-held Lucknow sees a defiant stand developing into a remarkable siege. The final scenes of defiance occur in the south of Yamuna in the Bundelkhand territory of Jhansi. Once the local British community has taken refuge in the small fort and gets massacred while being evacuated, the Queen, who had parted with funds and guns to the mutineers marching off to Agra and Delhi, raises troop and leads them herself, most courageously, to repulse to British assault, but dies fighting heroically as the best and the bravest’ of the rebel leaders. The battle is seen in graphic details with many gory hangings of the rebel prisoners from the surrounding trees. Nehru noted that, after the Revolt was violent crushed the royal proclamation of 1858 transferred all right enjoyed by the East India Company to the British Crown and Queen Victoria become the Queen of India. In the drama, the musicians bemoan the end of the dream to make the land free of foreign occupants by a united Hindu-Muslim regime. Nehru further observes that by 1877, the ‘Empress of India’ was also decorated ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’.

Episode 44: Indigo Revolt

Nehru observes that when the English first occupied India, there was a sufficiently developed base of industry and the chief business of the East India Company was to carry Indian manufactured goods like textiles and spices to Europe. With the industrial *more.. revolution taking place in England, the Indian market was to be opened to British manufacturers. This exclusion extended to other foreign market as well and the flow of Indian goods was prevented within the country itself. Consequently Indian textile industry collapsed, affecting a vast number of weavers and artisans, followed by other industries like shipbuilding, metalwork, and crafts. Nehru further observes that with the rapidly increasing unemployment and poverty, the class colonial economy built up. Indian then become a predominantly agricultural country supplying row material to industrial England at a low price and in turn, providing a market for England’s goods. The hapless peasants are stopped from cultivating rice and, instead, forced to switch over to indigo, a necessary row material for the British industry, to be purchased at a low price. Refusal is met with stern admonition and even physical torture. The intellectual weapon to counter the evil is a compelling Bengali play Neel Darpan (The Indigo Mirror) by Deenabandhu Mitra. The first scene shows the oppression of a poor peasant by the British contractor, making indigo cultivation obligatory unless he is provided the services of a comely maiden. The second displays the common man’s perception of resistance through humour and banter, until the stick-wielding police close down the play already declared illegal. The helpless peasants rue their fate of giving up rice-cultivation in favour of indigo-farming and recall the meaningful efforts of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the noted philanthropist and social feformer. The British officials use Indian spices to collect information on organized resistance. Educated Indians send-petition to British India Association drawing Lord Canning’s attention. Meanwhile, the torture-machinery continues unabated to provided punitive punishment to the opposing leaders. The scared villagers villagers maintain stoic silence, till they find the ringleader Madhav torured to death, his corpse thrown into the river and his widow sneering in the in the face dump society. They revolt by setting indigo godowns and houses of the scheming English contractors on fire and rampaging the British property. Eventully, the Indigo Revolts has the desired impact- making the British stop forced indigo cultivation altogether. Vidyasagar’s effoets for widow remarriage, promotion of women’s education, abolition of Koolin polygamy and child-marriage are seen. As Nehru notes, the 19th century saw in India two Englands living side by side: ine of high intellectual attainment and political maturity and the other of savage penal codes and brutal behaviour.

Episode 45: Mahatma Phule

Nehru opines that caste, which was meant to develop individuality and freedom had become a monstrous degradation, the opposite of what it was meant to be. With the spread of English education and administration, there was evidence of a large number of dep *more.. ressed classes and untouchables. Dalit was a new designation applying to a number of castes at the bottom of the scale. The untouchable engaged in scavenging or unclean work. There were staunch reformers like Jyotirao Phule and their organizations like ‘Satya Shodh Sangstha’. Established in 1848, which tried to spread education among the depressed classes and untouchable to give a new sense of respectability to the lowest hierarchies of society. We see Phule, a fledgling reformer, attempting to get his message of self-purification across to a like-minded body and recalling the travails of a Shudra (member of the lowest caste) in a marriage reception. When his dream of a school for Shudhra children comes true, he exhorts them to take up education in all earnest and his wife Savitri helps in teaching the girls. Hoodlums sprinkle cow-dung on Savitri and Phule is accused of violating divine texts by the orthodox. Phule is thrown out of his home, but he bravely utilizes his residence to continue teaching Sudhras. His movement gathers momentum, but hired killers threaten Phule with physical assault. Without losing composure, Phule declares that Savitri would carry on teaching even the daughters of these very assassins. They are taken aback by his gesture. Savitri meets a homeless Brahmin widow who become pregnant after being seduced by her own kin. Phule magnanimously provides refuge as her plight could be anybody’s regardless of caste. He starts a refugee home for such women and dissuades barbers from ignominiously shaving heads of widows. In 1873, Phule’s new book Ghulamgiri (The Practice of Slavery) against exploitation by the upper castes creates social furore. Like Rammohun’s ‘Brahmo Samaj’, there is reformist ‘Prarthana Samaj’ in Maharashtra, but the practicing preachers like Govind Ranade are not averse to surreptitiously having a second marriage with a pre-puberty girl! A mortally ill Brahmin, Vishnu Shastry Chiplankar, declines to be treated by a lower-caste physician sent by Phule. Ironically, the same doctor has to provide a death certificate for cremation. The India, as preached by Phule, lives in its villages where people lead an undignified life. Phuli dies in 1890, but his message does not fing favour even in the National Congress until 1932, when /Gandhi favours passing such a resolution in the Yarvada Congress session. Nehru points out that casteism had let loose inequity and oppression by the Brahmins on the lower castes and needed urgent redressing through the spread of education.

Episode 46: Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Nehru notes that after the 1857 Mutiny, the British government deliberately repressed the Indian Muslims to a greater extent than they did the Hindus, which especially affected those sections from which the new middle class might have emerged. British pol *more.. ice towards them underwent a change in the 1870’s and become more favourable. In this process, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan played a crucial role. He was anxious to make them accept English education and thus draw them out of their conservative shell. The scene opens dramatically with the Nawab of Moradabad launching a revengeful attack at midnight on the local British collector and Sir Syed thwarting them, explaining the inevitability of the prevailing British Raj and wisdom in accepting the same. The brave effort is duly recognized by the authorities and Sir Syed, while declining a Jagir, is rewarded with a princely lump sum and a monthly pension. In his alignment for British help and cooperation, he repeatedly tries to proves that Muslims as a whole did not rebel during the 1857 Mutiny and that many indeed remained royal to the British power. To lord Canning, the new Governor General, Sir-Syed pleads for aid in creating a ‘scientific’ society for the Muslims. His efforts to open an English school for the community are stiffly resisted by the Muslims. With his concerted efforts, the Madarsa is finally established at Ghazipur where five languages are taught-Urdu, English, Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit. He resolves to publish a newspaper and introduce teaching of science since it is closely connected with nature. He also expresses a keenness to visit Europe, to study their progress and development. Nehru observes, though an array of colourful period- paintings and letters, how Sir Syed was much impressed by the European civilization. On his return the resolve to convert the Madrasa into a college is doubly strengthened and he collects donations personally. Rousing poems are heard on the theme of education for the deprived community. On behalf of the authorities, 74 acres of land, the munificence of Henry Lawrence, comes handy in realizing Sir Syed’s dream of founding the Anglo-Muhammadn Oriental college in 1875, eventually to become University of Aligarh. One of the declared objects of the college was ‘to make the Mussalmans of India worth and subjects of the British crown’, as quoted by Nehru. There is the other momentous event of establishing the National Congress and request from its founding fathers like Sir Surendranath Banerjee and Badruddin Tayebji to Sir Syed for Joining the joining the same. As Nehru notes, while Sir Syed succeeded in beginning the English education among the Muslims and diverting the Muslim mind from the political movement, many prominent Muslim nonetheless joined the National Congress. British policy progressively pro-Muslim, in favour of those elements among the moderate Muslims who were opposed to the National movement.

Episode 47: Vivekanand

Nehru records that the real impact of the West came to Bengal in the 19th century through technological changes and their dynamic consequences. The first reaction, limited to the small English-educated middle class, was one of admiration and acceptance of *more.. almost everything Western. The counter-attempt by Raja Rammohun Roy was to adapt Hinduism to this new environment and start ‘Brahmo Samaj’ on rationalist and social reform basis. Another notable reform movement in the late 19th century was by Swami Dayananda Saraswati that struck root in the form of ‘Arya Samaj’ among the Hindus of the United Province and the Punjab with the slogan: ‘Back to the Vedas.’ Another person in Bengal, whose life and precepts considerably influenced the new English-educated classes, was Ramakrishna Paramahansa, simple man who searched for self-realisation. He even met and lived with Muslim and Christian mystics emphasizing: All roods lead to truth. One of his chief disciples was Swami Vivekanand, who founded the non-sectarian Ramakrishna Mission of service. Young Naren’s queries of mystic nature leads him to Ramakrishna at Dakshineshwar, whom he charms with his Nirguna song: O mind, return to your own abode, forsaking your useless sojourn in material worlds as on uninvited stranger…Ramakrishna embraces him as the one for whom he was wating so long. While Naren is eager to experience Nirvikalpa Samadhi (salvation by total absorption in the universal identity), the Master chides him for his self-absorption, rather than be a huge tree to provide refuge to others! After the Master’s demise in 1886, Naren moves to a dilapidated house in Baranagar and leads a life of austerity. At Hathras railway station, he meets Sarat Chandra Gupta who become his first disciple (Swami Sadanand). At Khetri, Maharaja Ajit /singh becomes his friend and disciple, where he listens to a Bhajan from a Baiji and calls her ’mother’. After traveling through the country for three years, he reaches Kanya Kumari and, to everybody’s consternation, swims across the sea to the southernmost rock (Vivekanand Rock) and sits all night in deep meditation. The vast panorama of India passes before his mind’s eye with its past, present and future. On return to Khetri, the Maharaja suggests that he should assume the name of ‘Vivekanand’. With financial help from his and other, Vivekanand proceeds to America to attend the Parliament of Religions, convened in Chicago, in 1893. There his address, opening with: ‘Sisters and Brother of America! Meets with thunderous applause. He declares that like all rivers finding a confluence in the sea, all frligious ultimately end in one common God. Purity, sanctity and cordiality to all are not the property of any one religion. Nehru observes that Vivekanand laid stress on liberty and equality :’Liberty of thousand and action is the only condition in life, of growth and well-being; where it does not exist, the race, the nation must go’.

Episode 48: Extremists And Moderates

Nehru opines that early stage of the political movement where dominated by the ideological urges of upper middle classes. With the coming-of – age of the National congress founded in 1885, a new type of leadership appeared, more aggressive and defiant, *more.. representing the much larger number of lower middle classes as well as youth. The powerful agitation against ‘Partition’ of Bengal had trrown up many able and aggressive leaders but the real symbol of the ‘radical’ new age was Bal Gangadhar Tilak from Maharashtra with his power base around Pune. ‘Moderates’ , who favoured constitutional methods, become identified with Gopal Krishna Gokhale’ whose power-base was among Mumbai intelligentsia. The first signs of polarization in the Congress ranks loom large in Maharashtra in late 1890’s. in the prevailing debate on the ‘Age of Consent Bill’ , Gokhale declines to go against the government. ‘Radicals’ like Tilak argue about the futility of revisionist petitions to the government. Revolutionary slogans are in the air, tempers run high and conflicts seem inevitable. To avoid confrontation, opinions of Dadabhai Naoroji, universally regarded as the father-figure of the country, are sought but to no avail. Gokhale accepts the need for patience, and move easily between the presidency of Congress and membership of the Viceroy’s Council. His contrived view is that the establishment of railways has hastened the policy of free trade. Tilak experiments with mass-focus appeals like the politicization of festivals, patriotic crusades based on the legacy of Shivaji and exhortations to Civil disobedience, and printing seditious poetry in his newspaper ‘Kesari’. Reports of incidents of defiling idols and molesting women by the Tommies bring charges of sedition on tilak. Gokhale left in a quandary and hastens to pardon him in public. Sentenced to prison, Tilak become a martyr for the Nationalist cause. As Nehru notes, the explosion that greeted the ‘Partition’ of Bengal in 1905 finds its echo in Tilak’s incendiary speeches, while in Gokhale’s camp, there is consolatory anticipation that the incoming Secretary of State is going to be sympathetic to the Nationalist cause. Gokhale continues to be the voice of moderation, yet the pamphlets and petitions flood everywhere, announcing extension of Swadeshi protest to the whole of India. It spreads in a remarkable display of united and effective action. Congress, however, disowns the movement. At the 1906 Congress in Nagpur, a split is avoided by extending an invitation to the octogenarian Dadabhai Naoroji to take the chair by Surendranth Banerjee, and some contrite resolutions favouring Swaraj (self-rule). In the 1907 Congress meet at Surat, the divisions between ‘radicals’ like Tilak and ‘moderates’ like Gokhale can no longer be contained. As Nehru summarises, the 1907 clash in Congress resulted apparently in a victory for the ‘moderates’ through organizational control. There was, however, no doubt that the vast majority of political-minded people in India favoured Tilak and his ‘radical’ group.

Episode 49: And Gandhi came Part-1

Nehru notes that when World War 1 started politics in India was at a low ebb. This was chiefly because of the split in the Congress between two sections, the radicals and the moderates, and also because of wartime restrictions and regulations. And then Ga *more.. ndhi came. He was like a powerful current of fresh air that made Indians stretch themselves and take deep breaths. He seemed to emerge from the millions of India, speaking their language and incessantly drawing attention to their appalling condition. The sprawling photographs of Gandhi illustrate how he entered the Congress and made it a democratic, mass organization. The peasants rolled in and the Congress assumed the look of a vast agrarian organ with a strong sprinkling of the middle class. Industrial workers too came in as individuals. The ensuing drama draws from the episodes of Raja Rao’s novel, Kanthapura, that is embedded in those traumatic times. Even the traditional Harikatha gatherings are redolent with the consciousness that Mahatma Gandhi has newly instilled. Gandhi is depicted as the new incarnation of Vishnu who has come to rid the British oppression. There is resistance to provide accommodation to the newly-posted village-official, symptomatic of the troubled times. The world spreads on the efficacy of spinning thread daily by the Charkha (spinning Wheel)and the message of the assimilating the Achhoots (the untouchables) is driven in against the prevailing potions of community discrimination. Like many a village in India, Kanthapura is agog with Gandhian Spirit. The protagonists Kashinath and Murthy, and even the village women Rangamma and Ratna, are involved in lively debates on the socio-political issues, in the face of the police antagonism. Murthy, the staunch Gandhian, undertakes a 3-day fast for self-purification, barring a daily drink of there glasses of water. The villagers, including the Patel, commiserate with him, but Murthy, drawing his inspiration from Gandhi’s many fasts, is adamant. We hear Gandhi’s favourite Ramdhun for congregational singing: Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram …Gandhi’s ideas of truth, love, divinity and non-violence are animatedly discussed, alongside the need for daily spinning of cotton yarn as an act of self-reliance for weaving hand-spun clothes. Amidst the spreading ethos of Chorkha distribution, Murthy is arrested, commenting on such far-reaching impact of Gandhi on the village folks, Nehru avers that this astonishingly vital man, full of self-confidence and an unusual kind of power, standing for equality and freedom of each indidual but measuring all this in terms of the poorest, fascinated the masses of India and attracted them like magnet.

Episode 50: And Gandhi came Part-2

Nehru notes that against the all-pervading fear amongst Indian people of the British Raj, Gandhi’s quiet and determined voice was raised, ‘Be not afraid’. Suddenly, the black pall of fear was lifted from the people’s shoulders. To the ordinary vil *more.. lage folks, it made all the difference. The song picks up refrain that the Congress would hereafter rule in the rural front and initiate Rama Raj by obolishing Ravana Raj of the aliens. While Murthy declines to appoint an advocate to pleas for him, Rangamma’s visit to town to look for a defence lawyer is in vain. She returns with the news that Murthy has been sentenced toa three-month imprisonment. Rangamma and Ratna now pick up the cudgel and begin organizing the female front of volunteers after the model of Sarojini Naidu, Annie Basant and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. They resolve not to fight back, even if beaten. There are mild protestations from the ilk of Narayan not to allow their female folk go in for public demonstrations. News comes that Murthy is released, but the nightmare is not over. The tidings of the Dundee March and Salt Satyagraha trickle in to enthuse the villagers no end. People decide to observe Manu (silence) to strengthen the Congress. There is tumultuous singing of another favourite Bhajan of Gandhi, by Narsinh Metha: Vaishnava Janato Tene Kohiye… Further news trickless in that the police has lathi-charged the corops of volunteers at Mahatma’s prayer meeting. This only steels the people’s resolve not to pay tax and offer passive resistance. A new phenomenon is women taking out processions and picketing in front of liquor-shop to stop their men folk from alcoholism. The tax-evasion campaign takes an ugly turn, with the police auctioning off the landed property of the defaulters in Kanthapura. Women, under the guidance of the hiding men, put up resistance, but the police open indiscriminate fire killing many and injuring several. There is chaos now from a failed resistance, with people leaving Kanthapura en masse for Kashipura mear Mysore and leaders like Murthy, Rangamma and Ratna imprisoned for six months. There is also news tricking in that at the apex, Nehru and Gandhi do no quite agree on non-violence. Nehru observrs that, by 1930 Gandhi seemed, to his countrymen, able to link the past with the future and to make the present appear as a stepping-stone to the future of life and hope. This he affected a vast psychological revolution not only among those who followed his lead, but also among his opponents and those neutrals who were stili ambivalent.

Episode 51: Separatism

Nehru notes that during the post-mutiny period, all the leading man among Indian Muslim, including Sir Syed Ahmad Khan were products of the old traditional education although some of them were influenced by new ideas. Thanks to Gandhi’s leader ship a un *more.. ited hindu-Muslim front was forged against the British. The congress spearheaded the non –corporation movement started in 1920 by Gandhi and the Khilafat committee. In 1922 Gandhi announced a new face of civil disobedience leading to the ultimate defiance of paying taxes, but called it of later. Amidist the Hindu-Muslim collaboration crumbling at the ages. MA Jinnah, Muslim League leader, walked out of the Congress. While Gandhi languished in jail, a parliamentary commission under Sir Johan Simon arrived in 1928 to make a review of the montague-Chlms ford reforms of 1927 only to be greeted by massive demonstrations through out India. The congress with Gandhi released, rallied around a boycott of Siman Commission . an angry mob shouts slogans Siman! Go back against stiff police resistance. Sir Mohammad Iqbal (who wrote the fiery nationalist poem Sare Jehan Se Achha….) plays a vital role influencing the newly growing middle class and the younger generation. Emerging leader likes DR. Ansari are confabulating to provide a seen of direction to the Muslim masses at nodal centers like Allahabad,and Aligarh. They discuss how alli brothers ‘Mhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali) had paid a prominent role in the Khilafat movement and suffered imprisonment for the congress in the 1920’s when in 1930, news come that Mohammed Ali is no more, the condolence meeting resolves that Lucknow city would observe a total closure as a mark of respect to his departed soul. But some Hindu shop keepers object on the ground that Ali was a Muslim. This takes most leaders by surprised, as Ali besides having chaired a congress session was a part of Gandhi’s no tax agitation and Nehru socialistic campaign. In retaliation against the Hindu resistance many Muslims shopkeepers are refuse to bring down shutters for Bhagat Singh, even though he died for the cause of India’s freedom. Enforced closures results in riots, to the utter this may of higher leadership who declare that Hindu and Muslim are as indivisible as the air and the sky. The drama takes the separatism forward in holding central and the provincial election under the act of 1935. Muslim league is revamped under Jinnah and the rivalry between the congress and the Muslim league gathers momentum in the electioneering campaigns. The results go overwhelmingly in favor of the congress in most provinces and there Government established in 1937. Nehru observes that Indian nationalism as represented by the congress, apposed British imperialism. Jinna had propounded a theory that India consisted of two nationals Hindu and Muslims. From this theory developed the concept of Pakistan or the splitting up of India: as a direct of shoot of the divide and rule policy of the British.

Episode 52: Do Or Die

The scene opens with Nehru being taken to the Ahmadnagar Fort jail. The time is September 1939 and World War ll is about to begin. The Congress has laid down dual policy in regard to the War. There is opposition to Fascism, Nazism and Japanese militarism, *more.. but also an emphasis on freedom for India. Nehru reiterates that only a free India could take proper part in such warfare. The scene swiftly switches to 7th August, 1942 in Mumbai where the All-India Congress Committee considered and debated in public, what has since come to be known as the ‘Quit India Resolution’. The resolution was finally passed late in the evening of 8th August 1942. a few hours later, in the early morning of 9th , a large number of leaders were arrested all over the country. The song-and –dance sequence shows how the German ‘fiends’ are coming and the British ‘conines’ are about to flee with tail curled under their legs! In a nerve-centre of popular resistance, Ballia, discussions are on among minor leaders on arrangements for Gandhi’s impending visit to nearby Banaras and making the non-violence movement a success, when news arrives of Gandhi’s arrest on 9th August. There is immense public resentment expressed through the call of Ballia ‘Bandh’ Gandhi is removed to an unknown destination and the populace resolve to ‘Do or Die’ against this miscarriage of justice, in a non-violent manner, by holding strike in Ballia. The police are flabbergasted as the number of people in the procession far outnumber the available bullets! Defying the power of the Establishment, people sing: Vijayee Vishwa Tiranga Pyara… Barricades are put to obstruct rail lines. Every compartment carries Congress-flags and the slogan ‘VandeMataram’ rends the air. The local English ADM negotiates with jailed mass-leader, Radhamohan Singh with an offer of freedom, provided, they pacify the Ballia crowds. The brave response is : today Ballia is burning, tomorrow England will! The situation worsens and the authorities concede that the Ballia is out of control and the jail-gates are thrown open to free political prisoners. Nehru summarises that after prominent leaders were suddenly removed, no one seemed to know what should be done. Protests were spontaneous, and reactions were extraordinarily widespread both in towns and villages. It was remarkable how British authority ceased to function over areas, both rural and urban. This happened in Bihar and Bengal, and the whole district Ballia, had to be ‘re-conquered’. Nehru is released from the mountain prison of Almora on 15 June 1945, and walks out to the jubilant crowd sloganeering lustily: Mahatma Gandhi zindabad! Karenge Ya Marenge!

Episode 53: Epilogue

Nehru commented that science may be on the verge of discovering vital mysteries. Ignoring the ‘way’ of philosophy, science would go on asking ‘how’ giving greater content and , meaning to life. Nehru considered Vedas the earliest books that humani *more.. ty possessed, behind which lay ahes of civilized existence, during which the Indus Valley civilization had grown. The visuals recapitulating the earlier episodes show, Nachiketa questioning: what is soul? What are space and time the death-god Yamareplies: Brahman is supreme, manifest in Om that is imperishable, in the epic Mahabharta, Arjuna trembles at the prospect of killing the relatives in War, till Krishna counsels him to forsake weakness and face the ordained duties. One’s soul is everlasting and allows only the right of action in one’s given life. The Buddha preaches without any reference to God or another world. He relies on logic and experience, and asks people to seek the truth in their own minds. Ashoka is stricken which remorse in spite of his triumph in the Kalinga war and discusses the transience of everything before surrendering to the Buddha. The Bhakti movement with the saint-poets like Basavanna spread Saguna and Niguna songs among the masses. We move to the advent of Islam and the surge of Sufism with its message that puts love for men at par with love for God. Amir Khusro is seen singing Persian and Brajbhasha lyrics. Kabir appears with transcendental songs of wisdom and religion and shares mystic thoughts with the bemused Sultan. Akbar discourses on his newly found faith, Din-e-llahi. The scenario now captures the encounter between Aurangzeb and Shivaji. During Tipu Sultan’s reign in the 18th century, the Europeans power is on its way to become Indian rulers. Under the rule of the British, Bengal is plundered to support the industrial revolution in England. In the 1857 revolt, Mangal Pandey is seen to pull the first trigger, with the vow to throw the ‘white’ regime to the rivers. Rammohun Roy opposes Sati, and Swami Vivekanand raises a powerful voice against racial distinctions. Bal Gangadhar Tilak appears in the late 19th century with his Extremist faction and joins forces with Dadabhai Naoroji, in the latter’s demand: freedom is our birthright.’ Now come Gandhi who radically re-defines non-violence to mean alleviation of suffering, rise of the lowest echelons of society, and decline of the British imperialism. The 1930 turmoil of India and the Ballia ‘Bandh’ lead to the spread of the battle cry of ‘Do or Die’ that reverberates throughout India in August 1942. in another half decade, India wins freedom on 15th August 1947. Nehru concludes his epic saga of re-discovering his motherland with the powerful prayer by Tagore from Gitanjali: where the mind is without fear and the head held high; where knowledge is free; that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

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One Response to Bharat Ek Khoj (Hindi: भारत एक खोज, Urdu: بھارت ایک کھوج,English: Discovery of India)

  1. faraz July 3, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    i need to know the singer’s name in shakuntala’s episode

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