Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ancient India - prosperous and talented


Padmanabawamy temple tower(gopuram),Kerala news. jagranjunction.com
 Based on well-known western sources, travelers' accounts, and interesting comparative studies of the conditions of Indian subcontinent, a clear kaleidoscopic picture comes out nice and clean of India's past regarding the then prevailing social conditions, economy, education,etc Before the Muslim invasion from NE and later the British rule, India was a powerful economy, not in the least backward economically, culturally or socially. It had a monopoly in exports of textiles, spices,etc which attracted a host of invaders for several centuries before the British.
Padmanabawami temple,Kerala.pooja gold utensils. srirangaminfo.com
Columbus and Gama were after India in the late 1400s. After the Portuguese, the British traders came and settled down here, their exploitation  and Machiavellian administration at last made India's name synonymous with hunger, disease and poverty - a country of panhandlers, swamis, snake charmers and hobos. After the major war at Buxar,  Bengal (October,1764) and subsequent treaties at Allahabad (the last one in 1765), the British East India company  became the unrivaled master of a huge chunk of NW india comprising Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The company got the legal recognition of   the status of paramount power in Bengal,etc. Though Governor Clive was not totally immune to vices and unmeritorious  behind-the-scene activities, he was an excellent administrator. After his departure from the Indian sscene there was lawlessness. Susequently the company managed the situation fairly well with the arrival of Warren hastings and others. By virtue of its recently acquired enormous power,  the  East India's grip on the natives and their fertile lands tightened.
  
Trade restriction, forced cultivation of crops that would benefit only the British, higher taxes, breach of treaties with the rich Indian Maharajas and Nawobs, etc ruined once a prosperous nation. The enormous export was increased by process of British investment i.e., purchase of Indian goods for export out of revenues of Bengal and other provinces.The perpetual drain of revenue, resources from India  made the country desolate and desperate. 
Under their rule, rich Indian princes were pushed from sublime to disgrace; once rich traders and farmers, now reeling under poverty, were forced to become slaves and indentured workers in other countries run by the British crown. The non-cooperation among the Indian rulers created a favorable situation for the foreign rulers. The rulers, who came to India thousands of miles away from their mother land literally broke the Indian's backbone and the Indian peoples' hospitality towards the Europeans pushed them to the edge of a cliff.
 
 According to economic historians, India between first and eleventh century attained a sustained economic growth and enjoyed highest GDP in the world - 30% of world's GDP followed by China- 25% whereas Europe's GDP was just 11%. So, India was the richest nation for more than 1000 years. The Europe 500 to 1000 BC was in a medieval period - some what backward.
The subcontinent was divided into various kingdoms efficiently ruled by Maharajahs, kings and Nawobs or by their representatives or chieftains either independently or by their subordinates. Traders, royal employees, military people and peasants were well taken care of by the rulers. They had a wonderful system of administration and their subjects never went to bed with pangs of hunger or worries. They encouraged arts, music and literary works. They also patronized experts in various fields in their courts. The ancient rulers particularly Cholas and Pandyas had well-known poets and scholars in their courts and never failed to give them continued patronage.
 In ancient India the artistic, innovative and pious Hindu kings with surplus money and resources built huge temples with tall ornate stone towers, chatrams (rest houses or lodges with free food), for the travelers, donated a lot of gold, silver jewelery, precious stones, utensils and lands to the temples. They employed a large number of people including Brahmin priests and Oduvars (to sing devotional hymns) and others to run the temple administrations. They also had the habit of safely keeping the gold, & sliver, jewels, coins, vessels, etc in the highly guarded inner sanctum of Hindu temples, preferably in secret underground cellars  in case of invasions.. Both in the palaces and in many temples they had built a myriad of secret underground tunnels  of reasonable size with proper ventilation connecting nearby areas – a sort of escape route in the event of wars and extreme emergency. This was true of most of the peninsular rulers of yore as well.

The Padmanabha Swami temple in Thiruvananthapuram (anglicized name:Trivandrum), capital of Kerala is a case in point. The temple was built in the16 th century. In the vast temple's' underground cellars are stored valuable treasures gold ,silver, jewels, puja (payer) vessels, gold coins, highly valuable precious stones,etc worth $ 15 to 17 billions plus donated by the pious Travancore Royal family!! This was brought to light a few years ago early-June, 2011 through Supreme Court Order. This temple is one of the very few richest temples among the rich ones in India as well as in the world.
Padmanbaswami temple,Kerala, Lord's gold jewelery. www.rediff.com
.....''Rare jewels, stone-studded crowns, heaps of gold and silver coins, idols and gold, silver and brass platters and lamps, whose value is estimated at nearly Rs 1 lakh crore, were found in the temple in July 2011, catapulting it overnight to one of the richest in the country.
Mounds of precious gems, lakhs of gold coins, long gold chains, gold rings and bars, gold barrels etc were discovered when the metal doors of the secret cellar were opened.
Several bags of coins from the erstwhile Travancore royal family rule, coins from the Napoleonic era and the East India Company period were also discovered from the secret cellars ....'' (from Times of India)


Si Ranganathar temple,Srirangam,Tamil Nadu,goldplated vimanam. www.thehindu.com
Queen Mary wearing Kohinoor diamond, mined in Andhra,India. newsjewllery.tblogspot.com
That is the reason why most of the invaders in ancient India targeted the rich Hindu temples, each of which was nothing but an Eldorado.
Hindu temple-god and goddess wearing gold jewelery

 Ref:


"Golden idol of Vishnu found at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple". Chennai, India: Thehindu.com. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.