Last updateThu, 10 Aug 2017 9am

Traditional Knowledge Systems

Traditional Knowledge Systems

It is now recognized that western criteria are not the sole benchmark by which other cultural knowledge should be evaluated. While the term 'traditional' sometimes carries the connotation of 'pre-modern' in the sense of 'primitive' or 'outdated', many of the traditional sciences and technologies were in fact quite advanced even by western standards as well as better adapted to unique local conditions and needs than their later 'modern' substitutes. In countries with ancient cultural traditions, the folk and elite science were taken as part of the same unified legacy, without any hegemonic categorizations.


Seven big ideas and Hinduism’s integral unity – Rajiv Malhotra

Seven big ideas and Hinduisms integral

I have written extensively on Hinduism and my book, Being Different, explains what is distinct about Hinduism, whereas Breaking India describes how certain forces are trying to undermine it. These two books may be seen as positive and negative, respectively: positive in the sense of defining what Hinduism is and negative in the sense of exposing the threats it faces.

Both aspects get combined and taken forward in my subsequent book Indra’s Net. I will briefly summarise the seven major ideas I want readers to take away from this book - ideas that are not widely appreciated but that are vital for engaging today’s discourse.

The Vedic paradigm of Indra’s Net:

My writings have extensively described the principle of integral unity with origins in ancient Indian texts. Conceptually, the term ‘Indra’s net’ is often used as a metaphor to describe something similar: interconnectivity, interdependency and flux. It is nowadays used by writers in a wide range of topics in quantum physics, environmentalism and social harmony. Indeed, many aspects of post-modernist theories (such as resistance to reductionism) are based on such notions. However, this metaphor is widely presented as a Buddhist idea.

It is obvious that Indra is a Vedic deity. So I decided to investigate the matter. This is how I discovered that Buddhism first elaborates on this metaphor in the Avatamsaka sutra, and that this Buddhist sutra was adopted from the Vedas. The Avatamsaka sutra was written in Sanskrit and then translated into Mandarin. However, large parts of the Sanskrit original have survived.


10 Targets of Subramanian Swamy

10 targets of subramanian swamy

The Income Tax department is likely to issue notices to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi asking them to pay tax and penalty on "income" of Rs 1,300 crore that investigators believe they earned from the transfer of shares of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publishers of the now-defunct party newspaper the National Herald, according to a report in The Indian Express.


How ‘Gandhara’ Became ‘Kandahar’

How Gandhara Became Kandahar

Afghanistan’s epic history starts when it was an important region of ancient India called ‘Gandhara’. One of its most frequently mentioned cities in the world today is ‘Kandahar’, made infamous by the Taliban. The earlier name of the city was ‘Quandhar’, derived from the name of the region of Gandhara. Erstwhile home to Al-Qaeda today, it was always a strategic site, being on main Persian routes to Central Asia and India. Hence, it has a long history of conquests. Kandahar was taken by Alexander in 329 B.C.E., was surrendered by the Greek to Chandragupta in 305 B.C.E., and is dignified by a rock inscription of Asoka. It fell under Arab rule in the 7th century C.E., and under the Ghaznavids in the 10th. Kandahar was destroyed by Genghis Khan and again by the Turkic conqueror Timur, after which it was held by the Mughals. Mughal Emperor Babur built 40 giant steps up a hill, cut out of the solid limestone, leading to inscriptions recording details of his proud conquests. In 1747 it became the first capital of a unified Afghanistan.


Gandhi's Dharma and the West

Gandhis Dharma and the West

Mahatma Gandhi articulated his sva-dharma ("my dharma") using a few key Sanskrit words that do not have an exact English equivalent. One of these issatya, his practice of truth. Unlike truth in the Western sense, satya is not an intellectual proposition but a way of life which has to be actualized and embodied directly by each person. There is no place for the reification or codification of satya, because truth is not held in some book or set of laws; it lives in oneself, and cannot be separated from oneself. This philosophical distinction is at the heart of Gandhi's dharma.


Cow Is A Sacred Asset Of The Nation

Cow is a Sacred Asset of the Nation

“A single individual by simply not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one ton of CO2 emissions prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car. …  There is no justification whatsoever for one to continue to be a non-vegetarian knowing the devastating consequences of meat-eating.” – Dr Subramanian Swamy 


Saying no to blame culture, yes to courage & change

Saying no to blame culture yes to courage  change

To me, India is empowered when at least 80 per cent of its people are empowered. As most of India's population live in rural areas, just a few urbanites being empowered will be unfortunate for this country. India will be truly empowered when people at the grassroots start feeling confident about themselves, their way of life, their tradition and their language.