TIMES PRECEDING GURU NANAK

That part of the world

sapta sindhwa [hafta hindwa], madra des, uttarapath, nirdukha, sukhbhumi

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pre 1500 bc – harrapa, mohenjadaru – highly urbanized; 1000 me/w, 700 n/s

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indoaryan – vedic Hinduism; Vedas written, mahabharata scene; use of iron

rig veda 10/11 cent bc, upanisad, six sastras, purana by 300 ad

believed in various gods and raksasas > trinity> ritualistic brahminism

500 bc protest against brahminism due upanisad but mainly due jaina, budha

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326 bc alexander’s invasion upto beas

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mauryas rule 321-189 bc; chandragupta – jain, ashok turned budhhist; kautilya

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indo greek, saka, kushan [kanishka] for 5 cent, lot of budhist works written 1-4 cent ad

jainas sprinkling because lack of royal patronage.

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guptas around 2 cent; golden hindu period

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huns come in 500 ad bodha persecuted;

vardhanas till 647 ad; harsa shaivite turned budhhist

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710 mohd bin qasim sindh, arab traders malabar; by 950 sindh and Kabul mostly muslim, shankaracharya stared his reform late 8/early 9th cent.

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Mahmud ghazni 7 attacks; jawalamukhi, mathura, somnath destroyed; Punjab conquered qutabuddin aibak destroyed 27 hindu/jain temples; stones in qutab minar evidence; dynasties like ghoris, slaves, khiljis, tughlaqs

1398 timur invasion – bhatnir 10,000 hindus killed 1 hr, delhi 100,000 taken prisoners by soldiers, mostly killed; tughlaqs weakened but survived 50 yrs. Punjab suffered most

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lodhis start 1451 – bahlol; 1489 – sikander [mother hindu]; 1517 – ibrahim

grewal: secular, caste panchayats; Punjab saw peace till babur; no recorded persecution; jaziya not insisted; Hindus learnt farsi, got jobs; pilgrimage tax allowed by cannon.

Bannerjee: suffering, uncertainty & anxiety; delhi cut off from ports for 1 cent so no cash; temples destroyed; hindus not allowed shave head/face; bodhan Brahmin; only ride donkeys; kabir in chains thrown in ganga; no justice for non Muslims – 2nd class citizens

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lodhi govt: weak center more engaged E & S, W left alone; nominal sultan & wazir; provinces assignees – kept troops, collected revenue, tyrannical, corrupt, extortionists.

Officials diwan; siqdar, amin, qanungo, fotedar [maliks]; muqaddam [chowdhury] Upper caste hindus muqaddams – almost hereditary. Unsympathetic, corrupt, selfish.

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Islam with concept of God, prophet, quran, sharia, open, egalitarian, simple worship & theology against discrimination,

immigrant muslims rich and powerful; converted mostly same vocation as before

Mullahs orthodox; worldly; pool for scholars, qazis; influential, harsh, vain, formalistic; behavior of mullah, sheikh, qazi;

Sufis – influence of yoga, vernacular, hindwi music- chishtis, suhrawardi, qadri, naqashbandi silsila

Lived in poverty & abstinence; lower self, nafs, must be annihilated; meditate; free heart of evil; dhikr; khanqah life and langar; denials; ascetic

Qalandar wandering darvesh; magic & occult powers; opposed khanqa living. Sheikhzadas, pirzadas became hereditory

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Hindu Brahmins caste & form bound; learnt farsi, got jobs; hypocritical; extortionist

Jogis recluse, ascetic, hated women, warrior beggars, tantric, but rejected caste, idols, temples, mosques, pilgrimage

Bhagats salvation thru loving bhakti; caste, rituals, pilgrimages not critical,

Saktas worship goddesses, believe in tantra

Sant belief in non-incarnated God, formless, immanent, no caste, liberal social approach.

Town morphology separatist, elitist and discriminatory.

Conversions thru official/domestic/battle slavery, induced, tribal group, Sufis, forced

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Rulers umbrellas, elephants, ornaments, court jesters, jangan faqirs kept matted hair, chains tied to feet and ringing bells

Babur wrote: no good looks, social graces, horses, dogs, handicrafts, grapes, musk melons, cold water, ice, food, cooking, hot baths, candles, torches —-

 All round decline – hypocrisy, corruption, ritualism or asceticism, inequality, discrimination, caste system strong, neel vastra pehr, decadent intellectual life, acute poverty, greed, chicanery

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verse I – righteousness, modesty gone, qazis, Brahmins role to satan

verse II – strong mauling weak and divine response; sins of rulers visit poor

verse III – rulers forgot their role, lost in pleasure look at women suffering

verse IV – wealth collected thru sin or occult charms did not help, what had to happen did happen for all the sin and moral decline

Consider:

What seems to be the message of Nanak in the Babarvani compositions?

  • Righteousness – any claimants
  • Factors that seem to have made that society to become vulnerable
  • Nanak’s anguish at suffering of the innocents – envision a worse case scenario
  • Divine responsibility, intervention, miracle? Why & on which side?

How would you classify the social milieu in Punjab of the times? Could it be viewed as some kind of a melting pot? If not what were constraining factors? Discuss in the light of earlier history and historical developments since then.

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