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India's $22B treasure trove has great 'archeological significance': expert
Edmonton News ^ | July 4, 2011 | Carmen Chai, Postmedia News

Posted on 07/04/2011 7:47:27 PM PDT by Pan_Yan

While one of India's richest temples is garnering worldwide attention for its estimated $22-billion treasure trove, a Canadian researcher says archeologists, scholars, economists and even jewellers are eager to flock to the site to study its historical impact.

The haul from the underground chambers of a medieval Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram, India, included enormous quantities of gold coins dating back to the era of French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte, and silk bundles full of diamonds, jewelry and Belgian gold — all artifacts that could help researchers paint of a picture of what world trade looked like between the 16th and 19th century, said Amitava Chowdhury, a Queen's University history professor who was an archeologist in Mauritius for several years.

"This finding showed the kind of international trade in billions of precious items, the evolution of jewelry and stone cutting, coins from all over the world. As an archeologist, what's interesting to me is what you can find out about various cultures based on these precious commodities," he said.

K.N. Panikkar, an eminent India historian, told international reporters the treasure was most likely a combination of gifts donated by devotees to the shrine built by Travancore maharajas.

The donations help illustrate how wealthy local and international merchants were and what they had on hand to offer to their deities, Chowdhury said.

With five vaults uncovered, a team named by the country's Supreme Court to monitor the treasure hunt said the valuables could be worth up to a trillion rupees or $22 billion.

"The size of it is staggering," Chowdhury said. "But the archeological significance perhaps outweighs the monetary value of it."

A sixth vault was to be explored Monday while a seventh vault — reinforced with iron walls — will be opened only under direction from India's top court, Agence France-Presse reported.

Chowdhury said the seventh chamber is likely the oldest in the temple and could contain dazzling artifacts dating back to the 16th century when the temple was constructed.

India's national conservation agency, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), said it was stunned by the findings.

"Right now we are working in absolute darkness and we only know that fabulous treasure is pouring out," ASI Director-General Gautam Sengupta told AFP.

"No archeologist has ever experienced vault after vault being opened and treasures being discovered like this," Sengupta said in New Delhi, adding that many of the Hindu shrines across India were "very rich."

Chowdhury said there are thousands of temples in South India but only about 20 are in the same league as this latest hoard of treasures.

Armed commandos cordoned off the South Indian temple, which he anticipated is slated to become the India's richest temple.

The site will probably become a "unique place on the Indian heritage map," adding another layer of protection to the region, Chowdhury said.

For now, surveillance will be in place around the clock and security forces are setting up a special control centre, including a three-tier security ring involving 100 armed policemen.

"It seems to be the only thing you can do in this situation. Decisions might be made to move the hold and ancient coins to a more secure location later on," Chowdhury said.

Since India achieved independence from Britain in 1947, a trust managed by descendants of the Travancore royal family has controlled the temple, AFP reported.


TOPICS: History; Religion
KEYWORDS: india; treasure

1 posted on 07/04/2011 7:47:30 PM PDT by Pan_Yan
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping. I have the feeling India’s government won’t be willing to leave $22 billion in private hands.


2 posted on 07/04/2011 7:50:14 PM PDT by Pan_Yan (Those that despise people will never get the best out of others and themselves. Tocqueville)
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To: Pan_Yan
The faithful would drop by for a prayer and leave a few diamonds as a tithe?

yitbos

3 posted on 07/04/2011 7:53:58 PM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." -- Ayn Rand)
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To: Pan_Yan

Interesting data point to counter the usual Marxist crap about British rule being a one-way street. How could the local merchants have amassed $22bn of loot, and why did the British leave it untouched?

Sadly, inevitably, India received independence at the hands of a debased, decadent generation of Brits, and post-independence were ruled by a generation of Oxbridge-educated fabian socialists. Maybe now that they’ve finally achieved some limited degree of economic freedom, Indians will appreciate what they had under the Raj - apart from the (rail)roads, the schools, etc. (”What have the Romans ever done for us?”)

Are the Iraqis similarly unlucky? They’ll be cut adrift and left to the mercy of their local theo-klepto-cracy at the hands of the vilest and most debased generation of politicians in American history.


4 posted on 07/04/2011 8:09:07 PM PDT by Vide
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To: Pan_Yan

That 7th vault has my interest. All the gold and diamonds were relatively unprotected, whereas the 7th vault is reinforced with steel. Was that to keep things in or out??


5 posted on 07/04/2011 8:21:34 PM PDT by himno hero ("Armageddon is well seeded, America will pay"... Barrack Obama's vision)
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To: Vide
Maybe now that they’ve finally achieved some limited degree of economic freedom, Indians will appreciate what they had under the Raj

On the day we celebrate our independence from the British, it's more than a little amusing to see this. I'd bet the Indians appreciate what they have now a lot more than what they had under the British, just as we do. And if the British had been aware of this trove, it would likely have been used to help fund Britain's Industrial Revolution or ended up in some British museum like so many other treasures from India and other nations.
6 posted on 07/04/2011 8:27:24 PM PDT by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: himno hero

It is probably an alien corpse in the 7th vault. :-)


7 posted on 07/04/2011 8:44:06 PM PDT by BreezyDog
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To: Vide

Silence is a better option when one is particularly ignorant. There is no need to wallow in past grievances but calling British rule benign is simply glorifying larceny. India total contribution to world GDP when British rule began was 26%. It was 1% when they left. If this is not theft, I would rather remove it from the laws and release all the thieves from the local pen.


8 posted on 07/04/2011 8:46:39 PM PDT by raj bhatia
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To: himno hero; BreezyDog; SunkenCiv

They should wait for Geralso to open the Seventh Vault.


9 posted on 07/04/2011 9:04:30 PM PDT by wildbill (You're just jealous because the Voices talk only to me.)
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To: BreezyDog

Ghandoras box?


10 posted on 07/04/2011 9:55:53 PM PDT by himno hero ("Armageddon is well seeded, America will pay"... Barrack Obama's vision)
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To: raj bhatia

I would be very interested in a reference for this comment.

Also when the date for start of British rule is, in your opinion.


11 posted on 07/04/2011 10:03:20 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: raj bhatia; Vide; Pan_Yan

>>> glorifying larceny. India total contribution to world GDP when British rule began was 26%. It was 1% when they left.

I don’t doubt that. But the difference in world economics between those two dates make for a very different interpretation. The industrial revolution pumped up western GDP. India and other non-European economies were simply left behind.

In any event, if the Brits hadn’t been there the French would have expanded their Indian territories and conquered. And for that matter if not the British or French, then the Dutch. The British Raj was imperfect but certainly preferable to the alternatives.


12 posted on 07/04/2011 10:28:01 PM PDT by tlb
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To: himno hero

This whole story is just fascinating and I really hope to see a special on NatGeo, Discovery, or History channel soon. It’s like something out of an Indian Jones movie or a Dirk Pitt novel.

I can’t think of a more significant archeological find in recent decades and they have not even “found” it all yet.


13 posted on 07/04/2011 11:28:53 PM PDT by volunbeer
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To: volunbeer

oops...... Make that Indiana Jones.


14 posted on 07/04/2011 11:30:54 PM PDT by volunbeer
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To: raj bhatia; little jeremiah

The British Raj wasn’t benign at all, however if it wasn’t for the British Raj, Winston Churchill never would have fought the Muslim Pathans in the North with Sikh soldiers...

Churchill opposed Indian independence because he predicted the millions of lives lost in the ensuing violence.

Anything you can name bad about the British is eclipsed by the invasion of the Muslims, who still terrorize India today...


15 posted on 07/04/2011 11:44:00 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood ("Arjuna, why have you dropped your bow?")
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To: Vide; Pan_Yan
Interesting data point to counter the usual Marxist crap about British rule being a one-way street. How could the local merchants have amassed $22bn of loot, and why did the British leave it untouched?

err.. this is dating back to the era of French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte -- the British only managed to consolidate their rule in the 1800s. Their road to power was defined in 1756 at the battles of Plassey, but only after defeating the Sikhs in the early 1800s did they consolidate their hold over the sub-continent (remember India has numerous diverse cultures and literally is a multi-national entity, more a continent like Europe than a country like say England)

More specifically, Thiruvananthapuram was part of the independent kingom of Travancore which was pretty independent and only in 1791 did the East india company sign a treaty to protect Travancore from Mysore and was allowed to install troops in Trivandrum.

The British did not rule this part of the subcontinent

England in reality directly ruled only about half of the subcontinent -- the rest was ruled by the Rajahs, Mahrajahs, Sultans, Nizams etc. with the British nominally in charge and providing administration or administrative help depending on the state.

16 posted on 07/05/2011 3:12:25 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Vide; Pan_Yan
In fact Travancore was the most powerful Dravidian state in Southern India in the 1700s. During the Travancore-Dutch ware of 1741 they defeated the Dutch especially at the Battle of Kulachal thanks to the help of the Christian fishermen in that area (that area of Kerala had been Christian since the time of the Apostle Thomas)

The commander in chief of the Dutch -- Eustachius De Lannoy was captured, but then released to help modernize the Travancore Army and did so well that became commander in Chief of the King's Army.

17 posted on 07/05/2011 3:19:06 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Vide; Pan_Yan

The British rule in India was slightly on the plus side — it was not all roses, remember the massacres and famines, but it was not all heck like the Belgian rule in the Congo or arguably the French rule in W Africa, Indo-China, Algeria etc.


18 posted on 07/05/2011 3:20:47 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Sherman Logan
There was no one date for the start of British rule. When they came in the 1600s, they were a minor power even in Europe and the Mughals were too powerful for them. The French and Dutch outclassed them in trade and influence

The turning point was 1756, but I would put their start as being from 1812-1815. They could now concentrate on India, after having lost the Americas and defeated Napoleon (peace in their backyard).

19 posted on 07/05/2011 3:24:22 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Cronos

Thanks, I would also place the true start of “British rule” about then, though it wasn’t really complete till mid-century. (Whereupon they came very close to losing it in the Mutiny.)

I find this very interesting, because this means British rule lasted little more than a century. Not the many centuries of oppression of anti-imperialist folklore.

I wish the previous poster with the numbers about Indian GDP would reply. When Europeans first came into contact with India (and China and other parts of the East, say 1600s), records show they thought these areas much wealthier than their homes.

Equally obviously, these areas were impoverished by comparison to Europe by 1900. I’ve always wondered to what extent this is due to the massive takeoff of European economies or to actual retrograde motion of the Asian economies. IOW, did Asia stand still while Europe passed it, or did Asia actually go backwards?


20 posted on 07/05/2011 6:33:47 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
"British rule" is correct -- with the "" -- the Brits were initially traders purely, and their rule remained more or less like that until the end

They were smart and resourceful and played one nation against the other (as they did in Europe) to their own advantage

In the end they did impact India and they DID enrich themselves to India's disadvantage (by making it a captive market and captive source of raw materials), but they cannot be compared to the other European powers (except Spain and Portugal) in that respect

India's contribution to world GDP in 1800 was about 26%. There are sites on the net that talk about historical gdp like this: theworldeconomy.org

Or better yet this which says that in

1500, GDP of India, China and the world were respectively (in 1990 US$ million): 60,500 61,800 and 247,116 which gives India and China both about 24% of world GDP

In 1820 this is: 111,417 228,6000 and 694,442, so India was 15% of world GDP, China was 30%. Angus Maddison wrote the same -- the economy of the combined sub-continent was 25% of world GDP in 1700 (higher than all of Europe combined) -- though studying this you see that world GDP increased in the 1800s while India and China stagnated. Arguably India stagnated as it didn't initially participate in the Industrial revolution and the British discouraged its growth in India as well until Jehangir Tata started the first factories etc.

Asia did not go "backwards" if one treats Asia as countries. By that I mean that say india's GDP and China's GDP stagnated while Western Europe's followed by america and then eastern europe zoomed ahead.

however, at an individual level they went backwards, just as it did to a lower extent in the rest of the world -- as the 1800s progressed, medical science improved so more people lived, while food, etc. couldn't keep up. Hence the squalor in London until the Edwardian era etc.

What India and China are doing since 1990 and 1978 respectively is zooming at the same rate that Western Europe did in the Victorian era.

the USA won't go backwards but it cannot compete at the same pace as China or India and those two countries have the weight of populations demanding a better life

21 posted on 07/05/2011 7:07:31 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Sherman Logan
The massive take-off of Western European economies is also due to population pressure

Not many folks realise this now, but for much of the centuries since the fall of the Roman Empire, right until the 1800s, France was 25% of Europe's entire population and was in fact the third largest country in the world after China and india

no wonder French was the language of culture -- it supplanted Italy as the centre of culture and power.

Even in the 1800s, at the start, France's population was double that of all of Germany's, but then the French population stagnated, in fact stopped growing while GErmany's doubled and went ahead by 1890 and it's now 81 million as opposed to France's 63 million.

Or better yet take England and Wale's demographics -- at the time of Henry 8 it was just about 2.5 to 4 million in the entire country, by the Napoleonic wars it was only slightly better, maybe 8 million, but by 1900 it had zoomed.

Population explosion filled with medical benefits and discoveries caused a virtuous cycle -- if you check and see the places where things were invented in the 1800s it was in that narrow triangle between London, Paris and Amsterdam -- cutting across religious grounds. Smart people congregate and feed off each other's ideas and feed off ideas across disciplines

It's the same reason Silicon Vally still creates tech wonders and why Bangalore is doing the same.

The problem for the USA is that it is now turning away smart immigrants, folks who get their Phds in American universities have to undergo the same lottery system as an unskilled worker.

Not a smart idea..

22 posted on 07/05/2011 7:15:31 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Sherman Logan
SEtting the historical background -- Europe in 1500. Population estimates taken from Internet Medieval Source book

Country

Population (millions)

Position as a nation-state

British Isles

3

Until the end of the 100 years wars, it seemed that England and France would merge under one king.  When the English lost and were thrown out of Western France, that led to the consolidation of both England and France as nation-states with language unity.

However, Scotland still was independent and the Welsh chaffed under English rule.

Ireland is reduced to warring clans.

France & low countries

12

See above.  France emerges as the strongest nation-state, but is really an empire with the northern, “French-speaking” population around Paris ruling over the southern l’Oil areas.  The French had recently destroyed and conquered the Duchy of Burgundy

 

The low countries (Belgium, Netherlands) are part of Spain and remain so until 1600.  These were once the capitals of the Holy Roman Empire (Bruges was once a center of trade) and hence have a larger population, more trade and commerce.  

Belgium is part of Holland until 1830 even though it is completely Catholic.  In 1830 it fights and gets independence.

Germany & Scandanavia

7.3

No sense of nation-state until Napoleon and even then as nation-states like Hesse, Bavaria, etc. not as Germany (that only happens post WWI and more especially post WWII when Germans from Eastern Europe who have lived in EE for centuries are thrown out to Germany)

Scandanavia has a stronger sense of nation-states, but the Swedes are in union with the Geats (Goths) and the Norwegians and Danes are in a union.  

The strongest nation-state is Denmark. 

Sweden is close but will not develop it until the 1600s.  

Norway is still tribal as is Iceland and Finland

Switzerland is still part of the Holy Roman Empire and has no sense of a nation-state but is a loose confederation that have nothing in common except that they band together against common enemies.  This will remain the state of Switzerland until Napoleon conquers Switzerland and creates the Helvetic Confederation (and then adds it to France!).  Post Napoleon, there is consolidation, but Switzerland still has a large civil war and only gets some semblance of a nation state in the late 1800s

Italy

7.3

No sense of nation-state, but strong city-states.  This is the most advanced “nation” in Western Europe, with an advanced financial system, manufacturing, strong in agriculture etc.  Only it does not have a central government, which puts it in a bad position compared to France and Spain who interfere in the city-states.

Italy is not united until Garibaldi in the late 1800s.

Spain/Portugal

7

Strong nation-states formed in opposition to the Moors.  Not very advanced economically as this is still very agricultural.  However, it is tied to the economically stronger Arab world and with the discovery of gold in the Americas, it will be the most powerful state for the 1500s -1680s until the rise of Louis XIV France

Greece/Balkans

4.5

Under Ottoman rule, strong sense of nation-state, but no self-rule.  

Highly advanced economies in Greece and Anatolia, arguably most advanced in all of Europe.  

Romania, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bulgaria are devastated by the Ottomans with many fleeing to the mountains.  Agriculture, culture etc. severely decline.

They are hit on two sides – by the Turks militarily and, because the Turks have a “millet” system where people of one religion are grouped together and the millet for all of these is Orthodoxy, the Bulgarians, Romanians etc. are kept under Greek Phanariotes.  Hence their culture declines while Greek culture thrives.

Russia

6

Still expanding south and east, conquering the Emirates of Kazan etc. This is still a barbaric state and remains so until Peter the Great.  It has a sense of purpose, but it’s purpose is Christianity as they believe they are the last Christian state and have a holy duty to push back the Moslems.  Economic and scientific development is poor as the focus is on war and agriculture – life is too hard and land too vast to develop like Western Europe.

Poland/Lithuania

2

Consolidating nation-state, however, more based on a confederacy as there are 4 nations here: Poles, Lithuanians, Ruthenians (Ukrainians, Belarusians) and Jews.  This mixed with 4 different religions (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Judaism and Islam (Lipka Tartars)) means a very tolerant state – tolerance levels of these are not reached by Western Europe until the late Victorian era.

Hungary

1.5

Strong nation state of the Magyars in Magyaristan (we English speakers give them an exonym of Hungary while they call themselves Magyar).  However, the Magyars (descendents of Finno-Ugaric warriors) are mostly ruling class and warriors, they import Saxons as merchants.  The native Romanians, Slovaks, etc are kept as serfs.  The state is one of war

Bohemia

1

Strong nation-state but at war with the Holy Roman Empire and Poland has given it a sense of insecurity.  It will eventually be absorbed by Austria-hungary.


23 posted on 07/05/2011 7:18:24 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Sherman Logan
Equally obviously, these areas were impoverished by comparison to Europe by 1900.

hmmm... by 1900? in 1800, India's population was (from this site) 255 million. By 1900 it was 271 million -- a 10% growth in contrast the UK went from 10,5 million in 1801 to 35,5 million in 1900 -- a growth of 250%.

Keeping this population stagnation in India in mind and it's impoverishment in a century coupled with the numerous famines in the most populous parts like Bengal, I do think that perhaps the British captive market policy had an effect (ok, I'm contradicting myself, but this is all just musings -- I'm learning myself as we discuss!)

24 posted on 07/05/2011 7:32:37 AM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Cronos
Not entirely accurate.

The low countries (Belgium, Netherlands) are part of Spain and remain so until 1600.

These countries were very wealthy and were not "part of Spain." They were ruled by the Habsburg family, but as separate and in many ways more important to them in 1500 than Spain was. In fact, Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain was considered a Fleming when he first went to Spain. The "Spanish Netherlands" didn't become such till conquered by Spain in the religious wars.

Belgium is part of Holland until 1830 even though it is completely Catholic. In 1830 it fights and gets independence.

"Belgium" was conquered by Spain during the 16th century, with Protestants wisely fleeing to Holland. It is successively ruled by Spain and Austria till conquered by revolutionary France. It isn't handed over to Holland till the peace after Waterloo. So ruled by Holland for only about 15 years.

25 posted on 07/05/2011 7:41:32 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: volunbeer

...I am still musing about that secure seventh chamber. Huge earthly wealth was relatively unprotected..... so? What requires steel reinforcement? Something far more valuable or disasterously oninous?


26 posted on 07/05/2011 7:48:16 AM PDT by himno hero ("Armageddon is well seeded, America will pay"... Barrack Obama's vision)
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To: Cronos

I’m speculating myself.

However, comparing the growth in wealth and population of Britain with the relative stagnation of both in India and blaming it on British policy makes a couple of not necessarily warranted assumptions.

1. Famines would not have occurred had the Brits not been there. Since famine has been a long recurring theme in India, this doesn’t seem likely.

2. Without British intervention an independent India would have had its own Industrial Revolution. I see no particular reason for this to be the case. The scientific and industrial revolutions were unique in history and occurred only as a result of very specific conditions in western Europe.

It also leaves out of account the major beneficial effect of British rule. End of the constant wars between Indian states, not to mention repeated invasion from Afghanistan and Persia. While such wars weren’t high tech by our standards, they generally had 30 Years War levels of damage to those fought over.

FTM, the very idea of “India” as a nation-state was an imported European idea. Left to themselves it is likely India would still be cut up into dozens or hundreds of “nations,” not three.


27 posted on 07/05/2011 7:50:06 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: himno hero
That 7th vault has my interest. All the gold and diamonds were relatively unprotected, whereas the 7th vault is reinforced with steel. Was that to keep things in or out??

This news begs for a new Indiana Jones movie - Curse of the Steel Vault.

28 posted on 07/05/2011 8:15:59 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (Financial Repression.......it answers a lot of questions.....read about it on FinancialSense.com.)
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To: Cronos

Perhaps, had he not been otherwise occupied in the Iberian Peninsular, Wellesley (Wellington) might have gone back to India and accelerated the “annexation” of the Southern states.

My previous post was a little intemperate as I’d just watched a quite nasty piece of Chinese revisionist propaganda - “Shaolin”. As Chinese growth slows we’ll no doubt see more appeals to the urban bourgeoisie’s sense of “higher values” in the face of “foreign imperialism”.

The Indian political classes are “lucky” to have the Pakistani bogeyman and a history of “colonial oppression” to deflect domestic discontent.

So what can the media and establishment *here* do to quell/re-direct discontent? The “War on Terror” is wearing thin and the vilification of the Tea Party seems counter-productive.

I’d predict more theatrical appeals to “lower values”: legalization of marijuana and gay marriage are reliable standbys.


29 posted on 07/05/2011 9:20:17 AM PDT by Vide
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To: Sherman Logan

Thanks, though the proper thing would be to say that both the Low countries and spain were ruled by one branch of the Hapsburgs


30 posted on 07/05/2011 2:22:23 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Sherman Logan
1. Not really -- famines before the brits were not as severe as people could and did move from famine struck areas to others. Under the Brits in the 1800s that movement was curtailed

2. it's possible that parts of India would -- especially the south.

Let's not forget that India has a lot of diverse countries inside it and is technically more a continent than a country

31 posted on 07/05/2011 2:24:47 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Vide
a history of “colonial oppression” to deflect domestic discontent.

that canard is so old it's not even used by politicians in India any more -- it doesn't work.

32 posted on 07/05/2011 2:25:56 PM PDT by Cronos ( W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie I Szczebrzeszyn z tego slynie.)
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
” however if it wasn’t for the British Raj, Winston Churchill never would have fought the Muslim Pathans in the North with Sikh soldiers... “

In the same vein, the British Raj enlisted the Muslims king, the Nizam of Hyderabad to fight against the Marathas. The British got help from the the Muslim Nawab of Oudh to fight the Kumaons and Gorkhas in the Anglo-Nepal wars. And the British used Muslim recruits from northern Punjab, frontier provinces, united province and Bengal to fight the Sikhs in the Anglo-Sikh wars. So you can thank the British for using the Muslims to beat the Hindus and Sikhs. History of India was a a history of Islamic terror being replaced by European terror. Even today, Pakistan is a threat to India only and only because of Billion of dollars of military aid and weaponry coming from US and UK.

33 posted on 07/05/2011 10:15:57 PM PDT by ravager
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
” however if it wasn’t for the British Raj, Winston Churchill never would have fought the Muslim Pathans in the North with Sikh soldiers... “

In the same vein, the British Raj enlisted the Muslims king, the Nizam of Hyderabad to fight against the Marathas. The British got help from the the Muslim Nawab of Oudh to fight the Kumaons and Gorkhas in the Anglo-Nepal wars. And the British used Muslim recruits from northern Punjab, frontier provinces, united province and Bengal to fight the Sikhs in the Anglo-Sikh wars. So you can thank the British for using the Muslims to beat the Hindus and Sikhs. History of India was a a history of Islamic terror being replaced by European terror. Even today, Pakistan is a threat to India only and only because of Billion of dollars of military aid and weaponry coming from US and UK.

34 posted on 07/05/2011 10:16:08 PM PDT by ravager
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To: ravager

I agree with you...


35 posted on 07/05/2011 10:29:59 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood ("Arjuna, why have you dropped your bow?")
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To: Vide; Cronos
“The Indian political classes are “lucky” to have the Pakistani bogeyman and a history of “colonial oppression” to deflect domestic discontent.”

Pakistan is a “bogeyman” huh? I wonder if it would have been better for the US to have Pakistan as her neighbor instead of Mexico? US and Pakistan would have lived as happy neighbors no? Between Pakistan and Mexico, any Indian would pick Mexico hands down. Mexico($8142 per capita GDP larger then India!) even with drugs trade and illegal immigrants and would be BY FAR more preferable to Pakistan ($955 GDP), 170 million people,with narcotic trade,terrorists, insurgents,training camps, madrassas, nukes......often referred to as the most dangerous place in the world. Ask yourself between Mexico and Pakistan which one is the real “bogeyman” that serves to deflect domestic discontent. I can easily think of a few American domestic discontent for which Mexico can possibly serve as a bogyman.

36 posted on 07/05/2011 10:38:47 PM PDT by ravager
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To: tlb
“The British Raj was imperfect but certainly preferable to the alternatives.”

That is like saying Soviet Union was a good thing for Russia, Eastern Europe and erstwhile Soviet Republics because the alternative would have been Nazi Germany.

Nope. For Indians the only alternative is independent India not a matter of choice between two evils or a dozen evil for that matter.

Besides it wasn't just industrial revolution. Britain would not have become the empire it became without the wealth of her colonies with just inventions alone. And yes raj bhatia is 100% correct to say India before British constituted 26% of world economy and 1% after the British.

37 posted on 07/05/2011 11:29:04 PM PDT by ravager
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To: Sherman Logan
“1. Famines would not have occurred had the Brits not been there. Since famine has been a long recurring theme in India, this doesn’t seem likely.”

There were very rare instances of famines in pre-British India. Bengal was the leading food producer in pre-British India. Famines became re-current under the British especially because they were man-made.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_famine_of_1770

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_famine_of_1943

Bengal under independent India never had any famines.
Yes Bengal famines were definitely the result of British policy.

“I see no particular reason for this to be the case. The scientific and industrial revolutions were unique in history and occurred only as a result of very specific conditions in western Europe.”

India and China prior to industrial revolution in Europe were FAR more technologically advanced then Europe. Beside Japan serves as an Asian example for a country that had its own industrial revolution while being independent.

“It also leaves out of account the major beneficial effect of British rule. End of the constant wars between Indian states, not to mention repeated invasion from Afghanistan and Persia. While such wars weren’t high tech by our standards, they generally had 30 Years War levels of damage to those fought over.”

Actually the wars fought by Indian mercenaries under the British in Afghanistan, opium wars in China, plus two World Wars took a far heavier toll on India both socially and economically.

“Left to themselves it is likely India would still be cut up into dozens or hundreds of “nations,” not three.”

Not true. Indian nation state was in existence as “Bharat versa” since ancient times. There were rulers like Chandra Gupta (who defeated the Greeks), Ashoka(who spread Buddhism all over Asia) and Akbar who had united most of Hindustan into a nation state.

38 posted on 07/06/2011 12:01:43 AM PDT by ravager
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To: ravager

>>> And yes raj bhatia is 100% correct to say India before British constituted 26% of world economy and 1% after the British.

As I recall the British left in 1947. The USA alone accounted for half of all the world GDP at that point. Which makes the complaint against the Brits meaningless.

As I said, the world economy had changed. Western industrial countries GDP grew exponentially. Non-industrial states couldn’t grow at any comparable rate, regardless of either their independence or membership in an empire.

>>> That is like saying Soviet Union was a good thing for Russia, Eastern Europe and erstwhile Soviet Republics because the alternative would have been Nazi Germany.

No, it says nothing so stupid that would compare either the Brits or the French treatment of India to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. From the safety of 2011 one can quiver in outrage over the injustices of history. But the differences in actual colonial conduct were real between the major powers of that era. None meet the standards of the 21st century, but since we are referring to the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, that’s no surprise.

The age ended half a century ago and building on the legal and administrative foundations laid by the Raj, India prospers. Just be thankful it wasn’t the Spanish.


39 posted on 07/06/2011 12:16:52 AM PDT by tlb
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To: ravager
Bengal under independent India never had any famines. .

Pretty darn unlikely. Recurring famines are caused byt failure of the monsoon rains, over which I think the British had little control. I am perfectly willing to agree British policies may have been ineffective at reacting to famines when the occurred or have made them worse than they need have been.

India and China prior to industrial revolution in Europe were FAR more technologically advanced then Europe.

In Middle Ages, quite correct. By 1500 Europe had caught up and these three civilizations, with Islam, were at a rough equilibrium in most aspects.

The problem is that Europe continued and increased the acceleration that had allowed it to catch up in a few centuries, while the other three stagnated. No insult to them intended, they were only doing what other civilizations had always done. It was Europe that did something unique, with the industrial/scientific revolution bounding far ahead of all others.

Beside Japan serves as an Asian example for a country that had its own industrial revolution while being independent.

Quite true, but they did so by consciously imitating Europe. This was possible because of their long history of imitating the most advanced civilization of which they were aware, China, while retaining the basics of their own way of life.

China, India, SE Asia, Islam, etc. were incapable of such imitation, as culturally they were convinced of the superiority of their own ways. They were inherently unable to adapt fast enough to meld their own ways with those of Europe. As a result their civilizations were overrun rather than adapted.

With regard to the wars, I find most people have a very limited understanding of the devastation caused by premodern wars. During each of its changes of dynasty, for example, China averaged losing half its population. I doubt similar disruption in India caused less.

Not true. Indian nation state was in existence as “Bharat versa” since ancient times. There were rulers like Chandra Gupta (who defeated the Greeks), Ashoka(who spread Buddhism all over Asia) and Akbar who had united most of Hindustan into a nation state.

Thanks for the laugh. Much, never all, of the subcontinent was intermittently and briefly united by exceptionally capable rulers. However, in every case this quickly fell apart into a welter of semi and fully independent states struggling against each other.

BTW, Akbar and the Moguls were every bit as much invaders as the Brits. They just came overland rather than by sea. Anyway, Akbar never conquered much more than the northern plain and his successors promptly lost control of most of it. His descendant Aurangzeb almost succeeded in conquering the entire subcontinent, but in a classic case of imperial overstretch it fell apart completely on his death.

You might as well claim that Europe since the Romans constituted a single state because much of it was briefly united by Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon and Hitler.

I'm no expert on Indian history, but you've obviously fallen prey to the idea that everything negative in Indian history is a result of the evil British rule. This is, IMO, as inaccurate as the Victorian notion of the white man's burden.

40 posted on 07/06/2011 3:26:24 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
“Pretty darn unlikely. Recurring famines are caused byt failure of the monsoon rains, over which I think the British had little control. I am perfectly willing to agree British policies may have been ineffective at reacting to famines when the occurred or have made them worse than they need have been.”

And to support that, you have what? Your own con jecture? Thats all?

“During colonial times, India suffered more frequently, more severely, and at larger extents under famines than at pre-colonial times. [...] It is important to note that hunger and death occurred even when there was a uniform administrative structure and a far superior traffic system than at the time of pre-British India under the moguls. In addition to usual climatic factors it turns out that the bad situation got even worse as a result of price manipulations by food merchants, inactivity of the government as well as export of food even at times of shortages, accompanied by a gradual deterioration of the income as well as the employment situations of the agricultural workers and small farmers.”

http://www.vho.org/tr/2003/1/Pfitzner71-75.html

” Bengali Holocaust, the man-made, 1942-1945 Bengal Famine in which 6-7 million Indians were deliberately starved to death by the British under Churchill for strategic reasons in what was one of the greatest atrocities in human history but which has been largely white washed from British history. “

http://www.countercurrents.org/polya130611.htm

“Genocide committed by British Government in Bengal was bigger, more ghastly and more cruel than the killing of Jews by Hitler.....After independence, from 1947 till date, East Bengal (presently known as Bangladesh) has been ruled by dictators for many years. Yet, during the past five and a half decades, the number of starvation deaths in East Bengal (or West Bengal) is not even one per cent of the number of people that died of starvation during the half-century before independence. The issue, obviously, is not dictatorship versus democracy.”

http://www.samarthbharat.com/bengalholocaust.htm

“It was Europe that did something unique, with the industrial/scientific revolution bounding far ahead of all others.”

Your point that with out British rule India would never have advanced technologically is simply racial superiority nonsense. Japan is a perfect example of how Asia can technologically advance (perhaps further ahead of Europe) without European rule and look at China and India today kicking Europe's butt left right and center.

“This was possible because of their long history of imitating the most advanced civilization of which they were aware,”

Many would argue the same about Europe that the industrial revolution and Europe's technological leap forward was partly the result of her interaction with the Eastern civilizations through trade and crusades. Eurocenterist like you would never admit to that of course.

“China, India, SE Asia, Islam, etc. were incapable of such imitation, as culturally they were convinced of the superiority of their own ways.”

It had very little to do with incapability of imitation as much as it had to do with timing and geopolitical dynamics of the time. There are very few cultures in the world which are not convinced of the superiority of their own ways and that includes US and Europe as well. In fact Indian, Islamic and Asian cultures if anything are far more adapting give then extent of constant interaction among themselves both positive and negative. As far as cultural adaptation goes do you see Indians ad Chinese learning English and adapting to western culture or White Anglo-Saxons adapting to Asian ways and languages?

“I find most people have a very limited understanding of the devastation caused by premodern wars.”

I find YOU have a very limited understanding of British empire wars. Wars in India were localized. The largest Mughal army hardly numbered more then a hundred thousand. Mostly Empires came and went and people were hardly even aware. Their only concern was who they paid taxes to (mostly it was the local rulers). British style of warfare changed the whole dynamic of war. At the peak of WW2 Indian army had a strength of 4 million soldiers. Throughout the reign of British raj vast numbers of Indian mercenaries were used as cannon fodder to fight the wars of British empire in East Africa, North Africa, West Asia, Asia minor, Indo-China. Illiterate Indian slaves euphemistically called “indentured laborers” were uprooted from their homes and were shipped to far corners of British empire to places such as west indies, africa, fiji etc. And back home it caused hunger holocausts of unimaginable proportions. It wasnt about modern or pre modern wars, British empire wars took a far heavier toll both socialogically and economically on India more then anytime ever in her history.

41 posted on 07/06/2011 11:40:52 AM PDT by ravager
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To: Sherman Logan
“Much, never all, of the subcontinent was intermittently and briefly united by exceptionally capable rulers. However, in every case this quickly fell apart into a welter of semi and fully independent states struggling against each other.”

If you consider the long timeline of Indian history then perhaps those period that stretch over a few centuries may seem intermittent and brief. Beside which country on the planet was united and in the same shape it was for thousands of years as it is today? For how long was the United States in the same shape as you see it today? How about China? or Great Britain? Germany? Italy... or any country in the world. Boundaries changes, borders are drawn, re-drawn, countries get split or united all the time throughout history.

And the reason why I mentioned “Bharat versa” which evoked a very predictable customary smirk of ignorance from you was that the idea of “Bharat versa” or “Akhand Bharat” or “Hindustan” as a civilization and nation state existed very widely in common in political dimension, public discourses, popular epics and folklore's all throughout Indian history long before the British imported the idea of Indian nation state ...which they actually did not.

Beside Mughal empire at its peak controlled most of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1556 to 1707.....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MughalEmpire1700.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mughal_empire_large.png
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Image:Mughal.gif

And see the stark resemblance to Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta and Asoka lasting over 2 centuries
....
http://tjbuggey.ancients.info/Mauryamap.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maurya_Dynasty_in_265_BCE.jpg

“I'm no expert on Indian history, but you've obviously fallen prey to the idea that everything negative in Indian history is a result of the evil British rule.”

Obviously you are no expert on Indian history and that is a huge difference between us and more importantly what you overlook is your own eurocentric cultural superiority bias which is so glaringly clear that your post are not only factually incorrect but also there is a whole lot of careful and deliberate attempt to make conjectures geared towards proving your cultural superiority agenda at the cost of historical facts. And you aren't the first or the only American to fall prey to that knowingly or unknowingly.

42 posted on 07/06/2011 1:26:46 PM PDT by ravager
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To: tlb
“As I recall the British left in 1947. The USA alone accounted for half of all the world GDP at that point.”

Of course it did only because US had NO competition then. How does it look now with a little competition? US down to 18.2% already as of 2008.
http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/visualizations/pie-chart-of-gdp-top-58-countries

Wait another 10 years when India and China grows larger. India and China getting back to take their rightful place in the global GDP share is proof of European colonization decimating economies.

“Non-industrial states couldn't’t grow at any comparable rate, regardless of either their independence or membership in an empire.”

Colonies were PREVENTED from being industrialized through stringent regulations and exorbitant taxation so Europe could grow faster. Today it is Europe that is unable to keep up with the rate of industrialization in China and India.

“No, it says nothing so stupid that would compare either the Brits or the French treatment of India to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia”

Oh but it absolutely does. You compared one evil as a better alternative to another one because it is better only in your own eyes but contrary to the historical experience of those under colonization. Asking people to be thankful it wasn't Spanish, Nazi or Russian is not an argument but prejudice. There is ample evidence against British excesses all over Asia and Africa that would very easily dwarf or equal Soviet and Nazi excess forget Spanish. A western style legal and constitutional system that Indians adopted out of their own accord (which didnt exist under colonial rule) is no compensation for those excesses.

43 posted on 07/06/2011 2:03:17 PM PDT by ravager
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