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The season has just passed by. Autumn has arrived. Long back, the months from autumn to spring would see many carnivals. Since then, the Brahmins have been earning a lot throughout these months. Even today, miles away from the cities and deep inside the woody heart of the Lokayat that informs this subcontinent, in places where people don’t need Brahmins to perform their rituals of faith, which are also the places where the ‘vikas’ that is development has not ridden in on paramilitary barracks and mines, these are times of carnivals.

Along with the Brahmins, the big marketplaces today try to make quick money in this season. After all, since the stone ages, given the seasons as they flow by, this has been the season of carnivals. The idea, in its basic layouts, have been the same for the Brahmans and the big marketplaces – pinpoint on binaries, create conflict, interject, interpolate, project – encash. Lately, one such binary that has made ripples – from Facebook to the Parliament – is the whole Mahishashur the indigene v/s Durga the seductress discourse – to put it in the crudest way imaginable. Now, some would speak out, and rightfully so, with the suppressed adivasi voices – those that tell of their lost Bull Totem king, tricked, as such ancient lores go, by the Aryans. Others would speak out, again, rightfully so, against such tales and traditions of looking at the woman as the seductress, as the ‘honey-trap’.

But hardly anyone will tell the parties involved – from the erstwhile Education Minister denigrating the Asur tribe openly in the Parliament back on 2015 to the at least three indigenous persons from Chhattisgarh I know of who were heckled by the police and by Hindutva gangs back in 2016 on this issue – two for writing updates on Facebook equating Durga with a sex-worker and one for sharing a Whatsapp update on the Hindu custom of using soils from the frontyards of homes of sex-workers to construct the idol of Durga – of the fallacy of taking sides. Even at the onset of Durga Pujo in this autumn of 2018, we hear tales flowing down the 0s, 1s and photon-particles of electronic communication – an indigenous person from northern parts of Bengal have been detained for hours on end by the police for posting online remarks and opinions on such issues. Even now, there is no discourse on the fallacy of taking sides without delving into the narrative, inter-sectional and inter-contextual depths of any such discourse that seeks to generate public, virtual and third-space based sensational incidences, through the manufacturing of controversy.

Hardly anyone will say that the powers that rule – the Brahmins, the market – they want us to take sides. For the rulers wish for these binary conflicts and zero-sum games – to continue. They act to make it continue. For there has been one basic rule following which the Brahmins have operated across a few thousand years, international capital has across a few centuries, and agents of Hindutva have, across a few decades – ‘Divide and Rule’: create conflict, control conflict, control parties involved in conflict.

But can we not think of it all in another way? Can we not think thus, that, long ago, way longer before the times of the Brahmans, way before their laws began to spread hateful, intentionally oversimplifying and out & out patriarchal venoms such as:

Women are like fields of crops, men are like seeds of crops

When they unite new life happens[i]

Between ‘seed’[ii] & vagina, ‘seed’ is the better one

For the child always takes attributes solely from the ‘seed’[iii]

In a field Sanskritised (made better) through sublime

tilling and leveling work, seeds are sown

when the times are suitable – for instance, in the rainy season

Likewise, the ‘seed’, holding qualities such as shape and colour of new life within it,

insert into such ‘fields’ as semen[iv] and spermatozoa[v]

Out springs new crop!

before Gaudapadacharya[vi] – whose name meant the Scholarly Poet from Gaurh (ancient name for portions of the eastern subcontinent that was held in sway by the Pala Empire) Bengal swerves his theoretical, lawmaking ways from those of the Buddhas to that of the Hindus (or whatever name the caste-law abiders were called by in the centuries following the collapse of the Gupta Empire) through inanities that go, inter alia, against the core visions of the Third Pitaka (casket) for the Three Casket Triptaka, through discourses such as:

Sadness is of three types –

Spiritual, Material and Divine

Spiritual sadness is Physical and Mental

Physical Sadness includes

Rheumatism, Bile and Phlegm includes fevers

caused by elemental imbalance; Mental

Sadness includes –  loss of wives, sons, wealths

and other resources that a man can own & love owning

includes slander & incarceration

There are four kinds of Material Sadnesses

–        Those that borne by vaginas, by sweats,

by eggs & by plants

It rises from immovable objects such as

humans, animals, deer, birds, reptiles

stinging insects, mosquitoes, leeches, maggots, fishes

alligators, crocodiles & trees

Those borne by the skies are Divine ones

This includes those that are caused by

coldness, heat, winds, rain

and thunder & lightning striking down

All humans lie bound

By the Three Sadnesses, the Three Heats

Rescuing them from these

is the purpose of Samkhya

Questing on these three sadnesses

is the way of Samkhya

The only path to freedom from these

lies in conscience, in attaining philosophical

wisdom. Two types of Dharma

exists – Abhyudaya – the Risen

and Nihshreyasa – the Best

 the Risen Dharma is through yajna

Fire-Worship Rituals of Brahmins

Through which Wisdom rises

of the human world

and of the one inhabited gods and demons

The Best Dharma is through the Eight-Fold

Yogas – that leads to freedom

through philosophical wisdom[vii]

Before all these juggleries with Buddhism, Samkhya and caste-Hinduism of the proud Brahman lawman had coopted the Aadivasi Samkhya-wisdom of Shabaraswamy[viii], innately atheistic and materialist in outlook as these words reveal:

Criticism is not intended

to make that what is being criticized look bad

Instead, it is to make that what is not being criticized

look good Gods cannot have body

For they cannot eat what is offered

in Vedic rituals of fire

But rituals exist, even elsewhere

Ideas of divinity are founded on mantra

–              It is not so that the gods come for real

–              like guests –

–              in the Yajnic rituals

–              To make peace with meanings and senses

–              We often change subjects, modify,

They who think of gods having bodies

like humans do – are wrong

For example, if we hear

that Devdutta is not home, but she is alive

and if we know that to be true

we also know, that, she is somewhere out there

Likewise, if we know this, that

Devdutta doesn’t eat at daytime

But is getting all plump and healthy

We reach the truth –

that she takes food at night

Change of subjects lead to falsities

–              ‘Based on these reasons and more does Shabar say

Taranatha speaks thus & continues with the song:

Neither by this mad hunt for meanings – essentialism

and nor by words of praise – can it be said or proved

That the gods exist as conscious beings.

They do not eat, for, had they eaten

the food offered to them would have shrunk

Some reason that they take the essence from food

like bees take honey from flowers

But even that is not acceptable. Bees are seen to drink nectars

Gods aren’t seen to eat or drink

That food becomes stale is not because

that the gods have consumed their essence

But because of natural processes

Gods do not own, they cannot give

There lies no agency in god

People point at certain sites and say:

“Behold the village of gods! behold the field of gods!”

This comes from superstition

Gods cannot donate villages and fields to anyone

That those seats are called Villages of God, Fields of God

Imply that the gods are worshipped there

through ritual methods, overseen

by priests.

Gods cannot give to worshippers what they wish

Had god been omnipotent, had god been all powerful

then ze would not have cared for flattery or bribes

And would have made everyone free-willed and happy everywhere

Would have made everyone feel at ease

Neither is god omnipotent, nor is ze Almighty

Hear the Vedas speaking of stones:

Talking like hundreds and thousands of men

Their faces, green, reddened by the nectars of Soma

Opening out to the skies & the world – together, the stones wail

These stones have reached the ritual site

of Yajna – before everyone else did

With that virtue had they drunk the Soma

Before the even the fire-god did

Slightly inebriated by the flows of Soma

They call Indra, with their mouths they drink the honey of Soma

They dance with the fingers

of hands that press them

devoid of inhibitions

like brothers & sisters

The world echoes with their sound: Shabara says,

hear them speaking of the Sindhu –

the river so big that they named it – Sea –

Sindhu has beautiful robes

beautiful horses

Rides beautiful chariot

With diamonds glinting her whirls, ever young,

Sindhu gives us food – She is rich –

so many grasses & orchids adore her, they cover her from the banks!

Behold Sindhu, putting horses to her splendid chariot!

May she ever bring us food

We sing lores of glory – of her chariot –

whose speed is unstoppable, whose fame is whose self-earned right!

–              Shabara says:

–              Rg Veda had these splendid metaphors,

Those stones & that river do not do these things for real

Like gods do not eat for real

Theists twist such metaphors into god-tales

thrust their worship down on people; thus begins superstitions & idolatry

So what will we understand as god?

In Yajna – even the fire is a metaphor

For hospitality, the guests are the key

But for rituals, the gods aren’t

The rituals themselves hold the key,

The objects used in rituals do

The gods don’t.

It is the practices that make religions, ‘the gods’ are merely names

used as fillers to weave nets of faith[ix]

And if we thus keep looking back further and further beyond the misty, mythic horizons of ancient history, beyond times when the Mimansa caste-laws of Jaimini had begun to co-opt and interpolate with Samkhya and even with the Prakrti (natural) that was used by champions of the caste-order as a term in dialectic relation with and against Sanskriti (‘cultural’), we move into those times when the nature worship was much more than what colonial scholars had once termed as ‘fertility-magic’, – into memories that have left a glimpse or two even in the scriptures of ‘law’ that is, of the caste-orders thus:

And then, through the rains,

Like cress, spinach & other leafy vegetables

Shall I, as the mother goddess

nourish the world[x]

and thus:

Ten types of leafy-vegetables (shaak) manifest as nourishing herbs:

those from leaves, from roots, those from the karir tree, those from stems, from fruits, from the trunk,

 from bones of deciduous trees, from the bark  of vines and shrubs, and, from mushrooms[xi]

And before when certain ancient wisdom-orders named after the planet mercury from whom the Lokayatics derive their materialistic realism also left their floral imprints on the laws of certain ancient Aryan tribes who were striving to switch from their prehistoric pastoral identities with orders of war & power when the Ages of Bronze were making way for those of Iron:

In ancient times, before the deva-deities had come to be

From what was not came to be what was

Later on, from a tree named Uttanapada[xii]

came to be the ten sides –

from the tree was the earth born

once again, from the earth, were born the ten sides

From Aditi, the first woman, was born Daksha

From Daksha, the first man, was born Aditi[xiii]

Can we not move back beyond times when the gods & goddesses were coupled – when heteronormative imaginations had not shrunken the expanse of our visions of & approaches towards life – for, from whatever archaeology reveals, the idea of divinity was not necessarily manifested through rounded & chiseled ideas of gender & sexuality – of gods & goddesses as sexual partners – can we not, swimming against the harsh centuries that makes a Dalit Vaishnava poet from the late-medieval era sing out thus:

one Rup with one Meera

Another Meerabai, in frolic

by the shores of Radha-Kunda

with one Raghunath. Another Raghunath

with Karanbai. Loknath with

Chandalini from the totem-holders

Krishnadas with Pingla from the cattle herders

as the Green woman from those oppressed

as barbers by birth through Brahminic consternations

go in love with Jeeb. As Bhatta

goes with Gourpriya – beloved of Gourh

and Ramananda the sant

stay immersed in love

With Devkanya – daughter of the gods[xiv]

and a Baul minstrel from two centuries ago portray thus:

Zulekha and Yusuf – the faithful unite

As does Bathsheba, despite being wedded to Uriah,

with Daud, and their child Solomon

is ever united in love

with the Hunter-Woman

As Ayesha is with Mohammad the Prophet

 And Shakh-e Nabat with Hafeez the Poet[xv]

Can we not feel that all these imaginations of binary love and coupling were latter day imaginations – days even after the times of Uriah and his other proto-Aryan landholdings – of the Hitites and the Mitannis – of days, ages and eras when the Cemetery H[xvi] wisdoms of the Sindh, Oxus & Helmand river valleys were raising their heads, inching towards climes of the Meluhas of the Indus – whose even latter-day descendants, the Vahlikas & the Arattas would the Aryans hate much by the time their second epic came up, which is to say, between 400 BC & 400 AD, as evinced by such verses:

Heard I an old Brahmin speak thus to Dhritarashtra”

–              thus spake Karna to the new Aryan conqueror of the Madra countries – Shalya –

–              “King, reject the impure, irreligious & untouchable Vahikas

–              who hail from climes beyond the Himalayas, the Ganges,

–              the <Lost> River Saraswati, the Yamuna, and the Kurukshetra

–              They stay far away

–              even from the river Sindhu & its five branches

–              Secret tasks had made me live with them for some time

–              They are savages & barbarians

–              They eat beef with bread made of barley crushed with garlic

–              They drink country liquor

–              Their women, drunk and naked

–              devoid of garlands and sandalwood-paste anointments

–              dance by walls of houses in their cities and scream like camels & donkeys

–              They fornicate with many men and keep on moaning loud

–              And yet another Brahmin had spoken thus

–              before the blind Kuru-King:

–              In the valleys of Sindhu & its five branches

–              Beyond the Peelu forests

–              Lies the Country of Aratta

–              Father-spirits of ancestors, gods & Brahmins never accept their offerings

–              And a third Brahmin spoke this tale of the Arattas:

–              Once some Arattas, savages as all Vahlikas, Gandharas & Madras are,

had raped a married woman. She had cursed them thus:

–              “All your women will be disloyal to their husbands

–              and so there would be no telling as to which man

–              had fathered which son. And so,

–              As the lady had cursed,” –

–              Karna said of what he had learnt from messengers: –

–              “all inheritances of you Arattas

–              shall flow from uncles to nephews!”[xvii]

What we hear here are the Sanskritic patriarchs, the Aryan kings & priests decrying the matrilineal norms of the pre-Aryan indigenous people of the subcontinent, for it has since been established that[xviii], in ancient days, properties, chattels & all monies would pass from mothers to daughters, subsequently, as patriarchy began to claw in, such would happen from uncles to nephews, and, finally, with the complete onset of patriarchy, from fathers to sons[xix].

Before the Brahmins began to concoct such tales of race and gender hatred to whet their dhoti-loins and ‘sacred tinsel-threads’ and interpolate the same in the names of indigenous persons – like it is known far and wide but talked about very little, the two mythic poets on whom the two epics of Sanskritic Aryavarta are attributed both had verily and remarkably indigenous origins – before the Brahmans corrupted the Dharma-worship of the Dom indigenous people by enabling their priests to wear copper-tinsels[xx] – reminder of the past of great metallurgical skill of the indigenous eastern subcontinent – long before all these had happened, were happening, even before the pre-iron metal age was unfurling in full swing over the soils, rivers, rocks and forests of the eastern subcontinent – when Bronze Age chieftaindoms of the Poundra people who live today as a repressed Dalit caste, of the Ashur people who live till date as a repressed Adivasi tribe facing severe cultural obliteration in the hands of the savarna power-polity that rules the subcontinent, before the many chimneys and furnaces that bear Copper in their forgotten breathes all along the lateritic wilderness of the south-western fringes of Bengal, where, in the ages of Bronze & Copper did flourish the port of Tamralipti which bears the Copper in its name as citadels like Mahathangadh (literally: The Great Sacred Fortress) had flourished before the Aryans rode down in with their endogamy of the jaati-s, with their divide and rule, do we not reach times when the vratas were popping up in the twilight of our collective conscious & unconscious?

Mother, you, who rear the eight worlds

Mother, you, who are the essence of samsara

Mother, you who cut through all sin & poverty

The world lies in grave peril

O who can speak of your charisma?

Who feels the woman in you?

They, who, with all consciousness in deep focus,

Swim through the Kingdom of Dead

King Dharma says – here comes the Human King!

A Brahmin & Vidyavati, from the lineage of Ravana

Their two daughters – Jaya & Vijaya

They roam the forests, they bring many things

In the morning came the bhikku, twice-born,

Inside the forest there is a lake

Men and women would hack and pierce,

biding their times & destinies by

Following the Laws, they call out thrice –

“if you come, we shall bless you

if you don’t, we must curse on”

Read, Queen, join palms in faith

Women laugh and play

Laws to be obeyed on Saturday the 7th

On Sunday morning, listen to the sacred folklore

Two sisters, in one mind, they perform the lores

Two sisters, in one mind, they listen to the lores

Horseman slashed, benediction drawn

The King carries forward holding hand

It is ordained, O King, behold the fruits of destiny!

The 8th pawn is cut, 8 years spent

Good results arrive on the 8th

Thus ends the lore of Hariti[xxi]

The Vratas remember much. This Vrata for goddess Itu sung by Dalit women from Bengal since misty pre-histories , for example, remembers goddess Hariti, who was worshipped across the subcontinent during the Buddhist times of Late Classical Ancience, on whose name did empires spread out across the southern climes of the subcontinent – empires like those of the Chalukyas, Kadambas and Vakatakas – which had indigenous and definitively non-Aryan origins but which subsequently took to the gotric ways of the Brahmanas and Mahayana-pundits – had their emperors fashioning themselves as ‘Haritiputra’[xxii]. These empires have since fallen, their relics since discovered, but a faint memory of such histories have been retained in the collective Lokayata conscience of the people – through Vrata songs. The songs are dedicated to Lokayata, indigenous deities, are sung by women from historically repressed castes, the ritual worships involve no Brahmin or male priests and entail basic nature-based offerings – flowers, reeds of grass, roots, herbs etc. These bring memories of times when women would be the priests and poets, the healers, doctors and shamans –

Shitala is naked

She rides on a donkey

On one hand she holds a broom

On the other – a pitcher

On her head, she dons a winnowing-fan

To the east lies Shitala

To the south-east lies She Who Destroys Diseases

To the south she is Kali of the South – donning

a garland made of skulls – she who gives

To the South-West, she wears

a winnowing-fan as headgear

To the west she holds a broom

To the north-west, she holds a pitcher

To the north she is the Traditional Naked –

She who dons but the Ten Sides as her only clothes –

And, to the north-east, she is the vision of intensity –

Terrible, Beautiful, Severe –

The Shower of all that is Deep, Dark & Illusive

On her left hand she holds

The severed head of a child

She rides on a flying owl[xxiii]

….

People bearing many totems from the Rajmahal Hills, through many songs, recall such Vrata worship – which are but nature worship – through continuities stretching back towards our collective, forlorn proto-historicities:

In your name we catch fishes

On knee-deep water – in your name

we cut and dry them by the shores

O Goddess, you are but

all food that nourishes

all medicine that heals

Birds and monkeys eat fruits

Humans and calves drink milk

Salts and molasses ants do eat

With what do we worship you,

Mother,

We worship you with wildflowers!

In my house comes Healing Mother

Beat the drums oh!

You bring child across races

All human childs in human houses –

be it of the traders

be it of the Garland makers[xxiv]

If the 6th day of the Lunar Fortnight

Falls on a Monday

Shall only the Gods in Heaven worship

Beings on Earth & Below

must refrain

If that day falls on a Saturday

Only the demons from Hell worship

Gods & Humans must desist

lest grave miseries befall

People of earth – only the women

are to worship her, for

the first priests can only worship

the first divinity

And that too, only if & when

the 6th day falls

on either a Sunday, a Friday,

a Wednesday, or a Thursday

Lo and behold!

Women go to worship her

With river-water, sweetmeats made of coconut ground fine

with sandalwood paste & garlands

made of frangipani flowers. They fill

cooking pots with cowries & give for the goddess

They give her Nine Turmerics

All for good children to prosper

All for good health

The Shashthi of the Forests

Is for the Son in Law

To treat him with good health

To heal him from ailments

And six days after children are born

Her worship lies in our ancient

medical wisdom, those we have learned

from nature – ways and means to keep ourselves well

To make the species survive, sustain and thrive

Even Soneca, wedded to the Moon Sailor

from songs of the Snake Goddess

was a learned in the same – poets affirm

The 12 rituals for the 12 months

Keep illness at bay, bring health & prosperity

In the first month of autumn

The worship is of the Mother Goddess

In the following month

The worship comes from graveyards & crematoriums

As the Bauri indigenes know well

For the totems – she is Shitala –

the goddess of the mud that heals – her totem creatures

are feline – cats, wildcats, civets, even the lion

of the Lion Riding Goddess as worshipped

in autumn – point at her deepest roots

The Buddhists call her Hariti

The Hindus call her Shashthi

Even the Jains drew the swastika

taking after the indigenes –

from the Srivatsa drawn on ancient flags & poles –

of chieftaindoms from times of myths & fairytales –

to denote

the human child borne to hale and heart

by her benediction[xxv]

Once there lived a priestess of the Healing Goddess

She had six children. All were married.

It was the chilling winter. She had kept curd

hanging high from the roofs

like people do in these parts to keep safe from cats

She woke up and forgot

to worship the Goddess. She beckoned

her children and their partners and told them such:

I feel cold. I shall bathe. Fetch me hot water

Cook for me a grueling broth of walking catfish

Cook me some cakes stuffed in ground green gram

Having bathed and eaten well, she slept

wrapped snug by quilt. She slept in such odd hours

For hours on end. When she woke, she tried

to rise, but her head

hit the pipkin of curd that lay hanging from the roof

She remembered her forgetting

Up she pounced and hard she knocked

On the doors to different rooms

of their prosperous hut – behind which

slept her children and their partners

None replied. She fetched for people

Villagers gathered and broke the doors

All the children had died

As had their partners

Even the cats and dogs of their once

thriving homestead lay dead

The sad old woman – she began to weep

She entered into the forest that lay

by their village. She kept on weeping.

Suddenly, a strange woman appeared

She told the old priestess:

“Weep not

Go home, eat fish gruel and sleep

wrapped snug in quilt”

This made the old priestess realize

That this woman was none

But the Mother Goddess of healing, childbirth

and all life

She wept more. At this, the Goddess spoke again:

“Weep not

Go home. You shall find a cat long dead

behind your hut. Germs and insects

have infested its carcass. Bury the cat

with the curd

that lies on the pipkin.”

At this, the old woman stopped crying

Firm in resolve, she did

all that she was told to do

And Lo and Behold! Her dead children

coming back to life!

Their dead partners

coming back to life!

Their dead pet cats and dogs

coming back to life![xxvi]

Dense forests on all sides

Tigers and bears roam wild

Hawks & Vultures fly unbound

In a hamlet in such a forest

Was born ShaTu. She was of weak health

Her mother, ancient healer

priestess to the goddess of healing, childbirth

and prosperity – she ensured

that ShaTu eat no food harsh on her guts

That she ate only rice – fermented overnight

ShaTu grew well. She got married.

She got pregnant. She gave birth

to a gourd. She ran to her mother-in-law

to tell the same to her. Amazed, they run

mother and daughter in law – to find

the gourd being pecked

by a kite. When the kite pecked hard

The shell broke. And sixty human babies

Came out. With time and care, up they grew

To be wedded to the children

of yet another mother, who, like ShaTu

had bore 60 children at the same time –

Tales have it that ShaTu’s husband

Who could count but could not count well

Had counted his children in law

by placing stones one beside the other

As he saw them coming out of the waters

Where their mother had taken them to bathe

After the wedding, ShaTu forgot

that she was forbidden to have

food strong and spicy

She wanted to have bread fried deep in oil

with catfish gruel. But then she remembered

That she can have only rice fermented overnight

If she wishes to live. So, she restrained herself

But the mere thought killed

her sixty children

and her sixty children in law

She wept and she wept

And she ran to the forests deep and dense

Where she met a woman whose hair flowed open

ShaTu thought of her as the Goddess

But she, the woman whose hair lay open – she said

“I am her sister. Push further west

to meet her”

Hearing this, the bereaved mother ran

weeping and wailing all the while

knowing not what to do

She saw a women – with scars & ulcer all over

This woman was the Goddess

of Healing and all Life – and the Goddess

she tells her priestess ShaTu –

“greed leads to death”

ShaTu felt remorse

At this, thus spoke the scarred goddess –

“Bathe me in curd. Lick the curd

clean off my body. Pour what you lick

from your tongue into a pipkin

Go back to your village with the pipkin

Bathe them with the mixture of pipkin and your saliva

They shall spring back to life”

ShaTu, priestess and healer, she did all she was told to do

When bathed in curd, the scars on the goddess faded

the ulcers ceased to be. When bathed from the pipkin

Her children and their partners – all,

came back to life

As did the cats and dogs of their thriving homestead

Who, too, had fallen

to this affliction divine, but real[xxvii]

Can we not go back to times when the first Vratas were coming to be – in places across the world – from times before even the Masthangadh/Mahathangadh[xxviii], Gangaridai[xxix], the Poundro King’s Tel[xxx] and other janapadas of ancient Bengal had come to be, before even when the voices of faith and verses could be heard from the earliest of the Bronze Age kingdoms as they came to be by the shores of Mediterranean Seas – before the times of the first poet whose name has been known to humanity – Endehuenna – priestess to the Akkadian gods and a princes to the Akkadian power-conglomerates – would write her paeans to the Lion Goddess Inanna and Bull-God Assur – which would be the first songs to be recorded and preserved in history – before the Bull Riding ‘Pashupati’ seal was etched in the Indus of the Meluhas, before they had even etched their seal of a sapling coming out of a female deity – an idea that would, after a few millennia of cooptive assimilation, find resonance in the decidedly Hindu Sharha-Darshan (The 6 Philosophies) as Shakambhari, the goddess of saplings:

When it rains, I nourish the world

With saag – leafy vegetables – so, they shall

call me – Shakambhari[xxxi]

into times when goddesses of healing, nourishment, sustenance and children need not be etched in seal as saplings coming out of women deities or coopted by the Markandeya Puranas and Lakshmitantras, into times when identities of fathers were not crucial in the arrangements of society and thus sacred coupling rituals involving what 19th century works by white men describe as ‘fertility magic’[xxxii], when the metals and thus metallic tilling of the earth were concerns barely acquainted with, the chimneys were barely coming up in the hamlets in ones and twos, and thus, gathering, which yielded more to sustenance than hunting, still held the key to the modes of production, into times when Lions and Bulls were totems, worship of the human body including of the genitalia were as much parts of nature worship as were that of the Lions and the Bulls – times when the deities of the Lion and the Bull totems had no compulsion to be identified as a female and a male deity respectively and nor was there to create rites of rituals of this so-called fertility magic involving a phallic father god and a vaginal mother goddess, nor to create artificial lines of hatred and animosity among the totemic septs – and thus, no need for an imagined Lion-totem Goddess to slay an imagined Bull-totem demon. For, when Endehuenna wrote her first poems, Assur would be the so-called father god, the Pashupati of totemic animists, would be identified with the sign of the Bull, and Inanna or Ishtar, the so-called Mother Goddess, with the Lion. From the pebbles gathered by archeology by the shores of the ocean of histories, what we know is that the Lion Goddess and the Bull God were not always fighting, one getting slain by the other – for all purposes, they might have been lovers – the histories afford no emphatic denial to this notion!

Going back to such times, if we seek for Assur, what do we find? We find a deity with the sign of the bull, which, also, happens to be the sign of yet another character coopted by gotric-mythos – Shiva the Pashupati, deity of the Animists – we find Bronze Age people from the shores of the Mediterranean having temple-cities in the name of Assur inasmuch as we find the protecting deity of the nomadic shepherds who would travel across the subcontinent from the north to the south having a city, that of the Fortress-Goddess, taking after her name as identified in the Hampi cave-paintings[xxxiii]. We hear words of salutation being spoken of the Ahura alias Assur by ancient Iranian fire-worshippers in their Zend Avesta, we hear hooves of the horses[xxxiv] of ancient, possibly Aryan invaders beating into the ground, wrecking into the library of Assurbanipal, we hear the breaking sounds of the irrigation channel floodgates of the Snake-Totem chieftain Vritrasura when iron-weapons of Indra came thundering down upon those[xxxv], we hear of Bharatasura the son of Vritrasura and grandson of Danu the Mother of all Ashurs – the Bharata from whose name receives a tribe its Vedic name and from which tribe receives significant sections of the subcontinent its Sanskritic name, we hear of valiant Shambar who reigned over 91 fortresses and whose generals – Vagrid, Karanj, Parnaj, Pipru, Varchi – have been spoken of with awe and fear by the earliest Vedic poets – by whose times the power and domination of men as manifest in their social functions as priests and poets were nigh-firmly fastened walls of clan-endogamy that were shaping up as the gotra-s of the early Aryans[xxxvi] – likewise, we hear of the Bull-Totem God – in parts of the subcontinent where bulls are called Bhains, this deity is called Bhainsasur – totemic cultures across the western and the central Indian plateaus worship this deity, have sacred sites & even entire-villages named, times of years earmarked, for worship of this deity. In the eastern parts of the subcontinent, where bulls are more prominently called Mohish, this deity, demonified by the nuovo-mythos of the savarna Hindu Bengalees, as Mohishashur – but worshipped by the Ashur and other adivasi people of the subcontinent as a deity – as a fallen chieftain from ancient times.

It is but bitter irony that many of the Ashurs, portrayed as savage, barbaric demons by the Vedas, the Puranas and other traditions of caste-endogamy – be it Bongashur who draws from the Bonga[xxxvii] deity of the many totemed, many septed Kol Aadivasi people of India, be it the valiant Narakasura the chieftain of Kamrup – a site of mother-goddess-worship bearing pre-Aryan continuities[xxxviii], or be it Bakasura who and the other Ashurs who were killed by an Aryan epic hero from the Mahabharatas with such vehement aggression that, as oral traditions churn legend, churns mythos – on how the red lateritic soils of the Rarh-strip of western Bengal – which is also where many hamlets of the Ashur aadivasi people once used to stand stout – turned red with their blood. This stretch is separated from the rest of what, in late Classical centuries in the histories of Bengal, would be identified as Karna-Suvarna, that is, the Valleys of the Karnafuli and the Suvarnarekha rivers, by yet another river – Ajay, the Unvanquished, whose floods take countless homes and by whose shores live and sing many Baul minstrels in Bengal till date. In reality, the red of the soil is from dead volcanoes of ancient, pre-human Gondwanaland.

In the late classical and early medieval ages, the gotra endogamies began to make deep inroads even into jaatis such as the Palas whose caste-assigned profession was of Pottery, the Ghoshs, whose similarly caste assigned profession was cattle-herding and the Senas, whose Dravidian roots[xxxix] and caste-assigned profession as barbers indicate their indigenous roots. And yet, in Dhawrmo-Mongol, the first Mongol-Kabyo or Verse of Benediction – a signature literary wisdom-trove of medieval Bangla cultures & histories – we find these castes & clans clashing – we find the Senas led by mythical Lavasena & the Ghosha cattle-herders led by Ichhai fighting by the till-date visible relics & ruins of Dhekur-gadh, which, as irony keeps weaving so many folds across history, is, in all probability, named after the Dekar tribes, whose Bronze age wisdoms on metallurgy led to an entire art-form being named Dokra. Even the Ashur people have had deep metallurgic wisdom. As oral traditions whisper, their buzurgs, their perhaps long dead and gone dadi-pardadis, as masterly iron-smiths bellowing by their chimneys, had attained the presently nigh-forgotten wisdom of extracting iron ore from lateritic soil!

And yet, as these medieval, semi-mythological, semi-historical characters tussle for bigger landholdings, many of the socially disempowered clans being killed off as collateral damage. As the Dhawrmo-Mongol traditions whisper, in the wars for power raged by the Pala, Ghosha & Senas of the then-Bengal, dies, as warriors & generals – Kolu the Dom & Lohata Bajjar – two at whom the Brahman must scoff for their ‘impure-blood’ as mandated by Sanskritic scriptures, but tragic tales of whose valour retain their spaces in the first and verily indigenous Song of Benediction of the Bangla language –

For the Senas & Palas – the warriors and potters

from pre-Aryan ancestry who had taken to imperial ways

fought Kolu the Dom with Dolu the Boatman

by and across Ajay – the River Unvanquished

Adept in riparian warfare like people

from the tribes that have ever lived by rivers are skilled at –

they get date-palm trees cut, they get banana trees cut

With their trunks, boats are made

Platforms of bamboo and wood – hoisted

by the shores – to wreck into – the Red Soil terrains

of the cattle-herders that lie to the west

of River Ajaya – For the Ghoshas fight

Iron and Thunder – and thus, by the shores

of the River Unvanquished, in some long

past forgotten except in songs & faith – met, face to face

Kolu the Dom and Lohata Vajjara – two great warriors

from the ancient totems – whom, the imperial ways

of gotra and races, of hoarding and accumulation

of the Aryans and Brahmins – thus made to fight

Because, the more such tribal warriors die out in warfare

The safer the Brahmans, the kings and other

mongers of power and domination feel.

And, as the Sena vassals fight on behalf

of the Pala kings –  against the Ghosha chiefs –

fitting into conspiracies

hatched by the Brahmans

Kolu from the Dom people

kills Iron & Thunder from the

Red Soil smiths – with the Sena army

Tearing into the Fortress of the Dekar people

From the North

To incite the Ghosha general Iron & Thunder

The Sena general, young Kolu the Dom

with Dolu the Boatman – begins

to catch fishes – rohu & carps and so many more

from the River Unvanquished – and Loha-Ta

from the Lohar smiths, having learnt so

Marches out to fight – for the sovereign

Rarh to stay so – beyond the grip of Gourh.

Before they fought, such was how they spoke –

“Once, we were neighbours

Today, behold the Maya, we fight!”

Brahmins weave lies – they say, Iron & Thunder

had insulted Kolu the Dom as

a Son of a Pig-Herder

But we know, they were neighbours

They were for the same people

They were neighbours

There was no shame in pig-rearing for them

Unlike how the Brahmins

with their racism that they pass off, ever,

as spirituality – in all their mumbo-jumbo on purity

and impurity – of humans, blood, substances, matter

and even among creatures and food – had conjured such lies

in latter day, somewhere down the medieval drains

of hatred. Kolu the Dom and Iron & Thunder

slaughtered in the altar of history

as collateral damages. For, soon after Kolu the Dom,

with help from Dolu the Boatman

had killed Loha-Ta-Bajjar the Lodha-smith

from Red Soil climes that lie

to the west of the River Unvanquished – from people who had great

wisdom on metals – from people who had been

since the Ages of Stone – stubborn opponents

to all laws of power that conflicted with nature

  • and, soon, after the Thunder-Hero of the Lodha people,
  • from the Lohar smiths of Rarh – fell

Also fell the Ghosha cattle-herding chieftain

  • worshipper of Mother Goddess
  • in the hands of Lava the Sena
  • Behold Lava, Sena warrior from Kannada climes
  • Conquering Red-Soil Rarh, defeating the cattle-herders
  • and tribes from the 72 fortresses
  • of the Dekar people – Mother-goddess worshippers
  • Felled by Mother-goddess worshipers

For the Brahmins & the kings to consolidate[xl]

Based on whatever little we hear from histories through these muffled, repressed voices that shoot out through narratives from the roots & soils every now & again, we can say that these Kolu Doms, Dolu Boatmen & LohaTa Bajjars were also mythic Ashuras – indigenous slaughtered as collateral in the race-based arrangements of power & ownership that the subcontinent has witnessed for around two to three thousand years at a stretch. But, like the mythic Ashuras, there were ones from history too. For instance, there was King Jatasura and Queen Mundo from the Boar-totem septs of the Shabar Aadivasi people – rulers of Kalinga slaughtered with fiendish aggression by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka[xli] – tales weave on, wars rage on.

Can we not keep on moving back in this quest for roots? Can we not, say, move beyond the almost two millennia of this caste-warfare since the Gupta Era throughout which the spiritualism-based caste-order have coopted, destroyed and otherwise wrecked havoc on the materialism-based shamanical & totemic facets of nature and body-praxes with atrocious pronouncements such as:

Dancers, daughters of skull-donned Kapalika-shamans, sex-workers, washer-women, barber-magic-healer-women, Brahman-women, daughters of Shudras, of cowherders & of garlandmakers

Are the 9 women

(with whom can Tantrics perform the ‘Secret’ (body-)praxis)[xlii]

Can we not look beyond the last two thousand years of male-dominated shamanism – where women were being castigated as Dakins (ironically, the Tibetan root of the word, gdag, means holder of wisdom) and having their tongues chopped off (Khawna – again, this word too has positive connotations in its Tibetan roots, mkhana, meaning wise woman), or being burnt at stake by men as witches and the same being celebrated in carnivalesque (Holika – the sister of Dhruba the Asura), beyond times when male shamans of the latter-Buddhist and post-Shankaracharyic Hindu Tantric orders, devastated already by the ravages of laws based on jaati-endogamy, began to compare female genitalia and menses-blood with flowers and, having, often intentionally, misinterpreted the metaphors used in scriptures of mythology & folklores, corrupted the innate essences of nature-faced body-praxes of ancient humankind?

Can we not, in all earnestness, take our thoughts to times beyond the few thousand years of astute silence maintained by the Vedic religious orders between the Rg Vedas and the Gupta Era on mother-goddess worship, after which, Varahamihira[xliii], who hailed from the Gupta era, whose observatory, as people say, was located at Baranagar – today, a bustling locality of Calcutta – and who, as people accuse, had, out of jealousy towards her wisdom, chopped the tongue of Oracle Khawna off, to make an oblique reference towards mother-goddess worship, for, though the Vedic orders were aloof from all the people’s religions & faiths, they could not ignore it forever, for they who uphold such orders had to rule

Idols of matrika should be established

By those learned on the orders of the mandalas[xliv]

Can we not think of times long forgotten where the cyclic/circular & elliptical shapes (mandala) began to inform the earliest architects – from the Etruscans building Rome with ‘secret wisdom’[xlv] – to the Bhoomkal[xlvi] system of Gond adivasi people of setting villages up in the circular/elliptical shape of the universe – and resume our search onwards?

In reality, no, we can’t. There is no way to “turn the clock back to when god and her were born”[xlvii]. Neither can we go back to the times if Khawna the gDagin, the Sever-Tongued Oracle broken verses attributed to whom resonate across fields of rural Bengal through voices of farmers down the generations:

If rainbows rise to the West

There is drought

If rainbows rise to the East

It rains heavy

But if they keep rising there

There is flood

If fogs linger on till the end of spring

And if it rains heavy when autumn is to begin

Know this, that heads shall tumble

….

 

Bide the famine

With other people dying

Dead crows

Fear no famine[xlviii]

 and nor to the times of Enheduenna[xlix], by whose times had the men, armed with metallic ways to work the earth through settled farming, had begun to wrest away the roles of women as the gatherers – the first farmers – in the proto-histories of humanity, and nor till the times when the Cemetery H culture of the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex of the Oxus-Helmand valleys, whose historical, real, imprints can be seen in the stone and rock-etched Patthalgarhi tomb-stones and epitaphs of adivasi people that on which does many voyager taking long train-rides across India “cast their cold eyes”[l] upon – did rise – but what we do realize through these journeys and more – those of histories and dialectics – of conflicts and struggles between classes, clans, jaatis, races, castes, kingdoms, genders and so many more continuities that inform our living histories, now, if we ask ourselves the question that, whether, during the times when the earliest religions – those based on nature and the role of everyday living human bodies within that nature – were cropping up – when totems meant so much more than the gotra-endogamy like they still do for the so many indigenous Aadivasi people of the world – were there definitive instances of people from the Lion and the Bull totems fighting? Informed histories, even pre- and proto-histories would tend to answer, in calm voice – no, there is nothing to prove that.

Even the Inanna-s and Ishtars of Enheduenna had no animosity with Assur, who, for the Sumerian people before the times of Hammurabi[li], was, instead of Marduk, the primary male god in the Bronze Age pantheons of so many non-Aryan people from the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea! From the Assur of ancient Assyria of Central and North-Western Asia to the Ashur people of the eastern subcontinent who hold the secret, ancient and nigh-extinct art of iron ore extraction from lateritic soil – the idea of Ashur, like the idea and conception of the Mother Goddess – have indeed gone through eras and eons of transformation.

And, down the dialectic flows of such subjectivities, have Brahminical interpolations on gotra-endogamy – informed by “divide and rule” – by ideas of dividing people along communal lines based on castes, races and religions, making them clash and strife, weaken themselves and thus letting themselves be ruled, in a three to four millennia old long run, by the Brahmans and the Kshatriyas – the ‘pure-blood’ Aryans who maintain hardly any dialectic between themselves – ideas and endogamy-based implementations that have gone so deep into the fabric of the subcontinental social systems that today we see separate caste-positions – all being historically repressed Dalit – assigned to those who rear cows, goats, sheep, elephants and camels – all across the subcontinent – spread its iron rule.

In the specific case of the savarna Hindu and verily Calcutta-centered ritual of Durga Pujo, colonial histories of the savarna and the British uniting, and, through two wars fought in the 18th century – the first being in 1757 and the second in 1774 – in both of which were Muslim rulers – the Nawob of Bengal in the first situation and the Mughal Emperor of India in the second – were defeated by armies commissioned by the English East India Company and supported by the relatively upper-caste Hindu communities – there are the contexts of the first munshees and other landlords who saw much wealth – people such as Nabakrishna Deb[lii], Raidurlabh[liii], Nemichand[liv] – making lavish public celebrations in sections of what, in the 18th and 19th centuries, at what then was termed ‘Native Calcutta’ – the North Kolkata of today – inviting the British rulers and bringing nautch-women from Lucknow as shows of devotion and grandeur[lv] – such celebrations being the structural formative base of the Durga Pujo traditions of public festivity that grip Calcutta in savarna-frenzy for almost one whole week in the early months of autumn.

Now, in such many-hued contexts, it is difficult to ascertain for sure as to exactly at what point in time in history were the Lion-Goddess God and the Bull-totem God were turned at loggerheads by the Brahmin mythos-makers – perhaps sometimes in the middle ages, when, even after almost two millennia of silence, even the Aryan scriptures, devoid of many references to their own mother goddesses, had to reckon with those of the subcontinents – for in the subcontinents there were many such mother Goddesses and people would worship them in hordes of whom even the early 7th century traveler Hieuen Tsang remarks while passing by the worship-site of Bhima Devi, an indigenous female deity of the Gandhara provinces of those days[lvi]  – that is, during times of post-Gupta Empire late-classical and early medieval histories of evolution of Sanskritic and Brahminical gotra and jaati oriented scriptures – for, from them, once again, we begin to find historical, mythographical affirmations on the indigenous origins of mother-goddess worship:

The Shabars, the Pulindas

and the Barbarinas – worship the Goddess[lvii]

The Goddess is from the Vindhya Hills

She loves meat and mead[lviii]

She is the Hunting Goddess

Shabari – of the Gana (people-Gond)

She is Kali and Parvati[lix]

The Hudur-worship, through which the Ashur and many other totemic people across the subcontinent mourn the defeat of their Bull totem chieftain Mahishashur alias Bhainsasur in the hands of a warrior queen from the Aryan races[lx] – entails events and narratives that also find mention in the 12th century medieval text of Kalvivek by Jimutvahana as ‘Shabarotsav’ or the festivity of the Shabar people, while Sanskritic litterateurs such as Banavatta[lxi], Suvandhu[lxii] and Bhavabhuti[lxiii] become the earliest scholars – almost thousand years after the Vedas were scripted – to speak of the indigenous Kol, Shabar, Pulinda, Kirata and such adivasi people and their mother-goddess worship rituals.

Thus, we are looking at roundabout one and three quarters of one more millennium of attempted Brahminical cooption on the mother-worship, side by side with at least three to four millennia of Aryan racial aggression on the living cultures of the Ashur – bearing whiffs and sighs from the Bronze Ages and further back.

We live in times when over-simplification of narratives sell more than nuanced reckonings. In such times we are being pushed to take binary stands – either taking sides with decidedly patriarchal tale involving what, in the male-dominated histories of deep states and espionage, is termed as ‘honey-trap’, or, with a decidedly racist stand of an Aryan goddess slaying an indigenous Ashura through guile and ruse. When we pause to think about it, when these mind-boggling arrays of narratives layered and intertwined with the flowing histories of the ages settle down, shall we still not realize how fallacious it is to take any side at times except for those of the oppressed, those against the oppressors?

Thus, when a male gender-oppressor says – “the mother goddess is a harlot”,

it is crucial to say – “no, that isn’t the case!”

Likewise, when a savarna caste-oppressor says – “Durga Pujo is our Hindu goddess of goodness and light triumphing the darkness of a evil Bull-Rearing Ashur”,

it is also crucial to say –

“no, mister, you are very wrong – history doesn’t work the way those Sanskritic Brahminical scriptures – those veritable made-easies on effective perpetration of caste, race and communally based crimes so as to divide and rule that you swear by – have been seeking, since a handful of dusty millennia, to make you believe that it does”

[i] Manu-Samhita, 9/33

[ii] Veej

[iii] Manu-Samhita, 9/35

[iv] Rasa

[v] Veerja

[vi] 6th/7th century AD

[vii] Karika 1, Samkhya of Ishvara Krishna (3rd/4th century AD), narration by Gaudapadacharya (6th/7th AD)

[viii] 2nd/3rd centuries AD

[ix] Coll. from Shabara-Bhashya

[x] Markandeya-Purana, 92/42

[xi] Markandeya-Purana, 92/43

[xii] Uttanapada = Tree according to Sayana (12th/13th centuries AD, commentator on the Rg-Vedas)

[xiii] Rg-Veda, hymns no. 10/72/3-4

[xiv] Akinchan Das, 17th century AD

[xv] Hasan Raja, (AD  1854-1922)

[xvi] Cemetery H Culture: Term for latter-Harappan culture that flourished roundabout two millennia before Christ

[xvii] The Mahabharata of Kaliprasanna Sinha (pp. 1115-7)

[xviii] Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State: in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan, Selected Works of Marx & Engels, Vol. 11

[xix] Deviprasad Chattopadhyay, Lokayat Darshan, p.227)

[xx] Ramai Pundit. see also: https://countercurrents.org/2017/10/05/verses-of-resistance-how-certain-folk-literary-cultures-of-medieval-bengal-had-risen-against-brahminism/

[xxi] Chittaranjan Dev, Loukik Dhawrmo O OnushThhan, Volume I, Chapter IV

[xxii] Jitendranath Bandyopadhyaya, Pawnchopashona, Kolkata Pharma., 1994

[xxiii] Shitala-Mangal transliterations and compilations by Daivakinandan, Nityananda et al (17th-18th centuries AD), for details see: Dinesh Chandra Sen, Bawngo Bhasha o Shahityo, 1896, pp. 234-235

[xxiv] Dilipkumar Dey, Koch Bihar –er Loko Shawngoshkriti, Anima Prokashoni , 2007

[xxv] Transcreated colly. from Shoshthi-Mangal by Krishnoram Dash, Dhawrmo-Mongol by Manikram Ganguly & Mawnosha Mongol by Ketokadash Kshemanawndo  (17th-18th centuries AD) Calcutta University compilations, 1956-60)

[xxvi] Suhashini Devi, Meyeli Brotokawtha, Pustawk-Biponi, , 1985 (pp 36-37)

[xxvii] Malini Bhattacharya (ed.) Jela Lokoshawngoshkriti Porichawy Grontho: Bankura Jela, Dept. of Information and Culture, Govt. of West Bengal, 2002

[xxviii] Presently a village in Bogra District, Bangladesh

[xxix] Greco-Roman historical name for the Gangetic delta of the eastern subcontinent – with a prominent seat mapped by Ptolemy as the “Basin of Salsuno” (see: Claudius Ptolemy, 100-170), identified subsequently by Dinesh Chandra Sen (1866-1939) as the region of Sarsuna – a present day bustling suburb in the far-southern outskirts of Kolkata

[xxx] Named in Bengali as PanDu-Raja-r-Dhipi, located in dist. Burdwan, West Bengal

[xxxi] Markandeya Purana (Sloka 92/42-43)

[xxxii] Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough Vol I-XII, 1860

[xxxiii] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/gonds-may-have-migrated-from-indus-valley/article6698419.ece

[xxxiv] For the Arya-Aswa (Aryan-Horses) discourse, kindly follow: https://blog.mukto-mona.com/2016/07/26/49192/

[xxxv] Masaram Kumre, Gondvansh Ka Itihas Evam Sanskriti, Viswabharati Prakashan, Nagpur, 2014

[xxxvi] Id

[xxxvii] Ramdayal Munda & Ratansingh Manki, Adi-Dharam, Rajkamal Prakashana, 2009

[xxxviii] the word ‘Kamrup’ itself has Khmer, Cham, Khasi amd Santhal ethno-linguistic roots: http://bn.banglapedia.org/index.php?title=%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%AE%E0%A6%B0%E0%A7%82%E0%A6%AA

[xxxix] Niharranjan Ray, Bangalir Itihash – Adi-Pawrbo, Saksharata Prakashan, 1980

[xl] Dharma-Mongol by Ruparam Chakrabarty, (written during AD 1649-50)

[xli] The Kalinga War – 262 BC

[xlii] Gupta-Sadhana-Tantra, 1/12,( ca. 1050 AD)

[xliii] 5th/6th centuries AD

[xliv] Vrhat-Samhita by Varahamihira

[xlv] Plutarch: see ‘Life of Romulus’ from Parallel Lives

[xlvi] System of setting villages with different elements of nature such as the hills, forests, rivers, totems etc being worshipped along its boundaries – in the oval shape which is believed by the Gond people as the shapes of the earth and the universe: See also: Gondwana Bhumandal by SB Sidam, published by Sakharam Uike from Bhopal, 2011

[xlvii] Bob Dylan, Shelter from the Storm

[xlviii] Sushilkumar De, Bangla Probad, Chhawra o Cholti Kawtha, published by Amiyaranjan Mukherjee from Calcutta, 1944-45

[xlix] (2285 BC – 2250 BC)

[l] “Cast a cold eye on life, on death,/Horsemen, pass by” epitaph of WB Yeats

[li] Hammurabi (1792 BC – 1750 BC)

[lii] (1733-1797, munshee of Robert Clive)

[liii] co-conspirator in the conspiracy that led to the defeat of Siraj-ud-Daula in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 in the hands of the East India Company forces led by Robert Clive

[liv] co-conspirator in the Battle of Plassey (1757)

[lv]See: https://scroll.in/article/763617/how-the-british-victory-at-plassey-created-the-modern-durga-pujo

[lvi] See Great Tang Records on the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 7th Century AD

[lvii] Harivamsam – 48A

[lviii] The Mahabharata: Durga-Stotram, sloka 4/6

[lix] Varaha-Purana (sloka 28/34) r/w Bakpati’s Goudhvaho (slokas 305, 285-347) r/w Vrihat-Samhita (sloka 4/22) r/w Aitereya Brahmana (sloka 7/18)

[lx] https://aainanagar.com/2017/05/20/hudur-durga/

[lxi] Kadambari, Chapter I, written in the 7th century AD

[lxii] Vasavadutta, written in the 7th century AD

[lxiii] Malati-madhava, written in the 8th century AD

Atindriyo Chakraborty is a writer and poet
http://atindriyo.blogspot.in/

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