Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lokayata as a "primitive" Indian folk belief?!

The masses have always been suspicious of Brahminical mambo-jumbo but this might be taking it too far:
Lokayata is a school of ancient Indian philosophy and one of three non-orthodox schools of thought. It is popular mainly among lower classes. In ancient Chinese text, it is also known as Lokaayatika, Carapace and the like. It has a very old origin and began to exert an important influence around the 6th century BCE.
Evolution and Relevant Literature - Lokayata dates back at least to the Vedic Age or earlier. Some scholars think it is associated with the earliest Ganges civilisation and primitive Indian folk beliefs.
This was astonishing as well:
In the latter 19th century CE, several thousand of a certain Sikh sect followed the same ideas with Lokayata.


Daoist-Buddhist debates- curiously, around the same time, Buddhism in India was also getting pummeled in "debates":

However, during the period of Emperor Wuzong (reigned 840-846), Wuzong believed in Daoism, and ever called on Daoists and monks to carry out a debate on the question: “can we cultivate immorality?” “Governing a country is like a cooking” was taken as debated topic. Zhixuan said: “moralisation is the root of governing a country, while the so-called immorality cultivation is the career taken up by hermits lived in woods, and it, at the same time, requires natural gifts to some extent. So it is not suitable for the King.” At that time, Zhixuan was so eloquent in the debate and what he said shocked all the listeners, who thought that his words went against the Emperor’s order; and his neighbours, worried that he may be exiled and thought it was a pity that his talents in debate may be buried.
However, under the support of Emperor Wuzong, Daoists won in the debate, and from then on, “Exterminating Buddhism in Huichang” started. In August of the fifth year (845), the Emperor gave orders to officially exterminate Buddhism. Later, more than 4,600 temples were pulled down, 2,60,500 Buddhist monks and nuns resumed secular life, over 40,000 private temples and Buddhist monasteries were abolished, approximately 10 million qing of fertile farmland was confiscated, and 1,50,000 slaves and maid-servants were recorded to double-tax family. Li Deyu, the prime minister, offered his congratulations to the Emperor and criticised in Celebration on Demolishing Temples: “Buddhism poisons people’s mind, buries the principle taxes, and has degraded the country for more than a thousand years.”
Parsis in China:
The earliest Parsi merchant known to have sailed to China was Heerjee Jeevanjee Readymoney in 1756. In this period, as a by-product of the tea trade between China and Britain, raw cotton from western India began to be shipped to Canton (Guangzhou) to pay for the rapidly growing export of tea from China. Enterprising Parsi merchants were among the earliest to profit from the spurt in trade between Bombay and China from the last quarter of the 18th century CE. One of the earliest Parsi firms to be established at Canton was that of Cowasjee Pallanjee & Co (1794). The great Parsi merchant and benefactor Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, who played a major role in the growth of Bombay in the first half of the 19th century CE, made his fortune in the trade with China. The raw cotton and opium trade and the shipping business with China contributed to the rise of many other prominent Parsi families as well, including the Banajis, Wadias, Petits, Tatas, Dadiseths, Camas and others. Later, when several leading Parsi businessmen ventured into the newly emerging cotton textile industry in India in the second half of the 19th century CE, they exported a significant portion of the cotton yarn produced in their factories to China.

The Parsi merchants showed a greater willingness to travel and reside in China than any other Indian merchants involved in the China trade. Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy himself travelled several times to China as a young man. As a result, hundreds of Parsi men in the 19th century CE were to be found in Canton, Macau and later Hong Kong, Shanghai and other Chinese ports. In the early years of the 19th century CE, at times there were more Parsis in Canton than there were British. They were often referred to by the Chinese as baitouren (whiteheads) on account of their distinctive white caps. Before the Opium War, Parsis lived in Macau and in the foreign factories on the Canton waterfront. One of these even came to be known as the ‘Parsi factory’. Parsi cemeteries in Canton and Macau have tombstones dating back to 1829. Parsis played a pioneering role in the early settlement and development of Hong Kong after 1842. Among those who purchased land on the Hong Kong waterfront in the first land auction conducted by the British authorities on the island in June 1841, were Dadabhoy Rustomjee, Heerjebhoy Rustomjee, Framjee Jamsetjee and Pestonjee Cowasjee. Starting out initially in the import-export trade from Hong Kong, the Parsis soon ventured into diverse business activities, including real estate, share brokerage, the hospitality industry, banking and so on. One of them, Dorabji Naorojee, founded the cross-harbour transport service that evolved into Hong Kong’s famous "Star Ferry" service. The Parsis were also known for their involvement in charitable activities in Hong Kong. The individual, who played the pioneering role in the establishment of the University of Hong Kong, was a Parsi businessman known as H N Mody. The Ruttonjee family established one of the earliest antituberculosis sanatoriums on the island.
All of the above and much much more- from Cucumber, Clover and Cotton to Sugar Making, Nagarjuna and Sun Simiao in the amazing and thoroughly awesome "Encyclopedia of India-China Cultural Contacts".