BANIYON KA KUAN (MERCHANTS’ WELL), FARMANA KHAS VILLAGE, MEHAM BLOCK, ROHTAK DISTRICT, HARYANA

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The village of Farmana Khas (that I covered on 7th January for its early Harappan Archaeological mounds) is surrounded by three large Johads (tanks) that sort of acted collectively as a defensive moat. These Johads, viz. Dhobhi, Jauna Aala and Dhamma Aala have a large storage capacity, but are degenerating gradually because of garbage and debris strewn around them. The once self-sustaining economy of the village, thanks to forested land that surrounded the village is majorly defunct due to the disappearance of the forest. But, Farmana Khas moves on, proud of its rich past, its present-day social fabric, and ancient relics that have pronounced the village on an archaeological map.

It’s on the western bank of Dhamma Aala Johad that a 140-year old well colloquially known as Baniyon Ka Kuan stands majestically depicting a syncretic Indo-Islamic architectural style. Said to be built by the grandchildren of Lala Hira Mal, who moved here in 1810 from Kirsola Village in Jind State (now a bordering district of Rohtak in Haryana). According to the local lore, masons from Bhiwani (another bordering district) raised this impressive structure, where the depth of the well was 90 feet.

How were these wells built?

Lime stones or ‘Rodi’ (gravel or grit) were shaped and sized according to the plan of the well. Later, brick masonry was introduced. The mud bricks were locally made and burnt using agro-wastes and wood as fuel. The quality of binding materials or mortar for bricks consisted of limerock, acacia seeds, white jute or patsun, and urad dal (black lentils) ground with water and occasionally yogurt, then thoroughly mixed and pounded as a reinforcement. When the wall of the well was sufficiently raised, a platform (Chabutra) would be built around it. Then minarets (burgee) and tubs (khelskothe) would be raised. In Haryana, it is common to see four-pillar wells with four pulleys. But, wells with 8 to 12 pulleys were also built (examples of such can be seen in Beri and Dujana in Jhajjar district). Water was pulled using a ‘Charas’, a large leather bucket.

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ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOUNDS, MUHAMMAD NAGAR (aka HAVANANAGAR), NAGINA TEHSIL, NUH DISTRICT, MEWAT, HARYANA 

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4 kms east on the road to Hodal from Badkali in Nagina tehsil of Mewat, one encounters a non-descript village that goes by the name of Mohammad Nagar (aka Havananagar). The village boasts of the ruins of a spectacular Haveli made in Lakhori bricks (will cover that some other time). The village really caught the attention of archaeologists, when a team led by BR Mani carried out excavations here, and deciphered that the cultural sequence of the site was similar to Harnol. The site is damaged now, but some traces of the excavations still remain. I found Shunga-period sherds here, and some bones.


Trenches in the form of squares measuring 10 x 10 meters were laid and five quadrants of four squares were taken up for excavations that were continued up to natural soil. 34 Habitational Layers were encountered in both trenches, and natural soil was encountered under the 34th layer. The soil had kankar deposits through which water began to ooze out.

A 35 cm thick deposit over the kankar mixed natural soil with water yielded sturdy red ware sherds that were not found in the upper layers. This layer represented Period 1 (700 – 500 BCE). Period 2 was represented by layers 29-33 having red ware, grey ware and some sherds of Painted Grey Ware (PGW). Iron objects too were found from these deposits, and this suggests Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley civilizational period (1300 – 500/300 BCE). Layers 22-28 represent deposits associated with Northern Black Polished ware (NBPW) which existed between 700 – 200 BCE. Here remains of a brick wall having four courses and a drain with vertically placed bricks in EW direction were noticed. Evidence of post-holes also suggested the existence of thatched huts. Red, grey and NBPW were the main ceramic products excavated. Layers 12 to 21 represented the Shunga Period (185 – 73 BCE). Lowest course of a circular structure with wedge shaped burnt bricks were found suggesting that this might be a Stupa.

From its sealing deposit three similar terracotta dealings with the figure of yupa (a Vedic-era sacrificial altar) were discovered. Terracotta bangles, beads, plaques with human and animal figures, and incurved bowls in red ware comprised the main ceramic industry of this period. A 4 meter deposit belonging to the Kushan Period in the form of house complexes, a narrow lane running east to west and paved with bricks was noticed. A sunken wall of 26 courses of bricks with an opening in its upper courses suggesting evidence of a window was noticed. From the exposed southern section of the damaged part of the mound several huge structures were noticed, some of which rose to almost 40 courses of bricks. Terracotta human and animal figurines, beads, stone beads and four Kushan copper coins were found. Red ware ceramic included bowls, basins, vases, lids and lamps. Layer 1 to 3 were associated with the late mediaeval period. Part of the structure was exposed in the southern part of the trench which was constructed by using bricks and stones. A large hearth full of ash too was discovered. Some dishes of fine red ware besides other ceramics in associated red ware were found. Seven courses of a structure with reused bricks were also noticed in sectional scrapping, which are seemingly contemporaneous with the mosque towards the north-east of the trench on the mound, which has now been rebuilt. A most interesting find was a loose mutilated sculpture of a seated deity in red sandstone.

KOT VILLAGE, NUH DISTRICT, MEWAT, HARYANA

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Kot, which literally means a Fort, lies along the Nuh – Hodal Road. This ancient village did have a fort at one point, which was destroyed by the invading armies of Mahmud of Ghazni or Mahmud Ghaznavi (reigned 998 – 1030 CE). Ghaznavi founded the Turkic Ghaznavid Dynasty. His Empire extended from Northwestern Iran to Punjab, and from Khwarazm in Transoxiana to Makran. He is said to have invaded India 17 times during his reign, and sacked Somnath in Gujarat and Mathura, the latter considered to be the richest city in India at the time. In 1018 CE, during his expedition to Mathura, Baran and Mahaban, he is said to have laid to waste the Yaduvanshi Fort in Kot. Unfortunately, no trace of the fort remains at present, though the village still takes the name ‘Kot’.

The history of the place is reborn after almost 1500 years during the reign of the Third Mughal Emperor, Akbar, and an influential and venerable personality in Rao Bahad. Rao Bahad, aka Dada Bahad lived in the latter half of the 16th Century, and occupied the place from the Rawat Jats. The Jats still form a majority towards the east of the village. The local lore is that he took on the might of Emperor Akbar, all by himself. According to the lore, Akbar once on his expedition passed through Bisru Village (In modern-day Punhana Tehsil of Nuh District). As he happened to be near Kot, a Khanzada offered his daughter’s hand to Akbar, which Akbar accepted. Akbar married the girl and took her to the Harem at Agra. This infuriated the Meos of the area, and Kot Chieftain Dada Bahad decided to bring the girl back. Dada Bahad covertly slipped into the military workshop in Agra, and from there into the Harem, where he convinced the girl to accompany him to Mewat, and the girl readily agreed. After their return, the elders of the village suggested that Dada Bahad enter into an alliance with the girl and disappear into hiding for a while until Akbar’s search party returned empty-handed. But, Dada Bahad was already married with children, but the villagers convinced him to take his second wife, which he did. Meanwhile, Akbar’s search party searched nook and corner of the area for Dada Bahad, and eventually flushed him out. He was taken to Agra and executed. But Akbar allowed his body to be taken to his village of Kot to be buried there. And that’s how the simple graves of Dada Bahad, and his two wives are situated near a Mosque said to have been built by Dada Bahad himself. The Mosque is undergoing renovations at the present, and in all likelihood is to lose its original signature carried from the middle of the 16th Century. Meanwhile, the graves are extremely simple in the form of mounds with nothing to shield them from the elements. The graves lie in an enclosure, which is built in stone and is broken at numerous places.

The mosque is built in bricks and has a fine plaster with good masonry work and floral designs (All of these characteristics were unseen during my visit as renovation is in full swing). This mosque was in a dilapidated condition, and no wonder the villagers took it upon themselves to restore it. This mosque is built on the raised platform of about 4 feet height. The main building as roughly calculated is 40 feet long and 10 feet wide with three bays, the middle one larger than the other two. The mosque has three arched entrances, which open into the courtyard. The building has roofing of high architectural value. It has (had) a grave-shaped half-domed roof divided into three portions. All the four walls have rounded corners made of bricks and plasters. The main gateway is arched and made of the brick-shaped stones. 

Philosophical Time and the Israel-Palestine Stalemate – Note Quote

 

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Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot treats the notion of time as a traction between change and changelessness scrutinizing human condition in the light of an absurd universe. In exposing the barest of existence, the protagonists undergo a devitalizing process through repetitive actions with slight variations, signaling a passage of time ever so slowly, yet changing without any logic whatsoever in consonance with the absurdity of the universe. The micro-level individuation encounters this change, albeit very slowly, but in relation to the macro-level universality that hardly does, because “nothing ever happens”, Beckett transcribes this temporal circularity of changelessness by means of a stasis. In the 4-dimensional spacetime, Beckett’s Pozzo wanders through space in time only to be trapped in the vicious circle of nowhere-nowhen in congruence with Heidegger’s phenomenologically existential construct of the negativity of transition from transpiring. The traction of change and changelessness is tangible here, with time having become a deadener in its repetitious circularity, and despairing when confronted with the reality of the situation. That there is no escape from this existential prison-house is likened by Javed Malick in his Introduction to Waiting for Godot (Malick, 1989). The play is a philosophical treatise of trying to come to grips with “accursed time” resonating with Hamlet’s angst, “Time is out of joint, O cursed spite/If ever I was born to set it right.” 

If this conception of space and time is angst-ridden philosophically, or even psychologically, the absolutizing of space and time by Isaac Newton; as a priori formats of intuition by Immanuel Kant; as a property of matter dictated by the spacetime continuum of Einsteinian relativistic physics; or, Bergsonian la durée (lived time) of subjectivity or lived experiences, are deep reflectors proposing a unity of empirical, pragmatic, abstracted and rational realities. This, though is achieved in philosophy historically, it mirrors an epistemic synthesis in interactions between the subject and the object in the present, a deviation from the prescribed unification. Kant is apt here, when he says, 

Without sensibility no object would be given to us, without understanding no object would be thought. Thoughts without concepts are empty; intuition without concepts are blind…the understanding can intuit nothing, the senses can think nothing. Only though union can knowledge arise (Kant, 92: 1929).

But what guarantees slipping against this reductionism generically? This gravitates significantly in the light of space and time, or spacetime  considered philosophically as an array that is continually in flux. Here the boundaries permeate unbeknownst of trying to enforce demarcations and distinctions. Be it spatial when regarded in field theories in physics, architectural spaces, sculpted voids, Cubist positive negative space, the pauses and blanks in Mallarmé’s poetry, and silence in literature and music, such cross-cutting disciplinarian constructions only involve a gerrymandering of traditions (Kern, 7: 1983). Or be it temporal, where the human agency is paramount, especially in Bergson’s la durée and is influenced by subjective and specific memories of the past and shaped by the anticipation of the future. The coming together of the spatial and temporal components is oftentimes distorting as it stretches the fabric of space, time and spacetime in a movement where nothing much happens or even if it does, it does slowly, dragging to a point where the schema appears to be a naturalized real, an external construction superimposing on the lived experience. This distorted sensibility of the Real when imported into the political realm can at best be instantiated from an inter-disciplinary perspective of philosophy and anthropologic psychology. It is here that one of the cardinal focus of Palestinian issue of waiting and in exile could best be thematized. Here, the morphic approach moves towards the psychopathological interpretation of the experience of exile from a phenomenological viewpoint, as highlighted in the philosophies of the Chilean Eduardo Carrasco (2002), the Spaniard María Zambrano (2009), and the psychiatry of the Spaniard José Solanes (1993). 

If José Solanes details the failure of discursive narrative to encompass exile in its definability, Zambrano (2004) thrashes out the problematic nature by stating that exile does not feel like such until one begins to feel abandoned.  This sense of abandonment is a suspension of space and time to which Carrasco alludes as the non-static condition of this exiled and lived experience. The phenomenon is more an issue of feeling alienated rather than differences between places or objects. As Solanes (1993) says, 

Alienness is clearly a response to a qualitative diversity that is overall perceived as a fact of discovering that in some dark way – though sometimes funny, but often disturbing – in exile we are personally related to this larger whole. Being in a qualitatively different world brings the experience of being alien. 

Carrasco (2002) matches the following with an understanding of abstract disposition of distances, geopolitical organization, our memories of the place left behind, “a world that is dwelled from specific meanings, requirements, obstacles, stimuli, possibilities, objects of desire, fear and different feelings, calling for thought, imagination, strangeness, astonishment.” This is the phenomenological perspective that was referenced to above, in that the space left behind must be understood just as it is given in consciousness, while a qualitative geography intervenes in emphasizing the configuration of space as a mode of being. Phenomenologically, consciousness is in essence deterministic when there is a convergence or unification between an individualized consciousness and the contextual circumstance in which the people find themselves in after having been displaced from their origin. This extrapolation of the individual to the people is liable to suffer the symptoms of generality, unless the loci is marked to measure and thus arrest ipseity, which is a kind of explicit self-representation, and used heavily in recent phenomenological literature in attempting to empirically study pathological self-experience (Carruthers & Musholt, 2018).  

If exile is a spatial displacement, then waiting is a temporal displacement. The allotropy of waiting is best summed up by John Milton (1673) in On His Blindness, 

They also serve who only stand and wait. 

Waiting reflects helplessness, an inability to control the pace as well as the course of events, or the dromological aspect of what Bergson means by the disorientation between la durée and objective time. The notion of time in exile or waiting for that matter is a little bit more complex even if the general agreement that time’s experience runs parallel with space’s (Silva Rojas, Nuñez & Nuñez, 2015). Eduardo Carrasco (2002) contends that to “original where”, which determines individuality, there corresponds an “original time” contouring that individual’s location within history. Zombrano (2004), not only is in consonance with Carrasco, but goes a step ahead by differentiating between Solanes’ idea of “un-space” (desespacio) and “un-time” (destiempo), where the exiled is also expulsed from her original time. This is deconstruction in principle where the exiled is frozen in the past and is only presence. This loci of the exiled on the periphery of history is caught between the past and the future through nostalgia and hope, or the stress between the ontic and the ontological. The tension here can be paraphrased from medieval scholasticism as an haecceity that perseveres with the ontic as it continually encounters the strangeness of a new space (exiled to) in its desire for hope. If the ontic were to lose out, it is nostalgic as struggle ensues once a link with the self is severed. Here takes place a consequential substitution in the form of hope, a future of undetermined time, or waiting. In the tradeoff of nostalgia and hope, past and future, the philosophical basis of past, present and future as a linear continuum is broken, and what we have instead is a traction between space and time, where the newness of space proportionates time as standing still for the exiled. 

A combination of such distortions in space, time and/or spacetime for the exiled could lead to psychopathological symptoms. In introducing the phenomenological notions of psychopathology, Karl Jaspers (1997) opened up the avenue for the structures of subjectivity that underpin the experience of a reality, which, when modified determine psychopathological lebenswelt (Fuchs, 2010). There are five dimensions of phenomenological psychopathology that gain significance, and in a way links to the thematic issue of the Palestinian cause, viz. lived time, lived space, lived body, intersubjectivity and selfhood. Lived Time is Bergsonian in import. Lived Space is an embodiment of a relationship between a person and her world as situated. Lived Body is a 3-dimensional experiential self-awareness, object-meaning & meaning-bestowing, and experiences of the other. Intersubjectivity as an emergent phenomenon is the pragmatic constitution of reality as regards other’s behavior and expression. Selfhood is either pre-reflexive or reflexive, primordial acquaintance with oneself or Self’s narrative identity respectively. The permutations of these five dimensions help understand human existence and determines psychopathological experiences. In connecting these rudiments with the exiled population that have distinct memories with its evocation of the past and a future-oriented hope, phenomenology impresses a qualitative rather than a quantitative parametric. For instance, when spatially treated, phenomenological distance supersedes geometric distance because the baggage of temporality is always accompanying the exiled. In itself, exile might not be true to psychopathological experiences, but generates enough conditions where symptoms of psychopathology are realized, be it in the form of melancholia or anguish. This completes the circle back to angst-ridden philosophy we began with. On the other side of the equation, exile could augment socio- and ethnocultural acculturation through a process of miscegenation, which in the words of Sonia Montecinos (1998) occurs through a process where “the purely biological yields to other processes linked to the history of our territories; coupling of people is a coupling of cultures: the acculturation that is the mixture of cultural elements, and assimilation – i.e., the absorption of an individual or a people by another culture.” But, this side of the equation in the considered case of the Palestinian cause is a far cry from being realizable, and does nothing substantial to assuage the fractious intersubjectivity that is the unwritten principle of the day. 

This, in fulfilling the main research questions also draws to close the hypothesis of how the ideas of space and time with their multi-dimensional characteristics are ingrained in the lives of the Palestinians. 

Bibliography

Beckett, S. (1989). Waiting For Godot. A Tragicomedy in Two Acts. Introduction and Notes by Javed Malick. New York: Oxford University Press.

Carrasco E. Exilio y universalidad. Interpretación fenomenológica del exilio (Exile and universality. Phenomenological interpretation of exile). In: Carrasco E, editor. Palabra de Hombre. Tractatus de filosofía chilensis (Word of Man. Tractatus of Chilean philosophy). Santiago: RIL; (2002). p. 203–61. 

Carruthers, G. & Musholt, K. (2018). Ipseity at the Intersection of Phenomenology, Psychiatry and Philosophy of Mind: Are we Talking about the Same Thing?. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. 

Fuchs T. Phenomenology and psychopathology. In: Schmicking D, Gallagher S, editors. Handbook of Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. Dordrecht: Springer (2010) 546–73.

Gómez Blesa M. Introducción. In: Zambrano M, Blesa MG, editors. Las palabras del regreso (The Words of Return). Madrid: Cátedra; (2009). p. 11–59.

Jaspers K. (1997). General Psychopathology, Vol. 1, 2. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Kant, I. (1929). Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Norman Smith. Unabridged Edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 

Kern, S. (1983). The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 

Milton, J. (1673) “[On His Blindness] Sonnet 16 .” Poetry for Students. . Retrieved June 21, 2022 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/his-blindness-sonnet-16

Montecinos S. Mestizaje In: Boletín de Filosofía (Bulletin of Philosophy) no. 9. Santiago de Chile: Universidad Católica Blas Cañas; (1998). p. 226–35.

Silva Rojas, M., Armijo Nuñez, J., & Nuñez Erices, G. (2015). Philosophical and Psychopathological Perspective of Exile: On Time and Space Experiences. Frontiers in psychiatry, 6, 78. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00078

Solanes J. Los nombre del exilio (The Names of Exile). Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores; (1993). 

Zambrano M. Los bienaventurados (The Blessed). Madrid: Siruela; (2004).

The Baloch Conflict with Iran and Pakistan – Aspects of a National Liberation Struggle by Naseer Dashti

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Three thousand years ago, a group of Indo-Iranic tribes (called Balaschik at that time) settled in the northwestern Caspian region of Balashagan. Circumstances forced them to disperse and migrate towards the south and eastern parts of Iranian plateau. In medieval times, they finally settled in present-day Balochistan where they became known as the Baloch. During their long and tortuous journey from Balashagan to Balochistan, the Baloch faced persecutions, deportations, and genocidal acts of various Persian, Arab and other regional powers. During the 17th century, after dominating Balochistan culturally and politically, the Baloch carved out a nation state (the Khanate of Kalat). In 1839, the British occupied Balochistan and subsequently it was divided into various parts. In the wake of the British withdrawal from India in 1947, Balochistan regained its sovereignty but soon Pakistan occupied it in 1948.

Balochistan stretches from Southeastern Iran to the east bank of Indus in Punjab, and from the lower reaches of Helmand in Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. This logical sequel to Naseer Dashti’s earlier ‘The Baloch and Balochistan’ about a conflict with potential to flare up regional tension and instability in a strategically crucial and volatile region that has been subject to violent and protracted conflict.

#baloch #balochistan #iran #pakistan #thebalochconflict#naseerdashti

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOUND (MAURYAN STUPA??), HARNOL VILLAGE, NEAR NAI NAGLA, NUH DISTRICT, MEWAT, HARYANA

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At Mandikhera on the Arterial Nuh-Ferozepur Jhirka Road take the road leading east towards Nai Nagla village. After about 1.5 kms with mustard fields on either side (in winters) you reach this mound. The mound is in a damaged state after having been abandoned post the excavations in 1997-1998. Said to be from the late Harappan period, the Western portion of the Mound has had earth removed to build embankments to protect from breaches at the nearby Rawli & Kameda Check Dams.

The excavation was carried out to a depth of 16 m from the top having structural phases of different periods with 40 Habitational Layers. The bottom most 4 Habitational Layers unearthed Black-Slipped Ware and Red Ware (associated with the Neolithic, Harappa, Bronze and Iron Age dating to 700-500 BCE). Layers 31 to 36 yielded sherds (broken ceramic) of the Painted Grey Ware (PGW), Grey and Red Ware (Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley Civilization dating to 1300 – 500/300 BCE). The PGW overlapped with the Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) as terracotta plaques (a lady figurine) were unearthed. Bangles, beads including arecanut shaped ones, bone point and carnelian bead were discovered. NBPW sherds were excavated along the Habitational Layers 27 to 30. Habitational Layers 18 to 26 were brick structures from the Shunga Period (185 – 73 BCE) with iron objects, lower part of the terracotta mould showing human legs, toy cart and crucible exhumed. Habitational Layers 8 – 17 are the early and later Kushan Period (3rd century BCE – 3rd century CE), where burnt bricks, iron arrow head, shell bangle, decorated tile, and a terracotta relief of a male deity (most likely agni-dev or God of Fire) were found. Along the Habitational Layers 1 – 7, mediaeval artefacts, including brick masonry works, Red and Glazed Wares were discovered.

The Western and Southern faces of the wall at the SW corner have a tapering nature, which suggests that it may be the base of a Mauryan Stupa (322 – 185 BCE).

EU – India FTA and Financial Liberalization

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Even though India and the European Union (EU) are celebrating 60 years of bilateralism, it was only in 2007 during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first tenure that a Strategic Partnership between the two parties was signed, which after six years of engagements broke down due to unresolved issues. This hiatus was finally broken in May 2021, when India and the EU decided to resume from where they had left off towards an ambitious, comprehensive and a win-win trade deal for both. They also reached an understanding to pursue market access issues, implement globalization and protect investments. The talks were formally resumed in June 2022 with the first round held in Delhi, the second round held in September 2022 in Brussels, and are to be followed by the third round in Delhi in November 2022. European Union as a region is India’s third largest trade partner after the US and China with trade volumes evaluating at $116.36 billion in 20210-22. In addition to protecting investments, both parties are keen to make a headway in accessibility in regards to digital commerce, agricultural products and geographical indicators (GI)(1). If the EU gets access to the vast and untapped Indian market, India in turn is hoping to enter a level-playing field on an equal footing with countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam that have received privileged status in the EU market.(2) The First Round covered 18 policy areas of FTA in addition to 7 sessions on investment protection and GIs. The Second Round focused on Indian responses to the EU’s proposals and India’s textual counterproposals.(3)  While understanding each party’s sensitivities on trade in goods and divergences on rules of origin was the highlight of Round 2, it is quite improbable to date the inking of the trade deal between the two with certainty due to EU’s 27-member countries’ complexities. 

There are up north of 6000 European companies present in India across various sectors, which are responsible for providing 1.7 million jobs, excluding 5 million that are indirectly provided. If tapping the markets is considered to be a rationale behind the trade talks, from EU’s point of view, the objectives are very many, viz. sound, transparent, open, non-discriminatory, and predictable regulatory and business environment for European companies trading with or investing in India. This is inclusive of protecting investments and intellectual property. The EU’s share in foreign investment stock in India reached €87.3 billion in 2020, up from €63.7 billion in 2017, making the EU a leading foreign investor in India. This is significant, but way below EU foreign investment stocks in China at €201.2 billion and Brazil at €263.4 billion. The reason for this lag is what the EU considers India’s restrictive trade regime and regulatory environment. For example, TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade)(4), which serve legitimate public policy objectives are often treated contentiously by Indian exporters, as any imposition of TBTs can lead to a significant relocation of resources from high-productivity to low-productivity firms. This coupled with limited administrative and technical capability potentially threatens the adoption of regulatory standards that have gained international currency. Then, you have the SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures)(5), which is found to be ineffective in India’s case, primarily because SPS Measures provide a space for protectionist purposes under the guise of legitimate concerns. But, India is persevering to prove that its ease of doing business has improved, and in an age of deglobalization and economic decoupling, it wants to have a strategic partnership with the EU rather than merely focusing on an economic one, and an FTA in this regard would only help strengthen and forge newer ties and partnerships. 

Coming on the heels of India-UAE CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement), which is broad in scope, but shallow at the same time, there is a sudden spurt in signing FTAs. It must be noted that in a number of India’s trade agreements, Indian trade deficits have increased after the signing of the FTAs as the demand for imported commodities increased with complete elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers.(6)(7)  The “Early Harvest”(8) trade pact with Australia in April was interim and narrow in scope, but with the India-EU negotiations on, the scope of this FTA is supposed to be ambitious and broad with specific emphasis on trade and sustainable development. Importantly, the investment protection agreement was made distinct from FTA due to regulatory framework within the EU.(9)

India has long exercised caution against FTAs, either because of its over-indulging conclusions on the success/failure rates of FTA utilization, market penetration, or integration with regional and global networks, and crucially trade deficits. All of this is supposedly to change with its new found penchant for signing on to FTAs. 

Beginning in the 1990s, and on through the decade, economic liberalization helped India integrate into the global fold. There were divergences in academic scholarship between how such an integration would help India’s trade schemata in the short as well long run, when it comes to fully subscribing to the international market order. The skeptics(10) argued that any FTA India were to become part of in the wake of economic liberalization might not make sense in the short-term, but would definitely help the country in its strategic ends, if India were to become a hub for services’ exports. The not-so skeptics(11) argued that liberalization followed unilaterally should get its due acknowledgement in India’s integration with the World Market, especially in its Look East Policy. The Look East Policy has been upgraded to Act East Policy, and with it, the driver for a deep integration was liberalization(12), or more appropriately financial liberalization, until CoViD-19 hit and brakes were applied and course changed towards ‘protectionism’ by the Government’s ‘Atmanirbharta’. 

The process of financial liberalization directly influences the level of interest rates and indirectly, the structure of capital costs, marginal efficiency of investment and levels of aggregate savings, investments and employment. The three major objectives of financial liberalization are, 

– opens qualitative and quantitative financial flows

– liberalizes terms governing outflows of forex

– transforms financial structures

If we look at the financial landscape on either side of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09, India had done relatively better with its tight capital controls and small extent of its external linkages. This on the one hand had slowed down investment, while on the other locked in restrictions in most traditional industries. However, reforms were once again introduced during the current political dispensation of the BJP-led NDA regime when foreign investment permissions were relaxed. According to Arvind Panagariya(13), foreign invested enterprises may be wholly owned in some policy priority areas, including marketing food products, high-tech and capital-intensive activities in transportation, coffee, rubber, medical manufacturing, e-commerce, to name a few. Despite such reforms, the results on the ground are barely translatable, as India’s domestic financial development is still caught up in a lag, with the public sector banks accounting for a significant majority of the loans. In other words, India’s financial system remains in a hybrid mode with market forces permitted, but continuing state ownership and intervention geared towards priority sector requirements on the one hand, and in curbing the unleashing of market forces on the other constrict both of these. While the corporate bond market remains highly regulated and small in size, the equity markets are open and well regulated, it is the debt market with extensive capital controls(14) that govern the flows foreign funds. 

Financial liberalization involves developing equity markets. With banks entering this arena, any turbulence in equity markets could have ripple effects on the performance parameters of banks. Secondarily, FII (Foreign Institutional Investors) investments constitute a large share of equity capital of a financial entity. An FII pull-out, even if caused by developments outside the country can have rippling implications on the financial health. Thirdly, FII outflows can depreciate the currency, and in a special case (thankfully India hasn’t faced it yet) cause a currency crisis. 

Even if Financial Liberalization leads to growth, it can also force the state to adopt a deflationary position to appease financial interests, which are contrary to deficit-financing, as deficit financing can lead to a liquidity overhang(15) in the system further leading to inflationary pressures(16). This complex is a sign of interventionism on the part of the state and thus is contrary to the market dynamics. At the same time, curbing deficit contracts public expenditure, and this adversely impacts capital formation. This leads to declining growth and employment, and further contracts social sector expenditures. The moonshot of this declension is privatizing public assets. The cycle is vicious, as global finance seeks to delegitimize state and legitimize the market.

India’s FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) flows are heavily distorted by phantom capital flows, where special purpose entities and other conduits are used for tax optimization and to obscure the origin of capital, thus facilitating speculative forays in the market. It is essential to clean up these phantom flows. Mauritius, a tax haven followed by the EU and the US are the largest investors in India. UK is the 3rd largest non-tax haven investor with an inward FDI stock into India as large as the US and the EU. But, post-Brexit, the EU stands to lose almost half of its inward FDI stock to India. Looking at India’s outward investment, Mauritius and Singapore are the leading destinations whereas stocks in the EU fluctuate and remain relatively low. Another credo of financial liberalization that could be stamped is to exempt listed equities from long-term capital gains taxation regime, as this would facilitate investment in equities. Only short-term capital gains are taxable as of now. 

Modi’s Make in India to make manufacturing account for 25% of GDP decelerated due to a series of setbacks in the domestic credit market. By the end of the first term, it was clear that market-driven global integration had not delivered on the economic or strategic front leading to annulling a series of bilateral investment treaties. To add to the woes, the downward trend in customs duties since 1991 liberalization was reversed. Even India’s stepping out of RCEP that had simplified rules of origin and enough transition periods for Indian industry to adapt was deemed irrational. Atmanirbhar policy in the wake of CoViD-19 pandemic has been touted as a move away from market-driven liberalization to a more strategic approach with selective increases in industrial tariffs, liberalization of FDI in both goods and services, and PLIs (Performance-Linked Incentives) aimed at restoring key manufacturing processes. 

Post-1991, India signed a large number of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), including 21 with the EU members, of which only with Latvia and Lithuania are still in force. Since 2015, India has annulled a high number of these BITs. The reason being a number of high-level investor state dispute settlement cases against India. In recent times, India has signed on FTAs, but have agreed in-prior principle to providing MFN status and national treatment to foreign investment, thus limiting the use of performance requirements and dispute settlement mechanisms. 

With this adumbrated look at India’s Financial Liberalization policies, let us briefly point out how would this impact the current and ongoing negotiations between India and the EU. EU Agreements are mostly two-dimensional – they have width and they have depth. In other words, they cover issues going beyond issues in liberalization of trade in goods and services and investments. Indian Agreements have shown an increasing inclination towards the dimension of width, but are a far cry from depth. In other words, EU Agreements are bounded by commitments, whereas Indian Agreements are at best, “best-endeavors”(17).

Advancing non-trade policy objectives is a core part of EU’s foreign policy. One of the cornerstones of EU’s Trade Agreements is Trade and Sustainable Development (the negotiating parameters) culminating into provisions related to environment and labor standards. An example of the EU-South Korea FTA(18) is apt here, for the agreement widens the scope to measures affecting trade-related aspects on environment and labor. If these standards are violated, the EU can legitimately ask the other party to comply with the standards, as had happened in case of South Korea which was asked to improve, rather than improvise on its standards in 2019. Such factors were then introduced in the text of the subsequently inked EU-Vietnam trade agreement. Contrast this with the example of India-Korea Trade Agreement, who in general agree on Sustainable Development, but the text of the deal misses any chapter on commitments.(19) 

Commitments needs to be complied with, and an ombudsman is essentially tasked with the responsibility. In case of FTAs that the EU signs on to, there are two such compliance mechanisms in place, viz. DAG (Domestic Advisory Group), and PoE (Panel of Experts). The former is an informal mechanism, while the latter is a formal one in nature. Domestic advisory groups should be advisory, consultative, institutionalized and competent to cover all provisions of FTAs. The EESC (European Economic and Social Committee) considers that the participation of civil society in all FTAs is an indispensable element in the strategic ambitions of the external policies of the EU. The DAG, which is more of an informal mechanism is represented from the two parties in a deal, while the Panel of Experts is constructed in accordance with the formal, third-party dispute settlement mechanism. In case of any dispute or non-compliance, the PoE is invoked and the decision of the same is binding and requiring the contracting parties to effectuate a change or changes to their domestic regulations. The case of EU-Korea mentioned above is related to precisely such an invocation of the PoE. The PoE admonished Korea to ratify three ILO (International Labor Organization) Conventions and also had to amend its trade union and labor relations.

How would these different takes pan out between the EU and India remains to be seen considering there are differences in multilateral and regulatory and domestic positions on these aspects. Multilaterally, two main conventions of the ILO, viz. C087 and C098 – Right to Convention and Right to Collective Bargaining are not ratified by India have not been ratified by India, and such a miss might become a point of contention to the inking of the treaty. Regulatory-wise, compliance is the responsibility of enterprises, and in India, where a large majority is informal sector, compliance costs could be onerous. If the trade deal is then said to go through, adherence to labor and environmental compliances could very well strike out a massive sector of the economy from getting integrated in the deal. 

If these are fiduciary challenges (in financial and trade terms), then there are challenges on an environmental front. Firstly, India’s environmental laws have gone through a series of notifications that critics believe are substantially diluted to foster India’s growth. Secondly, you have the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to prevent carbon leakage within the geographical territories of the EU and by moving carbon-intensive production where standards are lax. India looks unfavorably at this schema for its protectionist, discriminatory and contrarian evaluations to international laws and agreements. 

Unless these challenges are consensually agreed to be addressed, any trade deal, with how much ever liberal economic policies in place will have serious impediments to clear. Maybe, this is one of the reasons why critics of FTA between India and the EU call the deal, which is yet to materialize as a deal of unequals. As of now, for the EU, India remains a partial hedge against the risks emanating from the trade architectures along the pacific rim. It remains to be seen if additional layers are added on to this hedge. 

Lastly, with India now chairing the G20 for a year, there is likely to be a political temptation to conclude an early harvest agreement with the EU, but it would be compromising on the principles of a comprehensive agreement that may take longer than is expected. 


(1) A GI is generally a produced, agricultural or natural product that is specific to a geographical origin. In trade parlance, GIs carry a guarantee of quality and originality.  

(2) India is specifically anticipating growth in industries like leather, textiles, processed foods etc. to create a parity in exports, which Bangladesh and Vietnam enjoy. 

(3) The EU tabled a chapter on trade and sustainable development, anti-fraud and mutual administrative assistance, which the Indian side was supposed to provide detailed explanations and clarifications on. Such an exchange then, would provide grounds for the negotiators to enter into actual negotiations in Round 3. 

(4) A progressive decline in tariffs has brought non-tariff measures (NTMs) under greater scrutiny as one of the major barriers to trade flows between countries. The increase in NTMs has  been primarily driven by a surge in regulatory measures like technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Theoretically, the imposition of a TBT can affect a firm in various ways: first, it can directly raise production costs. In particular, TBTs can be associated with either an increase in variable costs (eg. labelling requirements) or fixed costs (eg. new production processes) of production or both. Second, the existence of different standards in different markets could entail individual fixed compliance costs for separate markets, which could severely limit exporters’ production capacity and the number of markets. Overall, by increasing the variable or fixed costs of production, TBTs are likely to affect aggregate exports, which in the Indian case is very true to the markets maintaining these measures. Chakraborty, P., & Singh, R. (2020). Technical Barriers to Trade and the Performance of Indian Exporters. ERIA Discussion Paper Series, No. 393, 1–30. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from https://www.eria.org/uploads/media/discussion-papers/FY21/Technical-Barriers-to-Trade-and-the-Performance-of-Indian-Exporters.pdf.   

(5) The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPSA) was negotiated with a view to setting in place an array of multilateral rules that would, on the one hand, recognize the legitimate right of WTO Members to adopt sanitary and phytosanitary measures necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, and on the other, enshrine certain checks and balances to cope with the possibility of thee measures emerging as non-tariff barriers (NBTs). Das, K. (2008). Coping with SPS challenges in India: WTO and beyond. Journal of International Economic Law, 11(4), 971–1019. https://doi.org/10.1093/jiel/jgn033 

(6) The case of import of Malaysian Palm Oil is appropriate here. 

(7) In order to understand the mathematical and econometric frameworks to assess the impacts of FTAs on the commodity value-chain, see Ghosh, N., Konar, A., & Pathak , S. (2015, October). India’s FTAs with East and SE Asia – Impact of India-Malaysia CECA on the Edible Oil Value Chain. Observer Research Organization Occasional Paper. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.orfonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Oc-Paper_73.pdf 

(8) An early harvest agreement is aimed at liberalizing tariffs on the trade of certain goods between two countries or trading blocs before a comprehensive agreement. It is primarily a confidence building measure. 

(9) While an FTA can be approved by the European Parliament, investment promotion pacts are to be ratified by parliaments of member countries. 

(10) Pal, P. P., & Dasgupta, M. (2008). Does a Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN Make Sense? Economic and Political Weekly, 43(46), 8–41.

(11) Asher, M. G., & Sen, R. (2008). India-East Asian Integration: A Win-Win for Asia. Economic and Political Weekly, 40(36), 3–9. 

(12) Liberalisation is a loosely used terminology often tailor-made to suit contexts. But, in general, it refers to the relief of state restrictions with areas of social, political, and economic policies. Liberalisation in economic policy focuses on the reduction of government laws and restrictions in place to encourage greater participation by private entities. In India, liberalization began with the 1991 economic reforms, and were primarily aimed at – annulling the then-existing license raj; lowering of interest rates and tariffs; stripping the public sector’s monopoly from various segments of the economy; and sanctioning of foreign investment in different industries. Trade liberalization, on the other hand is the removal or reduction of restrictions or barriers on the free exchange of goods between nations, These barriers include tariffs, such as duties and surcharges, and non-tariff barriers, such as licensing rules and quotas. For a in-depth treatment on Trade Liberalisation, see Wacziarg, R. (Ed.). (2018). Trade liberalization. 2 vol. set. Edward Elgar. 

(13) Panagariya, A. (2016, May 18). Two years of reform: Substantial progress has been made towards restoring economic momentum. Much remains to be done. The Indian Express. New Delhi. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from indianexpress. com/article/opinion/columns/pm-narendra-modi-2-years-of-modi- govt-bjp-two-year-anniversary-pradhan-mantri-krishi-sinchai- yojana-2804219/. 

(14) In a related concept, India during the heydays of unfolding its liberalization policies acted prudentially in liberalizing its capital account. A capital account deficit is showing that more money is flowing out of the economy along with increase in its ownership of foreign assets and vice versa in case of surplus. The Balance of Payments contains the current account (which provides a summary of the trade in goods and services) in addition to the capital account which records all capital transactions. 

(15) Excess liquidity in the system, and has the potential to send short-term interest rates crashing down. 

(16) Chandrashekhar, C. P., & Pal, P. P. (2006). Financial Liberalization in India: An Assessment of its Nature and Outcomes. Economic and Political Weekly, 41(11), 1–25. 

(17) Best Endeavours are an onerous obligation requiring a party to take “all those steps in their power which are capable of producing the desired results” although it is by no means an absolute obligation and the concept of reasonableness still applies. One expression of this is that “best endeavours” requires “all that reasonable persons reasonably could do in the circumstances”. In contrast to “Best Endeavors”, you also have Rational Endeavors, which are the obligations that depend upon the circumstances of the party subject to it and they would not be required to sacrifice their own commercial interests.

(18) European Union , Official Journal of the European Union (2011). Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22011A0514(01). 

(19) Ministry of Commerce, GoI, India – Korea CEPA (2009). Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://commerce.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/INDIA-KOREA-CEPA-2009.pdf. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNKNOWN TOMB 4 of 5, FEROZEPUR JHIRKA, NUH DISTRICT, MEWAT, HARYANA

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Fortunately, this is the only Tomb in Ferozepur Jhirka that is not occupied, or encroached. Unfortunately, the state of the Tomb is no better even without occupation or encroachment. But, the Tomb is massive and has a striking resemblance to a Tomb in Tauru. The stone masonry Tomb is built inside a compound wall, which is broken and the surrounding is littered with debris of fallen stones and bricks. Locally referred to as Eidgah wali Gumbad or Qabristan ka Gumbad, the Tomb is magnificent in scale and intricacies. Lattice screens quite unlike any other in Mewat, battlements on the neck of an octagonal drum and at the base of the dome add to the grandeur. Though plasters have fallen off, and the interior of the Tomb with a cenotaph looks wounded, there is a palpable aura to the structure that is surrounded by by a green and haphazard cover. The identity of who lies buried here is unknown. 
 
I have often wondered why such grand mausoleums are built? Is it a class issue? Or, is there any other reason? My colleague and a go to source for such doubts is @ayaz_ansar1 who often enlightens me on such issues. My question is if Islam allows for building Mausoleums? Originally in Islam it was strictly forbidden to decorate tombs or to visit somebody’s grave, not to mention building a construction above the tomb stone. However, mausoleums, tomb architecture covering graves developed despite the contradictions, and became one of the significant features of Islamic architecture. All Muslim tombs represent merely a temporary residence for the buried deceased until the final judgment is made. Some believe awliya’ (holy men) also enjoy the same status after death. During his lifetime, a saint exudes barāka (blessing) that continues to emanate from his grave. But, this kind of exalted reverence is discouraged; nevertheless, the practice has continued unabated and has turned into a bida’ (a tradition not based on the Koran). 
 
It is believed that two angels Munkir and Nakīr visit the dead in the grave during the first night, so the vault should be big enough to allow the corpse to sit. Axial burial is a must. The body is laid horizontally and the face is turned toward Mecca. The word Maqbara occurs in the Koran in the plural form “maqābir”. 
 
 
In other words, in the early days of Islam, graves enjoyed no special respect or sanctity.
 

UNKNOWN TOMB 3 of 5 (aka BARADARI TOMB), DUND, FEROZEPUR JHIRKA, NUH DISTRICT, MEWAT, HARYANA

This is referred to as Unknown for the identity of who lies buried here is not known. Popularly, the Tomb is known as Baradari Tomb, for its 12 entrances.

This is the closest Tomb to the narrow valley in the Aravallis that separates Firozepur Jhirka from Tijara in Rajasthan. It is through this valley that the spring (Jhir) flows, and is responsible for lending the town the name Jhirka which was named Firozepur Jhirka by Chajju Khan, brother of Bahadur Nahar Khan of Kotila. The place was earlier called Jhir. Babar is supposed to have visited these springs as well in his expedition through Mewat. He records in his Baburnama, 

“I mounted and rode out from the camp, for the double purpose of seeing the country, and of conducting Humayun to some distance on his way. That day I went to visit Pirozpur [sic] and its fountain, and took a Maajun. In the valley from which the water of the fountain flows, the Kanir flowers were all in full bloom. It is very beautiful, though it will not support the high praises lavished upon it. Within this valley, where the stream widens, I directed a reservoir to be made of hewn stone 10 feet by 10 feet. We halted that night in the valley, and the next morning rode to visit the tank of Kotila.”

It was near Firozpur Jhirka that the alliance between Sangram Singh and the Khanzada chief Hasan Khan was concluded before marching to oppose emperor Babar at the Battle of Khanwa.  The Baradari Tomb is square-shaped and has four big and eight small entrances. The Tomb is in fine plaster work with floral designs and Arabic inscriptions of Quranic verses. The Tomb is covered with a hemispherical dome on an octagonal base. There are small minarets in all the four corners of the Tomb in various stages of decay. This Tomb is in the possession and maintenance of a Madrassa running in the campus. 

Solah Rahi Tej Talab, Rewari, Haryana (सोलहराही तेज़ तालाब, रेवाड़ी, हरियाणा)

Located near Sector 1 in Rewari town, and next to Nehru Park is this expansive pond that was constructed by crowd-funding during the Mughal era in the 17th and 18th centuries. Rewari has always been a water-scarce town, and to overcome these hardships, a series of ponds were constructed as part of public works. Moreover, the town’s water supply was salty, and thus for potable water facilities, locals used to rely on wells made around this pond. This pond was built under the aegis of Gangaram Bhagat. The name Solah Rahi actually means, a place where 16 paths meet. The condition of the pond is dire, with embankments in the form of carved walls having collapsed, and encroached by slum dwellings. Also, the walls are being used for drying cow-dung cakes used as fuel. Even the water channels that used to feed the pond once upon a time have been blocked and/or choked. Massive quarrying takes place illegally as well. Within the Nehru Park lying next to the pond stands a majestic temple, squarish in dimensions, and built on a raised plinth. There are three domes that are fluted and have inverted lotuses as finials. The temple has three cusped arch entries on all four sides. Two set of stairs lead to the roof.

#Rewari #RewariHeritage #RewariHistory #SolahRahiTejTalab #HaryanaHeritage #HaryanaHistory #Architecture #HistoricalMonuments