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An inside story of North West India, the Tajiks, Afghans and Punjabis

The history of North West India is confusing to any interested in knowing. Those who wrote the history books invented a history to suit their political agendas thereby corrupting the truth and denying future generations access to their traditions and genealogy.

Many books and historians say the knowledge and wealth of India came by way of an Aryan invasion, that the Hindus were not capable. This is a made up myth like that of the Dravidian south. The people of this region were capable, they used their intelligence to create an enduring civilisation by following the principals of Sanatana Dharma - a way of life in accord with nature that may endure.

Elements of Sanatana Dharma such as one creator god morphed into Judaism, Christianity and Islam, yet Bharatha (Bharat or India) retains this today even though 1400 years of occupation have tried to destroy this.

Image: Unmistakably Aryan. This is thought to  be how the ancient Vedic people were and these same people were foundational to ancient Persia, Afghanistan, Central Asia and North West India.

Who are the Aryans?

To understand the real story of ancient India, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, we must look back some 24000 years to find the real history that has been shredded and obfuscated by Greek and Western historians who without even knowing the languages or local history, have invented a history to make themselves feel comfortable and please their masters.

Long before Gobekle Tepe (9000BC), the north of India had a recognisable civilisation steered by an active intelligence interested in the welfare of all. This was accentuated by Shiva, the great yogi who clarified what it was to be fully human, and his teachings intensified the search for self realisation making it more valuable than physical possessions and power over others.

These were not only Aryan tribes, they included many other groups including the ancient Bahlika (Bactria) from where over a period of perhaps 20,000 years, small groups migrated up and down down through North West India. There was never an invasion, just a cultural intermixing along with trade and the exchange of ideas. It is thought that by 6000 BC, The Indus valley civilisation was flourishing with trade routes to North Africa, Europe and East Asia. Sanatana Dharma was flourishing, the Sanskrit language was advancing along with the sciences. This is also the beginning of the Persian period in history and long before the Mongol invasions from AD 400 - 1300.

This post sets out to explain time frames of ancient Bahlika.

Bahlikas in Balkh or Bactria

According to the Bhuvana kosha section of the Puranas, Bahlika was a Janapada located in the Udichya (Uttarapatha) division. Some hymns of Atharvaveda invoke the fever to go to the Gandharis, Mahavrsas (a tribe of Punjab), Mujavants and, further off, to the Bahlikas. Mujavant is the name of a hill (and a people) located in Hindukush & Pamir.

According to the Puranic traditions, Dhrshta was one of the nine sons of Manu. From him came a number of clans called Dharshtakas who were reckoned as Kshatriyas. According to Shiva Purana, the Dharshtaka princes became rulers of Bahlika and the region we know today as Tajikistan/Northern Afghanistan.

The region once known as Bactria spread along the banks of the Oxus River which flows down into the Aral Sea. When Alexander the Greek stormed through the region in 300 BC, he encountered a very prosperous civilisation that didn't have enough nouse to prevent his advance. Yet during this period, the Oxus River was part of a navigable waterway from the Aral Sea, to the Caspian Sea, the black sea and into the Mediterranean which no doubt helped him to take his loot back to Greece.

The region at this time was also in the early stages of desertification and to counter this, the people of the region built massive canals on a scale almost as grand as the current Chinese plan to channel water from the Brahmaputra River to Beijing. The geology of this region is primarily soil blown from the Himalayas over tens of thousands of years. To make stronger buildings, the people were firing bricks on a massive scale which would have accelerated deforestation and desertification. Travelling through the area today there are the ruins of a great many forts built from Earth to protect and control traffic along the Oxus River.

Some groups migrated from central Asia people to current day Punjab in Pakistan where they created another prosperous community called Bahlika. Dr P. E. Pargiter points out that there was also another Bahlika settlement in the plains of Punjab alongside or south of Madra Desa. Madra became a great kingdom known for their horse breeding and skilful riding. They provided horses to other kingdoms of different eras and the Brahmanda Purana refers to the horses from Bahlika. Similarly, Valmiki Ramayana refers to the horses of Bahlika, the Kamboja and Vanayu countries as having excellent breeds. The Upamitibhavaprapanchakatha also specifies horses from Bahlika, Kamboja and Turuksha as the best as does the Abhidhanaratnamala which mentions excellent horses from Bahlika, Persia, Kamboja, Vanayu, Sindhu and the land bordering on Sindhu.

The Satapatha Brahmana speaks of a king named Kauravya (Kaurava) but it is thought that this Kaurava king is identical with the Bahlika Pratipeya spoken of in the Mahabharata. King Bahlika participated in the Kurukshetra War and in the Mahabharata, he is described as a mighty (mahabali) king along with his son Somadatta and grandson Bhurisravas. It appears that King Bahlika participated in the Mahabharata war with one Akshauhini (division) army of Bahlika soldiers.

Balkh city is where the ancient centre of Bahlika was. Today Balkh is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the north of the country. It is divided into 15 districts and has a population of about 1,245,100, which is multi-ethnic and mostly a Persian-speaking society. The city of Mazar-i-Sharif serves as the capital of the province.

Atharvaveda-Parisista juxtaposes the Vedic Bahlikas with the Kambojas (i.e. Kamboja-Bahlika).Besides Atharvaveda Parisista, several other ancient texts also associate the Bahlikas with the Kambojas:

Shakah.Kamboja.Bahlika.Yavanah.Paradastatha |
Kritavarma tu sahitah KambojaivarBahlikaih |
VanayujanParvatiyanKamboj.Aratta.Bahlikan |
Kamboja.vishhaye jatair Bahlikaishcha hayottamaih |

A Kashmir recension of ancient Ramayana has the following reading:

Sanskrit master Kshmendra of Kashmir has rendered the above text into his Ramayana Manjri as follows:
Besides Kambojas, Atharvaveda-Parisista also associates the Vedic Bahlikas with the Sakas, Yavanas and Tusharas (Saka-Yavana-Tukhara-Vahlikaishcha).

The fact that Puranic evidence locates the Bahlikas in Uttarapatha, that the close association of the Bahlikas with the Kambojas plus the Tusharas, Sakas and Yavanas in the Atharvaveda Parisista and other ancient sources suggests that the Bahlikas were located as a close neighbour to the Tusharas, Sakas, Yavanas and the Kambojas etc.

Since the Kambojas were located in Badakshan (northeastern Afghanistan and southeastern Tajikistan) and Pamir region, the Tusharas to the north of Pamirs and the Sakas on the river Jaxartes (Syr Darya) and beyond, the Bahlikas or Bahlams, as neighbours to these people should be placed in Bactria.

Studies show that people of Khorasan, Iran & Ancient India were some of the tallest, healthiest and their nutrition was legendary. The Vedic period and its veracity has been deliberately shadowed by vested interest more by Greeks and other European Historians who know nothing about the real history. Europeans were like tourists in this area and they themselves have their roots these civilizations.

An image from an ancient version of The Mahabharat depicting the people of Bahlika

The Brahmanda Purana attests that river Chaksu (Oxus or Amu Darya) flowed through the land of Bahlavas (Bahlikas). The Amu Darya) and Syr Darya run near parallel from the Himalays to the Aral Sea.

The Iron pillar of Delhi inscription by King Chandra (4 CE), also makes mention of Bahlikas as living on the west side of the Indus River (Sindhu). After crossing the seven mouths of the Indus, King Chandra is stated to have defeated the Bahlikas.

These above several references attest that the Bahlikas were originally located beyond the seven mouths of river Indus in the country of Bactria and the land was watered by the river Oxus. But later, a section of these people had moved from Balkh to Punjab while still others appear to have moved to south-western India as neighbours to the Saurashtras and Abhiras of Sauviras.

Salya, the king of Madra referred to in the Mahabharata has been called a Bahlika Pungava i.e. foremost among the Bahlikas. Princess Madri from the Madra [Madra is now in Pakistan Punjab] Royal Family has also been referred to as Bahliki i.e. princess of Bahlika clan. There are many families still use Behl, Bahl, Bahlik or Vahliki in their names in North India & Pakistan.

Edward Pococke states in his book 'India in Greece' that the name Euphrates is a distortion of 'Su-Bharata' which changed into 'Su-Purattu', hence the Babylonian and Assyrian name. 'Bharat' (भरत्) is the name of ancient Indian king after which India was named 'Bharata' (भारत). Bharata is known to have extended his empire into Central Asia right up to the Mediterranean. ~ Vedic Cafe

The Tajiks of today and their recent history

The Tajiks are the oldest inhabitants of Central Asia. At some point, the Iranian element, known in Central Asia as the Tajiks, controlled this region along with northern Afghanistan, the Caspian region, Khwarazm, the regions of Bukhara, the east and west of the so-called Chinese Turkistan, and the Iranian plateau.

The culture of the Tajiks' ancestors played a major role in the world as testified to by Laufer who said, "We know that at some point the Iranian peoples occupied limitless lands which included Chinese Turkistan through which they had established trade, especially with the Chinese and the Turks. The Iranians were the great middlemen connecting the West to the East. They brought the heritage of the Greeks to Central Asia and the East and carried the plants and objects of art from China to the Mediterranean. Their activities had historical and world-wide significance to a degree that without access to Chinese documents we would not be able to write the true history of this period.

"The wave of attacks and their subsequent resettlement in Central Asia adversely affected the Iranians, forcing them to either assimilate into the invaders or flee into the highlands for protection. These were places that, unlike the river valleys, were not desired by the invaders.

"The very reason that present-day Tajiks' occupy the most difficult terrain, away from the good pastures, is that their best lands and most profitable occupations had been usurped by the invaders. That which remains continues to be desired by the same invaders."

The 1929 report to the USSR Commission in Charge of Resolving the Land Dispute between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan by Nissar Muhammadov provides interesting information, and perhaps clues to older disputes say between the ancient Aryans and Turan and later between the Iranians and the Turkoman. The following are some extracts:
"As is evident, they (Tajiks) are the heirs to the most ancient Aryan culture of Asia related to the Iranian groups of the great Aryan tribes. As a result of their many misfortunes they have deposited their material remains in many places on the Iranian plateau. Even if the Aryan population of all these places were eliminated, the remainder of its inhabitants inform us of the great civilization which had spread far and wide, away from the present center of the Tajiks. We observe a clear indication of this in the (Tajikistan) Republic and in the former Turkistan region (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Karakyrgyzstan, and Karakalpakistan).

By Dr Naila Hussain

Vedic Influence in Persia

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