History – An Unintended Consequence Of Migration.

As I wrote in my last Friday post, I am deeply into reading about history and here is something fascinating that I found which I am sure will be of interest to my readers too.

In the late 13th Century BC, a military elite called The Mitanni migrated from the East (India) into Northern Iraq and there are many war stories about them in that region’s history. A treaty that they entered into with the Hittites was solemnized in the name of Vedic Gods Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Nasatya. The Mitanni also took with them technology of Indian origin – Iron. Noteworthy is the fact that this was five centuries after mass production of iron took place in South India.

Interestingly, the Mitanni God Mitra would remain a popular deity in the Middle East and, centuries later, would witness a major revival in the Roman empire (where he would be known as the solar god Mithras). The cult of Mithras would become very widespread in the late Roman period, and would produce serious competition with Christianity. The pagan Romans used to celebrate a big festival called Saturnalia that went on for a week from December 17. At the end of the festival on 25th December, the Mithras cult would celebrate the feast of Sol Invictus or Unconquered Sun. Many scholars believe that when the Christians came to power they simply took over the popular pagan festival. (After all, the exactly date of birth of Jesus Christ is not known.)

Mind you,not every one agreed with this choice and the Orthodox Church still celebrated Christmas on 7th January. The Puritans would later disapprove of the unseemly heathen celebrations that clung to the festival and would try to ban Christmas in North America and Britain in the 17th and 18th Centuries. 25th December survived nevertheless as official Christmas day and a festival celebrated by Christians and non Christians alike. Thus one of the unintended consequences of early iron age migration seems to be that the world has come to celebrate the birthday of an ancient god from Haryana in India!

PS. Even today, the phrase Indo Aryan is used in many communications, like the Wikipedia article on Mitanni though the Aryan invasion / migration of India has been thoroughly disproved by archeological and genetic findings. This is a topic by itself for another post in the future.

PPS: My source – The Ocean Of Churn by Sanjeev Sanyal.

NH 10.

NH-10-Poster

My date who preferred her siesta to going to a movie with me yesterday, decided exactly the opposite to day, treated me to a movie and even drove one way! We had a relaxed outing but the movie was anything but relaxing to watch. India has now got its own wanna-be Quentin Tarantinos and rural India provides enough opportunity and story lines to oblige them. This particular one is based entirely in Haryana and the story revolves around the practice of honor killing for same gotra marriage.  It gets your adrenalin pumping about a quarter way through and it does not stop except during the intermission.

Gurgaon is where the story begins and moves on to NH 10, National Highway number 10, for the uninitiated. A young urban couple off for a motoring holiday take a country road off the highway and witness a brutal attack on another couple for breaking the gotra code. One thing leads to another and the story ends with a massive bloodletting by the heroine.

The beauty about the film is its simplicity, dark portrayal of a live social problem in that part of the country, and the caste/gotra equations there.

Anushka Sharma comes up with an amazing performance. Apart from playing the lead role, she has also co produced the film and the presence of Anurag Kashyap as another co producer ensures that there is never a dull moment.  All the other actors, unfamiliar to me, deliver very credible performances, but it is Anushka who carries the story on her shoulders, and how!

I have just added another actress, Anushka Sharma to my list of favourites!  And almost like icing on the cake, one of my old favourites from the 1980s Deepti Naval, delivers a powerful and unexpectedly vicious performance with panache and aplomb.  Hard to compare her role here to her unforgettable Miss Chamko role.

I have mentioned in a few of my reviews of Hindi films that I am increasingly getting impressed with what the current crop of producers, directors and actors are coming up with and this is yet another instance of such a conclusion.

It is a film worth seeing for people interested in seeing a heroine oriented story told in a highly professional manner, who can put up with a lot of violence. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have no hesitation in giving it a [rating=6] rating.