Commentary on
William Logan’s ‘Malabar Manual’
India and Indians


Since I have mentioned the words ‘India’ and ‘Indians’, I think I will say a few things about these words:

There was indeed a mention of a land which was commonly identified by the maritime traders and others from other locations as Indic, Inder, Indus, Indies etc. May be more.

Even in the works of Herodotus the word Inder (Indus) is seen to come. It was some kind of remote location in the east from where certain merchandise like Pepper, spices, and many other things were bartered by the traders.

There was no historically known nation as 'India' inside the subcontinent. Even the joining

up of the various kingdoms (some 2000 of them, small and big) as subordinates of the Hindi-speaking populations took place only in 1947. Pakistan also took a part of the Indus area and captured the various locations to form Pakistan.

In fact, Indus is in Pakistan and has not much to do with the south, east, or north-eastern parts of the subcontinent.

I do not know if the word 'India' is used in the Puranas, or epics such as Mahabharatha or Ramayana, or if either Sri Rama or Yudhishtar have claimed to be Indian kings. Also, whether such kings as Marthanda Varma, Akbar, Krishna Deva Raya, Karikala or Ashoka have claimed to the Indian kings.

The word 'India' and the location 'India' could be a creation mainly of Continental Europeans. May be the Arab traders, and the Phoenicians also must have used it to denote a trade location.

I feel that Continental Europeans did create four ‘Indias’.

But actually it is Indies; not Indias.

QUOTE: India, however, in those days and long afterwards meant a very large portion of the globe, and which of the Indies it was that Pantænus visited it is impossible to say with certainty ; for, about the fourth century, there were two Indias, Major and Minor. India Minor adjoined Persia. Sometime later there were three Indies — Major, Minor and Tertia. The first, India Major extended from Malabar indefinitely eastward. The second, India Minor embraced the Western Coast of India as far as, but not including, Malabar, and probably Sind, and possibly the Mekran Coast, India Tertia was Zanzibar in Africa. END OF QUOTE.

I think the author is actually talking about ‘Indies’ and not about ‘India’.

‘Major’, ‘Minor’ and ‘Tertia’ Indies had some connection to the subcontinent in parts. As to the fourth one they created, it was in the American continent. In the US, till around 1990, the word 'Indian' was found to connected to the native Red Indians.

The word ‘India’ I feel is like the Jana Gana Mana. Not pointing or focusing on to native-subcontinent origin. [Jana Gana Mana actually points to the Monarch of England in the sense that it had been first used to felicitate the King and Queen of England by none other than the Congress party, when it had been a party of England lovers.]

However, the historical nation connected to the word India is 'British-India' (not any of the ‘Indias’ mentioned above), and is a creation of England and not of Continental Europeans.

However, it did not contain the whole subcontinent. At best only the three Presidencies (Madras, Bombay and Calcutta) and a few other locations were inside it. The rest of the locations which are currently inside India, such as Kashmir, Travancore &c. were taken over under military intimidation or occupation.

As to the word Bharat, Hindustan &c. I am not aware of it being mentioned in world history. Even if they are, well, they are what others use. The pertinent point is, did anyone inside the subcontinent, which includes current-day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh claim that they are Indians, Bharatiyans or Hindustanis in historic days?

I do not have any quarrel with anyone using such words.

However, the joining of the immense kingdoms into a quality nation was the deed of the English East India Company. Before that, there was no India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

QUOTE: Rufinus, who went to Syria in 371 A.D. and lived at Edessa for 25 years, attested that St. Thomas’ body was brought from India to Edessa and there interred ; but from which of the “Indies” was the body brought, presuming that the relics were still in existence ? END OF QUOTE.

So here there is an admission that word used was actually ‘Indies’ and not ‘India’.

QUOTE: It seems doubtful whether he himself ever visited “Hind” which, among Arabs, was the name applied to Southern India exclusively END OF QUOTE.

Oh, this seems to make a mess of the contention that the word ‘Hind’ was connected to River Indus which was called Sindhu and is currently in Pakistan. It does really look odd that the etymological origin of ‘Hind’ is ‘Sindhu’. But then, scholars know more, and should not be disputed.

QUOTE: About 600 B.C. Scylax, a Greek sent by Darius, had voyaged home by sea from the mouth of the Indus END OF QUOTE.

There would have been others.

QUOTE: Herodotus mentions that the Red Sea trade in frankincense and myrrh, and cinnamon and cassia (the two latter being Malabar products), was in the hands of the Egyptians and Phoenicians, but these traders do not appear to have proceeded beyond the port in Arabia F