Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 49

SPECIAL REPORT etiquettes and respect paving the way for the emergence of Sufi sm and other liberal-humanist Muslim sects in India. Besides these, many social rituals of both the civilisations manifest many common features as regards social intercourse like common assembly for considerations on social and political issues, marriage proceedings, usage of household utensils, birth and death ceremonies and rituals towards dead ancestors who exist as noble spirits before their salvation. Similarly, evil spirits supposed to be existing as violent and ferocious volatile entities like bhoot, churail, preta, pishcha, zinna, etc. and rituals for different postures of Indian Yoga and Muslim method of their religious observance, i.e., “namaz” etc. have many things simmilar between them. Religion: Consequently, many religious rituals including religious symbols of both the civilisations do reflect several commonalities between them. The Aryan deity ‘agni’ occupies the second important position among Vedic dev- mandal (a group of gods), and that also fi gures prominently in Zoroastrianism as revealed in Zend-Avesta. The Boguz qui inscriptions from this region have close similarities with Indian Vedic deities viz. Varuna, Indra, Mitra, and Nasatya. Even the advent of Aryans into India is reckoned to be from the Middle East, according to an extraordinary historian Max Muller and that obviously points towards a fact of the prevailing commercial relations between the two civilisations. Architecture: One of the most well-known features between the two cultures lies in the common architectural designs of both the civilisations manifested in the making of domes, decorations on house walls, roof arches and doors etc. They manifest themselves still today in different ways as regards similar dress style, architecture and sculptures – particularly elevation of domes, erection of arches, pillars and burial monuments including pyramids etc. – musical rhymes and notes, religious ritual etc. One of the most well-known features between the two cultures lies in the common architectural designs of both the civilisations manifested in the making of domes Medicines and Science & Technology: Arab sources dating back to the tenth and thirteenth centuries reveal us about several Indian works on medicines and therapeutics that were transliterated into Arabic at the direction of the Caliph-Harun-al-Rashid, the ruler of Baghdad from AD 286 to AD 809. Indian scholars were also invited in these translation works. For instance, SUSHRUTA SAMHITA was translated into Arabic by an Indian scholar - Mankh. In the realm of Astronomy, two famous works viz. the Brahama- Sphuta-Siddhant known to the Arab world as Sindluin and Khandakhadyak (known as Arkand) were brought to Baghdad from Sindh with the help of Indian Scholars. They were transliterated into Arabic by Alfarari. The Arabs acknowledged their debts to India by calling mathematics ‘HINDISA” (about India), Indian mathematics was, in fact, their favourite discipline of study and discussions; its popularity is magnifi ed by the works of Alkindi among others. They were quick to appreciate the revolutionary aspect of the decimal system with its concept of zero. Conversely, India imbibed a prominent exchange from the West Asian and North African cultures; and much of it has become an inextricable element of the Indian cultural ethos. Even today the West Asian region holds a very prominent position in India not only economically and strategically but also culturally as well. Because all the persisting similar features of their mutual relations between India and West Asia provide the rooted foundation today upon which the entire fulcrum of various social, religious, economic and other miscellaneous relations have evolved to fl ourish. And it is not an insignifi cant coincidence that the region is home to more than 7 million I ndians, who contribute approximately US$ 40 billion in remittances annually. *Shailendra Kumar Mishra is an Associate Professor – Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology Deptt., MDPG College, Pratapgarh West Asia-North Africa• 49