THEME 16 – Aryans of Bharat Varsha in Lithuania, Baltic States, Italy, Greece And Elsewhere – 5,005 BCE
Selected extracts from Return of the Aryans by Bhagwan S. Gidwani, published by Penguin Books, India, ISBN 0-14- 024053 – 5
(Main Reference: Main Reference: page 853 to page 873 from Return of the Aryans)
‘The dream, with which the Aryans of Bharat Varsha had left their homeland, had promised so much. But the dream was over. They had woken up to the realization that the Land of Pure did not exist, anywhere. Yet this truth did not liberate their hearts. Their affection for their homeland grew; but with it came a silent, profound grief and tormenting questions – what folly tempted us to leave our homes? – how do we return to our gracious rivers and sacred soil? – are we to die in this cold wilderness like tired, old animals unloved, alone and empty? ‘
‘No Brother; I spoke for myself, of my own grief, and of the anguish of many – that we did not fight for what was our right in Bharat Varsha itself; that in our folly of reliance on God, we abandoned our homeland; that we devoted our energies not to protecting righteousness in our land, but fled to knock at other doors to find ourselves. The dream was there within our reach and grasp but we left our homeland to chase it elsewhere. That was not God’s doing. And what we do now to fight the coming battle , shall not be God’s doing but ours.’- Atal, The Aryan Leader, speaking to his deputy, Bala, on the need to battle against oppressors.
The Aryans from the Lands of Ugera (Finland and Scandinavia) made small boats to cross over the narrow strip of water now know as the Gulf of Finland. Thereafter they hoped to travel by land to find the route that led to Bharat Varsha. What if they couldn’t find it? It was chilling thought that they wanted to shut out. Priest Ugera put it in words – ‘Be back here, if God wills it; this is my home and yours.’
Only Atul, the artist, and twenty-six Aryans stayed behind. Priest Ugera’s son and 280 locals went with the returning Aryans. Many more went but only for a short while, to bring back the boats. These boats were the Aryans’s parting gifts to the people of Ugera who had earlier seen only basket boats – dangerous and unable to hold more that one person.
As soon as the Aryans crossed over to the other side of the Gulf, they received hostile and baleful glares from many groups of locals there.
But as they trudged wearily inland, they were astounded to see people greeting them. Some even stopped, smiled and called them Aryans.
It dawned on them, then, that some Aryans had already reached this land. Breathlessly, they asked by words, gestures, and signs. The locals pointed southwards.
They now went on with joy – deep ecstatic joy.
What had actually happened was that the several boats that had followed the command-ship into the Caspian sea and then the Ra Ra river had got left behind because they were slower. But then, while Atul and Atal’s contingent had gone to the Land of Ugera, these Aryans found themselves on a different route and reached what is now known as Lithuania.
The locals in Lithuanian kept collecting around these Aryans who now came from Ugera. Some would escort them to the next village; from then on, others would take over. There were greetings and good cheer all round. They even greeted them with Namaste and Om. There was now no doubt in the minds of the new-comers that other groups of Aryans had already arrived in that land, in large numbers.
There was also terrible poverty all round. Yet when the Aryans offered them the food they had brought, the locals took the tiniest portion, out of courtesy.
The locals ran in relays, day and night, form one village to the next, to inform the Aryans in Lithuania about their comrades arriving from Ugera. Suddenly, unexpectedly, after long weary marches, the two groups of Aryans – from Ugera and Lithuania met face to face. There was a roar of delight and then silence as each ran to embrace the other.
Each felt like a parent whose lost sons had been restored.
The Aryans from Lithuania had brought wine. ‘To old dreams, to new dreams,’ said the Aryan leader, Bala, as he raised his wine cup.
Everyone drank. It was a long time since the Aryans from Ugera had tasted wine! It tasted like nectar.
Bala – who commanded the Aryans in Lithuania – had a dream that was different from those that arrived from Ugera. He too had moved out of Bharat Varsha fired by the dream to reach the Land of Pure. That dream was no more. And yet he had no wish to return to Bharat Varsha – ‘Let me remain where I am needed.’ Although, many of his affectionate memories were centered around his homeland.
Bala had been a farmer when he left Bharat Varsha. His mother and later his father, died in peace. The parents of the girl he was expected to marry had climbed the social ladder and acquired greater ambition for their daughter. He was delighted to release her from the marriage-vow. For himself, he desired nothing, coveted nothing. But somehow he heard and re-heard the Aryans cry to seek out the Land of Pure. Almost on an impulse, he joined them.
Bala saw abject misery and poverty in the land of Lithuania. His affection for his own homeland grew but along with it grew his determination to remain among these unfortunate people.
The entire coastline of the Baltic sea and river was controlled by eighty-nine families; each had over 100 members. They alone had the right to fish. Anyone else seeking to fish there had to comply with the condition of sharing the major part of their catch with these families and performing services for them.
These families developed as a race apart, with contact only among themselves, never with the locals inland, except as servants and serfs. Occasionally, a man or a woman would be taken from among the locals for pleasure and sent back, rewarded with supplies of fish.
The families had viewed the arrival of 800 Aryans under Bala with indifference. Nobody had questioned their authority before and nobody – they were sure – would, in the future.
The landscape was bleak. Nothing edible for man seemed to grow there; but there was enough for migratory birds and small animals.
Bigger animals were highly prized, and when caught or killed, fetched a handsome reward in fish from the families that ruled the sea and rivers. But large animals were difficult to catch or kill, in the absence of all hunting implements, other than sticks and stones. Everything that moved or flew was eaten, including ants, frogs, insects, reptiles, mongoose, bats, cats, dogs, roaches and rats.
No attempt had been made towards agriculture or the domestication of livestock. If many starved or suffered from malnutrition, they had no complaints; it was all fate and arose from the supreme order determined by Laima, the Goddess of Destiny.
Bala, who had led the Aryans had a simple mind. He acknowledged destiny’s role; but as a farmer he knew that the earth responds to effort. The soil in Lithuania was mostly sandy and at places, marshy; but Bala put his Aryans to work, not only to plough the land but to raise livestock. Initially, he was afraid of the locals, but without cause, for they neither stole nor battled to possess anyone’s goods.
The Aryans were fortunate to capture four horses and when they were domesticated, it was not difficult to go far, to capture cattle for breeding and milk and wild fowl to domesticate them for eggs.
To Bala, belongs the credit for introducing butter and egg-nog (a mixture of eggs and milk) in the Baltic States. That is what his mother used to serve him, sometimes, as a child. Bala’s masterstroke was however different. He had seen his father making wine from fruits. There were no such fruits here in Lithuania, but he tried to make wine from mushrooms and vegetables. He failed.
But, far away, on one of their horse-rides, the Aryans saw a few plants with edible berries. Bala succeeded in making wine from them, though it was more bitter than sweet. He then had these berry plants transplanted to the Aryans lands. But their growth was slow and he relied on collecting berries from marshy lands, until his plants and fruit trees came up.
Bala had encouraged the locals to work on the Aryans lands. The locals expected it to be no different from working for the eighty-nine families, where they received a tiny part of their produce. Instead, here, they got it all.
He never gave wine to the locals. Instead, he sent it as a gift to the families. They wanted to buy it. It took days to negotiate the price.
He was permitted by the families to send 100 persons for two days to fish as much as they wished. Bala was ready. The Aryans had already prepared nets, and three of them had practiced much with the locals. They went to fish – three Aryans with ninety-seven locals – and their catch was phenomenal.
To Bala, then, belongs the dubious, unsporting honour of starting net-fishing in these waters and all that can be said in his favour is that he was a vegetarian and never ate meat or fish; and the idea of net-fishing was given to him by the fishermen in the Aryans group. And the catch was so stupendous that hundreds of villagers were invited to feast on it.
These momentary thrills apart, there was growing melancholy in the Aryans camp in Lithuania. The dream, with which they had left their homeland, had promised so much. But the dream was over. They had woken up to the reality that the Land of Pure did not exist. Yet this truth did not liberate their hearts. Their affection for their homeland grew; but with it came a silent, profound grief and tormenting questions – what folly tempted us to leave our homes? – how do we return to our gracious rivers and sacred soil? – are we to die in this wilderness like tired, old animals unloved, alone and empty?
Bala remained untouched by the storm in the hearts of the Aryans around him. He remembered his father who was not very prosperous but always gave much to his neighbours. ‘Their need is greater,’ he would say. When his father died, there were tears in the eyes of every villager. But the man whose daughter Bala was to marry lectured to him, ‘It does no matter how many shed tears over a man’s death. Be concerned with life, not death! One cannot eat and drink tears, nor buy horses and houses with them.’ Later, the lectures stopped, when Bala complied with the request to release the man’s daughter from her marriage-vow.
As he viewed this wilderness, Bala thought of his father’s words – ‘Their need is greater’ – and he decided he would stay back, even if there was a prospect of return.
Bala worked like a slave but was also a slave-driver, except that he did not command with a whip and lash but begged and pleaded.
The Aryans had enough for themselves and even for the locals who worked with them. But Bala encouraged the locals to bring in more people to till more land and until lands were productive, the locals were given food and other necessities as an ‘advance’.
Foolish was the fear that the locals would run off with this ‘advance’ and even with the tools given to them to work on the land. It never even occurred to the locals to flee when a debt was unpaid. Once a woman came to work for the Aryans and declined her ‘advance’ as she was the wife of a local who had fallen sick after receiving his ‘advance’.
Later, the Aryans knew that many were working with the eighty-nine families to clear debts that their fathers and grandfathers had incurred.
Bala received a setback. The families found out that the exquisite wine he sold came from the berry plant. He had never kept that a secret. Hundreds of serfs and servants went out to collect the plants. The families failed to make wine out of it, unaware of the process. But so many plants were uprooted that it was difficult for Bala’s men to locate more.
This upset actually helped Bala in the long run. He experimented more with the few berry plants his men found, by mixing them with wild herbs and flowers. The concoction he produced was no longer light; it was bitter, intoxicating, but somehow its taste lingered, with a continuing desire to have a little more.
Bala’s price of this ‘wine’ went up ten times but the families did not care. The waters were boundless with inexhaustible fishstocks; so how did it matter if these aliens came to fish for a few additional days, in return for the cherished wine?
Yet the principle itself bothered the ‘wise’ among the families. Their wealth, power and eminence were based on the poverty, misery and hunger of the people inland. That barrier must never break. The poor must remain poor or else who knows, the unthinkable may come to pass, and even the rich may come to suffer!
And so the families reached an instant decision – this Aryans chief, who makes such great wine, must remain away from the locals.
Ceremoniously, a procession of 890 servants and serfs left the living quarters of the families. Each carried a tray made of bones on which every kind of fish and seafood was decoratively placed. The Aryans understood nothing but every local did. It was a marriage proposal from the families for Bala, the Aryans leader.
This was the first time that the families had sought a husband or wife from outside. All their marriages otherwise were among themselves.
But horror of horrors! Bala refused. Instead of gratitude at this extraordinary honour, his mind went to the family of the girl in Bharat Varsha who was to marry him – ‘They wanted me not to be me but them.’ He had released that girl from marrying him and wished her well; his wishes had come true; she became the wife of a rich and powerful man. But he still remembered that ineffable feeling of freedom when the marriage-vow was no more.
But maybe, there was a stronger reason for Bala to shut this golden door of opportunity. A year earlier in Lithuania, a local girl had come to work in place of her father who died. The father had received an ‘advance’ and she felt responsible for the unpaid debt. Bala never subscribed to this heartless system of ‘unpaid’ debt from father to children and discouraged her and when she insisted, heasked, ‘But how are you responsible! He is dead . .’ He saw her tears but did not realize that he had said something heartless. He had. His poor knowledge of their language was at fault. In their language, animals died, humans did not. What human destiny ruled was that each human had four lives – the first in hell, the second on earth and third among the eighty-nine families who controlled fishing rights and the fourth in paradise.
Bala attributed the tears to her father’s death and all he understood was that she insisted on working. He looked at her slender, delicate figure and instead of hard labour on land, asked her to milk cattle. But she had no experience of milking and cattle can sense the nervousness and fear of those that seek to milk them. She was hit on the head.
Later, Bala was sad at the hurt to her heart when he called her father ‘dead’ and again, the hurt to her head by sending her to milk cattle, without showing her how.
But was that a foundation for love? Bala himself did not know what it was. As far as he knew, love came after marriage and not before – that was the system of the times he lived in, when marriage-vows were exchanged in childhood and people married early.
All he knew dimly was that he liked this girl near him; and he kept her to work on the flowers and herbs that he used for making wines.
Earlier, Bala had been much too preoccupied to think of marriage. Now, the marriage proposal turned his thoughts in that direction.
And in his mind came the vision of this local girl who mixed herbs and flowers for his wine-making. There was a yearning in his heart that he did not understand.
He spoke to Mathuran, the oldest Aryans, who said, ‘Brother, marry her; you will be very happy.’
Bala married the girl.
The eighty-nine families may in time have forgiven the insult of having their marriage proposal rejected. But to marry a local girl immediately thereafter and have a public display with free flowing wine among the Aryans and locals alike!
A cold war between the families and the Aryans began. Its first salvos were tame. The families refused to buy wine from the Aryans. Fishing requests by locals were totally denied. Immediate payment of all debts owed by the locals were demanded.
None of this hurt the Aryans. Yet there was concern. Would this cold war lead to something worse?
But then came the joyous, fantastic news that a huge contingent of Aryans was coming from the north towards them. All else was forgotten. It was Mathuran who said, ‘Brother Bala, I told you, your marriage with her will bring bliss. Truly, she is what they call Laima, the Lady of Luck and Happiness!’
Actually, in the Lithuanian conception, Laima was the Goddess of Destiny, but the word Laima, from its root-word, also meant ‘luck’ or ‘happiness.’ Mathuran heard the locals when they cried out with joy at her wedding that she was ‘lucky’ and ‘happy’ to marry the Aryans chief. Thereafter, Mathuran and most of the Aryans referred to Bala’s wife as Laima. The locals were intrigued initially but later they too began calling her ‘Laima’ and, a few centuries later, a myth would emerge that it was Bala’s wife who was the first Laima, the Goddess of Destiny. She was credited to have enticed, with her magical powers, men from another planet so that they would bring joy and prosperity to her ‘chosen land’.
A sketch by a local artist, of Bala’s wife at her wedding, has survived, and the work of this artist would inspire in the Baltic States, portraits of Laima, the fair-skinned Goddess with her husband of dark skin, black hair and brown eyes.
But the fact is that belief in Laima, the Goddess of Destiny, of unlimited power, existed firmly in the Baltic area, long before Bala’s marriage. In fact, the Aryans effort had been to make the locals believe that human will could alter the course of human destiny.
The Aryans from Ugera were now with them. After a joyous reunion and a thousand questions, their minds turned to their most heartfelt wish – to return to Bharat Varsha.
Atal, the Aryans-leader from Ugera, simply said, ‘We came by sea and river but we will go back by land in the same general direction, if we find it. The rest, we must leave to the gods.’
Bala remained silent but many Aryans from Lithuania agreed, ‘Danger is there, as before. But now there will be no ships to lead us astray and away from each other.’
Others spoke of the dangers of remaining in Lithuania, now that the families were angry. The locals had reported that the families were sharpening their weapons.
Actually, whatever the eighty-nine families were planning was now on hold. They wanted to teach a sharp lesson to the Aryans; but they had seen an Aryans contingent crossing over from the sea and had wondered – are the Aryans summoning others to assist them? – how did they know what we planned? – how did they send word over the sea?- how did their men come so quickly? – do they have more contingents elsewhere?
Meanwhile, as many Aryans spoke of their fervent wish to return, Mathuran interrupted, ‘I want to go back to my homeland and I want to remain here too. My heart belongs to both places.’
Someone rejoined, ‘There is a myth that Dhumarta was loved much by two maidens that they cut him in two and each took a piece away, saying that half Dhumarta was better than none; and both maidens lived unhappily ever after. Shall we cut you in two pieces, Mathuran!’
No one laughed. The echo of what Mathuran had said was in many hearts. Atal turned to Bala, ‘You have been silent!’
‘For me, there is no going back,’ Bala said.
Many gasped, ‘Why?’ Bala remained silent. He did not want to say that this land needed him. His father was ridiculed when he treated another’s need as important; and yet his father’s example influenced many. But Bala had no wish either to be laughed at or to influence.
Someone said, ‘Bala is staying on because his wife is from here.’
But Atal said, ‘Nothing prevents his wife from coming with him!’
And quietly added, ‘My brother Atul stayed in Ugera. I knew the reason. Yet he himself spoke of it only when we were parting from him.’
‘What reason?’ asked some.
‘Who am I to speak the heart of another?’ Atal said. ‘Bala will no doubt tell you when we part from him.’
But the irrepressible Mathuran shouted, ‘I know, I know why Bala will not leave! They need him here! This land needs him. I will remain too. I won’t go!’
Later, a few came to Bala with the inevitable question – ‘Should we stay back?’
Bala replied, ‘Your feelings must guide you.’
When they insisted, he said, ‘Since you ask this question, obviously there are two voices in your heart. You must not stay here with your mind clouded and convictions unsettled. For you will not be able to leave later.’
About sixty Aryans including twenty women decided to stay back.
But Atal was in no hurry to leave. He was concerned about the sixty remaining behind.
With Mathuran and Laima as interpreters, Atal questioned the locals. The families were angry. They had 9,000 adult members and many more serfs who would also fight alongside them.
The families had sticks with large sharp fish bones that hurt terribly. Their short sticks with pointed fish bones could hurt even more. They hurled those over long distances at the local children who entered their area without permission. They had 8,000 horses. Maybe more. They rode well; took exercise; played athletic games. Had they ever battled before? No, not in living memory.
Atal’s last question – do they have bows and arrows? – the locals did not understand. Atal showed them bow and arrows. The families obviously had no arrows. This was the only bit of information that pleased Atal.
The next day, Atal demanded that around the Aryans camp, ditches be dug so deep and wide that horses would not be able to jump across them. The ostensible purpose was to grow special plants for wine. All 2,000 Aryans worked on the ditches, except the sixty who were to remain behind. These sixty went to a scheduled spot with Atal.
‘You are unfit to stay back,’ Atal thundered when he found that only fourteen of them had good aim. As it is, in Lithuania, the Aryans had never practiced with bow and arrows, lest the locals learn and start hunting animals, instead of planting crops.
Atal assigned his best marksmen to teach them. He gave his ultimatum – ‘Either you all learn to shoot or I cannot leave you behind.’
Atal then wanted walls built around the Aryans camp. Bala objected, ‘the families will see it as a provocation.’
Atal said, ‘That is less harmful than your being vulnerable to them.’ But he advised – ‘Let the locals know that the wall have been built for climbing creepers and vines to make liquor.’
Bala often diverted the people building these defensive walls to work on land.
Atal warned him, ‘You left Hari Har Aryan (Iran) under my command. My command does not cease because we separated.’
‘Do we neglect land! Food is necessary to live.’ Bala protested.
‘Life is necessary to live,’ Atal rejoined.
‘Do you think sixty of us can defeat thousands?’
‘That we must determine later,’ Atal said. ‘If I fear you cannot survive against them, I will not leave you behind.’
‘No, I must stay back,’ Bala pleaded.
‘Of course you must. I shall not interfere with your decision to remain. But that will determine whether we leave or remain here to protect you.’
‘You mean you will give up leaving for Bharat varsha for my sake,’ Bala asked.
‘Your sake! My sake! Bala, how did these differences emerge in you mind?’
Now Bala was frantic to help with the defensive works. He did not want it on his conscience that all the Aryans had stayed back on his account and had to give up their prospect of returning to Bharat Varsha.
Their daily exercise with archery continued. Bala swore that he could shoot a target with his eyes closed. Atal remained dissatisfied with their progress. Practice continued. Bala said, ‘The families mean no mischief. They have never battled before.’
Atal replied, ‘Good, but if they do, you may have to teach them never to battle again.
Bala was certain that he was delaying Atal’s departure and now was frantic to do everything, possible and impossible, to improve the defences so that they met Atal’s satisfaction.
But Atal had many plans. He wanted to capture horses.
A hundred Aryans, with many locals, went searching high and low for wild horses. Strangely, information came from a serf of the families, of a faraway valley where herds of wild horses roamed.
The families, it seemed, went to that valley, sometimes to hurl short sticks with sharp fish bones at the horses and to kill them for horse-meat. They never captured horses to domesticate them since they had their own pet horses for generations. The offspring of those horses were enough for riding and sport. They never killed their pet horses for meat. Their old and infirm horses, like their old and sick serfs, were treated kindly, well-cared for, well-fed, until their death, and then they were buried ceremoniously.
Atal set up a camp in the valley with hundreds of other Aryans. For seven months they remained there, uprooting trees, making fences, enclosures and corrals to capture the wild horses. Their success, slow at first, was phenomenal later. They captured 1,100 horses. But he wanted over 2,000 – to leave 100 with Bala and the rest for his men for their journey back.
The families watched in anger. They were concerned about the ditches and walls in the Aryans camps; they thought those were plants to make liquor. But there was much more that troubled them.
A poet points out that the families never intended serious bloodshed of battle. All they had in mind was a demonstration of superiority, as their fabled ancestors had done – to ride out, strike some with sharp sticks, burn a few huts, take a few women as prisoners, men too and release them after a while. Surely, the lesson then would be clear.
In their own lifetime, the families had never had to teach such a lesson but their ancestral memory was alive with many such examples.
There was also the earlier ancestral memory of how their First family rose to command the sea and waters in the land and with what valour, glory and bloodshed, it subjugated everyone. Out of that first family grew these eighty-nine families, the proud successors of that illustrious line; and though at times, in the dim and distant past, the locals had misbehaved, for the last three generations they had been so docile that the question of teaching them a sharp lesson never arose.
But now with the coming of the Aryans, something had gone wrong with the locals too. It was as though their aura of reverence for the families was not the same.
The families halted their plan for teaching the Aryans a sharp lesson when the large Aryans contingent arrived from Ugera. From their servants they learnt that all the Aryans were soon to leave. Good riddance – they thought.
But months passed and the Aryans stayed on. Atal kept horses only for the Aryans. But while looking for horses, Atal’s men captured cattle too. He freely gave cattle to the locals in return for their help in capturing horses.
The families now watched with growing anger. They saw the locals with cattle. They saw hundreds of horses in the Aryans camp. No doubt, the Aryans would soon be asking local beggars to mount horses and ride like lords.
Serfs of the families reported to their masters about the indifference with which the locals spoke to them. No longer did hordes of locals collect to offer services in return for permission to fish. None of this affected the families’ lifestyle, but they saw the change in the locals’ attitude and fumed.
Strangely, Atal was far more popular with the locals than Bala was. Atal made them laugh. Bala was more intent on work. Atal put them through the high adventure of capturing horses. He even gave them cattle, without demanding a promise that they would not kill it. Bala was quiet, serious-minded and would insist that cattle was for breeding and milking, never to be killed to eat.
According to a poet, Atal suspected that after he left, Bala and the sixty Aryans would be wiped out by the families. Therefore, the poets says, Atal was keen for the war with the families to begin while he was there with his full contingent. This poet then goes into a rambling account of how the war with the families started.
Under Atal’s order every Aryans practiced horse-riding. One day, Mathuran and Isran were enjoying their horse-ride. They stopped to chat with the locals, as usual. Among the locals was Isran’s favourite ten-year-old boy. Isran often put the boy on his horse and they would both ride out together. This time the boy was foolish. While Mathuran and Isran chatted with the locals, the boy got on to the horse and started goading and prodding it. The horse, sensing the young rider’s uncertainty, bolted, while the frightened boy hung on to the horse for dear life. Mathuran leapt on his horse to overtake the errant boy and horse.
The fleeing horse entered a colony which had shacks belonging to the families. These were not family homes. Such shacks were all over, for the families to rest on the way, when traveling. Here the horse suddenly stopped, finding no exit. A serf, angry at this invasion of the family shacks, kicked the fallen boy and hit the horse with a sharp fishbone stick. The horse bolted again to the Aryan camp.
But then Mathuran came charging in, on his horse; and whether out of viciousness or fear, the serf threw the stick at Mathuran. It hit Mathuran in the face. Bleeding profusely, Mathuran picked up the fallen boy, put him on his horse and left. The boy was unconscious. Mathuran fainted as soon as he reached the boy’s home.
The evening, it was clear that Mathuran had lost his eye. He did not know who had hit him in the family shacks. It was certainly not a family member so it had to have been a servant or a serf. Atal sent the Aryans to the shacks to demand that the families surrender, within a day, whosoever was guilty. The serfs threatened the Aryans with sticks. The Aryans quickly left after announcing their message.
It may be that the serfs did not inform the families of this impertinent message. It may be that none knew who the guilty serf was.
But the next day, Atal went with many Aryans to the living quarters of the families. In the presence of many others, he grabbed and abducted a family member, announcing, as he left, that the man would be released only when the guilty person was delivered.
Atal’s action sent shock-waves though the local population and consternations was rife even in the Aryans camp. To abduct and imprison a member of the families! Did he not know that their person was inviolate? That they were above the law? That none may even approach them except at their command?
Even Bala begged, ‘Brother Atal, there are better ways to . . . . .’ But Atal interrupted, cutting him short, ‘I shall think of those ways, later, Brother.’
The Aryan camp remained on alert.
All the locals left the Aryan camp lest the guilt fall on their heads too. In their view, what Atal had done was terrible and something far more terrible was bound to follow. Accusingly they looked at Atal, the man they had admired so much, for now he was about to shatter their peaceful way of life.
Atal seemed unabashed and simply cried, ‘Laima! Laima!’ – invoking the local goddess of Destiny.
In a few hours, serfs from the families came. They threw a man bound and gagged on the ground.
Atal released the family member. He had been well-treated but there was blazing anger in his eyes as he left.
The serf delivered by the families was still where they had left him. Bala was frantic and asked Atal, ‘What will you do with him? Blind his eye! Will it bring back Mathuran’s eye?’ And when Atal did not respond, Bala shouted, ‘What makes you think it is the man who hurt Mathuran?’
There was no certainty. It was an old serf, deaf and dumb. Mathuran could not identify him with his blinded vision. The ten-year-old boy would never agree to identify him.
Quietly, Atal said, ‘I never intended to hurt the serf. Our quarrel is with the families.’
There was silence in the Aryan camp. The locals remained away. All work stopped. They expected an attack that day itself. Nothing happened.
That night the Aryans said to Kataria who often led their prayers, ‘Brother Kataria, pray that God may protect us.’
Atal said, ‘No, brother, let us pray to each other that we protect ourselves. That is our duty, not God’s. Let us not ask God to take sides, nor ask Him to do what we must do ourselves.’
Perhaps for the first time, Bala, rebelliously, raised his voice, ‘Do you, Brother Atal, assume for yourself the right to tell us how we pray and what we seek from God!’
Humbly, Atal replied, ‘No Brother; I spoke for myself, of my own grief, and of the anguish of many – that we did not fight for what was our right in Bharat Varsha itself; that in our folly of reliance on God, we abandoned our homeland; that we devoted our energies not to protecting righteousness in our land, but fled to knock at other doors to find ourselves.’ He paused and softly added, ‘The dream was there within our reach and grasp but we left to chase it elsewhere. That was not God’s doing. And what we do now, shall not be God’s doing but ours.’
The attack came on the third day. But strangely, not on the Aryans.
Hundreds of serfs came, many on horses, to attack the locals. Clearly they knew which locals bad been working for the Aryans. Those were the first to be taught a lesson.
Their intention was not to kill; only to burn a few huts and leave the mark of fish-bone sticks on a few faces.
But violence sometimes assumes a life of its own. Six locals died, possibly when they sought to save others. Two were however singled out for death – the ten-year-old boy who had foolishly found himself in the family shacks on his runaway horse and his father. His mother was let off with tell-tale marks of fish-bone on her face.
Yet the locals did not try to run to the Aryans camp for refuge. Only a few came, fearing that the serfs were hunting them specially. From them, the Aryans learnt that the heads of the ten-year-old boy and his father had been paraded on tall sticks to strike terror in all hearts.
The attack on the Aryans came two days later. Grim-faced, determined to teach an unforgettable lesson, 5,000 horsemen left the family quarters. They halted at a distance from the Aryans came. Their serfs, mostly on foot, lit up torches that each family member held, to burn the camp. Sharps sticks lay in their saddle-bags.
The horsemen charged. But did they have a chance? Arrows rained on them suddenly, from 2,000 marksmen in the Aryans camp. Horses and rider fell on each other. Cries of the wounded and dying rent the air as their bodies crashed into the mud. Some lay burning with their own torches. And yet those that rushed headlong could not stop – unable even to understand what was happening. Many reached the ditch, only to fall to the deadly arrows.
Dazed and demoralized, many of them fled while others staggered off. And even when they escaped beyond the range of arrows, they rode or ran wildly.
Somewhere along the way they stopped and did what men crazed with rage and humiliation do. Instead of retuning home to lick their wounds or to renew their attacks on the Aryans, they went into the village, hitting, hacking, crushing every man, woman and child they came across.
It was an unplanned, cowardly assault and later even they did not understand what brought it on; but at that moment, their impotent fury over their debacle against the Aryans had to find an outlet.
Some family members retreated, not to attack the locals but to rally the huge throng of serfs. They realized that the Aryans had these mysterious flying arrows, against which they were powerless and their own horses provided an easy target.
Serfs were now dispatched with burning torches and sticks to bring their wounded back and to hurt the enemy.
The serfs marched; but scattered even faster than their masters. They too rushed to the village for easy pickings.
A lull ensued. The villagers were now rushing to the Aryans camp to seek sanctuary. It was difficult to distinguish a friend from a foe. But later, many were allowed in and they told their tale of horror.
‘They are without pity,’ the villagers wept.
‘So shall we be,’ Atal promised.
The sun was about to set, but a bright flame-coloured light was still there. Atal rode 850 Aryans, far into the family compound. They were not expected. A scream rose.
Atal perhaps simply intended to warn the families that there was no safety from the Aryans if their hostility continued. The Aryans, however, were amateurs at this deadly game and, like all amateurs, they caused more harm than necessary; their own fear made them hit harder and later a poet would say, ‘No man is as violent as a man of peace when suddenly he must wield a sword.’
At the point of his spear, Atal made the family serfs release the horses in their stables. There were only 450 horses in that compound. But Atal saw the carnage by his men and had no desire to raid the other compounds. In good order, he retreated with his men.
The dead and dying were everywhere. A returning Aryan with Atal tried to assist a few wounded family members. They seemed grateful, but one of them rained blows on him with his fish-bone stick. His head split. He died that night. He was the only Aryan casualty on that day on which so many others died.
That night, the family Patriarch came, on a litter, with serfs carrying torches. Atal readily gave permission for the bodies of the dead and the wounded to be carried away by the serfs.
The next day, the Patriarch came again and Atal responded to his question to say, ‘Peace is all we want.’
‘But peace there was, until you came!’ the Patriarch replied.
‘Peace there was, only for the families,’ Atal said.
‘But there have to be masters and servants.’
‘Then let the families assume the role of servants, having been masters for so long.’
Peace was reached. The Agreement:
The property and person of the families shall not be violated. None shall interfere with their serfs. Everything taken from the family compounds (including the horses) shall be restored. In turn, the families shall attack neither the Aryans nor the locals. There shall be no reprisal or vengeance for lives already lost. The locals shall not be taught to use, nor given, arrows. The Aryans also shall not use them against anyone or even for practice, in the presence of any locals, lest the locals learn the art. The Aryans shall show the families the method of making wine and liquor.
The sticking point was the right to fish. Atal’s demand : seas and waters belong to all. The Patriarch’s view : they have always belonged to the families. Atal’s counterpoint : then it is high time that the roles be reversed. Final decision : wherever on the waterfront there is a house, shack, structure or compound already built by the families, no local shall fish there or within 10,000 footsteps on either side. The families may build more structures on the waterfront and the restriction of 4,000 steps shall apply to the new structures. The families can fish anywhere even if the locals have structures on that waterfront.
Later, some criticized Atal. They said he should have demanded freedom for the serfs and refused privileges to the families. They argued that he had the upper-hand and could have wiped out the families – did that ten-year-old boy, hundreds of locals and our one Aryan die in vain?
Others contend that Atal knew the situation. His force was small; a single victory does not guarantee all victories; many Aryans would have died; their return to their homeland would have been delayed. And were these steps not enough to lead the locals to eventual equality?
Atal was now ready to return. He had remained there for eighteen months. Even the family Patriarch, who became friendly with him, asked, ‘Was it to war with us that you waited this long?’
Atal confessed that it was his need of horses. As it is, he had only 1,400 horses for his contingent of nearly 2,200.
‘Then, why did you agree to return our horses?’ the Patriarch asked.
‘You asked for them,’ Atal replied.
‘Let me then loan you 800 horses,’ the Patriarch offered.
‘Loan? How can I return the loan?’
‘Your men know how to capture horses. Let their first 800 horses be mine.’
‘But if they cannot catch 800 horses?’ Atal asked.
‘Let it be a gift then.’ Atal accepted the horses.
Some warned Atal, ‘The patriarch wants you to leave so that the Aryans here are unprotected and hence this gift to hasten your departure.’
They were wrong. As it is, the families had lost their aura of invincibility after their defeat by the Aryans. Respect for the families among the locals vanished with their senseless raids; who could erase the memory of the parade with the head of a ten-year-old boy held aloft. Many mourned their dead and carried marks of the families’ brutality on their bodies. No longer could the families be regarded as benevolent nobility.
And if fear and respect disappear, can an exploiter exploit any more?
Atal was certain that if ever a conflict erupted, it would be the families that would need protection from the locals. He was told that the locals did not fight. ‘Now they will; they have their fishing rights to protect,’ he said. ‘Make a man rich and he will fight for his land.’
Meanwhile, the Aryan camp was turned into a hospital to look after the wounded and to console the locals who had lost their near and dear ones. The Aryans looked at them with compassion, tended to their wounds and treated them with tenderness. Bala and his men also went round to assist the locals in rebuilding their destroyed huts. Of the locals, a poet says, the red glare went out of their eyes, their hearts were touched, their panic disappeared, replaced by calm strength; and perhaps some spoke and others not but in their hearts was the same thought, ‘that they would rather die than even allow an Aryans to be harmed.’
Yes, Atal was convinced that Bala’s group would be able to protect itself.
In a secluded area, Atal’s men were working on making a boat. Thirty men carried it, as a gift from Atal, to the family Patriarch. It was his way of thanking the Patriarch for his ‘loan’ or ‘gift’ of 800 horses and was perhaps an insurance for the future.
Yet the work on the boat had begun long before that gift of horses or even the conflict with the families began. Atal had intended it for Bala’s group, in case they ever had to flee. Clearly, he had told them of the land of Ugera and how to cross over there from the Gulf. But now the boat was gifted to the Patriarch while Bala’s group learnt enough to make boats on their own.
The Patriarch was fascinated with the boat. The families were delighted. The locals were awed. How different was this magnificent boat from their basked-boats! But the message was also clear. There is no limit to the wonders of these Aryans : their exquisite wines; boats bigger than huts; milk and butter; clothes out of thread made from tree-offerings; clothes from cattle-hair; musical-strings from horse-hair; nets for fish and fowl; corrals for horses; and arrows that fly . . . . . . .
Yes; clearly, the unspoken message was – it was better to have these Aryans as friends and partners and not as strangers and enemies.
Many locals begged Atal that they be allowed to go with him. ‘No’, said Atal, ‘he who abandons his home belongs nowhere.’ Later, he relented; sixty-six locals who had captured their own horses would go with him.
The time came for Atal to depart. Affectionately, Bala’s wife said, ‘You waited all this time for my husband’s sake, is it not?’
‘No, I waited here for my sake,’ Atal replied. Laima smiled as if disbelieving him and he added, ‘Maybe I thought of my father, grandfather, maybe of your husband Bala, your children, yours, all.’
‘My children shall go to Bharat Varsha,’ Laima said.
‘Yes, they must,’ Atal earnestly replied.
The moment of parting came for Atal and his contingent. There were tears in many eyes.
Atal begged Bala, ‘Please don’t touch my feet.’
‘Why not? You are elder . . . . . and . . . . . and your footsteps shall reach Bhart Varsha earlier than mine.’
Atal embraced Bala. He embraced Laima, but through her tears she asked that he should embrace her not once but twice, ‘One for me and one for the Aryan I carry inside me.’
Joyfully, Atal shouted out the happy news to all. Smiling, with their eyes still moist with tears, they left.
This ends Atals story in the Baltic States. His contingent left, hugging the Baltic coast, towards the land that is now known as Poland.
Peacefully, Bala and his group continued to live in Lithuania.
Six months later, the entire area erupted in joy as Laima gave birth to a son. It should have passed off as an ordinary event, but ‘No’, said the locals, ‘there is reason to celebrate; it is the first Aryan born here!’ He was their first, their very own Aryan! Was he not born to their Laima, their own local girl! How could they not celebrate!
Bala and Laima’s son was named Atalvia (so named to honour Atal).
Later, Bala tried to return the 800 recently captured horses to the family Patriarch but he declined, saying that he had gifted, not loaned his horses.
Slowly, but surely, distinctions between the families and locals started disappearing. Much of that arose due to the rising affluence of the locals from fishing privileges, boat-building, housing, agriculture and cattle-breeding. No doubt, it would take a century or two until the last remnants of any notion of nobility of the families was laid to rest.
Fourteen years later, Atalvia, eldest son of Bala and Liama, left Lithuania with Mathuran and 218 locals who called themselves Aryans. It took them five years to reach Bharat Varsha. Mathuran died soon after reaching home.
Atalvia met Atal in Bharat Varsha. Atal said, ‘I adopted you as my own son in my heart when your mother said you were inside her. But I renounce that adoption if you will be my son-in-law.’ Actually, Atal was a bachelor but had adopted his twin brother Atul’s daughter who had arrived from Ugera, accompanied by hundreds. Atul had married the daughter of Priest Ugera. Atalvia and Atul’s daughter were married. They remained in Bharat Varsha.
Thirty years later, Laima arrived in Bharat Varsha with many others bringing Bala’s ashes for immersion at Varanasi. She stayed back with her son Atalvia, his wife and four children.
The close links between the languages of Lithuania and the Baltic States with pre-ancient Sanskrit are there for everyone to see. Almost half their words are adapted from Sanskrit. The relationship between pre-ancient Sanskrit and the Baltic language was even closer at one time. But that was before learned grammarians in Bharat Varsha intervened, with their rules and codes, to transform Sanskrit into an unnaturally rigid language resulting in the death of this most elegant and expressive of all languages.
But quite apart from the affinity of languages is the evidence of closeness in the extensive folklore of the Baltic States and Bharat Varsha. Baltic folk songs and folk tales – perhaps the most extensive of all the European peoples – show a definite influence of the folklore of Bharat Varsha. That Bharat Varsha’s contact continued with the Baltic States long after Bala is also clear from the similarity between the material structure of dainas (the four-line folk songs of the Baltics) and the short verses of the Rig Veda. Baltic dainas reveal a high level of artistic expression and their subject mater often followed the Rig Veda in its conception of the totality of human life, strong individualism, high ethical standards and love of nature.
The religion of the Baltics also came to be centred around gods called Deva and Devas (Dievas) – friendly and benevolent gods assisted by a number of lesser gods patterned largely on the conception of the Aryans from Bharat Varsha. Their god Saule (sun) follows so closely, in specific functions and attributes, the Hindu god Surya that none can doubt close and continuing contact between the two people.
The same goes for the treatment of practically all those who occupy a central place in the pantheon of the Baltic gods. The old Baltic conception of Laima, the Goddess of Destiny, did undergo a change under the Aryans influence, and this Goddess was no longer regarded as inexorable and inflexible. Although she was still believed to control human destiny at birth, and individual had the opportunity to lead his life well or badly; she also determined the moment of person’s death, arguing sometimes about it with the friendly, benevolent god, Deva (Dievas).
New religions that have entered into the Baltic region have had either inescapable influence. These new religions try to curb the tendency to intellectualize the Ultimate Reality; and philosophy, fancy or romance or even the spirit of tolerance, if it deviates from their rigid dogma, is frowned upon.
Even so, till today, in the Baltic mind, the pre-ancient Hindu folklore and the traditional memory of the Aryans, remains.
There are several other areas in Europe where the Aryans from Bharat Varsha went. Certainly, they went to Germany, about which, fortunately considerable information is available.
But there were other regions too, to which the Aryans traveled. Unfortunately, the routes and the accounts of their travels are lost in the mists of time.
One source speaks of the Aryans of Bharat Varsha in Italy. But the account lacks a beginning and an end; and only a little of the rest survives. But then a late source points out that the ancient Italian culture is largely unconcerned with pre-Roman Italy and everything else is stamped out. From the little that survives one can say that the Aryans established camps in Italy in the area that came to be know as Hindurya or Indurya.
Later, after centuries, this Italian area of Hindurya or Indurya would come to be known as Eturia, which in present-day terms corresponds to parts of Latium, Tuscany (Toscana), Umbria and possibly Campania.
The Aryans of Bharat Varsha in Italy came to be called Aryansenna (army of Aryans) or Ryasenna (people’s army). Ryasenna was the people’s army organized by the Aryans but composed largely of the locals, to stop human sacrifice and prevent abduction of people for slavery. According to Herodotus, Rasenna (Ryasenna of Aryans) came from the East through Lydia or in general from Aegean and probably through the Island of Lemnos.
But even with this information it is difficult to pinpoint their route or adventures and accomplishments.
Only a few fragments remain of the influence of the Aryans in Italy. They were the first to introduce the funeral rites of cremation. A theory was advanced by the Aryans leader there that worms enter into the body the moment a person dies (contrary to the common belief that worms attack a body only after decomposition). Neither the name of this aryans leader nor the scientific evidence for this theory has been given. Instead, Dhanawantri’s name has been mentioned.
Certainly, the Aryans introduced agriculture and the domestication of animals and fowls in Italy. Additionally, they are associated with Mandalas (intricate geometrical patterns).
The Aryans leader’s son – Gaipal – is known to have introduced the flute in Italy. The later predilection of the Italians for the flute was due to Gaipal’s obsession; and the flute would accompany Italian banquets and even the flogging of slaves and love-making, though the Aryans of Bharat Varsha did not use the flute for such purposes. For the rest, little is known of how far the Aryan influenced their moral, social, aesthetic and intellectual values.
Apart from Italy, clues are littered everywhere of Aryan bands visiting many other areas.
One source, which survives only in part says, ‘Eagerly, they went there and for long they could not leave but the imprint they left on that area, which centuries and centuries later would blossom forth as the fountain-head of European civilization, culture, literature and philosophy . . . . . and yet there was so much that they then found repulsive in that land where men remained married to men and women were regarded only as producers of offspring, but entitled neither to love nor tenderness nor comfort, and that land had neither real rivers nor forests nor tall trees.’