History of Civilization
In the New World
Dr. Vasantee Dixit
Man originated in Africa, and then he wandered all over the world. While in search of bare necessities for survival he gathered more and more experience about favorable and harmful things. He developed the capacity of storing this knowledge. He learned to “think”, of how to benefit from what he saw or heard or experienced. He experienced the sensations of pain and pleasure. So he sought for pleasure and avoided things that caused him pain. He then developed the “skills” of farming, cooking, hunting, making weapons, building houses, fortifying them for protection etc.
After mastering these arts of self protection and preservation, he felt the need of company. Here dawned the origin of “civilization”. Man no longer wanted to be alone. He wanted a female company to procreate, a group of friends for affection, and their presence for security. When he was with many people, he knew that it was necessary to formulate a disciplinary code for all to follow. He also had to find a leader.
He wanted “weapons” to protect his family and to destroy his enemies. This spelt the birth of his desire to control and an ambition to dominate and to survive at the cost of other lives.
Now started the eternal war between the good and bad, the right and wrong, avarice and aversion, sympathy and lack of concern, care and negligence, what to do and what not to do!
The conflict remained for ever in his mind. Man could never decide what could be appropriate to do without feeling a pinch.
Hamlet’s "To be or not to be", Macbeth’s "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the little hand "— and a million other unanswered thoughts.
No two men could agree on the same answer. So the ingenious man discovered a third party to answer and seal the result. The party was “God” and his decision was beyond an appeal. God!
God became the supreme controller and his decisions became the final verdict. “Religion” included a code of ethics to be followed by his devotees.
People from different locations made their own Gods. They were characterized by the powers they were supposed to possess, e.g. Sun God, giving light; Wind God, bringing hurricanes; Sea God, causing violent storms Rain God, showering abundant water to drink and farm. Then there were other abstract Gods bestowing wealth, fertility and abundance and those, who when offended brought down death and destruction by sending floods, earthquakes and eruption of volcanoes, the punishing Gods.
Man thought of pleasing God by offering prayers, food and sacrifices so that He would bless them always. Man still continues to do so as a matter of habit, though he really finds no logic or cure in it. He has become a slave of tradition. All this is in his cultural memories and internalized from the culture and social or religious group he introjects in his Unconscious sometimes being totally unaware of as to why he did it and feels a deep need to have it inside of him as a compass to guide him.
The only possible reason seems to be that he is aware of the fact that in spite of all his achievements, he has not become an “Almighty” nor ever he will become one. He still finds himself helpless and needs to prostate in front of abstract governing power: may be he calls it a “Destiny” or “God”.
He founded Religion, a code of to ‘do’s and “not to ‘do’s.” He tried his best to be a God fearing and religious. But, he soon found out that he could not be a perfect man. He then created a concept of a “Devil” who supposedly made him do the wrong things. Yet he still felt sorry for doing wrong things and seek salvation in repentance and punishment. It was quite convenient to blame his “bad” or “evil” tendencies on that poor “Devil.”
With all this, some men did prefer to be savage and barbaric. Some were repelled by human atrocities, avarice and tyranny got disgusted with their way of life. They exiled away from these people to live a secluded “monastic” life.
“That which cannot be cured, must be endured” was his lesson.
So he learned to find peace in doing good things; for the betterment of self and his community; selfless and benevolent things! He tried to create a community believing in give and take with peaceful co-existence. To find a leader who will be responsible for the welfare and protection of every individual in the community he came up with the concept of the King. This was the foundation of Civilizations. How good was Inca in attaining this goal?
THE INCA CIVILIZATION
“Yatha Raja Tatha Praja” - is a proverb in Sanskrit. It means: “As is the king, so are his subjects”. The king (leader) has to be good for his subjects to be good. Inca was fortunate enough to have a line of Sapa’s that were brave fighters, intelligent politicians, sympathetic and vigilant rulers, with ultimate regard for justice and were religious to the core.
Their subjects accordingly were law abiding, hard working, religious, brave, skillful weavers and goldsmiths, expert arrow shooters, perfect sling pitchers, intelligent farmers and fishers.
Sapa was like a god to them and he had their complete faith
Sapa had several “coya”s i.e. wives and concubines. The subject affectionately referred to the Empress Coya as “Mamanchic”, “our mother.”
Coya was selected from Sapa’s full sister’s blood relative, having royal blood. She validated her husband’s claim to the throne. Coya wore long hairstyle, centrally parted.
Heir was selected by Sapa from Coya’s offspring, as per his compatibility. If no suitable candidate was available, deserving heir was selected from nobility.
“Mayta”, was the Empress of 4th Sapa. She took outstanding interest in the female workers on the royal estates. She also carried on experiments in natural sciences. She introduced new plants for cultivation. She encouraged fishing. She also extracted venom from poisonous snakes, to be used on arrow heads.
Manco, the first ruler, and his people emerged from the caves of Paccaritamba, on an island in Lake Titicaca, 18miles away from Cuzco. He founded his capital at Cuzco. He and his ethnic group were the rulers of the Inca Empire which they established.
Legend is that Manco plunged a golden staff into the ground in Cuzco. The fertile soil quickly swallowed it. The glittering golden Coricancha would later rise from it. Manco became the first Sapa of Inca.
The Empire was spread not by force or war, but usually by assimilating the farmers around, giving them help and protecting them. Sapas subdued the warrior states, they did not enslave or torture after defeating them, but they were treated as friends and allowed to run their own states. Only difference, they had to pay Sapa the taxes and receive his protection and conveniences he offered to the rest of his subjects such as building roads, providing grains and fertilizers to the farmers, taking care of them and their family during famine and unemployment besides compulsory education of all their children in a common language, “Quechua”, specially formulated so that all different ethnic groups could communicate with each other fluently.
QUECHUA was an official and compulsory language of the Empire. It was a good easy ‘tongue’ to grasp, rich in words, with respect and niceties of speech. The tongue still survives and is spoken by 10 million Andean people. Other spoken language is AYMARA. Joining the school in infancy, the children graduated in farming, warship building, administrative assistance, art, and architecture. Beautiful females were trained to wait on the Sapa and the Empress to help the priests in the temple and to make alcoholic drink for the priests and the nobility.
LITTRE BEARERS were intensively trained so that the Sapa had minimal discomfort as he was lifted up and lowered down and was carried across the steep and uneven paths over the mountains and in the jungles
Athletic men were to be messengers cum spies. They were chosen from the loyal men and were made conversant with the geography of the Empire from coast to coast.
WEAVERS spent hours at their looms expending all their skill and ingenuity in making better and better garments with variety in design and colors. Cotton was used for commoners. Poor wore less expensive loosely woven fabric. Cunbi was the finest fabric dyed in wick. It is dyed in a range
of sophisticated hues, tightly woven into standard geometrical designs with checkered back and a triangular yoke of the center garment with carefully finished seams and hem. Cunbi was reserved for exclusive occasions. Alabaster cotton was snow white. Cotton with different rainbow hues was grown and its fabric used for the garments of the members of the royal family. Llama, alpaca and vicuna wools were graded according to their qualities. Incas valued their fabric far more than their gold and silver. Gold and silver could be mined, but affine fabric was invaluable as it took many- many hours in their making. Exquisite tapestry was woven for Sapa and the nobility.
GRADUATION CEREMONY was an important event, equivalent to conferring the knighthood, which Sapa attended. The earlobes were pierced by Sapa with a golden needle to prepare them for the large ear disc they will have to wear according to their status.
“Acllahuasi”, the house of chaste women, was an institute where selected girls were trained to prepare them to become priestesses or attendants of Sapa.
“Acllahuasi” Qollqus was a house for such 15,000 chosen women. It stood on the main square of Cuzco, next to one of Sapa’s palaces. Out of these, “Mamancanas” were to be expert in dying and weaving garments, weaving exquisite cloth Cunbi, preparing food and preparing “Chicha” (an alcoholic drink).
“Mamancanas” are temporarily married to "Inti," other deities, as a religious custom. They lived a life like queens or great ladies. No commoner dared to look at their faces except their servants. Violation of chastity involved death of both partners.
TAX-COLLECTION, “QUIPU,” was a system of tax collection.
Since there was no currency, tax was collected in kind; such as grain, silver, gold, woven garment, artisan’s handy work, landed property etc.
Woven fabric though was the main currency. People exchanged goods among themselves. But tax was to be paid to Sapa.
Each collector (Curaca) was allotted 1,000 households. There were many persons unable to pay tax in kind. Sapa had an ingenious way in dealing with them.
Those who could not afford to pay taxes could pay them in forms
Such as: Working for fixed hours on state farms for certain fixed hours,
Working in school, gardens, temples
Serving in the army, etc
Bounties were given to disabled, sick people and orphans in the form of clothes, food and a place to live. They also received nursing home care.
Sapa had myriads of store houses always packed with grain, war and other supplies. Sapa’s subjects never slept hungry.
Accounts were meticulously kept by Quipu Cama Yacs (keepers of the Quipus). Quipus or “Quenchua” were knots of different types, each representing different number i.e. units, 10s or decimals. Positioning on the string represented their place value. The Inca Indians also had the mathematical concept of zero. Different types, colors and lengths were used for accounting different things, farm-produce, temples records, business accounts etc. The census of people in the empire, even the count of llamas, alpacas and birds was kept. The Quipu masters had infallible memory and they could recall the memorized number whenever the dignitaries asked for them.
He used Quipus as an aid in memorization of history, literature as well as the genealogical records of their masters.
These and many things that Indians did, taking care of all things in every aspect to the utmost details; their concept of fair and just ruling, their idea of friendly assimilation and not forceful enslavement of their neighboring states, their vision of prosperity, their brave spirit, devotion to God and people alike, and their love for peace make the Incas the highly civilized country.
ONLY IF THEY WERE SHREWD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THE MEAN AND PREDATORY PLUNDERER SPANIARDS!!!