14th April 09:33
From Midianite Arab Nasiku to Bengali Nath
From Midianite Arab Nasiku to Bengali Nath
[In this article Muslim and biblical names are spelled mostly the way
it is done in Bangladesh.]
Could the name Zuleikha be a Mitanni name? It is known in traditions
of both Muslim and non-Muslim communities. It sounds Japhetian.
Annemarie Schimmel in her, "My Soul Is a Woman," gave a variant as
Although Islamic literature mostly uses the name Zuleikha for the wife
of Hazrat Yusuf (Joseph), there were several other names found in
various Muslim and non-Muslim accounts. A rare name in Muslim account
The variant Raaeel is too close to the name Raaheel (Rachel) of
Prophet Joseph's mother. One cannot but suspect that Raaeel resulted
from an error, or it was inspired by Raaheel.
In the Bible we find Potiphera, Potiphar's wife, and Asenath,
Potiphar's daughter (possibly mistranslated). Potiphar means "pati"
(master) of the house.
Gilukhipa was a Mitanni princess who was married to Pharaoh Amenhotep
Mitannis were related to the Rig-Vedics in their language. There is a
scholarly suggestion that they might have drifted to Eastern Turkey
and Northern Syria from Khurasan. [See Asko Parpola, "The Coming of
the Aryans to Iran and India and the Cultural and Ethnic Identity of
the Dasas", Studia Orientalia vol 64, Helsinki, 1988]
In the Bible there are two more groups, Meshek and Ashkenaz. Ashkenaz
were Sakas. [See I. M. Diakonoff, "The Cimmerians", I. M. Diakonoff,
Acta Iranica vol. VII Part I, 1981 Page 103-140, E. J. Brill]
In the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan there is still a
language/tribe called Askun.
[Is it right to say Vedic svasa for sister is still current in Askun,
Prasun, Wailgali and Shina whereas most other Aryan languages in the
subcontinent use bon (Bengali) and related variants? A Bengali
dictionary can contain the word svasa. I do not know why?]
Meshek also migrated to the east. Massagete, and Messege in the
neighborhood of Afghanistan were reduced by Cyrus the Great, Darius
and Alexander the Great.
One notices clearly the possibility of Midianite influence in the
transmission of the Yusuf-Zuleikha story.
In the Elohist account of the Genesis, Prophet Joseph was kidnapped by
the Midianites who sold him. In another narration of the Bible,
Prophet Joseph was sold by Bani Ismail.
According to at least one scholar the substitution of the Midianites
for the Bani Ismail was doubtlessly made because the idea that Hazrat
Ismail's "descendants in the third generation already formed an
ethnological group was deemed awkward." [The Interpreter's Bible, vol
1, ed. by Nolan B. Harmon, Abingdon Press]
Midianite is also a bad choice because Midian was considered a
descendant of Abraham.
In 1 Chronicles 1:28 Medan and Midian are among the sons of Keturah
whom it called Abraham's concubine. Keturah is another name of Bibi
Hajera (see Deshi People by abu in soc.culture.bangladesh)
In Judges 8:24-28 Midianites are called Bani Ismail. Their camels in
the battle had the crescent of Bani Ismail hanging from their necks.
[In the versified story of Yusuf and Zuleikha composed by Bengali poet
Shah Muhammad Saghir, Ibn Amin (Ibn Yamin, Benjamin) marries Bidhu
Prabha, princess of Madhupur. I did not investigate the inspiration
behind Madhupur and "moonlight."
According to Abdul Karim, author of "Social History of the Muslims in
Bengal," Shah Muhammad Saghir composed Yusuf Zulaikha during the
reign of Sultan Ghias-ud-din Mahmud Shah (1532-1538).]
While I am open to the possibility that the actual generation gap
between Abraham and Joseph was greater than that ususally believed, I
take the reported involvement of the Midianites as an indication that
a version of the Yusuf-Zuleikha story was in their possession.
Then I suppose that the most current name for Zukeikha was taken from
the tradition of people among whom this story was once most developed.
From more than one consideration we find that these versions came long
after the eclipse of the kingdom of Mittani. A very crude estimate for
"long after" is more than two hundred years.
Reading the older sections of the Bible, that is of Pentateuch, one
suspects wholesale borrowing from a Bani Aram (Aramaean) source now
lost. Bani Aram is a pure Arab type of which the Ads were famous. Time
scale of their importance is comparable to that of Hazrat Musa
Thus there is ample time for the Midianites to develop from the
Mitanni remnants mixed up with Bani Ismaili incense traders and Bani
Aram soldiers before Moses appeared usually thought to be ca 1220BCE.
[I do not accept Pentateuch as the Towrat given to Hazrat Musa, or
even a divine book verified by Hazrat Ujair (Ezra).
As far as I understand these books were canonized ca 90CE, long after
Hazrat Zakaria (Zechariah), Hazrat Yahia (John the Baptist) and Jesus
were rejected as false prophets because it was believed that there
were no inspiration after Ezra.
Ruhul Quddus (Holy Spirit) who brings inspiration was also hated. We
think that a fossil remnant of the reaction of the persecuted pure
community to the downgrading of Gabriel is the Christian concept of
Holy Spirit in Greco-Roman Christianity.
Hatred against false prophets expressed in Zechariah 13:2-6 is
consistent with the time, in a broad sense, of the three Prophets
namely Hazrat Zakaria, Hazrat Yahia (John the Baptist) and Jesus.
If not certain part of the Book of Zechariah reflected the struggle
against the Greeks, more people would have been bamboozled by the
technique of mixing with sayings attributed to a Zechariah of ca
I would not be surprised if some sayings of these last three Prophets
were included in the Old Testament after deliberately confusing their
identity, and presenting the narration as if to antedate Ezra.]
There are several indications in Islamic literature that Islam and
Sufism were lead by the Midianites during 13th century BCE.
[Actually pre-Islam is a relative term in Islam, because according to
Muslims Hazrat Adam was the first man, the first Prophet, the first
Muslim and the first Sufi. More on this later.]
It is well-known among Sufis that Hazrat Musa got khirka (Sufi cloak)
from the Midianite Prophet Hazrat Shuyeb.
In the Septuagint Joseph received a multi-colored tunic from his
father Jacob (Hazrat Yakub). In the present Bible it was long tutic,
and this appears to be the reason of his brothers' jealousy.
Hazrat Shuyeb is called Jethro in the Elohist account of the Bible
although one Yahwist account called him Hobab. Numbers 10:29 however
called his son as Hobab, and him as Reuel which could be a title
signifying spirit of God (Ruhullah).
It could be that some Bani Sem pronounced Shuyeb as Hobab.
Islamic stories sometime indicate that Jethro was named after the town
Yathrib which Shuyeb renamed Midian, or vice versa. In the Koran
Hazrat Shuyeb was sent to warn the people of Midian and(?) the people
of the grove (al-Aikah).
Midian, now called Madain, Mughair Shuyeb or Oasis of Shuyeb, is
situated in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia near the Gulf of
Aqaba west of Sinai.
It is not impossible for the name to migrate from Northeast Syria
which was included in the kingdom of Mitanni. This was close to the
passage to Egypt with which Mitanni had close contact.
A sound as in Midian is common in the Middle-East because of several
reasons. Madina means a city. The tribe of Mada (Medes, identified
with Meds) ruled Northeastern Iran and Northern Iraq destroying
ancient Assyria in 7th century BCE.
Famous city of Mada'in (Ctesiphon) is in Iraq. A nomad is called a
Badu. In ancient Egypt mdzyu meant nomads.
To guess from the story Hazrat Yusuf was in Egypt much before Mitanni
was established. Midianites and Zuleikha were mentioned in his story
because this version was taken from the Midianites.
A version of this story was popular with the Midianites, just as its
Islamic versions were popular with the Sufis.
According to the Bible (Numbers 31) the Israilis exterminated the
Midianites. Moses was not responsible for the atrocities mentioned
here such as killing of children. Shuyeb, father-in-law of Moses, was
And the descendants of Prophet Shuyeb were with Bani Israil for quite
a long time after the departure of Moses.
Atrocities committed by later generations were attributed to Moses. It
is difficult to harmonize Numbers 31 with Exodus 18.
In the Bible we find the Bani Israili Cephus (Judges) and Midianite
Zophim fighting with each other, (appears to me to be) soon after the
departure of Moses, who according to the Sufis got Sufi cloak from
Shuyeb. This fight led to the eventual destruction of the Midianites
by the Israilis.
We can speculate that initially there was a tension similar to the one
sometime observed among Muslims between those attached as seen
principally to tariqat (path), and those attached as perceived
primarily to shariat (law).
For example, Hazrat Abdul Wahid Hammad (d.94AH), reputed founder of
the first Sufi lodge, reportedly thanked God at the death of Hazrat
Abu Hanifa (may God be pleased with both), a leading Imam of the
Both are considered saintly by Sufi Masters. However failing to
balance the tension that is clearly visible two groups evolved.
One with and the other without law, quarreling bitterly, sometime
lawless beshara going out of Islam, while bashara continuing in Islam
as faithless hypocrites.
Even a Sufi receiving chain can become corrupt.
In the poems of Sheikh Saadi and Hafiz we get a picture of Sufis as
earlier Imam Ghazali found a Sufi's "ethic the purest." [R. J.
McCarthy's "Al-Ghazali's Path to Sufism.]
Impostors take every advantage of the market-value of a concept.
It could be that Zophim became beshara and eventually mushrik. About
the Midianite women it was said that they were the very ones who
followed Balaam's advice and caused Bani Israil to worship idols on
Mount Peor (Numbers 31:16).
[The word mushrik is usually translated as pagan. I suspect that the
ascribed meaning of the Hebrew original behind the word pagan was used
to taunt Magi. Magi were much important in the religion of ancient the
Ibn Khaldun wrote that most human in his time followed the religion of
the Magi. Clearly he meant the people who were the majority among
those converted to Christianity and Hinduism during the last four
In Bengal periphery Magi were called buiga (Munda) and magha (Aryan).
Another related derivation in West India was Bhoja and Biblical Put.
Indians made the Put Bhut (ghost), pandit changing Bhut to Pichas.
Considered by Herodotus a tribe of Mada, Magi, I think, got their name
from Magan (Oman and Makran) where they originally lived. Thus it
appears that they were a mixed Bani Sem and Japhetian legacy engazed
in spreading primitive universal religion that was later undermined
Out of respect for the ancient Majus, I shall not translate the term
mushrikh as pagan, although I may use the phrase degenerate paganism
to mean any superstitious religion based on shirk which involves
considering or associating a created thing with the Creator.]
The name Balaam and his activities (see also Num. 22:5-13) have
parallel with the functions of a Hindu priest.
The name Balaam Baauraa is used in Sufi-Islamic literature as an
example of an informed shaitan like the Devil who choose to be an
enemy of God after knowing the truth.
The story of Balaam Baauraa appears in the interpretaion of the poem
Twelve Gospels by Maolana Rumi. In this poem Rumi avoided the name Bal
(Paul, whose actual name was Saul) possibly not to antagonize the
In stead Maolana just included a reference to Balaam. The technique is
old. In the Dead-Sea Scroll literature the devious figure was Belial.
Manifold interpretations relating the idea of Cephus and Zophim can be
seen in Nasara-Sabiun (Nazarene-Sabian) Gnosticism, and in the history
of early Christianity.
In particular both the names, Peter (Samun Safa) and Thomas,
originated from the root SF for safa (stone). Thomas is discussed in
"The Parthian Connection."
Benjamin Abu Dawood in his "Muhammad in the Bible" explained how the
word Sufi originated from root SF for stone. Hisham Ibn al-Kalbi in
his "Book of Idols" described how the stone cult spread.
[Now I shall elaborate on the phrases such as pre-Islamic Islam and
pre-Islamic Sufism. In Islam Hazrat Adam was the first man, first
Prophet, first Muslim and first Sufi. It makes sense to say that the
black stone was the SF (stone) Adam "watched" (another SF related
Sufis believed that the Light of Muhammad existed before Adam was
created, and Muhammad was the Mustafa (Chief of the Sufis). Maolana
Rumi explains this as follows: the idea conceived first has been
The original Aim is realized last. The Aim is Allah to Muhammad, I
standing for the eye. One can compare the Aum theory of Bengali poet
and Sufi Ali Reja (b.1759?, also called Kanu Shah?).
Because Ali Raja was talking to the Brahmins, and not English-speaking
people, he did not explain the middle letter the way I did. Rather he
kept it a mystery. Actually the eye or Ayn has a mystery.
[I am one of those who believe that many important words involving SF,
SB, SV, ShB, SBG such as soap, key (chabi), stupa, stamva, Shiva,
seven, Sabian, sofa, sofia, sabhaa (tatsama Bengali meeting), seba
(tatsama Bengali help), service, Shaman, Haman, Herma, kami, semangat
all originated from the ancient Sufis.
It is transparent from the history of their given etymology that ideas
behind these words are older than the languages by means of which they
are sometime explained, and roughly speaking, careful writers consider
them of obscure origin.]
Certain changes in alphabet ca 1300-1200BCE in Sinai and Canaan match
the Sufi esoteric interpretation of Arabic alphabet more closely than
other Semitic alphabets.
It also helps to understand the shaitanyat, obscene fertility or
***ual cult related interpretations in free imaginations gone wild,
and that can be associated with the reflections found in Brahmi.
Womb nourishes and protects an unborn. An Arabic word for womb came
from the same root RHM as the Merciful (Ar-Rahman). Thus Bengali poet
Fakir Nalan Shah sang, "Aachhe maayer ote jagat pitaa bheve dekho
Alif (Alpha) stands for the One (Al-Ahad) God (Allah), and Ayn
(Omicron) stands for the Merciful. This significance of Omicron later
survived partially in Omega.
Bani Sem Ayn means eye, mirror (ayna), source, essence, wellspring
Ayn was an eye symbolizing light or knowledge and the pupil/iris of
the eye was a stroke in some alphabets from Sinai (ca 1600-1300BCE).
Later the stroke disappeared and Ayn become an empty circle.
In some Semitic alphabets such as in Phoenician (1300-300BCE) and
early (ca 800 BCE) Aramaic Ayn was a circle, and it was this way it
became Greek Omicorn and English (short) O.
The circle meant protection and the Merciful was the Protector. Circle
protecting the stroke inside might have stood for God protecting and
Elsewhere, from the names of God and the use of Ayn in Sufi literature
as source and essence, we speculated a connection of Ayn to both
a(c)lima and gnan, knowledge or gnosis in Arabic and Japhetian
languages. ("c" to denote fricative).
This is also related to Ayn becoming ***n possibly because some
Japhetians tried hard to pronounce the fricative, and believed that
one should pronounce Ayn with reverence. Another example is SB(Ayn)
becoming SB(***n) among some Sabians.
Thus a form of pre-Islamic Sufism got identified with sibgat
That, at least in some cases, the virtuosity of dipping in the rivers
came to India from the Aramaic-speaking Sabian baptists is clear from
the fact that Aramaean Rimmon is sometime represented by the sign of
Aquarius (Kumbha). [I forgot where I read this.]
Dipping in water was both symbolic and for ritual cleanliness. In the
Koran Prophet John asked people to assume the color of God
(sibgatullah). Here a dyer's dipping is referred to. It is symbolic.
Importance of bath in Muslim supererogatory worship is another aspect.
In one extreme direction we have the saying attributed to Hazrat
Bayazid Bistami: "Whenever the thought of Hereafter enters my heart,
I take bath" (quoted in Maktubat-i Sadi of Hazrat Sharafuddin Maneri).
[On Bistami in English, the relevant section in "Early Islamic
Mysticism" by Michael A. Sells. Hazrat Sharafuddin Maneri, the famous
student of the Sonargao Madrasa, Dhaka, must be read by anybody who
wants to understand Kabir, Nalan and other leading Fakirs of
Bangladesh and Bihar. He also wrote on the Sufism of ancient
The Aim was a representation of A-Ayn-M on earth. M of the fountain
source of Mercy, created Mustafa and Muhammad. Muslims believe that
the Merciful (Ar-Rahman) sent Muhammad Mustafa as a "mercy to the
creation" (Koran 21:107).
Sufis believed that God said to Muhammad Mustafa, "If it was not for
you, I would not have created the world."
In alphabet the Mercy is invoked by drawing a protecting eye, or by a
circle, or by a protecting roof, or by a protecting vase like inverted
The Sabians of South Iraq had two circular Alifs one at the beginning
and the other at the end of their alphabet. [E. S. Drower, "The Secret
Adam, A Study of Nasoraean Gnosis", Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1960.
This is not a Muslim reference. It is also old.]
The phallic symbolism of dates that Drower described in reference to
the occurrence of Wellspring (ayna) and Palm-tree in some places of
Sabian literature she had, I believe, are dirty mushreki
interpolations in Sabian religion affected by corrupt priests, and by
mushreki Sakas and Parthians.
To these she also added her own observation.
Original Sabiun sense survived in the Koran. God said to Virgin Mary:
(The Koran 19:16-26): "24 ... Grieve not! Your Lord has placed a
rivulet beneath you, 25. And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward
you, you will cause ripe dates to fall upon you. 26. So eat and drink
and be consoled. ...."
The pair palm-tree and rivulet is a natural - therefore ancient -
imagery in the desert related to the concern of eating and drinking,
that is, surviving and prospering.
The idea of monotheistic proclamation and the divine protection
through alphabet can also be visualized in many Indus seals, except
that here the stylus is a fishbone not a bull's horn.
Thus the Koran (Al-Qalam 68:1) says, "N, by the Pen, and that which
they write with it, ...." Here N stands for the letter Noon which
The graph of Noon as pointlike (nuqta) man under the semi-circular
arch of divine protection can be found in Sufi literature. For details
see "Bharater Sufi" vol 3 by Mubarak Karim Jawher on the
interpretation of Fakir Nalan Shah's "Lamer mane karle na keu nuqta
bujhi holo churi."
After Mitanni lost independence to the Hittites, it was known as
Hanigalbat. I think that it was named after Prophet Handha (Indra),
and that in the east earlier Japhetians (Jats) used to call Handha
something like Hingulaj or Sangla, Indra being the New Aryan or Saka
In the west Handha was called Hercules.
Herodotus believed that the name Hercules was Egyptian in origin (The
Persian Wars, Book 2), and he tried to investigate if the Phoenicians,
a Bani Sem tribe, worshipped an ancient god by the same name.
Diodorus Siculus mentioned a legend describing the ancient friendship
shown by Heracles (Hercules) for the Debae Arabs who were friends of
the Boeotians of the Central Greece and the Peloponnesians. Thebes
founded by Cadmus was in Boeotia.
In India Indra was also called Sakra. In Pali devanam Indo was Sakka.
Sakra is closer to Hercules.
Handha was Ibn Safwan, and Indra was Savya because Savya's father
wanted a son like Indra.
[Need more information on Hittite deity Sauska. Although she was
Venus, from Maurits N. Van Loon's "Anatolia in the Second Millennium
B.C.", 1985, I gather that Sauska as a god of war was a winged man.]
Approximately three hundred years after the kingdom of Mitanni was
destroyed, the neighborhood of their kingdom went under the control of
Bani Aram. There was a continuity in the transfer of political
dominance and cultural achievements in the intermediate period.
There is a record of a king of Hanigalbat using the Aramaean tribes
against the enemies of Hanigalbat in mid-thir****th century BCE (page
40 Gernot Wilhelm, "The Hurrians," 1989).
Midianites surviving the Israili atrocities were assimilated among
Bani Aram and Aramaic-speaking people. Their story and degenerate
Sufism survived in Midian and among some Arab tribes living there.
Much later these people followed a form of Gnostic Christianity.
We also remember the stories of the Ahle Suffah Companions from the
neighborhood of Midian.
Through Midian passed the trade route to Syria from Mecca. Along this
trade route there were people who recognized the Prophet as Ahmad
before Mecca did. Hazrat Salman Farsi, who was looking for the
Prophet, lived in Wadil-Qura near Midian before coming to Medina
In 803 BCE Assyrian king Sennacherib exiled 208,000 Aramaeans to the
coast of the Persian gulf or to the east. The leaders of these tribes
were called Nasiku. In Hebrew the Midianite leaders were called Nasik.
It is possible that some were settled in Balochistan (in Iran and
Pakistan) and Makran (Pakistan), or they drifted slowly to Makran
following the coast, and lived in the city of Armabil (Bela), and
possibly became associated with many cities so that the Vedics got the
word armaka (ruined cities).
Aramaean tribe of Ad got a reputation for their lofty pillars (irama
jatil imad). The city of Iram supposedly built by the Ads in Yemen
survived in the poetic imagery long after they disappeared, and far
The transmission of influences between Hadhramaut (in Yemen and Oman)
and Hyderabad (in Sind) is not only continuous in time but also
multiplex. Remnants of Japhetian tribes lost earlier in Iraq also got
mixed up with Bani Aram. Of these a section of Kassites and those came
with Hittite incursion were important.
I believe that Kassites were related to Kalladg. I cannot decide
whether or not biblical Pekod was an ancient Paktoon country, and
biblical ?Marathaim were Mhars, people who gave the name Maratha.
According to Gustav Oppert (as I understand) Mhars gave the name of
the country Maharastra. Marathas got their name from Maharastra ("On
the Original Inhabitants of Bharatbarsa or India," 1893)
[I need more data on Bhars, Mhars, Marathas (and Qiqanis, Kankanis),
Barakhshi and Parsas (not the Iranians, but people responsible for the
name). My suspicion is explained elsewhere.]
It appears to me that Sindoman was the translate of Hindan, and Sihwan
is the translate of Suhu. Hindan and Suhu were kingdoms of Bani Aram,
and were situated on the middle Furat.
I believe that it is because of the Aramaeans Sind got its name,
earlier name Meluhha disappearing before the Aramaeans came.
According to Arrian the tribe of Sivi were among those who claimed
descent from the relatives of Heracles (Hercules).
Fif**** hundred years later during Muhammad bin Qasim's campaign in
Siwistan, the Samanis sent a message seeking peace that they were
Nasik devotees. By that time Nasikus and their legacy penetrated deep
into India. We believe that the word Nasiku evolved into Nath.
There has been contact between Bani Aram, Kindah tribes and RSW
(Thamudic priests) and Indo-Aryans among whom Jainism developed. The
similarity of the word sesame (Bengali til, samassamu of Bani Akkad)
with Bengali sarisha (mustard, Sanskrit: sarshap) is worth-mentioning
The connection of siddhi with sadhana is clear in grammar. Did the
siddhas (accomplised masters) use siddhi (euphoriant)?
[I suspect that there was a connection of the word siddhi with mustard
in Bengal or its periphery.
That was a time when people could make wealth (artha) by selling
mustard as they can do now by selling siddhi. Quacks uses mustard to
get rid of spirits from haunted victims. This paragraph needs to be
We think that Jainism evolved from the encounter of the early Sakas
with ancient Kindah tribes leaving near the Ganges, Syrdariya (Jehoon,
suspected by some to be biblical Gihon) and Pishin (near Kandahar).
There is a town called Pisin near Iran's border with Pakistan. However
since there was a conscious colonial effort to find a natural boundary
between Iran and India, I shall not be able to make any statement on
this matter without investigating.
[The Christian Topography of Kosmas Indikopleustes says that the river
Indus, that is, the Phison, separates Persia from India (page 72 "A
History of India," by Michael Edwardes). I do not want to be fooled as
Voltaire was by Padree Roberto Nobili's Ezur Veda.]
Hermann Jacobi identified Natika with Gnatrika, the name of the
Khatriya tribe in which Mahavira, the founder of Jainism was born
according to the Jain traditions. Father of Mahavira was a king of a
place called Kundaggama, possibly originally a Kindah settlement. He
is also called Shiddhartha and Rishavadatta.
[This Rishava can be compared with the bull of Rimmon in the myth of
the mushrik Bani Aram. The connection between RSW and bull is another
fascinating story. I collected some material for another post.]
In Tibetan tradition Nath master Haddipa is identical with Balapada, a
Buddhist siddha born in Sind. We immediately see the connection of
Bengali Naths, that is, Nathpanthi Yogis, with Nasik devotees of Sind
found there by the early Muslims.
In the medieval Bengali legend, Haddipa was the mentor of Gopichand's
Songs on the legend have also been discovered in Comilla where
Mainamati, named after Gopichand's mother, is situated. The legend was
first discovered in Rangpur. This was not surprising. Authentic
Bengali tradition fare better further away from Serampore and
Buddists, Tantriks and Nathpanthis in those regions were less subject
to Indian intrusion.
Another person of legendary fame was Chand Bene or Chand Saodagor the
incense trader or gandhabanik of Bengali folklore. Gandhabanik is from
gandha=smell, incense (aguru), spices but could originally be
motivated by Kindah.
Soumarpith (Yogineetantra), Mej (Ali Mej, the first Bengali Muslim in
Tabakat-i-Nasiri), Mlechh (Asko Parpola connected the word to Meluhha,
the ancient name of Sind), Koch all these names remind both Sind and
Kachh, Soomras of Sind as well as Sumar (in South Iraq, the name
survived well into Muslim period).
I feel Mej is not Mlechh. Pandits used Mlechh arbitrarily as a
hate-word. I think Mej is related to Mizo. It could also be related to
Manjhi (Santal headman). In the latter name an image of Mohenjodaro is
immediate. Tabakat-i-Nasiri is clear that people living north of
Laknauti were Turks in countenance, and between Turks and Hindis in
We expect one more connection with Bani Sem traders and Rangpur. Bani
Sem traders look for tin along the cost. Rang means tin-lead solder.
Although at present Lepchas are sometime called Rong-kup and they
could gave the name of Rangpur, it is possible that they, and the
Japhetian Majhis (ancinet Phrygians), were doing business in rang
(tin-lead solder) with the Bani-Sem ca 700BCE and before.
[Is it true that still some tin can be found in Rangpur? Benglongs or
Deangs living in Yunan are also called Ra-ang.]
Similarly I believe that the name Subbabhumi for South Rarh is not a
mistake for Suhma but the name was due to ancient Sabiun presence, and
Suhma is the mistake.
Pre-colonial Dharmites and Nathpanthis reflect a Bani Sem influence
which could partly be pre-Islamic. Nathpanthis used to bury their
deads. They frequently bore the word Chand (Moon) as a part of their
Even in the Indo-Saivite platted layer that affected some of them, the
moon was their Shiva not the Rudra, the bloody red sun which is
Kalagni, the fire of destruction and hingsa of the rioting Gujarati
In the biography of Ballal Sen written by Anandabhatta, a Yogi named
Dharma Giri invited Arab Baba Adam to fight Ballal Sen. Baba Adam is
considered one of the earliest Sufi saints in Bangladesh.
In "Manikchandra Rajar Gaan" written on the Gopichand legend we find
the lines: "Vati hoite ailo Bangal lamba lamba dari" [and created the
misery of Rarhi kangals]. Clearly these lines cannot be as old as
11-12th century. In fact in them we see the fraud of the colonial
However three elements are worth-noticing: connection of Vati
(Southeast Bengal) with the sea, of long beards with religious
Muslims, and of Bangals with the real Bengalis before the padrees
appear in the scene with their nation-building schemes.
Is it not strange that people who could not even pronounce the initial
B correctly and final L at all (compare Vanga) are declared authentic
Bengali? Thus the age-old process of naturaization was disturbed,
polarities were created, and Bangladesh was divided along
To skeletonize a long discussion, the religious connection between
Bangladesh and Middle-East is much deeper than the late immigrants
realized. The same two principles battled in both places before the
advent of Islam: pre-Islamic Islam and non-Islamic shirk.