Monday, 10 June 2013

Jihannath

What do we know about Jihannath? I think it sounds Hindu - there is a Lord Jagannath. However, when I googled "Jihannath," all I found were references to Poul Anderson.

Djana came up from slavery in the Black Hole of Jihannath (Poul Anderson, A Circus Of Hells, London, 1978, p. 40). When, aged fifteen, she tried to escape from the Black Hole, her contractor turned her over to the Giggling Man. (p. 150)

Later, most of the Terran Space Navy must be concentrated on that border of the Empire to prevent the Merseians from taking over Jihannath. (The Rebel Worlds, London, 1973, p. 18) Then, Imperial and Merseian delegations negotiate an end to the crisis. (Captain Flandry, New York, 2010, p. 82)

Less than I thought. In these passages, all that we are told about conditions on the planet itself is that there is slavery and torture in a Black Hole. Does anyone know of any other information about Jihannath in the Technic History?

7 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I've searched thru ENSIGN FLANDRY, A CIRCUS OF HELLS (plus "The White King's War), THE REBEL WORLDS, and THE DAY OF THEIR RETURN for references to Jihannath. The impression I've gotten was that this was a planet as yet unclaimed till "recently" by either power. Apparently, however, it was important enough that when Merseia tried to seize it, the Empire mobilized the bulk of the Navy in the Jihannath region to make it plain to the Roidhunate she would not tolerate its annexation by Merseia. Because of this apparently unexpectedly forceful and decisive action, Merseia felt compelled to back down.

This is what I found about Djana and the Black Hole in A CIRCUS OF HELLS in Chapter V "I came up from slavery--in the Black Hole of Jihannath.." Plus, this is what the relevant text in A CIRCUS OF HELLS says in Chapter XVII: "Where were the Emperor and his law when I tried to escape from the Black Hole, fifteen years old, and my contractor caught me and turned me over to the Giggling Man for a lesson?"

Frankly, the second quote, indicating hostility to the Empire, made no sense if Jihannath was NOT part of the Empire when Djana was a child. Else Merseia would not dare try seizing that planet due to that starting a war with the Empire. Either we have found an inconsistency by Anderson or, more likely, Djana was blaming the Empire for the evil conditions on that world despite it not being ruled by Terra at the time.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,

Thank you. You have made a thorough search of the Flandry novels that I mentioned plus ENSIGN FLANDRY. Despite this thoroughness, nothing new has emerged so far.

Djana is perhaps blaming the Empire for NOT having taken the trouble to annex and civilize Jihannath. I wonder where PA got the name of this planet from?

Paul.

ndrosen said...

Could Jihannath be a variant of Jahannam (of which there are different spellings), the Muslim Hell? Cf. Hebrew Gehennna.

Regards, Nicholas

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Apologies for the delay responding. I had to go to work very soon after reading your reply.

Yes, I can see Djana resenting the Empire for not annexing Jihannath and cleaning up the worse abues there. Irrational, of course, but similar things do happen.

As to why the Empire did not expand as much as it might have, that self restraint goes straight back to the Founder himself. As Manuel Argos said in Section IV of "The Star Plunderer": "Oh, the empire won't have to expand forever. Just till it's big enough to defend itself against all comers." And this was echoed centuries later by Commisioner Desai in Chapter 21 of THE DAY OF THEIR RETURN: "Whatever the Empire's faults, and they are many, it recognizes certain limits to what it may wisely do."

By Flandry's time, unless driven by military necessity (such as the Jihannath and, later, the Syrax crisises), the Empire was no longer annexing much more territory. Because, very simply, and unlike Merseia, the Empire did not have impossible, fantastic ambitions of conquering and ruling the entire Milky Way galaxy.

Djana apparently interpreted this self restraint by the Empire to mean Terra did not care about the agonies of other planets. While true to some degree, because of being imperfect and sinful beings, this was not entirely true. After all, the Empire saved from extinction the two intelligent races of Starkad when it could have simply let those races died when Starkad when nova. Intead, it was the "corrupt" and decadent Empire which rescued the Tigeries and Sea People, not the smugly sanctimonius Merseians.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Not sure about Jihannath. It sounds Hindu/Indian to me and the "Black Hole" tends to confirm that.

Yes, big difference: Merseia wanting to conquer the galaxy, although with autonomous realms, not a single state; Terra with no such insane ambition.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I have wondered, considering your speculations about how Hindu seeming the name Jihannath is, whether that planet might have been settled by colonists from Ramanujan. By then, it's possible some originally Hindi names and words might have changed.

True, as we learn in ENSIGN FLANDRY, Merseia did not aspire to conquer and rule the galaxy as a single state. I wonder how long it would be before some of those autonomous realms started quarelling with each other.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

An Indra or New Indra is also mentioned somewhere in the History.