The Lost City Of Z – A Historical Movie Review

In 1906 a British Intelligence officer is called to London to meet with officials of the Royal Geographical Society to be sent on a very important mission to Bolivia where he stumbles upon a civilization much older and sophisticated than their own at a place they believed to be inhabited by barbarian and savages. Even he might not have grasped the full implications of such a discovery. What is it about this discovery that so horrified the RGS officials? What would the acknowledgement of an older civilization that predates their own imply, that too a non-white one?

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The Lost City of Z is a movie about the real life story of a British Intelligence officer Percy Fawcett based on a 2009 book The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon written by journalist David Grann.

Fawcett had been posted all around the British Empire at Hong Kong, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Ireland, Africa, by the British Army. In 1906 Fawcett is called to London (from Ireland where he was posted) to meet with officials of the Royal Geographical Society to be sent on a very important mission. He was to be sent to Bolivia in South America.

At the time there was considerable argument between Bolivia and Brazil with regards to what constitutes their border. As neither country would accept mapping done by the other they requested the British to act as referee. As we know it was the British that drew the lines dividing India, did the Indians also request the British to draw imaginary lines during partition? Interestingly the British had an eye at the rubber plantations around the region covered by Amazonian rainforests. Rubber was seen as a very profitable commodity by them and there was so much profit to be made from it that it could potentially lead to a war.

It is here that the Royal Geographical Society comes into picture. RGS was founded under the patronage of King William IV and was granted its Royal Charter under Queen Victoria in 1859. It was founded as an institution to promote the ‘advancement of geographical science’. However its main objectives were the strategic mapping of the colonies of the British Empire. Under the guise of scientific exploration the British systematically smuggled thousands of ancient manuscripts from India and around the world and even destroyed temples in the process (which has still not stopped to this day).

1000 years old Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.

One such example is the Brihadeeswarar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. In order for mapping a region an elaborate surveying was carried out via triangulation. Triangulation in surveying is the tracing and measurement of a series or network of triangles in order to determine the distances and relative positions of points spread over an area, especially by measuring the length of one side of each triangle and deducing its angles and the length of the other two sides by observation from this baseline. In order to take these reading a surveyor world need a vantage point at a height.

In 1807, William Lambton the British surveyor who spent more than 20 years surveying in India was conducting his readings in Tamil Nadu. Here the survey ran into a problem of absence of clear vantage points like hills and droogs in the wide tree-chocked Kaveri delta. As a result the temples of Tamil Nadu considered by Lambton as the highest in India were chosen to climb upon where they could install their instruments and conduct a reading.

Great Theodolite by Jesse Ramsden, similar to the one made by William Cary that was used by Lambton in the early surveys.

With ropes and pulleys the ‘Great Theodolite’ (surveying equipment) as it was called was carried up to the top of the Tanjore RajaRajeswara or Brihadeeswarar Temple. The top of the temple is also called an Amalaka, a stone disk, usually with ridges on the rim, that sits atop a temple’s main tower (Shikhara). Amalaka of RajaRajeswara temple is more dome-shaped and is carved from a single block of granite, over a hundred feet in circumference and estimated to weigh eighty tons. It is so constructed that the top of this temple never casts a shadow on the ground. Compared to this 80-ton dome the hoisting of a mere hundredweight of machinery looked simple. The pulleys were attached to the amlaka and the rope-pullers pulled the theodolite from the gopuram. However the rope snapped and the theodolite swung and crashed into the temple splintering the structure. It is in this fashion hopping from gopuram to gopuram Lambton conducted his survey vandalizing temples as he went along.

So, it is to carry out such survey work that Fawcett was called upon by the RGS. His mission was to map the Verde River which forms a critical part of the border between Bolivia and Brazil and find its source. Fawcett, with several guides and the Amazonian native scout Tadjui, completes the mission. However during the journey Tadjui tells Fawcett stories about a city in the jungle covered in gold and full of people. Initially Fawcett dismisses such stories as insane ravings, but discovers highly advanced broken pottery and some small stone statues in the jungle that convinces him that Tadjui’s story was true.

What Fawcett had discovered was of great importance. What has happened here is that a British Intelligence officer of the RGS has stumbled upon a civilization much older and sophisticated than their own at a place they believed to be inhabited by barbarian and savages. Even he might not have grasped the full implications of such a discovery. However Fawcett did understood that they were just scratching the surface of something big. He even recommended the officials at RGS that map-making should be of secondary interest and that they should pursue the archeological findings that he had discovered in the jungle where no white man had ever been before. The officials at RGS were horrified at this suggestion and advised him to keep his findings to himself.

What is it about this discovery that so horrified the RGS officials? What would the acknowledgement of an older civilization that predates their own imply, that too a non-white one? Well, the acknowledgement of such a civilization would set in motion an entire different worldview that would eventually mean the destruction of the Church. To put it in Percy Fawcett’s words: “Perhaps it is too difficult for some of you to admit. We, who have been steeped in the bigotry of the Church for so long, cannot give much credence to an older civilization, particularly one created by a race the white man has so brutally condemned to slavery and death.”

Fawcett’s words are true not just for native tribes in Amazonia but around the world in Africa, Australia, China etc., and particularly in India. As I write there is a massive eviction of tribes taking place in South and Central India from their jungle homeland and being converted into urban workforce for the development of MNCs created Smart Cities.

One such case is that of the tribal Chenchus who are being driven away from their ancestral homeland in the Nallamala forests under various government schemes like Project Tiger, threatened with revolvers under the suspicion of being Naxals, for the mining projects awarded to De Beers. What De Beers is hunting is the ancient wealth of Vijayanagara Empire secretly hidden in these forests and protected by these Chenchus for centuries; the same wealth that the East India Company was after but couldn’t get it’s hand on because of the brilliant strategy of Commander-In-Chief Tirumalaya Raya. Do note that De Beers is owned by the Houses Of Rhodes & Oppenheimers one of the family bloodlines that controlled the East India Company.

Coronel Percy Harrison Fawcett

The problem faced by Fawcett then still haunts the Anthropologists of India today. When they move into the forests of India or the ancient sites for field work they are exposed to information from their findings that they are unable to reconcile working in the system set by the British created Church dictated worldview. At the root of this is the loss of awareness of space-time and of our location in it caused by the imposition of fraudulent time-and-space. The context to this problem has been explained in detail in the book India in Cognitive Dissonance published by GreatGameIndia magazine. Relevant excerpts can be read at – India: Victim of Conflict between Church, FreeMasonic Orders, British & French Series.

In order to maintain its dominance and existence the Church in alliance with the British retrofitted the entire time-line of the “Indian” civilization to 2-3000 B.C. That is why when an Anthropologist makes an archeological discovery in the forests of India and finds it to be some 50,000 year old he is confronted with this globally accepted narrative of the Indian civilization being some 3000 to 5000 years old only. The only way left for him is to tweak his findings and go along with the official narrative or challenge it and be discarded from the anthropological community of scholars dominated by the British.

The important question here that every Mutt follower should ask their Mutthadhipatis, every Swayamsevak their Shakha Pracharak and every liberal introspect himself is that – is our Indian civilization only some 3000 to 5000 odd years old as prescribed by the Church? What about the dating of Mahabharat and Ramayana? If not why haven’t any religious leader from India challenged this timeline? Why are we still following the Roman Catholic Church’s Gregorian calendar? What does it mean when our own current Indian Prime Minister who himself comes from the traditional camp in his recent visit to Russia proclaimed with pride along the British created biblical lines that the Vedas and our Indian knowledge base itself is some 2000 years old?

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Shelley Kasli
Shelley Kasli is the Co-founder and Editor at GreatGameIndia, a quarterly magazine on international affairs providing global intelligence through strategic analysis by placing events in a geopolitical and historical framework to better understand international developments and the world around us.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “What does it mean when our own current Indian Prime Minister who himself comes from the traditional camp in his recent visit to Russia proclaimed with pride along the British created biblical lines that the Vedas and our Indian knowledge base itself is some 2000 years old?”

    What is the source for this? Modi never said it. Stop spreading LIES !!!

  2. Bullshit!!! There is no record of any temple destruction by the British. Brihadeeswarar Temple is still standing in TN. Stop spreading false news.

  3. One among the many they destroyed,plundered!broke ecosystem tht thrived/helpd ppl-govts r looting the collections,destroying #reclaimtemples

  4. This question should be asked specifically to Hindutva organisations.. and hindu intellectuals making sermons about hinduism. Only the traditional institutions are legitimate and follow our native system.. all modern hindu organisations are just political jumbos

  5. […] From the oldest texts available, the Vedas to everything else was retrofitted into this 5000 year timeframe and piped to the masses through the public education in a manner made to appear as matter of fact. The Indian mind with an intellect unable to question this onslaught and in the absence of sources of knowledge or having no means to retrieve these sources slowly surrendered their basic quality of questioning to seek truth and began to simply accepting passively whatever was being taught to them (as shown in this recent example of our review of the movie The Lost City of Z). […]

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