72 thoughts on “Open Thread”

    1. Indo-Carib, I and others are closely watching. I don’t don’t feel informed enough to share perspectives. What are your perspectives?

      1. I do not believe the protests are political, but related to the poor state of traffic. This is, in turn related to the lack of infrastructure development, which has been limited owing to higher demand for social investment.

        Even so, it is not as bad as my state:
        Traffic deaths in TN = 17,130 Accidents = 69000 Population = 67 million; fatality rate =22/100,000
        Traffic deaths in BD = 20,662 Accidents = 72000 Population = 150 million; fatality rate = 13/100,000
        We are no 1

  1. Muthuvel Karunanidhi , a veteran leader and politician in Tamilnadu died at the age of 94 today.

    He was the leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Dravidian Progressive Party) . The rise of MK shows the positive and negative aspects on India’s Democracy and Freedom.
    He was born in a poor family. As a boy, he worked as an oddjobs man in the printing presses of E.V.Ramasamy Naicker , the Dravidian Party leader. He was also a cinema script writer and he used his writing skills to propagate for his movement. Apart from writing novels and film scripts, he was also a litterateur – not the top rank, but just passable , an orator, poet, and basically a man with gift of gab. Again his literary interests and skills were not Modern Tamil, but those inspired by what Sangam Tamil , say Pre 500 AD tamil literature. For his Dravidian movement , they are the Golden Age of Tamil Culture before it was swamped by Brahmanism, Brahmins and Sanskrit – that is not quite true , but that is the Dravidian Myth- from which modern Tamilnadu and Tamils should take inspiration. That was his ideology till his last breath. He thought of himself as an artist – the word Kalaignar – man of arts – became his stamp and he was called as Kalaignar Karunidhi by his party and his admirers. Most of the time he was simply called kalaignar by his admirers

    He cast his lot with C.N.Annadurai . After CNA’s death in 1968 , he cleverly maneuvered to become DMK Chief and Chief Minister – something like Stalin after Lenin . From 1969 till today he had remained in this position. In these years he had amassed wealth , he has 3 wives and children by all of them and they hold party posts. From a poor boy, his family is reckoned to be among the top 10 or 20 wealthy families in India. This is definitely plus for Independent India in which poor can aspire to riches , power , prestige and influence.

    The negative side of his rise is relying completely on identity politics , fanning hatred against some section or other, pushing his family and progeny into positions of power, blindness to corruption and taking part in it, starting dynastic politics so much so that outside his family there are no successors to lead his party.

    That was his life, typical Indian politician.

    1. The best part of any ideology is that if it can co-opt even its biggest enemy. Some of the torch bearer of this resentful ideology over the years have been Brahmins. It is akin to having muslims holding forth for Hindutva or a jewish guy for Nazis. This is something, very unique about periyarism,which I marvel at.

      1. I don’t think there is a ‘torch bearer’ for EVRism from brahmin community. True, those who like to think of themselves as ‘progressive’ would like to admire EVR and they are useful idiots for Dravidian movement.
        ‘Periyarism’ cannot be compared to Nazis or even Hindutva vis-a-vis Muslims. Nazis were only riding high on Jewish hatred in western history. Native anti-semitism was only magnified by Nazis . Anti-brahminism goes against every grain of Tamil historical culture , it is completely against cultural DNA and it is untenable as a practical program ; so beyond rhetoric hatred – which is bad enough – no violent expressions were made. To EVR, Brahmin was a symbol of everything wrong with Tamil past and culture ; he hated Tamil language as a barbarian language and Tamil literary figures as aryan sell-outs. That is why his ideas never materialized into large scale violent programs.

        EVR’ s ideas were straightaway taken from British Colonial handbook and it had no native soil.

        1. It interesting how much of India’s mainstream discourse has been hinduized /nationalistic now that so little , almost no mention of DMK secessionist past as well as its anti hindu/brahmin/N-Indian past. Probably there is a feeling in the left that highlighting this might add to right’s strength (in rest of India not TN). That should count as a win for the right at least in the battle of narratives.

          On the point about periyarism not being in cultural DNA , and brahmins not being torch bearer let agree to disagree.

          1. On the point about periyarism not being in cultural DNA , and brahmins not being torch bearer let agree to disagree.

            Can you give some examples of what you are referring to? Like VijayVan, my impressions are contrary to yours.

            Though I’m from a Tamil Brahmin family, I was born and raised in the north, so I confess I don’t have any deep knowledge of the cultural politics of TN (I’d never even heard of Periyar and the original DMK philosophy until adulthood; that was the level of my ignorance.) I do vaguely remember my old grandfather (who did grow up in TN) expressing some disdain for MK back in the early 90s.

            Regardless of the philosophy adopted by the elite DMK types like Periyar and MK, I believe the TN population is overall quite devoutly Hindu. Though many northerners seem to have a different impression; I remember being asked more than once when I was young if we worshipped Ravana.

          2. In 71 when he was CM for the first time, he instituted Rajamannar Committees on State Centre relations and it came out for state autonomy, one who pays the piper calls the tune as the English say.

      2. “Some of the torch bearer of this resentful ideology over the years have been Brahmins. It is akin to having muslims holding forth for Hindutva or a jewish guy for Nazis. This is something, very unique about periyarism,which I marvel at.”

        Saurav,
        I have been pondering about this for a long time; everyday Jayalalitha was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. My skeptical view is Tamil Brahmins over the years were able to infiltrate the Periyar’s sudra self-respect movement and lead it from within. I would consider it an irony of history and not unique Periyarism.

        To repeat what you said, it is akin to having muslims holding forth for Hindutva or a jewish guy for Nazis is right on the mark. I would say it is comment of the day on BP. Cheers. 🙂

        1. Oh, I get it now. Jayalitha seems to be a prominent example of what Saurav was talking about. But do you have any reason to believe she is representative of TN Brahmins in her political beliefs?

          Also, can someone with a deeper knowledge of TN politics comment on what the difference between the DMK and AIADMK is? Is it that the latter is Dravidian but not as anti-Hinduism as the former?

          1. Late Jayalalitha is in a class by herself. She gave herself body and soul to MGRism – if there is such an ism. Mixture populism, nepotism, cultification of MGR, and cultification of those whom MGR respected . She had no direct connection with EVR as his protege , since MGR respected him , she also respected him publicly. She was religious – but then so was MGR.
            She did not marry, treated her party members like slaves and EVRists had no qualms of falling at her feet publicly. She had unsavory women friends She was in no way a dynast , thoroughgoing egoist, enjoy the power and prestige for the moment for their own sake. When she was Chief Minister , she had the revered Brahman Kanchi Sankaracharya arrested on murder charges and that case fizzled out after few years. She in no way privileged Brahmans or anyone else. She privileged herself, that is all. Due to the extreme personal orientation of her politics, she never built a second line of leaders or any leader.

            She was a piece by herself

          2. Late Jayalalitha is in a class by herself. She gave herself body and soul to MGRism – if there is such an ism. Mixture populism, nepotism, cultification of MGR, and cultification of those whom MGR respected . She had no direct connection with EVR as his protege , since MGR respected him , she also respected him publicly. She was religious – but then so was MGR.
            She did not marry, made sure even distant relatives came nowhere near her, treated her party members like slaves and EVRists had no qualms of literally falling at her feet publicly. She had unsavory women friends She was in no way a dynast , thoroughgoing egoist, enjoy the power and prestige for the moment for their own sake. When she was Chief Minister , she had the revered Brahman Kanchi Sankaracharya arrested on murder charges and that case fizzled out after few years. She in no way privileged Brahmans or anyone else. She privileged herself, that is all. Due to the extreme personal orientation of her politics, she never built a second line of leaders or any leader.

            She was a piece by herself worthy of Shakespeare

          3. @Numinous
            The difference between DMK and ADMK is not much operationally. But in their self-concepts they differ. DMK claims to be the true heir of EVR and Annadurai and the whole baggage of dravidian movement. ADMK is unabashedly and openly India-centric and patriotic. DMK with some reservations and ambivalence. ADMK is openly religious while DMK occasionally invokes it’s earlier atheistic shibboleths, but not with conviction. Actually DMK became popular due to the star appeal of MGR. MGR realized his pulling power and once DMK was captured by Karunanidhi , he came out of it to start ADMK. It is all a matter of shades in their approach. Both are equally corrupt and nepotistic.

            Karunanidhi has made sure his son Stalin is the next DMK chief and CM and Stalins son is also on the sidelines eyeing the leadership. The circus goes on.

          4. I avoid these long threads, but please read my comment elsewhere. There is a broad consensus in Tamilnadu regarding:
            Reservations
            Midday meals
            Movement towards a non-brahminical society
            education for all
            Religion as “private” not public
            Tamil and English as the languages for education
            Lack of antipathy to Muslims or Christians

            This is unlike, say Bengal where government switches make changes to governance. The consensus evolved over 50+ years starting in 1920. Changes from Karunanidhi to MGR to Jayalalith to Edapadi, does not change the consensus. This consensus is what makes it impervious to BJP. Noone can talk Hindu or Hindi in TN and win anything but a few seats near Kanyakumari.

            Concurrently, the weakness is a lack of economics knowledge beyond populism. If the state self-governance ideas of 1967 have been carried forward, there would have been a stronger interest in socio-economic development. Now, the social is advanced, the economics, not.

            Also, please read what happens when all castes are not given their due share in education and governance in:

            https://www.livemint.com/Politics/DymS22taK4EyAbSYRx0rSO/Where-Indias-affluent-classes-live.html

            The 1991 experiment in economic freedom should have been strongly coupled with social freedom. A lack of which will increase these inequalities larger and larger in time.

          5. “My skeptical view is Tamil Brahmins over the years were able to infiltrate the Periyar’s sudra self-respect movement and lead it from within.”

            The tam brahms have not inflirted anything. Its their debasement of their hindu-ness/brahmin-ness which results them of being “accepted” in the Dravidian ideology. Look at Kamal Hassan pandering to being accepted. If this is what is “demanded” of superstar you can understand the situation of lesser mortals. Can give you many examples(T.M Krishna, actor Siddharth etc).

            https://www.firstpost.com/politics/kamal-haasans-jibe-at-brahmin-thread-mnm-chief-pandering-to-dravidian-periyar-ideology-but-is-he-alienating-others-4644091.html

            Jayalaltiha /MGR were willing to do that, they succeeded.

            “I do vaguely remember my old grandfather (who did grow up in TN) expressing some disdain for MK back in the early 90s.”

            Thankfully you didnt ask him about Periyar.

            Also, can someone with a deeper knowledge of TN politics comment on what the difference between the DMK and AIADMK is? Is it that the latter is Dravidian but not as anti-Hinduism as the former?

            AIDMK/Jayalalita are the the opportunistic lot, whatever you might say about DMK they dont swing much from their ideology . JL was hindu when it sufficed(Kar sevaks,Draupadi scene) ,nationalist when it sufficed (Rajiv Gandhi murder), Dravidian when sufficed(almost every time else)

  2. While we are on the topic of the DMK and its philosophy, VS Naipaul had some illuminating anecdotes in his last book on India (The Million Mutinies.) The impression I got from reading him was that though the class/caste populism of the DMK caught on, its atheistic philosophy did not. Also, that the Dalits didn’t get any more consideration from the dominant middle castes that voted for the DMK than they used to from the Brahmins.

  3. The ideas propagated in these comments are nothing new; having heard them from the time of Bitnet; and entirely through the pinhole of Hindu Brahmin religious ideology (even if almost no one here will accept this)

    The goal to a More encompassing Tamil society started at the time of Justice Party; members such as P.T.Rajan, Theyagaraya chetty, Natesa Mudali and others. Their vision was one of “to create and promote the education, social, economic, political, material and moral progress of all communities in Southern India beyond Brahmins”. Some ideas ensconced by the movement include job reservation for non-Brahmins, elimination of untouchability, and education for all. The wipeout of justice party in 1937 elections led to the Dravidan and self-respect movements. The party would have dwindled, except the first elections in Independent India exposed the play of Rajaji in creating a government even after being driven to minority in Madras Presidency, and his subsequent bizarre government schemes such as family vocation-based education for 2 years.

    The Kamaraj based governance followed many of the ideas that the Justice party promulgated, including, free meals at school (The Mid-day Meal Scheme, was first introduced in 1920 by the Madras Corporation following the Justice Party), and extended reservation to more castes. Subsequently, the MGR administration (Note, not the Karunanidhi administration) extended the midday meals to more schools and more nutritious meals, and extended the reservation further. EVR rarely campaigned against the Kamaraj administration. All hell broke loose when the Bhaktavakchalam government brought in Hindi as a medium of instruction. Almost everything, state freedom to govern, antipathy to Hindi, lack of interest in religious symbolism in politics, reservation in education and state jobs, midday meals, all have support from the people and those who govern.

    I am a little bit hesitant to make this open forum a 300 comment mess; but, outside a 3% population, nobody in TN is opposed to reservation, midday meals, education for all, Tamil/English as the two sole languages in school. The parties switch, but there is always a consensus. Jayalalithaa was bound to that consensus, she is not someone sympathetic to “anti-brahminism” as a Brahmin.

    The weakness of the Dravidian (I hesitate to call it that word, because this needs to be viewed as a continuum from 1920) is the lack of an economic scheme attached to it. Mahathir had a similar Bhumiputra policy, but coupled with a strong economic policy, he was able to execute governance. If the Indian center had let the states self-rule on economics and social policy, and had not centralized the economic governance, the situation in Tamilnadu would have been better off; but, unfortunately MK, EVR and others did not have the educational knowledge on the coupling between economics and politics. Someone like Chidambaram or C.S could have served as economic czar to have close coupled the economic growth with the politic. In that absence, the Hindu rate of growth greatly cramped the Tamilnadu experiment.

    1. What exactly do you feel would not be accepted here by the people. What was being discussed was a limited point about the ideology and its interaction with hindu-ness(which you seem to agree to it too). On the economical/social points i agree with most of what you wrote.

      1. As a Tamil and not being ruled by an Islamic polity through any period of time, there is no existential angst regarding Hinduism. The call for rationalism and reformation is not viewed as “anti-Hindu” except for a 2% segment, who are ironically, the most advanced economically. The view of the TN govt and the rulers as anti-Hindu is not supported, if anything the state has secularized and compartmentalized religion. The antipathy to Brahmin Domination of jobs and education has enriched both the Brahmins and the state. If anything, the more relaxed approach towards religion and caste has helped the state. MK, EVR and others have been a part of the change and are not the villains of a kabuki drama.

          1. The 2% (or 3%) is essentially the Hindu Brahmin population in TN that feels that there interests must be protected. Unfortunately, they make the largest noise in English Media through Cho Ramasamy and Subramania swamy and makes it appear in Indian media that TN is under massive anti-Hindu pressure. If anything, Tamilians have arrived at a consensus regarding religion, reservations, politics and economics; the fact that the TamBram is outside this consensus is making these discussions volatile.

    2. “The weakness of the Dravidian (I hesitate to call it that word, because this needs to be viewed as a continuum from 1920) is the lack of an economic scheme attached to it.”

      A little appreciated fact is that various political movements at and around Independence achieved maturity during a time of zero-sum economics. There had been no (zero/nil) economic growth under British rule (no increase in per capita income from 1757 to 1947). The only way to get rich was to make someone else poorer (or work for the brits who would do the dirty work of expropriation for you). It was reasonable to assume things would be more or less the same even going forward. So all of them were ideologically crippled from the get go.

      The Communists in Kerala re-distributed land to everyone and then everyone could sit on their own piece of land and starve. The Dravidianists focused their energies on getting the clerk jobs British handed out to their lackeys never realizing that even if everyone of those 3% brahmin clerkships were re-distributed, it would still be insufficient for the rest. Nor would they be all that well paying at that point. And so people from both states began migrating in droves to less ideologically crippled areas (both within India and outside). There was an era during which the destination of choice for both Tamil and Malayali youth were Bombay and the factories of North India (Gujarat, MP and UP). When the Gulf Boom stated gaining steam Malayalis flew en masse to Arabia and for a while Tamils went to Kerala.

      Thankfully, some in TN did learn the right lessons and made changes (though this never happened in Kerala because the money orders never stopped coming until quite recently). This also demonstrates that it was will/choice rather than compulsion that dictated economic policies in states. There would have been nothing that could be done in Gujarat or MP and forbidden in TN for instance. The truth is that nobody wanted it. And many still don’t. Even today when Indians pass by a big house they remark: there is no way someone could be that rich without corruption, black money (both being essentially stealing from the state and so the people). Zero-sum thinking prevails and is probably the default state of people everywhere.

      (Another interesting exercise is to think of Partition in these terms).

      1. (Another interesting exercise is to think of Partition in these terms).

        i did & it is not conclusive, other ideologies like communism or some nonsense dravidian style rationalism whatever could have gained but none did, what did succeed was islamic worldview. Which is amazing if u think about it, what is even more amazing is jinnah and iqbal, most educated amongst muslims under british took to some new islamic idea when many others suffered a lack of confidence and tried to ape some western idea. communism or rationalism or whatever.

  4. About Bangladesh Protests, I think this 4 minute interview by a famous Photographer (plus a PHD in science from UK) to Al Jazeera TV pretty much sums up what’s going on in Bangladesh. I am post the transcript of the interview first and then posting the video. NOTE- immediately after the interview, the government forces picked up Mr Shahidul Alam from his house, heavily tortured him and took him in a week long police remand.

    Q: These protests were sparked by two teens who were killed in a road accident but is this all about road safety or is there something larger going on?

    A: Very much larger. This has been going on for a very very long time. It is an unelected government so they do not really have a mandate to rule, But they have been clinging on by brute force. The looting of banks, the gagging of the media. You mentioned just now the mobile internet is currently switched off, the extra-judicial killings, the disappearances, the need to give protection money at all levels, bribery at all levels, corruption in education. It is a never ending list. It has been huge.

    So it really it is that pent up energy, emotion, anger, that has been let lose. This particular incident, sad as it is, really is the valve that has allowed things to go through. Very recently there was another very big protest about the quota because the quota system is rigged in such a way that only people close to the party in power get to get government jobs and there is a disproportionate amount of jobs going to them so ordinary people protested. And that was very brutally brought down.

    Under pressure the prime minister offered reforms but them reneged on them. So that is also part of the reason. So this time when students did go on protests, again it went to a situation where they could not control it and the Prime minister has promised that she will cede to their demands, but of course people no longer believe. She has no credibility. She has made promises before, it has not been accepted, so now they don’t do it.

    But I think what we need is to look at is what is happening in the streets today. The police specifically asked for help from these armed goons to combat unarmed students demanding safe roads. I mean now ridiculous is that. Today I was in the street and there are people with machetes in their hands chasing unarmed students and the police are standing by watching it happen. In some cases they are actually helping it out. I mean …. this morning, there was tear-gassing and I saw the police ganging up trying to catch these un-armed students, whereas these armed goons, are going out, wielding sticks and machetes, are walking past and they [the police] are just standing by.

    Q: So where do you think these things are going to go from here? These protests appear to have spread across the country quite spontaneously and without any kind of central leadership here. This is part of the challenge the government is dealing with, in that it is so grass-roots in the way that it has spread.

    A: I think the Government has miscalculated. It certainly felt that fear was enough, repression would have been enough, but I think you cannot tame an entire nation in this manner. And of course they are approaching elections, so the nearer it gets to elections, the more sensitive they are. They know that if there is a fair and free election, they will lose. But they haven’t got an exit plan as they have misruled for so long so that if they do lose, they will be torn apart. So they have to hang on by any means, so that is exactly what they are doing. They are clinging on using the entire might of the system plus the armed goons at their disposal.

  5. I wonder what sbarrkum thinks of this.

    https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/m-karunanidhi-a-lifelong-warrior-for-sri-lankan-tamil-cause-but-misunderstood-in-the-end/article24548728.ece

    I am not familiar with the details of Tamil politics but it does seem interesting that Karunanidhi supported a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka while not being in favor of Tamil Nadu separating from India.

    RIP to a leader who seems to have been beloved of his people. Btw, why is his son named after a brutal Communist dictator? That seems kind of unfortunate.

    1. MK had no convictions or political views on happenings in Srilanka. He was a populist and went along with the sentiments and emotions of the crowds , that is all.
      He was in the crosshairs of LTTE which was the group which stood for independent Elam ; MK and LTTE never had good relations. LTTE thought Karunanidhi was a slippery customer, which he was.

      In the 1950 USSR was all the rage among ‘progressives’ and intellectuals – no wonder he named his son Stalin, when the latter died.

    2. Sbarkum is part Tamil and understanding of the issues, but the Tamil population is subdivided between northern, eastern and mountain. The northern Tamils were educated, moved up economically, lost their place and fought for freedom. This cause had broad support, but MK was a supporter for 12 years.

      DMK was a proponent of state self governance and against centralization and Hindi since 1967. The Indian polity adjusted and DMK was a kingmaker since 1987, and with the p0st-91 economic growth, there is more confidence among Dravidian parties in Indian federalism, and MK was not expecting more than that in srilanka.

      1. Perhaps its also easier to support secession in a neighboring country than to consider the break up of your own. I don’t think most Sri Lankans would take kindly to the idea of their nation breaking up. Also, if a politician advocates Tamil Nadu being independent of India, the government in Delhi would probably shut that down pretty quickly.

        Understandably, there was solidarity between Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils. After all, both are members of the same ethnic group. It is like how Pakistani Muslims are concerned about Kashmiri Muslims. But unlike Kashmir, no part of Sri Lanka is disputed territory.

        Greater federalism is a good thing. Secession is usually a red line.

        1. Pakistani ‘disputes’ with neighbours are artificial and kept alive by Pakistani military to give themselves a raison d’etre for their continued dictatorship. Nobody takes Pakistani claims of ‘disputes’ seriously.

          1. That’s going too far. While the Pakistani military does benefit from anti-India feeling, it is also factually true that “Jammu & Kashmir” is disputed territory. There is a Line of Control and not an International Border. The issue is still on the agenda of the UN.

            Pakistani Muslims are going to be upset about the atrocities that are done to Kashmiri Muslims.

          2. “Pakistani Muslims are going to be upset about the atrocities that are done to Kashmiri Muslims.”

            I can understand that. Why Pakistan , including it’s Army , is quaking in it’s boots to talk about ethnic cleansing in China

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/ethnic-cleansing-makes-a-comeback–in-china/2018/08/02/55f73fa2-9691-11e8-810c-5fa705927d54_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2847ff879989

            “Since last year, hundreds of thousands — and perhaps millions — of innocent Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region in northwest China have been unjustly arrested and imprisoned in what the Chinese government calls “political re-education camps.” Thousands have disappeared. There are credible reports of torture and death among the prisoners. The government says it is fighting “terrorism” and “religious extremism.””

            Even Muslims having a beard is illegal
            https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-39460538

            After all Pakistan is a all weather friend of China ; it simply has to give friendly advice to treat Chinese Muslims as part of Umma.

            Not only Pakistan, the entire Muslim world is collaborating with China on this

            https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/world/asia/egypt-muslims-uighurs-deportations-xinjiang-china.html

            The fact is any strong government worthy of name will suppress any religiously motivated separatist movement which can have intentional support or may not.

          3. I don’t appreciate Whataboutery. It is the refuge of someone who knows that they have a weak case and has no good argument. Whatever China is doing to its Muslims has no relevance to the nature of the Kashmir Dispute (which has been going on since Partition). I’m not going to defend China, but obviously Pakistan has political and strategic compulsions not to antagonize them.

            No matter what massacres happened in 1988, it is a fact that the Indian Army has committed atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims since the uprising (or freedom struggle) began in the 1990s. Gawkadal is only one example. Just last week a civilian was killed in the Valley. Indians should have some shame before trying to defend this kind of conduct.

            As a person of Kashmiri Muslim ancestry, I am personally offended by people who deny that Kashmir is disputed or who refuse to see that it is not morally justifiable to crush Kashmiris in order to keep the land with India.

            Since this thread is not about Kashmir, I’ll leave it there.

        2. Pakistan ethnicity is same as us central asians. Ata Chaghtay, Ata Timur, Ata Babur sired children in what’s now Pakistan. Kashmiris were bandits. Though now Muslim so preferable.

          I’d love to have a cute kashmiri muslimah gf. Who wouldn’t lyub hols on black sea resorts…

          (dame tu cosita ah ah..)

        3. The solidarity between Indian Tamils and EElam Tamils are overstated. MK has run a whole gamut of statements, but there was never any evidence that he favored EElam seccession; MGR favored it more.

          “Secession is a red line. federalism is awesome” are all weasel words. When there is nothing for the people in a polity, what use is federalism or the lack thereof? This is true for the Kashmiri or someone from Nagaland or from Naxalite Andhra Pradesh?

          1. Greater autonomy (Article 370 in its full form) would earlier probably have been an acceptable solution to the Kashmir problem. It probably isn’t now as there is much more anti-India feeling among young people in the Valley today.

            But chipping away at the substance of Article 370 since the 1950s was not a good idea.

    3. “I am not familiar with the details of Tamil politics but it does seem interesting that Karunanidhi supported a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka while not being in favor of Tamil Nadu separating from India.”

      He along with his party was at one point of time did want to secede from India. What we have now is tamils (and the left, liberal) trying to sugar coat it with “greater autonomy” and all that(just like his anti hindu/brahmin things). I feel even he felt he might face issues, and after 1962 China defeat, he got a convenient opportunity to play nationalist. This anyhow did not dampen his enthusiasm for LTTE and separatist politics . When the IPKF soldiers were being killed by LTTE, he cheered for the LTTE and did not visit any IPKF martyrs.

      “Btw, why is his son named after a brutal Communist dictator? That seems kind of unfortunate.”

      The ironical thing is mr son himself wanted tamil parents to name their children “tamil” sounding names. I mean of course who hasnt heard about the great 8th century tamil king Stalin Stalin Chola

      1. In 71 when he was CM for the first time, he instituted Rajamannar Committee on State Centre relations and it came out for state autonomy, one who pays the piper calls the tune as the English say.

      2. I understand that these are futile arguments in the internet, but:

        State autonomy for fiscal and administrative purposes was the basis for C.N.annadurai’s state autonomy and federalism arguments in Rajyasabha 1962-1966, and were oriented against concentration of power by JN and his coterie in 1952-1962. The concentration of power was such that people in PM secretariat had more power in budgetary allocation and planning than any MP or ministers in the government
        .
        Annadurai clearly explained the aims and objectives of DMK party:1
        1. Reshaping the constitution so that it becomes effectively federal.
        2. Fuller autonomy to the states
        3. Proportional representation, which seeks to solve the problem of communal minorities.
        4. Democratic socialism.
        5. Eradication of caste.

        Even the term democratic socialism, which is currently an anathema , was well defined, and focused on the allocation of resources to states to spend, and limit the powers of the centre. This is no different than the federal government of US, and was opposite to the ill-defined “union” of India concept. The “union” concept let the center control taxation, allocation and distribution via the combination of PMO, cabinet and planning commission. The move towards a more federal republic would have resolve some of the future issues with Punjab/J&K and north-eastern states.

        As regarding the IPKF issue, it was absolute nonsensical idea of RG to send indian forces to a nation whose battles were never ours, and was essentially a trick played by Jayawardhane to have India handle the Tamil tigers. Not getting one involved in that would have resolved a lot of later issues.

        Again, I fully understand that the diaspora is largely Hindu Brahmin, and will rarely accept alternate viewpoints on Indian society, and agree that these discussions are futile.

        1. Vijay,

          Even after reading all your comments, I don’t get exactly what the dispute is, and why you think Brahmins (as a whole) and non-Brahmins (as a whole) are on different sides of that dispute. Most of the ideas and policies you have discussed are pretty mainstream. Some of them may be leftish, but then lots of Brahmins are left-wing too.

          I hope you are not falling into the trap of asserting that a lack of fealty to left-wing policies is a symptom of casteism (just as many American lefties seem to consider right-wing adherence to be inherently racist.)

          1. This is becoming a joke. Statements like DMK is not anti hindu has been made. Periyar would be rolling in his grave. This is a example when i said the biggest victory of any ideology is to co opt its opponents and let them defend it too.

            Just FYI if someone thinks the “northeners” take their cue on Tamil politics from tam brahms like swamy and cho then i dont know what else to say. Its like saying a tamilian would understand what;s going in Kashmir from Kashmiri pandit. Lets not insult each other intelligence.

          2. Numinous,

            I assume you are unaware that Brahmins have been conducting secret ‘Elders of the Zion’ type meetings since millennia in order to not let their vice like grip on the Indian society loosen. Any Brahmin you do see engaged in Social Justice movements like Socialist/Communist parties, liberal intelligentsia or the leftist media is actually a plant set up by the Elders in order to foil anti-caste movements and perpetuate Brahmin privilege till eternity.

            All new born Brahmin males are initiated into this secret society at their sacred thread ceremony. That’s what the reference to ‘dvija’ or twice born means.

            You haven’t heard of all this because the Brahmin controlled, ‘leftist appearing’ media would never ever let this out. Nor would any University or academic institution write about it.

          3. That is the legacy of EVR – thinking any social/political issues in terms caste . Racism is an ingrained aspect of Dravidian movement – they cannot think outside caste divisions , usually brahmin-nonbrahmin.

          4. There is no dispute, at least in Tamilnadu. Fulmination against EVR, DMK and MK are all internet Hindu trademarks.

            We are now completing the full circle of usenet argumentative assertions:
            Left wing = Anti-Hindu
            Right wing = Hindu
            Reservations = left
            Rationalism = foreign; Hindu= Indian; and, Hindu > Rationalism

            Calling American leftism as support for arguments is another familiar argument. Several right wing and left wing US ideas will be entirely rejected in India.

          5. Serious question. What exactly are your “rational” view on these three gentleman regarding specifically
            a. India
            b.Hinduism

          6. @Vijay
            “Fulmination against EVR, DMK and MK are all internet Hindu trademarks.”

            First let me congratulate you for the brilliant discovery that Hindus write on the internet. It goes without saying you are not a Hindu.
            Seriously, are you kidding ??? DMK/MK have been repeatedly beaten at the polls. At their best DMK could not muster more than 20-30 % of the votes. About 70-80% of the voters in TN have rejected DMK/MK. So much for ‘internet Hindus’ , your great discovery . EVR was so bashful to face the electorate, he never appeared at any hustings.

    1. Interesting take-away : (from 44:41)
      Chinese Business Model: Colonising Pakistan to enrich China ; Have done this in many countries Djibouti, Myanmar, Srilanka, trying hard in Bangladesh
      They basically setup a price which is far in excess of the market price; in that they roll up all the bribes to pay off corrupt politicians which is effective way of moving money from public to private coffers; when these products are not economically viable – you can go thorough every single one of them , when the country cannot pay loan servicing, China says, OK give 99 year lease , give a Chinese company majority stake in having whatever money comes out of it; essentially they get a sovereign Chinese island .

  6. been some time, few interesting threads. As to history and trajectories of states are concerned, we can take tami nadu, karnataka, andrha,telangana ,kerala. Kerala had Hindu king and there was untouchability and other perverse behavior, it lead to conversions with missionary work, there was also narayan guru and his work. In andhra region, there was creation of waterworks for agriculture and that preserved. In telangana region, there was nizam and islamic fanaticism. In karnataka region, mysore had a decent king who was a modernizer and yoga as we know today was popularized from there. In tamil nadu, there was some missionary activity that tried to turn tables but no equally oppressive/stupid Hindu ruler like kerala. So I guess different factors do play a part in shaping the dynamic of how things turn out. Kerala stands out, there was islamic radicalism and fundamentalism there but i guess that once demography changed, its role is not felt. I always believed dravidian rationalism not built on rationality or humanism or even good philosophical argumentation was a hodgepodge of stuff. If sri lanka would have been muslim or tamils would have been in present day punjab, many of them would have been savarkarites ~unprincipled atheists. so the consensus stays until demography changes, lets face it, any ideology built against 3% of anything is robust till demography changes or new troubles gather around. Also I think Tamil nadu shows the limit of countries that impose reservations. That is, at about 2300$$ nominal gdp, it stands above many african states. Is that the best India can be even with reservations?. Countries that dont trust themselves I guess cannot grow beyond a point. After that, any argument made against them(reservation) will seem discriminative or racist and not factual. There is no decent looking convincing dialectic that can change that(politically without paying a price). India should be so lucky that we should hope for AI and automation to help us out here. Just as we were lucky to copy methods of success from other countries that helped us grow beyond Independence. Lets face it, we failed to create a society where an argument is judged by its merits. This disease is now afflicting west too as they too are now prone to dangers that come with diversity. Without the west I dont think India would have developed as much as it did by this period of time. Its not for lack of ideas, its for the lack of trust. That seems to be the Hindu problem . In case of Islam, its lack of diversity ideas itself. In case of china, too much centralization. Perhaps we here now are lucky and yes,many of our ancestors were unlucky.

  7. Wow. Two separate ISIS terror plots involving the toxin ricin were thwarted in France and Germany it seems. https://www.newstatesman.com/world/middle-east/2018/08/how-islamic-state-caliphate-was-lost

    It does seem like the world is getting better at preventing attacks. India is now on its longest streak of peace from Islamic terror in decades. Oh I remember when there was a bomb attack in every other city every other week. Almost as bad were the panic attacks claiming bomb discovered in this theater or that park which would freak everybody out and then make everyone stay at home (this is in the late 2000s).

  8. I would like to ask the pundits what they think about the greatness of Central Asia and Aryans and Turks. From a scale of 1-10. I rate them 9.9. I think they are fantastic.

    What is your rating kabir, anan, raziv, zavid, vikram, shafi etc? Other people can also show admiration for #Greatistanis

    Come on, don’t be shy. Lets keep the thoughts going about greatness of Stanis. This blog needs to advertise us more I think. True salvation of south asia is central asia for we provide the fathers and our sons inherited this earth.

    Regards
    Jaggu Jangjoo

    1. I would like to ask the pundits what they think about the greatness of Central Asia and Aryans and Turks. From a scale of 1-10. I rate them 9.9. I think they are fantastic.

      are you the all-father’s scion?

  9. https://www.economist.com/asia/2018/08/08/karunanidhi-an-indian-political-giant-passes

    “Meanwhile, the look of India’s national politics makes Mr Karunanidhi’s legacy look as relevant as ever. “Subnational” pride, caste identity and social welfarism will be at the heart of the 2019 general election, as much as Mr Modi’s election campaign of 2014 had aimed to transcend them. Regional titans for whom Mr Karunanidhi was a model hold the future once again. And the flash and crackle of pure celebrity looks as alluring as ever.”

    https://www.economist.com/asia/2018/08/11/narendra-modis-image-factory

    “All this image-making is carefully controlled. The prime minister makes few unscripted appearances. He does not bring journalists along when he travels. In a break with tradition, he has never held a press conference. At a recent, rare “interaction” with news editors from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the dozen visitors were told the meeting was wholly off the record. Oh, and they were to avoid the topic of politics”

  10. An interesting interview by an American academic who has studied RSS from close quarters for the last 50 years i.e. have met all their leaders all this time.

    https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/a-battle-between-hindutva-and-hinduism-is-coming-walter-andersen-rss-5301109/

    Instead of assuming what RSS is and is not, this interview gives a lot of info from direct experience.

    Some takeaways

    The RSS is not a religious organisation.
    That is why, as the idea evolved further, MD Deoras, the next sarvsanghachalak (chief), opened the RSS to Muslims in 1979. His argument was that an overwhelming proportion of Indian Muslims were converts from the Hindu community. They were not foreigners. His idea of Hindutva moved towards a territorial idea. To some extent, the idea came from Savarakar.

    Savarkar, as you know, was an atheist

    the movement was one towards territoriality. It is not that the cultural definition entirely disappeared. But, for Deoras, everybody, or almost everybody, in India was a Hindu. He was the first one to use the term Hindu to cover everyone

    6,000 prachaaraks today. What pledge do they take?
    They take an ascetic pledge: they give up connections to the family, material wealth and become, in a sense, wedded to the RSS.

    The RSS was undoubtedly responsible for Modi’s rise to the top. But it views Modi’s economics with scepticism.

    Now that the RSS has expanded its base in the South and East, can it continue to insist on the primacy of Hindi?
    It cannot, and it does not. Apart from the southern and eastern expansion, one issue also is the medium of instruction in its school system. RSS schools teach pupils in their mother tongue,

    There have been Dalit and OBC prachaaraks. Modi, an OBC, was a prachaarak

    Ambedkar is now a hero.

      1. I would have thought 50 years of close study and interest as an academic would have given insights , and now you allege long term study leads to sympathetic distortion.
        Life long scholars of say Russia or China or any other subject are given lot of credibility

  11. Shouldn’t we have a post on Independence day of Pakistan, am a bit surprised specially Zack is quick with these stuff 😛

    1. It’s still the 13th in the UK 🙂
      Also I’m extremely busy with work.
      I don’t like to write posts from my mobile (cell phone for the Americans) but from my desktop and haven’t had a chance to get any R&R time..

  12. Wrote this as a reply to Bharatshontan’s comment on the VS Naipaul Thread, which I’ll post here since comments are closed on that one. Apologies if this seems out of context for this thread!

    ————–

    This is one epic rant, kudos mate! I imagine you’re a Bengali version of Jonathan Pie who goes around delivering truth bombs all day to the rest of us folk keeping our head down and swimming in the designated lane that life lays out for us 😉

    I came back to BP to check if there’s a discussion of Sir Vidia and boy am I not disappointed. Like many others here, I too have only read his non-fiction works – Among the Believers and An Area of Darkness. I instantly loved his scathing, pitiless but clear-eyed tone, and disagree as I may with some of his theories, he was irresistible. I found a bit of that in Dalrymple’s first work In Xanadu, where his language was more rough around the edges and before his politically correct polish seeped into everything he wrote. An Area of Darkness was particularly hard to digest at the time, since I was still a naive Mumbai-dwelling middle class kid who’s main real exposure to the heartlands beyond the Harbour Line was my annual trip to my native Tamil Nadu, to see temples and visit family. This book inspired me to dig deeper and scratch at the various layers of India, to find what lies beneath. And I’m so much richer for it. I’m ambivalent about Islam, in that while it has a long time and legitimate presence in India, it still has a foreign and exotic air and will never be ‘of the soil’. In that I guess I’m in agreement with Sir Vidia’s islamo-skeptic writings (as far as I’ve read them), but there’s much I disagree with in them as well. Sigh, and I do love Mughlai cuisine, vegetarian though I am.

    I agree with your dismay about Bengali upper-caste folk as well, and I can relate since I’m Tam-brahm. And yes, we too did benefit really early on from British colonialism. Indeed, English (the language) has pervaded all levels of Tam-brahm community and social organisation, and has been so for a couple of generations. Despite the odd freedom fighter like Subrahmanya Bharati, the Tam-brahm community was largely ambivalent or even partial to British rule, me thinks. I often think Tam-brahms are among the most selfish, nepotistic communities in India, simultaneously cocking their snook at what they perceive to be the unwashed masses while simultaneously claiming victimhood at the hands of Dravidianist politics. Being sheltered from islamic invasions has allowed TN to develop a strongly local, rooted and largely Brahmin-free version of Hinduism that is also rational and humanistic. The odd OBC-dalit caste violence, tragic as it is, is a bug of the system rather than a feature as in the North. In many ways, South India is the most functional bit of India with a semblance of law and order, an educated public and a non-dogmatic outlook to life. Me thinks even Sir Vidia may have had a kind thing or two to say about the place, if he’d been (I don’t know if he did!)

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