When we enter the world of Jain tellings, the Rama story no longer carries Hindu values. Indeed the Jain texts express the feeling that the Hindus, especially the brahmans, have maligned Ravana, made him into a villain….
Vimalasuri the Jain opens the story not with Rama’s genealogy and greatness, but with Ravana’s. Ravana is one of the sixty-three leaders or salakapurusas of the Jain tradition. He is noble, learned, earns all his magical powers and weapons through austerities (tapas), and is a devotee of Jain masters. To please one of them, he even takes a vow that he will not touch any unwilling woman… In another tradition of the Jain Ramayanas, Sita is his daughter, although he does not know it: the dice of tragedy are loaded against him further by this oedipal situation….
Here Rama does not even kill Ravana, as he does in the Hindu Ramayanas. For Rama is an evolved Jain soul who has conquered his passions; this is his last birth, so he is loath to kill anything. It is left to Laksmana, who goes to hell while Rama finds release (kaivalya). One hardly need add that the Paumacariya is filled with references to Jain places of pilgrimage, stories about Jain monks, and Jain homilies and legends. Furthermore, since the Jains consider themselves rationalists—unlike the Hindus, who, according to them, are given to exorbitant and often bloodthirsty fancies and rituals—they systematically avoid episodes involving miraculous births (Rama and his brothers are born in the normal way), blood sacrifices, and the like…. The monkeys too are not monkeys but a clan of celestials (vidyadharas) actually related to Ravana and his family through their great grandfathers. They have monkeys as emblems on their flags: hence the name Vanaras or ‘monkeys’.
A funny thread about the issue:
I was recently going through the book, A Convergence of Civilizations, which highlights demographic/social trends throughout the Muslim World.
Now looking at the table and for the time being ignore the MENA countries. The stark disparity between Pakistan (50%) and Bangladesh (10%) seems to stand out.
It generally seems to be the case that the non-Arab states except Pakistan cluster toward the bottom relatively, while Pakistan seems to have a far elevated rate of endogamy and was second only to Sudan.
ZackNote: Umang’s first time submission to BP is an exciting (and provocative) piece about his experience as a NRI in an Indian Muslim shrine.
I once visited the Dargah of Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer. This was some time ago so I am struggling to remember. Anyway, as I got off the auto-rickshaw, the driver advised me to watch out for my valuables and possessions as they were liable to be stolen from this part of town. I thanked him for the advice and walked up to a vast crush of humanity leading up to the Dargah. Continue reading
In the list of Islamic contributions to science, perhaps we need to add the discovery of “girl germs”.
TORONTO — In case of competing rights, a Toronto woman has lodged a complaint against a barber who refused to cut her hair because he’s Muslim. In June, Faith McGregor requested a man’s haircut at the Terminal Barber Shop in downtown Toronto. Co-owner Omar Mahrouk told her that his Muslim faith prohibits him from touching a woman who is not a member of his family. All the other barbers in the shop said the same thing.
“For me it was just a haircut and started out about me being a woman,” McGregor, 35, told the Toronto Star. “Now we’re talking about religion versus gender versus human rights and businesses in Ontario.”
She has filed a complaint with Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario because the incident made her feel like a “second-class citizen.” McGregor is not seeking monetary damages, but wants the tribunal to force the shop to offer men’s haircuts to both genders.
“In our faith, I can cut my mother’s hair, I can cut my sister’s hair, I can cut my wife’s hair, my daughter’s hair,” shop co-owner Karim Saaden told The Star. “We are people who have values and we hold on to (them). I am not going to change what the faith has stated to us to do.”
McGregor rejected an offer from the shop to find a barber to cut her hair.
“It’s the principle of the matter…This needs to be discussed and now it’s bigger than what occurred with me that one day,” she told the newspaper. [Source]
To throw one more tidbit of information out there: Saaden and Mahrouk are so strict in their faith that they also serve alcohol at their other barber shop.
Inspired by a previous post, I noticed I had a plethora of data regarding fertility and female illiteracy. These two variables are highly correlated with one another. In fact female literacy correlates more strongly than general literacy. The issue here is that men’s literacy starts to go up at an earlier date than female literacy.
As you poke around the data, the interesting thing you notice that the numbers go all over the map for female literacy, the Muslims/Hindus don’t consistently top one another. But outside of Madhya Pradesh, Muslims have consistently higher TFR’s than the Hindus do.
Sources: International Institute for Population Sciences, National Family Health Survey 1998-1999, ORC, Macro, WorldBank Dataset
The table appears small, here is a link to the table.
These next two tables show rank differences by state.
I subtracted (Muslim – Hindu) for both variables.
The higher the number, the greater the disparity is in the Hindu’s favor for the first chart, it is measuring illiteracy. A lower number indicates a Muslim edge.
This is literally measuring how many more kids Muslims have than Hindus. Ranging from as high as 3.2 to zero.
Islam tends to have a pro-natalist effect, even in that states where Muslim women have lower illteracy rates, they have higher fertility rates than Hindu women.
At this final critical moment on election day I’m happy to bring the world the following largely unknown information about the incumbent.
Much has been speculated about the president on the fringe right but hardly any in-depth look at his myriad and dubious relations has been offered in the mainstream media. Here at Brown Pundits, we’re happy to resolve the problem of the lacuna in the public’s knowledge regarding their president/candidate by sharing this picture I took a few weeks ago in Chicago at the world headquarters of a certain sect belonging to a larger religious group which shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say that the congregation was almost exclusively African American and that the person leading the prayers was a close relative of the Obamas and that the photograph was taken outside the prayer hall shortly before the prayers were to commence.
Obviously you all know the religion in question but just in case you’re not sure you do, these links should clear it up.
The fact that distinctly insular groups of people of varying heritage, culture, belief or language have a hard time getting along with each for the long term when they have some shared space and limited intercourse is a historical and geographic problem to be dealt with by those who would ameliorate the snowballing grievances that occasionally lead to outrages and massacres between those groups. Anyone denying the above component in the ongoing bloody conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Burma and perhaps a dozen other places in the world today would be missing a vital component toward understanding those conflicts and their potential cures.
One prophylactic of some utility to the danger of such often unforeseen outbursts of violence might be the building of bridges via individuals’ personal communication and caring that extend beyond both the commercial and merely polite.
This world we live in is a glorious place, and in the modern era the range and quantity of pleasures available to most of us far surpass anything available to even our recent ancestors (even if some of our troubles, such as widespread overcrowding, hunger and loss of meaning surpass some of what our adult ancestors had to endure). One such pleasures is the ability for anyone with bus fare or an internet connection to connect with people and members of communities whom he or she would otherwise never interact with on a personal and deeply honest level. Regardless of any of the material or safety benefits that might ensue from such interactions there are the pure unadulterated benefits of friendship, the broadening of one’s mind and senses, and the pleasure of encountering the hitherto exotic.
From my own limited experience it would appear to me that most people in the world, regardless of how fundamentally insular a community they hail from, sincerely enjoy their interactions with a sincerely interested and personable visitor from a differing community no matter how wide the gap between their respective upbringings, beliefs, cultures and ways of life.
As tautologically simple and trite as it is to say: People are people. And there’s nothing better than that.
Dinesh D’Souza, most recently known for an apparently wildly profitable documentary which I have not seen (2016: Obama’s America,) has taken the most American career turn of all: publicized infidelity and a fall from grace (I couldn’t resist, sorry.) In a political science seminar during my undergrad years, I informed the professor that I would be citing a D’Souza book and that I had found it in the references section of the school library–it was at this point that her eyebrows shot up like twin furry caterpillars of scholarly indignation and she said, “Really? The references section? This is hardly scholarly work.” Of all the conservative-ish brown pundits in the world, D’Souza is likely the only one (Am I wrong about Ramesh Ponnuru?) who lived by the sword of ‘family values’ and we all know how that one goes. D’Souza, like myself, has little to contribute other than conservative cultural criticism. Long live the data-driven brown pundits.