Post Modernism

Hope to write a future detailed article about Post Modernism. Farhan Qureshi–who I would describe as an Ahmedi Sunni Atheist Agnostic  Hindu–has a conversation with a Hindu about the connection between Hinduism and Post Modernism.

Many might be sharply critical of these two conversationalist for being Hindu, “right wing Hindu”, “Hindutva”, etc. Note the later two phrases are pejoratives that people who disagree with Hindus project onto Hindus. This said the views these two express would probably be broadly praised by those who are pejoratively called “Hindutva”, much the way Had Anhad is praised by many “Hindutva” people.

I have seen many of Farhan Qureshi’s videos and works and haven’t found a single thing he said that I disagreed with.

The Dharma open architecture was created long ago. One of Farhan Qureshi’s teachers says twelve thousand years ago. Dharma open architecture can be described as a truer meaning and truer implementation of the goals of post modernism. My hope is that this video will help viewers understand what Hinduism is and the connection between Hinduism and Post Modernism.

The global movement of freedom came from the Dharma open architecture system. The Dharma architecture remains the deepest current implementation of freedom; deeply imperfect though Sanathana Dharma practitioners are.

The below video conversation with Farhan Qureshi is very long; but relevant to the question of oppression of muslims by nonmuslims. Three articles eon this subject can be seen here. I would only recommend watching this video if you have the time since it is 100 minutes long. This video helps explain why muslims have more freedom of art, thought, intuition and feeling in cultures inspired by Dharma open architecture than anywhere else:

Another video that helps give color to how nonmuslims mistreat muslims, hinduism and post modernism is:

Is there a Muslim concept of nationhood?

I should have titled this post as “Islamic concept” since there is a difference between Islam & Muslim.

When I review Two Nation Theory (I am not assessing the merits & demerits of it) it sounds remarkably like the Bahá’í conception of the world.

In the sense that Bahá’ís have a very weak notion of nation or race or even language but prioritise the Faith over all else. Now while there are substantial differences with the parent religion (we must always be loyal to the governments we reside, we can be patriotic, we can take up arms etc, integrate wherever possible) this is ultimately an Islamic concept that wormed its way into the Faith.

Both Christianity & Islam are universalistic religions and Christianity only became reconciled to the Nation-State (after the Treaty of Westphalia – now I could be wrong but that’s not the point of the post – we are talking about Islam here).

The Dharmic religions are about an individual’s relationship to their own path (again I could be wrong) and it is arguable that their institutionalisation May have been speeded up interactions with the aggressive Abrahamic faiths (who as an example have divvied up Africa between them).

The question is what is the equivalent of the Treaty of Westphalia for the Islamic world. Until the abolishment of the Ottoman Empire; there was nominal allegiance (if you can call it that) to the Caliph and some Sunnis have a weakfish relationship with the House of Saud.

Two Nation Theory is a reflection that the universalising tendencies of Islam co-exists with the Western formulation of the Nation state (most complex societies developed into Empires & Kingdoms with few exceptions, which is why projecting nationalism into the deep past is unsatisfactory at best).

The “strange political behaviour” of UP Muslims, who primarily and paradoxically drove the cause of Partition, to then abrogate all power to the indigenous people Cis-Indus (since the 50’s Pakistan has primarily been under Punjabi & Sindhi rule with the exception of Musharraf) is a worthwhile discussion.

A few questions and statements;

(1) for the Muslim-majority provinces Partition was an absurd concept. Until a few years before 1947 political sympathy for Pakistan in the Punjab, Sindh, NWFP & Bengal was tepid at best.

(2) how were these Muslims cuckolded; was it primarily the promise of dislodging their non-Muslim economic elites but then again no one could have foreseen the vast ethnic cleansing to come; the Quaid thought it would be a legal, technical matter (of course Direct Action Day also mena that QeA was no strange to the power of a good communal riot)?

(3) as an aside Quaid-e-Azam was a brilliant tactician but a pathetic strategist. He achieved his immediate goals at the sacrifice of larger ones. He could have withdrawn Muslim support for Independence (which was not strong particularly after the crushing Delhi genocide of our Mughal antecedents post-Mutiny by the Brits) in exchange for a Lebanon arrangement and security guarantees (PM Hindu, President Muslim etc etc / Muslim regiments so on so forth).

(4) why has Pakistan endured? It is arguable just how successful 1971 would have been without Indian support. Indira masterfully tapped into the East Pakistani zeitgeist and galvanised a old Bengali-speaking nation into a new Bangladeshi beginning. Kudos to Indira & Sheikh Mujibur; but Bangladesh (like Pakistan before it) was not a foregone conclusion. The language question was not as important as the political and economic one. Why didn’t Zulfikar cede to Sheikh Mujibur?

(5) what is the Treaty of Westphalia moment for Islam? For South Asian Muslim nationalism it was certainly 1971 as well as Urdu nationalism (why did we import millions of fair skinned Alien Afghans but not couple of hundred thousand darker skinned Biharis – Musharraf stabbed the Urdu-speaking cause in the back when he lectured Bangladesh to integrate them in rather than repatriate to their homes in Karachi). The vast majority of “foreign ancestry” in South Asian Muslim (both Urdu-speaking and Indus Muslims) is in fact Pathan (also Afghan/Pashtun) not Arab, Persian or Turkish. Rohillakand is a good example; the Bollywood fraternity is stocked with Khans, who are only a few generations removed from Peshawar.

(6) the idealisation in Pakistan are ethnic Punjabis who speak (& ape/aspire according to one’s political vernacular) Anglo/Urdu Mughalai-infused culture (is it little wonder that Kabir & I cant be objective when it comes to the Mughals?) but who also magically look very Pathan (the exact same thing is happening to Persians & Azeris; Persians from the south, east and centre of Iran are traditionally a swarthy olive skinned people who are dramatically lightening up as Azeri assimilate into the Persian ethnicity).

(7) is Two-Nation theory a threat to India vis a vis Urdu speaking Muslims and Kashmir?

(a) The Urdu speakers are resigned to their political marginalisation and seek to make their way in cricket & Bollywood (a bit like African Americans – a very visible rhetorically active population that is also economically weak/ does that make the Jains, Marwaris as Jews; I would suggest the Parsis are like a miniature reflection as they are conscious of their foreign origins). In fact it is the ethnic Muslims (who speak local languages) that seem more susceptible to fanaticism.

(b) Kashmiris fight predominantly for Kashmiri nationalism, Pakistani Pan-Indus (pan-Urdu / pan-Islamic; it’s so nebulous) is a distinct second (more like pan-Indianism is a distant third).

(8) In a case of supra-nationalism; SAARC, CENTO or OIC. Aam admi would go for OIC; Muhajir intellectuals (who are still a very important class, this was BBs social circle) are fond of the Persianate goals of CENTO (which is dead for all intent & purposes; I resurrected it for this post) while SAARC is the pragmatic choice.

(9) however 70years of Pakistani nationalism has very successfully planted the seed of Islamic glories. The hearts of Pakistanis skip a beat when they see Alhambra but they simply mouth off unconvincingly about Taxila or Gandhara. The irony of Partition is that Mohenjadaro & Taj Mahal are really in the wrong countries.

(10) When I made the heated quip about the alien Brahminical scripts it touches up a very really reality that the Highest culture in Pakistan looks West & further West rather than East. We may dance to Bollywood tunes and Pakistan actors look to Bombay but there has been a very real cultural and emotional rupture in the Aftermath of Partition. The mind follows where the heart is..

(11) my final point is that among Pakistanis; Kabir & I form the most “Indian” contingents. We both ascribe to some sort of Indianism, which the vast majority of our cohort do not. The fact that Kabir looks toward Hindu musical traditions and my wife is of course a Hindu-born atheist.. it’s interesting to see we can’t find common ground with the Indian contributors in this blog; maybe because we perceives what it means to be Indian very very differently.

(b) I am willing to give up on Pakistan but without the giant totems symbols of Urdu & the Mughals I cannot relate to India except as my wife’s country of national origin. Desiness would be a meaningless absurd concept in favour of my Persian Bahá’í identity.. what I’ve learnt in the history of Indian Muslim nationalism (like with Sir Syed & Allama Iqbal) emotional catch quixotic soundbites have a surprising way of informing the discourse 50, 60 years onwards..

That’s all for now folks..

Ps: just read the comments let’s refrain from absurd comments; the safest country for Muslims is India (why not Israel come to think of it). It’s absurd; I can agree that for liberal Muslims; India & Israel have some advantages (they have nightclubs & alcohol; are generally less conservative etc). But to be a Muslim in these societies is to be distinctly second-class..

Brown Pundit tour of Pakistan

I have been to India almost 10 times and I have a deep love for my ancestral home.

However I suspect no commentator in Brown Pundits “trans-Wagah” have actually visited Pakistan. It would make for far more informed comments to actually visit the country.

My best friend’s good friend is a Marathi who did his PhD on Pakistan. He had never been to the country and my friend & I were often amused by his pronouncements (he had a ton of facts, most of them correct, about why Pakistan was so crap). When he went to Pakistan he absolutely fell in love with the country and his entire instagram feed was flooded with the beauty of Interior Sindh.

Visiting the country would do so much to get a feel for what Pakistan is since it is the object of so much speculation & fascination (Pakistan is the very flawed idealisation of the Mughal state)..

Are all religions/ideologies reformable ?

Are there no constraints to ideas/ideologies,religions that can be reformed?. Or anything can be reformed?.
Is it possible to get Hitler admiring people to not be racist ? or to stop hating jews?. Or is it the case that no matter the endless creative de tours one takes it will in the end fail as some people will see it straight forward and follow the example of hitler and become racist/anti semitic.

If individual leaders are the anchors that would constrain ideologies like nazism along with its other ideas, can something similar be true for other ideologies & religions? Should we be surprised by ISIS considering the model they were following?. Will it not be the case that for all the reforms, there will always be break away movements that will once again want to follow the original teachings with straight forward views of the times?.

I leave it for you to ponder. This is very important, because there are people who would want to believe that all ideas can be redeemed and to express doubts over this would invite charges of bigotry. If a bad religion x can be tweaked, another bad religion y can also be tweaked, does that mean all bad religions can be tweaked to be moderate and if some one disagrees , is it enough to simply call them as bigots as an answer in itself?. Or could they be true. If they are true, would it not be the case that the world that unfortunately ends up with that particular religion/ideology, many good minded people of that world will end up giving cover for it will eventually hurt them all?. Politeness itself can become a catastrophe?.

The appropriate answer to such answer would be to preserve a world where one isnt entirely polite, one is willing to call out all religions/ideologies and test and prod them. And be allowed to declare that some or all ideas cannot be truly be reformed and encourage people to abandon them in its entirety. The proof of burden of moderation should be on particular ideologies/religions & not on everyone else to be polite.

Wonderful news out of Pakistan

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill for the protection of rights of transgender persons, empowering them to determine their own gender identity.

If it goes on to become a law, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2017, presented by Senator Dr Karim Khwaja, will enable trans people to be recognised as they perceive themselves and register with government offices as transgenders.

“This means that under the proposed law they would not need to appear before a medical board to decide their gender,” Chairperson of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights Senator Nasreen Jalil had told Dawn last month.

“The transgender community is opposed to the idea of setting up a medical board that should determine their gender fearing that they might be subjected to embarrassment and harassment. The bill provides protection to the members of transgender community and prohibits attack on their self-esteem and mistreatment,” the MQM senator had said.

No surprise it’s MQM who spearheaded the initiative.

The Rise of the RSS

Prashant’s made a fascinating that Pakistan’s constitution hates minorities so that Pakistanis don’t have to. However India needs the BJP to control minorities.

I find the Muslim minority in India to be perplexing. They should ditch the hijab, stop eating beef and integrate wherever they can. They should also only do the Azaan one Friday afternoon a week; beautifully recited by a qualified Arabic-speaker.

Of course however they must eschew Hindi whenever possible in favour of Urdu. I find it very problematic that Muslim children are learning an alien Brahminical script when they should be keeping to their Perso-Arabic heritage.

In some ways the West, Israel & India are under major strain between populism & liberal democracy. It may just be that liberal democracies work well in hegemonic majoritarian cultures not those that have large and growing (Muslim?) minorities?

No, Mughals didn’t loot India. They made us rich

Kabir alerted me to this on Facebook, “No, Mughals didn’t loot India. They made us rich.”

Let us examine India’s economic status prior to its becoming a British colony.

The Cambridge historian Angus Maddison writes in his book, Contours of the World Economy 1–2030 AD: Essays in Macro-economic History, that while India had the largest economy till 1000 AD (with a GDP share of 28.9 per cent in 1000AD) there was no economic growth. It was during the 1000 AD-1500 AD that India began to see a economic growth with its highest (20.9 per cent GDP growth rate) being under the Mughals. In the 18th century, India had overtaken China as the largest economy in the world.

The changing share of world GDP 1600–1870 (in million 1990 international $)

table-copy_091617061055.jpgSource: Angus Maddison, The World Economy, Paris: OECD, 2001, p. 261, Table B-18

In 2016, on a PPP adjusted basis, India’s was 7.2 per cent of the world GDP.In 1952, India’s GDP was 3.8 per cent. “Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th century, “the brightest jewel in the British Crown” was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income,” former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh once said.

Since it’s established now that the Mughals did not take away money, let’s talk of what they invested in. They invested in infrastructure, in building great monuments which are a local and tourist draw generating crores of rupees annually. 

India at 70: Why Hindu nationalists are afraid of Mughals

Happy Women’s Day

My wife (Vidhi Lalchand, the 200th person to like the status, I was 201) is proud that Professor Nita is Indian while I am proud that she is a Bahá’ís (we belong to the same community).

Professor Nita paraphrased one of Abdul Baha’s most famous quotes: “The world of humanity has two wings—one is women and the other men,” wrote ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible.”

It’s interesting that there is a preponderance of prominent female Indian scientists at Cambridge; could almost be a clustering effect!

After the jump; Annie Besant & Abdul Baha’s exchange Continue reading Happy Women’s Day

There is no morality

Recently, threats of vandalism of temples have been made in TN , India. Assault on few individuals,petrolbomb attack of bjp work place in Tamil Nadu by followers of Indian atheist periyar,works of atheists are popular in our world now, of them supposedly being better than religious folk, and periyar is praised in parts of India, not realizing that he has a complex history and the violent motives of his followers are part of that legacy. His quotes are being passed around as a meme.
so let me quote the same here and modify it a bit to make another argument.

There is no God, There is no God, There is no God at all,The inventor of ‘God’ is a fool,The propagator of God is a scoundrel,the worshiper of God is a Barbarian.

we can also say,

There is no morality, There is no Morality, There is no Morality at all, The inventor of ‘Morality’ was a manipulator, The propagator of Morality was liar, The believers of Morality are selfish cowards.

If one is to discard religion for lack of evidence, then one might discard belief in morality as false too. I find the logic of atheists false . one cannot demolish the idea of belief in religion through scientific scrutiny and deny applying the same scrutiny as well to idea of ‘morality’. We are apes, designed by Darwinian evolution whose purpose isnt morality. It is mere survival. Designed by natural laws totally blind to all abstract things that humans cherish.

The recognition of this would mean the joke is infact on atheism & atheists who believe they can wash off their hands of crimes of all religions , infact, by declaring their criticism of religion on empirical facts, Atheists would at once be forced to acknowledge that their criticism of religion is in error for that same scientific scrutiny should make them accept man to be a beast. All the violence of man everywhere would have to be embraced as theirs as well including religious violence because it is part of our collective human endowment. The natural conclusion of such materialistic worldview based on such trivial empirical data of there “being no god” for lack of evidence would mean that all violence is justified for there are no abstract entities like ‘justice’. Abstract Truths have no independent existence in this world.

A lot of problems in today’s world would be cleared up if one made this clear that ‘morality’ is not true , the excessive left rhetoric can be demolished pointing to basic facts that we are not equal in our physical attributes or mental capacities. But this is only possible by demolishing idea of ‘morality’ itself. All there is, is naked ambition for power, egotism, Machiavellian worldview, lies,deceit, the ultimate summit of man then in this world is absolute power and sensual pleasures.

This will leave us with the only real options we have, which is the physical world and the abstract rules by which we wish to live by, any attempts of designing any kind of moral rules must accept that they are ultimately abstract , just as religions are.

How we live therefore depends on assumptions we buy into.There are many abstract set of rules by which human beings can live by.The difference between truth and belief is that, truth emerges irrespective of belief, but a particular set of abstract rules which one might decide to live by on the other hand requires active belief of many individuals . so, both the discovery of such abstract rules and participation firstly requires one to first value knowledge and the assumptions on which such knowledge is constructed, but it is not obvious that everyone values knowledge and even if they do, not necessary that they would give up on their cherished codes of living. Or that in future some of them might very well return to some form of it or something different.

This will at once clarify to us about nature of regimes like china and religion of Islam. They dont buy into same assumptions as those of other societies. With this basis it would be straight forwardly prudent that groups of different worldview should try to pacify others by reciprocal actions. That this becomes the primary way to consider issues rather than to live in whiggish worldview, where one sits quietly living day to day life while other groups with clear motive to harm you keep arming themselves, or keep attacking you repeatedly through acts of terrorism.

This would mean that we can either sit quietly assuming all things will turn out right by themselves and be willing to risk one’s downfall or be proactive in bringing series of reciprocal tactics of various kinds to pacify aggressive group ideologies and individuals of those groups. This is a better way than to simply believe that somehow all religions are destined to “reform”. There is no guarantee for this. Others shouldn’t have to bear the risks for this blind belief.

Brown Pundits