Final word

I just checked brown pundits after a nice night out to see that a comment I had deleted been excerpted. Regardless of any spat we may have or have not had that is a shocking violation of my own words and my right to expression especially after I had removed the comment.

I initially deleted the post but instead decided to let it stand (I tried reading it but frankly the only interesting thing in it was my excerpt).

This will be my last post/comment on Brown Pundits (I’ve deleted my account) since a irreparable line has been crossed.

End of an era for me at least. Persian pride and Pakistani passion have always been my vices.

39 thoughts on “Final word”

  1. I will break my no comment law just this once to mention that I copied the said comment (and reproduced without any attribution to the author) before it was deleted.

  2. Love you Zach.

    The Hindutva brigade needs to be put in their place for good. Otherwise, I will also be leaving what has become a place of toxic Islamophobia and anti-Pakistan feeling. One can always write somewhere else where the blood doesn’t boil to read vicious anti-Islam screeds from people with no humanities educations.

    We can start our own blog to serve an educated, liberal Pakistani Muslim audience….

  3. “The only interesting thing in it was my excerpt”– so true. Slapstik’s prose is so turgid, one hardly wants to bother.

    1. A comment Zach deleted was excerpted w/o his permission. He felt this was a violation (and it was).

      There was some truly toxic stuff going on the past couple days. Hopefully we return to normal soon.

  4. I’ve been following this blog for many many years. It went dormant for a time, not officially, but the activity was far less than what I’ve noticed recently. Among the founders, Zach and Razib play different roles as hosts (i’ve always thought of Omar as a host as well!), and many of us access Razib’s content directly on his personal site or GNXP. Zach has been amiable and generous in his effort to engage participants in the comments over all these years. If he makes a controversial statement or feels he made an uncharitable judgement, he has the self awareness and good nature to correct course. Unlike some of us who are anonymous, he shares a bit of his personal life here, which makes it higher stakes in terms of personal reputation. Its one thing if someone calls girmit a moron,its another if someone calls my actual known self a moron. So decorum in addressing the “real” people is important. I’m not talking about the specific controversy that precipitated Zach’s departure, but just a general policy. Its not easy to sustain a platform like this, and it would really be a shame for this platform to lose his stewardship.
    At times I suggest we acknowledge the host-guest relationship here. There will always be random hit and run commenters, but for those of us who participate more frequently, lets consider the fact that we didn’t create this forum. If we can reach an understanding on that, I think it could make a compelling case for his return.

    1. Since the offending post has been deleted, I’m sure that will go some way in assuaging Zach’s feelings.

      The host-guest relationship is a good way to look at it. Zach founded this blog. So he should be the ultimate authority on what is acceptable and what is not.

      1. It seems that Slapstik deleted not just the offending post but all his posts. That was not exactly a positive outcome. It’s like the child who took his ball and went home–his prerogative– but not exactly what anyone wanted. In his own way, he added value to BP.

    1. Team Zach all the way.

      As for Slapstik, I can do without him. He didn’t need to delete each and every one of his posts. We had some quite decent discussions. He was just asked to delete the one offensive post…

      1. Slapstik is incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable. His knowledge was legit by the standards of famous global Sanskrit, Avestan, Pharsi, linguistic scholars. I was hoping to write some articles based on his articles at some point. And ask him clarification of Avestan and ancient Persian religion scholars. As you can imagine there is a deep Indology literature on Avestan and the deep similarities between ancient Sanskrit Vedic culture and Avestan. Many of the same Gods (Vayu, Varuna, Daityas, Danavas, same words with deep meanings) and same philosophies. Wanted his feedback on many academic articles I have read.

        I would love to be an knowledgeable in ancient Avestan, Pharsi and ancient Iranian (and the area North of Iran) religion/culture/civilization. Much of ancient global history is embedded within.

        1. He is definitely knowledgeable. He just offended Zachary and was asked to make it right. He didn’t need to leave the sandbox entirely. Ah well, his loss.

  5. Zachary, there is no better exempler of ancient Arya civilization than Bahai and ancient Iran. We share a common love and reverence for both. There is so much I want to learn from you. Don’t abandon your students! 😉

    If we had an Arya Raj (with some English Moghuls thrown in), and you were emperor . . . I want in! Imagine:
    Iraq-Iran-Afghanistan-Southern former USSR-SAARC–South East Asia–millions of nationalized immigrant citizens from the rest of the world. Heaven on earth 🙂
    Raj forever!

    1. Look, they don’t value you or your opinions. There are others on internet who would value your contributions, but I guess much of the world runs in analogy with the second verse of the niti-shatakam. Thank you for reminding me of the relevance of Bhartrhari.

      1. Who doesn’t value whom? Can you perhaps be more clear?

        I was simply saying that these grandiose dreams of some Pan-Arya Empire sound a bit ridiculous/delusional when Indians can barely manage the one country they’ve got. (Pakistanis can barely manage the one country we’ve got too).

        1. Kabir, a compromise. Pakistan can opt out. But the rest of us want in!
          No compromise on Zachary. Need Zachary for emperor. Raj forever!

          1. Why don’t you ask Iran and Iraq how they feel?

            I love Zach dearly. But I don’t think he needs to be emperor or even wants to be emperor 🙂

          2. @froginthewell
            With respect, Clearly by now you have realized that a certain commentator here is either incapable of understanding or willfully blind to complex arguments. Sometimes priors are prejudices, and it might be wiser to just let some rants be.

        2. Can you perhaps be more clear?

          Doesn’t matter anymore; that was the bargaining stage of a Kubler-Ross outcome.

          You should be happy Kabir, God is with you.

          1. I have no idea what a Kubler-Ross outcome is. Humanities type here remember.

            I am not “happy” that Slapstik left (I don’t like him personally very much) but it was his choice to delete all his posts and walk away. No one forced his hand.

          2. I wasn’t referring to slapstik, and didn’t notice that he left. I don’t have a clear understanding of what happened between you guys anyway (and it is of no concern to me either). I come here once in several months or may be years on seeing some post of Razib’s (whose feed shows up on my reader), and then sometimes look at some other posts and linger on comment spaces for a few days. Then I leave for several months again.

          3. No wonder I have no idea who you are. Not that I am concerned about it….

            Kubler-Ross whatever went over my head. English Lit guy here….

            Razib is not regular here. This was basically being kept alive by Zach (notice how in his absence it basically died?)

          4. I’m just glad the right-wing Hindus shut up for a bit. Hope the peace lasts. Cannot stand right-wing Hindus. You all are just as bad as Islamists (whom unfortunately there are a lot of in the country I am currently living in, at least “soft Islamists”). Why can’t we just be normal?

          5. You all are just as bad as Islamists…Why can’t we just be normal?

            Your question may be rhetorical, but I will still try to explain, as academically as I can, why you should explain me to look normal to you. This may be a misguided attempt on my part, but I am actually doing it without much expectations.

            Recently you wrote something about caste system. Let us try to academically consider the question: should I assume the post to have been made in good faith (say for academic purpose or as an expression of genuine concern), as opposed to a desire to score a political point?

            Very likely, you would want me to make the former assumption. In your self-perception, your motives are as pure as they can get.

            And yet, when I take a call on the issue, I don’t go by your self-perception, but based on my history, my priors. Obviously, I have seen stinging critiques on the topic from both well-meaning people (including Razib, so I am not just talking of Hindutva critiques), and people whom I think just wish to score a political point.

            As I read various critiques, I form impressions. I subconsciously pick up a framework to correlate the thrust or focus, the language, the tone, any je-ne-sais-quois, and what not of the article with the attitude of the author. I also pick up aspects that in an ideal world would be irrelevant, such as the background of the author. For instance, the probability I would assign for an author’s article on caste to be genuine would be correlated to the author’s religion, and the same would apply to you as far as articles on Islam are concerned.

            And this is not just because neither of us is a saint, but because in our imperfect world such heuristics aren’t necessarily unjustified – the religion of an author is statistically correlated to what the author would like to speak of, so given the imperfections of our world, so the background of the author should be factored in, albeit the ideal extent to factor it in is unspecifiable and subjective.

            To summarize, applying priors can introduce bias, and yet the priors aren’t to be ignored because they are actually a mixed bag, in that they also provide useful information and simplify our navigation of a complex world.

            So there cannot be peace, most of the time. Our histories and priors are different, and both of us attribute motives differently. For that not to be the case, we would either have to be a saint, or it would have to be an issue where we aren’t very emotionally invested. But both of these could also mean that we wouldn’t dig deep enough into the issue to form an opinion worthy of serious consideration (e.g., think of a shallow atheist writing flippantly on religion).

            There may be rare exceptions: once in a while, a post of Razib’s gives me a headache, but I can live with that because I learn so much from his other writings (and sometimes, also from the very writings that give me a headache). And I have followed Razib long enough to know that he is ultimately well-meaning.

            But these are exceptions. In general, you should be able to appreciate the fact that two different people, each entirely reasonable, may have polar opposite priors as to whether your article on a topic critiquing their society was well-meaning or ill-meaning. But appreciating this and internalizing this are different matters. I am not capable of doing the latter myself either.

            So the question “Why can’t we just be normal?” is a misguided one.

          6. I am sorry, but your “explanation” is actually very stupid. Please forgive the harshness.

            If my background as someone with a Muslim name and Pakistani ethnicity (you don’t know me and have no idea how religious I may or may not be) prohibits me from commenting on the Hindu caste system, than the Hindu contributors to this blog also have no right to say anything about Islam or Pakistan. However, there are several people on this blog who consistently write extremely negative and nasty things about Islam, cherry-picking from the most terrible parts of the Holy Quran. For example “Ambedkar is burning in hell because he is a mushrik”. People have been asked (by Zach) to please stop the obsession with Pakistan, given that they have neither ever visited the country nor seriously studied it. They have not complied. It seems such people just enjoy hurting the sentiments of Pakistanis and questioning our separate identity or the need for a separate country.

            Secondly, I have a degree in Literature. I have written a book review. The author of that book happens to be an Indian and an “untouchable”. She has written a book based on her lived experience. If you have a substantive problem with her critique of a system which doesn’t treat her as a human being, perhaps that issue should be taken up with her. Don’t shoot the messenger, just because he happens to be Pakistani. I have cited the page numbers of anything I have quoted. Get a hold of the book and see what Gidla has to say. These are not my opinions.

            Perhaps the best thing is for the Muslims on this site to avoid reading posts by the Hindus on the site and vice versa. But that kind of defeats the entire purpose of having an online forum for South Asians.

            It would be better for people to try to form reasoned and academic arguments on subjects which they actually know something about. Computer Scientists deciding to write about the history of art in Pakistan (just as an example) should either do their research or expect to be called out for their stupidity. Particular care should be taken when discussing Holy texts or figures that are revered by a particular community. My prophet (peace be upon him) has been called a child sex abuser on this blog before. I’m sorry, but that just crossed so many red lines.

            Perhaps now you understand why I am very very pissed off with the Hindutvadis (self-proclaimed) on this forum.

          7. LOL. I think we have now reached the stage where we will question each other’s reading comprehension.

            Time for me to stay away for a while until another post of the mighty Razib brings me here again.

  6. Kabir, you are taking things way too seriously 🙂

    Iranians and Iraqis “LOVE” Indians. I could write some articles about it. Remember that Nanaka lived in Iraq for many years. Iraqis are amazing people. They are a fusion of Arya, Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Egyptian.

    Sufis connected and still connect Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, South Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia.

    I love me some Mansur Al-Hallaj. Many Hindus revere him and have books about him. Including some people who are called Hindutvva!

    1. Iranians and Iraqis may love Indians–I don’t know. Wanting to be part of an India-centered polity is something else entirely….

  7. froginthewell, please stick around. Maybe even contribute articles? You are very intelligent and facilitate “thinking different”.

    At some point some other good articles are coming to Brown Pundits. Your feedback would be most appreciated on them.

  8. fronginthewell: Please stick around. Folks can decide to avoid commenting on / responding to certain posters here to avoid unproductive conversations.
    There are plenty of posters here from both sides of the national and religious divide that are open to a civil exchange of ideas (or even barbs) that with the above mentioned caution we can have good conversations here. There is a much larger group of silent readers like me who appreciate thoughts from well read, thoughtful and articulate folks like you (Razib, rohit, rahul, anan, sbarkumm, omar ali, ikram, girmit, Slapstik, Zach etc…(not meant to be a comprehensive list))..
    Also Omar’s last post makes it clear on what is acceptable vs not..

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