Black Pundits

By Xerxes the Magian 22 Comments

At Brown Pundits; the three main focuses are:

(1) India-Pak

(2) Hindu/Muslim

(3) Arya/Dravid

I would if there was a Black Pundits (or white or Yellow or Red) what the main topics would be. I think that much as the Hindu-Muslim debate defines the Brown identity; I imagine the Black-White dichotomy does so for those two races.

For Olive Pundits it would most likely be the Israel-Palestine issue (Arab & Jews etc). I can’t for the life of me know what Yellow Pundits would be about; in their case their entire intellectual focus isn’t random intellectualising but simply how to get ahead.

Maybe Brown Pundit’s propensity to discuss rather irrelevant minutiae is a relic of those ancient Brahmins (or Islamic jurists) discoursing on the trivial points of the Vedas. This was of course Allama Iqbal’s point as to why Hinduism survived but Zoroastrianism could not; the Vedas are a complete set of doctrine exhaustively discussed and understood among their adherents. The idle theorising provided an intellectual resilience to foreign domination of a millennia whereas Zoroastrian magi probably couldn’t mount a defence against empowered Islamic clergy, jurists and philosophers (especially after Caliph Omar’s depredations).

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22 Replies to “Black Pundits”

  1. Disagree, put enough stress and everything dies. In India, there was counter attack and martial resilience. In Indonesia, malaysia, afghanistan that was out quickly. Not everything Iqbal said is meaningful

  2. It seems to me that the contributors to BP are interested generally in the history of South Asia (India and Pakistan) . You and I are fans of the Mughal Empire while the “Hindutva” commenters are fans of their own Hindu Empires. The history of modern South Asia is extremely contested and this contestation seems to go back to Partition. After the umpteenth article on Partition, I am getting a bit bored frankly.

    Others bring in their own interests. The Sri Lankan contributor wants to talk about Sri Lanka and no one seems to really be interested in that country. Razib as a geneticist wants to talk about genetics, which again no one cares about unless it supports or harms their preferred Aryan Invasion theory or Out of India theory. AnAn (for some odd reason) wants to talk about Islam and post-modernism obsessively.

    I tried getting people to engage with Music and Literature. It didn’t work. So I have shifted focus to my own blog where hopefully people will want to discuss these topics. If nothing else these are the topics I want to (and am qualified) to write about.

    Perhaps a conversation should be held about the thematic focus of BP. It may very well turn out to be South Asia’s history and geopolitics. But then that should be clarified and extraneous posts on Donald Trump which have nothing to do with anything else should be curtailed. Just a suggestion.

    What your audience wants is the key question. Think like a Marketing person for a minute.

    1. Razib as a geneticist wants to talk about genetics, which again no one cares about unless it supports or harms their preferred Aryan Invasion theory or Out of India theory.

      that’s not true. you probably don’t care, so you don’t follow the comments. a substantial number of people are outside of the box you’ve put them (because i moderate my comments only a minority of comments are AIT/OIT related).

      also, i have no idea how you are determining that ‘no one cares.’ some of the stuff you are talking about i am interested in an read, but don’t comment, because i don’t have anything to say. i assume others feel the same.

      1. I can only go by the somewhat objective metric of which posts become viral. I have noticed that those genetics posts that receive a lot of comments are those dealing with the Aryan invasion theory. Anything indo vs. Pak and the number of comments is huge.

        As to my own posts, if people don’t bother to comment, how am I to know that they are even reading? I can then only assume based on evidence that literary fiction does not interest very many people at BP. I will admit I am wrong if there is evidence to the contrary.

          1. This supports my thesis. Many among the top 25 are those that deal with the Aryan question. That seems to be what the audience wants.

            How much are they interested in genetics more broadly? You can gage that better than I can.

            They are certainly not interested in literary fiction. Which is fine. Its just useful to know.

  3. Hey count me as a Black (or Dalit). Pundit is questionable, dilettante is OK.

    Yes, Sri Lanka is a main focus, I think if I understand internal dynamics, I understand the world (the Agatha Christie, Miss Marple theory)

    I tried getting people to engage with Music and Literature.
    I did too with music Africa to South Asia theme. No one was interested, including Kabir.

    The idle theorising provided an intellectual resilience to foreign domination of a millennia
    Hmm. no comparison to the Jewish Talmudic tradition?
    The Roma/Gypsies with no literature, written language, sense of history (tradition of today and future) have maintained their identity and music. Opposite sides of the coin Vedic/Talmudic vs Roma/Gypsy.

    In Sri Lanka, no idle theorizing. The Sinhalese feel they are chosen people, to preserve Buddhism. End result pre Buddhist traditions incorporated into the SL Buddhist ethos and preserved.
    500 years of foreign occupation has not wiped out the inner core culture of a very small country (less than 2 million in 1900).

    1. Well is Sinhalese culture the core of Sri Lanka; just asking.

      Good point on the Talmudic tradition though I also think Jews were necessary as civilisational intermediaries.

      Able to traverse Christendom and Dar Ul Islam; it’s interesting no significant Jewish community either in Africa, China or India existed.

      The Parsis filled that niche, the Ibos etc. Spain is now Christian but had turns fairly Moorish..

      1. civilisational intermediaries.
        I would argue that the Roma did too, music and other cultural baggage. Guitar/Sitar. Flamenco in Spain. See Latcho Drom clips on YouTube.

        Well is Sinhalese culture the core of Sri Lanka
        Is American culture distinctive from European. What about Central and South American.

        I would argue that Sinhalese culture is distinctive. There has been a influx of South Indians in the past few centuries, specially in the coastal belt. They have assimilated and integrated into an ethos called Sinhalese. SWRD bandaranaike and JR Jayawardene (PM/President) are descendants of South Indians in the late 17th century. Think Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

        The Tamils too are native enough to SL. However, the culture is not distinctive enough from South india. Then again, culture vs genetics.
        My paternal ancestors came from Kalinga/Orissa around the 12th century. With increasing Pandya (Tamil) influence they became/assimilated into Tamil.

        So would think, Sri Lankan culture is defined by Sinhalese culture. Sinhalese culture too has under gone many changes/incorporation of other cultures. However, there is a core culture that remains and to some extent shares with Kerala. More on that later.

    2. Who occupied Sri Lanka for 500 years? Please keep posting sbarrkum. Many read and enjoy your posts without responding.

      1. Portuguese: 1505 – 1658 (153 years) Coastal Belt and Jaffna
        Dutch: 1658-1796 (138 years) A larger coastal belt, excluding the hill country, the Kandyan Kingdom
        British 1796-1948 (152) The whole country was captured in 1815.

        The most common last names in SL are Fernando, De Silva, Mendis (Mendez) and Soyza (Souza). I dont think in general they are paternally descendants of Portuguese. The Portuguese were smart, for a sum of money bestowed a title, plus Don and Dona and the right to wear a “nala pati”, a gold plate on the forehead.

        A better indicator was the “ge” or house name. My wife was MigelHewage, i.e. House of Migel the soldier.

        Among the Tamils (Jaffna) it is worse. Russell Arnold (cricketer) is Tamil. Somewhere along the line I had an ancestor Don Juan Kumarakulasinghe (1500’s, who cannot be proud of an ancestor named Don Juan) whose children became Hindu and reverted to names like Thilliampalam and then around 1850 became protestant christian and took back the old name with an American appendage in front of surname

        Lakshman Kadirgamar, both Hindu god names was a 3rd gen Christian Tamil . Foreign Minister, anti LTTE possibly a President of SL. Assassinated by the LTTE.

        Kashmiri origins, Pakistani all are equally complex. In SL its just compressed into a small space. and population. Back to the Miss Marple theory.

    3. To clarify, like I said earlier, I was extremely busy this past week. Performing ghazals and classical music for one hour in public is not an easy feat. I happened to miss your post. I’m sorry about that. Also, the type of Music I am interested in is North Indian (Hindustani) music. I don’t really listen to anything other than that, Broadway or Italian opera. It’s nothing personal.

      1. Kabir Its OK, was trying to point out to get away from the Indo/Pak, Arya/Dravida need to cast a wider net.

        Anyway I too need to get out of making long comments. My out door work is on hold and by extension my health. So, probably should take a hiatus. This is addictive though, a change from chats with the villagers.

        1. Ur comments on Sri Lanka and Sinhala are invaluable. We learn so much; I am to help edit since u shed light on an underexposed aspect of South Asia

  4. You asked about East Asians.. they may be focused on getting ahead, but that focus itself is based firmly on ideas about their own nationality and race that are no less incendiary than any debate on Brownpundits or Blackpundits.
    Just as a random example, the Japanese in the late 1800s had a concept called “Datsua”, literally, leaving Asia. The idea was that the Japanese should not identify with other Asians (specifically the Chinese and the Koreans, since no one else in Asia was worth much to them anyway) and should move away from them and Westernize. This seems to have acquired overtones of “we are not riff raff like other Asians” soon enough..

  5. Hello
    I read
    “At Brown Pundits; the three main focuses are:
    (3) Arya/Dravid”

    This divide is bogus ; it is matter of semantics and nothing to do with history or culture. As I pointed in another reply, Dravida as an ethnic term belongs to Pancha dravida brahmins – who see themselves are upholders of arya culture . The contrary of Pancha Dravida is Pancha Gauda i.e. Brahmins of North and eastern India who were divided from Dravidas on matters of Rituals. Ritual differences is the raison d’etre of this brahminical taxonomy

    If you want to use Dravida as a language group Linguistic term in a modern linguistic sense , that is absolutely fine – but don’t mix up linguistic terms with ethnic/racial terms. Dravida as a linguistic term is of western origin and 150 years old.

        1. The noble tradition of the lilly-white European colonizers from Alexander to HM – Megasthenes to Macaulay – who know best 🙂

          You, sir, will hold your peace and comply when being categorized. Pak-India ain’t Wakanda. Pakistanis are semi-white (wheatish) and happy with that categorization our noble lilly-white masters bestowed on them. Why, even the ever-perceptive Iranians understood this in the 1930s without us explicitly saying so. White Aryans to a fault. Superior European stock, I must say!

          I fail to see why you black-skinned dravs from India don’t own up to your nice category? There, there .. you doth protest too much. Happy to throw in more aid for your starving children to sweeten the deal, OK? Let me know and I’ll apprise HM of it.

          Kind regards,
          Jaggu Jangjoo
          (humble ex-Trotskyite who now wipes the floor at Windsor castle and enjoys the occasional Islamist sabbatical to free Muslim Lands from the Kuffar)

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