Coloniser Alert + Cultural Appropriation Attack

This is more of a rant rather than a post so read at your own warning.

I was hurt by the reference to Iran (our father Darius called himself a King of Kings but the King in Persia) but Browns should never squabble in front of outsiders, we did that mistake before and it cost us the Golden Centuries under perfidious Albion.

As an aside another interesting example of Cultural Appropriation:

I was on the board of Tamasha (the leading British Asian theatre company) for nearly a decade and I can tell you for a fact that coloureds have the hardest time finding work in British theater/film (especially with the fetish for period pieces). So to see Bharatnatyam performed by blondes is a bit grating; let’s just pray that they’re Kashmiri Pandits or something like that..

Back to the main topic I cannot make sense of Sturgeon’s Law’s ethnicity but I do think it has some salience on the debate. Unless Sturgeon’s Law is a Hindu by ancestry I don’t see how they have the right to insult the Hindu religion by claiming it didn’t exist, those of Coloniser stock should have humility when speaking about India (hopefully William Dalrymple is reading this piece).

FWIW I love white people and I’m a High Tory (strong Monarchist to boot) but what offends me is when Colonisers refuse to acknowledge the magnitude of their crimes in India. That’s when it’s important to call out injustices.

HM the Queen must return the Koh-i-Noor to India.

I made a some chaotic tweet as per below but my point is that it’s absurd to claim that Hinduism is such a young religion when it is older than any other including potentially Zoroastrianism.

I’m completely confused about Hindu history (blame Pak Studies for overly glamorising Mecca, Medina & Mohammad Bin Qasim) but I imagined it must have crystallised in the immediate centuries following the Aryan migration.

I refuse to use the term Aryan Invasion Theory as that is a Coloniser tactic to justify their period of enslaving us – personally I’m agnostic as to whether the Aryans were indigenous or immigrants to India (I’m linking to this piece but I have no idea what it means except that India  could have seeded the world).

I prefer the indigenous theory since it seems pretty obvious that India has had an outsized role in human history. However I would caution that India’s glory should not come at the expense of Iran or Islam since that would necessarily fray any potential allies in Urdu speakers who are sensitive about such heritages. Instead the joint focus should always be on rolling back the Coloniser’s influence and hopefully expunging their language from the Subcontinent in favour of perhaps a Sanskritised Urdu.  I shared on the Brown Pundits Whatsapp Group some interesting tweets:

The Śaka Lands Linking India and Europe

103 thoughts on “Coloniser Alert + Cultural Appropriation Attack”

  1. The issue is not white people taking up Sanatana Dharma and imbibing various aspects of it. The issue is brown folks using white bodied Hindus as a stick to beat other brown folks like “see even white people are practising Dharma”. These kinds of things are going to have serious repercussions in the long term. At higher macro levels, it is a given that there are more Sanskrit study institutes in Germany, UK and USA than in India.
    Consider one more thing. It is easier to access high brow Hindu material in English language whether that is podcast or YouTube video or even books than it is in Indian languages. I went through this exercise for my kids once when they were younger. I was looking for Bengali language audiobook or YouTube videos of things like Ramayana narration or Upanishad exposition. To my surprise, the ONLY Bengali language podcast was run by an evangelical movement known as the Joshua Project, extolling the virtues of Jishu and his martyrdom etc. Now in YouTube world I noticed the entire Bengali language material when it comes to religion is saturated by scary looking folks from Tablighi Jamaat instructing momeen’s whether it is haram or sunnah to mix the sugar in tea clockwise or counter clockwise. So this is the extent of access to Hinduism in modern era in Indian languages. It is practically non existent or if the Hindus are going to start producing, they’re playing catch up on their own turf.

    On a similar note and in accordance with the Hindu Muslim Indo Persian continuum space you have mentioned Zack, have you come across this group called Fanna fi Allah? Complete tomfoolery in my opinion. Bunch of white rejects that bray like donkeys and no sense of sur or raag, but they get prime access to sing their garbage pronunciation qawwalis with horrible donkey braying voices at Daata darbar and other prime Sufi shrines. Not to mention they break taboos like having female performer. Brown folks give all these things a pass if the passport is a white body. I wonder if some similar group with a brown body would even be allowed to sweep the floor of Daata Ganj Baksh darbaar.

    1. PS, I’m not supporting said taboo on female performer at Sufi shrine. But I’m also not supportive that only way it gets broken is when it involves a white bodied female. Latter may not be conscious of her whiteness but the shrine custodians and event organizers are extremely conscious of it, or the free pass wouldn’t be given. Not even a Lata Mangeshkar or Abida Parveen would get it.

  2. Do we know our history better than westerners or say, the Japanese? I’m sort of sympathetic to the idea that once we go beyond a few generations of folk memory, the past is open to everyone with credible tools to interpret it. Because the history of the west is so richly developed with seemingly endless primary sources available, I’d say that someone, of whatever origin, who has read european history deeply has some insight into how complex the past is and is more aware of the thinness of subcontinental historiography. In contrast, many educated Indians don’t even know what we don’t know and take the musings of some bored colonial civil servant who wrote a survey in an old gazetteer as a hallowed truth.

    1. girmit, the history of both Europe and Asia have been heavily distorted and corrupted by post modernism. No one knows their history.

      Planning to write a series on ancient history . . . mostly about what we do not know.

      1. girmit, the history of both Europe and Asia have been heavily distorted and corrupted by post modernism. No one knows their history.

        the chinese have a long tradition of historiography unmatched by any civilization.

        so it’s not all the same. indian history is labile in part because the native historiography is thin (often it is muslims).

        1. “chinese have a long tradition of historiography” completely agree. Might elaborate on this another time.

          Indian/Indonesia/Indochina historiography is not accepted as legitimate by modern post modernist academia.

          To be fair much of Egyptian, Sumerian, Iranian (Arya), Chinese historiography is also not accepted as accurate.

          European history also doesn’t have a lot of surviving historiography from BC either. My suspicion is because of the Church didn’t want them preserved. However due to inertia, Church dates for BC history are accepted.

          My suspicions is that Socrates, Soron, Parmenides, Anaximander, Anaxagoras, Pythagoras, Thales lived earlier than we think. The ordinal sequence of when they lived is probably accurate , but the dates maybe not. The church, I believe, tried to move dates forward to conform to their theory that the universe was created four thousand years ago [back in 311 AD when the Church started becoming powerful under Pope Miltiades and emperor Constantine.]

          My suspicion is that Cyrus the Great and his Greek philosopher contemporaries lived at least two centuries earlier than we know believe. And that Buddha, Mahavira and Parshvanatha also lived at least two centuries earlier than we know believe. If Buddha was born before 800 BC, then Gaudapada living in the seventh century BC makes sense. And many other traditional dates match the native historical record.

          My suspicion is that the Yogachara (Mahayana Buddhist Yoga which my friends are very interested in) became widely disseminated before 750 BC. The advent of Buddha and his release of many teachings (of which Yogachara is only one) set off a series of Sanathana Dharma texts (that till then were secretly kept) going public.

        2. Razib,

          The Buddhist priests of Sri Lanka maintained a continuous history since 300 BC.
          They started the clock from the year of Buddhas death, so 500BC to 300BC maybe hearsay.
          300 BC to 600AD was oral.

          The important points are
          a)it was consistent (at the very least in dating)
          b) Continous

          There isnt any history India that come close on the above.

    2. Whats amazing here is that Sanskrit appears to have “the largest body of literature in the world and has seen continuous production of literature in all fields of human endeavour, about five to 30 million extant manuscripts – that is 100 times those in Greek and Latin combined – have been written in Sanskrit.” Quoting Peter Scharf of Brown University.

      And thats just Sanskrit. Its surprising that the ancient Indians documented so much, but did not bother much with historiography. Even in the work from other classical languages like Kannada, we see everything from veterinary science to meteorology, but little history.

  3. I do understand that you are Pakistani and your knowledge of bharatanatyam is limited, but…

    For centuries, this style of dance was limited to a group of women who served temples and kings as….. it was only in mid-20tj century with leadership from rukmini Arundale that the dance became available to general public. It is unclear how the laws of cultural appropriation apply here.

    More important to me, and of immediate interest, some of us have married to blonde women, and inadvertently had part blonde children, are they allowed to dance?

    1. Vijayji

      They can dance. But their art should be judged on how good they are as artists, not on basis of “part blonde kids doing bharatanatyam”. It might get them more YouTube hits with that video title, but as their father I hope you’re setting them to higher standards than the color of their hair.

      1. Bharotshontan, there are many places in the scriptures and Vedas where Mlecchas or untouchables or Shudras are given the sacred thread (in many cases becoming Brahmins) and given secret high end teachings. Bharatiya’s are proud of the caucasian sisters and brothers who join our tradition as adepts.

    2. An interesting episode from history. For long, the B. Style of dance was called sathirattam and left to nautch girls with no connotations of culture. Bizarrely, a britisher married a 16 year old girl in Chennai in 1920, and learning of her interest, she drove her to the temple ladies residence in chaste Chennai and had her learn the dance over the next 5 years. They renamed it Bharathanatysm and popularized it via kalakshera. And thus we got culture.

      Since George (who also learnt B from said spouse at the tender age of 45) made it acceptable for Indians to do bharatsnatyam, I suggest we pay him back by letting blondes do the dance.

        1. “Story”!

          Re: Rukmini Arundale and her role:

          A brief intro in “”; also see Kothari on Rukmini in

          Rukmini Devi Arundale Birth Centenary Volume. Chennai: The Kalakshetra Foundation, 2004 is a bit of puffery

          Rukmini Devi, “The Spiritual Background of Bharata Natyam.” Classical and Folk Dances of India. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1963. Not in publication

          Kothari, Sunil, Bharata Natyam. Mumbai: Marg Publications, 2000. More about devadasi tradition of Balasaraswathi vis-a-vis more genteel form of Rukmini Arundale

          If you can read Tamil, you can read about Rukmini devi Arundale talking about husband etc in:
          அமுதசுரபி தீபாவளி மலர் 1986 (on the death of …) and again in 2004 pages can be found by searching on “ருக்மிணி தேவி அருண்டேல்”.

          1. Hi Vijay,

            You spoiled the narrative with the links

            For long, the B. Style of dance was called sathirattam and left to nautch girls with no connotations of culture. Bizarrely, a britisher married a 16 year old girl in Chennai in 1920, and learning of her interest, she drove her to the temple ladies residence in chaste Chennai and had her learn the dance over the next 5 years

            I got the impression that Rukmini Devi was nautch girl who married an European.

            Rukmini Devi was born at the turn of the century on 29 February 1904 in an upper class Brahmin family in Madurai. Her father Neelakanta Sastri was an engineer; mother Seshammal was fond of music. Deeply interested in Indian philosophy and culture, Neelakanta Sastri equally was a scholar. He had come under the influence of theosophy and moved after retirement to Chennai to be close to the Theosophical Society and its leader Annie Besant. He built a house near the headquarters of the society at Adyar.

            Daughter of Neelakanta Sastri, what more can I say.

            Total cultural appropriation of “dance was taboo, considered an art fit only for ‘women of ill-fame’. “

    3. Allahimdullah I am a Pakistani (there is a story behind this; strangely my auto-type Allahimdullah to Baha’u’llah, lol I’m such a Kaffir!)

      Blonde wives & daughters (husbands & sons too) are absolutely fine; why shouldn’t they partake in our culture?

      Also there is a blonde man dancing in the video; the girl might be desi.

    4. “It is unclear how the laws of cultural appropriation apply here.”
      Perhaps they will become clearer if looked at from the perspective of those temple dancers.

  4. I don’t see the problem with White people performing Bharatnatyam or Hindustani Classical music. After all, Brown people perform Western classical music or ballet. I’m not sure that this is what “cultural appropriation” means.

    It is generally a good thing when people show interest in art from other parts of the world.

      1. I’m not saying it’s not challenging. But part of this is the fact that desi parents really don’t encourage their kids to go into the arts, pressuring them to become doctors or engineers.

        I don’t see anything inherently wrong with people mastering a tradition that may not be their ancestral one.

        1. I once had a Twitter thread on that and it’s simply not true; Asians just don’t get the parts (at least in Britain).

          Read the Meera Syal piece; for instance “period dramas” are problematic in the sense that how do you fit coloured actors into it..

          1. That’s a separate issue. You are then talking specifically about theatre and film, not so much about other forms of the arts.

            I do agree with you that desi actors get typecast as Arab terrorists or as the Indian IT guy or doctor. Aziz Ansari had an episode on his show about being asked to put on a fake Indian accent in order to be cast. This is definitely frustrating.

            Colorblind casting is now a thing, at least in something like Shakespeare. There is no reason why there can’t be a brown Hamlet.

            Obviously, a random Indian person would look kind of weird in “Pride and Prejudice” so I understand that those opportunities are out. But there are always shows about the Raj 🙂

          2. Trust me the RSC does diverse theatre groups – they then go into the other way.

            Shows about the RAJ invariable centre around English led stories.

            My point being is that I’m not against cultural diffusion and transfusion but privilege is extraordinarily persistent in liberal circles I’ll write on this.

          3. “The Jewel in the Crown” had a lot of Indian characters.

            As an aside, there is supposedly a mini-series of a “A Suitable Boy” coming out at some point, so some desi actors should get some opportunities there.

          4. “The Jewel in the Crown” is based on Paul Scott’s “The Raj Quartet”. It stars Art Malik as Hari Kumar (Harry Coomer)

            ASB has a few minor English characters who work in management in Calcutta but all the main characters are Indian.

          5. I believe both are true.

            A family friend (Hindu Marwaris) of mine recently featured in a major on-going BBC drama – as expected cast as a Muslim chap working for the UK Home Secy and a possible terrorist. Yet the same guy has been working at the Globe and has played various period Shakespearean roles.

    1. Kabir
      A few comments earlier, I have provided a brief Cliff’s notes version of Bharathanatyam in Tamilnadu; from being left stranded in a temple nautch girl society; being looked down as a profession of prostitutes by one and all; a high caste girl marrying an Englishman, and then, after marriage , started learning the dance from olden temple nautch girls, being driven to their quarters by an Englishman.

      With said Englishman, Rukmini Arundale went on a ship with Pavlova and met people who had worked with Isadora Duncan; inspired by them she set up on completing her learning, and did the second (in Indian history) stage presentation in 193os. The idea of a woman dancing was so revolutionary that media considered that a scandal.

      Subsequently, she restructured dance as a performance art with supporting music, jewelry, elaborate costume and teams of dances ; from East Asia, she brought back the idea of dance drama and restructured parts of epics as drama. The entire Bharathanatyam project today is an outcome of Kalasketra school but originated from Pandhanallur school, and in some sense, she was the Bhatkunde of this form of art.,

      To summarize, Bharathanatyam is an international project; with ideas from Isadora duncan to Dance drama artists from Cambodia and Gamelan. If you close your eyes, you can imagine Gamelan, Kecak, Reamker.

      Now people settled in England and USA want to have Blondes avoid Bharatha natyam.

      History! People! History!

      1. The story of how Bharatnatyam went from being performed by devadasis to becoming an essential accomplishment for many upper-middle class Indian girls is fascinating. It is similar to how the tawaifs preserved thumri, dadra etc at a time when respectable women did not sing on stage. Now, Hindustani classical music is also considered to be an essential accomplishment among some communities in India and in the diaspora.

        1. For thousands of years Bharatnatyam has been performed by highly respected Brahmins and Kshatriyas.

          The Devas, Apsaras and Gandharvas also danced, sang and performed Bharatnatyam.

    2. This is a similar and related form of appropriation that racially might fall in the same-same category but otherwise has a class element to it. This has happened worldwide. Flamenco for example was the gutter music/dance culture of the despised gypsies, now it is Spanish high culture. Similar story for a lot of older African derived cultures in the New World, whether that be tango in Argentina or samba in Brazil or salsa/merengue in Cuba or jazz in the US. In fifty years gangsta rap will be American high culture. The blacks will have moved on to producing the next thing (which will still be considered low class and revolutionary and underground while the blacks are the owners of it) and your classroom AP English Literature teacher will be discussing the rhyming meter employed by Drake as opposed to Tupac etc.

      For us Bengalis, we have this music sub culture called Baul which is a living art that derives from the villages. It used to be considered a low caste thing. Now it has become definition of Bengali culture. Now when a city bred upper caste Bengali fellow like myself takes up Baul music, you will be able to hear the village folks snickering “bhodrolok Baul” and “cannot produce the proper bhaava”. But at the same time, even though I might be amateur-ish and might have practiced it for 2 years as opposed to someone far more talented that doesn’t do it as a hobby but as a lifestyle (like spontaneously creates new Baul music after a hard day’s labor on the fields), I got them urban upper class network out in the music studios to push out a recording done by myself. So in this, there is a similar hierarchy of privilege for myself having to not work half as hard or be half as good but still gain fame/money etc.

      These kinds of things are very old and part of human existence. But doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenged. My thing about Western society is that they constantly challenge the old mores that are sometimes very universal. They challenge and they overcome and then they become even more leagues ahead of the world due to this challenging in part. The US went into a damn civil war to end slavery lol. All the other European powers enforced blockade of confederacy to end them. Rest of the world sits there thinking slavery is old as mankind. True. But just because something is old doesn’t mean it cannot or shouldn’t be challenged.

      Taking a crap is also as old as mankind. But someone can create a bathroom for that crap whereas others do it anywhere everywhere…

      1. Flamenco for example was the gutter music/dance culture of the despised gypsies, now it is Spanish high culture.

        What more can I say/endorse. And I assume you know the origins of the gypsies.
        Hopefully you of Latcho Drom done by Tony Gatliff

        The Bauls, Is it not a way of life, very similar to the Gypsies. In YouTube search for Embryo Vagabunde Karavane (70’s). The end has clip of Bauls.

      2. You Indians crap in ur bathrooms and wash it under the shower! That is so ugly and uncivilized. Surprised ata Babur didn’t teach you to wipe not wash.

  5. Sturgeon’s Law is probably a Bengali Hindu. I have been following him for a few months and I think he is a brilliant guy although I have lot of differences with him.

    Zach, sorry in advance, but your approach to history is highly postmodernist, social justice, Foucaultian or whatever the current jargon for imposing ought on is is. You want history to reflect your own personal sensibility. No matter how many times you say you are a high tory or whatever, your approach to knowledge and expression is SJW central.

      1. I do not think that History is necessarily objective.

        It merges with art, politics and propaganda to reflect a certain inclination.

        In some ways Myths are more important than History. We remember the nobility of Cyrus more than the ignominy of Xerxes as an example..

        1. There’s something important to consider in what you’re saying. The idea of history as only objective truth, or the analysis of historical records to deduce the latter is extreme. History is implicitly a conversation without an end. Its a genre of nonfiction because it has the pretence of objectivity, but its a work of imagination. I suppose history becomes myth when the narrative transcends the author (and the latter is forgotten).
          I feel like you might be suggesting that the social purpose of historical narratives takes priority over the rigour of always contending with implications that undermine those, and erode solidarity. Even Toryism is a fine balancing act, and I think it would allow for reevaluations of the past and whatever present social purpose it serves. For example, if genetics reveals that the English are more conquered Celts than conquering Saxons, what national myths would this destroy? I think they could embrace the nuance it would bring to their understanding of the centuries that followed the encounter. Isn’t that the beauty of a reflected life that one could meaningfully reimagine themselves and move forward?
          Apologies, if i attributed a stance to you incorrectly. I think that some are surprised by how sceptical you come across about objectivity and its value, and although yours was a casual remark, I thought it implied something sensible from a certain high-minded traditionalism.

        2. History IS subjective i.e. from choosing what facts to highlight/lowlight, what events to forget , interpretations given , cause/effect given, history is subjective. That is why I like historians such as Giambattista Vico and Toynbee.

          This subjectivity became a caricature under Stalin, when communists out of favour with Stalin were literally airbrushed from texts and photos, depending on the latest ‘party line’ . So much for those who thought they made history into a science.

          We will also realise our passions are a passing fad

    1. Shafiq, I really, really like Zack. Instead of saying Zack is such and such, why not explain precisely how he can augment and refine his perspective?

      I am not sure how precisely you are critiquing Zack.

      Zack, I am fairly sure that my answer won’t be offensive to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs:
      —it doesn’t matter who immigrated to Hindustan. They became Hindustanis. Or were Hindustani or semi-Hindustanis before they arrived.
      —Hindu narrative texts imply that an ancient civilization and culture existed in SAARC, South East Asia, Turan and Iran for a very long time. Exactly how long does not matter.
      —Hindu narrative texts speak of ancient evolved people who moved to India from the far north and west (Uttara Kuru). They are the Chandra Vamsha or Soma Vamsha. Over time their descendents became the new Kshatriyas and Brahmin leaders of Bharat. The Mahabharata is “THEIR” story.

      I don’t know who they are. Perhaps they are the Iranian farmer that moved to India maybe 350 generations ago. Or not. [Please correct if I am wrong.]

      Maybe they partly reseeded and repopulated Arya Varsha after the devastation of the last ice age and global flood which ended around 9700 BC?

        1. For a long time I though you are a very confused person but I increasinging think that you are yet another crazy brown guy in this blog.

          1. You can delete my rude comment. I am sorry for the outburst. I realize that you and I live in completely different world and never the twain shall meet. I will make utmost effort from now on not to comment on your post.

          2. It is possible to disagree with someone on a particular topic without calling them “crazy”.

            I disagree with Zack on certain things and that’s OK. For example, he is not terribly fond of the hijab and thinks British Muslims need to integrate. I feel that Muslim women have a right to express their religion they way they choose, even if that entails wearing clothes that others see as unfashionable.

            He has a right to be “postmodernist” or “SJW” or whatever. If you really do find someone’s worldview totally untenable, then the best thing is to walk away.

      1. I told ya who they are but, it seems, you don’t believe me (btw didn’t got your email). Next week I will provide some ritual songs from Serbs, Aryan descendants in India, which I discovered recently. I will also point those who are interested to the recent scientific article which found some discrepancies in ‘steppe’ theory.

    2. What is wrong with being a SJW exactly?

      They have some good points; the trouble with Asians is that they also don’t “push back” because they are so eager to be a model minority.

      It’s push and pull; we have to integrate but we also need to be integrated.

      I’m glad to see Sturgeon’s Law is a Bengali Hindu in that case I should delete the entire post.

      I don’t see any atonement in the West for what was done to India. The presumption that colonialism was somehow beneficial is profoundly offensive.

      My sympathies are “Islamicate” but it doesnt mean I condone the Arab-Islamic invasions or that I’m unaware of the propensity of Islam being a “religion of the sword.” However I do see that narrative failing to demonstrate that there is tremendous cultural worth in what was built over the Muslim centuries; I doubt many Iranians was to go back to 650AD Persia (culturally speaking)…

      1. Zack, how do you define SJW?

        “trouble with Asians is that they also don’t “push back” because they are so eager to be a model minority.” My dear friend, we do not view this identically. We increasingly live in a globalized society, a Bahá’í like society.

        Asians no longer have the inferiority complex and lack of self confidence of a generation earlier. A plurality of the world’s billionaires are Asian or people of Asian heritage. In the near future a majority will be. This is well known and understood by Asians and non Asian alike. Asians do not see themselves as a global “minority”.

        Do you think Asians see themselves as a model minority in England? Europe?

        I don’t think Asians see themselves that way in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US. Asians socio-economically outperform caucasians by every statistic that is available. Asians are afraid of a jealous bigoted xenophobic backlash similar to what the world’s Jewry are experiencing today. As a result Asians keep a lower profile to avoid others being jealous of them. Asians are trying to avoid the “evil eye”. This isn’t without wisdom.

        However, I don’t see why this is as big a problem in the UK. In the UK Asians socio-economically underperform caucasians. Do you think caucasian Englishmen and Englishwoman are afraid and jealous of UK Asians? Do you think they are afraid and jealous of non UK Asians?

        Why would UK Asians feel the need to keep a low profile and avoid people feeling jealous of them?

      2. I think many Iranians right now are reaching back to their Arya roots. And they are right to be very proud of their Arya heritage.

        “I’m glad to see Sturgeon’s Law is a Bengali Hindu in that case I should delete the entire post.”
        If he is a Bengali Hindu, that makes his claiming Hinduism didn’t exist 600 AD even more bizarre. We should resist his claims even harder if he is a Bengali Hindu.

    3. Sturgeon’s Law is almost certainly an Indian. The anal retention about “Hindu”ism being a modern collation/classification imposed on different versions of Indian paganism, and not an identifiably old religious tradition, is a typically Indian (Pankaj Mishraesque) thing to do.

      A vacuous view quite fashionable in Indian Left circles (along with Sanskrit being a foreign import).

      1. Slapstik, I don’t know the whole context of the conversation with Sturgeon’s Law, but wanted to get a better idea of your position on this, out of respect one takes for granted that you have a nuanced one.. Can we say that what we call classical hinduism,and the corpus of literature around it, is an unbroken tradition of thought going back into deep antiquity, but yet, there were a pluralism of indic paganisms, some more proximal than others to the vedic-agamic cultural sphere, and many of those were of independent origin. Over a few millennia, the vedic-agamic sphere evolved many heterodox forms like buddhism/jainism from within and the sphere spread to all regions of the subcontinent, eventually to southeast asia, and some spurs extending into central asia. Still the thing that would later be called hinduism was a cultural superstrate in many parts of the subcontinent , despite having perhaps mid-wived many of those cultures into literate civilisation. If we take the dravidian language cultures for example, the vedic-agamic culture perhaps spread through elite-emulation, yet there is a perception by some that the primal folkways are not rooted in the sanskritic culture, and those need to be honoured as well. The motivation by some to call hinduism a modern construct is not to deny that there has always been a coherent tradition, but that now since the term hindu is used so broadly to encompass all non-abrahamic folk religion in India, that we are losing the distinction that some of those traditions have always had to the vedic-agamic. The conversation then devolves into a semantic game, where some derive the scope of hinduism ethnologically from the ideologies of hindus, and when it suits them, define hinduism as more doctrinally derived from texts. What this permits is to claim adherents through catholicity, and then eventually assert authority by legitimacy of a mother tradition. In some way, is the broad church hinduism as we know it not a modern construct?

          1. Zack, there are some high traditions that don’t regard the Vedas as revealed truth (maybe we can still call them vedic inasmuch as they are cognisant of them) , but apart from that, do you perceive that some of those pagan folklore and rituals have origins independent of the Vedas and that cultural complex?

        1. @girmit

          // out of respect one takes for granted that you have a nuanced one //

          Thank you for according that respect to me. It is rather endearing in times when anyone who doesn’t self-identify as a card-carrying “liberal” Leftie is a de rigueur cultural philistine with the nuance of a sledgehammer.

          // conversation then devolves into a semantic game //

          It is a hair-splitting exercise, a semantic game to begin with.

          I’ve been trained to think like a physicist so that how I think. I set the (falsifiable) problem as follows: can we abstract away a kernel of thought prevalent in various Indian paganisms (mid-wived, as you put it, by some organic mechanism / Brahminical superstrate) and look at that kernel across time (and space) as relatively unchanging?

          If the answer is yes, then Hinduism is an old religion and a broad church and has always been so. Like different flavours of Linux floating around, each with an open-source license to re-code as they see fit so long as the kernel programs remain the ones Linus Torvalds came up with.

          E.g. I recall a time visiting Bangalore to my uncle’s place with my grand mother (a Kashmiri monoglot who grew up most of her life in Srinagar). Walking along a residential street close to my uncle’s house we chanced upon this smallish, crude temple with some idol of a local deity I still don’t know the name of. Yet my grandmother thought it was shroots (< Skt. shuci; pure, holy) and kept on offering rice and walnuts at that makeshift shrine. She did not speak any Hindi let alone Kannada and had no idea who made the shrine or for which deity or why. Yet the cultural kernel kicked in like clockwork.

          1. Hello Slapstik,

            Great discussion you have going on here with the brilliant girmit. I have a minor query regarding your above message. I have tried to visualise the common cultural kernel that you talked about and succeeded to some extent. I definitely could perceive/believe it in some way but I was not able to characterise it thoroughly. Could you outline the characteristics of this common cultural kernel that potentially has always united and continues to unite the subcontinent (or large parts of it?) in entirety, if possible? Tendency towards polytheism (at least in the domain of common day-to-day practiced religion even if explicitly rejected in some High schools) one such characteristic?

          2. I would say it includes a certain geographical sense of India of pilgrimages – the land of rameshwaram (or rameeshvöram as my grand mum put it) and amarnath and kalighat and somanath etc

            The kernel also includes a concept of what pagan Romans called pietas – observance of a certain recognisable kind – which includes idol worship, but also sanctifying temples based on vows, ancestor worship, worship of fertility.

            saMskRta as the primary language of religion. Even when people use vernacular, it is obvious which language lends words of religious significance to it (cf Sanskritization of language use in all dharmic religions, not just Hinduism)

            Caste is an Indian add-on and part of the deep structure of Hinduism (truer in Brahmins at any rate).

            Lastly common myth. The fables of exile and homecoming of maryAdA puruSottama rAma or the pANDava-s. In the generally current form from around (or just after) the Mauryan period.

            (Vedic scripture is really liturgical scripture of and for brahmaNa-s, whose schools were involved in its composition, redaction, dissemination and memorization. Its importance in lived Hinduism has always been secondary at best)

          3. “I would say it includes a certain geographical sense of India of pilgrimages – the land of rameshwaram (or rameeshvöram as my grand mum put it) and amarnath and kalighat and somanath etc

            The kernel also includes a concept of what pagan Romans called pietas – observance of a certain recognisable kind – which includes idol worship, but also sanctifying temples based on vows, ancestor worship, worship of fertility.

            saMskRta as the primary language of religion. Even when people use vernacular, it is obvious which language lends words of religious significance to it (cf Sanskritization of language use in all dharmic religions, not just Hinduism)”

            Agree completely. Although several holy Tirthas (mentioned in the old texts) use to be in Turin and Tibet too. Mount Soma–north west of Turin–is very important for Hindus. There is extensive discussion about South East Asia too. But I do not remember mentions of South East Asian Tirthas. Can someone tell me any they remember? I will try to remember to look for this when I read old epics.

            I will take the above back a little. Could South East Asia be a remnant of ancient Kumari Kandam? If so, then there are Tirthas in South East Asia. My hope is that much of the ancient history of Hinduism might be unlocked in the excavation of Gunung Padang, Java, Indonesia.

            Gunung Padang might have the largest base of any pyramid in the world. Several parts of it have been carbon dated to between 13,000 and 28,000 years ago. Gunung Padang is one of many similar structures in the area. The vast majority of which have not been studied:

            A skeptical perspective on pre ice age (pre 9700 BC) civilizations is presented in the debate below:

          4. “Caste is an Indian add-on and part of the deep structure of Hinduism (truer in Brahmins at any rate).”

            With the proviso that all extraordinary “other” people (such as Jesus) are ex post added into Sanathana Dharma as Vaishyas, Kshatriyas or Brahmins. And the truly great are added as Brahma Rishis and Brahma Jnaanis that transcend Brahmin and Satwa Guna.

            Brahmin Varna = Sattva Guna predominant
            Kshatriya Varna = Sattva and Rajas Guna predominant
            Vaishya Varna = Rajas and Tamas Guna predominant
            Shudra Varna = Tamas Guna predominant

            “Lastly common myth. The fables of exile and homecoming of maryAdA puruSottama rAma or the pANDava-s. In the generally current form from around (or just after) the Mauryan period.”
            These narrative stories are considered more like historical novels, dramatized for various reasons (for entertainment, for teaching morals, for deep symbolism, for secret messages about mystical experience through the brain and nervous system, and for Naad or sound brain therapy). According to traditional scholars these texts evolved and were modified over thousands of years. Therefore the Mahabharata and Ramayana today are thought by traditional scholars to have been significantly different say four thousand years ago. This said, they are believed by the orthodox to contain actual deep concepts, intuitions, feelings, truths and history inside them.


            (Vedic scripture is really liturgical scripture of and for brahmaNa-s, whose schools were involved in its composition, redaction, dissemination and memorization. Its importance in lived Hinduism has always been secondary at best)

            On this we don’t fully agree. The Vedas are mentioned repeatedly and part of many stories (scriptural and folk). They are the sruthi (background musical note) upon which the various Dharmic philosophies and lived practices are sung. Having said this, it isn’t the Vedas alone–which is a misunderstanding some have. The same is true for Agamas, many Buddhist scriptures (which are extensively studied by Hindus), Jain scriptures (which are extensively studied by Hindus), ancient Samkhya texts, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (which I consider to be a subset within the superset of Samkhya), Tirumurai, Puranas, Tantra texts, commentaries on all the above, and others.

            Trika (which emphasizes and provides commentaries on many Agamas) and Tirumantiram cannot be understood without Samkhya. Although they are technically considered two of the six Shaivite paramparas within Vedanta Darshana.

            Many subsections within various Puranas are revered almost on par or on par with the Vedas.

            The Nath Sampradaya also have many spectacular texts which are revered by Hindus.

            And to add complexity; it is very hard to understand any part of the Astika traditions without understanding Shankaracharya. In many ways all the various commentaries are partly a commentary (bhashya) on the original texts, and partly a response to Shankaracharya.

            Shankaracharya also wrote commentaries on the Yoga Sutras and Tantra. Most Astika Tantra as now practiced is heavily influenced by Shankaracharya.

            Of course Mahayana Tantra and Mahayana Vajrayana Tantra are also closely linked to various Astika Tantrik schools. All of them purify the brain and nervous system; which transforms a human into a superhuman. It is very hard for non meditators to understand many branches of Hinduism. Perhaps this accounts for why most Indologists understand Hinduism so little.

            There is also the Max Muller phenomenon. Early in life he didn’t understand Eastern philosophy. Most of his translations and influential writings were during his early life. Later on he transformed into a sage and developed a deep understanding of the East. This is reflected in his words towards the end of his life and in the very high esteem great Hindu/Buddhist masters had of him. Sadly, however, most modern Indologists read Muller’s early writings or far more bizarre writings derived from them and don’t understand Eastern philosophy.

          5. Thank you very much for the reply Slapstik! I very much tend to accept personally many of the things characterising the common core in your post; particularly vow-making, worship of fertility and worship (and/xor veneration?) of ancestors. In my view, the rest of the stuff excepting caste system which I don’t know much about but rather inclined to believe is of neolithic-chalcolithic era origins, while it does describe the important worldviews of a culturally extremely highly significant section of Hindus who may or may not be numerically dominant (I’m personally not knowledgable) like Brahmins but very importantly also other historical upper and middle castes, may not work for some persistent traditions having very local and humble origins with historical lower castes and STs. I considered all non-Abrahamic-religion-following, non-Sikh, non-Buddhist and non-Jain people as Hindus going by the general informal Hindu middle class (or rather just my personal) worldview (The latter three I don’t know very exactly how to think about- I don’t know if they have vow-making, veneration of fertility, etc. as part of their ideal/practical worldviews) and also because I had some idea of a question about the existence/non-existence of continuity of very hoary (mesolithic-neolithic time period) subcontinental cultural and religious worldviews when I wrote that comment. It may be argued that this definition is too broad and that it is not proper to include the cultural and religious traditions of STs and the historical lowest castes in Hinduism which is reasonable. It is because of this definition that I selected what I did from your list; and I believe that there is a good amount of possibility that those things unite historical upper and middle castes and others and Brahmanical-Temple Hinduism with historical lower caste (which in many cases may be the historical upper castes’ local, “second” religions, so to speak) and tribal cultures and religions. The remainder of the list either weakly does or does not at all unite the different groups included under this definition, in my view. In any case, I have always believed that the closest sister to Temple Hinduism in India, definitely in terms of common day-to-day religious worldview even if not in terms of culture perhaps, is the Tribal and Regional religion, compared to Abrahamic religions, Sikhism and likely also Buddhism and Jainism; don’t know if I’m right.

            But I definitely don’t know much about the nature of the tribal religions and only have a little bit of knowledge of local non-High religions, so I strongly advise caution when reading my comment above.

            Again, thank you very much for your comment!

  6. Hasn’t the Kohinoor already been broken into smaller parts, Its not even the same diamond. I think each piece of the diamond returned to India ,Pakistan and Afghanistan (with India getting the biggest one of course)

  7. White People/ Europeans doing BharataNatyam apparently too much cultural appropriation according to some.

    I watch BharathaNatyam and other Indian dances on an off. What strikes me is that most of the dancers were light skinned, compared to the general population of South India.

    To be honest never seen a black (I mean black) skinned South Indian (or Sri Lankan) dancing BhNty. Vijay/BharoStan says the origins of BarataNatyam are from Nautch /Devadassi’s.

    Going on the basis of Vijay/BharoStan’s should one not be more concerned about cultural appropriation of BharataNatyam by the light skinned Indo Aryan castes of India.

    Anyway have a look at (specially towards end) this video from Mali. See any similarities to BharataNatyam.

    1. Devadasi is not a caste anyway; wikipedia gives a very broad treatment in

      Interestingly, there is a good piece on Bharatha Natyam within that as:

      “The Hindu revival movement consciously stepped outside the requirements of state electoral politics and western scientific traditions. The movement received strong support from the Theosophical Society of India, whose anti-official stance and strong interest in Indian home rule bound them with the revival of dance and music.

      Pioneers like Madam H.P. Blavatsky and Colonel H.S. Olcott, the founders of the Theosophical movement, had undertaken an extensive tour of South India and propagated the revival of devadasi institutions and the associated art of sadir. They gained support from some sections of the native elite by their public denouncement of western Christian morality and materialism. In 1882, the Theosophical Society of India had set up its headquarters in Adyar, Chennai with the set goal of working towards the restoration of India’s ancient glory in art, science, and philosophy.

      The support later given to a revival of sadir as Bharatnatyam by the Theosophical Society was largely due to the efforts of Rukmini Devi Arundale, an eminent theosophist, and E. Krishna Iyer. Arundale, trained in ballet, sought to reappropriate the devadasi dance traditions and bring them into a context which could be perceived as respectable. She did this by changing the dance repertoire to exclude pieces perceived as erotic in their description of a deity. She also systematized the dance in a way that incorporated the extension and use of space associated with dance traditions such as ballet. The product of this transformation was Bharatnatyam, which she then began to teach professionally at a school she established in Madras called Kalakshetra. Bharatnatyam is commonly propagated as a very ancient dance tradition associated with the Natyasastra. However, in reality, Bharatnatyam as it is performed and known today is a product of Arundale’s endeavour to remove the devadasi dance tradition from the perceived immoral context of the devadasi community and bring it into the upper caste performance milieu.[20]”

    2. So the Theosophical society made BharatNatyam main stream from the Shadri dance of the Devadasi. Now some are complaining White people are culturally appropriating BharatNatyam.

      In India it was Theosophical society that was responsible for reviving Buddhism. The two main Buddhist schools (and many others) Ananda and Nalanda college were built by the Theosophical society under Henry Steele Olcott. So far no complaints of cultural appropriation of Buddhism.

      Thanks Vijay and BharoStan

      1. Cultural appropriation is not a concept most Indians are very familiar with or complain about.

        If anything, the attitude is the complete opposite. If a white person performs an Indian dance or wears Indian clothes then we go into an ultra-patriotic mode, trumpeting it as another win for Indian soft power.

        IMO we overdo it but this is a better attitude to have than complaining.

        People who usually talk about appropriation are usually 2nd gen Indians abroad. Maybe due to some sense of alienation or rootless-ness.

        The other category of people who do this are ‘intellectual’ left-liberal types who take most of their cues from similar such movements in the US.

        1. Prats, cultural appropriation with attribution is welcomed and celebrated by practitioner Hindus (and Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs). Even second generation practitioner Hindus.

          The only issue is cultural appropriation without attribution. Even here only a few Hindu activists care.

          The only Hindus I have ever heard complain about cultural appropriation with attribution are post modernist non practitioner Hindus. These tend to be de facto anti Hindu anyway. They don’t speak for practitioner Hindus and know almost nothing about Hinduism.

          Sadly most post modernist intelligentsia and caucasian intelligentisa (which mostly but don’t entirely overlap with each other) try to promote non practitioner post modernist Hindus when and only when they say what the intelligentsia wants them to say.

          Hinduism is an open architecture ecosystem ethos . . . the people and philosophies (and their derivatives) of a large part of Asia. The only commonalities of this ecosystem are openness, pluralism, multiplicity, mutual respect, loving all religions and philosophies, universalism.

          There are many atheist Hindus (Chaarvaaka, Aajiivika). And Buddhist Hindus. And Jain Hindus. Many Astika atheist Hindus. Christian Hindus. Muslim Hindus. Many Hindus who openly reject the Vedas. And many who are agnostic of the Vedas.

          This is a question for everyone.

          Are the post modernist non practitioner Hindus who complain about cultural appropriation with attribution really offended because they don’t like Hinduism and don’t want people who practice Hinduism? Or is this too much of a conspiracy theory?

        2. People who usually talk about appropriation are usually 2nd gen Indians abroad. Maybe due to some sense of alienation or rootless-ness.

          The other category of people who do this are ‘intellectual’ left-liberal types who take most of their cues from similar such movements in the US.


          Like I have mentioned before, the few Sri Lankans I know who complain of discrimination are in the top of their field. The two I know have entered the US with top undergraduate degrees from Sri Lanka.

          1. sbarrkum, there complained about discrimination inside the US?

            Wow. They can access the Deshi network. What can they possibly be complaining about?

            Unless they were trying to break into Hollywood/Broadway/Opera/Art? Albeit there are prominent Deshis in these areas too.

      2. Hi Sereno

        Theosophical society “made” BharatNatyam is an overstatement. TS has a wide ranging and understated and subtle influence in Asian and European cultures more than 100 years back. It did not directly ‘make’ anything ; basically it made esoterism, mysticism and occult cool at the height of rationalistic influence of western culture. It also had strong belief that Asian especially Indian philosophies and religions are superior to hard core rationalism from the west. It is a huge topic on which i can write a bigger essay.
        it had so many diverse influences
        1. Founders and many early Indian National Congress leaders were TS members
        2. It gave emerging Hindu middle classes more self-confidence and made things like re-emergence of Bharatanatyam in an urban setting
        3. Olcott visited srilanka and early SL Buddhist revivalists like anagarika dharmapala were influenced by TS. It directly influenced revival of Buddhism and SL ethnic nationalism indirectly
        4.Olcott estabished the first free school fr Dalits near Madras and I think early Tamil Dalit thinkers like Iyothee dass , who identified himself as a Buddhist and published dalit newspapers and made first Buddhist sangha in modern times in tamilnadu
        “Iyothee Thass met Colonel H. S. Olcott with his followers and expressed a sincere desire to convert to Buddhism.[2] According to Thass, the Paraiyars of Tamilakam were originally Buddhists and owned the land which had later been robbed from them by Aryan invaders.[1]:9–10 With Olcott’s help, Thass was able to visit Ceylon and obtain diksha from the Sinhalese Buddhist monk Bikkhu Sumangala Nayake.[2] On returning, Thass established the Sakya Buddhist Society in Madras with branches all over South India. The Sakya Buddhist Society was also known as the Indian Buddhist Association[5] and was established in the year 1898.[6]”
        5. In Europe , TS made esoterism and mysticism cool. It’s member Rudolf Steiner broke away from it and established his own schools and Philosophy
        6. TS made the now starnge concept of “root races” and Lemurians popular.
        7. this directly influenced Tamil ethnocentrists like Deavaneyan a.k.a Devaneya Pavanar into flights of fancy of Lemurian Tamil and this is at the core dravidian movement.

        8. Similar mystic turn of ‘root races’ gave rise to Nazism.
        Blavatsky’s Theosophy has been described as representing “a major factor in the modern revival” of Western esotericism.[339] Godwin deemed there to be “no more important figure in modern times” within the Western esoteric tradition than Blavatsky.[243] For Johnson, Blavatsky was “a central figure in the nineteenth-century occult revival”.[340] Lachman claimed that “practically all modern occultism and esotericism” can trace its origins back to her influence.[341] Blavatsky’s published Theosophical ideas, particularly those regarding Root Races, have been cited as an influence on Ariosophy, the esoteric movement established in late 19th- and early 20th-century Germany and Austria by Guido von List and Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels.[342][343] Hannah Newman stated that via Ariosophy, Blavatsky’s Theosophical ideas “contributed to Nazi ideology

        None of this cultural influences was directly ‘made’ by TS, but it’s writings on occult and esoterism had a great influence on it’s members , who were free to take their own turns in thinking. It made “alternative visions” in contradistinction to Science-Reason of mainstream western outlook popular.

        1. VijayVan
          Theosophical society “made”
          The wrong words I agree. Revived, reshaped would have been better.

          Olcott visited srilanka and early SL Buddhist revivalists like anagarika dharmapala were influenced by TS. It directly influenced revival of Buddhism and SL ethnic nationalism indirectly
          No question, agreed. I am no fan of Anagarika Dharmapala, a racist par excellence.

          It also had strong belief that Asian especially Indian philosophies and religions are superior to hard core rationalism from the west.
          Agreed again.

          That said the right or wrong the Theosophical society did provide “confidence” to indigenous arts and theories.

          1. Sbarkkum

            Theosophical society leader Alscott’s visit to Srilanka in 1896 and 1898 has a bit more (and interesting) to do with India than Dharmapala.

            In 1890s Tamilnadu there was a ferment among the scheduled caste citizens against casteism and hinduisn in general; AyhothiDasar took the lead and established the Dravida mahajana sabha, the forerunner of the DK, and declared they were casteless dravidans who were disinherited by others. He approached Blavatsky and Olcott and expressed a desire to convert to Budhism. They took him in 1898 to Srilanka and Sumangala Nayaka gave them Diksha to convert to Buddhism. This was a full 60 years before Ambedkar!

            The sunday times Lanka “” discusses the interplay between Dharmapala and Ayothee Dasa in detail and suggests one was inspired by other.

            Upon arrival back in Madras, he established the Sakhya Buddhist society and his followers expressed a strong interest in using British rule and education to rise in society. Subsequently, in 1920 elections, “depressed caste” candidates contested and lost every seat to Justice Party (which was another anti-congress, anti-Brahmin movement). Subsequently, the Dravida movement (which had origins in the word used by ayothee Dasa for SCs, but took over by others) became predominat in Tamil politics, while basically excluding all SC representation. This was from 1920!

          2. Vijay,

            Your comment has definitely made me re think my impression of Dharmapala (Don David Hewavitharane). I had got the impression he was a racist and anti Tamil. This does change my views.

            So another post needed about Angarika.

            Thanks Vijay

  8. On cultural appropriation: Cultural appropriation of thoughts, religions, fashions, literature or any other mentifacts are not necessarily to the good of the appropriating society. Uncritical appropriation can severely damage the appropriating society. Western society studied ancient India through Indology . Germans were at the forefront. It appropriated words like aryan to describe themselves and Germany led Europe to destruction under the banner of aryanism. From the Indian side, a Tamil leader like E.V.Ramasamy Naicker , appropriated ‘Rationalism’ from the west and applied it in the crudest way to Tamil society by public destruction of Hindu gods images , crude lampooning of Hinduism and he made Nazi like ‘othering’ of Brahmins and made racism fashionable as a political discourse. That is equally destructive of Tamil society , without redeeming features.

    1. Is the issue cultural appropriation without attribution and understanding? If is the issue mental health and intelligence?

      Suspect you read my thinking on the Nazis VijayVan. The Nazis were the combination of Socialism with Nationalism (National Socialism) with autocracy with German Indology.

      Sadly Hitler did not understand German Indology. And German Indology did not understand Hinduism/Buddhism/Sanskrit. At least not yet.

      I am not very familiar with E.V.Ramasamy Naicke. How much popularity did he have? Why did he get arrested? He deserved freedom of speech. The way to deal with bad speech is better speech.

      It is hard for non Tamilians to assess these things. Chennai Madras is really a global cosmopolitan city and not reflective of Tamil Nadu. This said, Chennai is probably my favorite large Indian city (I loved Coimbatore and Madurai too . . . but they aren’t large cities by Indian/Chinese standards). I love going on temple and spiritual tours through Tamil Nadu. But I suspect that the Tamilians I meet in spiritual areas might not be representative. I can say that I have never met any non post modernist Tamilian who regarded Hinduism, the 18 Siddhas and the other great Tamilian saints as an oppressive hegemonic exploitative occupation force.

      1. Young females who travel alone are treated more respectfully in large Tamil Nadu cities than in large North Indian cities. [Young American females favorably mention this.] There is much greater discipline, timeliness, cleanliness and organization in Tamil Nadu (and the south in general). Plus the South, especially Tamil Nadu, might be the most spiritual/religious place in India.

        And Tamil Nadu has the best food in India!

        1. Nazis were tapping on the many centuries old anti-semitism and so it was easy to juxtapose Aryan against it , even though Indian idea of Aryan had nothing to do with it. Otoh EVR’s Rationalism was standing on no cultural depth , so his brand of racism didn’t have the bite of German racism.

        2. @AnAn “And Tamil Nadu has the best food in India! ”

          Friendly challenge to that from a keralite lol (especially about food!)

          Per travel book by a australian journalist, Sarah McDonald, “Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure”,

          She did not have nice things to say about being a woman tourist in northern areas of india, but she expressed praise about her travels in Kerala, “Kerala was my favorite state”… “Keralan people are beautiful with big round bodies, wides smiles and dark skin…..and the men, all hail the men! The southern hunks are either ignoring me or smiling to my face. I smile back, safe that their looks aren’t sleazy”.

          Laughed about the big round bodies quote, no skinny bollywood type actors for us thank you very much 😉

          Foodwise we are getting recoginition for both our veg and non-veg cuisine, which has it all from seafood to beef, unique vegetarian including onam/lenten staples, regional versions of certain foods like paratha and biryani, and in general rice flour and cocounut based dishes (Keralite cuisine gives Thais a run for their money with our coconut milk curries).

          Must be our multiplied spiritualities there with our hindu/muslim/christian/atheist populations and histories. 😉

          1. Touche. Keralite cuisine gives pretty tough competition. Especially recipes that incorporate coconut. 🙂

            “Keralite cuisine gives Thais a run for their money with our coconut milk curries”
            True dat!

            Don’t know if it was you; but someone complained about the lack of attention paid to keralites. Is this really true? Hard for me to tell, since I have so many friends and read so much material and listen to so much music from so many places. I feel like I belong to many different religions, cultures, languages and countries. Even though technically this might not be true.

            I would love to touch base about Kerala. Kerala has contributed many of the greatest saints of the Sanathana Dharma. Especially if you include naturalized ones such as Saint Thomas, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Pantaenus.

            There is also Alathur Sidhashramam, Shankaracharya, Ammachi, Ayyappan (okay . . . maybe not a human), Karunakara Gurudevan, Bali (I love me some Daityas! Also technically not a human), Chattambi Swamikal, Narayana Gurudevan, Neelakanta Theerthapada Swamikal.

            Kerala is also famous for her Sufis.

            You know what Shankaracharya and Vivekananda said about Kerala.

            “Must be our multiplied spiritualities there with our hindu/muslim/christian/atheist populations and histories. ” Please share more.

            Sadly the post modernists and marxists have a major presence in Kerala. Is it true that their members are largely nominal Hindus?

            Sanathana Dharma has many different atheist schools. One common teaching of the atheists is that the only valid pramaana (source of knowledge) is Pratyaksha. Or direct observation of something as it truly is. One of the great teachers of atheism is Brihaspati–the planet Jupitor and Guru of the Gods. Atheists transcend all concepts, thoughts and ideas searching for the truth alone. Which is why atheists are so revered and worshipped. Not kidding here. Great atheist saints are worshiped as Gods!

            However post modernism are not atheists . . . they oppose all religions as evil and try to replace all concepts, thoughts and ideas with their own mostly irrational ones.

      2. Correction:
        “Is the issue cultural appropriation without attribution and understanding? Or is the issue mental health and intelligence?”

  9. VijayVan, how would you define spiritual progress? Do you think spirituality is connected with mental health (Chitta Shuddhi) and intelligence (Buddhi)?

    Aren’t the root problems in the world three?
    —mental health

    If someone has these three, then are good company, bad company, good thoughts, bad thoughts and everything else irrelevant?

    If Indologists misunderstood Hinduism/Buddhism/Sanskrit, isn’t this a reflection of their mental health and intelligence? Meditation is one of many ways to increase mental health and intelligence.

      1. VijayVan when you say poverty. . . do you mean the global poor . . . or the global lower middle class? These are very different things.

        Assume you mean quality of of jobs rather than the quantity of jobs?

        The challenge of the global poor is competence, capacity, merit, physical health, mental health, intelligence. Because of this no one benefits from exploiting them. The world ignores them. Their challenge is “irrelevance”. They are not significant connected to the globalized knowledge economy.

        The global lower middle class is partly connected to the globalized knowledge economy.

        Part of the world’s problems derive from economics. But not all. In opinion surveys taken in the Gulf, Pakistan and Egypt; the more economically successful and educated someone is they more likely they are to support Jihad. The less economically successful and educated someone is the less likely they are to support Jihad. Support for Jihad and Islamism is positively correlated with economic success and education.

        My hope is that this is slowly changing in Egypt, the Gulf and Pakistan as the Islamic reform movement gains steam.

      2. The cause of poverty would be the low labor productivity of many workers.

        I would posit the hypothesis that labor productivity is positively correlated with mental health, physical health and intelligence

        Regressions with rough measures of physical health and IQ show then to be highly correlated with income. IQ being an imperfect estimate of G or General Intelligence. General Intelligence, I believe, is a subset in the superset of Intelligence broadly defined. However we don’t have data sets with intelligence broadly defined. As far as I know we do not have data sets of mental health. The data we have on physical health is highly deficient as well. As a result it isn’t possible at this time to test my hypothesis.

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