68 thoughts on “Open Thread – Brown Pundits”

    1. You still haven’t answered Alan’s questions regarding the Khasi tribe, mtdna M49, and ydna R2.

      We’ve all been waiting weeks with our popcorn but still no response. R2a2 folks allowed you R1a1 mofos to be integrated into our IVC societies and this is how you repay us!!!! Dash’s my brown pundit ass! We all have Steppe ancestry in our autosomal makeup anyway unless you’re talking about some jati castes or societies in the Deep South our remote areas. I may have more of them than you (speaking as a proud R2a2 sorority alumni).

      Razib, explain, at least for science sake. You’re a teacher right? I am in high school looking to be a pop geneticist- now answer!

          1. As in the mleccha dynasty in Assam where the Khasi reside or do you mean the Vedic word for barbarians, foreigners?

            Please explain. C’mon Razib, enough of this coded language.

  1. On the margins of this discussion, I just want to give a credit to Kabir who patiently reads all comments and gives his heart to all “comments” calling me a ‘weird clown’, ‘nationalist’, ‘Alexander the Great crap’, etc. There are no facts, no questions asked, no answers given. Such ‘comments’ the best describe these ‘commentators’ and Kabir himself.

      1. I intended to put this comment in the ‘Greek’ Thread but it is more appropriate to be here. In previous Open Thread was on agenda readers’ questions to you as trained geneticist. From the depth of his subconsciousness, the reader “Silva” suddenly dug Lesander Karanovic (i.e. Alexander the Great) and asked me what I (??) intended with this crap. It could be ok (I wrote long time ago about AtG) but the point is actually on giving the credit to his heart donor.

    1. Sorry if some of us (not just me) get frustrated with your repeated fanciful theories that the ancient Aryans were Serbian and the evidence for this is all lost because of the evil Vatican.

      I personally don’t care that much either way, so I’m not going to “debate” this with you. But perhaps some of us prefer that claims made on BP fall within the domain of reality rather than whatever weird argument someone feels like making.

      As for “Alexander the Great”: The man’s name is Alexander of Macedon. I think that makes it very clear where he came from.

      1. It is so obvious that you cannot hide your frustration since the time when you did not know the meaning of your country’s name. You do not need to read my comments. But to you it is not enough, you want to prohibit the publishing of my comments. I did not invite you to debate with me. It seems you know exactly who were Aryans and if they existed at all? Greeks for e.g. say that Aryans did not exist, that this is a fiction because they also did not exist (in history) at that time. Why don’t you explain to all of us? Vatican have invented the migration of Slavs/Serbs. I already invited anyone to offer any evidence. It should be very simple because it is still official history which influences many things in SA history as well.

        But conspiracy (or not) has nothing to do with apparent similarities between Serbian and Sanskrit, with Serbian toponyms in India, with identical genes btw. Serbs and many Indians (Razib can confirm or negate), with archaeological findings in Vinca. What is the name of the mountain where Moses got 10 commandments from the God (still is the same name and the whole Sinai had the same name until Jesus)? What was the name of the mountain peak from which Moses watched the promised land? All this you can even find on Wiki. No conspiracies, have a look a map. To those interested I could send old maps with toponyms in Anatolia, Iran, India, Syria. Have a look on Google “serbian arms baghdad museum”… And for Alexander the Great… you are apparently playing dumb. Or maybe not?

        1. Razib ,Slapstick

          Whats’ ur view on what Milan is saying? Are we similar? Genetic and Linguistic wise

          1. Lol. I was not asking whether me and you are similar . Are the Serbian/Slavs similar to N-Indians?

          2. Hi Saurav,

            Please have a look short videos (3 and 11 min) re: Similarities Serbian vs Sanskrit as a complementary story to the genetics.


            Last week I met a guy from Bangladesh (are you from there?) at kids’ party. We found that some Serbian and Bangla words are very similar (family relationships – for e.g. wife’s sister’s husband, etc)


            Nikola Tesla is R1a-M458.
            How far is this from R1A1A-Z93.

          3. Slappy bandit knows jack shit.

            Milano is right, but only half. Serbs come from Central Asia. native word for Serb is srpski which is from turkish eshrapki for servant. We were ruling them for 500 years and created their civilization.

          4. Serbian is a Southern Slavic language and Slavic brach, like Indo-Iranian, is satem. So the cognates between the two will sound more similarish than, say, between Sanskrit and Latin.

            However, linguistically these are cognates (cf. Skt. samjAtaH, lit. together-born), i.e. copies of the same word in two different languages that have since speciated away from each other and neither word is quite like the original due to phonetic drift along the way. These did not arise by Serbs lending words to Indians (or vice versa), let along Serbs immigrating en masse to the Indian sub-continent.

            In general, I find Milan to have fairly loose priors, i.e. he is more of a literal empiricist and reads too much into data. Prone to over-fitting. But that’s just my view and I could be horribly wrong.

  2. Vijay,

    Answers to some of your questions.

    4. The “Bhumiputra” policy and alienation of college graduated
    Assume you are referring to University Admissions
    There was never a Malaysian style “Bhumiputra” in Sri Lanka.
    University allocations proportional to number examinees in that language.
    30% of on the basis of island-wide merit;
    50% on the basis of scores within districts
    20% reserved for students from under privileged districts.
    80% basis on scores within districts
    20% reserved for students from under privileged districts.

    Urban Sinhalese population had reconciled themselves to the fact that the position of privilege they had enjoyed under the British would not last forever, and the situation had to stabilize at the population level. However Tamils saw the policy along communal terms, and strongly opposed the move.

    NOTE: its just 3% (in 2001) who do O/L, who enter State Uni
    Probably only 1% in the 70’s when there were only 2 Uni’s Colombo and Kandy.
    2001 numbers, Sat for O/Ls 347,315; Qualifying to Enter: 98,329; Admissions11,962

    1. Sinhala/Tamil DNA and origin
    Pretty similar to each other from a grand sample of 7.

    Vedda groups (mtDNA) is much different from the rest of Sri Lankans (higher frequency of haplogroup R30b/R8a1a3 in all Vedda subgroups).

    2. The different kind of Tamils

    Negombo (and north west Coastal belt) Tamils.
    A generation or two ago spoke Tamil at home. Mainly Catholic. Now considered Sinhalese. Fernandopulle, Johnpulle, Lanza. Most have dropped the “Pulle” part. In the past vehemently opposed to Jaffna Tamisl. No drive for academia but live very comfortably. Pork eating, fun loving with any excuse for a party (Goans?). My Bro-in Law is from that community

    Also catholic. eg Mirando, Paldano’s, Motha. Not much different from Negombo crowd.

    Colombo Chetty Type I; Muthumani’s, Babapulle, Paulickpulle, Ondatajies, Chitty/Chetty. Big into education, many famous doctors and academics. eg Sir Simon Casie Chetty. Now mostly Eurasian, the top guys kept on marrying Eurasian (burghers) or European. See Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family
    Note: There are many “pure” Sinhalese surnames with the Chetty/Hetti. like Hettiaratchi, Hettigoda, Adihetty, Paranahetti, Hettige, Hettigamage, Hettipathirana, Hettihewa

    All of the above have rapid Sinhalisation or assimilation with the Sinhalese majority.

    Chetty’s: Hindus, run Jewellery and other big business. Dont know much about them. I think they stiil maintain strong relationship with caste members in India.

  3. Question for Razib (or others who may be in the know). I often see some sources claiming ascension in androgyny. Then again one reads about millenials being relatively more celibate, or drinking less (even yesterday NYTimes had an article “Britain’s new puritans: Youth Drinking Falls Dramatically”.) And about a generational decline in mens’ testosterone levels and fertility.

    Is this true? If so how well understood are the causes? Selection? Sociology?

    1. froginthewell, I have seen some research suggesting these findings. Would like to learn more before writing about it, however.

      We have recent neuroscience literature which finds that as IQ increases, human beings find the opposite gender less attractive. However causation is not causation. I am not positive what is causing these correlations.

      There is evidence that human inequality in education outcomes, intelligence and physical health are increasing over time. We don’t have data on it; but I suspect that mental health outcomes are also becoming more unequal.

      The poor, low middle class, middle class and upper middle class are increasingly diverging according to many measures.

      If you can share any data sets you find on these subjects, this would be much appreciated.

      1. Thank you AnAn. Unfortunately I don’t have any data set, I have just cursorily read about this from newspaper coverages and the like. Interesting remark about the neuroscience literature and the inequalities. Perhaps instead of calling farmers as less egalitarian than foragers, we should consider them as inegalitarian in different ways, and understand ourselves as moving back from the era of “farmer inequalities” to that of “forager inequalities”? Of course I am indulging in pure speculation.

  4. It might be nice if the theories about Serbia etc could be limited to certain posts so that those of us who really are not interested would have an easier time avoiding them.

    It is not my intention to shut down anyone’s discussion. But it is frustrating to have to wade through extraneous comments to find the stuff that you actually are interested in.

    Just a suggestion.

  5. Question for sbarrkum (or any reader of BP who is Tamil or knows about Tamil culture).

    I’ve taken a great interest in the history and culture of Tamils (both Indian and Sri Lankan) and would like to read some Tamil literature. Do you have any recommendations of good (and easy to obtain) translations, particularly the Tamil epics?

  6. I dont understand what ails Kannada movie industry considering its other counterparts have had so much success. Also how Ganesh has become sort of a default second God even in Karnataka(apart from Maharashtra and AP), even though none of his origin story is South India based.

    1. Why do you say that Ganesh’s origin story is not South India based?

      Most of Ganesha’s early stories come from long before there were any human beings. Ganesha might even be called an alien from a certain point of view since he is pre human. Anther explanation is Ganesha is a reference to part of the brain and nervous system that a mediator can absorb themselves into. Many other explanations of Ganesha have to do with neuroscience and mystical experience.

      These stories have information embedded in them that is very helpful to mediators to make sense of what they experience. How this is so is hard to explain with words. Especially to someone who doesn’t meditate.

      Ganesha is lord of the Ganas. Ganas are not human. For all we know they do not come from “THIS” earth. Or they are extra-dimensional beings.

    2. Karnataka is a heavily multi-lingual state and most people, especially in urban areas speak 3-4 languages.
      Also, there is (or used to be) much less language chauvinism compared to its neighbours.

      So it is a good market for big budget Bolly/Tollywood to crowd out local content.

      Kannada Development Authority has been making a lot of noise of late and some decent indie movies are coming out as well.

        1. There are two or more Karnatakas; as can be clearly seen in a map in http://www.brownpundits.com/2018/09/20/upward-nobility-in-india-by-geography/.
          Granted mobility does not mean lack of poverty.

          Southern Karnataka is continuum of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, in food, culture, etc. This also stretches to Udipi and parts of coastal Karnataka. The economy, HDI are all superior, even if the trajectory of history passed through Tippu and Wodiayrs and not greatly influenced by Deccani or Mughal culture. Contrary to expactations, Hindi has not penetrated here. Parts of Karnataka near Goa have features similar to South Karnataka.

          Northern Karnataka is literally a poor cousin of the southern Karnataka. As the figure shows the Hyderabad-Karnataka is the very poor part as economically, the sultans of Birur, Bidar, Golconda made little contribution to the economics of the people. The food is not very hyderabadi and may have some similarities to marathwada, but the culture is drastically different from South Karnataka. Mysore Masala dosa, Mysore Rasam are not appreciated here. The culture is not very Hyderabadi. I think you have a very optimistic view of Mughal and Hyderabadi culture, but their penetration into India was weak. Even in Pakistani Punjab, You and Kabir look at Lahore and say wow, Mughal culture, but I am not sure how much it spread into, say, Sahiwal. As a wise man said, the culture of Punjab is agriculture.

          1. The coastal littoral is probably the most distinct, not just linguistically with tulu and konkani being important in addition to kannada, but ecologically, socially, and just about any other factor. Regarding the interior plateau, the tungabhadra-krishna river is an ancient boundary. Polities may have cut across that boundary, but there was an awareness of what was their core region, and what was periphery. That said, I’ve noticed a trend of homogenisation with the rise of mass media and the abandonment of traditional clothing.

        2. If by Deccani, you mean Hyderabadi Urdu then not so much.

          The Hindu influence is pretty strong here. It’s the only state in the south with a strong BJP presence.

          IMO Dakshina Karnataka should be the ideal for any sort of Hindu Rashtra.

          Strong religious core (not just ritualistic as in north India) but a very cosmopolitan attitude.

  7. Lol. I was not asking whether me and you are similar . Are the Serbian/Slavs similar to N-Indians?

    I AM R1A1A-Z93! I AM WHO I AM.

    though seriously, the ‘steppe ancestry’ is shared drift with eastern european pops. of all northern europeans upper caste south asians definitely most like slavs last i checked.

    1. :LOL:

      Is there an index where I can find all haploid genes listed along with their connections to each other and how many generations back they each might have appeared?

    2. Razib, Saurav,

      I invite you to have a look links which I have just posted (addressed to Anan). There are many nice photos and many things that are common for Serbs and SA. There are stories about DNA, Serbian mythology, the oldest calendar and alphabet, Sanskrit, etc. Txs.

  8. Dear Anan,

    Thank you for having open mind and intellectual curiosity. Please have a look these links. You can see many things (many nice photos) related to ancient Serbia – ancient calendar, the oldest alphabet in the world, DNA which confirms Vinca as a cradle of European civilisation (would be interesting to Razib).

    There is also story about Serbian gods, this would be very interested for Hindu people.
    Also, there is another story about Sanskrit and new list of Sanskrit/Serbian/English words. Enjoy the journey. When you finish reading please give me your brief impressions.

    Happy New 7527 – Ancient Serbian Calendar

    DNA study found: European civilizations originate from the Danubian Iron Gate “Djerdapska klisura”

    Vinča the cradle of European civilization “The Lost World of Old Europe”

    Ancient Slavic Language – Neolithic origins

    Sanskrit And The Ancient Slavs

  9. Any of you guys here indulge in a bit of alternative history? I don’t have any particular aptitude for it but these days I am finding myself obsessively thinking about this hypothetical scenario in which I imagine making Standard Hindi as the sole official language of the Indian union might have had a high possibility of making India a much more dominant ascendant power culturally in the world than it is today. This is surprising me because I used to viscerally rejoice Hindi not having the sole official language status but then I used to have a rather irrational dislike towards Hindi then for some unknown reason really (probably I have some sort of congenital Dravidian/ethnolinguistic/regionalistic rabid hate syndrome or something lol). Anyway, back to the story, do you guys tend to agree? Would Hindi as the sole official language have ensured that India more or less remained the same in that alternate world as it is now- like in terms of things like the economic liberalisation, etc.? I think that that would have been the case more or less and actually much better with much more beneficial results showing up wrt to the health of various Indian languages, and most importantly, much better self-assertion by India on the world stage. The most adversely impacted group would just have been the Indian-Americans and other NRIs and they would probably have just learned English after their migrations just like the Chinese people.

    Since Hindi syntax and grammar is quite similar to the Dravidian languages (though it differs in some major respects like branching, etc.) it would have been no much problem for south Indian people to use it as a lingua franca, assuming that all the unnecessary hysteria and racist hate towards north Indians was not much present in Tamil Nadu of that period in this alternate world. And I believe it is very fair to think that Hindi in that world might have the same effect that English has on all the Indian languages in our world. We probably would have had a lot of new Prakrit and Persianate borrowings in Telugu but also our Sanskrit content would have been a little bit higher and most importantly, the extremely extremely unnecessary Latin (or some other classical bigbrother language except Sanskrit and Persian) influence on the language would have been kept to the minimum.

    Haha, seems like the Tamil people by acting quite selfishly (and very unreasonably and hysterically at that), succeeded in sealing the fate of India as a state that is probably never capable of asserting itself on the world stage in the modern world (they did the same thing during their formative periods when they refused to integrate into the larger Indian civilisation wholeheartedly; the Tamil language was kept pure but at what cost? A thoroughly Indo-Aryan civilisation for the whole country would have made India much more uniform and better probably and some collateral damage like the dilution of all the Dravidian languages including Tamil would have been very acceptable as the Dravidian languages and their original culture did not do much hard work shedding blood and sweat to build and make India and Indian civilisation (while at it in the new alternate world with the Tamil people joining completely enthusiastically, please do it without untouchability also please and also without higher-lower mental distinctions in the caste system; be as endogamous as you want and get a lot of genetic diseases but the other stuff is simply evil) in the first place, at least to the level that we’d expect from such a noisy group of people who constantly consumed a lot of resources and and wielded a lot of useless power.)

    And by God, no, I am not at all trolling in this post. At all. My intentions as I can see them in my mind come nothing even close to trolling; these musings of mine are completely genuine.

    Thanks to you all for reading!

    1. Yes, not having Hindi as a national language is the only reason that India is not an ascendant “superpower”, and India not being an “Indo-Aryan” civilization. May be, since the Dravidians and “Dravidian civilizations” “did not do much hard work shedding blood and sweat to build and make India and Indian civilisation “, they would have to do twice the hard work after joining the “indian civilization”.

      1. Hello Vijay,

        The question is not if India would have been a “superpower” right at the very moment with Hindi as the sole official language of the Indian union, but rather if India irreversibly lost the capability to be sufficiently assertive as a powerful cultural unit on the world stage, even if it is at some indefinite point in the future, by not choosing a native language and a different language than that of the Anglosphere, as its lingua franca.

        Also, it is not my demand that India better become a “superpower” or some such stupid thing (it would be nice if it somehow gets to become slightly more assertive though, it is after all the land of Bhimbetka rock shelters, Indus dentistry, horsegram, zero and cotton) one fine day or otherwise go to hell. I would actually be strangely relieved if all sorts of egos are relinquished because I’m a very meek and timid individual and India behaving like me would be like the ultimate sign of relief lol. I just wrote all that I wrote there because I just love to complicate my things to the point of pain, and a lot of it.

        I don’t think I understand your final sentence properly but I do stand by my original statements regarding south Indian history. I don’t think the original speakers of Dravidian languages and their descendants/representatives in south Indian historical upper castes contributed much that is good, useful and noble to south India. I would not be so hard on them if they were not so delusionally and faultily self-righteous in the modern period. They tend to make a lot of noise and sometimes even manage to recruit the other gullible south Indians into supporting them, including those people whose ancestors they probably happily oppressed for centuries if not millennia without much problem.

        1. South India is not a unitary state; each state is unhappy in its own way. South India has not been ruled by South Indians for a very long time. Even the Wodiyars and the vermas were rulers in name only.

          In andhra, the two forward castes Kamma and Reddy has been in front of land ownership, but the upper class populatioin is no more than 20% ( I am excluding the Kapu caste which is FC in name only). The Kapus and the BCs are the more numerous. A breakdown of Kamma and Reddy ownership of land and commerce could greatly help the economy. The fact that people have no interest in the so-called Aryan civilization (while being staunch Hindus or Muslims) and drawn to education as a way forward in life tells me that the two powerful castes do not have them under some mystic “Dravidan” spell. In fact, everyone is Dravidan, even the Brahmins have 50% ASI.

          In Karnataka, Lingayats and Vokkaligas are like 25% of the population, but the Dalits, Muslims and OBCs like Kurubas make another 50% of the population. Who is Dravidan and who is not? Everyone is Dravidan. The idea that people are toiling under some Dravidan overlords and waiting to explode in an Indo-Aryan way, is a feverish dream. have you asked the Aryans if they even wanted the Dravidan castes? Hell, they do not even want the large OBC and muslim population in North India into an Aryan group.

          Of course, in TN, no single caste has more than 10% with Brahmins forming no more than 3%. Essentially this is a 90% Dravidan society.

          Before we categorize south India as struggling under Dravidan overlords, and North India as an Aryan civilization that is waiting to rescue and develop a indo-Aryan superstate, let us be clear on one thing: there is a huge OBC, Muslim and SC/ST population in BIMARU that is waiting to get out of the yoke of forward castes.

          Unitary language is not something that is going to make India anything – great, or a civilization.

          1. Vijay,

            I see that I may have made an error of understanding wrt the historical understanding of the term “Dravidian” as used by the regional parties of Tamil Nadu, various schools of academic scholars of various time periods, etc. In my last post when I used the term “original speakers of Dravidian languages”, I had in mind some people of northwest India during the period of either Indus neolithic or Indus civilisation who were genetically a mixture of agriculturalists descended from Iranian hunter gatherers and Indian hunter gatherers of the northwest. It seems one of the most leading options for the origin of Dravidian languages currently and the mistake that I made was that this sort of meaning was the one adopted historically by the regional parties of Tamil Nadu as well, which might not be the case, and they may have/do genuinely believe that the Dravidian languages originated aboriginally in south India. So in that respect, I agree that I may have been needlessly harsh (but I have to mention that it never fails to amaze me how with much of their passions channelled mainly through linguistic pride as opposed to worse things, Tamil people in general still manage to be quite very casteist and how anti-Dalit violence happens there quite often) in addition to being erroneous but much of your post seems to have been written considering Dravidian as mainly standing for ASI, by which if you mean aboriginal south Indian people dating back to the paleolithic periods, then we are communicating at cross purposes.

            And the technical definition that I consider for “Dravidians” is ‘speakers of Dravidian languages’ and for “Indo-Aryans” is ‘speakers of Indo-Aryan languages’. In the previous post, I was mainly referring to something I termed “original speakers of Dravidian languages” by which I meant those who initially migrated from the northwest to south India carrying their Dravidian languages with them, again, according to the currently strong-ish model.

            It was also only a small part of my overall communication. I wrote it only to point out the hypocrisy of some south Indian people (okay, yeah, just some Tamil Nadu people lol; I, as a Telugu person, have unforgivably committed myself the crime of equating Tamil with south India) rallying hard under the banner of language and behaving very self-righteously and hating everybody and everything else, and not to draw any connections between the historically oppressed of south India and the Hindi question, such as like imagining that the south Indian oppressed want to be saved by Hindi or things like that. I’m also moderately (even if not very thoroughly) aware that many north Indian states have similar problems as south Indian states with respect to the casteism question but again, I just mentioned those one or two sentences to point to the hypocrisy of certain people in south India, no any link between the Hindi question and the casteism problem of south India considered.

            (But the topics that you brought up are all quite worthy of further discussion, only in a different chain I believe, especially the comments about the caste distribution and internal dynamics of the 3 states. I will try to respond to the TS-AP part according to what I know quite superficially, sometime tomorrow on the new chain.)

            What I thought in my Hindi wonderings is whether the same Western education and along with it, within-India link communication, would have been possible and beneficial (me being a bit greedy going “iMkonceM assertiveness uNTE bAguNDu” (‘it would be a bit better if there was a bit more assertiveness’) ) with the Prakritic Hindi with its Sanskritic lexis and old Indian substrata, nothing to do much with the very detailed intricacies of Indo-Aryan cultures or Dravidian cultures or others and their renewed spread and transmission. As I came out in the other post as well, it is pretty much inevitable that people in any society move forward in lives (as you put it very endearingly) with the help of systems of knowledge originally developed by the Western European cultures but that did not stop a lot of other countries to at least nominally have a native language doing that work of the Western-European- and Anglo-American-originated modernisation. That was all it was mainly about.

          2. Also, I earlier missed your final sentence where you said unitary language does not make India great and also a civilisation. Haha, it is perhaps quite reasonable that a unitary (I’m considering the sense of ‘lingua franca’ for this word and not ‘single’, i.e. ‘with no other thing present’) language does not make India great (this is a part of my original question). Then, I think that a talk of a unitary language for India is not a what-if type thing for the future but very much a current reality. The name of that language is “English with Indian influences”. Spoken urban Tamil is full of superstratal influences from this unitary language. Similarly do most other Indian languages whose youth conduct their daily discourse in schools, colleges and workplaces in this language.

  10. I don’t understand the need to promote Hindu/Hindustani/Urdu. Shared ecosystems consisting of linked meta cultures (each meta culture consisting of many subcultures) benefits from greater diversity and pluralism. Including in linguistics. You are far too nationalistic. Why not act globally?

    1. Hello AnAn,

      I think it is not known whether the world will continue on this globalist-inclined trajectory if Chinese ascendancy happens in the near-future. China from whatever little I have read and known about it is a very nationalist-oriented civilisation, so I think it probably avoids all sorts of increasingly feeble attempts by Anglo-American and other Western European cultures to increase globalisation. We will also come to know if the Western European-related cultures will wholeheartedly submit to Chinese power or act defensively and be increasingly nationalistic and ethnolinguistic themselves afresh. As an amateur linguist, I believe it will be extremely interesting to observe how much of lexical superstratal influence English will accept from Mandarin in the future. It is the ultimate test of civilisational and cultural loyalties in my view.

      And even though I say all the above, it seems very strange for me saying it. I’m actually very fond of the modern science-influenced culture originated by Western European cultures a lot. I may not like to admit it but I don’t think I can live without the achievements of the European Enlightenment, particularly the Scottish Enlightenment. They have taken the first successful steps to figure out how the world works and have decisively made the world a much better place. But still that does not mean that entire world should be assimilated to their languages and cultural nuances. I think I have radical (and probably intellectually violent and undesirable) universalist tendencies in the sense that I tend to believe only the Western-origin way of thinking and the Western-origin trajectories wrt many domains of human activity are the most desirable ones for any society ultimately (I face my difficulties with this personally because I want to be a good Indian but yeah) but I am also very conservative/wannabe-conservative about protection of languages and cultural superficialities. (So all the above probably makes me a traitor temperamentally speaking and not at all a nationalist lol.) In the case of India, I think the Sanskrit sphere is the closest thing that perhaps could have brought in an Enlightenment of some sort (perhaps like the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics which was thoroughly Sanskritic and even a more archaic type of Sanskritic in ethos) if stars were aligned more favourably. (But no, the alignment can be considered satisfactory in the least only if the sort of Scientific Enlightenment brought about by Sanskrit in the hypothetical world would also be accompanied by proper modernisation with access to education present for Dalits and other historically-disadvantaged groups. Otherwise a lot many times more unfortunate than the current situation.) That is why, I push for it as the choice superstratum for our lesser native languages (after finding out that our languages are indeed lesser in some respects when compared to languages like Sanskrit). It may also be noted that Sanskrit is probably the only Indian language that has the capability of translating into concise and succinct terms (making wonderful use of its ridiculously rich morphology), each and every concept of European-origin Science and other fields of knowledge. Also note that both the native Classical Music traditions of India have fully Sanskritic origins. So Sanskrit can do the language job (and does that job) and Latin is not necessary for it. Making Hindi as the sole official language of the Union would have made that more deep-rooted because of discourse happening more vigorously in an Indian-origin language (Hindi is actually almost perfect for the job, now that I come to think of it, because in addition to the flexibility it has with respect to incorporating Sanskrit vocabulary (like most Indian languages), it also has a substantial Dravidian and other Indus-era and older substratum and thus pleasing in a nice way and is mostly equivalent to most other Indian languages in terms of grammar).

      But it is very important to note that all the above is based on my assessment of the possible nature of influence of Hindi on Indian languages. I simply assumed that it might have the same type of influence English has- majorly lexical and of a kind not threatening language existence. But then, this is probably true irrespective of my comparison of it with English, since Sanskrit also did not threaten Indian languages to extinction in the past. (Actually we are quite lucky to some extent even now in that we are associated with the English language and not the French language. I personally hate the French intolerance of linguistic diversity with all my heart.)

      1. Why do you even think “India as a state that is probably never capable of asserting itself on the world stage in the modern world ” is relevant given it ranks 126th in per capita terms? Who on the earth will care about this assertion? Not like if we all submerged into this imaginary Indo-Aryan we will magically transform into “asserting” ourselves the next year.

        Comparisons with Han China are meaningless, as both, genetically, culturally and linguistically, Han China is a unitary state over 2000 years. The reason China can assert its power is a large population+a large GDP per capita.

        There has been an attempt to assert a Pan-Islamic identity under Arabic and Islam. It would have gone to the dustbin but for the production of crude.

        1. ayyO guruvAyurappA, where did I compare India with China? If at all I did subconsciously compare India with China, I might have only done it in the area of population because they are both heavily populous countries. I only talked about China because the topic of the globalism-nationalism conflict came up and I speculated how China might shape the globalism-nationalism in the near-future when it becomes the superpower thingy.

          In any case, my original question was about any significant enhancement to India’s, well, stupid assertiveness at some indefinite point in the long term future if its language policy would have been different. There is a very real possibility India can by fluke (with the help of something like an accidental discovery of something like the crude thingy perhaps?) end up as the ascendant thingy in the very far future, like between two China ascendancies or America ascendancies lol, like say, for a period of 20-25 years or so and I was talking having this in mind, but I realise now that this is rather stupid because 20 yrs is like so low and unworthy, isn’t it, and that too after all the indefinite past before that first point of the future that we are all wrangling about arrives? So essentially, I agree with what you wrote in your first paragraph. This is probably a question that is not worthy of consideration in the current state of things and as the user VijayVan mentioned in one very old post, all part of avoidable angst. I am happy to scrap the stupid idiotic exercise for an indefinite amount of time in the future myself. Hahaha!

          1. I just realised that I have been pronouncing guruvAyUrappan as guruvAyurappan my whole life. I know and pronounce guruvAyUr correctly as guruvAyUr but I guess it is easier to say guruvAyurappan compared to guruvAyUrappan. Or perhaps the high number of syllables of the word and the peculiar pattern of light and heavy syllables triggered an ancient Telugu tendency to lighten the heavy syllables in the intermediate positions of a word, or it may just be that I heard and internalised the word incorrectly the first time I did it.

        1. Hello Milan Todorovic,

          I am very sorry- I did not see your message earlier. I’m personally only familiar with the linguistics of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family and that too not more than broadly (edit: not broadly even but just in bits and pieces). The philology associated with the Old and Middle Indo-Aryan languages themselves is just too vast also and I’m only familiar with it to some extent. I will go through the link that you attached sometime when I find time and try to evaluate the linguistic aspects of it. I cannot go through it with any confidence now as my knowledge of Slavic linguistics is basically zero. I will try to communicate with you regarding this in another Open Thread in the future. Thank you very much!

  11. Regarding the debate about whether Hindi should have been India’s “unitary” language or “lingua franca”, you have an example right next door of Urdu as the “national language” of Pakistan. This has certain advantages, allowing a person from Lahore to speak to a person from Peshawar. On the other hand, the imposition of Urdu on a multi-linguistic populace also alienates (to various extents) all non-Punjabis. Punjabis sacrificed our own language at the altar of PakNationalism, being the ruling group.

    India seems to have a healthier model with Hindi being the official administrative language of the union but otherwise not being given national importance. Imposing Hindi on the South doesn’t seem necessary or even reasonable.

    A “national language” can create cultural cohesion, which is good. But in a multi-ethnic state, everyone’s languages and cultures need to be respected.

      1. I’m not against the idea of a national language. If Urdu was not chosen, what else would have been? The issue was the rhetoric of Urdu being the language of all of British India’s Muslims (which was obviously false) and particularly not giving adequate recognition to Bengali–the language of the entire eastern wing.

        A common language is needed for a sense of national identity and for ease of communication. English unites the UK, French is essential to France’s identity, etc.

        Pakistan can keep Urdu as the “qaumi zaban” but should respect Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto etc. People in each province should have the option to use their own language for administrative work. When dealing with the central government, one would have to choose between Urdu or English.

          1. I have no idea what “Turan” actually means but in any case, I don’t relate to this concept.

            For me, Pakistan is a South Asian country. I am much more drawn to “desis” than to Central Asians. Much easier to bond over language, food, films, etc.

            Geographically, India and Pakistan are stuck with each other, whether we like it or not.

    1. Hello Kabir,

      It is not the case that India does not currently have a lingua franca for internal communications. It is of course impossible for such a large country to sustain itself without having a lingua franca for use by not only state and central governments but also scientists, engineers, doctors, etc. with various regional origins. Though people don’t realise it perhaps, that language is English de facto, as I mentioned earlier too. This lingua franca even additionally pervades all the spheres of Indian life and culture in addition to doing its basic job, and this is quite true to the historical Indian tendency to invest ridiculous amounts of interest in and show lots of love for central lingua francas (while also successfully avoiding subjecting themselves to complete language shifts from their native languages to these bigger languages- something that is one of the most endearing aspects of historical Indian, well whatever-it-is, to me) indeed. And what I wondered was how the situation may have been if this link language which was bound to arise and develop in India some day or the other was Hindi instead of English. Why Hindi? Because it is the only language that is realistically capable of realising this because of the number of its speakers and a geographically central-ish location (Bengali is also okay perhaps but its phonology is very different than my own native Telugu so that’s why I have always been afraid of Bengali).

      And just as a clarification, I’m perfectly well-aware that India does not have a national language and I have never opposed this policy a single moment in life. The idea of a national language is ridiculous for India (in my view at least; I’m aware of some views which suggest Sanskrit as a good candidate for national language but I am not favourable to that view and instead believe that India should not have a national language (this probably links to Zack Zavidé’s view below that the tricky thing about counterfactuals is that we often don’t know what is a good point to start and where) which is anyway quite a ceremonial position within the Indian context as the idea of a national language does nothing more than evoke some amount of emotional pride and just for some little while; Sanskrit is an 8th-schedule language just like Telugu or Gujarati and this is enough, at least theoretically, for the health of Sanskrit. (A very worthy thing to do for the Indian government in my mind is to add Gondi to the eighth schedule; should have happened a long time ago in fact; don’t know when it happens*)). I only talked about the official languages of the Indian union everywhere in my posts, which are currently Hindi and English.

      *Actually the aside about Gondi made me recollect that I read somewhere that in the recent census (2011 or something) Gondi is counted as a dialect of Hindi. I have been wanting to know through highly knowledgeable and large-hearted people at Brown Pundits if it is indeed the case, so I’m doing it now. But if the above news which could potentially be fake is true, then it really is shocking (Gondi is not a Hindi language and not even an Indo-Aryan language in the first place; even if Gondi people possibly identify themselves as a Hindi dialect speakers (I am not saying that this is the case but just wondering if there is some possibility that this may be), making it official that Gondi is a dialect of Hindi is such an assault to known knowledge). Seems to indicate to me that there is something sinister, even if ever-so-small, about the Hindi advance. Makes me want to go flying back to my irrationally-dislike-Hindi-for-ro-reason days.

      1. The point is that there are certain advantages to having a “national language” such as internal cohesion. But there are also disadvantages such as certain cultural groups feeling marginalized and disrespected. It is a very good thing that the various Indian states operate in their local languages.

        English can be a lingua franca for elite Indians (and elite Pakistanis) but it is not going to replace vernacular languages for most people. It seems however that South India will sharply resist any attempt to impose Hindi on them, viewing it as part of North Indian identity. You only have to look at Pakistan to see the problems caused by imposing Urdu on people.

        1. Yes Mr Kabir, I now see that in your first post, you have not been talking much about the concept of a national language but just making a mention of it. Apologies for my hasty reading and incomplete understanding of your post and the unnecessary parts of my response.

          I agree with most other things that you say. It is my strong belief too that English (or for that matter Hindi or Sanskrit either) does not replace the native local languages by posing the danger of language shift. (But some say that the interaction between this particular link and the linked is barely 100 years old, and that it is thus very well possible that the local languages will go extinct at some point, at a late point perhaps, in the future.) Indian languages are just too rowdy to go extinct that easily; they simply appropriate every superstrate for themselves and do not typically consider shifting to those languages: Hindi appropriated Persian, we Telugu people have been guzzling up huge amounts of Sanskrit vocabulary and fattening ourselves up since time immemorial while keeping substantial amounts of pure-Telugu vocabulary and needless to mention, the ridiculously robust native Telugu syntax and grammar. Our linguistic relatives the Gondi people accept large amounts of Marathi and Hindi vocabulary but still speak the South Dravidian-II-based Gondi. Same with Austroasiatic-speakers as well probably.

          This type of a thing is such that it will actually take care of itself if left to its own devices. Spoken standards of the literary languages will ideally change periodically and make themselves prepared for the new time periods. The only issue comes if (which seems like a moderately big if quite fortunately but then I think I see some indications of it unfortunately in the current already) Indian people (like an occasional wannabe-proud and civilisationally insecure people like me perhaps?) in the current and future become opposed to incorporating the by-then quite large-scale and very deeply entrenched English lexis in their spoken registers into the standards of their languages because of its ultimate foreign cultural and civilisational origins and other such stupid considerations and may bring a difficult potential instability issue where we see rapidly increasing diglossia between the spoken and the written, and this may lead to loss of mutual intelligibility between the two quite faster than normal and also threaten to drastically reduce the quality and quantity of discourse happening in the language.

          1. Just a minor mistake in my above post: the second sentence of the third paragraph should go “Written standards of the literary languages will ideally change…” and not “Spoken standards of the literary languages will ideally change…”. Thanks for the consideration.

            Though the entire thing feels extremely embarrassing and cringeworthy as usual for me (for all my inevitable mistakes of logic and grammar and my inadvertent showcasing of my extreme stupidity, etc.), I believe it’s a time spent quite okay; definitely much better than the time I usually waste doing much worse things during my leisure.

  12. Vijay avarE, this is a small thing about the dynamics of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. While I agree with many aspects of what you said about the internal situation, I cannot agree completely. So while it is true that the population of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana invest highly in education and consider it as one of the most beneficial aspects of life (my own family with a very poor and low class though a historical upper caste (who very likely practiced untouchability without much qualms (and of course the hoary caste endogamy); but thankfully (perversely perhaps), as far as I can see, no specific cases of atrocities committed against disadvantaged people in my specific set of relatives known) background origins is a good example for this; my entire existence for example and the fairly good life I have lived so far has been made possible solely because of the engineering education of one conscientious woman who is my not-very-highly-educated but awesome maternal grandmother’s younger sister; another example which is one of the most endearing is the success story of a Dalit-born Christian friend of mine who through naturally gifted intelligence, education and impeccable moral character and integrity is living a good life today; this guy seriously voluntarily renounced his SC reservations at the time of applications for IITs and secured a seat in one of them at the middle-ish side of the spectrum under General Category while just with a bit of greed he could very easily have gotten a seat in IIT Kharagpur, Kanpur, Delhi or Madras or Bombay itself; people like these are a major hope for India and I’m sure that people of this type and others will all succeed some day and India will become more and more good), the society is very casteist and tribal-ish in that at least in the political and some other such domains where historical upper castes can’t stop imagining themselves as neverendingly vying with each other for the power baton, it never ceases to amaze me that even substantial amounts of journalistic and other common discourse still revolve around the caste issue and solely the caste issue without any further nuance. As the saying goes, nippu lEndE poga rAdu (‘no smoke without fire’), so there is probably a strong reason that the people feel what they feel i.e. the situation might be really true mostly what goes on in these political spheres and other such things. Thankfully, this attitude is probably decreasing in the domains that matter most such as access to education, discrimination in the workplace, etc.

    But it should be kept in mind that glaringly out-in-the-open anti-Dalit violence rocked entire Andhra and Telangana not very long ago and in the 80s and 90s. Hopefully such things continue to reduce in the future till one day when they become extinct. (The caste endogamy thing must go if it does not have the capability of at least transcending the higher-lower mental distinctions (lol I see that this has become a sort of stock phrase of mine and not a very good one at that aesthetically speaking) that it tends to trap people (I’d personally love to see it go without a trace but it seems it is indeed like a hydra that Razib Khan once mentioned in connection with India- kharma! what can we do?) with and if it threatens things like access to education and human rights to individuals.)

    1. Just a minor correction to my above post. I found out just now, as part of my usual stupid intensive post-posting vetting exercise, that Telugu Christians with SC origins typically don’t tend to have SC reservations but a type of BC reservations. So it is this type of reservation that my friend most probably renounced.

  13. I would just like to bring it to your notice that it appears ????? ?? ?????? ??? ?????????? ?? ? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ??????. Please see http://censusindia.gov.in/2011census/Language-2011/Statement-1.pdf

    I basically heard the fake news that Gondi was considered a dialect of Hindi by a highly passionate and perhaps also slightly paranoiac pure-Telugu-loving individual (that person and myself probably have the same levels of paranoia on some matters) on Quora who made this claim in an answer to a question about the contraction of Telugu speakers. I took his statement at more-or-less face value though I doubted it quite a bit as my post above also indicates. I just did not actively fact-check because of my natural congenital bias against Hindi, I guess. Anyway, I’m very happy that this issue got cleared up. In case any doubt is still there, I asked a question on Quora just a while ago here (http://qr.ae/TUGcOU) and the answers to it should also clear up the issue.

    Seems like fake news everywhere! Inadvertent, deliberate, of all sorts.

Comments are closed.

Brown Pundits