Saturday South Asian Questions

  • Is there such a thing about a Deccan Culture? I don’t necessarily mean the “Dakhini” culture but an intermediate geo-cultural zone between North & South India.
  • As a corollary it’s a bit interesting that the “Dakhini” culture didn’t emerge as a binding agent quite in the same way as the Delhite-Hindustani one.
  • In the spirit of this thread about differences between North & South Karnataka; I was looking at the 50 state proposal in India. Does India need more states?
  • I was shocked to learn about “Gandhinagar“, which is the new capital of Gujarat. I do remember there was controversy to change the name of Ahmedabad but it seemed done and dusted.
  • My personal view is that it seems churlish and rather offensive to make a “Saffron” sister city to Ahmedabad but my view is that once again we must be grateful to QeA for avoiding cultural (if not physical) extinction.
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27 thoughts on “Saturday South Asian Questions”

  1. What exactly do you find shocking about Gandhinagar? It’s been around (and the capital of Gujarat) for decades now, before the saffron right’s ascendancy.

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      1. Gujarat was bifurcated from old Bombay presidency in 1960; the construction of Gandhinagar as a small government town 10-15 miles away from A’mbad was started; i believe mostly complete in 1963 before I was born. This was supposed to be an indian counterpart to Lecorbusier’s Chandigarh architecture. I do not know why it is saffron and why gandhi was saffron.

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  2. “My personal view is that it seems churlish and rather offensive to make a “Saffron” sister city to Ahmedabad but my view is that once again we must be grateful to QeA for avoiding cultural (if not physical) extinction.”

    Although Numinous is right about the establishment of Gandhinagar (it has nothing to do with Hindutva), you are right in general about a certain high Muslim culture getting preserved in Pakistan.

    Pakistan is the Muslim Bali of South Asia. People will realize and acknowledge this when Pakistani cinema and literature take off.

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      1. I don’t think that the absence of Pakistan would have meant “cultural extinction” for the Muslims of British India. In any case, culture was not the main motivation for Pakistan. It was clearly a political and power struggle.

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        1. There is a real chance of Pakistan developing a modern Islamicate literature and cinema. If Pakistan settles down politically and the military recedes from national life, there is a high probability that we will see a flowering of culture and expression.

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          1. OK, but my contention is that the culture and expression is still going to be largely South Asian. Lollywood is very similar to Bollywood.

            Religion is only one factor and cannot be used to put people into different “civilizations”.

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          2. “Lollywood is very similar to Bollywood.”

            Lollywood is still an industry very much in the start up phase. Comparing it to Bollywood makes little sense.

            Early Indian cinema relied heavily on Western ideas, but later evolved its own independence.

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    1. If you were to spend a week in Bali, it becomes clear that Balinese religion and Hinduism are just namesakes; balinese worship a supreme deity called acinta (sp.) (actually his throne), a supreme god who is also represented as rice god Dewi, and others. The altar or the padmasana of acinta is worshiped; this from came about after the Sumatran/Malayan muslim empires in may be 16-17 centuries, and represents some combination of monotheism and some parallels to Buddhism.. The chatur wangsa system does not allow for out of varna groups, but effectively disappeared by 18th-19th century leaving a few Brahmins here and there. All the idols of Brhama, Vishnu and Siva are considered deprecated, in a manner similar to Vedic “gods”.

      I Do not believe that the Pakistani Muslims want a Bali and wipe out the prophet’s islam. Bali is its own thing.

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        1. No I got that; but Balinese “Hinduism” was entirely restructured to be monotheistic and Buddhism-lite by mid 18th century;on to which Pancashila concepts were superimposed. The chatur vamsa entirely disappeared by the Dutch time except for royalty and a few priests.

          Based on reading, I am conjecturing that, since the 1980s, Pakistan views itself as the keeper/protector of Arabic version of Islam. The absolute wahabi-Arabic version of Islam is considered to be absolute while the sufi saint version is slowly getting wiped out. In a way, this is the inverse of Bali, however I am too far from Pakistan to know this. On the contrary, the Indian Muslims in nagore, Ajmer, etc can be viewed as the keepers of the subcontinental Muslim flame.

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          1. Most people in Pakistan still practice South Asian Islam, despite increasing puritanism. We are not Arabs.

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          2. Kabir miyan is such a wimpo. He needs to ride a stallion and eat a mare filet mignon to cure himself of his lefty pallor.

            Kabhee windsor ayayn khidmaat ka moka dayn huzur e waala

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        1. Deprecated is a Java (ha-ha) word meaning “when a class or method is deprecated, it means that the class or method is no longer considered important. It is so unimportant, in fact, that it should no longer be used at all, as it might well cease to exist in the future. The need for deprecation comes about because as a class evolves, its API changes”.

          Vedic gods such as Indra, Varuna and Mitras were deprecated in Hinduism because the religion evolved, and Brahma, Vishnu, Siva Class of gods arrived.

          Balinese deprecated the trinity and made Sang Hyang vidhi vasa (sp.) as the monotheistic deity but in general, like islam, only the asana of the deeity is shown for worship. Bodhisattwa from Buddhism is also revered.

          Now the Balinese Hinduism looks like a cross between monotheistic islam and Buddhism with Hindu dharmic concepts as an underlay. This is all a late 16th-early 17th century innovation.

          I continue to avoid work on making sundal on a saturday.

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          1. This is true of the whole South East broadly. Only the husk of Hinduism remains, which we think and celebrate it as “Indian”culture

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          2. Great comment. Would welcome any recommended references for Balinese Hinduism.

            I will argue that there have been similar monotheism-lite movements in Indian Hinduism as well, Arya Samaj comes to mind. If anything, the Balinese Hindus seem to be less obsessed with monotheism than the Arya Samajis.

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          3. The ancient Serbs once covered large parts of Europe, into the British isles and also throughout Russia and beyond. Like the rest of the world before the appearance of semetic religions, the ancient Serbs worshiped a variety of Gods. As well as a Supreme source from which everything comes, like the Vedas, they recognized a cosmic administration within this universe, powerful beings, gods with a small g, whose sincere worship could bestow elevation and earthly benedictions. In the Vedas we have Indra, the God of thunder, the administrator in charge of the higher planetary system known as heaven. The Serbs worshiped Yndra, the supreme God of thunder who battles to defend his heavenly realm known as Svarga Log. These two personalities, Indra and Yndra, are obviously one and the same and the Slavic Svarog is simply the Vedic Svarga Loka, the heavenly abode of Lord Indra.

            The ancient Serbs inherited from Vedic – Arievic culture the concept of a three tiered universe, heaven, earth and the underworld. The Trimurti of the Vedas is also there in the form of the creator, the maintainer and the destroyer. In Slovenia the pre-eminent symbol of the nation is Mount Triglav, a mountain possessing three peaks and named in honour of the Serbian God Triglav. Triglav means three heads and similar to the Vedic Trimurti it depicts the three Gods of creation, maintenance and destruction. The names of these Slavic Gods are Visnji, Ziva and Brajanj. Compare this with Visnu, Siva and Brahma, the Trimurti of the Vedas and we can conclude that both these cultures are intimately related. We also have Mount Troglav which is the highest peak of the Dinara mountain range and once again named in honour of the Serbian God Triglav. Throughout the rich Serbian culture, the folk songs, ceremonial prayers and the book of Veles, Triglav is frequently mentioned and in one verse it says the following ” May our cattle be healthy, all the cows and sheep. All the kids, the lambs and the great big horses which carry our heroes. Dear soldiers of the God Triglav, Triglav the holy trinity, Visnji the creator, strong Ziva the destroyer and Branjanj the protector “.

            Dazbog is one of the major Serbian Gods. His name has two Sanskrit words, Da which is Sanskrit for giving and Bog which is ultimately from Sanskrit Bhaga meaning God – the giving God. The father of Dazbog is Svarog, the God of celestial fire. In Sanskrit Svar means heaven, Sun. Svarog creates the blue Svarga, a heavenly realm similar to the Svarga Loka of the Vedas. Svarog is very much associated with fire, as is Dazbog, which leads one to consider the ancient Serbs as fire worshippers, especially when one considers their intimate relationship with the fire worshipping Zoroastrians of Persia. Mater Sva is a solar Goddess, the mother of Svarog and the mother of heaven. Mater is from the Sanskrit Matr meaning mother and Sva is from the Sanskrit Svar meaning Sun or heaven – mother of heaven.

            Ognebog is the Serbian God of fire which is simply Agni, the Vedic God of fire. Baba Yoga was a great Serbian personality, known also as Baba Yaga and Mother Yogini. Baba was a mystic yogini who sheltered homeless children in the forest and taught them the sacred lore…

            …This same Serbian tradition from where these folk songs and culture came, declare that Triglav lives in India and India was once the home of the ancient Serbs. The following is taken from an old Serbian folksong called the children of India. “From your tree a branch are we. We are too children of Hindustan, you do not know of Serbs, we know of you. We think of you, sing of you from Himalaya to Hindukush, with you is our heart and soul “. .

            … This is an excerpt from:
            https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sanskrit-ancient-slavs-nenad-%C5%A1ijakovi%C4%87/

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  3. >>Is there such a thing about a Deccan Culture? I don’t necessarily mean the “Dakhini” culture but an intermediate geo-cultural zone between North & South India.

    The closest i would say is South Maharashtra, North Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka region is Dakhini. The express similar characteristics, uneasiness with North India , but still can speak and understand the north indian lanugage(Hindi/Urdu) . Not Dravidian enough . A rock and hard place.

    >>As a corollary it’s a bit interesting that the “Dakhini” culture didn’t emerge as a binding agent quite in the same way as the Delhite-Hindustani one.

    It did for a while during Shivaji who used it shrewdly to get the Nizam on his side from time to time,. But as soon as the Marathas become comfortable they dumped it for wider “Hindu” revanchism. Much like Shiv Sena front loading “Hindutva” before Marathi nationalism.

    >>In the spirit of this thread about differences between North & South Karnataka; I was looking at the 50 state proposal in India. Does India need more states?

    India needs more states but it will only happen if it makes sense politically. Not for administrative reasons even though that should be the criteria.

    >>I was shocked to learn about “Gandhinagar“, which is the new capital of Gujarat. I do remember there was controversy to change the name of Ahmedabad but it seemed done and dusted.

    Gujaratis call it “Amdavad”, thinking Gujrati-ing its name will take the sheen of the muslimness of the name.Lol

    >>My personal view is that it seems churlish and rather offensive to make a “Saffron” sister city to Ahmedabad but my view is that once again we must be grateful to QeA for avoiding cultural (if not physical) extinction.

    Till very recently Aurangabad(after Aurangzeb) in Maharashtra was demanded to be named after Sambhaji(Shivaji’s son). But i think the momentum has died down since the Shiv Sena needs marathi muslim votes to defeat the BJP now

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  4. Bollywood should be called Bollysaggy, because only true Muslims/Turks have the WOOD. Lollywood is so apt for the mard-e mumineen!!

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