The latest BP Podcast is up. You can listen on Libsyn, iTunes and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.
The title makes it clear what we talked about this week. It as a long podcast at more than one and a half hours. Would appreciate it if some people reviewed the podcast positively on iTunes and Stitcher.
35 thoughts on “Brown Pundits Podcast #2 – Asia Bibi and Colorism”
I listened. Let me respond to “colorism” first:
Krishna and Krishnaa (Draupadi) means dark. They were very dark compared to people alive during their time.
Shiva . . . is not a human being. But something else . . . what that is I do not know. However there is someone called Dakshinamurthy. He is the first Guru or Adi Guru. He was a partial incarnation of Shiva. I don’t know if he was a human, but he is thought to have interacted with humans.
This Dakshinamurthy may or may not have been dark. I don’t know. He may of been a different haploid gene admixture homo sapien (different race), different hominid, different primate, or different species (some might say alien); but I don’t know who or what he was. Dakshinamurthy is mysterious. He might have looked different from normal humans or he might be a vision or dream experienced through the brain and nervous system in deep meditation (which correlates with very slow breathing, very slow heartbeat, measurable patterns in the Vagus nerve [subset of the parasympathetic nervous system, itself a subset of the sympathetic nervous system], and significant quantities of psychedelic chemicals including but not limited to DMT secreted by glands.)
In other words we don’t know if Dakshinamurthy was dark or not.
We also don’t know if Buddha was dark. He doesn’t appear to have been fair from my reading of texts about him.
We don’t know if darkness or lightness was considered physically attractive or not in ancient times. Or when this perception that fairness is physically attractive came. It certainly was common during muslim rule.
Now I am going to propose a hypothesis for testing. I don’t know if the hypothesis is correct or not.
India is a country of 1.37 billion. Including all of SAARC, a much larger population. As a result India has not majority but many different minorities. The largest single group in SAARC and India are probably non Sufi Sunnis. Maybe over 100 million Indians [India might have 230 million muslims total]. But they are a small percentage of the total Indian population.
When I travel around India I find each part of India to be akin to a different country or continent or culture. So no generic answer is possible in India for anything. I have seen Bengali Indians who understand and relate with Americans for more than they relate with or understand people from Bangalore, which has a very different english accent and culture.
Now having said this . . . I anecdotally see two different color things going on that would be nice to empirically test:
—fairness associated with physical attractiveness (Why is this? Is there an neurological basis?)
—fairness associated with merit, competence and capacity . . . and the associated worshiping of caucasian aristocracy, business people, intellectuals and entertainers
The second is I think related to the deep respect the old Indian generation (that was still alive in the 1980s) had for individual English people or the Anglo Indians. The English as individual people were seen as very hard working, honest, honorable, uncorruptable, physically fit, people who exercised vigorously, intelligent, structured, organized. [The English as a whole were seen as imperialist, but most Indians deeply respected individual Anglos.] My sense is that this worship of the English is related to India’s inferiority complex and lack of self confidence. But I could be wrong. I genuinely don’t know.
Does anyone else have any perspectives?
By Manu Smriti . . . are you referring to Dharma Shastras? In my entire life I have almost never met anyone who read the Dharma Shastras other than yours truly.
The Dharma Shastras was invalid and obsolete during the Mahabharata . . . whenever you think that was. The Dharma Shastras describe a pre Mahabharata time.
Since you brought it up Zach:
—There is Jati and Varna in it. Jatis and individuals can switch Varna, although the process to prove merit, competence and capacity is challenging.
—It enshrines limited government, checks and balances on bad rulers, a strong judicial system with very detailed business, contract, divorce, inheritance law,
—It limits the government’s ability to tax, regulate and use eminent domain powers
—It gives freedom of art and thought
—Dude I read this as a kid and don’t clearly remember . . . but I do remember quite a bit about the rights of wives who clearly and serially cheated on their husbands . . . they got some property from divorce or some inheritance from their “husband’s” [or cuckold’s] death; but less than faithful wives
—It is awfully similar to legal texts I read from ancient Greece and ancient Rome . . . so similar I was sure they must be part of a common legal heritage
Zach, who do you consider Arya to be? The R1 haploid gene admixture people who might have come from Siberia circa 15 K years ago?
Do you think these are narratively referred to as the Chandra Vamsha people who come from Uttara Kuru?:
I haven’t read Manusmrti in its entirety (only descriptions and summaries of individual chapters). However, this text is very similar to Dusan’s Code (1349). Dusan was the Serbian and East Roman Empire’s tsar at the peak of Serbian medieval state before Turkish invasion. One my source says that Manu (or Mane) was a Serb from Asia Minor who went to India with Aryan expedition. The authorship of this law is attributed to him. I need to study this much more to make a qualified comparison and possible links between these two law systems. What is your knowledge about the origins of this text? It was written in Sanskrit. Considering that Sanskrit is the Aryan language it means that it is or, brought to India by Aryans or, it was made by Aryans upon their arrival to India. The following is a Wikilink and the link with pictures of Dusan and his Code.
…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 Slavic 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 “.
“In my entire life I have almost never met anyone who read the Dharma Shastras other than yours truly.” — I haven’t watched the podcast but are the guys in the podcast implying an average Hindoo or an average Brahmin in India reads the DharmShastras ? Lol . Though i have no idea why this fascination with a commentary done by 11th century brahmin(Kulluka Bhat) on Manu Smruti ( Maybe probably because british roughly derived their Anglo Hindu law from it). However, i have no evidence that it was used by any major kingdom in india. There are evidences that law codes in some kingdoms were probably derived from commentaries on Yajnavalkya Smriti(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yājñavalkya_Smṛti).
AnAn, you are right though. There were some colonial writers who ‘accused’ the brahmins of not knowing ‘shastras’ and indulging in ‘sinful’ activities lol. The assumption that MS would had pan-india influence is misplaced considering commentaries on MS clearly ban any kind of cousin marriages which is prevalent in so-called Hindus of South India (cross cousin and sometimes uncle niece marriages) but otherwise non-existent in North India.
I don’t claim to be an expert on Hinduism..
You are right on many things. You base your understanding in hinduism on what Hindus do, rather than what hindus supposedly should do. To me the former is the accurate way to understand a community. Everything else is mostly BS
“understanding in hinduism on what Hindus do”
Good point. Same principle must be applied to Islam-Muslims, and others
“The assumption that MS would had pan-india influence is misplaced considering commentaries on MS clearly ban any kind of cousin marriages which is prevalent in so-called Hindus of South India (cross cousin and sometimes uncle niece marriages) but otherwise non-existent in North India.”
This is completely consistent though, since Manu Smriti and Dharma Shastra expired long ago and are no longer valid.
In all of India the most religious and spiritual people live in the South. Southerners also follow more traditional ritualistic rules than anyone else.
“However, i have no evidence that it was used by any major kingdom in india. There are evidences that law codes in some kingdoms were probably derived from commentaries on Yajnavalkya”
On this we are agreed. They were considered archaic and invalid in the Mahabharata too. Bhishma relates his own treatise on law, economics and governance from the bed of arrows:
—Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata
—My english translation of this was three volumes long!
“Dharma Shastra expired long ago and are no longer valid.” — Newer Dharmashastras kept getting created even after the Gupta era with commentaries written on them used by certain communities and certain places. However, if WANTS TO GET THE PICTURE OF SOCIETY in a particular region during a particular time , then plays/poems written in various languages including Sanskrit would be a better place to start. (From what i have heard , there are more than 600 recorded Sanskrit plays from the Classical era – the vast majority still untranslated and unpublished. Though even the plays/poems would have some fictional,creative content. )
Please stop dragging Dharmashastras and epics(epics themselves have various regional versions as AnAn once said) everywhere. 🙂
td I have not read anything after Chanakya’s Artha Shastra (and that too only parts out sequence long ago). Neither am I interested in doing so. Life is too short and there is too much else to read.
You are absolutely right that we can learn far more from Sanskrit plays than from formal legalese texts.
td, why don’t Indians read ancient Indian texts. I don’t mean Vedas, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Shankaracharya’s advaita bhashyas, since most will find them difficult to understand and boring [I am mostly interested in the above, but I am not normal.]. But Mahabharata, Ramayana (Kamban, Valmiki and Tulsi), 18 Maha Puranas. They are richer in philosophy than Foucault and Darida. And far richer in depth, ethos, mythos, sophistication and detail than the Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter etc. [I am a big fan of all three, have carefully read them and am not criticizing them.]
I get several texts and emails a day from caucasian and oriental friends about ancient eastern texts, stories, definitions of Sanskrit words. . . and few from Indians. Why is this?
Indians don’t seem interested in Toaist texts, Zen texts, Chinese Mahayana texts, Confucius texts, Zorastrian texts, Christian/Jewish/Muslim texts either (the way I am). Anything remotely uplifting or spiritual or inspirational . . . sigh . . . I am bored. Anything Hollywood or Bollywood . . . oh my God!
What is wrong with Indians?
I was shocked by the conversation on Asia Bibi. There appears to be a big difference between English muslims and American/Canadian muslims. There also appears to be a big difference between English muslims and Indian muslims.
Many muslims say that English muslims are the most radical muslims in the world. Many high profile Egyptian muslim liberal activists say they are afraid to visit London for fear of getting killed. Iraqi muslims, Afghan muslims, Libyan muslims, Nigerian muslims view English muslims with great fear and dread. Imam Tawhidi said he turned down the first 20 Uber offers to drive him because they had muslim names and he was afraid of being assassinated in London.
To put this in context, when Maajid Nawaz spoke in New York at the opening of Quilliam North America, Maajid was warmly celebrated by American muslims. American and Canadian muslims rallied behind Maajid to fight the Southern Poverty Law Center. Maajid said that his views were mainstream and popular among North American muslims; and that he was popular among North American muslims. But he warned them that English muslims weren’t nearly as liberal as North American muslims and that he (Maajid) and his views were controversial among English muslims.
Maajid is right. Most North American muslims are genuinely liberal (in the classical sense . . . not post modernist sense), genuinely pro LBGTQ, genuinely pro Islamic reform, genuinely supportive of atheist and ex muslims, pro free art and speech. For example Keith Ellison is actually a muslim liberal and muslim reformer. Not just because Ellison and Maajid Nawaz/Quilliam have a love affair. Ellison speaks on these issues with genuine passion and is not virtue signaling.
Because of this, the muslim community has lobbied Canadian and American post modernists to stop being idiots on Islamism with some success. Several Democrats, leaders of #MeToo (which I support), liberals, leftists, Hollywood have denounced the Islamist Linda Linda Sarsour in recent months. The Southern Poverty Law Center and global human rights organizations have caved. Even Alyssa Milano (Wokeness mamma-in-chief) strongly denounced Linda Sarsour.
North Americana and Indian muslims at least are on the right side regarding Asia Bibi. The only reason they are not publicly broadcasting this is for fear of Islamist retaliation and for fear of nonmuslims attacking them as Islamaphobes.
You are implying that UK muslims are stupid enough to genuinely be on the wrong side of this issue. How can this be possible? Are you sure they are not virtually signalling because of they are afraid of Islamist violence and afraid of nonmuslims attacking them as Islamaphobes?
If over 100 million nonmuslims from all over the world demonstrated for Asia Bibi, they would likely be joined by North American and Indian muslims. At least I think so. Under these circumstances, what would English muslims do? Would they whole-heartedly support the demonstrations for Asia Bibi? Or would they not?
In other words if they weren’t afraid of Islamist retaliation and nonmuslims attacking them as Islamaphobes, what would they say and do about Asia Bibi?
I would think that a heck of a lot of English muslims under these circumstances would back Asia Bibi. Am I wrong?
This is why the solution to the 14 century Islamic civil war (where Islamists have killed over 100 million moderate muslims) and Islamism is freedom of art and thought. Which is then used for dialogue. Dialogue that heals through the sweetness of love.
What are your thoughts Zack?
You mentioned the infallibility of the holy Koran and Mohammed pbuh. I do not see this as a problem. This has nothing to do with freedom of art and thought. We and muslims have every right to believe this. But anyone else is free to think, say, and artistically express themselves as they choose.
Murshid Imam Shaykh Shabbir Ally has provided a strong Islamic scriptural case for free art and thought:
In other words blasphemy is un-Islamic, un-Abrahamic, not religious and inhumane. Others can legitimately critique Islam and muslims on many other things, but surely not on free art and free thought.
Zachary, how popular are Maajid and Quilliam among English people? How does their popularity and legitimacy vary among Caucasian, Asian, Indian, Africans, Pakistanis and muslims?
How about ex muslims such as Veedu Vidz?
Ash Sarkar strikes me as an actual muslim liberal. Which is one reason I give her a pass. [Another is the way she destroyed Piers Morgan 🙂 ] Do you think she is a real muslim liberal?
Razib said something I didn’t know. Ilhan Omar supports BDS! Is this because she is dumb and uninformed? Or is this something more sinister. BDS does not support a two state solution. Rather they de-facto favor a one state solution which isn’t liberal or free. But they obfuscate this behind sophistry. I have nothing against a one state solution on the part of genuine idealists who want a perfect country that is free, plural, diverse. Or for the existing Israeli state to expand to include the West Bank and Gaza by expanding citizenship to Gazans and West Bank Palestinians. But that is not what BDS is.
Read what two of my heroes (Norman Gary Finkelstein and Peter Beinart) say about BDS.
Razib and Zach, what are your thoughts about Ilhan Omar?
I went through snatches of this podcast. Interesting. And the bit about shiva (and durgA) being dark was especially funny.
candrArkanalanetrAya candrArdhshirase namaH
Do rate us 5-stars though.
I think I ranted a fair bit on the Aasia track but to thine own self be true..
I don’t know the skin colours of Lady Durga & Lord Shiva but I do know there are some dark/skinned deities, happy to be told otherwise..
In images and idols, Goddess Durga is usually portrayed as light-skinned, while Goddess Kali (Durga’s more “violent” alter-ego) is portrayed as dark-skinned. Though both are targets of worship, usually at distinct times.
Oops I was thinking of Kali – isn’t Kali Durga the same person.
Pakistan really should teach Hinduism properly I feel so embarrassed. Sign of my colonised mind my interests in mythology go toward Greek..
Its perfectly alright as well, come to south India, all old idols in most old temples are made of black granite rock.
I have seen that Tantric(Hindu/Buddhist ) gods and goddesses are dark or red colored .
“Pakistan really should teach Hinduism properly I feel so embarrassed.” — Lol, as if there is something coherent to teach in the first place.
Regardless it is our heritage as well..
durgA is light skinned. Alabaster-white, in fact. Perhaps a visit to Hindu temples in J&K may be useful 🙂
Shiva is meant to be like the shining moon (Skt candramas > K tsendram). The verse I quoted is an old prashasti (praise) of shiva, the patron god of the gandhAra-kashmIra Hindus, which does not mention the god by name but by his physical attributes.
For him whose half body is of the moon-faced goddess,
For him whose face glows as the radiating full moon,
For him whose eyes are the moon, the lightning and fire,
For him who wears the cresent moon on his head,
shiva is meant to be a mountain wanderer, eater of flesh and covered in ash and grime, but of handsome and fair-skinned (gaura) appearance. kRSNa, on the other hand, is dark. The name itself means black.
Yes I head straight to Chennai – I find intra-India travel to be difficult.
The security before check-in is a bit cumbersome so better to stay in one city.
@slapstik, I dont think this is an issue. What matters is do people expect a certain color for a Diety, the answer is no. Especially for Older temples in south India, all are black granite. Shiva is also represented as linga form, again its black. I think if medieval India had color based worldview one would easily see that in writings of the period, they afterall described all their other prejudices of the time, especially caste . So if it didnt show, it means it wasnt of much value. Also marriage market wasnt about choice, it was all arranged marriage, so it didnt matter. making people slaves wasnt a thing for hindus either what with purity/pollution rules. That also means color of what ever background is restricted around those particular castes anyway so once again choice wasnt a thing. And if choice wasnt a thing, even if there was a prejudice of color it was dominated by other considerations.
This in nepal.
And while we are on the topic the word “shiva” (tranquil; root morpheme, sham-, lit. to pacify) is cognate with Old Irish caomh (emollient, gentle; cf. Kevin as the modern Irish name). The word-initial /sh/–/k/ correspondence is due to the old satem-centum divide in Eastern and Western IE languages.
Just something I find interesting. An American-Irish collegaue of mine was called Kevin Ryan, and I joked that he would be Shivam Rajan in India – meaning pretty much the same thing 🙂
candrArkanalanetrAya candrArdhshirase namaH
“For him whose half body is of the moon-faced goddess,
For him whose face glows as the radiating full moon,
For him whose eyes are the moon, the lightning and fire,
For him who wears the cresent moon on his head,
Very beautiful. In this context, is Chandra the Vasu (one of the 8 Vasus, one of the 33) being referred to? Is this a reference to mystical subjective experience through the brain and nervous system in deep states of meditation and Samadhi? Is Chandra a specific subtle object of absorption in trance?
The mantra power (brain sound therapy) of the slokha might be designed to affect the brain and nervous system to calm them and enable mystical experience. [Today many Venture Capitalists and tech companies are trying to get in on the action.]
I am not of the view that Shiva refers to a great ape type cognate. But rather to an non being essentiality. That which is not. The nothing in the everything. The unknown. Perhaps dark matter or dark energy? We only know what 4.9% of the matter in the universe is . . . for the laws of gravity to explain the universe. This implies that dark matter might be 26.8% and dark energy might be 68.3% of the universe.
Shiva also lives many trillions of years. Which suggests a multiverse phenomenon.
If Shiva is not a great ape, how can Shiva be gaura?
Part of the confusion is that Devas (mystical narratives experienced through the brain and nervous system via aware calm dreamscape) are not people. They might be processed through the brain as light (tanmatra of sight) or not. But they are not sight. They are far more subtle.
Some of my friends spend large sums of money for brain electro and sound therapy (neuroscientific processes to induce meditation and sharply boost intelligence and mental health). During these times they experience what some might regard as celestial visitors. AI computing can read the brain signals correlated with these celestial visitors. Scientists are deeply interested in these subjective consciousness experiences and do not understand them yet.
In old poetry they are described at times as lights. But that does not mean that they are gaura beings in the way a modern post modernist colorism academic would understand it.
Just something I find interesting. An American-Irish collegaue of mine was called Kevin Ryan, and I joked that he would be Shivam Rajan in India – meaning pretty much the same thing
Rayan means King/chief in Tamil. eg KanagaRayan
I don’t understand this colorism aesthetic issue when projecting into the past. Why the fack can’t there be simultaneously coexisting preferences in ancient India? Consider today also, go read some stuff on literotica, plenty praising physical attributes of both ultra dark skinned West African males or ultra light skinned Nordic males, same with females, all literature produced by same Western civilization constituents. Why would the diversity not exist in past time frames as well? A lot of this analysis is very simplistic. Do better!!
Agree completely. India has 1.37 billion people. India is a country without a majority; and with many different minorities.
I remember ayurveda or upanishads(dont remember) has some method described so couples could have dark colored son as well. My point is only that there werent sjws in the past, so if perjudices existed, it would have been written down with enough frequency so as represent a trend. I dont think thats the case here. However, there wasnt choice, it was all arranged marriages . Choice is more a modern thing. And even here, the range of choices keeping caste considerations+ linguistic considerations, color goes only so far. Though the issue of color being more important for women is an issue, thats true.
bharat, choice “DID” exist in marriages for the elite in many cases. Both in the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Remember Damayanti’s first and second swayamvara? Damayanti was one of the most powerful and elite woman in the world. Everyone wanted to marry her. She married chose Nala. Then after having several kids (maybe two decades later), she chooses to have a second syamvara to select a new husband. She was still widely regarded as one of the most powerful, respected and beautiful elites in the world. Again people come and want to win her hand in marriage.
Duryodhana’s daughter Lakshmanaa and Draupadi and many, many others selected their husbands as well.
In the Shastras people can choose their own spouses.
Since the question of purity has come up . . . this is a reference to the value of good company. There is an eastern saying, tell me your company and I will tell you who you are. If purity is violated, then people have to complete praayaschitta.
According to confirmed historical data, the first ethnic cleansing in Europe was carried out by the British: “Edward First Longshanks in 1290 brought a law that expelled all Jews from England for rumours of their ‘ritual murders’. The law was in effect for 366 years, and it was only in 1656 that it was finally abolished, which again allowed the Jews to appear in England.
Second ethnic cleansing: The statute from Kilkenny in 1366 prohibited Irish language, names and sports in Ireland. Many Irish people are violently displaced from the British on the western part of the island, where they were starving and ill, to allow English immigrants to take as much land as possible.
Third ethnic cleansing: English ruler Oliver Cromwell conquered Ireland and in 1652 he carried out ethnic cleansing and “imposed measures of deliberate policy of expelling the Catholic population from the eastern part of Ireland”.
Joshua Whatmough, professor of Comparative Philology, Emeritus, and former chairman of the Department of Linguistics, Cambridge, compiled a list of Celtic names. His list of several hundreds of names shows that they were identical with Serbian names. Even now, after this English ethnic cleansing, Irish have many identical names with Serbs (Tara, Damian, etc.) and Gaelic still has many old Serbian words (so as large number of Serbian words in English). Celts (Greek name for Goths, i.e. Gals in today’s France) originated in today’s Serbia (Danube) as one rank among Serbian tribes with a mission to go, find new land and not to come back. Their first colonies were in today’s Spain and Portugal (which first name was Serbia – this name was still present on medieval maps).
It means that Irish (Scots, Welsh) are cousins with Aryan descendants in India.
Ryan is anglicised version of old Irish name Riain or (O’Riain) meaning ‘descendant of Rian’. The meaning of the name Rian was supposed to be or water or ocean or king but all these options are rejected by scholars although it is popular to be called – king.
However, Simon Pelloutier in his “Historie des Celts, Quillau, Paris, 1771” says that Celts were giving the name Carl to their heroes. It means that they were giving this name to their best men. But, this name is not Carl than Cral (pronouncing – kral). Kral (or kralj) is a Serbian name for – king.
The Shiva or the Great Deity (Mahadeva) along with Brahma and Vishnu, representing the Holy Trinity (Trimurti) in Hinduism. Shiva is once represented as a male, sometimes as a female divinity, and can take various forms. The original deity of fire, as a revivalist and destroyer of the universe. It is represented by two faces, one of which is fertility and another grace. The symbols of the Shiva are the Nandi bull, as well as the phallus Linga.
In the character of Shiva, the duality of time is expressed – it alternately creates and destroys, produces the worlds and re-absorbs them into eternal events, which iconography will represent by the dance movement: Shiva holds a drum in the hand, causing the idea of sound, the symbol of creation, and in the other flames, which at the end of each period destroys the universe.
The great mother is white and black, Durga and Kali, life and death, and the mutual replacement of these two phases ensures durability. The Mantra to the glory of the Shiva is Om Nama Shivaya.
Very interesting Milan. When did Serbs migrate to Ireland?
Are their deities or narrative stories from Arya culture that especially call you Milan?
Comments are closed.