I have a suggestion for the bloggers. if you really want this blog to become popular and attract more insightful, witty and intelligent commenters, then you need to outgrow this India-Pakistan never-ending soap opera. This, and the other done-to-death Aryan-Dravidian debate occupies 90% of reading space on this blog.
There are many other interesting topics to talk about. If you are running out of ideas here are some from the top of my head.
Do I want this Blog to be Popular?
I can’t presume for the others on this blog but in many ways I would rather not have an uber-popular blog. In my journal last night I touched on the pressures of the D-List fame that Brown Pundits had brought to me.
Since I know I have a ready audience; my mind often wanders to BP posts and masalification. My journal always me to flush my mind from such stimulation and bring about an equanimity so that I can go deeper into my writing (the equivalent of a Saatvik Diet).
Furthermore with BP’s increasing popularity, I’m beginning to lock more of my content onto my private blog. This is a natural outgrowth as the freedom to express oneself becomes severely constrained.
I wouldn’t have written yesterday’s post if the readership was in the millions (maybe that’s a good thing) and the highly intimate style (veering on honest) would be replaced with a much formalistic, cautious and “populist” theme.
BP’s Authenticity and Heart
I feel a big advantage of BP is that since it’s not commercial (we simply need a minimum number of views to make sure we are heard and enough activity in the comment thread that it’s not an echo chamber) there is alot of authenticity to the blog.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t want the blog and podcast to be popular but that for once in my life I’m not going to chase popularity.
Making the Bourgeois Choice
Those are my “2 paisas” on trying to make the more blog popular. I feel I may have done it in BP 1.0 & 2.0 when I was young and foolish but in BP 3.0 it’s simply been my intention to meander on and retain a link to my Bohemian past in a Bourgeois present.
In some way in the past few weeks there has been another evolution whereby I’m increasingly interested in my own novel-writing and discovering my strengths as a writer.
I have always felt very guilty that when confronted with the major questions of my life I have always made the Bourgeois choice but now I’m realising that my choices always retained an unconventionality to them.
In matters of work, Wife and worship I’ve subconsciously been driven to alternatives that now give me a happy freedom to actually write and flow. So I’ve begun to realise I no longer need to “atone” or consider myself a failed writer simply because I didn’t do a Hemingway or that I have a rather fulfilling life (mA).
The Tragedy of Eastern Islamicate Culture
I also retain a disposition towards tragedy since I see that to be the sublime expression of art. It’s also a nod to my Urdu-Persian heritage, which draws on tragic themes. It’s interesting how Urdu dramas are cleft between a populist Punjabi culture, which is joyful and bombastic, and a highly Persianate culture, which is mournful.
India has no Asabiyyah
After 10 paragraphs talking about myself (what can I say I’m a millennial on the cusp) I will mention that I feel India’s biggest hindrance is that it simply cannot match the Asabiyyah of the Islamic world.
Pakistan is a make believe nation but is extraordinarily effective at surviving. I can only put that down to the Asabiyyah of Muslim societies.
I like to think I have a somewhat unique insight since I have seen both South Asia and the Middle East. Europe and the West have evolved institutions whereby they don’t need Asabiyyah.
East Asia seems to have a formidable discipline (the Confucian ethic) and national histories that makes up their own variant of Asabiyyah.
Islam and Asabiyyah
The Muslim world (UAE, Saudi, Iran, Turkey & Pakistan) have very high levels of Asabiyyah; they get shit down when they want to get it done. Pakistan has cleverly insured that Afghanistan, post Soviets, will reorient its Asabiyyah on religious rather than ethnic or national grounds.
India’s Experiment with Liberal Democracy; a Hindu Spiritual Experiment?
This brings me to India and I feel very passionately that India needs a lot more Asabiyyah. This may be a Hindu predilection for spiritual challenges since India’s advanced liberal democracy is suited for an economy 20 times larger. It takes an extraordinary amount of willpower to such a highly evolved political system.
The Chaos of India
However the cost of that is that India does seem chaotic and can’t really move quickly enough (except when attacking Pakistan). The one time Indians do manage Asabiyyah is when Pakistan (the manifestation of everything Muslim & Mughal in the Indian mind) is involved; attacking Pakistan becomes a way for India to deal with itss Muslim past and history.
However beyond Pakistan, India has to urgently find ways to creating Asabiyyah, which is the first step to Civic consciousness on a Western scale. There are some extremely low-hanging fruit solutions to many of India’s great problems but there’s no will power to address them because most Indians & Hindus take to the blogosphere to talk about Islam and Pakistan.
Maybe if that issue was resolved then everything else would click into place?