22 thoughts on “Open Thread – Brown Pundits”

  1. What makes a person brown, and who qualifies? Do Italians, Kurds and Koreans? What about African Americans?

    The Nazis had very different views on skin colour and race, compared to American Southerners and early 20th century progressives. If you’ve experienced prejudice, which ideology did it seem to come from?

  2. Am I considered brown if millions of browns carry Serbian genes? If Priyanka, Devika, Radika have Serbian names can I join them on the same basis?

  3. Wish we could just say that like so many things about India/South-Asia, Brown identity is a colonial construct. Unfortunately, even the British didn’t think of Indians as Browns. So nor did anyone else. It’s just an Internet age construct.

    The commonest word South Asians use to differentiate themselves from the rest of the world is Desi. May be blog should be renamed as Desi Pundits.

    1. One of the issues with desi is that it has a folksy, from the soil kind of implication. Many metropolitan south asians are hardly desi, let alone diaspora born and brought up ones. There’s a feeling amongst some that desiness is an embarrassing pretension amongst south asian origin people who barely know the context of their ancestral cultures, and that they ought to embrace the culture of their societal upbringing, if not completely, a bit more than they do. “Brown” may be imperfect, too broad for one, but it has some advantages over the too specific “desi”.
      Perhaps in the same way that western europeans have monopolized whiteness, we south asians can do the same for brownness. We seem to identify with it more than other groups, despite some of us being blacker than african-americans and others passably european.

      1. desi sounds like a foreign word to me.

        also, the way my parents spoke bengali it was pronounced ‘deshi’ so i don’t recognize it.

        to your point, it would be ridiculous to call my kids ‘half-desi.’ but it would be accurate to say they are half-brown.

  4. Interesting Tamil rapper from California:


    Of all careers that children of Desi immigrants choose, rapper must be one of the more uncommon ones. Especially coz he’s a dark South Indian, not a Canadian Punjabi rapper.

    What are the most unusual careers that Desi people/children of Desis you know picked in the West?

  5. Sorry, another one…

    Desi is a typical Serbian name and usually used with an extension Mir(= peace, something similar to Sereno). This extension is often used in some male names (e.g. Branimir=defends the peace, Gradimir=builds the peace, Stanimir=the place where is the peace, etc).

    It means the name is Desimir. Several years ago we had a prime minister – Desimir Jevtic.
    There is also a female version of the name – Desa (e.g. famous The Times’ journalist Desa Trevisan).

    1. @Milan

      I’ve been blown away by certain phonetic commonalities between Slavic (particularly Serbian) proper and place names and Indian ones. e.g. I was once introduced to a friend of a friend named Vishna. There’s a town in Serbia called Subotic (Subodh, being a common name from Bengal). Darya, Sveta (short for Svetlana, Shweta meaning the fair one in Sanskrit) etc. The trident on the front of the Ukrainian passport is called the trizhub (Тризуб), similar in sound and appearance to Shiva’s `trishul’.

      I came across the following authors claims that the similarities between Vedic Sanskrit and Old Slovenian are quite striking — they evidently have more vocabulary in common with each other than Old Slovenian does with modern Russian, or Sanskrit does with Hindi or Punjabi (although the latter isn’t so surprising given how much Persian, Turkic and Arabic have crept in to those languages compared to more southern Indo-Aryan languages like Marathi).


      Apparently the similarities associated with animal husbandry are very pronounced, but there’s a break with vocabulary associated with cereal farming. Perhaps Razib has a take on how this might correlate with genetic studies…

      1. @ ESPI

        You probably did not follow my previous comments, I wrote thousands of examples. For e.g. thousands of Serbian toponyms in Hindustan, Afghanistan, Iran, Tibet, China, etc. I will not repeat all these things now but in nutshell, Aryans were ancient Serbs who brought their language to SA. There are thousands of identical words between Sanskrit and modern Serbian (Tagore’s granddaughter, who studied this for 30 years, says 1/3 is identical or very similar even now after 4000 years). Recently spoke to a Bengali guy and we found that many extended family relationships (wife’s sister’s husband, husband’s brother’s wife, husband’s mother, etc) are almost identical or very similar. These are pre-vedic (!!!) words, some can make conclusions. You can read my old comments if you are interested.

        Just a note – Old Slovenian language does not exist. This nation and their language are about 100 years old (Serbs liberated them from Austro-German empire) and accepted them in Yugoslavia. They like to give themselves some importance. It is the same for Ukrainians, they never existed as a separate nation. All so-called Slavic nation and their languages, including previous two, Polish, Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians, 70% of Bulgarians, 70% of Germans, Russians…are Serbian offshoots (except Romanian language which is artificial, i.e. esperanto on Serbian basis). Stay in touch. Vishna (=Cherry), Svetlana (svetlo=lights), Serbian ancient deities are Vishnu, Svarog, Ziva (Siva), Perun )Indra, Priya…they were brought by Aryans….

        1. Certainly have to dig through your old comments to inform myself more then… although I’d be wary claiming that the Aryans were ancient Serbs — them’s fightin’ words to some around here 😉

          The genetic and linguistic evidence that our people share a common lineage is certainly compelling, although the current evidence seems to suggest it’s because of a common origin somewhere in between. Evidently, certain cultural quirks seem to have resulted in particular linguistic features persisting over time in the Balkans as well. In India’s case, it’s probably due to the Brahmin’s obsession with linguistic fidelity.

  6. First centenary of Jalianwala Bagh is approaching, and we can hear multitude of voices demanding apology from British government.

    Why don’t Indians demand apologies from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan for the massacres carried out by Nadir Shah, Abdali and Timur respectively in Delhi.

    Why the double standards? Is it appeasement of Muslims? Do we think British are soft targets? Or just statute of limitations? Thoughts?

    1. India should not demand apologies from the English.

      Any English apology is meaningless if England does not acknowledge her role in colonizing the Indian mind with inferiority complex to damage self confidence. If England does not acknowledge her role in creating the imposing marxism, structuralism, post modernism and fabian socialism (license raj) over India.

      India needs no other apology from England. India’s socio economic rise will take care of the rest.

  7. “First centenary of Jalianwala Bagh is approaching, and we can hear multitude of voices demanding apology from British government.”

    Who are these “multitude of voices” if i may ask? Its mostly grandstanding by some folks, similar to Kohinoor thing. Meaningless ritual.

  8. Congratulations for expanding Recent Comments to 25. Now it is possible to follow the entire discussion or only selective comments on the certain Thread or selected commentators on various Threads. Now, there are no mickey-mouse justifications for trying to ban individual commentators which comments someone does not like. It is possible to follow discussions if you miss one day or not to miss some Anan’s comment while you are making coffee, for example.

    There is a solution for long comments, too. They can be limited to 20-25 lines on main page and put ‘continue reading’ for the rest of the comment. People who like to make long comments can do without any restrictions and who is interested to read it can click on ‘continue reading’ and after finishing they can come back to the main page.

  9. The Telegraph: “Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’’s crown prince, on Friday defended China’s use of concentration camps for Muslims, saying it was Beijing’s “right”.

    “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security,” Prince Mohammed, who has been in China signing multi-million trade deals much to the annoyance of his Western allies, was quoted as saying on Chinese state television.

    Xi Jinping, China’s leader, told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking”.

    China has detained an estimated one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where they are undergoing re-education programmes allegedly intended to combat extremism.

    Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, where Prince Salman has just visited, said he “did not know” much about the conditions of the Uighurs.”

    1. Exactly my point on what India can do to Kashmir without any resistance from Pakistan and Saudi.

      The latter countries have to be “incentivised.”

      India can do everything it needs to without any bloodshed whatsoever however it must internally frame Islam, not Pakistan, as the enemy..

      1. It’s doing stuff “to” Kashmir that is the problem. No issue is solved by unilateral action and treating your own citizens as a subject population.

        Putting people in concentration camps is unacceptable, no matter which country does it. It is shameful that because Pakistan needs China’s money, our government pretends not to know what is happening with the Uyghurs. Saudi Arabia clearly has some compulsions of its own. Countries act in their own interests and so-called “Islamic solidarity” only goes so far.

        As for India “framing Islam as the enemy”, doesn’t this seem at all problematic to you given that India has millions of law-abiding Muslim citizens? Making an enemy out of an entire religion is a bizarre concept in any case.

  10. Zack, what does “Islam” mean?

    Mohammed pbuh, Fatima, Imams Ali, Hassan, Hussein and many other great Auliya Pir Faqirs were great spiritual masters.

    Why let Islamists define “Islam”? Why not let liberal muslimish peoples define Islam in an enlightened way? Why can’t nonmuslims accept the descriptions of Islam given by enlightened muslims?

    Islam still has great living spiritual giants.

Comments are closed.

Brown Pundits