BrownCast Podcast episode 17: India-Pakistan conflict, Hindu nationalism, Cosmopolitanism

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunes 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. You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…). Would appreciate more positive reviews.

My next planned podcasts were going to be next week…but then world-events intervened. We recorded this before the latest developments in the border clashes between India and Pakistan. We spend probably 35% of the conversation on that topic. But…in a wide-ranging discussion we discuss knitting & racism, Hindu nationalism, Maratha(i)(?) nationalism, and the future of India, with a cosmopolitan <<<Third Culture>>> Indo-British-American professional.

The conversation between our guest, Amey, myself, and Omar, was spirited. I actually had to edit out sections where we kept interrupting each other to get in a word in edgewise! That being said, there is one section where I drop into an American colloquialism which is atypical for me, and I state I’ll “edit it out.” But I left it in since to some extent I did play the role of the befuddled and fearful American from the heartland who just wants the world safe for freedom and consumerism!

27 thoughts on “BrownCast Podcast episode 17: India-Pakistan conflict, Hindu nationalism, Cosmopolitanism”

  1. Will watch this evening, important updates this morning:

    PAF struck some target in IOK, possible Pak fighter shot down while two others made it back.

    Two Indian fighters pursued over LOC and were shot down, one pilot in Pak custody, alive.

    India furious talking of retaliation, Pak says satisfied, offering ceasefire and captured Indian pilot.

    Of note, international media has made it to the scene of the Indian airstrikes, and confirmed nothing was hit and there are zero casualties. Pak was right, huge flub by India.

    1. Yep, looks like the second day of mini-war hasn’t gone well for India.

      As of now, Pakistan has downed 2 Indians jets (cost – about $20 million?). Plus they have one pilot in custody whom they will parade like an animal for days to come. OTOH so far it appears that India has only dug some holes in ground.

      There is a sub story about MIG jets too. Are they obsolete in 21st century? They don’t seem to hold up well in dogfights.

      1. 1.) All accounts including by the captured soldier, is that Pak is treating him well.

        2.) 1 of the Indian jets shot down was a MIG, which isn’t top line for India, but both Pak and Ind aren’t bringing their best (yet) to these skirmishes.

        3 ) Looking less likely that Pak lost a fighter in their strike, and that the Indian fighters were downed via dogfighting, which would be a huge feather in the cap of Paks airforce.

        4.) Reports of large operation by India imminent.

          1. The Indian soldier himself stated the Pak army are “true gentlemen” that he is being treated well, and “the tea is excellent”. He commended the Pak army for saving him from attacks by Pak locals.

            Two other Indian pilots burned alive following the crash, and the fourth hasn’t been found in POK. There are fears he was lynched by locals.

          2. Bro come on, i mean we need not behave as if we are Indian and Pakistani foreign minister or something. We all know what we do to each other soldiers ,prisoners etc. Lets not be that coy about it.

  2. Well honestly this is war. And as long as India makes this artificial difference (which does not exist on the ground) b/w Pakistan people (Mil and Civ targets) and Jihadists, than India will keep on playing catch up. They will keep on digging holes because it wants to have the “moral high ground”. When you have the first mover advantage, you try to make it look “responsible”, while your opponent has no such distinction in mind.

    1. Agreed, though I think the 45 people lynched by Hinduvatas on suspicion of eating beef, during 2018 in India, reflect an equaly (if not greater) degeneration of values.

      1. My understanding is that 45 people were killed over 4 years in a country of 1.37 billion people.

        4 million cows are stolen from their families and killed every years. In a very tiny fraction of cases (less than one in 1,000,000) the bereaved family of the cow goes crazy and retaliates against the person can killed their family member. Of course this is deeply wrong and is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

        Villagers often have a very familial and affectionate relationship with their cows. [On a recent trip to India I got to spend a lot of time petting cows. It is incredibly addictive and cows love it.]

        How would Europeans react of 4 milllion European pets were kidnapped and killed every year? Likely far worse than Indians.

        Indians have a major law enforcement problem. One of the lowest police to population ratios in the world. A ratio that has fallen since 1947. India still retains a stunningly low crime rate despite having almost no cops.

        India desperately needs to hire more cops, more judges and more public defenders and prosecutors. Albeit this does not appear to be a popular position among Indian voters.

        Most of the time when villagers complain about crimes they get little or no police response. Usually the police don’t bother showing up. Even if they do, they often arrive days later and refuse to do anything.

        India has a far lower rape rate than the USA does. And a lower rape rate that many European countries in 2019 (thanks to the migration related surge in rape incidents). India’s rate of rape and public misbehavior towards woman are orders of magnitude lower than the Arab world’s or Pakistan’s.

        Sadly it is also much higher than it was in 1947. So India also has her own moral challenges.

        1. Wow! Cows are family members now? This is a seriously bizarre notion.

          People should not be lynched because of their dietary choices. This is not that hard to understand.

          1. Mothers should not be imprisoned because she made a few funny remarks about the Holy Pedophile.

            Don’t be selective in your criticism K..

          2. Kabir, cows absolutely are family members in India. They use to be family members in Pakistan pre 1947 too.

            Many cows in villages and in many cities (although usually not in Delhi) are treated with great affection by the families or gow shalas (cow sheds) they belong to. They are analogous to European and North American pets in many ways.

            Random cows on the street rub themselves against you and ask to be petted.


            “People should not be lynched because of their dietary choices.”

            Are you aware of any examples of this?

            I am only aware of cases where someone steals and kills a cow; and the bereaved family attack the person who stole and killed their cow. This is completely wrong of course. But there have been only 45 cases over 4 years (correct me if I am wrong).

            Less than one stolen and killed cows in a million results in what you call a lynching.

          3. Even one lynching of a person for supposedly eating beef is one too many. I’m not interested in further defenses of this disgusting behavior.

  3. Saurav, militaries around the world have prided themselves on how well they treat prisoners of war for centuries. This is a part of global military culture and chivalry.

    1. And with the exception of the Kargil war (where Pakistan was accused of mutilating one downed pilot), both militaries have treated prisoners reasonably well in past wars.

    1. The Indian media is being completley ignored by serious/international analysts, and this link is an example of why.

      It had already been confirmed both by video and reliable on ground witnessses that Pak downed the Indian jets. The Indian military has long since officially confirmed its jets were downed, and yet many Indians are still sharing conspiracy theories by their media denying it.

      A major subplot during this conflict has been absurd nonsense propogated by the Indian media, and for me personally, the worrying rate at which Indians are unquestiongly lapping it up.

  4. I have very little time to comment so will be brief. I heard snatches of this podcast yesterday.

    1) There *is* such a thing as objective morality, in spite of short-term tactical decisions that countries make.
    2) Pakistani state is quasi-fascist and we have a moral duty to fight it – and, fight, does not necessarily mean violence.
    3) Indian ability to project its culture depends on coherence of its own vision, which is far from settled.
    4) One must never suffer or indulge in Chamberlainesque appeasement of bullies.


  5. “The Indian media is being completley ignored by serious/international analysts, and this link is an example of why.”

    Just like India learnt woefully over the last 70 years that soft power and PR charm is no substitute to hard power (and Military proxies), Pakistan too will learn this the hard way. What i have been amused that number of Pak folks now have fallen to this false narrative that somehow Pakistan should work on its “image” and PR charm (like returning the Indian pilot) which will certainly get kudos in India’s elite and on world stage. Just like it didn’t help India (having a better “image” than Pakistan) in the long run, soon Pakistan too will realize how futile this “image” exercise really is. But every country should be allowed to make the same mistake which other countries have done (like trying out socialism), so its fair i guess.

      1. Funny thing about soft power is once you consciously try to “use it”, it dissipates.

        There is a strange thing out there called “Confucius Institutes”. That most regular folk don’t know about it makes the point.

        Also disagree with Saurav here, soft power has a multiplicative effect and it has helped India in in the past.

      2. “Funny thing about soft power is once you consciously try to “use it”, it dissipates.”

        Much of it does not.

        For example post modernism cultural marxism dominates much of the world today through soft power colonization of the mind.

        Soft power is incredibly powerful. It influences people without their conscious awareness that they are being influenced.

  6. “A major subplot during this conflict has been absurd nonsense propogated by the Indian media, and for me personally, the worrying rate at which Indians are unquestiongly lapping it up. ”

    Hear hear. But this can only be referring to the media the wider world has access to (English print and electronic media, + Hindi for Pakistanis). My hunch is that there’s a difference in the tone and temper of coverage between commercially lucrative mass media markets and less lucrative regional ones, but would like a few more data points. What’s the view for the non-Hindi heartland Indians out there?

    From following Marathi coverage, with some exceptions, it’s quite a bit more sane. Evidently, it has nothing to do with ownership structure either — Maharashtra times is owned by the Times of India group, and despite sharing a few sordid features with its English sibling (full front page ads, tabloid local coverage), it’s pretty sober in its coverage of national and international news, relatively speaking. Zee 24 Taas has an editorial slant that’s pretty far removed from the jingoism of Zee News Hindi (I’m convinced Sudhir Chaudhary and Arnab are closet liberals genius level trolling us — they just can’t be for real).

    Curious to hear what it’s like in the other vernaculars…

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