BrownCast Podcast episode 22: Ajay Verghese on pre-colonial India, Hindus, Muslims, etc

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.

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Today we talk to Ajay Verghese; Ajay is an assistant professor of political science at UC Riverside and has written extensively about ethnic and religious conflicts in pre-colonial, colonial (i.e. British Colonial, not earlier Turko-Mughal colonists) and independent India. We talk about Hindus, Muslims, religious conversion, conflicts, and other fun stuff.

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49 Replies to “BrownCast Podcast episode 22: Ajay Verghese on pre-colonial India, Hindus, Muslims, etc”

  1. Excellent podcast, few notes.

    1.) The argument has never been that Muslim desecration of rival Hindu temples didn’t have an ideological basis, its that the ideological basis was no different than that of Hindus who had for centuries desecrated rival Hindu temples. As Richard Eaton details, defeating your opponent necessitated the sacking of his temple as a symbolic means of transferring divine right to rule to yourself. This was a traditional Hindu-Indian tactic, and Muslims continued it when they arrived.

    2.) Regarding the conversion to Islam, its different in different areas.

    In the frontier (Sindh, Punjab, Bengal), there was a mass movement of tribes traditionally outside the Brahmanic Hindu fold who adopted Islam . The low-castes/dalits are actually very underrepresented among Muslims in these areas (mostly Hindu/Christian). Same visa-vis the Brahmins in these areas.

    In Northern-India (UP), there was a relatively large amount of Brahmans who converted to Islam. We know this both as a matter of historic record (Sultanate/Mughal gentry absorbing Brahmans), and the Harappa-Ancestry study, where a number of UP-Muslims are genetically identical to UP-Brahmans with just a bit more Middle-Eastern admixture. Haven’t gone over the data to see if low-castes are over/under represented here.

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  2. , its that the ideological basis was no different than that of Hindus who had for centuries desecrated rival Hindu temples. As Richard Eaton details, defeating your opponent necessitated the sacking of his temple as a symbolic means of transferring divine right to rule to yourself. This was a traditional Hindu-Indian tactic, and Muslims continued it when they arrived.

    this is not correct. or it’s incomplete. it’s actually just a universal habit that dates back to near eastern antiquity. in polytheistic societies the desecration of the enemy’s gods after their defeat in battle was a coup de grace. eg the assyrians insulted the idolt of marduk.

    it received some more ideological backing from the hebrews when they became more ethnocentric (as they shifted from henotheism to monotheism), and in christianity and islam turned into a way to defeat not just rival gods but literal demons. that is, the gods of other people in the premodern (pre-calvinist) view in christianity and islam were often perceived as real, but demonic, forces. this is not entirely novel with christianity and islam, as the asura/deva inversion for indo-iranians suggests.

    to be frank i think it’s disingeneuous to claim that muslims didn’t add some ideological punch to this that goes above and beyond what hindus/jains/buddhisms (and other religionists) have done since time immemorial.

    #2, we need more data. but i think that’s on the right track from what i’ve seen….

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    1. “i think it’s disingeneuous to claim that muslims didn’t add some ideological punch to this that goes above and beyond what hindus/jains/buddhisms (and other religionists) have done since time immemorial.”

      I think this is almost certainly true, I just think its means nothing (except to those ideologues who need Islam to be the bad guy for their lives to have meaning).

      Would a Muslim sack a Hindu temple with a bit of extra zeal due to his religion generally having a less favorable view of infidels? Sure, that makes sense. I just don’t think this ultimately makes much difference.

      There are scant records from India before the Muslim period, so we don’t really have details about how Indians felt about these temple desecrations, but the records we do have from the Muslim period indicate the practice wasn’t seen as a huge deal regardless of who was doing it.

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      1. “but the records we do have from the Muslim period indicate the practice wasn’t seen as a huge deal regardless of who was doing it.”

        If you meant “records from the Muslim period” as Pakistani studies circula, then yeah they do not…
        😂 😂 😂

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  3. 1) “its that the ideological basis was no different than that of Hindus who had for centuries desecrated rival Hindu temples. This was a traditional Hindu-Indian tactic, and Muslims continued it when they arrived. ”

    So you mean to say that Muslim ALREADY knew the Hindu tactic of desecrating temples even before they were a power in India? And why is this tactic (“we are following Hindus only” )did not get any mention by the muslim writers who either were accompanying Muslim rulers or wrote couple of 100 years after them. Its funny that not even one mentions it but somehow you (mind reader, perhaps? ) can totally know the reason as to why they did it.

    Lets see what one of you own left-liberal fellow travelers says
    https://scroll.in/article/856178/aurangzeb-was-a-bigot-not-just-by-our-standards-but-by-those-of-his-predecessors-and-peers

    “Truschke and Eaton, between them, produce just one example of a Hindu temple being destroyed by a Hindu king. This turns out to be a fictive incident created by misunderstanding a bit of verse. They then seek to balance the entire sordid history of temple destruction on this feeble base. If you want shockingly thin evidence, you will find it not in descriptions of Aurangzeb’s bigotry (for which there is ample enough proof) but in revisionist histories like those of Truschke and Eaton.”

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    1. 1.) Temple desecration in India was adopted by Muslim conquerors in the vein of Hindu-traditions that predated them.
      This is attested to by Sultan Shihab al Din in the 1300’s who cited classical Hindu mythology, stating, “some kings have attained renown by setting up images of gods, other by worshiping them, others by maintaining them. And some by demolishing them! How great is the enormity of such a deed! Sagara became famous by creating the sea and rivers…Bhagiratha obtained fame by bringing the Ganga down. Jealous of Indra’s fame, Dushyanata acquired renowned by conquering the world… And I (Shihab al Din), it will be said, plundered the image of a God, and this fact, dreadful as Yama, will make the men in the future tremble”.
      http://www.columbia.akadns.net/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/txt_eaton_temples2.pdf

      2.) I’ve replied to that article you reproduced from India media before, I’ll link to it. https://www.brownpundits.com/2018/12/21/the-power-of-the-nameless/#comment-27458
      In short, its a joke.

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      1. I looked over the argument and the Eaton papers…tbh, I think it’s disingenuous to say that there wasn’t a religious shade to Islamic iconoclasm in India, or that it wasn’t (to a degree) qualitatively different than Hindu potentates (predominately-as Eaton acknowledges) abducting idols from their rivals.

        I think there’s a “Hindutva bromides” version of history that pretends that the Turk rulers were all rabid jihadis driven primarily by anti-Hindu animus..which is unsupported by the facts at hand.

        But I also think the secular-materialist version of history that pretends that there’s no difference between Hinduism and Islam, or that Hinduism (pre-1857) was just a bunch of disjointed local cults, is also unsupported.

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        1. /Turk rulers were all rabid jihadis driven primarily by anti-Hindu animus..which is unsupported by the facts at hand./
          Can you name some Turkic rulers in India who gave up Jihad explicitly

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          1. I think you misunderstand me. The Turks obviously disdained their Hindu subjects, partly because of their doctrinal views on idolatrous kuffars, partly because that’s just how humans operated in primitive, stratified, Malthusian societies (and to a degree still operate today).

            But that doesn’t mean that they operated with primarily religious motivations. They were statesmen first and Muslims second, and whatever religious goals they had were (by necessity) subordinated to their statecraft goals, which had to address the challenge of ruling over a polity with an alien culture and religion.

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  4. I think the conversation was interesting, but left out some important points.

    Notwithstanding all the violence and desecration associated with the establishment of Muslim-led imperiums centred around Delhi, I believe that some sort of cultural and political equilibrium had been reached in this region by the 18th century. Elite, aristocratic Muslims had displaced Brahmins as the de facto literary elite, with other Hindu upper castes such as the Rajputs, Banias and Thakurs comfortable in their command over a chunk of the political economy.

    Even the Maratha conquests (which the upper castes of North India steadfastly opposed) did not fundamentally change this equation. But the entry of university educated, Bengali Brahmin’s of Kolkata did. These products of the Bengal renaissance had a profound impact on the self image of upper caste Hindus, providing a modern, Hindu-Western culture as a replacement for the extant Indo-Persian one. Both the political and cultural ideas introduced by this population mortally undermined the position of elite Hindustani Muslims.

    It should not be a surprise that the Hindus of Bollywood, especially in the key roles of directors, singers and music directors are overwhelmingly Bengali Brahmins. The absence of Hindustani Brahmins, especially from the Delhi area in our public life is striking.

    UP’s old Muslim elite did eventually find a new mass in Pakistan and among Punjabi Muslims, but havent managed a great deal of cultural output.

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    1. Elite, aristocratic Muslims had displaced Brahmins as the de facto literary elite,

      this seems wrong. kashmiri pandits and kayasthas served the mughals along with mughal persian and persianized elites.

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      1. Kashmiri Pandits and Kayasthas were scribes but were a bureaucratic elite. The major Hindustani poets were overwhelmingly UP Muslims, Mir, Ghalib etc. This tradition continued with Kaifi Azmi, Javed Akhtar and the current master is incidentally a UP born Bengali Brahmin, Amitabh Bhattacharya.

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    2. The end of Hindustani Muslim dominance had nothing to do with some Bengali renaissance. It was the result of British policy in the wake of the Indian Rebellion, blame for which was placed on the Norther-Muslim elite (attempting to reinstate the Mughal Emperor as ruler of India).

      What followed was brutal repression of the Northern Muslim elite (murder, expulsions, looting), with the British moving in compliant Hindus to take their place. William Dalrymple notes in, “The Last Mughal” that this traumatic event was the turning point in the North, where historic Muslim strongholds (Delhi, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut, Lucknow) passed from Muslim hands to Hindus (both demographically and politically).

      Also, I’m not trying to imply that Hindus were collaborators when Muslims weren’t. Most of the rebels during the Sepoy Mutiny were upper-caste Hindus, and were punished by the British. There was also a huge reserve of loyal Hindus to draw from in North compared to Muslims (simply due to Hindus being more populous at least 3:1).

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      1. “At this time our nation [Muslims] is in a bad state in regards education and wealth, but God has given us the light of religion and the Quran is present for our guidance, which has ordained them [British] and us to be friends. Now God has made them rulers over us. Therefore we should cultivate friendship with them, and should adopt that method by which their rule may remain permanent and firm in India, and may not pass into the hands of the Bengalis… If we join the political movement of the Bengalis our nation will reap a loss, for we do not want to become subjects of the Hindus instead of the subjects of the “people of the Book…”
        – Syed Ahmed Khan

        The sidelining of Northern Muslim elites would have happened in any case, but perhaps with less violence. This was a long process which started with Aurangzeb’s death. Also the mutiny had terrible atrocities from both sides, British as well as mutineers.

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    3. Your observations and hypotheses deserve responses in detail.

      Bengal was a heavily Farsi culture and part of the Mughal Farsi elite. There were Farsi journals in Bengal until recently (suspect Bengal might have been the last Farsi stronghold in SAARC other than Afghanistan) . Bengal represented a fusion of Persian Farsi, Mughal, UK, and Hindu culture.

      The Bengal renaissance transformed all global Hindus (and Buddhists). The extent of their influence is hard to fully appreciate.

      Too bad many Bangla badrolokh (Bengali gentlemen) became very proud and egotistical–causing a pan SAARC and British backlash against them.

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      Have not yet listened to the podcast.

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      Richard Eaton is a Hinduphobe whose academic papers have been widely debunked as inaccurate.

      Hindus/Jains/Buddhists/Sikhs almost all the time do not defile Praana Pratishta sacred sites. New people take ownership. And sometimes in a very specific scientific way certain deities and spiritually charged objects are moved from one temple to another.

      Sometimes new deities are added to a temple. However the old deities still are propitiated. In other words a Shiva temple might become a Buddhist temple. The main deity becomes Buddha. But Shiva is still propitiated by the Buddhist monks. Or in some cases they find another temple to propitiate the Shiva deity . . . transporting it in a very specific way consistent with the Agamas and Padma Purana.

      An example would be 1905 when the Golden Temple removed many Hindu deities. Until 1905 the main Sikh Gurudhwaras were fusion Gurudhwara/Hindu temples.

      Then in 1905 there was a split among the Sikhs. Many Sikhs insisting on their Hindu connection. And some arguing different.

      Then the Sanathana Sikhs and Hindus ritualistically moved the deities to other temples. This was done very carefully and respectfully.

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      1. “The Bengal renaissance transformed all global Hindus (and Buddhists). The extent of their influence is hard to fully appreciate.”

        Yes, it is a historically accepted fact that the Bengal renaissance defined modern Hindu identity. Work like “Arya Dharm: Hindu Consciousness in 19th-Century Punjab” describes exactly how interaction with the products of this renaissance challenged and changed the self conception of Hindus in other parts of India.

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    4. It may have been inevitable that political would follow economic power. The growing sophistication of banking across regions, the flight of capital from/increased indebtedness of core mughal revenue districts, were in contrast to the rising influence of the european factory enclaves and trading areas along the coasts. The agricultural surplus of the fertile doab region alone wouldn’t be enough to leverage power in the globalizing world at that time. The mercantile communities that transplanted themselves to Calcutta and the existing literate castes of Bengal were perfectly placed to shape the first century of India’s colonial period. The Bengalis were among the only Indians to have a sustained encounter with European society during the age of enlightenment. Calcutta was large and fairly prosperous in the late 18th century, allowing for types of visitors and residents that transferred a great deal of elite culture. That period of encounter between Bengal and the West probably explains something about the relationship that was formed, and how it varied from what would happen in Bombay and other regions.
      The passage you cited of sir syed is a really interesting bit of context.

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  5. Heard the podcast:

    The concept of conversion is very badly understood. Only Muslims and Christians have conversion, I think. Others are non exclusivist. So people add additional religions without dropping old ones. Someone can authentically belong to many religions at once.

    Faith is a spiritual mystical meditative experience. [What Sam Harris would call subjective consciousness.] It is a topic for neuroscientists. I have met many who have had spiritual or religious awakenings. All of them described mystical experiences. It could be extremely unwise to share these with psychiatrists–since they could be diagnosed with psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar. And pumped full of mind altering drugs that damage physical health, memory, intelligence and even mental health. About 36% of all Americans are currently on large doses of mind altering drugs.

    In ancient times, people joined a parampara, sampradaya or Guru (including muslim and Christian ones) because of these experiences. No ordinary temporal pleasure on earth can compare with the love, bliss, peace and silence of mysticism.

    Many joined Islam because of the great Sufi masters. They are believed to have performed miracles.

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    It is true that non college educated muslims and Hindus generally do not marry each other (I know many college educated muslims and hindus who have married each other). However this does not mean the communities are not integrated.

    Dharmics (Hindus broadly defined to include Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists) love to attend muslim and Christian religious and spiritual events and shrines. Often a majority of people who attend Sufi shrines are not muslim.

    Simultaneously many Indian muslims participate in Hindu rituals and visit Hindu holy places and living holy spiritual teachers.

    The fact that they don’t marry each other does not mean they are not integrated with each other.

    Hindus will often visit Sufi masters to get their blessings. Maybe they treat the Sufi masters as one of their Gurus. But they remain Hindus (including Buddhist/Jain/Sikh etc.)

    This level of unity of faith lives in villages across India. On the surface they might not appear integrated. But under the surface they are.

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    A request to Ajay. In your surveys can you ask villagers (and other Indians) their views on Sufi masters, Mohammed pbuh, Ali, Fatimah, Imam Hassan Hussein? I would be curious to see how they respond.

    Anecdotally most Hindus when asked praise them as great Siddha maha rishis. But I would love to see this tested in a large data set.

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    1. The concept of conversion is very badly understood. Only Muslims and Christians have conversion, I think. Others are non exclusivist. So people add additional religions without dropping old ones. Someone can authentically belong to many religions at once.

      anan, with all due respect, many of us don’t take your definitive declarations about the nature of a given religion as authoritative in any way. you are entitled to your opinion, but your chain of inferences generally start with axioms which many people simply haven’t signed up for.

      e.g., “Only Muslims and Christians have conversion” is something many buddhists, jews, sikhs, bahai, and yes, even hindus, would disagree with.

      since i think it’s all made up, it’s not here or there for me…but i’m not going to explain to my shingon buddhism convert brother that you have explained to me only muslims and christians do conversion and so he is still muslim 😉 [especially since he is an acolyte shingon priest]

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      1. Fascinating.

        Shingon is a subset of Vajrayana Mahayana Buddhism and something I am very interested in. It has many ancient Sanathana Dharma tradtions and knowledge embedded. Including some works of Nagarjuna (one of the early spiritual giants of Mahayana).

        Nagaurjuna had a profound impact on other Darshanas too. One thing I am curious about but don’t know is whether Nagarjuna argued that Buddhism was an Astika or Nastika school. [Many early Buddhist spiritual giants made the case that Buddhism was an Astika school.] Nagarjuna’s work influenced many other subsequent Hindu (other 9 Darshana) and Mahayana compositions and lineages.

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        This is a personal question and you may not wish to share the answer. As part of the initiation Vajrayana take certain oaths. Do any of these oaths require a negation and renunciation of previous sampradayas, paramaparas, Acharyas or Gurus? Or are they additive (assume new oaths now.)

        My understanding is that Vajrayana renounce nirvana (or Moksha or Kaivalya) until all other life in the multi-verse also achieves nirvana. And they renounce praying to other materialistic guardians (such as Brahma) for materialistic or temporal desires. I believe they renounce desiring the 31 heavens.

        But Shingon is a different branch from Tibetan Vajrayana Mahayana. I would be very curious to learn their induction ceremony.

        Buddhists faced a strange challenge when westerners asked to “convert.” The Buddhist lineages were initially confused by the concept. But since so many Westerners insisted so strongly, they came up with work arounds. Many lineages initiate westerners into their order, much as they initiate others. Westerners get to call it conversion. But the ceremony and oaths themselves are as best as I can observe initiation into something new. Is there a negation of something old? I have not seen this in the oaths themselves (which are taken in Sanskrit and Pali and english translation).

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        One of the early Americans who was with Prabhupada in the US when he first arrived in America described to me how Prabhupada asked what conversion was. He found the concept perplexing. He initially did not understand why someone couldn’t both be Jewish or Christian . . . while being in Krishna conciousness.

        But since Americans insisted, the Hare Krishnas started making Americans Brahmins and initiating them into the order. Americans treated that as conversion . . . but they did not renounce earlier faith in their actual initiation oaths.

        I would be very curious to learn if the Shingon require a negation of something old in their oaths of initiation. Is there any difference between the initiation of people born to Shingon Vajrayana Mahahana parents and those who are born to Abrahamic parents?

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        Why do Christians and Muslims want to renounce their Christian-ness or Muslim-ness to begin with? They can be atheist, teravada, mahayana, taoist, shinto, zorastrian, bahai or anything else they want to be. That is great. But why renounce their heritage?

        Know everyone has their own personal reasons and it differs from person to person.

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        Another question . . . what do you regard as the difference between “initiation” and “conversion”? Or are they synonyms?

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  6. I also had wrong view of Ajay’s work, perhaps i had already made up my mind thinking he is just another “we are getting along well” mallu. Pleasantly surprised. I found it hilarious that Ajay (“wear armor” lol)felt more push back for his work from the “secular” camp than from the right wing. But it does have to do with the different spaces right and secular ecosystem live. Right on social media, secular in academic setting.

    I feel that secular/marxist/mainstream historians in India have now missed the bus, while Ajay work is appreciative his clawing back and trying to inject some sense into that history,it’s now a missed opportunity. History as a subject has forever become a controversial topic and has lost its legitimacy. Sad but true state of affairs.

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  7. I don’t know if Omar Ali is an atheist (I know for sure that Razib identifies as one) but I am sure he sees himself as a “liberal”.

    Omar reminds me of character Marcus Wright (played by Sam Worthington) in Terminator Salvation. Marcus is a machine with a very specific objective of conning humans since, not only that he looks human (like his predecessor machine models) but, more importantly, Marcus believes he is a human.

    I have been following Omar in twitter for many years now. It is only after listening to him hosting the podcast have I realized that he is a through-and-through (soft) Jihadi to the core. His heart bleeds for the 20 crore Moslems of India, but never has he even mentioned how Hindus have been reduced to less than 5% in Pakistan and Bangladesh. He never mentions forced conversions and genocides committed by Islam. He calls them “exaggerations” so shamelessly.

    He says India has to be secular to accommodate 20 crore Moslems but never asks for Pakistan to be secular. “What is ours is definitely ours. What is yours, even nominally, also belongs to us”. 20 crore Moslems remaining in India is not “incomplete partition”. It is incomplete Islamization of the subcontinent.

    Muslims of the subcontinent are just biding their time. They know Hindus can’t put the 20 crore Moslems on trains to Pakistan, nor do the Hindus have the stomach to wipe them off the lands of India – like Muslims have done to Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Comparing the fertility rates of Muslims and Hindus in India, we all know that Muslims are breeding like rats and Hindus are hardly breeding at replacement levels. Hindus are living on borrowed time. The reign of Modi is Hindus last struggling breath – like the reign of Emperor Julian.

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    1. “s” we disagree on Omar Ali.

      Lets just say I know him a lot better than you do.

      “s” you don’t understand the current climate in global academia and global culture. All the muslim accounts of slaughter, slavery, and destruction of temples/universities/libraries/institutions are taboo to mention.

      In my view current estimates of the population of ancient Arya Varsha and per capita GDP of ancient Arya varsha are far too low. This is another reason ancient muslim accounts are discarded as implausible.

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    2. EDIT: Dr. Ali is more levelheaded and impartial than 99% of educated Westerners talking about India. Get over it.

      —-

      Motte: Muslims have some pronatalist cultural values.

      Bailey: Birthrates are immutable and Muslims will soon dominate all of India.

      Look, fertility is tough to predict, but from what it looks like, Muslim fertility is converging with that of Hindus. If Muslims are to overtake Hindus in gross population, that is a matter that would only manifest by the 2300s or so, by which time the world and solar system will be completely unrecognizable, and there’s no point planning for it now.

      I personally don’t think it will ever happen because eventually you’ll have the antinatalist Hindus selected out of the gene pool, further driving TFR convergence.

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  8. What I’m so shocked by is how prescient Allama Iqbal and QeA actually were; Hindu & Muslim don’t seem to have been able to co-exist in any format, coloniser or no coloniser.

    Kaffirstanis like myself, like Indian Muslims, are the “exceptionals” who will always bridge the immense (and growing) divide between the two cultures and communities.

    In fact what I find so odd is that Colonisers just absolutely adore (even if they fear) everything about the Islamic world.

    In my “India centric” period (which came crashing to an end when Iran was viciously and ill-informed attacked on this blog) I tried to equalise this.

    For instance when I told people I’m from Iran (or Persian) they would gasp almost in awe, if I said South Asian it was more meh.

    But I’ve learnt that Munafiqeeism is a part of the Kaffirstani experience; Vidhi transcends India and I don’t have to love/agree with India to love her.

    I’ve realised that the Brahmin influence in South Asia is just too strong and we must make a mental “Hejira” back home to the our Arab fathers. The Pakistani instinct for survival is second to none.

    For what it’s worth I do think the core Islamicate culture (from Multan to Morocco) is a wonder of the world in the manner of the Taj. Our High Languages, Persian, Arabic & Urdu form an extremely coherent and civilised unity and it is Pakistan’s duty to advance that civilisation whatever the cost.

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    1. I think it is partly because of Allama Iqbal and QeA (and the ill-advised TNT) that there is so much polarization on communal lines. How much of the distrust between Hindus and Muslims is inherent and how much is due to the politics of the last 70 years? If there had been no Partition, there would have been no India-Pakistan wars, no Kashmir dispute etc. It would have been much more difficult for India to saffronize and treat Muslims as a fifth column. Both India and Pakistan have citizens who practice the religion of the other country’s majority and it is not fair for them to be blamed for the other country’s policies.

      Personal relationships shouldn’t depend on blind loyalty to the other person’s country. Polite disagreement is possible.

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      1. “India to saffronize and treat Muslims as a fifth column. ”

        Muslims are not treated as a fifth column and are not in practice a fifth column.

        More spirituality and religion are good things. The more this happens the more muslims will be treated with love and respect.

        Why do you think India is becoming more spiritual and religious? Many Indians think the opposite is happening.

        Not all muslims are the same. There are many non Sufi liberal Sunnis, Sufi Sunni and Sufi Irfan Shia and non Irfan Shia Indian muslims that identify with India, are fiercely loyal to India. Many are closely tied to the various eastern philosophical traditions.

        There are some Islamist Sunni muslims in India too. And their perspectives are very different.

        The tensions are with the Islamist Sunni muslims. Plus many nonmuslims know almost nothing about Islam and are deeply confused. Plus many muslims don’t understand the diversity of their own faith.

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        1. You are in deep denial. Stop whitewashing the fact that Muslims are lynched in India and told to “go back to Pakistan” (many of them have never even been to Pakistan). Kashmiri Muslims were recently attacked in Lucknow by Hindu Indians wearing saffron. This is on video. These traders have packed up and fled back to the Valley.

          Many on the Hindu Right have an equation of Muslim=proto-Pakistani which is quite absurd and almost fascist in tendency. Both countries view the religious minority as a fifth column which is ridiculous.

          Learn to accept the reality in front of you rather than exist in some make believe world without caste or religious oppression.

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          1. “Kashmiri Muslims were recently attacked in Lucknow by Hindu Indians wearing saffron. This is on video. These traders have packed up and fled back to the Valley.”

            Can you elaborate? I have not heard of this.

            Many Lucknow muslims are Shia or Sufi. Many are publicly allied with the BJP. How did Lucknow muslims treat these Kashmiri muslims?

            What is the “Hindu right”?

            What is fascism?

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            India has a much lower rate of violent crime than America does (murder, violent assault, armed robbery, rape). Is there a way to quantify how often specific types of incidents occur?

            Without data it is hard to say what is happening. Let alone what should be done in response.

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          2. https://scroll.in/latest/915685/two-kashmiri-vendors-beaten-up-in-lucknow-one-person-arrested

            Your attempts to sow division between Shia and Sunni are misguided. Saffron wearing Hindutva goons who attack Muslims don’t first stop to find out whether someone is Shia or Sunni. Kashmiris being attacked in India proper is indefensible and is certainly not going to win hearts and minds.

            Don’t be dingenuous by pretending you don’t understand the dictionary definition of words like “fascism”.

            The quantity of crimes is not at issue here. People being attacked simply for belonging to a religious or ethnic community is unacceptable. India has some deep-seated problems and the fact that you can’t acknowledge it means you either lack intellectual capacity or are arguing in bad faith. It’s one or the other.

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          3. Thanks for sharing I did not know.

            Attacking Kashmiris is stupid and wrong. I did not know it happened. Have there been any incidents over the past weak? My hope is all the crazies are arrested and tried.

            Lucknow is a Shia and Sufi stronghold. They publicly support the BJP. Many have public friendships with the RSS. Many muslims are part of UP Hindu organizations (such as Nath Sampradaya and Gorakhnath Sampradaya and many others.) I find it hard to believe the locals don’t know the difference between local muslims and Kashmiri muslims.

            In India many non muslims criticize Shiites and Sufis who support the BJP.

            In India muslims behave and dress and pray differently. For example a minority of muslim woman dress in Saudi black uniforms with two tiny eye slits. They drive around everywhere on motor cycles.

            Other muslim woman dress very differently. [Visually and anecdotally these appear to be the majority. Although I don’t know for certain.]

            I talked to some Kashmiri muslims in India. They were Sufi. We discussed their Guru Nund Rishi and his Guru Lalleshwari (Trika Kashmiri Shaivite). Their Urdu Hindustani Hindi accent and words were different. We lost some things in communication. They shared many miracles and mystical experiences that Nund Rishi manifested for them. But none the less their accent and vocabulary identified them as Kashmiri. [And honestly I identified with them an awful lot . . . maybe because of my love affair with Nund Rishi.]

            People are smart. They can figure out a lot about other people by observing them.

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          4. Kashmiris were attacked all over India proper. Students have left their studies and gone back to the Valley. Traders have packed up and gone home.

            Things are not as rosy in India as you seem to think.

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    2. “I’ve realized that the Brahmin influence in South Asia is just too strong”

      What does this mean? Many of the major leaders of Hinduism today (and in the 1800s and 1900s) were not born to Brahmin parents.

      Rama, Rama’s brothers, Hanuman, Krishna (and his brother and sister) and Buddha were not born Brahmin. Veda Vyasa’s mother was a fisherwoman who had a child before marriage (Veda Vyasa was a teenage pregnancy). Valmiki was a non Brahmin Adivasi (although he may have later become a Brahmin.) Vishwamitra was not born a Brahmin.

      What does “Brahmin” mean to you?

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    3. “In my “India centric” period (which came crashing to an end when Iran was viciously and ill-informed attacked on this blog) I tried to equalise this.”

      😂😂😂 When did this happen?

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    4. Recently Islamic State tried to advance that civ whatever the cost .

      \Hindu & Muslim don’t seem to have been able to co-exist in any format, \ Which other format can be good ? Russian or Chinese or American or Hungarian or British or American ?

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    5. \I’ve realised that the Brahmin influence in South Asia is just too strong and we must make a mental “Hejira” back home to the our Arab fathers.\

      Welcome and get on board the bandwagon. Choose the best camel.

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  9. The historian in question here is not entirely accurate when he mentions that partition-related violence is a Northern phenomenon. One of the key events prior to the partition was the Moplah riots around the Khilafat movement, which resulted in a massacre of Hindus in Kerala.

    ” The blood-curdling atrocities committed by the Moplas in Malabar against the Hindus were indescribable. All over Southern India, a wave of horrified feeling had spread among the Hindus of every shade of opinion, which was intensified when certain Khilafat leaders were so misguided as to pass resolutions of ” congratulations to the Moplas on the brave fight they were conducting for the sake of religion”. ”

    http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00ambedkar/ambedkar_partition/

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      1. “The historian in question here is not entirely accurate when he mentions that partition-related violence is a Northern phenomenon. One of the key events prior to the partition was the Moplah riots around the Khilafat movement, ”

        I think there is a typo. How do anti nonmuslim riots more than 25 years before partition invalidate that partition related violence is a mostly Northern phenomenon?

        Do you mean that anti nonmuslim riots have happened in the south too before partition?

        I am confused.

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          1. I think this remark of Vazhagan has to do a lot with

            a) N-Indians who see South/East Indians getting along across religious lines a wee bit better and scratching their head as to why this is so.
            b) South/East Indians who do not have a right wing party of their own so their is no channeling of their views in any meaningful political sense

            This leads to funny situations where i have seen moderately right wing/conservative folks of the North silent on their bigotry while quietly going and voting for the BJP . While in the south/East folks who are high and loud on the right wing stuff and then going and voting for the Congress because they are 2nd best “Hindu” party. 😂 😂 😂

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          2. To saurav on “While in the south/East folks who are high and loud on the right wing stuff and then going and voting for the Congress because they are 2nd best “Hindu” party”

            NONE of the above is true. The right wing for the south does not mean Hindu (the only exception is Karnataka, and I will come to this later), but non-CPM, in the states where CPM maters. IN Kerala, Congress is voted for, not because of it is Hindu, but because, Muslims , Christians, and Ezhavas felle that it is better than the CPM, which, is contrarily more Hindu-like. In Bengal, Congress vote used to be against ULF in Bengal, but Didi has taken thatover. There is no congress vote in TN. In Andhra and Telangana, people are not voting Hindu, because, the other, Muslim, is not a block vote. People vote for congress, and for TDP, in turns. Telangana is also not a HIndu vs. Non hindu state.

            Karnataka is an exception. There was no BJP, as the Lingayat vote was sewn up by Congress, and had 6 CMs from Lingayats. The break between Lingayats and Congress is too detailed to explain, but once they went over to BJP, Congress was out. Now, Lingayats (who were not together to begin with) are divided, and keep switching between BJP and Congress, leaving Karanataka in unexplained swings.

            “Hindu” and “right” as a single space of mind is something that started in Pune, and spread through select states in North and West. This will be difficult to do in the south, or with Didi.

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  10. “Hindu” and “right” as a single space of mind is something that started in Pune, and spread through select states in North and West. This will be difficult to do in the south, or with Didi.”

    Bro no one is loosing any sleep (at least not N-Indians ) on what S-Indian /bengali conservative hindus do or not do. If Sabiramala hasnt proved that , i dont know what will. Was just drawing a contrast that since there is a right wing party in N-India, conservative hindus have at least an outlet , while S-Indians/Bengali of the very same persuasion have no outlet so what you see is just generic bigotry rhetoric, but when it comes to vote they have to vote for the very same parties which are mostly opposed to BJP. That’s what i found ironic.

    P.S The Lingayat thing didnt happen exactly how you described (neither are they THAT divided ) but that’s beside the point.

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  11. Zach – ‘In fact what I find so odd is that Colonisers just absolutely adore (even if they fear) everything about the Islamic world’

    The Islamic world is aesthetic and sensual. The mosques and bazaars of Persia and Turkey are well laid out, orderly but also retain enough of the mystical to westerners. India (read Hinduism) on the other hand is crowded, messy and the core philosophy is too abstruse for most westerners. India was always about emphasising the inner world over the outer, which explains why Hindu pilgrims are able to overlook shocking squalor and mismanagement in pilgrimage sites, as it’s the inner Shakti and not the external aesthetic aspects that really matter. The dharmic principles are instinctively harder to grasp than the clean, monotheistic principles of Islam that manifest themselves in Islamic architecture and aesthetics.

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