Thoughts on “Dr Jeffery Long on Hinduism, history and politics”

I have realized that there is something to be said about listening to interesting podcasts while driving. My wife (and kids) are at my in-laws for a few weeks, which means that I drive every weekend to meet and spend time with them. And I had this bright idea of listening to browncasts along the way. So, I’ve actually been properly listening to the recent ones – well enough to form quasi-intelligent thoughts on them that I thought I’d share with the wider world.

So, second in the series of brown-reviews of browncast is hereby pesh-e khidmat for you brown chaps (or folks, for those across the pond):

1) The first thing I noticed about Dr Long was how well-versed he is, in a proper scholarly manner, about the subject he was holding forth on. Caveating what needed caveats, speaking eloquently – with illustrations from the kAvya-s or other canon – when required and holding his judgement where he knew he did not know enough. A true scholar!

2) I also liked the fact that he was fairly well-versed about overloading of terminologies in other dhArmika-vAda-s (of the jaina-s and bauddha-s primarily). This is a major minefield because the same term is often used/meant with a slightly different emphasis in different (but related) traditions. And Hindus – often in their modernist zeal to project a united “Dharmic” front – can ride roughshod over important distinctions. So, I was educated in the use of Astika in Jainism and Buddhism, a usage I was hitherto clueless about.

3) I also liked the question (by Zach?) about the centrality or indispensability of the brAhmaNa-s in Hinduism. It is a very valid question, especially since much of Hinduism these days is practised on a franchise basis. Mega-deras and tech savvy babaji boot-camps leading the faithful to mokSa. Quite akin to the mushrooming of churches and tele-evangelism of all sorts in the US. And I found the answer by Dr Long even more agreeable. Essentially the brAhmaNa orthodoxy consciously started to, from very early on (roughly kAvya/epic period of mahAbhArata etc from 1000-500 BCE onwards), sow the seeds of popular narrative of Hinduism into the Indic heartland. Quite possibly many aspects of these stories were crafted to express the philosophical concepts of post-Vedic age to the laity. They were so popular that various versions of these stories got lives of their own and spread quite organically (intially with the help of some brahmin priests) to far-flung SE Asia and E Asia, and spawned independent religious movements and glorious architecture. In short, the efficacy of the Brahmins’ stories obviates the Brahmins! Amazing what a good story well-told can make humans do!

4) The same explanation, of the narrative strength of Hinduism, also explains the ebb of Buddhism according to Dr Long. So, while many temples of Hindu gods and Buddhist vihAras were destroyed by the Hunnic invasions, followed by Muslim Turks etc, and many brAhmaNa-s and shramaNa-s put to the sword, what could not be extinguished were the stories in the minds of people. And the stories were primarily Hindu. Though some Buddhist jAtaka tales do survive, nothing in Buddhism even comes close to the narrative complexity and grandeur of the Hindu Epics. Heck, even Buddhist tales lean on the Epics to make points about their philosophy – perhaps a result of many Buddhist and Jaina gurus being of brAhmaNa stock and training as Long also remarked. Hard to shake off good stories one grew up with I imagine.

5) I think a corollary of Dr Long’s thesis says something fundamental about Indic culture. Namely that story-making is a central feature of our culture and our best stories have ensured our civilizational continuity more than anything else. I think this is a non-trivial observation and even looking at modern India we see how important stories (say, in the form of movies) are to Indians. The output of the Indian movie industry – Bollywood and regional – is prodigious and especially in Bollywood we have even added Persiante features to our already impressive repertoire of story-telling to create an unstoppable juggernaut! (There’s non-zero contribution of Greek drama in Sanskrit playwriting, which in turn fed into early Bollywood too – but that’s a topic for another day)

6) I found the details on Tulsi Gabbard interesting too. I, for one, don’t know much about American local politics at all. But what I do admit to is dismissal of converts to Hinduism (esp White/Western ones) whom I tend to see simply as patronizing hipsters, dabbling in an exotic-sounding culture. The sort who flocked to India on the hippie trail in the 60s and 70s. This is particularly coloured by my own acrimonious debates with holier-than-thou White ISKCON Hindus/cultists (depending on one’s POV) during my student days. I had mentally slotted Gabbard in the same bucket, until I heard Dr Long speak about her. That has made me update my priors about Gabbard a teeny-weeny bit, though I am still generally wary.

7) Finally, I have to say I also disagreed with Dr Long on the comment about regional adherence to rituals in Brahmin communities. I think Dr Long needs to meet some kAshmIra brAhmaNa families to realize the near-pathological focus on ritual in that sub-culture – to which I can personally testify. However, there has been a general Punjabization going on in North India – heck, who doesn’t want to be Punjabi? – and this insistence on ritual may not last very long. For the sake of my forefathers’ anal-retentiveness on ritual, I had to make this point. We may not be as bright as the draviDa-s but we’ll give them a run for their bloody money on ritual any day!

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39 Replies to “Thoughts on “Dr Jeffery Long on Hinduism, history and politics””

  1. Great analysis – quick point and wonderful way to deepen the Browncasts. I believe Bali has Brahmins of sorts, I don’t know about the Chams.

    While correlation is not causation; it does seem that Hindu societies need Brahmins..

    I always find it amusing that India, which is demographically UPite, is culturally Punjabifying. While Pakistan, which is demographically Punjabi, is under intense UPification.

    While I generally welcome the Punjabi expressions in Indian culture; I look askance at normative Pakistani Punjabi expressing Punjabiyat in any meaningful way. I imagine it’s a way to give the minority stakeholders some stake in the country.

    If for instance Punjabis in Pakistan were to actually express their cultural hegemony; they’d probably only be left with Lahore and it’s surrounding areas (Seraikistan is already bolting). And since Urdu (and all things Urdu) is engrained in the Pakistani psyche as the High Culture (but not Higher/Highest, that goes to Persian & Arabic).

    I find it fascinating the extent to which I am loyal to these orthodoxies.

    But I have my own way of expressing defiance; I’ve stopped celebrating Norouz in favour of Cheti Chand..

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    1. Thanks for pointing on Seraikistan, I did not know this before, though their revival is fairly recent. I know that they are related to Balochi (=Belići) tribe and that their language is similar to Punjabi. In my research I found that the most of toponyms and names in SA, Middle East, Anatolia, etc, starting with SER, SAR or SIR are related to ancient Serbs Aryans. Apparently, they have pretty developed singing, I will listen some songs (e.g. attaullah eesakhalvi) . When I get some research results I’ll get back with them.

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    2. I dont think an adoption of Urdu implies a UPfication. Uttar Pradesh really has three quite distinct cultural zones.

      Zach bhai, I know this might offend you, but I really think you over estimate the influence of Urdu on Bollywood. It has a specific role, but that role itself is becoming archaic in Hindi cinema today.

      I think this ‘Bollywood is Urdu, Pakistan is Urdu, therefore Bollywood is Pakistan’ logic of Pakistanis psychologically eases the contradiction of its heavy consumption among Pakistani elites, but has a terrible impact on its cultural expression. There is more internationally recognized cinema that comes out of repressed Muslim countries like Iran, Turkey and Egypt than relatively freer Pakistan. And a big part of this is the Pakistani obsession with Mumbai cinema.

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    3. “I always find it amusing that India, which is demographically UPite, is culturally Punjabifying. While Pakistan, which is demographically Punjabi, is under intense UPification.”

      Fantastic observation!

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  2. The episode with Dr Jeffery Long is the best one out of all for me personally so far. It was very neat and clean to my taste and the SNR was very high. Everything was very well done by all the parties in that episode.

    Edit: I would have loved it more if the Tulsi Gabbard question and the Aryan migrations question was not asked but that’s because I am personally not very interested in that kind of a discussion, I suppose. But then I also think that it may have brought about that required diversity to the platter of things being discussed and indeed probably it’s very interesting to ask a theologian questions about the Aryan migrations haha.

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    1. I have heard that too. More than a smidgen of truth in it. Though Buddhism isn’t meant to be that, but stick too many Brahmins in any project and it starts resembling the Vedas 🙂

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      1. Any form of Knowledge will always produce Knowledge gatekeepers so stop seeing Brahmins rather see them as preservers of knowledge of Indic communities rituals, practices & beliefs. We all know that it is just for show but show must go on……

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  3. “While correlation is not causation; it does seem that Hindu societies need Brahmins..”

    “Dr Frits Staal, an Indologist and philosopher used to say Buddhism is brahminism for export.”

    “I have heard that too. More than a smidgen of truth in it. Though Buddhism isn’t meant to be that, but stick too many Brahmins in any project and it starts resembling the Vedas ”

    Wow, regular Brahmin lovefest here, beaming peacock’s glow and all, lol.

    If Hindusim needs brahmins (I, in my uneducated opinion do not feel it does, especially in the East and South) then hindusim is the vehicle where one way or another that brahmins get establised again and again in their hierachial importance, whether by actual political/institutional power or in the mental psyche, some might find that heartening, others not so much….

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    1. @TrueEast
      There is no lovefest, except one that you are projecting from your prior biases.

      PS: If you had actually read the piece you would realize that my position is Brahmins are obviated in Hinduism.

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      1. @Slapstik
        “There is no lovefest, except one that you are projecting from your prior biases.”

        No offense intended, just making a comment, we all have biases, i’m sure you do as well.

        “PS: If you had actually read the piece you would realize that my position is Brahmins are obviated in Hinduism. ”

        I might be mistaken, but it seemed more like some type of backhanded compliment, the wonderful brahmins created something that can keep going without them.
        This is not a reflection on individuals who are brahmin, but this pseudo worship of them as a class, to act as if this community is the center or origin of all things south asian/india.

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        1. Hello TrueEast,

          Probably not the origin of all things but likely the Brahmins – probably quite randomly – did end up becoming central to India in many ways. I am not fangirling about them there but just making known my perception. Their early joining/induction into intellectual and/or brain-use-requiring projects like memorisation of large volumes of texts was probably a mixture of both randomness and conscious selection from some prestigious Pre-Indo-Aryan- and Early-Indo-Aryan-speaking tribal lineages. Whenever the mind is involved here and now and when used for the maintenance of large complex systems of knowledge, things are going to be slightly different for the next generation, more for the next, and so on. But one another thing that would have immensely benefitted them is their adoption of the likely pre-Indo-Aryan/generally-prehistoric-Indian system of strict caste endogamy too because that allowed them to have very free minds without risking the loss of their occupation or profession and thus the development of the very diverse schools of the Vedas and all the secular literature following it.

          But there are other things too. By virtue of something mysterious which I really don’t know what, the Indo-Aryans in general seem to have been very averse to many wild and extreme tribal practices that they must have encountered in the temperate-tropical India. They were likely the most civilised of all the tribal groups of their time, speaking in modern terms, discouraging wild social practices relating to religion, sexuality, etc. So just by means of this initial moral (or civilisational at least) advantage, they ended up completely dominating India culturally while also pacifying and subduing it in the process and also actually creating the concept of India. Brahmins themselves ended up playing a role in accelerating this entire process because of the development of the system that reduced the importance of the tribal warring Kshatriyas (who would have continued to fight neverending wars with each other and not thought of other things like advancement of knowledge, trade, etc. if left to their devices) in the general scheme of things.

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  4. “However, there has been a general Punjabization going on in North India”

    Do you think this is due to Bollywood?

    I feel like this will change going forward due to:
    1. North India regions developing their own regional film industries (Bhojpuri is big, Haryanvi etc)
    2. Rising prosperity elsewhere. North India had two prosperous communities – Punjabis and baniyas. Baniyas are usually boring people. Punjabi culture had some sort of aspiration attached to it.
    Punjab has stagnated economically. As other N Indian regions become richer, you might see other ‘rangeela’ communities driving aspiration. Haryana Jats or Bihari Yadavs for example.

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    1. No, I think this is due to Punjabi sub-nationalism being the strongest sub-nationalism in all of N India. Ultimately a function of Sikhism and the (short-lived but rapidly successful) Sikh Empire. I think the shadow of Punjab is only going to grow longer and co-opt more bhaiyas/jats/gujjars than recede. I fully endorse Punjabification 🙂

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      1. But Punjabi sub-nationalism is as weak in the carriers of the Punjabi influence to other North Indian areas, i.e. the Punjabi Hindus, as it is amongst other North Indian Hindus. In fact, sub national feelings seem strongest among Bhojpuri and Maithil Hindus. This is understandable, these are fundamentally East Indian/Bengali orbit communities being forced to Hindiize.

        I think the popularity of Punjabi culture is down to the fact that they dominated the capital. The Khatris also had prior exposure to modernization via interactions with Bengali Brahmins in British Punjab. Like the Bengalis, they provided a template of combining Indian culture with modern, western mores.

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      2. “No, I think this is due to Punjabi sub-nationalism being the strongest sub-nationalism in all of N India. ”

        Kind of agree, but it is more nuanced than this. Punjabi sub-nationalism comes naturally just to Sikhs. Punjabi Hindus just fake it.

        Till about 20 years ago Punjabi Hindus were strenuously distancing themselves from their Punjabi roots. They even used to deny Punjabi as their mother tongue, and instead used to project themselves as Hindi speakers. Punjabi was a rustic and uncouth language for them.

        There is a renewed interest in some Punjabi Hindu circles to emphasize their Punjabi heritage, but I have always detected some artificiality in it. It just doesn’t come naturally to them. Most Punjabi Hindus, especially those living in Delhi, are now 2nd or even 3rd generation Hindi speakers, and can’t speak 2 sentences properly in Punjabi. The whole thing appears more like a frivolous attempt to gain some street-cred by appearing “ethnic” than anything serious.

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    2. Do you mean Khatris and Agarwals ? Because Punjabi denotes a linguistic group, while Baniyas are a widespread caste, which would also include communities like the Aryas, Varshneys and Singhanias of UP, the Maheshwaris and Oswals of Rajasthan all the way to the Sahas of Bengal.

      Among NW trading clans, Agarwals have traditionally had a lower status than Khatris. This dates back to caste hierarchies in British Punjab. Due to an absence of native Brahmins, and the conversion of Punjabi Rajputs to Islam, Khatris became the leader caste among the Hindus. They were followed by Aroras (often claim to be Khatris), Sudans and Agarwals. Agarwals however, played a much bigger role in the economy of the Mughal Empire.

      Interestingly, inter marriage between Agarwals and the trading communities of UP/Rajasthan seems far more common than that between the Khatris and such groups. I am not sure why this is.

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      1. “Do you mean Khatris and Agarwals ?”
        Yes. The latter term often confuses me as I do not know which of the various inter-connected communities it includes.
        I am mainly referring to the people Bengalis refer to as ‘Marwari’.
        (which is sort of vague and not exactly a demonym)

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  5. I am curious about why India’s prolific output of stories and literature had such a big impact to its east, but an a relatively minor influence towards its west. Afghanistan and eastern Turan were Buddhist once, but Islam took over with relatively little resistance. Of course, our impact on Persian and Arabic culture is minuscule.

    I wonder if this is down to a fundamental division between the psychologies of cultures that arise in moist regions versus drier areas. This would also explain the deepening schism between Pakistan and India on the one hand, versus the return of Bangladesh to an Indic orbit.

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    1. The primary reason was the state-patronage given to religion in India’s immediate west from the Achaemenian period. The policy was followed by Sassanians, until their overthrow by Arab Muslims – who created the Caliphate that was in many ways an image of the Persian state before it – except with a radically different Semitic religion. I am not sure geographical wetness/dryness is a good explanation at all – sounds unfalsifiable and devoid of any causal structure of *how* climate affects human story-telling culture.

      Here’s Xerxes (OP xshâyarsha) on deva-worship in the territories controlled by the Persian Empire in 5c BCE:

      In Old Persian:
      utâ / atar / aitâ / dahyâva / âha / yadâtya / paruvam / daivâ / ayadiya / pasâva / vašnâ / Auramazdahâ / adam / avam / daivadânam / viyakanam / utâ / patiyazbayam / daivâ / mâ / yadiyaiša

      In Sanskrit:
      ataH itare etAH dasyavAH yatra pUrvam devAH AyajyAH. pasca vashnI asuramedhasya, aham avam devadAnam viyattanam. ataH pratyarebham: devAH mA yAjyeSAH

      Translation:
      Thus among these countries there was a place where previously daiva-s were worshipped. Afterwards, by the grace of Ahuramazda I destroyed that sanctuary of daiva-s, and I proclaimed: “The daiva-s shall not be worshipped!”

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      1. Thus among these countries there was a place where previously daiva-s were worshipped. Afterwards, by the grace of Ahuramazda I destroyed that sanctuary of daiva-s, and I proclaimed: “The daiva-s shall not be worshipped!”

        Sounds very Islamic. 😉

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    2. Vikram,
      A lot of indic cultural diffusion to the east seems mediated by tamil polities. The khmer, thai, javanese and balinese and many other scripts are derived from the pallava script. Moreover, the se asians used what seems like a southern register of sanskrit in their literature. I’m guessing that these maritime mercantile encounters were quite different than what was happening on the western periphery of the subcontinent. Also, from my limited understanding, it seems as though retellings of the indian epics constituted the earliest literary output of those languages. This is somewhat similar to kannada and telugu, and along similar timelines of sanskritization.
      The early middle age dynasties of the indian peninsula also had a characteristic state-temple-militarized trade guild system that was active in southeast asia and seems to have replicated in many ways on those shores. The pallava, kalinga , and chola era people they would have encountered were perhaps representative of a more elaborate and vigorous culture at the time and hence had an association of prestige, at least initially.
      It may not be easy to test rigorously but as a passing impression, i get what you might sense about moist vs dry environment, and that an ecological aspect might be at play. Ideas may pass with less resistance from one region to another where there are some common social factors that are manifestations of the environment. As central asian pastoralists on horse can only penetrate as far as fodder affords them, in contrast a land revenue system based on paddy might be a familiar thing for a group from the cauvery delta region to leverage for other kinds of influence.

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  6. Punjabi culture dominates because its right mix of matrix of martial prowess-extrovert-classy(enough) culture. That makes punjabi a sort of right “aspirational” culture.(especially in a largely introvert culture dominated country). Almost all other “major” culture in India lack one or the other component to really outgrow their region. All other N-Indian culture can be grouped into two categories martial – not classy enough (Jats/ Marathas/Gujjars) or extrovert-not classy enough(Bihari/UP). Perhaps the closest to punjabi “aspirational” stuff in N-India is Rajput culture , but they lose points on the extrovert count.

    In the East Bengali is neither seen as Martial or Extrovert even though still more classy than Punjabi. The South too suffers from the same issue , so no aspirational S-Indian/Bengali culture for the rest of India (not talking about intellectuals of N-India, but common man).

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    1. Punjabi Hindus were historically name called bhappas by Jats (both Hindu and Sikh). They were certainly not known for their ‘martial prowess’. The ‘classy’ attribute comes from urbanity (first Lahore, then Delhi), not some innate characteristic.

      Eastern India (Bhojpur/Bihar) does not have a metropolis for various historical reasons. Otherwise, Jhas and Prasads would have been as ‘classy’ as Banerjees and Dasgutas.

      Rajputs are not urbanized, dont own businesses and do not offer any ideas on how to combine the west and the east. Extensive liaison with the Mughals and British didnt help either. Brahmins have similar problems, but have some social capital because of their inherent status and role in independence movement.

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      1. “Punjabi Hindus were historically name called bhappas by Jats (both Hindu and Sikh). They were certainly not known for their ‘martial prowess’. ”

        That’s why i said “right mix of matrix of martial prowess-extrovert-classy(enough) “, compared to Jats/Thakurs they might not seen as martial “enough” but a Khatri is still seen as more martial than a Bengali/S-Indian. Would you take a “Arora” over a “Chatterjee”/”Iyer” in a battlefield ask a lay man (specially outside Punjabi-NCR) in India and you will get your answer.

        P.S : Again perception is what i am talking about. Not ground realities.

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        1. Not really sure who, if any group, holds this perception of Rajputs. I’ve always thought of them as martial people but with a stick up the a*sses.
          (Refer Padmaavat)

          Had a good friend in college, who came in in the 1st year with a horrendous moustache that would put Abhindandan to shame. Because Rajput.

          College obviously feminizes everyone. So he’s sort of woke now and debates me on intersectional stuff.

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      2. A cursory glance at the ethnicity of the major Bollywood stars over the decades indicates that Punjabi Hindus dominated and still do. This probably points to their outside influence over culture, as they’ve used Bollywood as a vehicle and today every wedding even in the deep South have Sangeets and mehndis.

        It’s kind of like how brahmins are over-represented in the Tamil film industry and the Tamil arts scene, leading to the impression that Tambrahm culture = Tamil culture.

        Someone made as assertion that Hinduism needs brahmins in a region to survive, and I’d say that’s probably not true -look at Sri Lanka for example. Apart from a very few temple priests who are recent immigrants from India, there are no Brahmins in SL society.

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        1. “A cursory glance at the ethnicity of the major Bollywood stars over the decades indicates that Punjabi Hindus dominated and still do. This probably points to their outside influence over culture, as they’ve used Bollywood as a vehicle and today every wedding even in the deep South have Sangeets and mehndis.”

          Siddarth, sangeet and mehndi are events in general Hindu marriages in NW India, not just Punjab. The early Hindi movie stars came from a vast variety of backgrounds, ranging from Prithviraj Kapoor of Punjab, Ashok Kumar of Bengal to Guru Dutt of Karnataka. However, Prithviraj Kapoor was able to institutionalize his family’s presence in Indian cinema.

          Also, the fact that actors are of a particular extraction doesnt mean the culture represented is that of their ethnicity. Directors, who are far more influential in such matters are overwhelmingly Bengali and more recently, Marathi.

          The cultural background of Hindi movies is a decidedly UP/MP/Delhi one overlaid with a Bengali modernist sensibility. The more recent background is that of a Mumbai/Maharashtra Marathi or a Delhi Hindi speaking Punjabi universe. The last names of protagonists in Hindi movies are usually Sharma, Singh, Bhargav, Singhania etc. More recently, Marathi and Punjabi Khatri last names are also seen.

          What is striking about Hindi cinema is the sparse presence of UP Brahmins. There are hardly any Tiwaris, Dubeys and Pandeys active in Hindi cinema.

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    2. Surprised nobody has pointed out the elephant in the room visa-vis Punjabi dominance in Bollywood.

      They are the most fair-skinned group in India. Which is hugely prized by the country generally, and thus sought after by Indian cinema.

      Though I don’t think it has to be this way, as great actors (the Khans, Deepika) aren’t fair-skinned and do fine. I’ve also noticed that the obsession with fair-skin results in otherwise ugly people getting roles.

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      1. what are some examples of fair but ugly people getting lead roles in Bollywood? If there is anything Bollywood prizes in its lead actors, it’s looks.

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        1. Kareena Kapoor has been one of the leading Bollywood actresses for almost 20 years, despite not actually being an attractive woman.

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          1. Ugh, yes totally agree
            You can add Amisha Patel, Celina Jaitley, etc. to the list. All fair butterfaces

            What’s also strange is the wholesale import of North Indian and even some foreign actresses to the south Indian film industry. This, along with the fact (as far as I’ve seen) that most villains in recent south Indian films are North Indian is a weird social trend that I hope has been analysed somewhere

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          2. “This, along with the fact (as far as I’ve seen) that most villains in recent south Indian films are North Indian is a weird social trend that I hope has been analysed somewhere ”

            Well is it that really weird considering the “politics” of S-India over the years. I dont think so

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  7. I am impressed with Jeffery Long, seems like most non-Indian Hindus have a better understanding of the spiritual aspects of the religion than Indian Hindus (who are often more culturally hindu, rather than spiritually so).

    So I think one thing people are missing is that much of Dharmic schools of thought are based around the real psychological changes that can happen in the process of meditation and yoga. These are often very profound and get muddled with woo, however the changes themselves are very much real. (ask Sam Harris)

    There is a real philosophical difference between Hindu Schools of thought, and Buddhist Schools of thought and earlier on there is real competition between whose enlightenment is higher. esp. in the earlier schools of thought. Later on the traditions sort of dove tail, there is still a lot of competitveness over who has the highest most profound enlightenment or the exact right view.

    However this is never dismissive of other viewpoints, as the schools will acknowledge that other schools can bring you lesser levels of freedom from suffering, but only their own school is complete. Also only very adept practitioners become fully enlightened, so it doesn’t follow that everyone else should be treated harshly. Quite the opposite as the most enlightened people are also generally supposed to be the most compassionate and self-less.

    I think the general lack of conflict among dharmic schools despite massive philosophical differences makes sense once this is understood.

    There is also a gruging acceptance that different approaches can lead to spritual realization for different people (for eg. some people may find chanting helpful, others taking psychadelic drugs, others doing penance etc.)

    I think the average lay Hindu / Jain / Sikh / Buddhist has very little understanding of the depth of the dharmic tradition, however they do understand some basic stuff like there can be many different paths that lead to realization. This ethos is why there is generally a lack of conflict.

    The caste system and endogamy, I tend to think are by products of whatever happened that caused the IVC to end and Indo-Arayan languages to dominate. The Sramana traditions developed within India pushed forward spiritual realizations, however these were somehow absorbed within the Hindu fold later on. (This part is my own conjecture)

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  8. “I think Dr Long needs to meet some kAshmIra brAhmaNa families to realize the near-pathological focus on ritual in that sub-culture – to which I can personally testify. ”

    This line caught my eye. I thought Kashmiri Brahmins were the most couldn’t-care-less kind of Brahmins. They, along with UP Kayasthas were the most Islam-tinged Hindus. (Agnostic, meat-eating and steeply left leaning Nehru comes to mind immediately). But then of course I could be wrong. I have never known a Kashmiri Brahmin personally, they being such a tiny community.

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