THE FAITH THAT NEVER FADES: THE HISTORICAL RESILIENCE OF HINDUISM

I asked MJ to prepare a small discourse for my Cheti Chand Celebration. I wanted it to be on the survival of Hinduism through the ages, as Cheti Chand is precisely about that (in a Sindhi context). 

I was rather offended by this lovely video (made by the Baha’is for Norouz). At 00:28 the man says (in rather over-flowery Persian, I feel the Farsi used here was far too ornate, trying to sound poetic without really achieving that) that Norouz was important for Baha’is but especially important for Persians.

Baha’i faith can never be a vehicle for Iranian Imperialism since the promise of our Faith is world encompassing (let your vision be world embracing) and it vindicated my decision to stop celebrating Norouz after marriage in favour of Cheti Chand.

I had a minor disagreement with a fellow Baha’i on this who is also Desi. I didn’t attend the community celebration over the weekend because I argued that as a religious, not cultural, holiday (and so close to Cheti Chand which is in 2 weeks) I would prefer to observe it in a more solemn manner.

He had initially suggested a Hindu-Baha’i dialogue, which I thought about but decided against. Hinduism is the oldest religion on earth and Baha’i Faith is the youngest; we have much to learn from them rather than the other way around.

At any rate MJ sent me his “controversial piece”, THE FAITH THAT NEVER FADES: THE HISTORICAL RESILIENCE OF HINDUISM. 

The Holocaust brings to one’s mind deep anguish and pain, even though not many of us lived during the times when Hitler’s army ran riot over millions of Jews across Europe. It was one of the darkest hours of humanity and the barbarism of the Nazi cruelly added another chapter to the oppression that the Judaistic faith has had to face over the centuries.

What if I were to say that there is another faith (rather a `way of life’) and people who have undergone as many trial and tribulations, if not more, over millenia?

Shocking, right? I speak of Hinduism, arguably the oldest extant religion (not quite a religion though, as much as a way of life) today. Of Sanatan Dharma, or the ‘eternal way of life’ as it is usually called. The Vedic faith that developed and prospered in the Indian subcontinent before having to face wave after wave of slaughter, deprivation, insult and pain. This article is a brief walk down our civilizational memory lane to look at the story of what can be called one of the most ancient and pristine renditions of spiritual humanism, and what made it so resilient and strong to withstand these relentless storms of history.

It’s a wonderful article and his Nazi article is interesting. It reminds me of the German female presenter who said publicly that at least the Nazis brought autobahns (she was immediately fired and I can’t find the link).

It is interesting to note that there are no temples of significance in North India (the Sun Temple of Multan, Somnath) and it seems the initial Islamic conquests (Ghazni-Delhi Sultanate) were particularly destructive (was it more in line with the Turkish invasion or the Arab conquests is subject to debate).

My view is that the history of Islam in the Subcontinent is fundamentally problematic (it did not grow through conversions but was facilitate by evangelisation under the aegis of Muslim conquest). However while acknowledging that it doesn’t mean one should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

So it squares up nicely with my Islamophobia, Hinduphilia, Urdophilia and Hindiphobia.

I don’t think Islam or Hindi belong in polite society though I happily noted a hijabi women wearing a Burberry scarf this afternoon. If one is going to mar one’s looks with a hijab then at least wear a designer one. That’s why I don’t have much issue with Arabs wearing hijab since they do so with so much Elan than South Asian Muslims (they wear black hijab with a duskier skin tone- bad combination; I rarely see South Asian Muslim women wear the Hijab well, they seem to think enforced ugliness is a virtue).

As for Hindi’s vulgarity (it is probably as vulgar as Islam, if not more), this clip was just shocking:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2108525819438958

I cannot believe people talk like this. While the content is important, this sort of Hindi is crude and ugly that it lacks either the polish of Urdu or the flow of Hindustani. This is probably what they proudly call Hinglish (it’s really disturbing tbh) and then they threw in some Sanskrit word (Shahtruk or some such)..

I do feel Hindus have much misdirected rage instead of castigating, humiliating and abusing Islam at every opportunity as they should; they instead do so at Islamicate culture (and by extension the Islamicate state, Pakistan).

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93 Replies to “THE FAITH THAT NEVER FADES: THE HISTORICAL RESILIENCE OF HINDUISM”

    1. Not sure what the point of posting the article is, its just a rehash of typical Hindutva mythologies that are unfortunately passed off as “history” in India. Particularly;

      The continued pathetic attempts at cannibalizing ancient history (pretending the IVC was Hindu, pretending the Vedas were associated with India).

      Also, citing a few scholars/statements that are not accepted by anyone (serious) today. Specifically, that India’s population decreased from 1000AD-1500AD due to Muslim massacres, and that it was one of the “bloodiest in history”.

      Most importantly, depicting pre-Islamic India as a peaceful land where religious/political differences were largely resolved through “debate”, and then contrasting this with the violent conquests of the Muslim period.

      The truth of course, is that pre-Islamic India was mired in violence. Largely Hindus massacring Buddhists and destroying their religious sites, though Buddhists dished it out as well when they briefly held power. Various warring kingdoms in constant conflict (as was the case in most of the world), and while the invading Muslims were better at making war, they weren’t at all unique in engaging in it. https://scroll.in/article/877050/religious-violence-in-ancient-india-a-lesson-for-those-who-write-history-textbooks-for-school

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        1. Buddha implied that early Sanathana Dharma comes from 10 saints. 11 if Kapila is added. Maybe the number could be expanded to 15. It is from them, their students and families that much of the early Vedas, Agamas, Vedangas, Jain Agamas (which are revered by many lineages in other Darshanas), Bon, Samkhya Karika, Ṣaṣṭitantra are believed to come.

          Is it possible that the culture derived from them was shared by AASI or R1a people?

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      1. pretending the IVC was Hindu, pretending the Vedas were associated with India

        You are seriously nuts if you think the Vedas were not composed in India (let alone “associated”.) The earliest portions of it talk about Indian geography.

        But that aside, why the f*** does it matter? Most Indians (whether believers or not) treat Hinduism as part of their patrimony. So it is, regardless of how you interpret the genetic and linguistic models.

        And the IVC had much less “association” with Arabia or Mohammed; that didn’t prevent your lot from carving out another country though.

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        1. The Vedas were composed almost entirely in Eastern-Afghanistan and Punjab, areas outside the Indian/Hindu sphere. I don’t have a problem with Hindus claiming a religious connection to the Vedas, but to claim they were “composed in India” is historical appropriation.

          It would be like a Jordanian claiming the Quran by saying it was revealed in, “the Middle-East”. Basically trying to use an already vague umbrella term for a cultural-region that didn’t exist at all during the events its referring to, to hijack someone else’s history (Hijazi/Peninsular Arab in this case).

          As for the IVC, yes, it wasn’t Islamic, but Pakistanis don’t need to pretend it was, they are the direct descendants of the IVC peoples. And I don’t just mean geographically, but likely genetically as well.

          Based on the Indus Periphery samples, its estimated the IVC peoples were majority Iranian farmer, with anywhere from 10-49% native Indian admixture. That’s basically what Sindhis, Pathans, and many Balochis clock-in at. Most Punjabis as well, especially if you adjust for the Aryan admixture in some Jats. For the record, I don’t have a problem with Indian-Punjabis claiming the IVC, its theirs just as much as their Paki counterparts.

          The Egyptians and Chinese still feel pride for their ancient civilizations despite following different religions today, I don’t see why Pakistanis (and Indian-Punjabis) can’t do the same.

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          1. “Basically trying to use an already vague umbrella term for a cultural-region that didn’t exist at all during the events its referring to, to hijack someone else’s history ”

            Remarkable insight.

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          2. Several Afghan rivers and geographical landmarks are referenced in the Vedas.

            Is it possible that most of the Vedas (and other old scriptures such as Vedangas, Agamas, Jain Agamas, Samkhya scriptures, Bon scriptures etc.) existed in a form similar to now across a large geographic expense 8,000 years ago?

            I suspect this is possible.

            Is it possible that the Vedas (and other ancient scriptures) were sung and composed by AASI people? And that R1a people later learned it from AASI people?

            If this is the case, it is mostly irrelevant where the various Arya Sanathana Dharma scriptures were composed.

            The major early saints who composed most of the ancient scriptures are described as coming from unknown locations. Maybe even the stars of the big dipper. [However you wish to interpret this.]

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        2. @INDTHINGS:

          The Vedas were composed almost entirely in Eastern-Afghanistan and Punjab, areas outside the Indian/Hindu sphere.

          What references in the Vedas of Eastern Afghanistan are there? Give examples, not speculations.

          Calling Punjab (any part of it) outside the Indian/Hindu sphere is demented.

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          1. Numinous:

            https://www.brownpundits.com/2018/07/14/afghanistans-history/

            I think it is possible that many Samhitas were initially sung in many parts of India too.

            The overwhelming vast majority of the Vedas are now lost. Because of this there is much we don’t know about the early Vedas.

            But if some Vedas were first sung in Serbia (not saying that they were) and other Vedas first sung in south India or Assam; that does not mean that the Vedas are a Serbian import. It just means that the Sanskriti lingua franca might have extended over a vast geographic area. [Which again is a hypothesis that I can’t prove.]

            This happens to be a view shared by many Sanskrit scholars. Including professor Long.

            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            This topic, honestly isn’t interesting to me. Far more interesting is where these 15 ancient saints came from.

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          2. Regarding Afghanistan:

            https://scroll.in/article/723351/was-the-ramayana-actually-set-in-and-around-todays-afghanistan

            Regarding the term “India”, you seem to have ignored my analogy, so I’ll just plainly say it. Yes, today you could place the Punjab in some “greater-India” region, but at the time of Vedic composition, you could not. “India” did not exist at this point. There was just the decaying IVC, with the northern-region (Punjab) dealing with the Aryan invasions (which at this point had not spread east).

            Regardless, I don’t think you realize how unreasonable it sounds to try and claim other people’s history by saying, “well its all Indian anyway”. India is just a broad cultural-geographic term/concept (adopted from foreigners).

            It would be like a Kazakh claiming the Mongol Empire because, “well its all part of Tartary” (term used by foreigners to denote the Eurasian Steppe peoples).

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      2. Dude, you spend so much time bashing Hindutva dilettantes…they aren’t unique in professing bad history. We were fed “rah rah America” until undergrad here in the states.

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        1. Virtually all of the bad history encountered on this blog is of the Hindutva variety, so naturally I talk about that (this is Brownpundits after all).

          I also personally believe their bad history is the most pernicious I’ve encountered.

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          1. All right, fair enough on Brown Pundits, but I don’t think it’s the most pernicious or harmful kind of bad history.

            If more Americans were aware of American diplomatic history, our discourse on foreign interventions might not hover between “sanguine” and “apathetic.”

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    1. Numinous,

      Don’t understand this at all. Where does this type of dysfunctional thinking come from?

      Asians don’t have this generally speaking.

      Hindus praise the good qualities of demons (Ravana, Hiranyakashipu, Duryodhana, Shakuni, Shishupala, Kamsa) [Obviously Ravana and Hiranyakashipu are brahmins and great grandsons of Brahma . . . “demons” is being used metaphorically]. Hindus even pray to the villains. Most villains get liberated too!

      Taoist, Buddhist, Shinto and other stories are filled with these sorts of things.

      Why can’t Europeans see the good qualities in villains and praise them? Aren’t good and bad both divine and transcendent?

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  1. “instead of castigating, humiliating and abusing Islam at every opportunity as they should”

    How can a Hindu do this? Wouldn’t that be negating their own faith?

    What do you mean by Islam? Islam has many great spiritual masters. Don’t these masters deserve reverence, respect, love? Some would say worship (unless they don’t believe in the concept of worship)?

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  2. The Sanskrit word used was surakSit (su- cognate with Greek eu-, conveying goodness/wellness; and rakSa with Greek lexei, lit. to protect). The -it suffix forms the past-participle (like -ed in English). So, surakSit = well protected.

    The register they were speaking in was definitely *not* Sanskritized Hindi by a long shot. No shuddh-Hindi wallah would use words like: aurat, mazaq, mumkin etc

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    1. Slapstik, is there any evidence for your claim that mazaq and mumkin wont be used in Hindi ? I hear these words all the time on official broadcasts from the Indian government, listen to any programme on Rajya Sabha TV or Doordarshan for example. These of course, are supposed to be in the official Hindi.

      Aurat is an exception, the word has a very problematic etymology.

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      1. It is not a matter of my “claim”, just of deduction from a definition and an assumption:

        Definition: Shuddh Hindi, defined as the register that has no non-tatsama/non-tadbhava words, won’t tolerate mazaq or aurat etc.

        Assumption: When Zach uses “Hindi” (usage common to most Pakistanis) he means Shuddh Hindi, not vernacular Hindostani.

        PS: These are not my views of what is/should be called by the label “Hindi”.

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        1. The reason I asked is because AFAIK it has never been the position of the Indian government or that of Uttar Pradesh that a version of Hindi entirely devoid of non-Sanskrit vocabulary be the definition of Hindi. This has sort of become an accepted position even in academia without any clear basis.

          Non Sanskrit loanwords have always been used in official Hindi. It is not unreasonable that the extreme allergy of Urdu partisans to *ANY* Sanskrit high vocabulary led to the impression that something called ‘shuddh Hindi’ exists and is patronized by Indian governments.

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          1. I have no problem with Sanskrit but historical precedent has to be applied.

            If there is a Perso-Arabic word that has been used continuously then that should have precedence instead of a local one.

            The idea of importing Sanskrit (or even Perso-Arabic) wholesale is nonsense.

            But Urdu is the original language (it was even known as Hindi originally) and Hindi is its saffronised variant.

            India itself has made a judgement on it; apart from Premchand or Bachachan snr (both of whom were deeply versed in Urdu) what accolades does Hindi really have. That’s why it’s morphed into Hinglish..

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          2. As I said, suraksha and hifazat dont mean the same thing in modern Hindi. So there is no question of precedent.

            I think you and I are talking about two different languages. Pakistani Urdu is a separate language, evolved in Pakistan since 1947, which eschews any kind of Sanskrit high vocabulary.

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          3. “Urdu is the original language”– No serious academic would agree with this statement. The linguistic consensus is that Urdu and Hindi are two standardized registers of Hindustani, which evolved out of Khari Boli. The Persianized register is called Standard Urdu while the Sanskritized register is Standard Hindi.

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    2. Slapsy, Greek language was originally not so-called ‘Indo-European’. Greeks do not believe that Aryans existed (because they were before their appearance). What is the link between Greek and Sanskrit (probably the same as English and German language connections). Which language was spoken in Europe in 2000 BC, or 1000 BC?

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  3. Seriously dude, the use of the word ‘suraksha’ (protect in the sense of taking care) in a cervical cancer awareness advertisement is triggering you ?

    The problem here is also there is no real other word here that would convey the meaning of suraksha. The closest would be hifazat. But in Hindi those are not exact synonyms, much like shield (Germanic) and secure (Latin) are two different words in English.

    This supremacist, racist and crass attitude would be funny if it had not formed the background of the genocide in Bangladesh, the cultural genocide perpetrated on the Sindhi people by the Urduists and the induced linguicide of Pakjab and the Kashmir valley.

    It is far more accurate that Urdu is the underlying cause, and Islam merely the bulwark Urdu chauvinists use(d) to achieve their political goals. The Bengali Muslims saw through this, but had to pay a heavy price to extract from the claws of Urdu supremacists. It might be too late for Punjabi Muslims and Sindhi Muslims though.

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    1. The language question was resolved in the 50’s.

      If there is going to be a lingua Franca in South Asia other than English; there is only one option..

      It doesn’t matter either way..

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      1. “there is only one option”

        Guess where else finds language of this kind ….

        Thank God(s) India got rid of such racial and cultural supremacists in 1947. No wonder Pakistan has not produced much of cultural note since independence. Urduists have muted all native expression in their quest for dominance, and their constricted mind, still dreaming of Delhi and Ghazwa-E-Hind is incapable of any creative expression on its own.

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      2. If you mean ‘Urdu’ you are quite mistaken.

        Urdu is a fine language and I am quite fond of it. But it is incomprehensible to most Indians. For those who doubt me, try reading Ghalib or even Faiz without recourse to a dictionary.

        “Sanskritized” or whatever, Hindi – with its Suraksha, Kripaya, Suvidha etc. has the virtue of comprehensibility to most non-Hindi speakers of India in a way that Urdu, sadly, does not.

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    2. Pakistani Punjabis are quite OK with Urdu being the national language. De-emphasizing their own mother tongue seemed like an OK tradeoff for getting to rule Pakistan. Punjabi is still spoken at home and on the streets, but Urdu and English are used for official purposes. Urdu is also the prestige language of high culture.

      “Pakjab” is an offensive term and one that I have only ever heard used by right-wing Indians. For the record, I don’t agree with Zack’s disdain for Hindi. As far as I am concerned, people should be free to use any language or dialect they like. But I wouldn’t pontificate so much about Pakistani Punjabis without having any idea of facts on the ground.

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      1. Yes if Punjab decided to enact Punjabi as the state language; it would immediately facilitate Seraikistan.

        I would prefer that option to be fair. Pakistani identity should be strong enough to accommodate multiple identities.

        I do think that we need to see what are the geo-cultural regions of Pakistan and fit them accordingly. The Punjab is simply too big.

        Furthermore Punjabi should be patronised at the state level not Urdu. I prefer Urdu de-oxygenating English rather than any of our local languages..

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        1. Whether one considers Seraiki a distinct language or a dialect of Punjabi depends on one’s politics. The Seraki nationalists obviously have a reason to emphasize the differences from standard Punjabi.

          Provinces should be reorganized based on administrative reasons. There may well be a case for dividing Punjab, but the feelings of Seraiki nationalists is not it. In any case, the Punjab Assembly would have to approve any division of the province, and that’s not going to happen.

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      2. The term “Pakjabi” is appropriate since the folks of that area are ready to give Pakistani Urdu more importance than their native tongue. This is not a trivial fact, and implies a change in ethnic identification.

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        1. You can continue to defend your use of a derogatory term that only right-wing Indians use. Using such language says more about you than it does about the people that you are using it for.

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  4. “Islam doesn’t belong in polite society”– Wow, can we get any more Islamophobic? What gives you the right to impose your personal likes or dislikes on millions of people who are practicing their religion? Similarly, we get that you don’t like the hijab. But since you are neither a Muslim nor a woman you will never have to wear one. Why should someone’s decision to wear a piece of clothing that they believe their God requires them to wear bother you so much, “enforced ugliness” or otherwise. If it’s a just a matter of aesthetic judgement, people are entitled to their own choices regarding dress, whether we find them fashionable or not.

    As for Indians “abusing Islam at every opportunity”: this is an extremely problematic suggestion since there are millions of Indian citizens who happen to be Muslim. I don’t know why you think polarizing Indian society on religious lines is a good idea.

    Regardless of the history of how Islam came to the subcontinent, we need to move on from looking at current issues solely from a Hindu vs. Muslim angle. Ghazni and Ghauri were medieval conquerors, probably motivated as much by material reasons than by any sort of religious zeal. In any case, people converted for different reasons such as escaping the caste system, opportunities for advancement under Muslim rulers etc. There may have been some forced conversions, but they were hardly the majority. If the Muslim rulers had been really interested in converting their subjects, the majority population of India would not be non-Muslim (unless the rulers were totally incompetent at achieving their aim). This is an academic debate and should not affect politics in present day India.

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    1. I’m quite the Muslimophile just an islamophobe.

      Islam doesn’t belong to polite society.

      QeA and Allama Iqbal were kafirs. They weren’t orthodox Muslims; maybe Iqbal was but he seemed more esoteric ..

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    2. To say that “the history of how Islam came to the subcontinent” is unimportant today makes little sense. It is quite clear that Assamese Muslims, Dawoodi Bohras and UP/Pakjabi Urduists have vastly different political and social attitudes, and this is in major part attributable to how Islam was introduced in different parts of the subcontinent.

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      1. My point was that this is an academic historical debate and should not affect the social and political rights of the Muslim minority in today’s India.

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        1. Kabir, I removed your last comment as I deemed it to be Hinduphobic.

          Hinduism is a cultured religion; Islam is not.

          Just as how Urdu is a cultured language and Hindi is not.

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          1. Right, so we can be Islamophobic but not Hinduphobic? Thanks for making your double standard nice and clear for everyone to see.

            Your personal opinions about which religions are “cultured” or not are neither here nor there.

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          2. Zach bhai, Urdu ka Hindi main vilay ho chuka hain. Woh gaadi kab ki nikal chuki.

            Pakistani Urdu is a different matter. But there is hardly any literature or culture in Pakistani Urdu.

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          3. What is “Pakistani Urdu”? Urdu is the same language whether it is written in India or in Pakistan.

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  5. O modern day Shahenshah of Iran and Turan, your edicts are leaving most of your subjects utterly confused.

    Here is the short list of proclamations received by your subjects from your majesty so far –

    1. Islam bad, Islamicate good.
    2. Muhammad bad (actually very bad, like pedophile bad), but Bahaullah (who counted Muhammad as an authenticate prophet) very good.
    3. Islam bad, Hinduism good.
    4. Hindi bad, Urdu good.
    5. Muslimophobe bad, Islamophobe good

    Will you please explain to your subjects how to come to grips with your sublime mind.

    Your bewildered subject.

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  6. “Apart from Premchand or Bachachan snr (both of whom were deeply versed in Urdu) what accolades does Hindi really have.”

    Haha. I could actually say the same for Urdu. Apart from a Ghalib or a Manto (who’s actually pretty over-rated because of commies), Urdu hasn’t really produced anything worthwhile. Also, Urdu is pretty incapable of producing anything more sophisticated than some series of couplets, which are passed around in WhatsApp groups.
    Most Bollywood ‘Urdu’ makes use of just a handful of words like ‘jaanam’ or ‘sanam’. Its pretty hackneyed by now and people are moving on.

    No one really writes novels or serious long-form poetry in Urdu.
    Urdu is a vestigial and stagnant language. Even most people who proclaim a love for it can’t string together a decent paragraph in it without sounding either fake or like a poor man’s Persian.

    Phew!

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    1. Your comment shows how little you know about Urdu. Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote some of the greatest Urdu poetry in the 20th century. As for Urdu novels, Qurratulain Hyder wrote “Aag Ka Darya” which is an epic story that covers the history of India over thousands of years.

      I personally think this Hindi vs. Urdu debate is rather pointless but your comment can be proved wrong with just a basic familiarity with Urdu literature.

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      1. Bollywood exists because Indians patronize it and its political freedoms allow for the existence of such a power centre outside the government.

        It draws from many cultures. But what on earth does that have to do with Pakistan ? Why dont you build your own industry instead of trying to appropriate the work of others ?

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        1. Pakistani dramas are probably equal to Persian films in their intricacy and complexity (both draw on the same traditions I imagine)..

          I said “Urdu culture” not Pakistani culture fwiw.

          Urdu culture (and Muslim actors) have built the industry. And it is important to acknowledge that debt..

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          1. Not sure where your delusions will take you. But good luck.

            You did confirm my suspicions that beneath all the ‘shared culture’ talk of Pakistanis is the same old supremacism and lack of respect for other people’s work and property.

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          2. @Vikram I do not see the point of such sensitivity.

            You seem unfazed by my criticism of Islam but cannot accept the objective reality that Hindi is vulgar especially when set against Urdu..

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  7. “If there is going to be a lingua Franca in South Asia other than English; there is only one option.”

    Interestingly, I keep running into Pakistanis here in Paris. Almost every other restaurant seems to have one person.
    One of the guys I was chatting with was speaking in a mix of Urdu and Punjabi. I was having to strain a bit to get his accent. But he pointed out that I could understand his Punjabi much better than his Urdu, which I later realised was actually true.

    Pakistani Punjabi seems to retain much more of the tatsama vocabulary than Urdu. Not sure how the latter can be a lingua franca when I could follow a language I don’t even speak better than it.

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  8. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2108525819438958

    And what exactly is so abominable about this language?

    if you notice, Urdu developed via exactly the same process as this new Hinglish is developing. Educated Indians had to interact with Islamicate governments thru their own language, i.e. Persian. Slowly, advertently and inadvertently, some common Arabic and Persian words seeped into the language of this educated class of Indians. This creole was given a grandiose sounding name “Zaban-e-Urdu-e-Maula”, and a new language was born.

    Urdu became a prestige language for Indians as it indicated an access to political power. Ideally this servile class of Indians would have liked to switch wholesale to Persian, but mastering a foreign grammar is much bigger hurdle than mastering a few foreign words. So as a compromise the topping of Arabic/Persian words was laid upon a base of Hindi grammar, and the pizza we call Urdu was born.

    The situation is not much different even today. Most of this Hinglish class of Indians would love to switch wholesale to Yankee English if they could. Unfortunately most would stumble on English grammar. 😉 So we have this Hinglish as a poor proxy for indicating class, wealth and sophistication.

    In fact Urdu’s pedigree is far more unseemly than Hinglish. Much of the Urdu shayari was born in establishments of Tawaifs, where foreign muslim soldiers consorted with Indian courtesans. They had to talk in some common language (whether pillow talk or price negotiations 🙂 ). And what else would this common language be called if not “Urdu”.

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  9. I think its a fundamental error to characterize Hinduism as a ‘faith’. Intense belief is really only a small and optional part of its spiritual system. It is more appropriate to think of a collection of related but varying methods of interrogating the universe and our place in it.

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  10. ‘…pretending the IVC was Hindu, pretending the Vedas were associated with India…’

    You’re referring to the current territorial boundaries of India. But the present doesn’t neatly map on to the past, that’s basic history 101. Are you going to claim that the Iliad isn’t too be associated with Greece because it was composed in present day Turkey? Lol. The Vedas were all composed in what was to become the Hindu cultural sphere hence their association with Hinduism and India. And whether Sanskrit originated in India or not is a red herring, it definitely developed in the Indian cultural sphere much like English might have originated with the Angles in Denmark but it developed in the British isles.

    I don’t think there’s enough scholarship to prove whether the IVC was’Hindu’ or not. But again, does it really matter?

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    1. // whether Sanskrit originated in India or not is a red herring //

      It is not a red-herring but a valid question with a well-defined answer. Sanskrit is an Indian language that developed in-situ, just like French developed in France.

      Vedas were composed in Sanskrit, not Proto-Indo-Iranian. Though some of the rituals and gods they describe are a good representation of PIIr.

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        1. I am Arya. I speak English at work and Kashmiri at home (and occasionally sing in Sanskrit to my kids)

          My ancestors 50 generations ago spoke Sanskrit at work and Old Kashmiri at home (and occasionally sang in Sanskrit to their kids)

          My ancestors’ ancestors 100 generations ago spoke Sanskrit at work and Sanskrit at home and sang in Sanskrit to their kids.

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          1. The thing that stands out is the continued insistence on singing over 100 generations.

            My ancestors tried singing too, but had to stop at the pleadings of their neighbors.

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          2. In India, the Lefties have successfully tarred Sanskrit with the “Brahminical” brush. They will happily recite Urdu shers but a Sanskrit couplet ? Toba, toba.

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        2. Milan

          The English word Aryan has too many connotations , mostly negative at present. So, let us use the Sanskrit word Arya (A in this is different from A in aryan) . I consider myself Arya due to the fact that our genetic memories are are concerned with sages who sang vedic poetry, and who called themselves arya and it has been reinforced down the ages. By genetic , I don’t mean some new fangled ‘scientific’ sense but in the older sense of generations and generational connectivity. I too consider at some point in the past my ancestors spoke Sanskrit and switched over to Tamil as mother tongue perhaps a millennia ago . There are aspects of our genetic memory like Gotra and pravara which have been passed down generations . Whether Aryas were blue or black or white or yellow , I don’t care.

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          1. VV, I agree with all you and Slapsy say. However, the fact is that Sanskrit came to SA with Aryan migrants 4000 years ago. I am glad that they melted with local culture, mythology without much problems, produced many songs which Slapsy sings and many new generations (more than 100 million of people in India have their genes) and this genetic/cultural amalgam remained forever as a part of Indian culture. This is very different from much later Islam invasion which came forcefully, forcefully converted locals and almost did not have any cultural significance (it is understandable because they were still early days movement, several thousands of years behind of Aryans). The point is that Sanskrit (or Sanskrit’s father or whatever) could not originate in SA, otherwise it should be explained its similarity with Serbian language and other EU languages which much later made connections with Sanskrit trough Serbian (e.g. English, German, Latin, Greek). I don’t know what is the exact local meaning of ‘arya’ and what is the distinction from its environment (I guess should be more than singing songs in Sanskrit). For you and Slapsy, there is one song, sang by English kids in their school, cheers:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptDVaVlw9m4

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    2. Iliad is not to be associated with Greece not because it was composed in present day Turkey than because Greece did not exist at the time of Troyan battle. Also, Troyan citizens were not Greeks. Iliad was translated (!) to Greek language several hundreds years after the battle. In meantime was orally transmitted (in which language?). Ilia (Perun) was not a Greek good, he was brought by Aryans to SA as Indra. Babylon was founded by them and the meaning of the city name is – ‘gate of Ilia’.

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    3. Siddarth, you are confused.

      The Illiad was composed by Greeks when West-Turkey was Greek, and shared a cultural mileu with their compatriots in modern-day Greece.

      The Vedas were composed in Punjab around 1500 BC. What did the IVC peoples and Aryans in this region have in common with “India” at this time? Not religion, not language, not history, not even genetics. You are superimposing your understanding of “India” onto a time when it didn’t exist at all.

      Again, you sound like a Jordanian trying to claim Islamic history from a Hejazi-Arab, since the entire region centuries after the events in question would be called the, “Middle-East”, which both the Jordanian and Hejazi Arab later became a part of.

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      1. I’m not confused, but thanks for trying to explain it.

        The Vedas may have been composed in Punjab but they were transmitted throughout the Indian subcontinent by the descendants of the people who composed them, who intermixed with the people who were already living all over. I’m not a geneticist, but I’m given to understand that there’s a non trivial genetic component of this composer stock throughout the land. Furthermore the Vedas and the religion it spawned is a living, breathing tradition still alive and intact. There’s a continuity in geography, genetics and cultural memory. Seems like a slam dunk to me.

        Why do modern Englishmen identify with a Germanic identity when the language originated from elsewhere and they themselves are predominantly of a non-germanic genetic identity?

        I think you’re the one who’s confused, mate. Or have an agenda wheel to grind here.

        Peace

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  11. // The Vedas were composed almost entirely in Eastern-Afghanistan and Punjab, areas outside the Indian/Hindu sphere //

    Lol 😀 drApAdhasuvAc kimAryAH kinna

    When you decipher that maybe then I’ll find it worth my while to comment on the above 🙂

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  12. Hindutva dilettantes for all their bad history aren’t as cuckoo as this guy INDTHINGS who sources his historical views from politically motivated and dementedly contrarian magazine articles.

    Ramayana was set in Afghanistan is a claim which can be only made by someone who hasn’t a single clue about the Sanskrit Ramayana. It describes in detail the geography of UP and Madhya Pradesh along with the rivers, the forest and the human settlements. The cultural and material details coincide with the later Vedic period.

    If you hate Hinduism, please pick up some books and read so that your screeds may atleast be historically accurate.

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    1. I never said anything about the Ramayana, I’m talking about the Vedas, which are also addressed in the piece I linked.

      The evidence brought to bear is convincing. If you have an issue with it, challenge the evidence, don’t just lazily smear people as “demented, motivated, contrarian”, to avoid dealing with arguments that make you uncomfortable.

      I don’t hate Hinduism. You sound like those Muslims who claim “Islamaphobia” when their (childish) understanding of early Islamic history is critiqued.

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        1. Rg Veda we know today was redacted by Sakalya.. he was from the place now called Sialkot. But his catchment area was both east and west of Sialkot.

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      1. There is zero evidence that ramayana might have been set in afghanistan. It just doesnt make sense since the society which produced the ramayana had the gangetic plains as its cultural center at the time.

        As i said earlier, the ramayana describes in detail the geography of UP, in a language which was spoken in UP at the time when it was composed. Does it have standard indo- aryan epic tropes? You bet. But using these tropes as evidence that the ramayana describes events which happened in afghanistan is either a stupid or a bad faith argument.

        I incline to the latter view. The reason why the article is written is to cast doubts on the validity of ayodhya as the birthplace of Sri Rama, so as to weaken the Hindu case for a mandir there. Its a very much politically suitable though logically scandalous interpretation of the textual evidence we have.

        This claim is as laughable as the claim in hindutva circles that the kaaba in mecca is actually a shiva temple housing a shiv-linga. I can totally use the pagan, pre islamic origins of kaaba and use some superficial similarities between hinduism and the pagan arab religion to make this claim similar to the article in question.

        You dont realize how stupid you sound spouting it.

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        1. “There is zero evidence that ramayana might have been set in afghanistan. ”

          I mean who hasn’t heard about Rama’s army being led by his loyal commander Hanuman or as we know him by his real name Ahmed Shah Massoud 😛

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  13. “Hindutva dilettantes for all their bad history aren’t as cuckoo as this guy INDTHINGS who sources his historical views from politically motivated and dementedly contrarian magazine articles.”

    As i have said Pakistanis have just recently discovered this whole Aryan-invasion thingy, (and that it stings Indians) so they will play it up for a while , but will soon loose interest since they are not good at it (unlike the Dravidians)

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    1. What boggles my mind is that some commentators here seem to think the Aryan `invasion’* somehow doesn’t include them and their ancestors just because they might be Pakistani.

      * For which there’s no physical evidence, and was just as likely to be a migration of the sort the world has seen many times over in different places.

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      1. Pakistanis really don’t care about this Aryan invasion thing one way or the other. We are not obsessed with being native to India so it doesn’t really bother us if the Aryans came from Central Asia. Most Pakistanis identify primarily with Islam.

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          1. You can think its depressing, but it is simply a fact that Pakistani identity is based primarily on Islam and Urdu. The Aryans etc don’t form part of our self-identity at all.

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          2. Urdu is the language of UP.

            It’s completely irrelevant to Pakistanis whether the Aryans were Central Asian or not. No one cares. This is an issue for Hindutvadis who are obsessed with seeing themselves and their religion as native to the subcontinent.

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        1. “Pakistanis really don’t care about this Aryan invasion thing one way or the other.”

          I agree that Pakistanis don’t care about this whole Aryan-Dravidian saga. I am just curious why they don’t. I were a Pakistani, I would think of this as a golden opportunity to spite the Indians. Come to think of it, most of the IV sites are actually in Pakistan. They can easily extract some skeletons from them, extract their ancient DNA and join the chorus that upper caste Indians are foreign to this land.

          Are they being nice to India, or just too lazy.

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          1. “Are they being nice to India, or just too lazy.”

            The conservatives (the majority) dont care. For them they(muslims) are the invaders/conquerors and whatever was before bin-qasim was worthless anyway.

            They (liberals Pakistanis et all ) have tried, one of the early proponent happened to be a minister in pakistan as well . But since they are themselves on slippery ground(unlike dravidians), they sort of give up halfway

            https://scroll.in/article/814561/the-paradox-of-pakistani-identity-and-its-indian-heritage

            “The Aryan invasion theory was convenient as it implied that the present day Indian culture is a product of the invading Aryan forces, who destroyed the cities of Indus valley civilisation and gave birth to a new civilisation which came to be known as the Ganges Civilisation.

            Whereas earlier only the Muslims were seen as invaders, and hence outsiders, this theory also described the Aryans as colonisers damaging their claim that they are the original inhabitants of this land. ”

            Does this ring a bell about someone here? 😛

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          2. Our identity is based on Islam not on being native to the subcontinent. So the whole dispute about where Aryans came from is totally meaningless to us.

            If your worldview is based on seeing yourself as native to India and everyone else as “invaders” then clearly the fact that much of your religion and genetics came from Central Asia is a lot more problematic to you. Pakistanis in contrast are fine with having foreign ancestry. Some people even make up stories about having ancestors who came to Sindh with Muhammad bin Qasim.

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  14. Calling Urdu a language of “harlots, concubines and pimps” displays serious bias. The language evolved from Khari Boli and was much influenced by Sufis like Hazrat Amir Khusro who wrote in “Hindavi”. It also developed in the royal court, which is why it was called “Zabaan-e-Urdu-e-Mualla” (the language of the exalted camp).

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