Browncast Episode 31: Jalliawala Bagh Podcast

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunes, Spotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron (the primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else…).

Now, in Memoriam….

I had been very persistent in wanting to do a podcast to mark 100 years.

In the end I managed to stitch together a rather interesting ensemble.

The talk could be divided into two parts. Initially the four of us (Vidhi, MJ, Subhash and myself) discusses about the shame of Britain not apologising for the massacre.

We managed to find some sort of consensus and agreement among ourselves that as Asians in Britain; it was necessary for Britain to apologise.

As Vidhi left the podcast, Razib joined in shortly thereafter. I had already meandered by then and my own “political awakening” started to stir.

We touched on identity issues, the Hindu Rage (and election) and living in a “white Man’s world.”

As mentioned in the previous post; this is the first time I’ve had “Cambridge Voices” in the podcast and long May it continue.

Vidhi and MJ provide a very strong addition in that she is a Congress-lite supporter and he’s a BJPite so their views are a soft spectrum. Subhash was able to add a gentler British Asian viewpoint (he has extensive India experience as he traversed both North & South for his expat career).

Razib was a bit of shock jock and sort of jolted us from our British centric perspectives. Interestingly though in Britain, the feeling that we are the Greece to America’s Rome is so embedded that the Rest just don’t really factor.

I’m much more confident in my “Britishness” to now challenge it. I vote Tory, support the Monarchy, wish for a return to a Hereditary House of Lord and support the Union. I worry about Brexit but would rather have No-Deal delivered swiftly rather than this lingering wound.

There is an invisible colour line that bars entry to the Aristocracy and Royalty (Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is a suitable consort for Prince Harry but not William because her descendants are not in the direct line of succession).

It’s one of the invisible angles that I tack on as I merge my offline Tharoorian stands with my online Turanianism (the Turanian triangle have such fiercely proud cultures).

Finally this was a real collision of my offline and online worlds since each of the podcast participants happen to be very closely connected. I wonder if I’m running foul of Kangana Ranaut and her charge of nepotism but I suspect not..

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15 Replies to “Browncast Episode 31: Jalliawala Bagh Podcast”

  1. the feeling that we are the Greece to America’s Rome is so embedded that the Rest just don’t really factor.

    true a century ago. definitely not true today. britain punches above its weight culturally, but americans don’t look to british universities or musicians. in fact the ‘british invasion’ of the 60s was a bit of a ‘reflux’, as american-influenced british musicians injected more soul into rock (british biology is great, and they hold their own, but they are not objects of emulation anymore).

    one minor thing. i didn’t want to bring it up during the podcast because it wasn’t part of the discussion, but this idea that muslims and hindus worshipped together before recent divisions is totally misleading and a delusion founded upon by romantic nostalgia. hinduism is broad, and can tolerate worship of sufi saints and such. but in islam participating in something like a durga puja is shirk. it’s clearly deviation. this isn’t to say that lots of rural muslims didn’t worship with hindus, but someone who is an orthodox elite muslims would assert that this is lack of religious education.

    in the standard abrahamic view, before the protestant reformation, the gods of other religions were real, but they were demons. that is, the gods of pagan religions were understood by early christians to be real superantural creatures, but they were taking on the role of the divine through deception and subterfuge.

    my family on both sides have rural ulema, one of whose projects was to instruct bengali peasants on proper islam (many of these peasants were tenants on our lands as well). the problem of superstitious pagan beliefs exists to this day, and was likely way worse when lots of literal pagans were around worshipping. but it is ridiculous to assume that with modernization and further internalization of world-normative islam that rustic syncretism was sustainable unless one changes an understand of what islam is.

    in my family the word ‘bhogaban’ means ‘demon’ btw.

    finally, the comment above does not negate groups of muslims who do take a very universalistic stance, and would worship with people of all religions. i’m an atheist, i don’t get to decide what “islam” is, muslims do. this is just as valid a religion. it’s just not that popular outside of the west and among some very elite mystical circles.

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    1. Have not listened to the past few podcasts. Intend to eventually!

      I learn a lot from Razib’s comments and this comment is no exception.

      I have been to many different parts of India . . . especially the spiritual/religious sites. In India anecdotally MANY muslims engage in shirk and participate in nonmuslim spiritual/religious ceremonies and go to nonmuslim religious/spiritual locations.

      I don’t know what percentage of the population they represent. Obviously there is a big difference between 50 million muslims out of 230 million Indian muslims being universalist and 150 million muslims out of 230 million Indian muslims being universalist. As far as I know there are no good data sets on this. And honestly I don’t know the number.

      All I know are anecdotes and anecdotes do not good representative granular data make. [Doing a Yoda impression.]

      Part of my misunderstanding of Islam is that much of my understanding of Islam comes from these more universalist muslims.

      In West Bengal today a ton of muslims participate in Durga Puja, knowing that Durga Puja is shirk. When the head of the Chistie order (perhaps the largest extant Sufi order in the world) speaks in Bangladesh (in Hindi/Urdu) huge numbers of Bangla muslims come to listen to him. And to my ears a lot of what is said could be interpreted as “shirk.” Obviously I don’t like the concept of Shirk and don’t understand why more universalist love and light interpretations of Islam aren’t equally valid.

      “in the standard abrahamic view, before the protestant reformation, the gods of other religions were real, but they were demons. that is, the gods of pagan religions were understood by early christians to be real superantural creatures, but they were taking on the role of the divine through deception and subterfuge.”

      This is my understanding as well. I could share more but I would rather discuss this in the presence of Jewish scholars and have them tear apart anything I think and interpret. I always learn a lot from Jewish scholars ripping me apart. I really enjoy it in fact.

      “in my family the word ‘bhogaban’ means ‘demon’ btw.”

      Wow. I am genuinely shocked and surprised. Believe you. But Wow!

      “my family on both sides have rural ulema, one of whose projects was to instruct bengali peasants on proper islam (many of these peasants were tenants on our lands as well). the problem of superstitious pagan beliefs exists to this day, and was likely way worse when lots of literal pagans were around worshipping. but it is ridiculous to assume that with modernization and further internalization of world-normative islam that rustic syncretism was sustainable unless one changes an understand of what islam is.”

      To the degree what you are saying is accurate India, Malaysia, Indonesia appear to be special cases. The doctrine of Murāqabah (Sufi equivalent of mysticism or Samadhi) is common among Indian muslims. I call this freedom of deep feeling (causal body or ananda maya kosha). There is also more freedom of deep intuition (buddhi) among Deshi muslims. More freedom of surface level thoughts (manas or what Sam Harris calls “concepts”). More freedom of art. Could this account for why Indian/Indonesian/Malay Islam is different?

      I suspect the same was true in Pakistan and Bangladesh before 1948 too.

      Is it possible that the rapid global liberalization of Islam is accelerating mystical Murāqabah Shirk Islam? Meditation is becoming more hip and cool all over the world. Be curious to learn everyone’s thoughts.

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

      A question to everyone about nonmuslim Indian perceptions of muslims. It use to be that Indian muslim woman dressed like nonmuslim Indian woman more than is the case today. Now muslims females wearing veils participate in nonmuslim religious spiritual events. I don’t mean fashion designer hijab (what many woman call “sexy hijab”) which to my mind is that same as not wearing a hijab. Nonmuslim Indians don’t care about fashion designer hijab. I mean serious veils with tiny eye slits. What is worse is that vast numbers of these young females ride motor cycles fast on Indian roads and side trails with their Saudi uniforms. Which strikes me as accidents waiting to happen.

      Many Indian nonmuslims, minority muslims and liberal muslims appear to feel threatened and scared by this. They would not feel threatened if these young muslim females dressed like their great grandmothers, grandmothers, moms and aunts did in the past. Could this be part of what drives Hinduttva or what Kushal calls the non left? Could this be part of what drives many Indian muslims to vote for the BJP? Does anyone have polling data on Indian muslim voting? I suspect that the BJP does better with woman than men. Is this true? How much better does the BJP do with twelvers, sixers, sufis, liberal sunnis and atheist muslims than they do with conservative sunnis. [The stereotype is that almost all conservative sunnis vote for Congress or the left. Is this stereotype accurate?]

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        1. 100% agreed. Al-Gazali and Ibn Taymiyyah described themselves as Sufis I believe.

          Am describing a subset of Sufis and Shia Irfan Sufi that are especially prevalent in India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

          Didn’t know that Tablighi Jamaat has Sufi links until I read your wikipedia link.

          These be my Sufi faves 🙂
          —Moinuddin Chisti
          —Nund Rishi (shishya of Lal Ded) . . . one of the leaders of Kashmiri Sufims and Trika Kashmiri Shaivism
          —Kabir
          —Mian Mir [Guru or inspiration behind many Sufis, Sikhs and Hindus]
          —Jahanara Begum (in the line of Mian Mir)
          —Dara Shikoh (in the line of Mian Mir who translated 50 upanishands into Farsi and wrote books describing his experiences with Samadhi. The RSS organized conferences on Dara Shikoh in the 1940s.)
          —Janardan Swami (Guru of Ek Nath, devotee of Dattatreya, and one of the leaders of the Marathi spiritual traditions, Sufis and Dattatreya traditions)
          —Shirdi Sai Baba
          —(of course there are many others)

          I like the Sufis and Irfan connected with Trika Kashmiri Shaivism, Nath Sampradaya, Dattatreya orders and Mahayana Buddhism.

          Think our muslim sisters and brothers would openly write about this if they weren’t concerned about Islamists assassinating them.

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  2. To add further meat to my whole “every ethnicity/community was in it with the British” a hilarious twitter war has broken out between arguable two of the biggest Punjabi family over the Jalia wala bagh . The Maharajah of Patiala vs The leader of Sirimoni Akali Dal (Leader of all sikhs) , both are accusing each other, and washing their dirty linen on their forefathers “complicity” on Jalia wala bagh

    https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jallianwala-bagh-judging-the-erstwhile-royals-an-unkind-cut-or-a-bitter-truth5673646/

    “Maharajas, and top Sikh leadership had refused to condemn the massacre with some even “praising” the British for the brutal killings. The leaders, according to historians, also included Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh, grandfather of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.”

    “Dyer was honored at Golden Temple by caretaker Arur Singh, who too was a British nominee. He was the maternal grandfather of SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann who had later apologized on behalf of his grandfather.”

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  3. Razib,

    The Muslims that left Iberia were expelled on pain of death (or conversion). There was a bit more “willing” migration involved for Turks in Russia, but that’s more a function of Turks doing what they’ve always done (ride off to greener pastures), than a, “we can’t live under Kaffirs” thing. There have been voices in India calling for Muslims to migrate to “Islamic-lands” since the fall of the Mughal empire. Nobody really paid attention.

    Pakistan was borne out of the fear of living under Hindu-oppression, not Hindus generally. Its telling that the early/primary supporters of Pakistan hailed from the Hindu-majority regions in northern-India, while the Muslim majority North-West and East were largely indifferent until late in the game.

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    1. you need to stop talking to me about history or i’ll get pissed off. you make lots of have-read-on-wikipedia style errors, though i assume sincerely, but it really is getting aggravating. you are not in a position to lecture. ever.

      The Muslims that left Iberia were expelled on pain of death (or conversion).

      the moriscos were economically marginalized artisans and laborers by the time they were expelled. the elite muslims either converted to christianity early enough to be assimilated into the castilian elite, or, they left for north africa, where they maintained their own culture for a while (and set up a pirate state even).

      I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I’VE READ A LOT OF BOOKS ON THIS TOPIC.

      anyway, don’t hijack this thread yet. i didn’t mean my comment to trigger you.

      at least you aren’t as pig-stupid as kabir.

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      1. I don’t see how what you and I are saying are contradictory, but I agree, there’s no point in pursuing it.

        Also, I realize I may appear contrarian at times, but that’s usually because I tend to comment on things I disagree with.

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  4. Hindu Rage?

    Are we talking about Internet Hindus (who are always enraged) or something larger than that?

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  5. Can i just say, i am happy that Zack had easier time pronouncing Jaliawala bagh than he had with pronouncing pewdiepie 😄😄

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  6. Xerxes
    There is an invisible colour line that bars entry to the Aristocracy and Royalty

    The Sassoons who were Iraqi Jews from India did not seem to have a problem.

    Although David Sassoon did not speak English, he became a naturalized British citizen in 1853. He kept the dress and manners of the Baghdadi Jews, but
    allowed his sons to adopt English manners. His son, Abdullah changed
    his name to Albert, moved to England became a Baronetand married into the
    Rothschild family. All the Sassoons of Europe are said to be descendants of David Sassoon.

    The Tatas, Sassoons and deLano (FDR’s maternal grandfather) all made money by selling opium to the Chinese.

    During the meeting a group of Hong Kong-based merchants, among whom were
    included Shellim Ezekiel Shellim, “of the firm of David Sassoon, Sons &
    Co,” and Ruttonjee Dadabhoy Tata, “of the firm Tata & Co.,” presented a
    petition “for and on behalf of the Opium Importers and wholesale Opium
    Merchants of the said Colony.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassoon_family

    One daughter of the family, Rachel Sassoon Beer, joined her husband in running a number of British newspapers, including The Sunday Times (1893–1904) and The Observer, which she also edited.

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    1. The highest Jewish title is the Marquis of Reading but completely intermarried now..

      The WASP (whatever you call it) of the upper echelons of British society is so strong that it doesn’t make sense for those who wish to have “ethnic choices.”

      We see this in Oxbridge on an ongoing basis.

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  7. X: ” the feeling that we are the Greece to America’s Rome is so embedded that the Rest just don’t really factor.”

    Something is missing in this equation, Xerxie. Who were original Rest inhabitants of both Greece, real and assumed, who were Rest founders of the Rome, 17 of its emperors and which Rest mythology Greece passed to Romans? Or maybe it really does not factor?

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