Open Thread – Brown Pundits

Please keep the other posts on topic. Use this for talking about whatever you want to talk about.

The survey now has 160 responses. Below the fold I’ve summarized the results.

95% male.

50% South Asian, 45% white/European. The balance is a bit greater than 5% since some people chose multiple ethnicities.

65% in North America. The balance is split between Europe, Australia, the UK, and India. This is different from Google Analytics. In the last 90 day’s s traffic from India is about 2/3rd traffic from North America in terms of total. I suspect Indian users on their phones and are less likely to fill in a survey.

95% of readers are university educated. 50% have graduate degrees.

About 25% of readers are Christian. About 30% are Hindu. 6% were Muslim. 5% Jewish. Most of the balance were not religious and indicated so.

17% of readers were theists. 16% were deists. 28% admitted toward an agnostic perspective, while 39% were admitted, atheists.

Politically around half the respondents were about the center. The rest exhibited various ideologies, with libertarianism the most common.

About 25% of readers have no opinion on Hindu nationalists, while the rest were evenly split (to various degrees of intensity). It is notable that 5 out of 154 who responded to this question identify as a Hindu nationalist.

Half of the respondents never common. Another 25% rarely. 17% sometimes and 9% often.

85% have done the deed. The remaining 15% is evenly split between being proud of being unicorn riders and being incels.

Even split between married and unmarried. 60% don’t understand Hindi/Urdu, while 1/3rd do. The remaining understands some.

50% gave English as their mother tongue (I did so, though I was not fluent in English my first five years of life,).  45% of people who gave South Asian languages were the four southern Dravidian ones.

Finally, <<<you people>>>…

64 thoughts on “Open Thread – Brown Pundits”

    1. It’ll probably persist for a while longer, but things won’t get better…rural Sindh is a place where serfdom and state failure are the order of the day, and the tiny Hindu minority has very few friends. De jure, things have actually gotten a bit better in Sindh (eg the Hindu Marriage Act), but enforcing such laws is a challenge in the region in question.

      We’re now seeing a few thousand Hindus every year go to India, but there appears to be no appetite for a mass exodus (on either end). Not to mention that if large outflows were organized, the Pakistani state would use it as a trojan horse to sneak terrorists into India.

      1. Hindus in Sindh should be Ok for now, most of the Islamist extremists are in central Punjab.

    2. Sindh is almost 7% hindu. Given that Karachi is such a huge chunk of that and purportedly has a much smaller percentage of hindus, the sindh hinterlands have an even higher percentage. Hindu fertility is quite robust in that region, so it seems like the community is well entrenched.

    3. As long as Islam lasts in India (probably longer).

      The Hindu population in Pakistan was 1.6% after independence, its 1.9% today. Despite steady immigration to India, Hindus have higher fertility rates than Muslims in Pakistan, which helps.

      As is par for the case in the Muslim world, the minorities who have it the worst in Pakistan aren’t non-Muslims, but unpopular Muslim sects (Ahmadi, Shia).

      1. Indthings, i feel you are vastly underestimating the power and influence of muslims in india. There is no other coherent ethnicity or caste group that rivals their numbers and distribution. The grassroots power of muslims so far exceeds that of most upper caste hindus, it actually explains the angst of the latter that gets vented on these forums. It also explains why its critical in the minds of some to cultivate hindu consciousness among dalits and others so that they can be used as an attack dog when necessary, where previously these same groups wanted to reinforce their difference and separation from the impure. Any type of final solution endeavoured in india will bring the whole country down, all religions, every community. You may be imagining a more segregated society than what actually exists on the ground as well.

        1. To add to this: we don’t have a Uniform Civil Code, the first step towards a healthy civic nationalism, because every political party other than the BJP or the Shiv Sena goes out of its way to curry favor from the self-appointed spokesmen of the “Muslim community” for votes, who also tend to be the most reactionary members of their “community”. (Community in quotes because I don’t buy its existence; ordinary Muslims have as much a diversity of views as ordinary Hindus do.)

          1. Uniform Civil Code was always an issue that weirded me out…it’s not something I’m personally concerned with, but it seemed like something a Left-liberal party should be taking up. How the hell did it become a part of the BJP’s platform lol.

        2. Indian Muslims have neither power nor influence in India. There is no community more marginalized.

          Dalits at least have the sympathies of forward thinking Hindus and concerned white people internationally, not to mention various official programs to uplift their communities (like reservation). Your comment on Brahmans is too stupid to merit a response.

          I agree that its unlikely Indian Muslims will ever die out. But unlike Pakistan, India’s ruling party frequently makes statements about one day eliminating its undesired minority. They’re also on the precipice of engaging in genocide against the Muslims of Assam.

          1. “They’re also on the precipice of engaging in genocide against the Muslims of Assam. ”

            Stop crying wolf man. They occasionally say stupid shit for votes, then go back to doing nothing. In fact, the BJP has sharply *decreased* the deportation of illegals.


            (Leaving aside that deporting illegal immigrants is a very, very far cry from “genocide.”)

          2. Your idea of what it means to be muslim in india is about as nuanced as some hindu thinking they’ll be beheaded if they visit lahore.

          3. HM,

            “BJP says things, won’t do anything”

            They passed legislation stripping citizenship of everyone in Assam that didn’t have official documents predating the 1970 war. Which left a whole bunch of people stateless in Assam.

            They then drafted legislation to grant citizenship to all these new stateless people in Assam, EXCEPT MUSLIMS. This is the exact trajectory Myanmar took with the Rohingya decades ago. Which ended in genocide (that was cheered on by Hinduvatas in India).


            As predicted, you are unable to give a single example of Muslim power/influence in India, despite saying it outpaces even Brahmans.

            I am quite prepared to link numerous Human Rights Reports, authored by experts living in India, about the repressive conditions Muslims live in.

          4. Ok, but nothing you listed indicates to me that a “genocide” is in the works. Myanmar is a case with a protracted history of violence and a North Korea-esque autocratic regime. Those things might happen in far-future India, but as of now we have no reason at all for concern.

            (I also think the BJP’s immigration policies you mentioned are entirely fair given the history of the subcontinent, though given what I brought up, it’s a moot point, because it seems the BJP doesn’t care about enforcing them.)

          5. Indthings, if you know so little about the region which write with so much confidence about, that you need one of us to list influential muslims in media, academia, arts, politics, and business, then it might not be worth the effort. You’ve already reframed the discussion around “whether” muslims are oppressed in India, and precluded the possibility that a group with agency in one social context could also be oppressed in another. A conversation with you could only go so far. This avatar of yours lacks sincerity.

          6. Muslims in India face a lot of discrimination and challenges, and India can and should do better by them. That said, I’ve seen various online commentators jump the shark and present Indian Muslims as living in a sort of Mad Max world, which is baseless.

          7. Indian Muslims are worse off than Dalits, according to the Sachar Committee Report.

            I wouldn’t go so far as to talk about “genocide” but BJP is campaigning on an anti-Muslim agenda (see Sadhvi Pragya’s nomination). The beef lynchings, “love jihad” and other issues contribute to a sense of fear among the minority. Things are not as rosy as they are being painted in these comments.

        3. As someone who lives in India and grew up with a lot of Muslim friends (and also relatives), what INDTHINGS says mostly seems absolute tripe to me. Though he sometimes does help me catch hold of blind spots.

          But my question is somewhat different.

          I have never lived in the west.
          How different do you think is the perception Western-bred people have of India when they have some lived experience here vs when they don’t ?

          1. Prats, from my experience being raised in the US, we tend to be quite naive in our understanding of the motherland. Maybe we see an unnuanced policy discource and project that onto thinking that interpersonal relations are similarly unnuanced in India. Moreover there is a tendency to try to map US identity politics onto other cultures. Musing about whether muslims or dalits are the blacks of India ect. Another misunderstanding is looking at hinduism as a confessional faith, which leads to playing up the theological aspect of group conflict over the ethnic.

          2. Well, most White India correspondents come to the place with a confirmation bias, generally speaking, so lived experience doesn’t really do much. Anyways, I’d say the main problem with the West is that there is a lack of interest in understanding India on its own terms..people try to analogize Indian issues to Western concepts, usually in a way flattering to their ideology. RSS becomes Nazis, Muslims become Blacks, and so on.

            The annoying part about this is that you don’t see this kind of thinking when applied to Islamic (or really any other) societies. Eg, if someone were to call Iranian principlists “Islamo-fascists,” we would assume they are a Breitbart-reading mouthbreather, and proceed to give a nuanced discussion of Iranian history, politics, and society, even if we aren’t fans of the Iranian regime.

            But for India, the Western milieu encourages people to default to such intellectually lazy analogies.

          3. Thanks a lot girmit and H.M. Brough for the insights.

            “there is a lack of interest in understanding India on its own terms”

            I think this could be because a lot of Indian intellectuals themselves think this way. So there might be little incentive for an outsider to go an extra step.

    4. There are hindus in Pakistan? Wow. Perhaps in the sanctuary of endangered species 😛

    5. “How long can Hinduism survive in Pakistan?”

      There are hindus in Pakistan? Wow. Perhaps in the sanctuary of endangered species ?

  1. Lol at so many Brahmins…we’re about 4-5% of India, and several times that better represented among blog readers!

    1. This is an English-medium blog, and Brahmins I guess are the most English-speaking of all Indian groups. We are the true Macaulayputras.

        1. Well, we can be both. My dad used to be an RSS-man in his early youth, backs Modi now, but is otherwise English-educated and a very scientific-minded person (an engineer’s engineer.) I got the latter from him, not the former.

          1. Well the way I see it, Macaulayputra is a state of mind, a kind of self-hatred and disdain for Hinduism and India at large. You can be an English-speaking Brahmin and a man of science and avoid the things I mentioned.

      1. I am not sure the survey was working correctly, I entered my responses twice and didn’t get an acknowledgment unlike when I did the GNXP one.

  2. Pakistani Hindus should convert to Islam for their children, if they can’t leave the country.

    I may sound rather controversial. I certainly was trolled by a lot of Hindutva accounts on twitter for saying this, and indeed had a slanging match in Sanskrit with one (which was great fun!), but I think Hinduism has no future in Pakistan at all. It is ok; far worse things have happened in this world.

    1. Way things look, due to secularization, conversion, and demographic decline, by a few centuries from now Hinduism may have no future anywhere on Earth.

      1. That sounds a little too fantastical. Not that there’s anything special about Hindus but that they are too many and too organised for something like that to happen.

        1. You may be right…perhaps just like India itself, Hinduism will confound both the optimists and the pessimists.

          Anyways, I guess I don’t see Hindus as being very organized…our faith by nature is decentralized and diverse, and Hindu political consolidation hits a number of roadblocks on caste and region.

          1. Ha, you just contradicted yourselves by saying, “Anyways, I guess I don’t see Hindus as being very organized…our faith by nature is decentralized and diverse” .

            I think that’s the reason Hinduism survived the prolonged invasion for about 500-700 years by Muslims (Arabs, Turks etc) and Christians (English). Which is why I think Budhism was wiped out of India. No wonder we call it “Sanatana Dharma” (i.e Eternal rule of law).

          2. Dravidaryan,

            Many ancient and large Buddhist and Jain paramparas also self identify as Sanathana Dharma. Many self identify as Astika Sanathana Dharma. I personally agree with them that they are Astika.

            Buddhism and Jainism are also decentralized and diverse.

            They remain in India. As their own paramparas (assume you know about Sarnath and Sikhim and Ladhak Kashmir). And through how they continue to significantly influence many other paramparas, panths and sampradayas. Buddha is worshiped in many temples. Scholars generally study ten darshanas, including Buddhism. Buddha’s teachings, Nagarjuna’s teachings, and many other Buddhist philosophers greatly influence the other paramparas.

            For example Shankaracharya’s Guru’s guru (Govinda’s guru Gaudapaada) wrote Maaṇḍukya Kaarikaa (also called Gaudapada Kaarikaa). The fourth chapter–or Alatasanti Prakarana–is similar to Buddha’s teachings. Trika Kashmiri Shaivism and the Nath Sampradaya are also closely associated with Mahayana Buddhism. Some Mahayana Buddhism Maha Siddhas are dual hatted as Shaivite Siddhas.

            Samkhya and Samkhya’s subset Yoga (or applied Samkhya) were influenced by Buddha and Buddha’s Yogachara.

            Bodhidharma brought many ancient arts of Tantra, Yoga, martial arts, Sanskrit to China where he formed the Chan branch of Mahayana Buddhism. The Chan possess many ancient Santhana Dharma Sanskrit texts that are now lost in India.


            Why do you translate Dharma as “law”?

    2. Pakistani Hindus should convert to Islam for their children, if they can’t leave the country.

      You are starting to sound like Razib 🙂 .
      What about a population exchange between Kashmiri Muslims and Sindh Hindus.

      1. and the kalash!! We already gave two countries for Muslims, Pakistan (land of clean peoples (i.e Muslims?)) and Bangladesh. If any Muslim Kashmiri wants a muslim nation and can’t live in a ‘secular’ India then he/she should be sent to one of those countries. In fact many in India will be ready to fund that kinda travels.

        1. You cannot have the land of Kashmir without Kashmiri Muslims. Ethnic cleansing is unacceptable in 2019.

          1. I notice you didn’t make an equivalent statement about Sindh (which was Scorpion’s entire point.) Anyways, it’s obvious that both minorities live relatively crappy lives, and to ameliorate that, we can’t shift the border, but we can shift the people. I’d be supportive of Scorpion’s plan.

            In retrospect, in partition we should have traded Vale of Kashmir for present-day Umerkot. Would have been better for both countries.

          2. Ethnic cleansing is unacceptable, whether we are talking about Sindhi Hindus or Kashmiri Muslims. No one is demanding that Sindhi Hindus leave Sindh. Also, unlike Kashmir, Sindh is not a disputed area but unequivocally a province of Pakistan.

      2. after doing more research i think my suggestion is more applicable to christians and ahmadis. the hindus of sindh are marginalized, but they seem to fly under the radar mostly

  3. This is in connection with the opening consultancy firms thingy of the other thread (I’m super-triggered, I guess lol): I know that one is allowed to be self-employed during the first one year of the OPT only (and this may involve opening consultancy firms and stuff) and not for the STEM extension. I don’t know about H-1B but I’m guessing it should be similar to the STEM extension. If all this is true, then all this running consultancy firms thingy seems to be fishy to me though I may be very critical of all this because of my unreasonably negative bias and also ignorance of the deep provisions of the law. But boy do I know the absolute ethical horror that is the resume-inflation/falsification fraud that this activity particularly tends to be associated with. I cannot fathom how it all goes on so rampantly and smoothly without facing any problems and crackdowns.

  4. Arif Aajakia(Must Watch) exposing Barbaric Pakistan Army & Media.

    “Mayor of Jamshed Town in Karachi. He has been associated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement which has been a representative party of Muhajirs in Pakistan. Arif Currently serves as a Human Rights Activist in London and Attends United Nations Human Rights Council every year in Switzerland.”

    Comment: Not in English unfortunately.

  5. Just saw some videos of Makrani people (related to today’s attack in Gwadar).

    They are pretty swarthy looking. In fact darker than average non-Brahmin Tamil. Features are more north Indian though.

    I don’t think they are ethnic Baloch. They don’t look Siddis either (no trace of African features). Most speak good Urdu, though with some accent. I wonder where do they fit in the genetic landscape of India. Can they be the remnant Dravidian population of Balochistan. But they don’t speak Brahui. Kind of curious.

    1. most makranis have some african admixture. i routinely discard them in analysis of hgdp south asian groups because of this


    Pakistan attack: Gunmen storm five-star hotel in Balochistan

    “The separatist Balochistan Liberation Army said it had carried out the attack to target Chinese and other investors.
    “Expect more attacks China and Pakistan,” said a Twitter account that claimed to be linked to the group.”

  7. Thank you Omar for inviting guest post by Charles Cameron. It is a nice break from looking at stats all the time to contemplating the weave of the world. Most worthwhile things on BP are informative (genetics, linguistics, historical commentary), but this takes it to a new level. Finally something interesting from literature…!

  8. Since I do not have posting privilege on this blog, I am starting a discussion in the open thread. I would like to see readers comments on this topic.

    I was wondering if for a Brown person, the experience of living in the Western world generates antipathy towards West?

    The chain of thought was started while reading a biography of Aurobindo Ghosh. Aurobindo was a fascinating character. He was born to a Bengali doctor in the Victorian era who was completely enamored by the western civilization, and who looked down upon his native Indian culture. Aurobindo was shipped to England by his doctor father in early childhood with strict instructions that he was to be brought up as an archetype Mecaulay’s child. Aurobindo grew up speaking English as his first language, eating British food, reading English literature, and having next to null knowledge about his his native Bengali culture. His father, the anglophile doctor wanted to make his son an ICS officer. Aurobindo returned to India as a young man destined to server British empire. Instead, Aurobindo turned into a militant revolutionary! He tried to organize an armed uprising against the British. After a jail term, he moved towards spiritual pursuits and faded away from the Indian political arena,

    Most of the prominent leaders of Indian freedom movement were educated in England (Nehru, Gandhi, Patel, Jinnah). All of them came back to India with the express aim of breaking apart the British empire.

    It is astonishing that even after almost 150 years of Aurobindo setting foot in England, the basic equation between Browns and Whites is not much different.
    I have met many second generation Indian American kids, and one thing immediately stands out. They never fit in seamlessly in the West in their childhood. For most of them the school years were totally miserable because they were constantly bullied or in general made to feel alienated.

    1. Scorpion,

      A brown person who has lived in the west and has returned voluntarily implies they think life back home is better.

      In my case not necessarily life is better here, its because I always planned to return.

      My antipathy is to the hypocritical politics of the west and interference in other countries.

      No antipathy to life in the west, specially with a decent income. I dread to think what life would be if one slipped on the economic ladder.

  9. He came directly from the street without any experience to the theatre in a star role of ‘Hair’ (1969), one of the first in the world. He later became good jazz singer, Serbian Joe Cocker. He was much older soccer and drinking buddy. Died in 2007. Hommage to Prele – Let the Sunshine in:

  10. It was one fateful day for little Kamali Moorthy when she was spotted by photographer, skater, and surfboarder Jamie Thomas. He clicked the contrasting image of a barefoot Kamali, with her hair going awry, clad in a white cotton frock, skating with the expressions of a seasoned skateboarder, everything about which spelled rebellion.

    Skating icon and superstar Tony Hawk then shared Kamali’s picture with the caption “new favourite skate shot” on Instagram and soon the little skateboarder from Mahabalipuram went viral. In almost no time the six-year-old emerged out as a symbol of empowerment for Indian women.

    India’s largest skateboarding park isn’t in a big city, it’s in a small village in Madhya Pradesh.

    The region to which the village belongs is notorious for being one of the most socially and economically backward areas of the country. Untouchability, gender inequality, illiteracy, and alcoholism are rampant here. Through the voices of Ulrike and the children of the village, the film documents how the skate park is gradually changing the social fabric of the village and addressing some of its most deep rooted issues.

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Brown Pundits