Hollywood’s rising South Asian Starlet

Jameela Jamil seems to be making fantastic strides in the industry.

I find it interesting it’s only after she’s divorced herself from Pakistani culture.

Also it goes without saying that white Hollywood is better able to appreciate her exoticness than either India or Pakistan, who would demand her to be shorter (so as to not tower over the Male co-stars) and several shades lighter (Mahira Khanesque).

A friend, who is involved in the social activist scene in Cam, made a pretty profound remark that “the hypocrisy of UC South Asians of the West in pointing out the micro-aggressions of West all the while ignoring the macro-aggressions back home.”

The discussion of caste on this blog has been a revelation. I find it hilarious that when I go at Islam with a sledgehammer there’s fairly strong (if silent) support among the commentariat. But when I talk about casteism & untouchability (which is actually more evil since it potentially affects 700mn-900mn people / Islamist terror has at best killed in the tens of thousands?); I’m suddenly asked for facts and figures by the Brahmins..

Talk about a blindspot!!

 

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35 Replies to “Hollywood’s rising South Asian Starlet”

  1. “I find it hilarious that when I go at Islam with a sledgehammer there’s fairly strong (if silent) support among the commentariat. But when I talk about casteism & untouchability…”

    Personally, I don’t pay much attention to the Islam stuff on this blog, no offense to anybody. But anyways, we observe this phenomenon because in educated circles, it’s taboo to criticize Islam in any way, and the powers that be are carrying water for Islam to an almost amusing extent (eg: the NYT shoved the recent Sri Lanka blasts into an article about cow lynchings, Myanmar, and “Buddhist nationalists.”)

    Whereas when it comes to India and Hinduism, the same educated circles only bash it. They obsess over caste, and I don’t mind people talking about it, but it gets tiring when it’s the only thing they talk about (except cow lynchings of course.)

    When you attack Islam, you’re going against the grain. When you attack caste, you’re just joining the dominant discourse. The former is going to get you a lot more interest and support than the latter.

    (Before people start making a fuss about “dominant discourse,” let’s put it this way. A Brahmin village headman may have a lot of power over his Dalit serfs, but he isn’t really connected high-level global discussion on caste or Hinduism in any way.

    On the contrary, someone like me would be connected to that discussion, even though I don’t receive any benefits from caste in educated White circles.)

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    1. But that village Brahmin headman’s daughter is in your pool of potential matches whereas the Dalit’s daughter is absolutely not.

      the West mocks India over caste (PewDiePie) because Indians are so oblivious on caste; when it courses through Indian society like a cancer.

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      1. “But that village Brahmin headman’s daughter is in your pool of potential matches whereas the Dalit’s daughter is absolutely not.”

        What does this matter? I know tons of liberal-minded Americans who are overt about allowing and/or possessing racial preferences in dating/marriage, and avowedly anti-racist in mentality besides that.

        Hypocrites? Maybe…but the point is that it’s accepted across the world that endogamy/race/caste preferences in datingmarriage are totally fine.

        “because Indians are so oblivious on caste; when it courses through Indian society like a cancer.”

        If this was true, there would never have been a Mandal Comission, and India wouldn’t have an affirmative action system that Lefty Americans can only dream about. I’m not saying things are hunky dory, but it’s not really correct to say Indians are “oblivious” about caste.

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    2. HM Brough
      On the contrary, someone like me would be connected to that discussion, even though I don’t receive any benefits from caste in educated White circles.)

      Please HM< I am from the Indian Hindu perspective a Shudra and look like a Shudra, short dark fat little jungle bunny.

      However, in Sri Lanka I am from an extremely entitled segment of society. Yes even some Tamils are very entitled in Sri Lanka.

      “benefits from caste in educated White circles

      Anyway, growing up in that entitlement, confidence, education etc has given me much benefits in the US, be it educated white circles or in the ghetto/barrio.

      I dont even dress Yuppie, my SO in the US sometimes comments I look like a sleazy Puerto Rican pimp because I wear bright colored shirts etc. Its a statement, I am not white and dont wish to be white.

      Have you ever listened to Kumar Sangakkara talking.
      He has never lived or educated out of Sri Lanka,
      Thats a particular accent among a certain segment of the upper class Sri Lankans, educated in Anglican Schools.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WfUWnJeMrs

      I am half way there in diction and accent.
      So, whatever I dress the moment I open my mouth and speak quite clear that was/is part of an entitled English speaking background.

      Anyway, the whole point is Shudra or Brahmin, if you are from entitled segment of society it carries a long way.

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      1. “However, in Sri Lanka I am from an extremely entitled segment of society.”

        Tbh I think this far overrides caste…my family is just rural petty gentry. Of course, I hit the jackpot and grew up privileged, because I was lucky enough to grow up in the First World. But that’s not really caste related.

        “It’s a statement, I am not white and don’t wish to be white.”

        Interesting. I think if I had your attitude, I would have been much happier when I was younger. Perhaps my next life will give me a chance to try again.

        On Brownpundits, I’ve gotten people implying (or telling me) that being Brahmin magically imbues me with intelligence and panache, while not elucidating the mechanism of action for that effect. Especially because I grew up outside India and only even learned my caste in my teens.

        I will grant that this may be a phenomenon in India (though it sounds like stereotype threat bollocks to me). But if you’re going to make that argument vis-a-vis a brown American dude, you’ve got a lot of work to do to back it up.

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  2. “the hypocrisy of UC South Asians of the West in pointing out the micro-aggressions of West all the while ignoring the macro-aggressions back home.”

    How much does this actually happen? I’d bet most of the “microaggression” South Asian crowd would join in to bash India and Hinduism if prompted. Not because of any personal animus, but because those are the dominant values of their peer group.

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    1. Good example of cognitive dissonances are the Liberstanis (want to wear their Hijabs in the West but oblivious to Iranian oppression) and the peeps on this blog who believe caste does not matter.

      The problem is that Caste (& the Vedas) are the constitutive fibre of Hindu civilisation. It is the Brahmin who recites and teaches and remembers the Vedas.

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      1. But regarding “civilization,” you could say the same thing about any place that is a feudal agrarian society that hasn’t undergone the confessionalization process: the peasants are semi-literates who don’t know anything, and the priests are the beacons of civilization and the high religious tradition.

        The difference is that Europe underwent that process in the 1600s, and India is still a work in progress.

        Caste creates a lot of issues. I will further grant that there are local peculiarities to the Indian system (the degree of endogamy is one of them). But let us not jump the shark and assume India is a completely alien land, when in fact it simply has many of the same issues as various premodern societies.

        In a weird way, this mirrors the way people attack Islam by looking at the sordid state of Islamic societies, while not realizing that many “Islamic” issues are actually simply the standard issues of developing postcolonial states.

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      2. I literally don’t know anyone here who thinks caste doesnt matter, doesn’t exist or doesnt think it is a terrible thing. It’s weird how people read the same letters and draw such different conclusions.

        I do think that to be useful and interesting we need to talk about it concretely rather than just rant about it like a priest holding forth on underage pregnancies.

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  3. Some of the defensiveness and whataboutism about caste on these threads is the predictable resistance you’d expect when earnest and sincere folk are challenged to re-examine their priors. However, some of the mental contortions other commenters are willing to resort to defend caste on these threads is beyond parody.

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    1. @ SP – Contemplating the weave of the world

      “A real life Magister Ludi”

      eSPee,

      ‘Magister Ludi’ in Serbian means ‘Crazy teacher’.

      ‘Magister’ is a bit archaic (before ww2) name for a teacher, later was used more for the ‘school principal’ position. Also, before recent Bologna Accord it was a degree higher than Master and lower than PhD (usually 9 subjects and thesis). Holders of this degree could proceed directly to do PhD thesis.

      ‘Lud’ was mentioned recently (in ‘Londonistan’) as a descendant of Troyan refugees who founded London and gave the first name Troya. The river was Temza (Thames), i.e. Tamiza, Serbian goddess of rivers. Later the name of the city was changed to Lud-dunum >…> London. Pls pass my regards to Charlie C.

      Fingers crossed (or whatever is culturally appropriate) for Jameela Jamil who is much prettier without hijab.

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      1. Magister is the Latin for Master.

        In the Glass Bead Game, which is the context of my post, the Magisters are the heads of the various scholarly disciplines in the Pedagogical Province of Castalia, music chief among them, and the Magister Ludi, Master of the Games, is the Master of them all, the highest official in the entire Glass Bead Game hierarchy.

        And Ludi is the genitive singular or nominative plural of the Latin Ludus, a game, and is not etymologically related to London /. Londinium. The Magister Ludi, as Master of the Game or Games Master, oversees the great annual presentation-playing of the Glass Bead Game that has been compared for size and significance to the Papal Mass of Easter in Catholic terms. S ecular and similarly quasi-sacred example might be a telecast of the Olympic marathon, although that’s competitive rather than ceremonial.

        At thew end of the book, the Magister Ludi retires and takes up the lesser meaning of the title, magister ludi or schoolmaster. But the distinction — between the highest official in a great hierarchy, and a teacher in a local school, is spelled out quite explicitly by Hesse, for whom the choice to retire to the “lesser” role is proof of the great Magister’s authentic humility.

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        1. Thanks Charles. My point was of linguistic nature and the assertion is that Latin language has developed from Serbian which is much older. But, this is still forbidden topic, we don’t know which language was spoken in Europe in 2000BC (or 3000 or 5000BC). For example, words – medical, medication, etc originated not from Latin, than from Serbian word Med (honey) and it is present in a few dozen of other languages, many of them in S.Asia. It is one of unfinished topics which was discussed on these waves. It seems there is a great fear in the world which reflects some much higher levels of a different game.

          For example, it was published on Internet couple days ago a film which allegedly confirms that the landing on the moon was a fake. It seems to me that it is authentic, otherwise some had to significantly invest to make such fake movie with real Baz Aldrin. From this distance we can see how funny look like moon landing equipment, like in first Bond movies. Those who know a thing or two about computers, AI and a radiation belt know even better about the feasibility of this project, a potential hoax of the century. However, no one confirmed, neither gave amateurish impression, nor stated that the film itself is a hoax. I think, just ignorance based on the great fear. Very tough environment to play ordinary games.

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  4. Jameela Jamil is gorgeous and confident. More like here please!

    Of course, as you nailed it, it’s quite unlikely for someone like her to have come through the woodwork in Bollywood — she’s too threatening to the fragile masculinity of the typical well to do Indian man.

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  5. Caste is justified by Hindu scriptures (all that stuff about Brahmins being the head and shudras being the feet). I can’t think of another religion that explicitly endorses such an arrangement. Of course, in medieval Europe people believed that it was God who had ordained the system whereby the king was at the top and the serfs were at the bottom. But they then developed theories about the equality of all human beings.
    I think some people see criticism of caste as an attack on Hinduism, which it absolutely is not just as criticism of blasphemy is not an attack on Islam.

    On a lighter note, I love Tahini all Jamil.

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    1. Caste is as integral to Hinduism as Apostasy is to Islam.

      It is not good to whitewash religion and apply a liberal lens.

      For instance in the House of Justice (the Supreme interpretative Baha’i body) can only be composed of 9 men. This is the unlaterable word of Baha’u’llah.

      Bahai Faith fails its own principle (equality of the genders) because the religion was founded and propagated by men.

      These are difficult questions; I’m still very much a Baha’i but the truth is God is an old-fashioned sexist stuck in the 1950’s.

      It takes much courage to say God is wrong and then even she must defer to the Truth.

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      1. But the thing is, nobody reads the laws of Manu (I didn’t even know they existed until recently) or whatever. Where caste is strongest, a good chunk of people can’t even read.

        This is similar to what Dr. Khan said when he cautioned about overindexing on the Koran: most Muslims, just like us, are semiliterate anyways.

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        1. You don’t need to have read “The Laws of Manu” to know that caste hierarchy is explicitly endorsed by Hinduism. The Brahmins were always there to make sure the “untouchables” knew their place.

          This is why it is so difficult to eradicate caste. Even though the Indian government has made caste discrimination illegal, these taboos are so bound up with people’s most deeply held religious beliefs.

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    2. I think some people see criticism of caste as an attack on Hinduism, which it absolutely is not just as criticism of blasphemy is not an attack on Islam.

      I think an attack on caste IS an attack on Hinduism, and rightly so. I found Amedkar’s observations on caste and Hinduism to be quite logical. If Hinduism is to be salient as a societal organizing force in the modern era (as an atheist, I don’t care either way), it must transform. As it has to some extent since ’47.

      Similarly Islam should be attacked so it gets rid of anti-modern practices like blasphemy laws. And in countries where it is practiced, female genital mutilation as well. These are all hateful practices and we ought not to be tolerating them on grounds of religious freedom.

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      1. I think it is reductive to believe that there can be no Hinduism without caste. Similarly, Islam can exist without blasphemy laws.

        I don’t believe one needs to attack an entire religion if the aim is to criticize particular practices. There are people who speak out about blasphemy laws and their misuse without dismissing all of Islam. There are also people who reject caste while not rejecting other aspects of Hinduism.

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    3. Well, I dont know any religion except Islam that sanctifies sexual slavery – practiced by its prophet, no less. But you can talk about caste as a social evil in India without educated people calling for your murder.

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      1. This whataboutary is ridiculous. Somehow any criticism of the Hindu caste system is turned into a discussion on Islam.

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        1. It isn’t whataboutery when the basic charge is admitted. I was only responding to the “I know of no other …”.

          Feel free to criticise without making (inappropriate) comparisons.

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          1. Sexual slavery and caste have nothing to do with each other. For the record, the vast majority of the world’s Muslims are not justifying sexual slavery. There are still people justifying caste.

            It’s interesting that when you have no defense for the evils of your society you turn around and attack Islam. Can’t really argue with such people.

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  6. My issue with “Caste” discussion on BP is lack of ‘Nuance’. When i try to bring nuances my response become too large for BP moderators & readers and if i keep them short i can’t discuss the nuances.

    When did Indian Elites allowed complete freedom for ‘individuality’ ? Since Indian state was formed to engage with Indians as communities that’s what has become stronger. E.g. Many Caste Mahasabhas first got registered in 1920’s.

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      1. So you mean there is a caste hierarchy (accumulate karma over several birth to become Brahmin) for posters here too 😛

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      2. How does pinging works on BP ? Sorry if i sound unaware of general functionalities with the site.

        Can i post an article as contributor ? if yes then i would like to contribute few articles regarding religion, sociology & caste.

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  7. “I think an attack on caste IS an attack on Hinduism, and rightly so”

    Yeah , agree totally. This is similar to how Dravidians attack “Brahminism” and then their modern day apologist say , “Oh we are attacking Brahmanism , not Hinduism, we are hindus too you see” .LOL

    BTW does anyone else feel we have a doppelganger already for Jamil, her name is Snigdha Poonam (she is a journalist). Google her up.

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  8. Jamil looks a lot like Priyanka Chopra to me. The first time I came across her Twitter profile (a couple of days back, from an RT by Zac), I thought she was some PC fangirl profile.

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