46 thoughts on “Open Thread – Brown Pundits”

      1. “wutup with screaming?”

        That’s par for the course.
        This clip would fall in the top quartile of civility as far as Indian news debates are concerned.

    1. She did overdo it though..

      I’m married to an (atheist) Hindu; I’ve absorbed all aspects of Hinduism without compromising my essential core.

      I feel there was a bit of coercion on the part of Nusrat Jahan, where to be accepted by her Marwai in-laws she had to be more Hindu than Hindu.

      1. “I feel there was a bit of coercion on the part of Nusrat Jahan, where to be accepted by her Marwai in-laws she had to be more Hindu than Hindu.”

        We shouldn’t assume motives.

        In urban cosmopolitan India, there’s enough room to float between looks without losing identity.

        In any case, Bengali Muslim women (unlike say, Pakistanis) wear saris and put bindi. So putting on sindoor is not that big of a leap from there.

          1. She’s a public figure. Would have given interviews from before her marriage. You can see if she changed her mannerisms to appear more Hindu.

          2. Just the whole and intonation – it seemed excessively Hindu

            why is it our business?

            i mean, she is a public figure. but excessive focus on these personal details makes for good political drama, but not a well-functioning polity.

            also, i also thought that it is an issue that for many bengali muslim women their dress and presentation is way less distinct from bengali hindus, and that has caused issues with muslims from the north/west (e.g., i’ve been at parties where my mom was chided by pakistanis for wearing saris as it was giving the “wrong message”).

          3. Also dont understand what if she/ he had converted. I would argue it ain’t our business either.

            In upper class echelons of India, religion is hardly a deal breaker for anything. In food choices (beef,pork) , dressing sense or choosing of a significant other. Most of them are non religious in their own faith’s to begin with. Pretty sure the public religious posture they adopt even when they convert hardly changes how they saw religion anyway.

      2. Her in-laws are Jain. (I am all for big tent Hinduism, just pointing out an added wrinkle)

  1. Marwari are the Jews of Calcutta. Perennially the object of jealousy among the bengalis but protected by the state becuase without their money the local government will have a tough time with pooling resources.

  2. Xerxes,

    maybe interesting to you.

    Even at a place like Eton, it didn’t seem likely that anyone in my year would actually become prime minister. At school, everyone is ‘ambitious’, everyone loudly stretching upwards, but perhaps true ambition has a pair of silent claws. None of us identified David Cameron as the boy marching inexorably towards Downing Street. When he became Tory leader in 2005, I had difficulty recalling him: wasn’t he that affable, sweet-faced, minor fellow at the edge of things? I remembered him as quite handsome, with the Etonian’s uncanny ability to soften entitlement with charm.


    1. Nice article.

      I wonder what is the equivalent of Eton in each of the south asian countries?

      1. I wonder what is the equivalent of Eton in each of the south asian countries?

        Scorpion Eater

        There is personal disclosure at the end.

        I would imagine Doon (?) in India. The English setup schools in the Eton/Harrow model to create an elite that would emulate the English and do their bidding

        In Sri Lanka, its S. Thomas College, Royal College in Colombo Trinity College in Kandy. (College as in Year/Grade 1 – 13 in school).

        Trinity and S. Thomas (STC) are private small schools. 1,200-2,000 students in the whole school.
        Royal is a Govt school, free (but hard to get in) with about 7K-10K students.

        Most of the first PM’s were STC, the Senanayakes, Dahanayake, Bandaranaike.

        JR Jayawardena, Ranil Wick.. (the current PM) are Royalists.
        Mahinda’s wifes brother is a Thomian. All three of Mahinda Rajapakses sons are STC/Thomians., who played rugger for STC.

        Anyway a cut and paste of a very recent conversation about this article.

        Because we both dont have children we (as in I sbarrkum) can dance to our own drums, while still reaping the benefits of attending STC.

        Many of our classmates are multi generational linked to each, almost incestuously. Found out when looking for ancestry of my maternal grandmother a Tillekeratne from Matara. Can have a chat about that when we meet.

        Two examples; One a classmate Herman Tillekeratne (Tikka) another Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu.

        I assume you thought Herman Tikka was another guy from the villages. The Tillekeratne are many times over related to the de Livera’s, Bandaranaikes, Illangakoons, de Sarams and Dias Abeysinghes. I think Herman Tikka was the last male in that family.
        Anyway Herman’s two parents are Tillekeratnes and both grand mothers de Livera’s. Chanaka de Livera is his cousin (first ?). Anyway at Herman Tikkas funeral Chanaka was the one officiating.

        Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu. Mother Oosha Saravanamuttu who just passed away a few days back. Oosha’s mother is a de Livera. One of Oosha’s marriage was to a Saravanamuttu, probably a relative. The son from that marriage is Pakiasothy who is related to Richard de Zoysa thru the Saravanamuttu. The Saravanamuttu’s are multi generational Thomians.

        I would assume, Richard is/was also related to Ajantha and Tanker de Zoysa who are originally from Balapitiya. Kapila Waidiyaratne is also from Balapitiya. I would not be surprised if they are related to the de Zoysa’s. Same with Jagathsena and Saddhasena. Saddhasena was a year or two younger in STC.

        Finally two sentences from the article

        Etonian’s uncanny ability to soften entitlement with charm.

        ‘Effortless superiority’ was the ethos, the ideal you aspired to – charmed confidence balanced by strategic noblesse oblige. If you aren’t forever performing your superiority but are elegantly obscuring it, you don’t alienate those many people who are suspicious of your privilege. We were told to be wary of misusing our superiority, but we were not told we didn’t have it.

        ” realized that this “charm” is taught to Thomians from Kindergarten, and they pass from College being maestros at it, when I see history repeat itself at home where my son charms his way through every female he meets, including certain principals of girls’ schools he intrudes while trucking!

  3. Bacha Khan And The Remaking Of The Pashtun


    “PTM said “We are the most affected by this existential annihilation and we are firsthand witnesses of how the saviours have been complicit in the religious extremist violence that engulfed our land. And we demand accountability.”

    “Today’s moment is a continuity of the British colonial massacre at Qissa-Khwani Bazaar and of early Pakistan’s massacre at Babarra. In that history Khar Qamar becomes a memory born in the today which provides a dialectical unity of yesterday with today.”

  4. Anyone else heard of the connection of the words Naga (the mythical people), Nagar (town) and in Nagarika (Town dweller).

    Any credence.

    1. The word nAgarika, ‘town dweller’ is grammatically derived in Old Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit from the word nagara, ‘town’. These both are not related to the Sanskrit word nAga, which means things like ‘snake’, ‘a mythical people’, etc. Etymologically, the ‘snake’ word nAga is robustly Indo-European and is a cognate of the English word snake itself.

      The origins of the word for ‘town’, nagara in Sanskrit are not very clear and Mayrhofer’s Indo-Aryan etymological dictionary says that it apparently could have a Dravidian origin in that there are some ancient words in some Dravidian languages like Tamil nakar [pronounced nagar], inscriptional Old Telugu nakaramu, ‘temple’, some other kind of archaic Telugu navaru ‘temple’, etc. apparently which don’t seem to be borrowings from Sanskrit.

      Mayrhofer seems to list at least one scholarly Indo-European suggestion in his entry for this word involving derivation from nR-gara or something but I am so utterly lazy to bother to type out all the German there into Google Translate and understand.

        1. Yes pura is an old Indo-European item for ‘village’, ‘town’, ‘city’.

          But the correspondence between the Sanskrit word-initial ps and Germanic word-initial bs is quite unexpected. The expected correspondence is between the Sanskrit word-initial ps and Germanic word-initial fs as illustrated by this well-known classic example: ‘father’: Sanskrit pitR, English father. Thus it is unlikely that Germanic words like borough and Sanskrit pura are cognates.

          According to Wiktionary, apparently Greek polis is cognate to Sanskrit pura along with a few other members from other subgroups like Balto-Slavic, and no Germanic examples are listed there, but importantly, words like borough are not listed in connection with pura.

          Edit: Not that you intended to say that borough, pura are cognates – borough means ‘(fortified) city’ or something too though it comes from a different etymon – I just wanted to make sure there is no confusion with respect to etymology.

        2. What about ur/pur/pura and ur-ban (urban as pronounced by eastern European)

          Supposedly from Ur (the first city ?) in Sumeria.

          1. The word Ur as in Tamil Ur? There is no connection posited between the Dravidian/Tamil Ur, Sumerian word Ur and the Sanskrit pura. At least the Sanskrit pura goes back to PIE *pel- or something while the Tamil Ur goes back to PDr *Ur. About Sumerian I know next to nothing.

            English urban is apparently a Latinate borrowing involving a word for ‘city’, urb, in Latin. It has its own Indo-European etymology apparently whose form is something like *werbh- according to Wiktionary and this is of course not connected to the Sumerian word most probably.

  5. sometimes when i’m dealing with indian customer service ppl on phone or chat and they are taking a while i ask them about their lives and shoot the shit. they’re quite pleasant most of the time and seem pleased about my curiosity in their lives. lots of them seem to live in rural areas in the banglore or mumbai hinterlands?

    1. In my case it has been the opposite. As soon as they find out I am from India they start asking me about different stuff in US. Many of them even surprise me with their knowledge about stuff in US which I am somewhat ignorant/not interested about. Most of the times its me who have to cut them off.

      Once a customer guy introduced himself as Trent, and i was in a bad mood perhaps, and I (catching his Indian accent) replied that if he is Trent then I am Michael Jackson , and he (catching my Indian accent) laughed and said Sorry sir, you are right , my name is Trinath. ??

    1. This false thesis allows upper-caste intellectuals to maintain privilege in both India and the US.

      How exactly? If caste is a British abomination, we should be trying hard to shed it, no?

      Also, I first heard of caste as a British colonial contribution sometime early in the 21st century. I believe that theory is of fairly recent provenance, so I really doubt it can be blamed for upper-caste privilege retention (which is perpetuated mainly through the institution of arranged marriage, as I have argued before.)

  6. Progs follow science:
    “Indigenous arrival has no date, dons told” by Bernard Lane on
    June 29, 2019

    “University science lecturers have been warned off making the familiar statement in class that ‘Aboriginal people have been in Australia for 40,000 years’.

    “It ‘puts a limit on the occupation of Australia’ and many ­indigenous Australians see this as ‘inappropriate’, according to the University of NSW language ­advice for staff.

    “The document suggests it is ‘more appropriate’ to say Aborigines have been here ‘since the beginning of the Dreaming/s’ ­because this ‘reflects the beliefs of many Indigenous Australians that they have always been in Australia, from the beginning of time, and came from the land’.
    * * *
    “The indigenous language ­advice says putting a date on ­Aboriginal arrival “tends to lend support to migration theories and anthropological assumptions. … Many indigenous Australians see this sort of measurement and quantifying as inappropriate.’’

  7. https://ktla.com/2019/06/28/3400-year-old-palace-emerges-from-drought-hit-reservoir-in-iraq/

    ““From the texts we hope to gain information on the inner structure of the Mittani empire, its economic organisation, and the relationship of the Mittani capital with the administrative centers in the neighboring regions,” Puljiz told CNN.”

    Very important discovery. Could shed new light on the Mitanni Indo Aryans. See Section 3 below: The Mitanni Evidence


    Talageri has shown that the Mitanni names belong to the LATER books of the Rig Veda.

  8. Caste again? Who will answer if they came with Aryans or Aryans found caste system already established and just accepted (or not?) this? Or, English invented them to divide, conquer and easier control/manipulate?

    Languages? Indo-European? PIE? Germanic, English, Greek, Balto-Slavic? I have noticed that all linguistic comments get lost in time and space. Let someone fix the point in time (e.g. 2000BC or 1500BC) and list all languages spoken in Europe and SA. That would be the first such thing in the world (as far as I know).

    UR? What does it mean inscription on Mesopotamian clay tablets – ‘Ur Nino Sar Serbula’? Btw. several Serbian medieval kings had names Uros Stefan 5th, 4th, etc and now it is pretty common male name. In Hungarian language UR still means – Sir, Mister, etc.

  9. @Milan
    \Who will answer if they came with Aryans or Aryans found caste system a\

    Beyond a point, it is not worth answering who and how ‘caste system’ was founded and cannot be answered with any precision. Suffice it to say , hard edges of caste system will have to be made illegal, and soft edges will be worn out through urbanization/industrialization.

    1. Thanks VV, I was asking in a recent context that hiduism is a fantasy and that English invented caste system. Just trying to find out when this system was established (I think in ancient times and not by English). I don’t know if it is beyond a point but it would be useful to know more (anything!) about Aryans and their caste (like) system if they had. If they had, they probably enforced it in Hindustan (if already has not existed) and the (Indian scholar’s) premise about English would be wrong. If this premise is wrong than it is almost certainly wrong that the hinduism is just a fantasy. That is the logic behind my question.

  10. Was watching some excerpts of the democratic debate.

    Do y’all think the whole political dimension Spanish has taken in USA now is similar to the language wars (Tamil vs hindi ) of the 50s and 60s?

  11. https://theprint.in/opinion/letter-from-pakistan/its-not-just-people-in-imran-khans-naya-pakistan-interviews-go-missing-too/257966/

    “The biggest rights movement in the country, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, sees a complete blackout on mainstream television channels. Their leaders are not invited on talk shows, their protests are never worthy of coverage. They are accused of all wrongdoings, but are never given airspace to defend themselves.”

    George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

      1. That would be an improvement for the Baloch – who are used to having missiles shot at them by the Pakistani army.

    1. I like the idea of the assimilationist approach, but let us be honest here, no sane human is going to want to set up shop in Kashmir, and it would require an Israel-esque polity to pursue a long-term demographic restructuring of the region (which would be good, provided it’s done voluntarily through primarily financial incentives…but won’t happen, because India isn’t Israel.)

    2. Also I lol’d at this:

      “The bulk of the militant struggle appears to have shifted to social media. As on date, the jihad in Kashmir is 90 per cent virtual and 10 per cent real.”

      Better that they’re throwing tweets rather than rocks IMO.

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Brown Pundits