Markian asexualising Colored women?

I’ll start this piece with an observation- I follow this chap on Facebook and have noticed something rather odd (subliminal) about his videos. I first came across his viral video on what it’s like to have an Indian girlfriend.

Whenever he needs a platonic girl friend she’s usually black or brown. Whenever it’s a girl or romantic interest she’s blonde (unless it’s a video about specifically having an ethnic girlfriend).

The default romantic interest is blonde while a black(ish) woman is the *friend.* I’m assuming Markian has some sort of Armenian ancestry. Continue reading Markian asexualising Colored women?

Brown Pundits Browncast episode 51: Scratching the surface on Sri Lanka

Lord Ravana

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. I am toying with the idea of doing a patron Youtube Livestream chat, if people are interested, in the next few weeks.

Would appreciate more positive reviews!

Today I talk to my friend “Nan”, who is a Sri Lanka Tamil American. We talked a bit about his own background, growing up in a lower SES household in the American South, but mostly about why and how Sri Lankans think they are distinctive from “mainlanders.”

This is just the beginning of trying to understand this issue in my opinion. Ergo, “scratching the surface.”

Good luck Pakistan-

Ordinarily I’m stuck between three teams, England (I don’t like failing the Tebbit Test), India (Vidhi) & Pakistan (apni Qaum).

So I don’t want to say anything to jinx Pakistan but I play pool the way Pakistan plays cricket, erratically with flashes of brilliance.

A darker shade of brown

Sharon Muthu

On the individual level who you find attractive and what you find attractive is your own deal. I’m not one to go exhorting anyone to anything. To be frank I find “campaigns” to make x more attractive a bit cringe. It’s like the joke about having to explain to someone that actually you are very attractive!

That being said, it’s interesting to observe cultural patterns, differences, and trends. I do not, for example, perceive women with natural epicanthic folds to be less attractive in any deep sense. But the surgery to create folded over eyelids is a “coming of age” practice in much of Northeast Asia, especially South Korea because it is seen as more aesthetically pleasing. This is a new trend triggered by Western norms, as prior to the past century the more common Asian look with epicanthic folds was considered more beautiful.

This brings me to South Asians, and beliefs, attitudes, and opinions about skin color. Years ago I read that Indian (Tamil) American actress Sharon Muthu was lost a part where she would be playing an Indian character “because she didn’t look Indian.” The director, in this case, was a white American. He admitted she nailed the audition, but optically he didn’t think she’d be plausible as Indian to the audience.

This goes to show that the Bollywood aesthetic has come to define what “Indian” looks like even in the West! Muthu is on the darker side, but not anymore atypical than may lighter-skinned Bollywood celebs.

Sendhil Ramamurthy

I am very jaundiced about many aspects of South Asian (which means mostly Indian American really) American culture, but one thing that is striking in contrast to the culture of their parents is that there is little attention to skin color. In fact, there are multiple instances where I’ve heard people say that the parents thought someone they were dating was too dark.  This is probably a function of the fact that in an environment where all brown people of various shades are bracketed together, it’s a little ridiculous to make the sort of distinctions that are common in the Indian subcontinent.

Speaking as an outsider to brown culture (my wife is white, most of my close friends are not brown, my children are mixed, etc.) and community, so often when I see an Indian or Pakistani actor or actress they look like older versions of Zayn Malik, the half-Pakistani and half-English teen idol, or an Italian actress with a bigger nose. In general, I laugh, and a lot of American-born/raised brown people I know laugh too.

On the other hand, American South Asians are among the most privileged in the world. The people consuming Bollywood, and Tollywood and all the other woods, are the broad middle and lower classes of India, and their choices do shape what gets put on the screen.

When I was visiting Bangladesh in 2004 many of the posters of actresses I saw were notable for two things:

  • They were fairer than the average young Bangladeshi woman
  • They were plumper than the average young Bangladeshi woman

My prediction is as Indian audiences get more affluent, and self-confident in themselves, the actors and actressse will start looking more and more like better look versions of the average Indian, rather than cut-rate Jaggus and Jagginas.

The Rise of the Quarter-breeds in Bollywood

We saw Kabir Singh over the weekend and while I had issues with the film; I enjoyed it.

I had known of Kiara Advani (the lead actress playing a demure Punjabi girl) but I had just assumed she was another Sindhi (Brahmin) girl.

I was surprised to look at her profile and see that she’s half Muslim but that the Muslim half is mixed in with some European.

So essentially like the Kapoor sisters; Alia Bhatt (Vidhi was telling me that she’s Muslim because her nana is Razdan loll) and now Kiara, there is a trend of starlets having a hidden European maternal grandmother (lets not even start with Katrina Kaif).

They have the Indian surname, upbringing and Hindi but also get that “look enhancement” from the European infusion. I’m using that controversial term because that is the Indian beauty standards; sharp features with a fair skin and dark hair/eyes.

Pakistan girls will usually push the envelope and lighten their hair, if they can pull it off. Though I find the Pakistani aesthetic standard to be sometimes a bit too fake for my own tastes.

Intriguingly enough this aesthetic appeal was probably fixed during the Mughal-Muslim period since its not a European ideal. It also doesn’t feel that pre-Muslim India’s aesthetic ideal was similar but then in the Indian Numismatics podcast I was told India’s only imports were wine & (fair) women..

The irony is that the Western perception of Desi beauty is more along the lines of Freida Pinto; softer features with duskier skin.

Happy birthday to Hollywood’s most fabulous Brown Star; Mindy Kaling. She’s an amazing role model on so many levels and as I tell all my +35 single Desi female friends, just go to the sperm bank and get a tall Dane to be your baby-daddy.

Of course my own hypocrisy knows no bounds since my social media coup; I’ve erased all the previous Brown symbols (Kal Penn / Mergagh Man) and replaced it with Kiara Advani, Mughal Princesses & the Hum Safar cast(e).

When White Men rule the roost; there are no need for Rules.

I was rifling through the obit of an Oxbridge Historian. What jumped out at me:

With a good degree in the subject, he embarked on a PhD on the Austro-Hungarian army before 1914, though never completed it, and gained a reputation for brilliance sufficient, along with his linguistic abilities, to obtain a research fellowship at Caius in 1965, and two years later an assistant lectureship in Russian history, moving to Jesus College in 1971 as director of studies in history.

I was shocked at reading this because a PhD is a pre-requisite to any academic research path. I mentioned this to Vidhi and she glibly replied back that when it was all white men, there wasn’t really a need for rule enforcement.

It articulated something that I had felt but not been able to voice heretofore. The role of white people constantly acting as gatekeepers and rule-enforcers in my interactions in Britain.

The sanctimoniousness with which I’ve been lectured, always subtle never overt, is something that I’ve internalised over the years.

The identity crisis in the West is marked by the fact that the older generation is one race while the younger generation is mixed with another (and the generation after that is even more tilted). The reflexive reaction of the Establishment is now to make sure that those who take on the mantle must know the law if they will not imbibe in the customs in their Oriental homes.

humblebragging History-

I’m really glad to know that the Greeks (read white people) were responsible for the Ramayan. That’s a huge weight off my mind.

The author apologised in the following tweets but I’m posting it that we may remember. There is a very subtle historical bias that constantly pumps up the Greco-Romans at the expense of other civilisations. It’s a way to justify not only colonialism and a linkage that there has always been something exceptional (and outward looking) about Western Civ.

The limits of semantics; Hindus before Hinduism

When I was a 20-year old atheist I would read books on the philosophy of religion and explore arguments for and against the existence of god(s). Though I was never naive enough to think that just if people could be exposed to arguments against the argument for design people would be atheists, I wouldn’t have rejected it out of hand.

This is not a view I hold on to in any way because I believe religion as a social-cultural phenomenon is too complex and multi-faceted to reduce to a set of philosophical propositions. The “god of philosophers” ultimately misses the point of the reason so many people believe in god, and what sustain’s religion. But because the philosophers write the histories and dominate the priestly class, they have rewritten religion in their image.

A more complex view has to be brought to bear when we talk about ideas such as the “invention of Hinduism” by the British. If one limits the term “Hindu” to its utilization to point to a self-conscious and concise confessional community unitary across South Asia and disjoint from that of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, etc., then one can assent to the proposition that the “Hindu identity” was “invented” relatively late in history.

But this is a piss-poor resolution to understanding the dynamics of human cultural evolution in South Asia.

As I have noted before, 1,000 years ago al-Biruni presented and anthropological understanding of the religion of Hindus that is totally recognizable and comprehensible to us. I say here “religion of Hindus” because he was referring here to the people of India, Hindus, rather than a religion called Hinduism. This is a shading which refines the descriptions with more precision, but if you actually read al-Beruni you notice that the term “Hinduism” is pure semantic sugar. It doesn’t add much substance, though it tightens up the style. He clearly outlines a religious system and communal identities which we would recognize today as Hindu.

For the philosophers and intellectuals, religion can be reduced down to particular parameters. My own view is that when people say a “Western view” of religion, they are actually alluding to the conception that arose out of the Calvinist framework, which strongly informed the American conception in relation to church-state interaction (and, in some ways, modern atheism is the child of the demystified Calvinist cosmology). Even within the West, this highly rational, confessional, and individualistic, understanding of religion is an artifact of the past few centuries, and not normative across all Christian traditions and societies.

When it comes to this weblog the usage of terms always needs to be framed in the context of their times. If you speak of the “Sunni-Shia” conflict of the 7th-century, you need to realize this is highly anachronistic. Sunni Islam, as we understand it, only developed organically over the centuries in reaction to the claims of the party of Ali and his scions, those who became Shia. Similarly, if one talks about “Hindus” in the context of Maurya India, one realizes that one is bracketing a host of philosophical schools and religious sensibilities which are at variance with Buddhism and Jainism. One can argue whether the term “Hindu” is more or less informative, but one should also understand that one can extract significance from the term even before its 19-century maturation.*

* I would be personally cautious about using the word “Hindu” before the Gupta period, but think that it makes sense after that, even if there was no a self-conscious Hindu religion for many centuries after. Your mileage may vary.

BP Episode 50: South Asian Subnationalism with Prof. Majeed

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.

Professor Majeed and Xerxes discuss linguistic sub-nationalism and the all important Grierson survey in establishing it.

As many viewers will probably notice that many of my interest veer towards language politics (episode 49). Professor Majeed was very forthcoming and gave the background to how linguistic regionalism began to soon complement the intense communalism in pre-independence India.

Many Punditeers usually suggest that x & x language will die out (Telugu, Kannada, Tamil etc), which is hyperbolic.

Languages in India are very healthy

As Daniyal Shoaib said in Episode 49 even Bhojpuri, Mathili and Braj are very healthy. The point of linguistic states is that language survival is pretty much guaranteed but in a Hinglish milieu will there be sufficient language sophistication.

It remains to be seen how much of North India will reconfigure linguistically but the great victory of the Sikhs has been to ensure that Punjabi is a very vigorous and influential language in India, in a way that it is not in Pakistan (though having nearly 3x the speakers there if one includes Saraki & Hindko).

Saraki is probably going to be the biggest transformation of the Pakistani polity- I can’t imagine a separate Saraikistan agreeing to keep Urdu as the provincial language in the same way Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan (all of which are diverse states) have done.

The languages that are threatened are Sindhi in India (Sindhi in Pakistan is the most vigorous linguistic sub-nationalism in South Asia, on par with Tamil), Kashmiri (Urdu has supplanted it for generations) and other minority tongues that are stateless (maybe Tulu and so on). The Adivasis languages are under threat by other state languages as their populations being to mainstream to regional (as opposed to national culture).

Continue reading BP Episode 50: South Asian Subnationalism with Prof. Majeed

weight loss 101

LV was saying instead of always writing at BP on random topics; I should be offering my services (pro bono) on weight loss and weight lifting.

My Six Pack Journey — How I went from Fat to Ripped in 6 months

The author went from 87kg to 65kg. Roughly my height and weight but I started with much more muscle (at 89kg I was still a waist size 34).

I plan for 68.5kg to be my “death weight” so the idea is come what may I’ll stick to that.

I am relying on red meat however as I love it so much (it’s my crutch). A George Foreman grill cooks meat in 5 minutes flat and pair it off with a salad. I don’t put any oil on the meat but I probably should.

Apparently Protein is the most satiating nutrient so I tend to front-load my nutrition first thing in the morning.

I will rebalance my diet once I hit my weight metrics for more sustainability but I have the advantage that I have a somewhat “iron constitution” and I am not “taste-sensitive.”

I also use the mental trick of filling up my fridge and freezer with groceries. Since I have a pathological aversion to wasting any food, it stops me from going out to eat.

My problem is that I am a fast eater; I don’t chew as much as I want to so mindfulness is important in that area.

Apps I use:

Noom (Fitness Pal with Psychology)

Fitbod (for weight lifting)

Peak (for brain training)

Things I Do:

OMAD (one meal a day): I try to limit myself to 1.5kg a week of weight loss (so technically on Tuesday the 25th of June I should be 75.9kg instead of 79.9kg according to my timeline) so I use OMAD to nudge myself downward when I need.

IF (intermittent fasting): I used to do this 8/9yrs ago but I’m sort of building this up. I do find not eating does give a rest to the body.

The fear that if one *starves* the body goes into metabolic shutdown/slowdown seems a bit overrated. A Cambridge Prof, who runs some of the nation’s largest diabetes studies, was telling me that there were two Lancet published studies on the utility of a low calorie diet.

The key in an weight loss is long term sustainability.

Brown Pundits