Browncast Episode 64. We Talk with Meru Media about India, Pakistan, Hinduism, TNT, Aryans..

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunesSpotify,  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!

In this episode we talk to Mukunda Raghavan, who runs Meru Media (“your home for all things Indic”). We talk about Hindu drinking culture, India, Pakistan, Tambrams, Aryan Invasion, all the fun stuff. Do check it out and leave comments.

 

1+

65 Replies to “Browncast Episode 64. We Talk with Meru Media about India, Pakistan, Hinduism, TNT, Aryans..”

  1. The dravidian movement was not so much about Tamil vs Hindi, as much as an anti-Brahmin movement motivated by Brahmin domination of government jobs and places in colleges. The atheist tendency in the movement had less to do with any rationalism than with an opposition to Brahmin priests preaching “mumbo jumbo”.

    1+
  2. For a South Indian , Mukund seem awfully worried on the Aryan Invasion stuff. Thats our (N-Indian) cross to carry 😛

    On the Razib question on outside of North and South why do other ethnicity (like Marathi) choose North over South, its not just color but Hinduism is North Indian religion, and Punjabi is the aspirational pop culture of Indians. So yeah South does have higher social indicators and stuff and choosing south over being related to UP makes rational sense. But as we know people aren’t rational.

    1+
    1. I feel like Tamil Brahmins are among the most conscious of AMT / OIT and all of that jazz.

      Relative to other Tamils, Tamil Brahmins tend to be a bit less provincial, a bit more educated, and a bit more connected to the national discourse. This makes it more likelier for them to be exposed to Hindu nationalism and AMT / OIT theories.

      Secondly, Tamil Nadu politics was historically dominated by Dravidian ideology, which includes the belief that Tamils were the original inhabitants of the subcontinent, that they were driven south by the Aryans, and then the Aryans followed to impose the caste system on otherwise egalitarian Tamils. Tamil Brahmins are seen as the local agents of this Aryan culture. They use more Sanskrit in their Tamil. Their names are Sanskritic. Some of them look slightly more fair (although many or most don’t). As a result, Tamil Brahmins are again more likely to be exposed to the discourse surrounding AMT / OIT theories.

      Finally, it’s not just exposure. Given the consequences of the Dravidian movement for their political fortunes in Tamil Nadu, they have skin in the game.

      Some Tamil Brahmins have reacted by simply accepting the Dravidian ideology and taking pride in their Aryan heritage and showing some measure of disdain for the Dravidian culture. Others have reacted by going through a process similar to “white guilt”, where they become prominent figures in the Dravidian movement (think Kamal Haasan) and the fight against (perceived or real) Brahminical hegemony. Yet others have gone with the victimhood approach, always complaining about their plight in Tamil Nadu and (imo distastefully) comparing their situation in Tamil Nadu to that of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

      At any rate, I think Tamil Brahmins are probably the jati on whose collective conscious the AMT / OIT discourse weighs most heavily.

      4+
      1. I cluster with tamil brahmins, as N Indian merchant class person (makes sense given they mixed with more AASI shifted people relative to other Brahmins). I have been mistaken from S Indian to Punjabi, from Sindhi to Bengali. I think most tamil brahmins have a very generic “Indian” look like me. Whereas most other Tamils just look a darker and more south shifted version of that look. The gap in phenotype is certainly not as wide between non brahmin tamils and brahmins tamils as say the gap between non dalit and dalit Punjabis.

        S Indians also phenotypically aspire to be N Indians (Punjabi essentially). My mother’s side is Gujarati but they settled in Hyderabad around independence for business opportunities. She tells me that it was considered a compliment for a local Telegu to be designated as “Punjabi” looking. Frequently their film industries either import Northern actresses or pick those with relatively more Northern type admix, such those from Nair and S Indian Brahmin communities.

        S Indians may have a complex about cultural supremacy, insofar as they view Northerners as barbaric oppressive outsiders, with the Hindi imposition debate currently best manifesting that sentiment, and also recently much better social and economic indicators in their societies. However, they have the opposite, when it comes to their phenotypes.

        Again many layers. They are the most AASI, so they identify with that. Then iranic neolithic farmers came in from the West. Then the Steppe people. Then turkic and other central/west asian conquerors and finally the British. And European dominance coinciding with the homogenization of global culture and the unique degree of dissemination of any dominant culture’s beauty standard, due to the relatively recent advent of highly technologically sophisticated and far more efficient global telecommunications and media.

        The end result is layers upon layers of inferiority complex. I would say groups like Patels that have relatively the most iranic neolithic farmer are rather neutral, but do still, to some degree, worship the more, on average, West Asian looks of their NW neighbors. And finally, the NW people identify with the winners, aka the demigods of nearly fantastical grasslands to the North. The irony, once again, is that the majority component of the ancestry of essentially every single indic S Asian is some combination of AASI and Iranic Neolithic Farmer, with the latter the majority in the majority of cases.

        Unpacking racial nuances in S Asia is not only complex because of the heavy emotions invested in the mythologies of the largely tribal peoples of the subcontinent but also because it is truly logically, at least I would assume for the masses, especially those who lack formal education, complex.

        3+
      2. “Yet others have gone with the victimhood approach, always complaining about their plight in Tamil Nadu ”

        Every community in India feels its the victim

        0
    2. I think its has a lot to do with the fact that Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language, so it’s easier to claim ‘Aryan’ roots and North Indian kinship via that. I am sure most of these south indians if they spoke an Indo-Aryan language they would do the same.

      3+
    3. Hinduism is North Indian religion

      No, it’s pan-Indian, probably stronger in the south in many ways. Don’t know why you persist with this theory.

      Marathis may identify more with north Indians than south Indians (I don’t know this for a fact; personally, I think they consider themselves in a unique place) purely for linguistic reasons. It’s intuitively clear to anyone if their language is related to Hindi (the “median” north Indian language if you will) or not. Marathi clearly is, whereas Kannada to its immediate south is not.

      Tamil Brahmins don’t want (1) to be treated as interlopers in the south (which is how the Dravidian movement has labelled them), and (2) Hinduism to be considered a north Indian imposition on the south. So it isn’t rocket science why many of them dislike the AIT.

      3+
      1. “Tamil Brahmins don’t want (1) to be treated as interlopers in the south (which is how the Dravidian movement has labelled them)”

        http://www.unz.com/gnxp/tamil-brahmins-are-alien-and-native/

        Razib already answered this question. Tamil Brahmins are part and parcel of Tamil Nadu, and have been there for over 2500 years (probably longer).

        Interesting they supposedly have local admixture with the elite Velama/Vellalar communities. The Velir are associated with an early Dravidian priesthood.

        0
        1. If only DMK / ADMK politicians were capable of reading Lord Khan’s musings, or even just literate.

          0
          1. No amount of science or facts is going to change an ideological mind.

            Why should DMK/ADMK give up their Lemurian Tamil or brahmin hatred or Primordial Tamil when they are doing quite well in the world; they have the power and many of them are filthy rich just within 1 or 2 generations. Karunanidhi started his life as school dropout and a tea boy in a third rate newspaper , his family is now one of the richest in india. Talking rubbish has rewarded them well.

            DMKs fortunes are a negative proof that being scientific need not lead to success in politics or business.

            1+
    4. “why do other ethnicity (like Marathi) choose North over South”
      This may have to do with Marathi being an Indo-EUropean language and the resulting linguistic affinity to the North.

      The speculations about Hinduism being ‘North Indian’ and Punjabi being aspirational to anyone other than Punjabis are dubious, to say the least.

      3+
      1. Well i just say what other Indians know/think already, but consciously dont say it aloud. You can see both my assertions being somewhat obliquely referred to in the comment section itself. Read Warlock’s comment (for Punjabi reference) and Numinous’s comment (on Hindu reference) by what’s “popularly” perceived.

        Or you can wait for Jedi- master Hoju view on either of them 😛

        0
        1. Saurav, I have spent a “LOT” of time in the south. My impression always was that the South things that the Hindu heartland is South Indian and that the Northerners aren’t as serious.

          Many, many South Indian friends have memorized many mantras and slokhas from the Vedas. This is far less common outside the south.

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

          Bombay

          On my visits to Bombay I have asked if Bombay and Maharashtra more generally are north and south. I have been told that Bombay definitely isn’t Southern. But it isn’t entirely Northern either.

          Many say that they are “Western.” That seems to be the best definition to me. I would add that they have amazing Chinese Indian food. {Two large ancient Chinese enclaves in India . . . Calcutta and Bombay.}

          5+
          1. This just shows how tambrahm your acquaintances skew. South Indian tambrahm Hinduism skews more ritualistic as there has been less disruption due to the invaders.

            3+
        2. \Well i just say what other Indians know/think already, but consciously dont say it aloud.\

          This is an asinine presumption – that you are a spokesman for everybody. Say whatever you want to say – don’t ascribe it to others,

          4+
  3. I have a few questions for Omar: afaik Pakistan’s literacy is hovering around 60% now, let’s say it increases to 90% by 2050, do you think a greater portion of the population would come around to accepting Indian heritage once knowledge spreads around? (if not accepting, then at least acknowledging it)

    Or would mental gymnastics still remain strong even within the high-culture / intelligentsia circles a few decades into the future? (esp. w.r.t. West Asian origin and having an official state religion)

    1+
    1. Ronen, you need to define “education” better.

      I don’t think it is about education. Pre 1947 Pakistani muslims identified with their ancient civilization. I think it is about Islamism. If Pakistani becomes more Sufi Irfan . . . then Pakistanis will identify more with IVC and their ancient past.

      Aside:

      I don’t understand why anyone would think that IVC isn’t Arya. It has Swastika symbols. And tons of other Yogic, Tantrik and Dharmic symbols everywhere.

      If Swastika isn’t Arya, then what is?

      3+
    2. Ronen, I think it is the other way round. Illiterate peasants had not idea they are supposed to be the vanguard of some Arab-Turk-Afghan superpower of yore. Education will make them more paknationalist. On the other hand, economic and cultural crisis may drive sudden disillusion if the elite shatters.. that is a big IF.

      8+
      1. Precisely. There is a sort of lazy identification of education with ‘liberal’ (whatever that means to the thinker in question) or ‘non-fundamentalism’.
        In reality the less educated folks – at least of South Asia – are often more instinctively ‘liberal’. Their heads are not filled with notions of past grandeur or lost glory – the way those of more educated Hindus and Muslims are likely to be. They are more tolerant of ambiguity and the compromises of everyday life.

        10+
        1. Education is driven by capitalists in education and capitalists of publishing business. With new audio , video , virtual reality and other emerging technologies , new kinds of education will develop. This is in contrast to the education i.e. reading more and more books which has been the driver for the last few centuries.

          So far éducation’ referred to reading more and more books, and reproducing it t appropriately . for maximum rewards .

          0
  4. Mukunda is not being accurate regarding ‘Arya’ as being the main self identifier of the majority of Tamils during the Sangam age.

    ‘Arya’ was a generic term used to describe the people of the extreme North, (probably based on them speaking a different ‘Arya’ language).
    It is likely that the term ‘Iyer’ originates from Arya.

    Sangam poems and Cilappadikaram clearly refer to this.

    The irony is the ancient Keralites seem to have had the most proud self Tamil identity in literature (Cilappadikaram), clearly contrasted with the Arya.

    This is despite the Cilappadikaram being completely sanskritised in culture and owing so much to the North.

    0
    1. Karan, “Arya” is a commonly used phrase in a lot of ancient Sanskrit literature.

      It has “NO” geographical insinuations. {Unless you mean non humans species, saints, aliens from the stars. Many non humans are considered Arya.} Arya means nobility. When someone enters a deep 24 hour state of meditation or awareness, they become Arya. I think it has to do partly with the Vishuddhi chakra . . . but I could be wrong.

      1+
      1. AnAn

        I am talking about the use of the word ‘Arya’ in the oldest Tamil literature. It’s meaning likely differed from it’s use in contemporary Sanskrit literature of the time.

        0
        1. Karan, are you familiar with 18 Siddhar tradition?

          Many of my friends are from this tradition. The most famous of the 18 are:
          ——Nandi the bull {Alien I assume},
          ——Agastya(r) {Also not considered human, no human can live for thousands of years},
          ——Tirumular,
          ——Boganathar,
          ——Patanjali {Also not considered human, considered a Naga snake, or human snake hybrid},
          ——Kalangi Nathar

          They believe that Agastyar founded Tamil. They also speak in very non Sanskritized ancient “pure” Tamil. Many Tamilians (I love Tamilians) tell me that ancient Tamil was founded by Agastyar.

          Aren’t all spiritually evolved people considered “Arya” by Tamilians? Especially Siddhars. And most especially the big 18 Siddhars? And the narrative founder of the language Agastyar?

          Many Siddhars are narratively regarded as having come from far way. But why from the North per say? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that they are not considered homo sapien sapien moderns. And that some are described in the stories as being aliens from the stars (other Lokas)?

          3+
      1. Hi Mukunda

        I have not come across Arya being used as an self identifier for ancient Tamils during the early historic period.

        It is used to describe people of the north in Old Tamil literature.

        0
        1. Ancient Tamils did not use dravida as self-identifier or use that term at all for anyone. The word was unknown then – and until 19th cen.
          OTOH, of the 5 ‘tinai gods’ of ancient Tamils. , four are definitely vedic and puranic – Indra, Varuna, Vishnu and Subramanya. The fifth one – Goddess Korravai – is a mother goddess of pan-Indian vintage.

          1+
  5. The why do Marathis prefer to identify with North Indians vs South Indians is pretty obvious, and not unique to Marathis.

    North Indians feel insulted if you mistake them for South Indians; Pakistans feel insulted if you mistake them for Bangladeshis; Iranians and Arabs feel insulted if you mistake them for South Asian; and on and on until you reach the Swedes I guess. Liminal groups in all these cases will try to identify with the groups universally regarded as racially superior (i.e., NI > SI, Pak > Bong, Persian > Desi).

    In the minds of many, darkness is ugly and soft features are ugly, so it’s not surprising South Indians are at the bottom of the global totem pole (or perhaps outside of it).

    10+
    1. It is also the same reasons Jats cling so strongly to the steppe minority aspect (peaks at like 25-30%) and supposed recent central asian roots of their ancestry. It maintains and perhaps even augments pecking order position among desis.

      Extremely AASI shifted looking S Indians would probably be counted, broadly and especially among desis, as among the ugliest people of the world with African pygmies and Australian aboroginals. Do I think that is fair or even agree with it? No, absolutely not. But hey that’s life

      7+
      1. And being widely regarded by your society as being hideous, as in the case of highly aasi shifted South Indians, is not just something that affects your ability to pull in tinder dates. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was these very people the others in society would regard as untouchable, unapproachable, and even unseeable.

        And no, it is not fair.

        1+
      2. African pygmies ? Have you ever actually seen one ?

        You say you don’t subscribe to these opinions. I am curious where you actually encountered them.

        5+
        1. I grew up in and around NYC. I have seen everything. Also, online message boards confirm it further. I see how people negatively talk about African features. Compound that with how smaller stature is viewed. I have seen people talk about some Southern American groups similarly, particularly very wide set but very short Andeans.

          0
          1. NYC has pygmies ? Or are you using the word “pygmies” as a substitute for “African” ?
            Pygmies are a very very small subset of all Africans.

            1+
    2. It is always dangerous to start with a generalization (aka prejudice) and apply it to a specific case without first thinking concretely of the specific. Life is fractal. What Iranians may or may not think is unrelated to what Marathis, Bengalis or Balinese may think.

      3+
  6. “My impression always was that the South things that the Hindu heartland is South Indian and that the Northerners aren’t as serious.”

    Anan

    Hindus of the North and of the south actually value different aspects of Hindu-dom. The aspects which Mukand himself states puritanism, ritualism etc has become a hallmark of the southern Hinduism.That;s why this belief that southern Hinduism is more “refined” and “authentic” , closer to the original older Hinduism. It happens mostly when political spaces are few and far between for expression of faith. In those times you retreat and conserve and maintain rituals etc , trying to be as close to faith in private space as possible.

    The North has had more dynamic real world Hindu-ism due to its more chequered past with religious violence and contested political spaces (against muslims as well as liberals/marxist- lower caste alliance). For them the Arthasthratra is the Veda and subjects like demography, finance , religio- political power matter more and spiritual/ ritualistic aspects (which matter in the South) matter less.

    1+
    1. Saurav, how much have you studied the ancient texts and spiritual practices?

      The Vedas have four major aims:
      —Dharma (love in action . . . flows from Ṛta)
      —Artha. This includes wealth of all kinds:
      ——physical health
      ——mental health broadly defined (Chitta Shuddhi or spiritual wealth)
      ——deep intelligence (Buddhi)
      ———materialistic scientific knowledge (product development, process innovation, R&D, total factor productivity, neuroscience)
      —Kama (good desire)
      —Moksha (undefinable . . . Nirvana Shunya Satori Buddha hood, Tao etc.)

      The Vedas emphasize all four. If anything the south emphasizes eastern philosophy based Artha and Kama more than the North or East. The South is richer.

      Artha is especially explored in the six limbs of the Vedas. The six Vedangas are:
      —Shiksha (śikṣā)
      —Chandas (chandas)
      —Vyakarana (vyākaraṇa)
      —Nirukta (nirukta)
      —Kalpa (kalpa)
      —Jyotisha (jyotiṣa)

      The South retains and values these six Vedangas far more than the North, West or East.

      Part of the fascination of the South with STEM is because of the South’s deep fascination with Artha.

      A case could be made that Artha drives the South’s interest in:
      —Buddhi,
      —Vedas
      —Vedangas
      —Yoga
      ——meditation
      ——chemical psychedelics
      —other ancient spiritual practices.

      4+
    2. The SOuth spread Hinduism far further than the ‘handsome’, ‘brave’ North Indians ever did. To call their repeated thrashings at the hands of invaders “more real world and dynamic” is a joke.

      10+
      1. If anything the violent and militant Ram centric cult developing in the North and West remind me far more of Islam while the South and East feel like a refuge for Hinduism to thrive.

        And not only did the South spread Hinduism beyond the subcontinent, it was also instrumental in challenging Buddhism (see Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, bhakti movement) and in preserving Hinduism when the North was colonized (see Vijayanagara Empire).

        Alas even if we become more successful than the Jews it is all for nothing in some respects among other Desis because we are mostly dark.

        0
        1. Hoju, thanks for your comments. I and others very much value them. Do not assume your comments aren’t read because everyone does not respond.

          “If anything the violent and militant Ram centric cult developing in the North and West remind me far more of Islam while the South and East feel like a refuge for Hinduism to thrive.”

          I don’t understand what you are speaking of. Most don’t seem super interested in Rama.

          Since you appear to have travelled widely in India, can you elaborate on specific states and specific phenomenon?

          Punjab (and the ten Sikh Gurus for that matter) seem more Hari (Krishna) focused than Rama.

          Do you see this phenomenon in Rajasthan? I don’t? Sikhs, Rajputs, Pushkar worshipers, Sufis, Irfan, Raja Yogis, Mantra Yogis, Hatha Yogis, Tantrists, Shaivites, Shaktas etc. seem to be very blended in Rajasthan.

          Maharashtra has a blended Sufi, Krishna, Rama, Dattatreya, Yoga, Shaivite, Shakta culture. The most popular of all in Maharasthra is Sufi (Shirdi Sai Baba).

          Gujarat? Do you consider Gujarat to be Rama centric?

          Delhi is heavily Sufi tilted (Shirdi Sai Baba and Chistie and Sikh) with tons of minorities (Jain, Bahai, Christian, Hare Krishna etc.)

          Are you referring to the Chota Char Dham Naths in the Himalayan North? Tibetan Buddhist influenced enclaves?

          Bodh Gaya? Gaya. I did notice a lot of Rama influence in Gaya. But then Gaya had a similar feel to Bodh Gaya for me.

          Kashi? Kashi is not Rama centric. It has heavy Sufi, Shaivite, Shakta, and Sapta Rishi influence. There is heavy Hanuman influence if you are referring to that.

          Do you consider Rishikesh and Haridwar to be Rama centric? That was not my feeling. Although I loved the Lakshmana temple 🙂

          I am not informed enough about Bihar to intelligently comment.

          “And not only did the South spread Hinduism beyond the subcontinent, it was also instrumental in challenging Buddhism (see Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, bhakti movement) and in preserving Hinduism when the North was colonized (see Vijayanagara Empire).”

          I would see this differently. Shankaracharya and the advaita lineage really admired large aspects of Mahayana Buddhism and tried to unify the various paramparas with Buddhist wisdom. Shankaracharya interpreted the shastras through a Buddhist lens. Shankaracharya became the head of many different paramparas (religions) and kept them as they were. Describing the same-ness and unity they shared. Shankaracharya can in many ways be seen as an extension of Buddhism.

          Sam Harris praises two major religious traditions–which he sees as very similar. Tibetan Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. I think Sam Harris is correct.

          Ramanuja played a similar role as Shankaracharya. Except he believed in the concept of “Ishwara” or impersonal God. Which Advaitins and Buddhists reject. Ramanuja tried to unite dualism with non-dualism.

          Maadvacharya (who described himself as an avataar of Vayu) represented another phenomenon. How would you describe Maadvacharya?

          “Alas even if we become more successful than the Jews it is all for nothing in some respects among other Desis because we are mostly dark.”

          Any “LOSER” who does not consider darkies to be physically attractive is of low intelligence. They are losing out by not collaborating and learning from darkies. “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do.”

          2+
          1. Thanks, AnAn. I enjoy reading your comments, as well. Always learn something.

            By Ram-centric militant cult I mean the kind of Hinduism that Hindutva has been promoting. They seem to be rallying around Ram as a warrior-figure. “Jai Shri Ram” has increasingly become a menacing war cry. It’s almost like they’ve made him out to be a counterpart to Muhammad.

            And this kind of Hindutva has taken hold most strongly in North and West India. Yes the BJP has been making some inroads elsewhere now, but it’s still rooted most strongly in the North and the West.

            So I’m not saying that people in Kashi want to tear down the Vishwanath mandir for a Ram mandir. But more that they’ve generally signed up for this Ram Rajya project and using Ram as symbol to rally up their militancy.

            Of course I do agree there’s regional differences within the North — as you noted, the Himalayan regions, Punjab, perhaps others. By the time you get to Gaya though I would classify that as East.

            “I would see this differently. Shankaracharya and the advaita lineage really admired large aspects of Mahayana Buddhism and tried to unify the various paramparas with Buddhist wisdom. Shankaracharya interpreted the shastras through a Buddhist lens. Shankaracharya became the head of many different paramparas (religions) and kept them as they were. Describing the same-ness and unity they shared. Shankaracharya can in many ways be seen as an extension of Buddhism.”

            I agree with Shankara’s critics who say that he’s really repackaging Buddhism with a Hindu flavor.

            That said, the traditional oral history of Shankara that I and many other Hindus have heard is of him being a savior of Hinduism. He traveled the length and breadth of the subcontinent, debated the best nastika schools (including Buddhists), and won them over, thereby restoring and cementing Hinduism’s hold on the subcontinent. That’s probably exaggerated, but still, he does seem to be a pivotal figure.

            “Any “LOSER” who does not consider darkies to be physically attractive is of low intelligence. They are losing out by not collaborating and learning from darkies. “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do.””

            Agreed, well said.

            1+
      2. The “brave” North Indian did spread Hinduism to the region which mattered most right ? The south 😛

        3+
        1. Saurav, please don’t tell this to a South Indian.

          South Indians see themselves as the Divya swarupa (divine forms).

          Some Tamilians say that Agastya and Tamil predate Sanskrit.

          How do we know that Nandi the bull (Shiva’s bull) and Agastya didn’t set the whole thing off in the modern era?

          1+
    3. Ritualism in the south is baked into the culture; it’s not a “retreat” or a reaction to anything, nor is it the outgrowth of a shrinking of “political spaces”.

      The south also has been generally more puritanical than the north, but I don’t believe that’s a recent development. Mukund seemed to be referring to all of India though, not the south. Gujarat is pretty puritanical, for example. I attribute this to the spread of “baniya” values throughout the north.

      1+
      1. Well i was talking about the state of present day Hinduism. In the North , there is hardly any new aspects wrt rituals, spiritual-ness etc for the past 200 years. Every “Hindu” movement in the North has been related to land, domination, demography, politics etc . The oldest of them , the arya samaj movement is too related to religious demographics, conversion etc.

        The south has had no equivalent of that, where Hinduism is still related/focused on personal practice, arts, culture, tradition, rituals, purification etc . Not making a value judgement (as folks here are taking it as personal insult)

        You are correct that ritualism has been in the South always. I was saying this has accentuated, considering there is lack of political expression. That;s why the average religious hindu of the South knows much more about the faith than the one in the North, because for the one in the North the faith has metamorphised into something else already. In a way for them “Hindus” matter more than “Hinduism”

        0
        1. “In the North , there is hardly any new aspects wrt rituals, spiritual-ness etc for the past 200 years. Every “Hindu” movement in the North has been related to land, domination, demography, politics etc . The oldest of them , the arya samaj movement is too related to religious demographics, conversion etc.”

          There are many new masters and Sampradayas from the “North”.

          What do you think religion is?

          Meditation is correlated with a lengthening of the breadth and heartbeat, and measurable patters in the Vagus nerve, Parasympathetic nervous system, Autonomic nervous system. The body creates powerful psychedelics in meditation that creates a chemical rapture high. Meditation also unlocks greater intelligence, awareness, mental health and physical health. And mystical experiences through more than 5 sensory inputs. {Some new neuroscience papers speculate that we have 33 sensory inputs.}

          The reason people engage in religious practices is because they experience these things. Religion (which Vivekananda said starts with Samadhi) is also correlated with greater socio-economic success (possibly because socio-economic success is heavily correlated with physical health, mental health and intelligence).

          Steve Jobs’ trust gave all attendees of his funeral an I-pad with one electronic book on it:

          “Autobiography of a Yogi”

          Religion literally is the opiate of the masses. It is hard to explain this to people who don’t meditate and experience the psychedelic high.

          1+
  7. Do South Indians aspire to North Indian “looks”? The answer to that may be a qualified “yes” with the caveat that when people aspire to a look of a different region/community they have the best exemplars of that other look / the good looking people in mind, and not the average person on the street, so they overestimate how much “better looking” the other region on the whole is compared to theirs..
    The same holds for non Punjabi North Indians and Punjabis (they are thinking of the Bollywood types and goodlooking 5% and not Arun Jaitley or Manmohan Singh or my very Punjabi and very manly looking nanny). The same is true for North Indians vs. Pakistanis (think Benazir and not Shireen Mazari; the young Imran and not the young Zardari or Altaf or Zia).

    Do South Indians aspire to be generally more like North Indians? Absolutely not. Why would they apsire to a lower HDI, lower education levels, lower cleanliness etc? They are well aware of how bad UP/Bihar are compared to Karnataka and Kerala.. Same thing for Indians and Pakis..Do Indians aspire to be like Pakis generally? It would be laughable if someone suggested that..

    Saurav as usual is stretching the point, and generalizing like nobody’s business…Take it with a pinch of salt

    4+
  8. In light of the rather narrow minded and ignorant comments here I would request Omar and Razib to find someone more familiar with the the actual history of Southern India to do a podcast/interview.

    8+
  9. Arjun, is your Tamil good?

    It would be nice to have a good interviewer for Tamil guests who can ask intelligent questions.

    To ask a non Tamilian to prepare requires a lot of time and research.

    I find very religious Tamilians unique. Some of them speak and chant in a very pure form of Tamil without Sanskrit loan words. By contrast every other south Indian language uses many Sanskrit loan words, making them much easier to partly follow.

    Many of these very religious traditional Tamilians who speak in ancient archaic Tamil without Sanskrit loan words are extremely Arya and Hindu.

    Even if they sometimes recite Sanskrit or speak Sanskrit—they carefully avoid using any Sanskrit words when speaking in Tamil.

    They don’t like Hindi. And they love Tamilian culture and Tamilian language.

    3+
  10. Listening to podcast now.

    1) Many strands of Hinduism do not ban drinking. Krishna’s and Rama’s and Buddha’s families drunk alcohol.

    Alcohol is not comparable to eating meat.

    2) Razib says that the ancient texts are different from how Hindus now behave. This is both true and not true. People can quote the texts, study the texts and do whatever they want. This is one reason the east has thousands of religions . . . and it is considered normal.

    3) Obviously there is no such thing as white supremacy. Other people are also potentially very powerful and potentially very intelligent.

    4) I don’t agree that people in India are dividing over religion. India only has minorities. The largest group of Indians are conservative Sunnis.

    5) Java is mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. Javanese were considered Arya too. So were Ravana and the Rakshashas. And many other types of non humans.

    1+
    1. 1. Just for reference, where exactly is Java mentioned in Ramayana?
      2. We saw lots of Agatsya statues in Prambanan temple museum in Java.

      2+
  11. As many readers know, I consider AASI to be Arya. Possibly Surya Vamsha.

    Several old scriptures claim Yayati’s descendants are the Europeans, Tushara (Xinjiang and east of Xinjiang), Kurus, Yadus and other Jatis. Do any Hindus deny this (unless they disagree with the story of the Chandra Vamsha entirely)?

    3+
  12. Talking of alcohol and Hindu society and how the govts are allowed to control as per Arthasastra , one important thing is taxes. Govt get solid taxes. In Tamilnadu the state govt control both the wholesale and retail business of alcoholic beverages. They have alcohol selling shops called Tasmacs , this is for the masses. So it is cheap , and vile alcohol. Since govt gets lot of taxes it encourages people to drink and as a result binge drinking and alcoholism is one of the social problems in the state. One reason for ‘importing’ lots of workers from other parts of India is that Tamil workers have gone drinking and addicted to it. The Alcohol manufacturing industry is hand in gloves with all major political parties and this has produced it’s own corruption of politicians and administration . How come major political parties are able to offer freebies to attract the electorate – it is the taxes and revenue from the manufacture and distribution of alcohol and the Tamilnadu govt is in bed with it. So the govt has a vested interest in maximizing it’s revenue by creating a social problem. The present revenue is about Rs 30,000 CRORES . So one can imagine the govt’s interest in it as well as the social problem it has created.

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

    1+
  13. Got a chance to listen to the whole podcast. Sometimes, in long podcast we just hear things and not too keen on pointing out anything unless it is very jarring.

    Obviously I did not find anything too objectionable in anything to be pointed out .

    One thing Razib at 1.36 says all South Indians brahmins came from a single migration from the north at some time. I don’t think that is the case. Tamil or “dravidian” culture had from day 1 some aryan component to it including brahmins. Over many centuries there have been migration of brahmins from north India probably as late as 12th century, apart from migrations of others in all directions within India. There is a Tamil TV chatshow personality Rangaraj Pande , and as the name indicates his parents migrated to Tamilnadu from UP and his Tamil interviews are popular.

    Anyhow, here is a paper which talks of migrations of brahmins to the south at different centuries. The earliest brahmins in Tamilnadu were pUrvasikhA i.e. tuft of hair falling in the front and later day migrants were aparasikhA, tuft at the back of the head.

    On the Southern Recension of the Mahābhārata, Brahman Migrations,
    and Brāhmī Paleography by T.P.Mahadevan
    Vol 15 No 2 (2008): Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies
    Section

    https://crossasia-journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/ejvs/issue/view/57

    Another minor quibble is I think Mukunda says Linguistics is not as hard science as archaeology. I used to think so some 10 years back ; I think Linguistics is as good as any science i.e. seeking rational explanations for observable phenomena. OTOH I agree with him that you can’t correlate genetic results with languages as there is no direct connection between the two
    Another minor quibble is again Mukunda said early on ‘History is a set of fact; the problem is narratives it around it’ or words to that effect. I think history is subjective and not just a set of facts

    3+
  14. Hoju wrote:

    “By Ram-centric militant cult I mean the kind of Hinduism that Hindutva has been promoting.”

    Can you define Hinduttva? I have a long article in edit that I have not posted, because I find this topic confusing. Maybe this can be discussed offline if you prefer.

    “They seem to be rallying around Ram as a warrior-figure. “Jai Shri Ram” has increasingly become a menacing war cry. It’s almost like they’ve made him out to be a counterpart to Muhammad.”

    Can you elaborate who you are referring too? Anyone who claims to follow Rama is subject to philosophical responses based on the Valmiki Ramayana, Tulsi Ramcharitmanas, Kambar Ramavataram, Mahabharata Ramayana, Ramayana stories included in several Puranas, Yoga Vashishta, Buddha’s Ramayana (Buddha claimed to have been Rama in a prior birth), etc.

    Can you suggest any such person that Brown Pundits can dialogue with? If so, could you help interview said person? You could better tailor your response through the Rama frame and terminology.

    “And this kind of Hindutva has taken hold most strongly in North and West India. Yes the BJP has been making some inroads elsewhere now, but it’s still rooted most strongly in the North and the West.”

    I am going to say something that might sound odd to you. You can run this by your many friends (such as Kushal if you consider him to be your friend). Many allied with the BJP are not Hinduttva. Many Hinduttva dislike the BJP. It might be best to separate the two phenomenon when you discuss them. A ton of muslims vote for parties allied with the BJP. Are they all Hinduttva?

    “So I’m not saying that people in Kashi want to tear down the Vishwanath mandir for a Ram mandir. But more that they’ve generally signed up for this Ram Rajya project and using Ram as symbol to rally up their militancy.”

    Dude we need to talk offline. Some of the leading Hinduttva thought leaders are willing to talk to Brown Pundits. Would love to hear your feedback on what to ask them.

    Their idea of Ram Rajya might be different from what you expect. Many see it as ultra pluralist, ultra multiplicity. And others change their message depending on their audience. And many are confused.

    “Of course I do agree there’s regional differences within the North — as you noted, the Himalayan regions, Punjab, perhaps others. By the time you get to Gaya though I would classify that as East.”

    I am a little unsure of what geography you are referencing. But I think you mean a manamaya vijnayamaya anandamaya kosha shared sanskara memoplex that greatly influences different people to different degrees rather than a geography.

    “I agree with Shankara’s critics who say that he’s really repackaging Buddhism with a Hindu flavor.”

    I would say that Buddha emphasized some very ancient themes. Buddha was within the mainstream of eastern philosophy during his life time based on my readings of what he said.

    Shankaracharya tried to unify all the sampradayas (sarva dharma). Shankracharya also tried to emphasize Moksha over Dharma/Artha/Kama much the way Buddha did. Shankaracharya kept and promoted the diversity of sampradayas. I think perhaps because some benefited from each of them. Different people according to Shankaracharya needed different methods according to their level and temperament.

    Buddha was similar in many ways. Buddha (common sense and practical oriented) also emphasized four major clusters of paths:
    —Raja Yoga
    —Jnaana
    —Bhakti
    —Karma

    Buddha broke the last 12 tattvas of the 36 tattvas of 18 Siddhar/Trika Kashmiri Shaivism, alokik realms, Nirvikalpa Nirbija Asamprajnata Dharma Megha Samadhi into many subcomponents . . . and emphasized the need to transcend these as well to the final Nirbija.

    This is a longer discussion that most won’t follow if you prefer continuing offline.

    “That said, the traditional oral history of Shankara that I and many other Hindus have heard is of him being a savior of Hinduism. He traveled the length and breadth of the subcontinent, debated the best nastika schools (including Buddhists), and won them over, thereby restoring and cementing Hinduism’s hold on the subcontinent. That’s probably exaggerated, but still, he does seem to be a pivotal figure.”

    Shankaracharya was and is pivotal. In so many ways beyond what you described too. Shankaracharya wrote a commentary of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. A case could be made that Shankaracharya treated Buddhism nicer than Samkhya, Yoga, Jaina, Caarvaaka, Ajivika, Nyaaya, Vaisheshika and other sampradayas within Mimaamsa.

    Almost all the Purna and Uttara Mimaasa sampradayas of Shankracharya’s time are probably now extinct. Only a few now remain extant.

    Look forward to touching base soon if that is of interest. Many high quality guests have agreed to be interviewed by Brown Pundits. We need intelligent people to interview them or suggest questions for them.

    3+
    1. @AnAn,

      I’d love to touch base and suggest questions or otherwise help, although I don’t think I can add much to your knowledge. I’ll provide a more thoughtful response later; just got a bit busy at work.

      0

Comments are closed.