The shadow of the crescent

Obviously I have not had much time to write on my blogs recently. But I thought I would pass on a casual judgement I have come to in regards to Indians, and particularly Hindus. Their mentality is powerfully shaped by the Other.

This is true of modern Muslims as well obviously. As Bernard Lewis would famously assert, the victory of the West over Islam in geopolitics in the 19th-century induced a psychic trauma which Muslims are still reacting to. Postcolonialism suggests that this is the condition of all non-Western societies. They can be only understood in their reaction to the West.

In general, I think postcolonialism is not helpful. Obviously, there is some truth in the framework, but most people don’t have a “thick” understanding of history, so they simply use Theory to invent “facts.”

But, it is clearly the case that modern Indian, and Hindu, Weltanschauung, whether “secularist” or “Hindutva” or something altogether different, is hard to understand without colonialism. But it is not simply Western colonialism. It is also Islamic colonialism and conquest.

The peculiar and curious aspect of modern Indian/Hindu mentality then is the double-colonial layer. That is, the long-term sublimation of the Indian civilization under the temporal rule of Other civilizations. One could assert that China was ruled by Manchus for 250 years before its quasi-colonization. But this analogy is clearly weak because the later Manchus became so thoroughly Sinicized that Manchus as an independent ethnicity have disappeared in modern China (Manchus today are those who have descent from Manchus, not those who practice a non-Han culture).

Basically, it’s always modern complicated in India…

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99 Replies to “The shadow of the crescent”

  1. “But, it is clearly the case that modern Indian, and Hindu, Weltanschauung, whether “secularist” or “Hindutva” or something altogether different, is hard to understand without colonialism. But it is not simply Western colonialism. It is also Islamic colonialism and conquest.”

    Just a nuanced point b/w the two Hindus. The “secualrist” doesn’t see the Islamic colonization as colonization and more of addition of a new culture (which in their view has been happening from time immemorial) and so there is nothing called an Indian culture apart from the sum total of all cultures (including British ). IE their is no original Indian culture. This is where, of course the Hindutva view differ.

    It is similar in that sense with the Brits colonization , where there was uneven effects of this colonization and Indian areas which benefited from that colonization have different view vis-v areas which saw more destruction than benefit per se. Similarly areas which saw less Islamic colonization tend to agree more to the “secular” viewpoint while the ones who suffered more tend to gravitate towards the “Hindutva” movement.

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    1. Secularists did more harm and rather ended up helping Hindu nationalists’ victimhood by calling their history fake and glorifying all invaders and even rationalising their tyranny. Kapil Komireddi wrote about it in his new book. He is right. It is nothing but provoking or rubbing salt on wounds of an average Hindu or Sikh to extol Aurangzeb, Babur, Jahangir or say praise Khilji and Akbar to Rajputs and call their battles, martyrdom, resistance fake or failure.
      Seculars often do borderline insult of Hindus by justifying actions of invaders and whitewashing or rationalising the tyranny.
      The tyranny should have been acknowledged given how every part of India has festivals, folklore, religions etc rooted in resistance to invaders. Lohri was in honour of Dulla Bhatti who fought against Akbar for eg.
      Indian seculars even failed to highlight Muslims who fought foreign origin rulers and invader dynasties.
      Trying to show that invaders were happily accepted and blended is just futile.

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      1. I think that the secularists were not consciously trying to do that though, they had their heart at the right place. The over corrected and had the real world implications in their mind. Sadly now their time is gone, and we will see needle swing the other way.

        Think of it this way, had even after colonization of USA , had native Americans still been a overwhelming majority , the US history would have been a bit “kinder” to the white man vis-v colonization, and would have also poked holes in the native american argument and looked at their societal ills with a keener gaze. That’s what essentially happened to history writing vis-v Hindu society in India.

        All this was part of a top-down secularization process, not unlike the Turkish example. Where end justified the means, more or less. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

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  2. Consider the curious case of Nepal. They are the Hindus who have escaped both tides of colonialism. Yet it has not made them any more self-confident and free from historical baggage. In terms of attitudes they aren’t much different from Indians. If at all, I find them highly thin skinned, even downright insecure over their identity. They seem to forever worry about their southern neighbor’s designs over their country.

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    1. Nepal is a different case, the insecurity it shows is standard big country-small country syndrome, which frankly almost all neighbors of India show time to time in varying degrees ( Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives). Their insecurity has less to do with religion/identity and more to geo politics .

      Frankly if i would have been a Nepali, i would worry about India too, considering our history in Nepal

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        1. LOL, someone joked that out of all the European countries which tried to colonize India, it was India’s bad luck to be colonized by the country with the worst food possible.

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          1. I dunno- some of the hybrid Anglo-Indian dishes turned out OK. I’m a fan of mulligatawney soup, for example.
            It’s not exactly the basis of a new great world cuisine, but not nothing. Plus all the stuff Indians have introduced to Britain more recently, or developed there. Though I’m not a vindaloo man- I am too weak of constitution and moral fibre.
            The Italians, alas, did not get into modern colonialism early enough and did not end up with any place with a vast, robust culinary tradition(s) ripe for fusionism.
            Apropos of that, there was a movie starring Helen Mirren a few years ago, in which she runs a Michelin starred restaurant in rural France and an Indian family moves in and opens a restaurant across the road. The son of the family tries to dissuade his father by pointing out that the French “have their OWN food! It’s famous all over the world!” His father doesn’t get it and proceeds with the plan.
            All goes well, and they eventually live happily ever after, including inventing some nice fusion dishes.
            I thought of that yesterday when I saw the original comment about food. I know Italian food is much more diverse than the Italo-New York food we mostly have in North America, but I still thought- “But the Indians have their OWN food. It’s famous all over the world.”
            Still, I wouldn’t mind hearing what Indo-Italian cuisine might be. could be interesting. I have only touched the surface of Indian food, although the past ten years my city has had mixed North and South traditions represented in restaurants [we have a few places that mostly do Keralan cooking, as well as some of the more familiar to the West dishes]. I see that there is already some use of tomato in Indian cooking, so there’s that in common.

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          2. I think India has inter state and intra state fusion food and at most Indo-chinese fusion food, if that counts.

            If i had a choice on who should have colonized us, than i would rather be colonized by Germany. It would have been a bit different considering we would have been their only major outpost in the world, and not just one of their many “commonwealth” countries.

            Also the Germans could have taught some stuff about efficiency and time management , which i think Indians are really famous for 😛

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          3. Well, the Portuguese brought us potatoes and chilli peppers, which are a staple across all Indian cuisines.

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          4. @Saurav
            “LOL, someone joked that out of all the European countries which tried to colonize India, it was India’s bad luck to be colonized by the country with the worst food possible.”

            Some high end restaurants in Indian metropolitan cities serve what is advertised as ‘English breakfast’, with the pork sausages being replaced by chicken sausages and there’s no bacon. Anglo-Indian cuisine, on the other hand, is far more delectable, as they took the best of both Indian and European cuisine, and it’s seeing a revival of sorts, once again in the metropolitan cities. They also managed to appropriate what was essentially Goan-Portuguese cuisine such as vindaloo.

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          5. @Saurav
            Fish n chips is actually quite popular in Indian pubs. The costlier ones serve Bhetki while the cheaper ones serve Basa fish.

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          6. “The costlier ones serve Bhetki while the cheaper ones serve Basa fish.”

            LOL, you bengalis , cant leave the Brits alone, can you 😛

            Anyway i think that Indians are big copycats of white folks stuff, that i feel that someday even regular salad bowls will be seen on par with traditional Indian food. My nephew who lives in India eats stew for dinner.

            India has its variant of fish and chip, like Vada pao and liti chokha, bullshit food but no one says much or else it might raise regional sentiments 😛

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          7. @Saurav
            “Anyway i think that Indians are big copycats of white folks stuff, that i feel that someday even regular salad bowls will be seen on par with traditional Indian food. My nephew who lives in India eats stew for dinner.
            India has its variant of fish and chip, like Vada pao and liti chokha, bullshit food but no one says much or else it might raise regional sentiments .”

            Salad bowls have every reason to be popular in India because it’s suddh ghaspus vegetarian. I have vegetarian friends who order that all the time. By the way, how can vada pau or litti chokha be a variant of fish n chips? I can still tolerate vada pau but litti chokha is inedible rubbish whose only value lies in rustic reminiscence.

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        2. As opposed to which countries (with similar civilizational heft and history) that have imbibed the finer aspects much better? Not a rhetorical question

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          1. Vietnamese cuisine profited from both the Chinese and from the French.

            (However, Thai food is pretty good too, so there might not be much to base a theory on …)

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          2. justanotherlurker,

            Countries in the middle east and the pacific rim have, at least their elites have, a greater appreciation of western classical music and aesthetics. Further, as regards sartorial elegance in european styles of dress, they all maintain higher standards than south asians for some reason. Somehow even poorer africans manage to pull together a tidy ensemble where upper class indians struggle.
            As for european cuisine, theres been a huge upsurge in the number of quality international restaurants in metro india, but yet I’ve never met people so fussy and unadventurous about food and the standard of european food in bangkok, cairo, or jakarta blows away the best of delhi-bombay and bangalore.

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          3. East Asia i.e. japan, Korea and China has taken to western classical music wholeheartedly. they fill international ensembles and get prizes in international competitions.

            Can any correlation wit their stellar economic performance be made.?

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        3. “Countries in the middle east and the pacific rim have, at least their elites have, a greater appreciation of western classical music and aesthetics.”

          India does have the Royal School of Music and Trinity College in many metro cities. There are a significant number of urban Indians who play the piano, cello, guitar, and many other instruments. They just aren’t that visible as they tend to be more old-money and subdued about their cultural interests.

          Frankly, many in the middle-class with musical talent tends to be picked up by Bollywood and the other regional movie industries where there’s more money to be made. That’s why you wouldn’t see Zubin Mehta types popping up here and there. They do exist, though without family backing it’s difficult since the market for western music in India still isn’t large enough for a comfortable life.

          As for the aesthetics part, it may be a leftover of the Swadeshi movement along with the socialist orientation of the country up till the 90s where showing off was discouraged via societal pressure. Elites who dressed up like the Aga Khan III weren’t really part of the masses and were seen as ‘brown sahibs’ party to the economic exploitation of India. Not to mention that suits aren’t really comfortable for the Indian climate outside of winter.

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          1. I think more than swadeshi, it has more to do with India’s elites having made their money through natural resources (real estate, import-export , oil, mining) rather than some of the refined subjects like innovation in science/technology/banking.

            These elites are mostly grounded and “rough” rather than East Asian country elites . There too you can see the second and third generation of this elites being more westernized. Ambani, their business has gone more and more “refined” as the generation have passed ( Garments–>Oil/Telecom–>4G)

            Pre 90s, the anglicized westernized folks (like Agha Khan) were who appreciated western music and all, but that’s due to older social capital accumulated during the British time. But very few and far between.

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          2. The Western classical music scene in India is mostly about old money Indians and remnants of the Eurasian community, both of which are dying out. India has not been able to produce an orchestra that is worth taking seriously in the international scene, and the scope for that has passed anyway.

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        4. “For all the centuries of contact, somehow India dodges all the finer aspects of European civilization.”

          One could say that Indian elites have more than most other colonised states stridently imbibed (in whatever bastardised form) the ideas of freedom of speech, ‘secularism’, democracy etc. I’d think these are more useful to a civilization than superficial things like music or food or clothing, which are liable to change with time.

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          1. You are correct but i would differ that you give too much credit to Indian elites for secularism, democracy etc. Both Pak and Bangladesh had that same elite and it doesn’t have either.

            The subsistence of this values has more to do with the demographic structure of India then elites. India is diverse enough for not one group to impose its will and democracy/secularism is the median form on which all groups sort of agree on. You could already see cracks on that structure when one group (Hindutva) starts behaving as one coherent group.

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          2. “The subsistence of this values has more to do with the demographic structure of India then elites.”
            The elites’ adoption of these values and their ‘imposition’ on the rest of the society are two different things. The elites strongly believe in these values and that is why you have all these PILs in courts on constitutional matters that do not really bother most ordinary people (net neutrality, gay rights etc.)

            The fact that a significant chunk of non-elites buys into these values might have to do with demographics, as you suggest. But it might also have to do with partial buy-in due to evangelization (Nehruvian school curriculum).

            Even Modi makes a public show of bowing down to the constitution.

            “Both Pak and Bangladesh had that same elite and it doesn’t have either”

            Disagree. Both Pak and Bang had elite classes heavily self-selected for people who wanted to give primacy to religion. Moreover, the latter’s dissenting elites were sort of massacred by the former.

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  3. “The peculiar and curious aspect of modern Indian/Hindu mentality then is the double-colonial layer. That is, the long-term sublimation of the Indian civilization under the temporal rule of Other civilizations.”

    Methinks that had the Partition not happened, the aggregation of Muslim rule wouldn’t have been seen as the ‘other’ even by the Hindu right. The intelligentsia would have made greater efforts to co-opt the Islamic rulers, even the more unhinged ones, into Indian civilization.

    In this alternate history, India wouldn’t have had any external Muslim enemies (no Pakistan), it would have been the country with most Muslims (thus guaranteeing it an important role in any OIC-like organization), and most likely would have a Muslim PM by now. I’d say Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan had a good shot in the 60s once Nehru stepped down.

    Taking all the above into consideration, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Hindu right to see the Muslims as an ‘other’. Their talking points likely would gravitate more towards issues like private control of temples and rebuilding Nalanda and Taxila, instead of being concerned with things like Article 370.

    What happened in reality was that the majority of (elite) Indian Muslims saw themselves as a separate nation, polarized the country via very communal methods in the 40s, got a country at the cost of very high casualties and a huge refugee exodus, followed up by making laws promoting the primacy of Islam, gradually forced out the minorities it had left through intermittent riots and land grabs, followed up with ’65, and then carried out a Katyn-style massacre on the Bengali Hindu intelligentsia in ’71.

    What would otherwise have been very distant memories about the conduct of Ghazni, Ghori and Aurangzeb relegated to history books becomes a present-day experience when cases of apostasy and forced conversions continuously emerge from Pakistan, along with the occasional call for Jihad. The history of the land of the pure over the last 70 years just reinforces a commonly-held view that historical Muslim rule in India was more bad than good overall.

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    1. “Taking all the above into consideration, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Hindu right to see the Muslims as an ‘other’. ”

      This is being super naive. I would go further than Razib and say Hindu nationalism would not have been “stillborn” but even more flourishing than what’s its today, along with a super flourishing muslim right in Pak areas.

      You can read what Ambedkar (who didn’t have a dog in this fight) wrote about all this.

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    2. If a partition based on religious demography didn’t happen, the potential for one based on language would have been greater. Pak and Hindu nationalists may be correct in their similar interpretation of present India as essentially always having been a Hindu homeland with tolerated minorities. Thematically it’s the only unity that maps to the boundaries of the state.

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    3. Before the Pakistan-movement even existed, the founders of Hindu Nationalism had published works where they called for India to follow Germany’s treatment of their Jews as an example of how Hindus should deal with India’s Muslims. Had called for Muslim and Christians to either leave India or be relegated to 3rd class status (they said 2nd class was too good for them).

      It was this rhetoric from Hindus that sparked the Pakistan-movement from the Muslim-classes who lived as minorities in Central-India. They became (correctly) convinced that Hindus had no vision for the future, nor their own intrinsic aspirations, but could only look backward, determined to avenge “centuries of humiliation” by trying to dominate and ultimately destroy India’s Muslims.

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  4. Methinks that had the Partition not happened, the aggregation of Muslim rule wouldn’t have been seen as the ‘other’ even by the Hindu right. The intelligentsia would have made greater efforts to co-opt the Islamic rulers, even the more unhinged ones, into Indian civilization.

    ok, but the roots of hindu nationalism predate partition. i guess you could stay it would be ‘stillborn.’ but i think presonally it expresses genuine ‘awakening’ from centuries of non-hindu domination and the ascendence/reality of islamicate then raj culture and mores.

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    1. Yes, Hindu nationalism was ascendant since the 17th century with rise of the Sikhs and the Marathas, who were the dominant powers from whom the Brits wrested India.

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  5. I don’t aim to give them either too much credit or blame, depending on taste, but I would even add that “Europe” was also shaped in response to a challenging “Other”- Middle Eastern Islam.

    Such major developments as:

    The switch from a Mediterranean to a European geographic reality and mind-space. The equation for a long age of Christendom with Europe, as a consequence.

    Perhaps even the deepening of Christianity in early medieval Europe and the push to expand its boundaries by conquest and colonization. The tightening of the relationship between the religion and the leftover Roman and Germanic political forms. The strengthening of the sacral and Christian moral justifications of monarchy.

    The drive by Christianized Romano-German “European” Frankish civilization to expand [re-expand, assimilate] eastward and northward including by military means.

    The ultimate division of Europe into eastern and western spheres, somewhat shaped by different experiences with the loss of the other shore to Islam and the immediate threat of further expansion, or ongoing war. One might also see this as one force at work in the different paths of Mediterranean and northern Europe. As a subset, the psychologies of the Balkans and Spain, for centuries.

    The desire and practice of sailing outside the Mediterranean to find new markets, conquests, and so on, to get around the Turks.

    Much as with the case you are dealing with, I wouldn’t want to rest an entire worldview on it, but it is a huge and complicating factor in “European” history that gets mysteriously left out the past decade or so.

    I’d go further and blame it all on Darius and his Persians, but that’d be too much.

    I also wouldn’t want to commit too heavily to every aspect of the old Pirenne thesis either, but in outlines it still seems somewhat convincing.

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  6. Hindus were always insecure of being enslaved or colonised, invaded by foreign rulers, particularly Islamic rulers. The uprisings of Bhils, Ahoms, Sikhs, Jats, Satnamis, Marathas, Rajputs etc against Islamic rulers and invaders are not unknown. There was hardly any way Islamic rulers would be accepted or assimilated in Indian framework given what all they did to Indians. Indian Muslims related more to those rulers and identified with them as ruling class and kind of looked down upon Hindus, Sikhs and others. Till date Indian Muslims and their supporters call history of everyone else fake and try to glorify those rulers many of whom have image of tyrants in average Indian’s mind.
    Muslims hardly saw eye to eye with other groups in India on any issue. They always ended up having differences over religion, language or culture. Even an atheist and Comrade like Bhagat Singh wrote that Muslims lack any ‘Indianness’ and called out their cultural and language differences.
    Muslims were not ready to live like minorities and feared other majority in India. They did insist on partition and two nation theory. 1940s and post 1947 wars, migrations, rapes conversions, riots etc. sealed the deal.
    Hindu nationalism is result of inferiority complex of having a hardly defined or proper religion or texts, being ruled by others for thousands of years, losing own to conversions, losing all battles and own myths being shattered in front of the world. Till date Hindus try to abrahamise their faith or prove myths as history or prove mythology as science. They feared losing sovereignty or being ruled or dominated, decimated by others. They resent emergence of other religions and tribes. They resent people having left so called original Hindu fold. Assertion of Dalits, adivasis, tribes like Nagas and religions like Sikhs also makes them insecure. Muslims are not the only ones they dislike. What they dislike the most about Muslims and Christians is their totally different culture and becoming part of global Islamic and Xtian community, placing religion over anything else and not having any relation or affinity to Hindus or Hindu culture. They found all other religions easy to assimilate or digest but they found no way to assimilate Islam and Christianity and the victory of the rulers from these religions over them adds insult to the injury. Hindus are intimidated by sheer growth, size and number of countries Islam and Christianity spread to. While they could not retain even their own religion in own land and still worry the most about conversions or anyone going out of Hindu fold.

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  7. I suggest reading Toynbee in unabridged form. He wrote history about 100 years ago – the outbreak of WW1 propelled him to think of history in general terms , he saw similarities between peloponnesian War and WW1 – and is considered dated now. His insights and intuitions can hold even today

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  8. western classical music is failing even in the west. there is a reason hip hop is #1 right now. Cultured Indians need Migos, not Mozart or even Motley Crue

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  9. This is my first comment on this blog, although I have been lurking here for months.

    I would suggest that the Hindu understanding of the Muslim as the ‘other’ is not simply based on reading history textbooks. Rather it comes from direct personal experience . When I was still a child, I always wondered why people fight over religion when it was just a private affair. Later I learned this is just a Hindu viewpoint.

    Five times a day, a Muslim bows down facing before Mecca, in an act of feudal allegiance, and recites that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. As he does so, he understands that he is enjoined in this duty by fellow believers all over the world. The mosque also serves as an economic, cultural and political center. It is here that he is informed about the affairs of the non-muslim and how to counter them. Of course, he is made crystal clear about what to about the non-Muslim thanks to verses in the Quran.

    In contrast, the Hindu goes to a temple whenever he feels like, prays to whatever deity he feels like, and is not obligated to face Varanasi or Tirupati or whatever. The religion being totally disorganized, split into hundreds of sampradayas, the social system being the same, being split into hundreds of castes.

    The Muslim community makes no effort to hide aggression against the non-Muslim. The community itself is incredibly militarized. Almost all the Muslims I know personally go into martial arts, shoot guns or weightlifting. They also never miss a Friday mosque session (even alcohol drinking non serious ones), and are careful to eat only halal. And these are not some jehadis, but modern-educated office grunts.

    When you combine the aggression and the superb organization, the result is a formidable military machine. In the end whether a single Muslim believes in Allah or not is a moot point. The problem is that the Islamic society itself is an organized murder machine, which is only kept at bay by the armed forces and vigilante mob of the non-Islamic state. When those are missing, the consequences are disastrous ( such as what happened in Kashmir in 1990 ).

    The secularist likes to delude himself by thinking that liberalization, modernity, democracy, etc. can somehow ‘enlighten’ the Muslim and relegate religion to some personal sphere. This has been a complete failure all over the world. These abstract values simply cannot compete with primeval, tribal-like loyalty which comes from physically bowing to Mecca and reciting the fundamental tenets of the religion over and over again. In fact, the ‘secular’ (Congress) state completely failed at controlling the rampaging Muslim mobs for over forty years since independance.

    Into this vacuum we have the emergence of Hindutva- a reaction to political Islam. In the medieval age it took shape in the movements of Marathas, Sikhs, Jat rebellions and so on. And in the modern world it is represented by the Hindu right wing forces. It is only under the umbrella of Hindutva that the differences of caste, language, sect and so on disappear in the face of resisting global Islam along with their leftist traitors.

    So if Hindus live in shadow of the Crescent, that is so for very good reasons. I see no reason to think otherwise.

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    1. Almost all the Muslims I know personally go into martial arts, shoot guns or weightlifting.

      the image some islam-skeptical people have of muslims is hilarious, because it matches the fantasies of muslims themselves!!!

      When I was still a child, I always wondered why people fight over religion when it was just a private affair. Later I learned this is just a Hindu viewpoint.

      this is historically ignorant. the privatization of religion is a feature of post-protestant societies, though its purview has been expanded quite a bit. religion is complex societies is and has always been a public matter. consider the anger that hindus feel when non-hindus eat beef in their midst, even in the private spaces of their homes.

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      1. Well it’s tough to parse that out because beef doesn’t come out of replicators and get privately and nonchalantly consumed. It involves killing animals, and creates cultural ripples (to see the end state of this, you can look at American steakhouse culture.)

        I actually don’t see lots of people getting angry about people eating beef per se. The problem comes when you look at public ritual slaughter (Eid), cattle smuggling, lefties celebrating “beef parties,” etc.

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    2. Razib makes valid point arguments , but the overall thesis of Saurabh’s argument is solid. Muslims have string asabiya, great organization that is inbuilt into the structure of their religious practices, and a way for community level action that Hindus largely lack ( except at the micro community level like Swaminarayan). They are also master players when it comes to collective arguments and brand management – note the retreat and conciliatory approach post 911 and of Pakistanis post Osama- abbottabad, how they know to use Western political cleavages to further their agendas ( alliance with left libs), collective tAqqiya when needed..etc

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      1. Saurabh’s argument is solid. Muslims have string asabiya, great organization that is inbuilt into the structure of their religious practices, and a way for community level action that Hindus largely lack ( except at the micro community level like Swaminarayan). They are also master players when it comes to collective

        this is superficially plausible. if muslim asabiya was so strong pakistan would have won a war against india. it didn’t.

        israel beat the arabs despite being outgunned and outnumbered in 48 and 67 due to strong jewish cohesion and collective action (the arab armies on the whole were totally disorganized).

        on the whole islamic civilization was supine and passive until the latter half of the 20th-century after 1800 or so. this view of muslims as natively aggressive is ahistorical, though it is plausible if you look at *particular moments* (also, if you limit to the context of india…but i think the issue then is the substantive nature of hindus, not muslims, who everywhere class with everyone).

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        1. Razib,
          I don’t think your examples disprove my argument about the strength of the Muslim Asabiya / Will of Islam/Muslims. Yes, there will always be defeats and setbacks, some even stretching over decades, the medium to long-term is where you see the asabiya/inevitabel force of islam in action.
          Examples: Take any country with a nominal Muslim majority and follow it over decades. You will see a consolidation of power with the Muslims, dhimmification of minorites if not demographic decimation (which also happens quite frequently) and an inevitability to Muslim/Islamic consolidation of power and instruments of the state. This is such an inevitability that invariably other groups try not to have a seat at the power table, but to just protect their basic interests.
          We saw this in Pakistan post Partition. We have seen and are seeing this in Bangladesh even though Bangladeshis are generally quite a bit more tolerant, secular and even appreciative of their non-Muslim heritage. We have seen this in the Middle-East in any number of countries there. on the other hand, where they are a significant minority, Muslims strive and struggle for power unlike other communities, even challenging majorities on their most cherished /important *things* (Ram mandir in India etc..).
          We see this in action in Western countries where despite setbacks like 9/11, we see a brazenness and a savviness in terms of alliances and exploitation of Western ideals/politics to advance Muslim interests (even though in their own polities they would not grant even a portion of the same rights/priviliges to minorities)…
          The only exceptions I can recall on this front are Indonesia, and Malaysia (but to a lesser degree, and there too with the Bhumiputra thing Muslim supremacy has been constituionalized)..

          Not very eloquent, but hope it clarifies my points.

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        2. Razib: Somehow my response to this comment has not been posted. Not sure if it is stuck in some moderation/review pipeline

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    3. Almost all the Muslims I know personally go into martial arts, shoot guns or weightlifting.

      This sounds like a caricature of the kind being spread around on Whatsapp these days.

      I can counter by saying (truthfully) that almost all the Muslims I know are as atheistic as me, show no religiosity whatsoever (some don’t drink, but that’s like me being a vegetarian; it’s not a religious impulse), do none of the macho stuff you are pointing out, etc.

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  10. “the image some islam-skeptical people have of muslims is hilarious, because it matches the fantasies of muslims themselves!!!”

    I think that what you say is largely true of how muslims would see christian/christian right in that image, considering crusades and stuff. But i dont think median muslim really think themselves as weaker than median hindu , despite the overwhelming numbers dis-advantage. I feel there is something in the subconscious level, because this dynamic happens within Hindu castes as well, lets say Hindu Thakurs/Bhumihars vs dalits ( not notwithstanding overwhelming dalit numbers)

    Could be only my view though.

    “consider the anger that hindus feel when non-hindus eat beef in their midst, even in the private spaces of their homes.”

    On the whole beef-lynching and anger part i would nuance it a bit, that if you notice almost all lynchings have taken in broad daylight and while cattle is being smuggled, and not barging in someone home. So i would say the anger (though there) it still does not manifest itself much. I would say this this a product of “privatization of religion” as u put it. More like eat whatever u want but within ur homes. Dont advertise it , and hurt our religious sentiments.

    Its more to with domination of public space showing who has power on streets rather than beef/cow smuggling per se. We are in majority and you (the other) have to respect our rules.

    Just my 2 cents.

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  11. @CSaurabh

    yeah no. I am Jain dude, supposedly the least martial community and enough people in my community in the US and extended family in India lift weights and do martial arts. My aunt owned multiple gyms at one point.

    Don’t falsely communalize hobbies lol. Plenty of Hindu groups also lift weights, shoot guns, and wrestle. There is a reason all of India’s medals, albeit very few, are in wrestling, boxing, and shooting, with S Asian Muslims winning pretty much 0. Pehlwangiri is a Punjabi thing and more broadly NW herder thing, not a uniquely muslim thing.

    This view of organized bodybuilder marksmen muslim mobs is hilarious. S Asians as a whole need more fitness and self defense in their lives. This issue spares no community. I have seen my fair share of apparently ultra martial jatt sikh kids get bullied to hell and back in my high school and in nearby towns, especially by poor blacks, hispanics, and whites. This whole matter is laughable and far fetched that Muslims are especially way way more martial in culture.

    And if there was any modicum of truth to it in the past, it is changing rapidly. Hinduism is eveangelizing. Globalization is also homogenizing culture. Now everyone wants to be an ak47 wielding mma swole brah

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  12. “the privatization of religion is a feature of post-protestant societies”

    If I am not mistaken, east asian societies don’t care about religion that much, neither now, not in the past. There is no record of chinese or koreans or japanese killing each other in large numbers over religion (though they may have killed each other for other reasons nevertheless). Not only religion is a private matter, it barely matter 5% in the overall scheme of things to a person in east asian societies.

    Hinduism is famously pluralistic, as evident from the peaceful coexistence of multiple religious philosophies in the ancient India ( i know it sounds cliched, but it is well attested.)

    Persecuted minorities like jews and parsis have been able to survive and thrive in India for centuries precisely because religion was a private matter in India.

    There is some truth in the assertion that a vociferous and publicly expressed hinuduism arose as a reation to Islamic conquest.

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    1. Persecuted minorities like jews and parsis have been able to survive and thrive in India for centuries precisely because religion was a private matter in India.

      Or was it because jews and parsis were fraction of the population and never seen as a threat.

      I think Sikhs, Muslims and maybe in the distant past Jains and Buddhist makes sense.

      In the case of Sikhs, is it religion or the possibility of creating a separate state.

      Muslims a Trojan horse to greater Islamic world.

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    2. Also, to add to my comments above, I feel that razib is conflating public expression of culture as public expression of religion. Non-abrahamic religions are organic religions that grew out of their native lands. They are intertwined with the culture of the native land.

      I will argue that a hindu king building a temple to celebrate a victory in a battle, or a good harvest, or the birth of a son is not really an expression of religion, but an expression of culture. Religious beliefs, in the sense of actual theological beliefs, of a person have always remained in the private domain in hindu/east asian societies.

      on the contrary, in the semitic societies the theological beliefs of a person was the concern of his neighbors, and his village, and the state as a whole. during the european inquisitions, people lost their lives over matters such as nature of trinity and like. Islamic societies are so famously stone age that in the streets of pakistan even wondering innocuously that may be more prophets can come after muhammad will probably result in a bullet in the head.

      4+
      1. Religious beliefs, in the sense of actual theological beliefs, of a person have always remained in the private domain in hindu/east asian societies.

        Is casteism religious or cultural.

        When groups do not allow others to use common wells and practice other forms of discrimination, then theological and/or cultural beliefs are no longer in the private domain.

        1+
        1. The issue is that Hindus don’t express themselves by appeals to religious dogma (as opposed to Christians and Muslims), so separating “religious” vs. “cultural” makes less sense in India.

          It makes more sense to look at how mutable a practice is or isn’t, what contexts it appears in, and so on.

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          1. sbarrkum:
            Understand that this is an opportunity to beat Hindus with the casteism stick and hard for you to let go, but consider this. Practices are influenced by both culture and religion (and they are not separate in the first place anyway, especially religions like Hinduism).
            What was being referred to here in the context of theology is about belief. Hindus famously didn’t and still don’t care about whether their neighbor believes, who he believes in and how they practice their belief. This is different from the Abrahamics and the reason why Hinduism/India has always had many different religious schools of thought coexistent through out three millenia of history.
            Hope this makes sense.
            PS: This SriLankan author talks about caste system:”the locally dominant section of the Sudras (Govigama/Vellalar) has created a distinctly Sri Lankan hierarchy with themselves at the top”
            https://groundviews.org/2016/11/24/dealing-with-caste-prejudice-and-inequalities-in-sri-lanka/

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        2. @sbarrkum

          Casteism manifests itself very publicly, of course, but it is a completely cultural/social practice. It has got nothing to do with theology.

          Later hindu texts may have post-facto justified casteism based on religious mumbo-jumbo, but its origin was unmistakably secular. nobody can say that casteism arose because religious texts prescribed it. it was other way round.

          In simplistic terms, casteism was like racism of america. in the days of slavery in america, slaveowners even justified slavery based on bible. it is post-facto justification, plain and simple.

          https://time.com/5171819/christianity-slavery-book-excerpt/

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        3. justanotherlurker,

          Did you read the article. If not read Strongly suggest you do. Its all about the Sri Lankan Tamils who are mainly Hindu.

          The author was Government Agent in Jaffna in mid-1981, the top Civil Service/Administrator for the district. Later a PhD too.

          The author Devanesan Nesaiah says “In India and Nepal, the two Hindu dominated countries, the caste rules are clearly defined (in the Vedas, and more particularly, in the Manu Smriti), and the caste hierarchy has been virtually unchanged for millenia. ”

          As repeated often by me in this forum, Sri Lanka is Shudra country. 50% of the population are farmer caste. (Govigama (sinhala) and Vellala (Tamil). Brahmins are non entities, a few hundreds of recent origin. In the Sinhalese villages, other castes too own land and engage in rice paddy farming

          The very low castes are minuscule in population. Among the Tamils they are still recognized because they live in small groups/villages.

          Among the Sinhalese, almost impossible to identify as dispersed. I am one of the few in my generation who know the different castes and thats an academic interest.

          My late wife was one of low Sinhalese castes mentioned in the article. They are quite comfortable, middle middle class Sri Lankans. Own land houses, work in Banks, Hotels (clerical/supervisory level) and Teachers.

          e top leaders of all the major political parties are Govigama/ Vellalar,
          Not among a Sinhalese. The second President, Ranasinghe Premadasa was from wifes caste. His son Sajith Premadasa a minister for many years is a Presidential candidate for the Nov election.

          Among the Jaffna Tamils whole different story, every single MP is from the Vellala caste. Prabhakaran was from the Kariyar (Karawe-Sinhala) fisher caste (about 10% of the population). Generally well educated, and economically powerful. Among the Sinhalese the Karawe were first millionares and large land owners during Colonial Times. (see http://karava.org/)

          The best thing a marginalized Tamil could do is move to a Sinhalese area, become Buddhist or Christian, change the name and within their lifetime they will be just be another Sinhalese. I know first hand (family friends now) a few families of Indian Estate Tamil origin who have done just that in the Deep South and now married among Sinhalese.

          https://groundviews.org/2016/11/24/dealing-with-caste-prejudice-and-inequalities-in-sri-lanka/

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      2. Scorpion Eater

        “Hinduism is famously pluralistic, as evident from the peaceful coexistence of multiple religious philosophies in the ancient India”

        Is this a joke? Hindu Empires are recorded massacring thousands of Buddhist monks, looting their monasteries, melting down their gold figures to make currency, and using the demolished Buddhist Temples to create Hindu ones. For its part, the Buddhist Mauryans also engaged in acts of violence against Hindus who committed blasphemy against the Buddha.

        “east asian societies don’t care about religion that much”

        They cared a lot, enough to kill for it, like most other societies. Their secularization is a modern phenomenon.

        “Non-Abrahamic religions are organic and grew out of their native land”.

        Considering neither Hinduism nor Buddhism fit this mold, I’m wondering what religion you could be referencing. Shinto, perhaps?

        “In the semitic societies the theological beliefs of a person was the concern of his neighbors”

        Nope. In Islamic societies at least, an individual was free to be as sinful as he wanted in public. It was only when he went public with his blasphemy could he be punished, which isn’t any different than Hindu-India historically.

        “Islamic societies are so famously stone age…”

        I’d avoid calling other peoples societies “stone-age” or other such monikers when your own boasts modern practices that include drinking cow urine and bathing in cow feces (not to mention past practices like Sati). Its best to avoid mean-spirited name calling and just discuss the issues, especially when Hindu-India has much more material to draw from than Islamic societies, should we go the former route.

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        1. They cared a lot, enough to kill for it, like most other societies. Their secularization is a modern phenomenon.

          you are wrong in a literal sense. please don’t repeat this wrongness again or i will accuse you of being a liar.

          oda nobunaga and the tang persecution of buddhists are premodern and indicate the tendency to secularize which is quite ancient and dominant in *sinc* civilization.

          of course east asians were quite religious often and religion mattered. the founder of the ming dynasy emerged out of a post-manichaean millennarian cult. BUT once he was in power he took the standard confucian stance which subordinated religions like buddhism to temporal power.

          finally, the history of the joseon in korea shows the drive toward secularization which predated the modern period, which was reversed and rolled-back after ww2 with confessionalization (the % of buddhists and christians shot up through western style competition).

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          1. We disagree on what “temporal power” was. To my (and others) eyes, this was just as much a religion as Buddhism, but rather than bowing to Buddha, you were forced to bow to the Emperor, whose authority wasn’t just based on strength and lineage, but actual divine favor.

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        2. For its part, the Buddhist Mauryans also engaged in acts of violence against Hindus who committed blasphemy against the Buddha.,

          Pre Asoka, none of the Mauryans were Buddhist. It was after the Kalinga War (and killing of many) that Asoka renounced war and became a Buddhist.

          2+
  13. We disagree on what “temporal power” was. To my (and others) eyes, this was just as much a religion as Buddhism, but rather than bowing to Buddha, you were forced to bow to the Emperor, whose authority wasn’t just based on strength and lineage, but actual divine favor.

    no, tien (“heaven”) is not shangdi. it’s not a god. so it is not “divine” favor. it is “heaven’s favor.” a better analogy would be “karmic” favor since heaven is a impersonal force in a monistic framework. the “mandate of heaven” is more like fate than being god’s special son (“son of heaven”).

    i can accede that it’s not technically ‘secular’. but elite religious confession did not have the role in east asia that it had in southeast asia, south asian, and western eurasia. that is pretty clear and distinctive.

    if you expand the term ‘religion’ to ‘political religion’ than yes you are right, but then the term religion loses all informative value.

    confucian mandarins were initially confused at how seriously western elites took supernatural religion. one reason that voltaire and other 18th-century philosophs often commented favorably upon china.

    basically, it is as if china made the shift to ethical deism in the 10th-century BCE with the crystallization of the zhou politiacl order. (at least on the elite level)

    5+
  14. I’m more curious about why Western liberals have become Islamophilic.

    On the one hand, as it relates to Middle Eastern affairs, I have some understanding of why Western liberals are Islamophiles.

    For whatever reasons (that to me sometimes appear irrational), Western liberals are steeped in white guilt and have some sort of Jesus complex where they want to assume all the sins of the people they once colonized. So in the context of Middle Eastern postmodern postcolonial studies, this translates to Western liberals blaming colonialism for all that is bad in the Middle East.

    It follows that, in the context of South Asian postmodern postcolonial studies, Western liberals blame colonialism for all that is bad in South Asia.

    However, they seem to go one step further when it comes to South Asia. They defend all that is Islamic in South Asia and despise all that is Hindu in South Asia.

    Is this due to some specific / particular circumstances (e.g., some Indians in India preferring Republican Presidents who are perceived to have been more friendly to India) or is there something more behind it?

    3+
  15. hmbrough:
    I remember you once writing that you have come to the conclusion that you’ll never be fully American and that has led you to embrace your Indian background a bit more..
    you should do a post on your experience growing up as an Indian American here and your journey- what you have learned, how you have changed etc..would be interesting and helpful for first gen immigrants like me

    3+
      1. Yeah, it is personal and a very long story. I may write about it someday, but not in the near future…and I am only in my late 20s, so I may change my mind.

        I will share the straw that broke the camel’s back, though. It was when I was reading some people on Twitter remarking (positively) about the East Asian propensity to take White nicknames, as compared to the Indian refusal to do so.

        I’m not an idealist. If you name your kid Mritwunjay or Raghavendra, you’re asking for trouble. Because some of the phonemes you are using don’t exist in English!

        But the issue is, my parents had factored all that in. For me, they chose a two-syllable name with only English phonemes. They then modified the Romanized spelling to help English speakers further.

        And still, I’ve gone through life with my name getting butchered every day, and then I hear people wondering about what the problem with brown people is, why they can’t be more like Chinese and pick nice White names.

        (However, Spanish speakers handle my name very easily.)

        What this matter told me was that even if you do your best to align yourself and your culture with White expectations and limitations, they’ll still reject you and trash you. After that, I stopped caring about what Whites think, and stopped identifying as primarily American.

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        1. Thanks for sharing. You don’t say it explicitly but the assumption is that white folks butcher your name on purpose as a way of othering or to mock you?

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          1. Maybe some do. But we shouldn’t assume malice where laziness and stupidity will suffice.

            Yet I also think there is a strong strain of nativism and racism in these Whites, which is why they are offended by things like “Vipul” and “Puja,” but have no issue with the far more complex “Elizabeth.”

            I used to think “I should be nice, my name isn’t an English name after all.” Well, my name isn’t a Spanish name either! Why do Spanish speakers have much less of an issue with pronouncing my name? It’s just sheer indolence and nativism on the part of the Whites. Nothing more.

            4+
  16. “Hindu Empires are recorded massacring thousands of Buddhist monks, looting their monasteries, melting down their gold figures to make currency, and using the demolished Buddhist Temples to create Hindu ones.”

    Typical fact-free rant. this is below even the wikipedia level scholarship; more like whatsapp level scholarship. There is centuries long record of crusades and jihads and intra-christian wars of religion in Abrahamic societies. Hindu-buddhist conflict, if it was ever was a real thing, never even came close to that.

    (Yes, I have heard of Mihirkula the Hun, and his vandalism of buddhist monasteries, but it is unclear how much of an Indian and a Hindu he was).

    “For its part, the Buddhist Mauryans also engaged in acts of violence against Hindus who committed blasphemy against the Buddha.”

    Mauryans were both hindus and buddists (and occasionally jain too – first mauryan emperor chandragupta-I is known to have renounced the world as a jain). This tendency to view the religion of a person from the lens of an either-or binary betrays a typical Abrahamic mindset. believe it or not, a person can have multiple religions.

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    1. ” a person can have multiple religions.” I think i like this. I will be a muslim whenever I want multiple wives and I will be a Jew when I want some solace in death (as in i’m already “saved”). I am a budhist when I meditate and I’m a hindu whenever I do yoga or oppress “lower castes”. I am a Christian whenever I want to enjoy that fresh, crunchy bacon!

      1+
  17. One should go through this whole thread see the fallacy of trying to define something in relation to Other.

    The problem – It is one of the ways early Orientalists de-legitimized the natives views about their own culture & ultimately the questions Orientalists asked formed the frameworks of engagement thus essentially restricting the natives abilities of responding & answering of the questions.

    For e.g. – Check the following paper trying to deal with the term ‘religion’ & what the term should entail or why it should be avoided.

    https://www.academia.edu/40714256/Title_Toward_a_Volitional_Definition_of_Religion_1

    The idea is to simple delegitimize natives & then create term of engagement to force natives to respond to the narratives legitimized by ‘Others’.

    2+
    1. Deep,

      This is a pattern I consistently note among the Christians/Muslims who try to understand Hinduism. They view it from their own lens of abrahamic traditions. Even well meaning Muslims, like those who seek common ground between Hinduism and Islam and sprout Do-Aabi tehzeeb jokes, fall in this trap.

      I never fail to get amused when I find well meaning Muslims teaching Hindus that core Hinduism is monotheistic in nature, just like Islam. The point they never get is that this issue is not even important to Hindus. Eastern religions have never made theological differences a matter of life and death. These issues are academic in nature in eastern cultures, almost like competing theories of physics.

      Take the Shia-Sunni feud for example. The fracas is ultimately theological in nature. (It was originally a political dispute which turned theological. Basically Sunnis are pissed that Shias attach – subtly and sometimes not so subtly- divine attributes to Ali and his progeny). ISIS murderous campaign against Shias in Iraq was driven by this theological schism. (after all, politically Shias were on the side same side as Sunnis. They both were fighting infidel Americans).

      The equivalent of this feud in Hindu context will be – a bunch of Advaitvaad fellows banding together and declaring – lets put to sword all those heretical Dvaitvaadis. Sounds ludicrous? Because it is.

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      1. This is a pattern I consistently note among the Christians/Muslims who try to understand Hinduism.

        I am surprised you did not include Buddhists.

        Practicing or those who have not rejected Christianity/Hindu/Islam/Buddhist will contort themselves to prove that their sacred texts conform to modern ideals*

        a) Equality among women
        b) Equality among peoples
        c) LBGT (and whatever other)

        Just a cursory reading of any of the sacred texts would prove they dont say anything of the sort ( I could also use big words like fallacy).

        Believe what you wish, it is all a pile of bull shit to keep people down.

        To add, a-c are not true either.

        0
        1. I completely agree with you there that people see everything perfect in what they are following but my point was completely different which while both of you grasped but moved on from the central issue which i was trying to project on to the way the Original post is trying to describe Hindus by seeing them in relation to Others.

          Let me try again –

          One way to understand Hindu beliefs & practices as they describe & as one observes them in action furthermore to gain a deeper understanding one may try to participate in rituals & festivals to formulate their opinion. {Modern anthropological trend}

          Another way is to completely delegitimize Hindu or native narratives by question them from your own positions –
          Like creating false theories {After Aryan invasion Aryans imposed the caste system on real inhabitants of India aka Dravidians.} or appropriating alternative myths like Mahishasura folk tales because they suit the objective of Academia to question Hindu Myths.

          https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/reimagining-myths-to-unleash-empathy-and-challenge-the-mythologization-of-history/cid/1713789

          Why did the academia felt the need to pit different accounts of Hindu beliefs against one another whereas for other religions the similar different behavior of various communities are proofs of diversity within them ? Why this different treatment of similar phenomenon ? Academia also does not compare which religions retain greater amount of indigenous beliefs & features instead it tries to show how all religions are similar in the name of inter or Intra religious studies.

          Furthermore another delegitimization method is to question prevalent language translation & narratives all in the name of true understanding & unpacking of history thus leaving no space for understanding the cultural evolution of the regions. This allowed greater space for ‘missionary’ religions {Since colonial period} as they projected themselves as benevolent saviors of the masses & able to characterize the prevalent Hindu, folk or indigenous beliefs as inferior or degrading of humans or appropriated them to gain converts.

          For e.g. –
          Silence Deconstruction of Faith {Japanese reaction to Missionaries}
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj7SGe7FcYE&fbclid=IwAR1fcbLJclqaEwMz0cl0ykiZnKlSx0yMWuHb9a42DWVfW2rFy3CJ5vftt40

          If one wants to completely overlook Hindus yet want to describe them one can do so by always finding the Other to keep the narrative out of the hands of Hindus by keeping focus on Others –
          Hindus Vs Tribals
          Hindus Vs Buddhists
          Hindus Vs Muslims
          Hindus Vs Christians
          or
          Various methods of inquiry like Freudian analysis aka Wendy Doniger saga.

          Meanwhile various falsehoods & myths about community remain prevalent all over the world, that’s where the real problem is with regards to Hindus.

          4+
      2. I never fail to get amused when I find well meaning Muslims teaching Hindus that core Hinduism is monotheistic in nature, just like Islam. The point they never get is that this issue is not even important to Hindus. Eastern religions have never made theological differences a matter of life and death. These issues are academic in nature in eastern cultures, almost like competing theories of physics.

        you amuse me too sir! theology has never been a major concern in islam or judaism, but is a particular fixation of christianity. islam and judaism devote much greater resources to issues of practice after a few initial simple theological propositions (apostasy in islam is a social and political crime, not a theological one; the ‘theology’ of orthodox jews comes partly from maimonides et al. who were clearly influenced by hellenic winds…).

        [the main exception are some sects of shia islam, especially the ghulat ones, which have extended early islamic theology quite a bit]

        also, the weird thing is lots of hindus now do the “well actually hinduism is monotheistic” thing. i’ll leave it to believers to sort out.

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        1. “also, the weird thing is lots of hindus now do the “well actually hinduism is monotheistic” thing. i’ll leave it to believers to sort out.”

          Well that’s the fate of all religions. To survive (and grow), root out all heretic practices to become more “linear”. They see their diversity as their weakness. There is already push for “one god, one book, one language” on lines of Abrahmic faith.

          Looking strictly at the success of the Abrahamic faith, they feel this is way to go, and frankly who could blame them.

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          1. Well that’s the fate of all religions. To survive (and grow), root out all heretic practices to become more “linear”. They see their diversity as their weakness. There is already push for “one god, one book, one language” on lines of Abrahmic faith.

            what idiocy is this? one book and one language? do you know anything about christianity and judaism?

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          2. Christianity and Judaism are far too small in India to be seen as any representative of Abrahamic faith, the only Abrahamic faith that matters is Islam.

            For the outsider lay man Hindu, Bible is the Koran of Christians. So the want/search of their own “one book”. If you ask a person on street he would not know that orthodox and protestant even exist.

            Ditto the same fascination with one language, to make Hindi/Sanskrit the Arabic of Hinduism.

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        2. “also, the weird thing is lots of hindus now do the “well actually hinduism is monotheistic” thing. i’ll leave it to believers to sort out.”

          500 years of Muslim rule and 250 years of Christian rule shoved down on Hindus the idea that anything other than monotheism is savagery. While monotheism exists within the Hindu fold, its undue emphasis is a way for Hindus to try to tell the Muslims and Christians that they’re not savages; that Hinduism, too, has merit.

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  18. “apostasy in islam is a social and political crime, not a theological one”

    I know that. but Shirk and Khatam-an-Nabiyyin are purely theological issues, and people have died because of them.

    In the streets of pak, if you claim that you are the next messenger of god, you will probably be killed before you can even finish your sermon. In India people have claimed to be not just messenger of god, but god himself, and lived happily among their disciples (sathya sai baba, osho etc). millions believed them and millions didn’t. it didn’t matter because these are trivial issues for hindus.

    there is a reason abrahamic religious teachers either die on the cross, or get executed by firing squad (Baab), or die in prison (Bahaullah), or kill off their enemies and live to tell the tale (no need to name this one 🙂 ). by contrast confucius, lao-zi , buddha, mahavira all lived till ripe old age and died of natural causes.

    the difference in importance people attach to religion in abrahamic and non-abrahamic cultures is stark and conspicuous, if you choose to see.

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    1. “In Pakistan if you claim another messenger, you will be killed, doing so in Hindu India, nobody cares”.

      Yes, because doing so is blasphemy in Islam, but not Hinduism. By the same token, if you attempt to slaughter a cow or eat beef openly in India, you will be killed. Do it in Pakistan nobody cares.

      The point is both Hindus and Muslims will kill you for public displays of blasphemy.

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      1. Indthings, beef eating is common enough in india. Cow protection varies across regions and probably relates to cultural orthodoxy more than religious blasphemy because in many places upper castes permit, if not encourage, outcastes to consume it. Furthermore, heterodox traditions like sikhism also prohibit cow slaughter, indicating some deeper cultural inclination in punjab to honor cows and valorize cattle husbandry. Regarding muslim punjabis, I’m always surprised at how little beef you guys eat. I know its there, but in my experience it ranks far below goat and chicken in your diet, whereas south indian muslims seem to live on beef.

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        1. From what I’ve read the only places where its legal to slaughter and eat beef (not buffalo or bull) is Kerala and the East-Indian states that have traditionally not had orthodox views on this. So in the vast majority of India its illegal. There are also a minority of places in the Muslim world where you are free to engage in blasphemy against Islam.

          I don’t like beef. The Punjabi part of my family eats goat, lamb, and chicken 90% of the time, and beef maybe 10%. I don’t know about Indian Muslims and their beef consumption.

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          1. “By the same token, if you attempt to slaughter a cow or eat beef openly in India, you will be killed.”

            Different states have different laws with respect to cow slaughter with well defined penalties (no death penalty). Also, buffalo meat is usually freely available and I have enjoyed it often on my trips to Old Delhi.

            Most of the ‘cow lynching’ stories that you read about are in relation to cattle theft rather than cattle slaughter. It’s a problem throughout northern Indian sub-continent, including in Pakistan due to the low capacity of the state to enforce laws.

            Obviously, playing up the slaughter angle helps massage these stories.

            As for why these restrictions exist, that’s something societies have to decide for themselves. You can have a larger philosophical debate around it.
            For example, in the US, it is a federal crime to slaughter cats and dogs for meat. By comparison, India doesn’t have a central law and different states are given the liberty to decide for themselves.

            Making a hullabaloo specifically about beef is a sort of Euro-centricism.

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          2. To my knowledge there aren’t wide restrictions on consuming beef in the states where slaughter is restricted, you can eat a wagyu filet mignon at a restaurant in delhi if you wish. So most licensed slaughterhouses are concentrated in specific jurisdictions, and cattle gets traded across borders. Another thing the beef industry does in states that nominally have restrictions on cow slaughter (but not other cattle) is work loopholes for waivers. So facilities that are mainly processing buffalo and steer meat, end up having documentation allowing cow to be processed as well under the claim that the animal is barren or doesnt lactate. In the end everything goes. Most of the laws were originally framed for the purpose of cattle preservation and were common to Pakistan as well, until individual states began strengthening the restrictions in accord with the sensibilities of the dominant social groups.

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          3. I don’t like beef. The Punjabi part of my family eats goat, lamb, and chicken 90% of the time, and beef maybe 10%. I don’t know about Indian Muslims and their beef consumption.

            my fam eats a lot of beef. beef curry was huge growing up.

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  19. the difference in importance people attach to religion in abrahamic and non-abrahamic cultures is stark and conspicuous, if you choose to see.

    this is a false dichotomy. indians and southeast asians attach quite a bit of importance to religion. east asians less.

    there is a reason abrahamic religious teachers either die on the cross, or get executed by firing squad (Baab), or die in prison (Bahaullah), or kill off their enemies and live to tell the tale (no need to name this one 🙂 ). by contrast confucius, lao-zi , buddha, mahavira all lived till ripe old age and died of natural causes.

    this is a stupid analogy. the ‘totalitarian’ control from above and below of 19th-century (early modern) societies qualitatively different from pre-modern ones. you can’t compare to people who lived thousands of years before the present.

    the crufixition of jesus was not religious. it was political. man’s death as well.

    I know that. but Shirk and Khatam-an-Nabiyyin are purely theological issues, and people have died because of them.

    the latter isn’t a matter of theology. theology is a discussion of the nature of god. shirk is minimally theological, but as i noted above deep explorations of the topic are not common in sunni islam to the level of sophisticate you see in some forms of shiism and in traditional christianity.

    instead of you theology you mean orthodoxy.

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    1. Can there be a Orthodoxy without a belief system ? If not then why differentiate between religion & ideologies and Orthodoxy, theology & Non-orthodoxy ? The only reason to differentiate them is to weaken the existing ‘belief’ to present a ‘New belief’ as the better belief or a better alternate system.

      I am glad that you didn’t impose your taste afterall what’s the point of engagement without contrarian views & i posted that long post because i wanted to keep the focus on community in question i.e. Hindus & not on the others.

      Only Hindus who get international representation are either far left Indians {from West or from India} or right win nutjobs like Ram Madhav & everything in between these extremes is not allowed to have any voice in international arena with regards to Hindus.

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    2. “the latter isn’t a matter of theology. theology is a discussion of the nature of god…”

      This is semantic gymnastics. it doesn’t matter if these issues are theology or orthodoxy or anything else. let’s just call them “issues pertaining to religion”. my point is – hinduism and east asian religions display a free thinking and democratic spirit in matters pertaining to religion which is absent in abrahamic religions.

      do you know that when dalits leave hinduism and convert to buddhism, they take vows that explicitly reject the authority of hindu gods, (in fact naming them individually). can you imagine such an openness in any off-shoot of islam or christianity?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit_Buddhist_movement#Twenty-two_vows

      in fact a more valid point was raised by indthings (without probably him realizing it. his responses are usually mechanical a-jibe-for-a-jibe). he correctly points out the massive offence common hindu takes over the issue of cow-slaughter. i am capable of thinking from the “other” side, and can completely understand the bewilderment non-hindus feel over a supposedly trivial issue like food item. also, we can’t brush aside the issue as a social issue, for there are enough references available in hindu religious scriptures regarding prohibition against cow slaughter.

      the best answer i can give is that this does prove that each religion has its red-lines, but these are *completely different* red lines. this gives each religion a completely different texture. they mold their practitioners in completely different mindsets. religions shape the mindset and worldview of their practitioners, and that ultimately shapes the world events.

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      1. . they mold their practitioners in completely different mindsets. religions shape the mindset and worldview of their practitioners, and that ultimately shapes the world events.

        right. this is a normal viewpoint.

        but as someone who knows much more about this topic than you i can assure you you are wrong. repeating yourself won’t change that 🙂 your whole argument rests on semantics and a decent understanding of history. so it’s weird you dismiss stuff as semantics.

        [tho even by your logic you make elementary errors; arguably islam, orthodox judaism, and reformed protestantism are the most ‘democratic’ religions since there isn’t a clerisy that has exclusive access to sacraments of any sort]

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  20. I saw couple naïve remarks about classical music from people, most likely, have no idea about this topic. I hope some were listening Arrival of Queen of Sheba I posted recently (re Fortunate Arabia). There are waltzes (Polish and Serbian) from two Arians’ descendants (it means, SA cousins):

    Frédéric Chopin – Spring Waltz

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0hFZPvanMs

    Jovan Ivanovic – Waves of Danube

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_JfeceTAzs

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  21. Hindus are now also beginning recognize the Muslim as the ‘Other’ internationally. Whether it is Turkey or Malaysia supporting Pakistan at the UN, or or Ilhan Omar hyperventilating on Kashmir ( which she has no racial or national connections to ), Ummah-hood is on full display, and the Hindu has no problem drawing conclusions about the nature of the Muslim. Even so called atheist like Atish Taseer support Muslim causes . Hindutva, of course, is the answer to Ummah-hood – it attempts to create a global community of Hindus all over the world. So it is no longer about India vs Pakistan, but global Hinduism vs global Islam. In the coming years, I predict the battle lines to be drawn more closely.

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    1. Sorry to belabor the point, but what’s more frustrating is that Western liberals support the Ummah. It’s certainly turning me away from Western liberals, even though I though I shared their principles that they’ve now sold out in favor of the Ummah.

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  22. Mom’s side settled in Hyderbad in the 50s. Hyderabad is also beef friendly. It is the Haleem Heartland’s capital in India

    Idk about other cities. But like 5am daily there is an annoying public disturbance of loud ass arabic prayers blasted on intercoms city wide.

    Can’t expect much better from Owasi Land

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