Cultural evolution at work!

‘God Will Protect Us’: Coronavirus Spreads Through an Already Struggling Pakistan:

And the extremist clerics who often heckle or march against the civilian government, with the tacit approval of the military, are refusing to help. They largely ignored Mr. Khan’s call to limit Friday prayer gatherings. And even after the military deployed to try to enforce a lockdown, several clerics made videos that went viral in recent days, urging Pakistanis to come back to the mosques to worship.

To avoid mosques on Fridays would only invite God’s wrath at a time when people need his mercy, the clerics warned.

“We cannot skip Friday prayers because of fears of coronavirus,” said Shabbir Chand, a trader who attended a packed service in Karachi, the country’s biggest city. “Instead, we should gather in even larger numbers in mosques to pray to God to protect us from this fatal disease.”

One of the major aspects of Islam that some Hindu nationalists are obviously jealous of is its seeming unitary cohesion. A hadith attributed to Muhammad is that “the Ummah shall not agree upon error.” And Muslims famously come together weekly to pray together.

But in a time of coronavirus, the fractured and somewhat antisocial aspect of Hindu religion may have some benefits.

39 thoughts on “Cultural evolution at work!”

  1. Hinduism is not a congregational religion i.e. it does not mandate congregation. For that matter it does not mandate anything. Hinduism encourages individual spiritual seeking. It is not so much fractured as it is a spirituality individualistic religion which is why you can have your own path to salvation. There is no ecclesiastical hierarchy or centralized diktats that you have to submit to. It is the decentralized nature of the religion that enabled it to survive invasions, evolve and assimilate. I don’t think anybody including Hindutva people seek to change this aspect of the religion. If it does lose this aspect, then the religion will become less attractive, but this is scenario is rather implausible.

    1. “Hinduism is not a congregational religion”

      That was true. But if you ask me the recent muscle which Hinduism has acquired is due to congregation only. The “Hindu-ization” of OBC-SC is more due to various Pandals/Melas/Visarjan culture rather than what “individualistic religion” could do in 1000s of years.

      The militarization of Sikh “Quom” similarly started with annual congregation at Baisakhi.

      1. There is difference between gathering for religious functions/festivals which always used to happen in Hinduism vs mandated regular gatherings where there is a preacher who tells you how to live/passes religious diktats. This is still not the case in Hinduism. At the end of the day no amount of monkey balancing can change the fact that religions are different in terms of the amount of flexibility that they offer. Some people might like Abrahamic religions with strict diktats etc. but that’s their choice. No point suggesting that every religion has the same elements

        1. // At the end of the day no amount of monkey balancing can change the fact that religions are different in terms of the amount of flexibility that they offer. //

          I agree with you but with a caveat that flexibility of any system depends upon the way it sets up ‘terms of engagement’ & ‘reciprocity’.

          It is also true that Hinduism has lost & losing it’s individualistic features which you don’t seem to be acknowledging. I am in favor of honest acknowledgement of what has happened & is happening rather than having any nostalgic attachment to any side though i like to challenge people about 1 topic i.e. Caste. People in India need to move beyond India’s colonization & partition to make sense of their experience both historically till now.

          1. People are confusing the formation of a political identity with spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom in terms of choosing to following monism( exemplified by Advaita Vedanta) or chosing your own favorite ishatadevta or choosing to reject God like the Carkavas or choosing to be a polytheist remains. There are no set rules for the spiritual path that you want to follow because there is no centralized authority or one scripture( one book) based authority framing the rules. The individual spiritual freedom in Hinduism has actually increased because in the past people were more likely to follow only one sampradaya at a time. Now people have more information and access to a variety of sampradayas/traditions. For example : I like to appreciate Veerashaiva , Vedanta and Jain philosophies as i have access to it unlike in the past where you had one guru/sampradaya to rely on and had to change gurus to get more information. You also see many people increasingly take on the badge of the Carvaka traditions which was heavily critiqued in its own time and subsequently died out.
            Politically, Hinduism has a more collectivised identity now. This political identity has been useful and essential to fight the evil of the caste system by uniting Hindus under a common political identity. The drawback of Hinduism was that the society had caste, this is being corrected with political Hindutva, through means of a common identity.
            Thus we have an ideal combination of common political identity, but more spiritual freedom with greater access to other sampradyas because of technology and co-mingling of people from different regions, castes and sampradays.

    2. // I don’t think anybody including Hindutva people seek to change this aspect of the religion. //

      You are wrong about this though. I have seen both sides {Left or Right wings} attacking ‘disunity’ or rather ‘diversity’ within Hinduism for their own political & other purposes.

      1. Again confusing political unity with spiritual diversity. The two concepts are different. Annihilation of caste via political unity while increasing spiritual diversity with technology/co-mingling of multiple dharmic sampradyas, multiple Gods, multiple paths is the ideal combination. My grandparents used to visit Ramakrishna Ashrama regularly though they were South Indians. They also continued their own traditions at home. They got access to more spiritual paths i.e. there was more access to spiritual diversity but they also developed a shared, common identity with the larger dharmic fold

        1. Attitudes of left/right to two different concepts 1)political (dis)unity 2) spiritual diversity:
          Political unity in Hinduism is desirable to annihilate caste. In the past political identity was along caste/kinship lines. Having caste is not an “individualistic feature” rather it is a kinship based group identity. Hierarchy/political disunity is not diversity. Hindu society has lost some elements of this feature of casteist disunity which should be appreciated. Much more work needs to be done though. The right is working on correcting this via common identity. The left just wants to use caste to attack hinduism but they don’t want hindus to annihilate caste and unite because that will end the muslim veto in Indian politics.
          Spiritual diversity in Hinduism is desirable because it allows people to conceive of the transcendent in a way that appeals to them. Some people conceive of the transcendent as an abstract universal consciousness(as in Vedanta) and others want to conceive of a dualistic personal God or others conceive of an entire pantheon. This is the individualistic aspect of Hinduism focused on a spiritual path that you like. The left does not acknowledge the spiritual freedom of Hinduism because it is desirable. The right tends to praise this diversity as they value all Indic traditions be it Vedanta or Ramakrishna traditions or some other tradition.
          In sum:
          Spiritual diversity : Good and increasing in Hinduism as you can sample multiple sampradayas at a time in a all-you-can-eat spiritual buffet unlike in the past where it was typically one at a time
          Caste hierarchy : Bad and decreasing in Hinduism due to common political identity.

          1. First of all idea of political unity & spiritual diversity is nice but does not work on ground because people have personal interests & so they exploit the system for their benefits.

            The Idea of Individual & collective is about system and system’s abilities to balance it out for both types of people, there are creative people who would prefer absolute ‘Individualistic’ freedom but most people tend to prefer a ‘collective social’ system which helps them make some sense in life {personally i find life to be nihilistic}.

            See i am not denying your claims of Political collectivism aka Hindutva Vs. Spiritual freedom but what i am saying is that they are not easily distinguishable & have far too many overlaps to make such clear distinctions {same is true for other religions & communities too}.


            Regarding Caste have you ever tried to understand why they got formed ? What is caste acc. to you ?

            Here is a thought experiment – Define the features by which communities can differentiate as well as identify themselves ? Also ask yourself is it possible that specialization may become a source for fragmentation among social groups ?

  2. Do muslims follow only the Quran or they follow the Bible also ?

    Christian pastor who thought COVID-19 is just ‘mass hysteria’ is among the first in Virginia to die from virus

    Again, it is written, ‘You shall not test the Lord, your God.”
    God’s promises are there for us when we need them;
    To manipulate situations in an attempt *to coerce God into fulfilling His promises* is evil

    1. @marees

      That story on the pastor at Rawstory was only true as far as he was a pastor who died of the virus. The Friendly Atheist writer who was the source of the story, downplayed the pastor’s comments that he thought that the virus was a serious issue, and misstated the ones where he felt that the media had hijacked the issue to attack Trump. He did this for obvious reasons.
      Really quite disgusting in a way.

  3. there have been religious gatherings of Hindus also in the last 2 weeks, and hopefully they would be stamped out soon for the duration of the covid. Even Yogi Adityanath is getting into the act

  4. Man i am now scared. Everyone is predicting doomsday scenario in next weeks/month for US/India/Pakistan.

    It cant/wont get that bad, right?

    1. Man i am now scared. Everyone is predicting doomsday scenario in next weeks/month for US/India/Pakistan.

      It cant/wont get that bad, right?

      For the US looks like it is possibly in the cards. There is an leader totally inappropriate for these times leading the country.

      See the first graph in this article.

      Also have look at the stats below. All columns are sortable so you can decide on important variable.

      I tend to focus on last two columns.
      cases/1M and deaths/1M

      The US is still not in the “top ten” in the above two columns, However, it is getting there.

      US is now the “top of the Pops” with total number cases.

  5. My dad likes to sing the following at karaoke during gatherings. Maybe Kabir can grace us with his voice and post a recording. I mean that seriously. I like his singing, from what I googled.

    Tuta tuta ek parinda aise tuta ke phir judna paaya
    Luta luta kisne usko aise luta ke phir udna paaya
    Girta hua woh aasma se aake gira zaameen par
    Khwabon mein phir be baadal he the woh kehta raha magar
    Ke allah ke bandhe hasde, allah ke bandhe
    Allah ke bandhe hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega
    Allah ke bandhe hasde, allah ke bandhe
    Allah ke bandhe hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega
    Kho ke aapne par hi to usne tha udna sikhaaaa
    Kho ke aapne par hi to
    Kho ke aapne par hi to usne tha udna sikhaaaa
    Ghum ko aapne saath mein lele dard bhi tere kaam aayegaa
    Allah ke bandhe hasde Allah ke bandhe
    Allah ke bandhe hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega
    Tukde tukde ho gayatha har sapna jab woh tutaaa
    Tukde tukde ho gayatha har sapna jab woh tutaaa
    Bikhre tukdon ke mein allah ki marzi ka manjar aayega
    Allah ke bandhe hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega
    Allah ke bandhe hasde, allah ke bandhe
    Allah ke bandhe hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega

    1. Further I really hope the heat or humidity hypothesis is true otherwise I see a lot for suffering in South Asian countries in the months to come.

      Anecdoatal evidence
      Thomian F/O Sean who attended Roy / Tho on 2nd day will be discharged tmrw morning from IDH.. So far no Roy / Tho spectator is admitted to IDH* nor to any hospital for the past 13 days.. This is great! BE SAFE !!!

      Power of Vodka — ?? update from NL Perera


      One visitor (Sean) later tested positive attended the the 3 days (yes 3 day) 140th Royal Thomian, the second longest cricket match played in the world. All who were at the tent (stand) self quarantined and so far no one has fallen sick and or needed medical examination. Surprisingly no alcohol poisoning either

      This is a video from 2018. No change this year too

      Counter Evidence
      Malaysia Tot Case:2,161 deaths: 26

      I think this is the air-conditioning factor.

    2. “Egypt’s famous Al Azhar Mosque has issued a fatwa permitting Pakistani mosques to be closed per President Alvi’s request:”

      as a fellow brown nation, pak breaks my heart when they look up to arabs to give them guidance on islam.

      can’t they find a shuddh desi maulawi locally to issue a damn fatwa?

      1. Why though, for the most part S-American catholics used 2 look to an European pope for guidance, even though they formed the largest contingent of catholics.

        Though in this case, i am not sure an Egyptian arab would do the trick though. It has to be an Arab-arab.

        1. you are mistaken. pope is the head of catholic church. his ethnicity does not matter. all catholics have to accept his authority. you cant be a catholic and not accept the authority of the pope.

          by contrast sunni islam does not have a universally accepted caliph. last true caliph died rolled up in a carpet and getting trampled under the hooves of sturdy mongol horses. since then every (sunni) muslim has as much authority as the other one.

          1. “his ethnicity does not matter..”

            Well the only people who used to say that were folks who got to become the Pope ie Europeans.


            “First Latin American pope ‘very exciting,’ faithful say”

            “Even though about 480 million of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics live in Latin America, for centuries, the church’s top job has gone to Europeans.

            In Latin America there are millions of Catholics and truly it has been a bit forgotten by the church. Now we feel very represented, and proud.

            “Today is a historic day. … For the first time in 2,000 years of the church there is going to be a pope that comes from Latin America,”

            In short, Ethnicity ALWAYS matters

      2. One of my friends is a Kuwaiti Arab, and he’s back in Kuwait right now. He told me that, either in kuwait or in Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Mosque stopped this Friday’s prayers for the first time in 1,300 or so years.

        So even Arabs are not doing group prayers, but Pakistanis are for some reason.

      3. Al Azhar is the most respected institution in Sunni Islam.

        However, even the fatwa from them seems to not have worked since the federal government has not been able to convince religious leaders to cancel Jumma prayers. I believe Sindh and Baluchistan have closed mosques though.

        1. As i said it has to come from an Arab-arab to have a chance of working, not from like semi-arabs

  6. (warning: not entirely on topic) And yet one aspect that intrigues me is that, having announced more COVID cases, Pakistan has fewer deaths than India, and that death gap is increasing: as of now 9 Pakistanis are dead while 20 Indians are.

    Some plausible explanations I can think of:
    (i) Pakistani population may be healthier than Indian population.
    (ii) Pakistanis mostly got the virus from Iran, and Iran seems to have a smaller case fatality rate – a milder mutation of the virus?
    (iii) Pakistani cases are in clusters and hence better handleable.
    (iv) Humidity in Karachi?
    (v) Some difference in the way they do BCG or other vaccines?
    (vi) Sometimes health systems in relatively poorer countries work better in certain respects; for many purposes I might trust a “middle class hospital” more than a “rich hospital”. Perhaps some aspects of Pakistan’s health care system are superior?

    There is at least one aspect which I find Pakistan to be doing incontestably better than India – by modifying the following link with any recent date, you can get data about cumulative tests performed up to date and other testing data. In contrast, India’s ICMR has been shamefully removing previous testing updates each time they make a new one. This was until March 25 8 PM, and after that THEY HAVE STOPPED EVEN POSTING DAILY UPDATES.

    Looks like Pakistan is blessed with less secretive/unaccountable elites than India is, which might also why Pakistani elites don’t collaborate with Mlecchas to attack and wound their country constantly. Sorry for the long comment.

    1. Iran has a lower fatality rate ? Where’d yo get that ? It has the highest Coronavirus fatality rate among all countries so far.

      1. Right now Iran: 2234/29406 = 0.07597089029
        Italy: 8215/80589 = 0.1019

        But I agree this isn’t satisfactory enough, but the contrast was actually much starker some number of days ago when people were returning from Iran to Pakistan and India; I had those numbers in mind.

        1. iran’s numbers are fake. though it might have lower fatality rates

          (look at their reported increase, it’s weird linear and smooth)

          1. Yes you are right, I should have mentioned this caveat, and also that I was actually comparing Iran only with Italy as on around March 11, and assuming that Pakistan mostly got the Iranian version and India both the versions. Of course, I was being speculative, and just trying to look at “plausible” explanations in the hope others here would prune or finesse those points, because the Indo-Pak has been piquing my curiosity rather intensely. Interesting bit about the linearity/smoothness.

  7. Talking of cultural evolution, social distancing is a big step for Indians also. Indians like to congregate , be in large crowds for anything .Indians being tactile people, don’t mind to jostle . Now keep 2 meters away from everyone is a bit of a wrench

  8. ““We cannot skip Friday prayers because of fears of coronavirus,” said Shabbir Chand”

    Seems like some castes (baniyas) who converted to Islam kept their pre islamic surnames. Likewise with some Rajputs,Jats,Gujjars. Interesting.

    1. Brahmins too. In Kashmir there are plenty of Muslims with Brahmin surnames, such as Kaul, Handoo, Bhatt, and even Pandit.

  9. Congregations are inherently dharmic in the sense that everyone is a partaker in the social capital that is built when a crowd gathers whether for a festival, a feast or a riot. The Hindu congregation is THE congregation. The Kumbh, the Jagannath Rath, Sabarimala, Karthik, Tirumala – they are all gargantuan and diminish any other religious crowd into insignificance. In fact one of the central planks of Sanatana is congregationism. But at the same time, it is also anti-fragile by insisting on non-adherence as an option. The creative energy can flow in deep breathing (pranayama), watching a sculpture, songs and epics (satsangs), mere remembrance of one’s ancestors, just a pradakshina around a tree or even feeding an animal or a bird. One can remain Hindu simply by being.

  10. police are having a difficult time in karnataka to convince people not to congregate for friday prayers.

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