Hindu racism against Muslims

67 Comments
Tom Haverford

On the TV show Parks & Recreation Aziz Asnari’s character, Darwish Ghani, changes his name to Tom Haverford. The joke is that as a brown-skinned man he can change his name all he wants, but he’ll always be Darwish Ghani to the fair citizens of Indiana.

I thought of this while after I listened to Mindy Kaling on Fresh Air talking about her new show, Never Have I Ever, and a scene where aunties are ostracizing a woman who had married a Muslim. Kaling mentions offhand that the “racism” against Muslims is something that she remembers from her childhood. She uses the word racism, rather than prejudice, because for the predominantly white liberal/progressive listeners of NPR Muslims are a “race” after a fashion.

But if Darwish Ghani changed his name to Vikram Chokalingam, he would be able to “pass.”

Kaling’s peculiar interpolation of the Western view of Islam, as a “nonwhite religion,” has resonances in the Indian subcontinent with some Hindu nationalists, who view Muslims as an alien race, the scions of foreigners, and some Muslims, who proclaim their Arab, Iranian or Turkic antecedents. All the while, genetics and the plain evidence of our faces makes it clear we are basically all the same “race” (i.e., Punjabi Hindus and Punjabi Muslims aren’t really different except a tiny bit on the margins*).

* Muslims are more likely to have a bit of ‘exotic’ ancestry.

1+

67 Replies to “Hindu racism against Muslims”

  1. I have a different interpretation of mindy kaling experience. She is a South Indian , and is from the older generation of upper caste/class urban immigrants ( nehruvian immigrants) . Both aspects make it very unlikely that her family setting would have anti – Muslim prejudice.

    What she is channeling Is the recent N-Indian anti -Muslim prejudice which the 90s immigrants bought with them. And titled the balance towards the hindu right. She sees a story here and added the race angle to it to make it more west friendly. So all in all a good story which she knows NPR audience can understand.

    On hindu nationalist views I think savarkar in his book “hindutva” put their view succinctly. For him the alien-ness of Muslim/Christianity rests on one pillar and one pillar alone. That their faith and their holy sites rests not in India. That alone disqualifies them as “indian”. They can be as brown as the next door hindu, but nothing counts. Whether one agrees with or not , that’s the hindu nationalist view.

    1. Saurav, my parents were part of that early 60’s wave of indian immigrants to the USA, and am quite familiar with the social milieu of her age cohort, hometown and education. As Razib mentions, there has always been casual prejudice among the first-wave “nehruvian” diaspora, although I do feel that my parent’s generation in small town india just happened to be less segregated, and cultural practices of religious groups less divergent. This nehruvian class is not distinct from the hindu nationalist class originally. We tend to look at ideological/political genealogy which takes us back to savarkar/mukherjee ect, a group distict from nehruvians. But social origins are different. The urban bourgoisie and brahmins have always had hindu/dharmic identitarian pamphlets laying about the house even while they were dutiful secularists in the early days. The broad movement of anti-muslim bias we see now might be a continuation of folk prejudices but the intellectual scaffolding is from these elite groups and has been the fruit of a century long project.

      1. Could be. I was just thinking about the probability of the the 70s immigrant population being prejudiced against muslim. Her mom being Bengali makes my theory even stronger.

        I just feel Mindy whole trope is to showcase an “Indian immigrant” identity to the white folks. But she is conscious enough to not make it totally “chai-tea” type of presentation That’s the reason y lot of stuff to portray “Indian-ness” has to be in Hindi or from Bollywood.

        https://twitter.com/MxKantEven/status/1255049353506492416

    2. In some ways, my parents and when they immigrated to the US & Canada is similar to Mindy’s. My parents and almost all of their friends (who are similar in their backgrounds) have casually said negative things about Muslims, including that their children should never marry one. This is also true back in India; extended relatives have casually expressed prejudices about Muslims and others.

      While it’s true that educated South Indians who migrated earlier belong more to the Nehruvian tradition, there is still a lot of casual prejudice toward Muslims (as well as others). It’s just not expressed politically in the same way.

      In addition, many are becoming more Hindu nationalist (but that’s a more recent phenomenon).

      Just saying that Mindy may not be lying.

  2. She is a South Indian

    her mom is bengali (dad Tamil). also, plenty of 70s/80s immigrants were casually anti-muslim, if not virulently so (like my parents are casually anti-hindu). your explanation is plausible enough, but you guys keep forgetting that i literally grew up with the Indian Americans of the 70s and 80s.

    i do think she is trying to relate it to the audience in the way the audience could understand, and that’s racism.

    1. Is it because of the Abrahamic hatred/fear towards pagans . Examples Jews towards Polytheists of Egypt. Hindus vs Muslims(both side now). Christianity towards other European religions.(although the pagans of Rome didn’t like Christians at first but then elite conversion means they have to convert or live subdued.)

      One man’s God is another man’s Devil/Satan.

  3. There is another perspective which rarely gets acknowledged & which frames the issue like this – Indians have engaged with all religions since their earliest inceptions but in return those religions tried to wipe out their culture.

    Non acceptance of this fact along with the kind of discriminatory constitution imposed on Indians by it’s founders fuels the anger among Hindus which politicians have used & using.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKgzHccdbwU
    From 36 min. mark note why Indian constitution is so centralized & the kind of faith India’s founders have in Indians.

    Till atrocities which Hindus faced don’t get international acknowledgement {which i den’t see ever happening as Abrahamic world being in majority} i don’t see how it can be resolved. Atleast Christians have tried {even if to a very little extent} but Muslims completely deny that.

    https://www.livemint.com/news/india/archbishop-of-canterbury-apologizes-for-massacre-at-jallianwala-bagh-memorial-1568128801606.html

    The issue is not about foreign engagement or foreign race/culture but about creating the ‘terms of engagement’ in an environment where both sides can engage honestly as each other’s equal considering there is a distinct Indian civilizational view Vs. other prevailing views.

    1. Deep,

      The tragedy at JWB was not against the Hindus. It was a massacre against the Sikhs. Sikhi is not Hinduism.

      Trying to annex the Sikhi identity is a stealthy form of aggression. Hindus have tried annexing Buddhist identity and Christian identity as well by claiming that, both, Buddha and Jesus were reincarnations of Krishna.

      1. “The tragedy at JWB was not against the Hindus. It was a massacre against the Sikhs. Sikhi is not Hinduism.”

        This seems an absurd statement. The massacre didn’t have a religious angle. Among the dead were Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims.

        Would like to read more why you think it was a massacre specifically against Sikhs?

      2. // The tragedy at JWB was not against the Hindus. It was a massacre against the Sikhs. Sikhi is not Hinduism. //

        When i mentioned about Christians trying to acknowledge their past atrocities i gave example of a massacre which was well connected to Indian identity than Sikhi identity. Do you really think that JWB represents Sikhi identity only ?

        Furthermore regarding Sikhi & Hindu identities here is my discussion on another blog –

        http://indianphilosophyblog.org/2020/04/21/some-reflections-on-the-field/

        Regarding lack of acknowledgement by Muslims or Christians of their atrocities in Indian subcontinent –

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apologies_made_by_Pope_John_Paul_II
        https://www.history.com/news/when-popes-become-penitents-the-history-of-papal-apologies
        https://swarajyamag.com/culture/the-vatican-has-never-really-apologised-for-any-of-its-crimes-and-neither-will-it-for-the-goan-inquisition

        So by not demanding apologies from Majorities of world all non-Abrahamic minorities including all Indian non-Abrahamic communities are only refusing to play the identity game as it’s rules have been set in modern times & by fighting among themselves we are only helping global majorities in avoiding their dark histories & responsibilities.

  4. Indians have engaged with all religions since their earliest inceptions but in return those religions tried to wipe out their culture.

    you don’t mean “all religions.” you mean Islam. just say Islam. use language the way it was meant to be used, precisely.

    (if you post youtube links i think you are dumb; dumb ppl watch youtube for intellectual stuff)

    1. // Indians have engaged with all religions since their earliest inceptions but in return those religions tried to wipe out their culture.

      you don’t mean “all religions.” you mean Islam. just say Islam. use language the way it was meant to be used, precisely. //

      It’s quite funny when you ask for it like this but it is not just about Islam though. As Christians have used colonial turbulent years for their own purposes while Parsis who got the shelter in India & benefited from colonial Opium trade don’t favor Hindus in any of these matters. It is about engagement & acknowledgement.

      Regarding video – It’s a talk by Madhav Khosla author of book India’s Founding Moment & i have provided the time stamp where he makes the point i referred to in my post, one can download audio of it & listen to it just like podcast.

    2. Well Razib, I agree with you that Youtube Politics is unwatchable (unless someone links to a particular concise segment.)

      That said, I’ve found Youtube stuff on Indian politics to be much better than a dominant genre of American political commentary, wherein a man in his 20s goes on an extended rant about “SJWs,” fueled only by sheer rage and alarming quantities of Mountain Dew.

  5. Vera Mindy Chokalingam

    That explains the Kaling (or Kalinga).
    I dont think Kalinga is a common name in Tamil Nadu.
    Mindy Linga has ring to it, but too much explaining.

    What does Choka mean in Tamil
    Very nice ?

    1. Chokka Thangam is commonly used to refer to pure (24 carat??) gold

      Chokka refers to blindingly bright in this context. Only pure gold can be so bright !!

      ChokkaLingam refers to lord shiva. Who is also referred to as ChokkaNaadha (I am not sure what Chokka means in this context). Maybe it refers to the Lord who can entrance you & make you swoon ??

      1. The reason I asked was because in Sinhala there is a word; Shoak. Very colloquial.

        Not used in written, grammatical sinhala.

        eg shoak kella: great/nice girl

        So could Chokka-lingam be great/nice lingam.

        1. Sokkanatha/Sokkanathar is the name of the consort deity at Meenatchi Amman Grand temple in Madurai. He is none other than Shiva. This follows the pan-Indian tradition of calling Shiva by his local name- of which he has thousands.

          For a historical perspective, watch this famous comedy scene in the dramatical movie by Nagesh playing Dharumi, where he uses this name. It has English subtitles.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjuzJwo_1Y8

          The “Shoak” you are referring to has very humble origins in the slums of Madras. Lingo is like this –

          Shoka keera – You are looking/living great
          Semma shoku – Very fine piece (Descriptive)
          Shoku pa – Very positive affirmation to something proposed

          1. I forgot about this Sokku Podi denotes captivating/enchanting powder

            Also I found this link below which speculates link between Chokka & Linga

            in sumerian Ing means lingam
            Lingam is the object used to worship Shiva
            Chokka in tamil refers to Shiva (as @ugra pointed above it specifically refers to Shiva of Meenakshi temple in Madurai)

            So ChokkaLingam refers to Shiva’s Lingam ??

            https://www.academia.edu/6741578/Sumerian_-_Turkish_-_Tamil_words

          2. @Marees

            Thanks for your explanation. I found that the origin of the word usage Sokka/Chokka lies in the story of Meenakshi itself.

            Meenakshi was born to a Pandya king. At birth, she had the most beautiful eyes and therefore named as such, which means “eyes like a fish” in Sanskrit. Referring to the dorsal curve of a river fish, I believe. She also had three breasts or formations on her chest. The Pandya king, hoping for a son, was worried and rather crestfallen with this rather strange turn of events. One night, a voice appeared in his dream and advised him to train the princess in all kingly duties. In due course of time, when she found her true love, the third breast would retreat, she would marry and settle down.

            The king followed the advice. Meenakshi grew up to be a wondrous woman with one exception – she was filled with the warrior spirit. She warred with almost all the Pandyan neighbours and defeated them all. Still unslaked, she continued her thrust into the Andhras, Kalingas and further north until she reached a kingdom at the foot of Mount Kailas. Here in battle, she met a warrior king so virile and so manly that she felt her third breast retreat into her chest and was instantly entranced by his ardor.

            She dropped her weapons. The rest is legend as we know. The warrior came down to Madurai and a celestial marriage took place under a mango tree.

            The warrior’s name was “Sokkanath”, literally “Lord of the Primal Manhood” (not to be confused with a dandy), none other than Shiva hinself. This is the backstory!!

      2. Lingam means penis. Chokkalingam could be bright penis. I know people have names like Dharmalingam (righteous penis), Rajalingam (royal penis), Sundaralingam (pretty penis) etc.

    2. “I dont think Kalinga is a common name in Tamil Nadu”

      I initially thought that she is from either the West Indies or the SE asia diaspora . They still carry those old ass surnames from the medieval age.

      1. Never heard a name like Chokalingam in the Caribbean. At least in Trinidad we have surnames like Rampersad, Ramcharan, Ramlogan, Ramnarine (lot of “Rams”), Balkissoon, Maharaj, etc.

        You say names like that are remnants from medieval times? I thought most Indian migrants had no surnames during the period of indenture.

        1. Where there is caste, there is surnames attached. Naipaul being Dubey for example.

          The Indian surnames have undergone changes and in many cases diverged from original ones. The diaspora surnames come across as anglicized version of the original ones. Maharaj for example is almost exclusively now found in diaspora circles.

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

          1. I think in TN there was some rule or pressure to not use your caste name in your surname, which I think is kind of nice. Would that be good in other states?

    3. There was a dynasty in Southeastern India a long time ago in modern-day Orissa/Telegana area, and I think the people were called “Kaling/Killing”, and to this day, the people of SE Asia (I think modern-day Thailand/Malaysia area) call ethnic Indians as “Killing”.

  6. As Christians have used colonial turbulent years for their own purpose while Parsis who got the shelter in India & benefited from colonial Opium trade don’t favor Hindus in any of these matters.

    the impact of xtians is trivial compared to Muslims. they did not try to ‘destroy’ Hinduism. just undermine, absorb, and transform. just like sanskritization undermines local folk religion. as for Parsis, stop being an idiot. you sound like a moron bracketing them with a group like muslims.

    i’m not going to watch a youtube. it’s disrespectful of my time to ask me to watch something that you think is valuable. video and podcasting are information-structure poor.

    1. You missed this one essential point – // It is about engagement & acknowledgement. // & i did not bracket Parsis with Muslims instead i presented the reason why many Hindus feel betrayed by them. I also did not use the term destroy Hinduism so don’t try to push words into my mouth.

      1. It is about engagement & acknowledgement.

        what the fuck does this mean???

        and shut the fuck up about putting words in your mouth. ok, you said “but in return those religions tried to wipe out their culture.”

        1. // said “but in return those religions tried to wipe out their culture.” //

          The second their meant the host culture but yes that sentence should have been better structured.

          // It is about engagement & acknowledgement. //

          It is about acknowledgement of history & trauma which is internationally recognized like many other communities. Engagement is about being respectful.

      2. Deep,
        I do agree with you about something about Parsis. The Parsi narrative has always been that they were model-citizens, morally upright, intellectually extremely gifted to have allowed them to have amassed all their fortunes (i.e. Tata, Godrej, Wadia of Bombay Dyeing, etc.).

        They happened to have better control of their own narrative like some other communities in the Subcontinent, such as Sikhs and Brahmins.

        However, I’m finding out now that the Parsis did a lot to collaborate with the British and were at the forefront of getting Chinese people hooked on opioids during the Opium Wars. Moreover, the Parsis were privileged because they were light-skinned and not Hindu or Muslims, and they were given favorable treatment by the English.
        But all this narrative about them being an exemplary people is bogus: All people in the Subcontinent were equally exemplary, and all people are equally charlatans. There’s nothing special about Parsis (or Jatts, Bengalis, Mirpuris, Brahmins, Dalits, Syrian Malabars, Rajputs, or Dravidians, etc.).

  7. Just a side note. Razib can you tell all you can about the ydna R2 and the maternal M49 Khasi line??? Please I want to know as much before I die. It would mean a lot when trying to find myself before it’s all over.

    PS no dasa jokes.

    1. I inquired about this a while ago as I’m R2 as well. IIRC Razib (and others) said R2 had northwestern origins. Probably IVC. Don’t know about your mt-DNA; mine’s different.

  8. Independent India’s Muslims, for decades, have matched to a T the stereotype of Savarkar. The average Hindu on the street hears this and sees it. They want their own laws (polygamy, triple talaq), regularly agitate for Ummah-causes like Rohingyas or Uyghurs or Palestinians. They barely raise their voices for local causes – like corruption, even the corrupt MLAś from their own community, or polio eradication and recently, the Corona outbreak.

    They do not have moderns icons to idolise and follow. Abdul Kalam is only venerated by Hindus, completely rejected by the community due to his Vedantist leanings (he once remarked about his rebirth wish – oh the outrage!). No Muslim women will dare follow Sania Mirza – several fatwas have ensured this. Zaheer Khan and Mohd Kaif face online vitriol – they married Hindus and regularly celebrate Ganpati Puja and post pictures online.

    I see the cream of the Muslim class in India yearning to break free. So much so that recently a leading Muslim achiever in the Law community has called for India to junk its secular constitution and become a Hindu Rashtra. In the article, he uses specific statements to appeal to his own community but the larger goal will please several on the Hindu right.

    https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/narendra-modi-govt-6324468/

    1. Heard Mosque prayers from my Rooftop day before yesterday. I am like is this allowed. Then I am like I don’t care!!!

      I see the cream of the Muslim class in India yearning to break free. So much so that recently a leading Muslim achiever in the Law community has called for India to junk its secular constitution and become a Hindu Rashtra. In the article, he uses specific statements to appeal to his own community but the larger goal will please several on the Hindu right.

      If this solves India’s unity problems then why not but could lead to riots and pissing of major Communities.

  9. Well it’s true that there is a bit of prejudice against Muslim but not in the same sense that it is in the western world. In India people tend to stay silent when talking about Muslims issues when directly in vicinity of a group of Muslims but when they are at home or in private then they discuss issues with the Muslim community.
    One example is as Follows : My dad works in Nuh district (closer to Mewat) which is a muslim majority area but these people are converted Rajasthani/Rajput tribes called the Meos. My dad was talking to a young person and told him about where he works and then after knowing that my dad works in Nuh he said ” so you must be silent there and talk with caution” . My dad say that situation of people there is because of the Maulanas/Mullas. The youth are into scamming and all king of theft and gang activities.
    In my community as you go generations back there isn’t any prejudice and hatred among the grandfather’s generation but there is little bit of hatred of Muslims extended family. They don’t even watch Khan’s movies. This could possibly be because of any historical fight b/w certain groups and Muslim communities/ invader communities.

    As far as Christians go I’ve met some they are far more educated then Muslim communities and much more kind of Indegenized. And none of them having a dream of a having exotic blood as mostly are kerelites.

    Although nuns, certain babas and Mullas always creep me out.

    1. The ironic part is Meo muslims were one of the most “Hindu-ized” muslims of the subcontinent. The only muslim group in N-India who fought against their religious brethren during Babar’s invasion, while other muslim groups have all historically collaborated with the muslim invading powers (unless of course the ruling power itself is Muslim) . The third battle of Panipat is a good example.

  10. I had a Coptic Christian friend who would get annoyed if I grouped him with Muslim Egyptians who he called ‘Arabs’.

    His family spoke Arabic, he looked No different from a Muslim Egyptian to my untrained eyes.

    But Muslims were Arab invaders and Copts were the true inheritors of the glory of ancient Egypt in his eyes.

    Something similar is going on with Indic peoples.

      1. no, there was a period when they were ptolemic greek followers. when greeks became christian ,they followed.

        1. no, there was a period when they were ptolemic greek followers. when greeks became christian ,they followed.

          this is false. the native egyptian religion, along with greco-roman paganism, continued until late antiquity in parallel. it wasn’t succession.

          google temple at philae

    1. But Muslims were Arab invaders and Copts were the true inheritors of the glory of ancient Egypt in his eyes.

      some of the same happens in the levant and mesopatamia with christians and other minorities. refuse to be called arab despite arabicization. a bit of this even happens with yezidi kurds, who reject being kurds, even though their religion has archaic elements of iranian religion in it.

  11. To understand this thing one has to pay attention to the psychology of tribal conflict. If you are born to a tribe, naturally ppl will consider you to be the part of that tribe even if they know that you dont believe in the beliefs believed by the tribe. In the case of tribal conflicts you have to work in terms of hereditary demography. Hereditary demography is very important. So, a muslim-born atheist may be as hated as a believing muslim-born muslim…and I think this is the most common case

    I am curious about USA. Are people there less hateful against irreligious/non-believing muslim-born people?

  12. C’mon Razib, I’m a Bengali, give me that much. And I’m really young. You owe me this much.

    Who were the R2a peoples. From what I gather they were just NW Indian herders, didn’t do much until R1a came along then joined them across India. But where they eastern Iranian peoples, slightly Steppe people originating from Central Asia?

    I helped you with the East Asian dilemma one Bengali. M49 is Khasi. I’d left it to you to do further pruning.

    Now please. Just this once so I can stop bothering you again.

    1. I read a bit about dasa (supposedly R2a) people. Turned out they were pretty much atheists. They didn’t have God’s, rituals, prays, or rites. They lived like hunter gatherers or farmers at least. Even in pre Islamic Bangladesh, the rulers may have been Hindu or Buddhist but they themselves were probably animists or following local folklore like the dasa.

      This makes sense, I too have followed in their footsteps by becoming atheist all those years ago. Who knew I was following the ways of my predecessors, how ‘noble’, they were, with great foresight. It has made me realise that atheism is part of my heritage! I’m so proud!!

  13. “Kaling’s peculiar interpolation of the Western view of Islam, as a “nonwhite religion,” has resonances in the Indian subcontinent with some Hindu nationalists, who view Muslims as an alien race, the scions of foreigners, and some Muslims, who proclaim their Arab, Iranian or Turkic antecedents. All the while, genetics and the plain evidence of our faces makes it clear we are basically all the same “race” (i.e., Punjabi Hindus and Punjabi Muslims aren’t really different except a tiny bit on the margins*).

    * Muslims are more likely to have a bit of ‘exotic’ ancestry.”

    I’m wondering if Kaling’s (and other supposedly “liberal” Americans’ as we’ve long talked about) interpolation of the western view of Islam as a “non-white” religion comes more from the fact that earlier on in US history, most Muslims were African American which set the tone of “this is a religion practiced by non-whites” to many people’s perception, or the fact that most Muslims are non-white (often recent) immigrants’ and immigrants’ kids (and the “immigrant” part adds an element of the “foreignness” to mainstream US culture but so did African Americans’ embrace of Islam and even if not Muslim, usage of Arabic names like Malik, Ayesha etc. even if said African Americans were native-born, since it’s a break from names like Joe or some Biblical name Americans up to then associated “typical” Americans, black or white with. Nowadays, though, it’s not “exotic” any more).

    Maybe a parallel would be Catholicism earlier in US history (I’m no historian) — like Catholics obviously aren’t a “race” or “ethnicity” but because people saw the groups that Catholics belonged to as different “ethnicities”, like Irish, Italians (though obviously not as far as the black-white difference of course) despite lots of Catholic Americans being there since the founding, the conflation of ethnicity and Catholicism existed for so long (now it barely does — people will associate say Catholics with Hispanics but you rarely think of any one race, ethnicity or culture when you say “he’s a Catholic” to someone the way many would (correctly or incorrectly) think someone was non-white if you’d say “he’s a Muslim”).

  14. Despite not making any sense in this context, the term “racist” connotes something outre. For Hindus, being opposed to marrying Muslims isn’t outre. In fact, I would argue said opposition is a core feature of being Hindu!

    As I said on the podcast, I’d be disinherited if I ever dated a Muslim!

  15. “As I said on the podcast, I’d be disinherited if I ever dated a Muslim!”

    This is true in India even among outwardly ‘liberal’ families. I have seen it from folks across religions – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains. Even Christians.

    The fear of losing your child, especially daughters is very real.

    Apart from religious differences, there are lot of complicating stereotypes about Muslims generally.
    For example, in the north, Muslims are considered ‘naachne-gaane’ wale log (entertainers) and are consequently are looked down upon.

    So much for high culture.

    1. “This is true in India even among outwardly ‘liberal’ families. I have seen it from folks across religions – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains. Even Christians.

      The fear of losing your child, especially daughters is very real.”

      It’s funny you left out one religion among your list of religions.

      The fact is that traditionally South Asians (the adjective is partifularly suitable in this connection) do not like their daughters marrying outside their religion – whatever it may be. No religion is free of this.

      So why make it out as if it is particularly directed against any one religion ? Let he (or she) who is without prejudice cast the first holier-than-thou.

      1. “So why make it out as if it is particularly directed against any one religion ?”

        Because we are discussing prejudice against Muslims. I am not saying:
        1. There is no opposition to marrying outside caste/class/religion/region otherwise. There is.
        Just that if we keep class constant to upper-middle, the kinds that populate this web log, then there is an order of magnitude more aversion to Muslims than to anyone else.
        Hindu-Christian or Hindu-Sikh couples are not even a big deal in most big cities.

        2. There is no just cause to this. There is. Once you go Muslim, there’s no coming back.

        3. Muslims are not guilty of it. They are. If anything, they are worse.

    2. naachne-gaane’ wale log” That would be Punjabi innit.
      The perception is simple in the north (i am from haryana) and that is kinda poor, backward, sher-o-sharyari (culture wise) , lots of kids, niqaabs , burquas you get my point. Still respect APJ Abdul Kalam and proud of our sportpersons belonging to that community.

      The fear of losing your child, especially daughters is very real
      this is kinda true among hindu vs muslims, upper vs lower caste etc.
      If a upper caste women marries a lower caste guy then the lineage will probably be lower caste hence there is drama when this kind of situation arises. People who say liberal things can be most bigoted in reality.

      1. “That would be Punjabi innit.”

        Not just Punjab. I have relatives in UP and Bihar who have the same perception.

        One of the reasons Urdu instead of shuddh Hindi is seen as the Bollywood language is because Hindi poets of UP like Harivash Rai Bachchan considered it to be ‘neech nagri’ (low city) not worthy of their lofty talents.

        1. well i am from Haryana and lived in Delhi and Sonepat and I or my friends,family extended family have different perception . Urdu is still considered as a high culture language and my friends like sher-o-shayari and bollywood songs old ones are good because they have more diverse and mixed Hindustani vocabulary other than that depending on the Movie(i.e mughal-e-azam is in proper urdu)

          I mean nobody sees Muslims as naachne gaane wale log. Punjabis are seen as naachne-gaane,party-sharty wale log. I’ve never been to u.p so i don’t know about their perceptions.

          Bollywood initially started when local languages were kind of Hindustani dialect with region differences.Considerable nos of Poets,singer,actors,lyricist in those times were Muslims( naushad ,meena kumari , mohammed rafi etc to name a few) and the Bollywood linguistically works on that cultural milieu.But they incorporated sanskritized or local (idk prakit) words as well.

    3. Your comment reminded me of Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy” when Mrs. Rupa Mehra found out that Lata was in love with a Muslim boy (Kabir Durrani). In her confrontation with her daughter she immediately leapt to things like “triple talaaq”. Of course this novel is set in the 1950s and one would think that things have changed since then. Many of the Bollywood Khans are married to Hindu women. Kareena Kapoor didn’t even convert to Islam at marriage (unlike her mother-in-law).

      When I was growing up, one of our family friends in the US were a couple (both Indian) where the wife was Hindu and the husband was Muslim. I don’t think the kids particularly identified with a religion, but they seemed much more Hindu than Muslim. The daughter was learning Indian dance (kuchipudi) for example and both kids learned Hindustani music (that’s how we knew them).

      1. “Your comment reminded me of Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy” when Mrs. Rupa Mehra found out that Lata was in love with a Muslim boy (Kabir Durrani)”

        I had more Saeeda Bai in mind.
        A section of upper class Muslims was considered socially equal but not worth marrying. This was Kabir Durrani.

        There was another section exemplified by Saeeda Bai who were granted entry into drawing rooms and were even had affairs with but were considered too vulgar to marry. These were the naachne-gaane wale log I was referring to earlier.

        With respect to Kabir, an interesting passage from A Suitable Boy that makes my point really well is when Rupa Mehra asks if “Kabir Durrani” is a Kashmiri Pandit or a Parsi.

        So even back then upper middle class Hindus were alright with marrying Parsis but Muslims were a step too far.

        @Harshvardhan
        I guess this should explain the way certain Muslims are viewed in UP-Bihar.
        They are basically associated with the courtesan culture and therefore not considered proper.

        1. I think the issue with Maan’s relationship with Saeeda Bai is that she is a courtesan, not so much that she is Muslim (though that is obviously a problem as well). Most Muslim families in the same social class of the Kapoors also wouldn’t have approved of their son falling in love with a courtesan. The Nawab Sahab didn’t want Firoz going to Saeeda Bai’s either (though obviously some of that has to do with Tasneem being his half-sister).

          On Lata/Kabir: I think the point was that Lata realized that marrying a Muslim (no matter how non-religious Kabir’s family was) would have meant total separation from her family. Presumably, this has changed since 1950.

          1. “I think the issue with Maan’s relationship with Saeeda Bai is that she is a courtesan, not so much that she is Muslim”

            Most of the famous courtesans used to be Muslims so that “outgoing” reputation got attached to them. Even otherwise, most music gharanas were strongly associated with Muslim artists. Adding to the ‘naachne-gaane’ stereotype.

            Not all Muslims were courtesans, obviously and elite Muslims wouldn’t associate with them either.

            It’s similar to how ‘cow piss drinker’ is associated with Hindus. Most Hindus have got nothing to do with it but the people who have got something to do with it are predominantly Hindus.

            This was a fairly common perception among elite Hindus in UP-Bihar.

            I thought Seth was very clever in introducing this layer that might not have been very apparent to outsiders.

          2. BTW does anyone know how the BBC show on suitable boy coming along. Are they still working on that ?

          3. Until fairly recently, the only women who performed in public were courtesans (whatever their religion). After the “anti-nautch movement” there was a whole push towards making Hindustani music safe for women to perform. Thumri in particular was sanitized with the dance elements being removed and the lyrics spiritualized. For example, “piya” was replaced with “Ram” in certain contexts. The association of female performers with courtesans is part of the reason why women from “good families” in Pakistan are strongly discouraged from learning music or dance. Even women from gharanedar families don’t perform in public, though they obviously know music.

            On the association of gharanas more generally with Muslims, this was part of the problem that people like Bhatkhande had in trying to recreate a Hindu origin for classical music. He was obsessed with how Muslim artists had “corrupted” the music of the Vedas. It is ironic then that in Pakistan Hindustani music is marginalized because it is seen as not Islamic enough. In India, there is a need to assert the Vedic origins of Hindustani music.

  16. Irrfan Khan has passed away . What a legend!!!
    May your soul #RIP.

    For a moment though looks like people are united. Sad part is that it took a death of a legend to unite us all.

Comments are closed.