Nature of neocolonial Indian scholarship.


How is it that people of country x and religions y are commentating on country z and their religion and politics and they are welcomed and given value by the elites of the society but none of these elites or scholars of their society have scholarly criticism of those other religions or politics of those societies whose views they solicit?

Who are the scholars in India studying Christianity and its role in colonialism and why dont they get any mainstream press or attention in west or here?. Who are the Indian scholars or commentators who study west and their internal politics beyond election day? Why is there no scholarly attention paid to trans national evangelism and what roles do they serve in countries spying on others or their use in political subversion.

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

CIA with help the congress ruling government at center conspired with church to create massive agitation to dislodge the first elected communist government in India.”

So, the congress had a history of taking support of a foreign country to try to dislodge internal political adversary making a mockery of the new found Independence.

More importantly. in absence of scholarly criticism of islam or christianity or other religions or scholarly work on rest of the world,both past and present, is it possible for Indian elite to even assert their own Independence of their own thinking process? . Much like actors of people of ethnic origin are stereotyped and casted in limited roles in movies, often only that has to do with topics of their ethnic origin, these journalists, scholars views are solicited with all things Indian but never about west or its history. Razib khan is probably the only person who is breaking ground here by both speaking not just things brown and of recent political issues but also of west and its past. And even there it is the case he is a US citizen. 

 

The fact that none of the Indian scholars have even made an in principle criticism of any of these other religions even in history should make it clear that they do not have a true sense of integrity. By comparison, Indian right precisely because it has taken to this , inspite of its flaws can be considered to be Independent and original and sovereign in its outlook .

 

Consider that while there are popular history works from other countries, there is no such thing by any Indian scholar.   Is it possible to be scholarly without being curious about history of other countries ?. 

Indian Americans are exceptional; no shit sherlock

The Atlantic has a piece up, The Truth Behind Indian American Exceptionalism Many of us are unaware of the special circumstances that eased our entry into American life—and of the bonds, we share with other nonwhite groups. I’m really curious what The Atlantic paid for this piece because it’s a husk of prose that just mixes and matches cliches and random facts into the sausage casing of a social justice narrative.

The author is “Senior reporter with WNYC’s Race & Justice Unit,” which suggests to me they aren’t very smart because obsessive fixation with “social justice” indicates you are stupid. Also, they state that “I don’t recall hearing the name Dalip Singh Saund until I was in my 30s.” If you don’t know that name, and you are Indian American, you are probably not very smart or intellectually curious. I knew Singh’s name when I was sixteen as I was interested in political history.

Open Thread – 12/19/2020 – Brown Pundits

We’re going to have Glenn Loury on on this Sunday’s Browncast. It was a fun conversation. Already up for patrons, and I also cross-posted to my Substack, because I think it’s such an interesting conversation.

Loury is one of the most important public intellectuals alive today. He speaks for many, many, people. Many people in science who are not on the far Left follow his work closely because he knocks down the shibboleths of preference falsification. If you can, I recommend anyone to be a patron of the Glenn Show.

cognitive quicksand

I think the problem of caste is much deeper than people consider. The difference between a bad idea and a really bad idea is that bad ideas dont work and people walk away from it as it doesnt work, a really bad idea is an idea that actually works by tapping into cognitive biases leading us into a cognitive quicksand.

The problem is much deeper than simply one of dogmatic belief with regards to hierarchy. Unlike other places, Jains, Buddhists competed with Hindus, many Hindu traditions also competed as well , some egalitarian. Lingayats for example rejected both vedas and caste for example , there was also ramanujacharya as well. 

Question is, what were the utilitarian features of caste that allowed it to exist until Industrial revolution. It was never the case that people did not have choice to choose sampradaya . Infact the biggest feature of India and Hinduism was diversity of beliefs itself.

If one would assume to study the evolving nature of changing paradigms in connection to the actual choices they could actualize, One could consider that actual egalitarianism in practice was possible only after Industrial revolution. Before that, societies made compromises on it. Some went further to bring in slaves from elsewhere, here too Hinduism is different, there is not much evidence of them bringing slaves from elsewhere.

If caste did not offer any relative localized material benefit, it would perhaps not have persisted. some might choose to believe that for thousands of years , people were brainwashed into believing their own submissiveness and were basically turned into serfs with total lack of selfishness for wealth, power and individuality. I trust biology over beliefs and think this is ridiculous. I think that men of all backgrounds would prefer to have access to wealth, female partners of their choice and power.

Even now in democratic period, caste offers political networks and material benefit as well. Especially for lower castes, without which they could not have achieved their relative success given Indian economy was pathetic overall for most of post Independence period.

The reason for existence and persistence of x in face of competition and also when its traditional guardians were out of power with the islamic period and later british period as well and even now in democratic period points to relative localized benefits. One answer could be that lingayats,ramanujacharya, buddhists,jains ,atheists and later Islam and christianity ,marxists and liberals were not sufficiently evangelical. Or lack of study of history in India made people ignorant of possible choices they could actualize. But that only points once again to the effort it would take to undo it. I assume only when India is much richer will that challenge the material side of benefits leaving the political side of it and dogmas.


The hierarchical feature tallying with it simply has to do with the first mover advantage. It is easier for individuals to rise and fall over time than entire chunks of different communities. If one focused on explaining persistence of x in face of competition and also when its traditional guardians were out of power , it explains a lot. It just is the case that sometimes societies fall into stable configurations that persist for long even if it hurts them overall, it hurt Hindus and Hinduism more than it did good. I think Human cognitive biases in favor of kinship tribalism accounts for this. And idea of caste was a really bad idea that they stepped into a cognitive quicksand. I think scientists from field of evolutionary psychology should find it interesting to study.

On caste and a new Hinduism

Some of my Hindu American friends online engage in a defense of attacks on Hinduism by denying the necessary connection between caste and Hinduism. Since religion is made by men, this is true on the face of it. There is nothing necessary in any religion.

But, Hinduism is a religion strongly associated with the Indian subcontinent. Far more than Islam is necessarily associated with Arabia! (the greatest doctors of Islam were not Arabs, but more often Persians!) And caste is strongly associated with the Indian subcontinent. This is not a transitive relation, but the affinity is clear. It has hard to think about Hinduism without caste and jati, though it is possible (e.g., Tulsi Gabbard is a devout Hindu, but not Indian, while some Muslim Indians have their own forms of endogamous caste, despite not being Hindu).

Untouchable

Is this just a historical coincidence? Like many, I have read Nicholas Dirks’ Castes of Mind. Though Dirks acknowledges the ancient origins of varna and jatis, he puts great emphasis on the rationalization of the system under the British. Additionally, he points out the rise and fall of jats. The Indian landscape is communally fluid in its hierarchy.

This is plausible. But I do not believe it is true on a deep and fundamental level. I have come to this conclusion because genetics is so striking.

  1. Though the correlation is not perfect, within regions there is a strong association between “steppe” ancestry and caste status (more steppe means higher status)
  2. Dalits in the South have almost no steppe. The non-Dalit but non-Brahmins have some. In the north, Dalits in Uttar Pradesh have the least steppe, and in some ways are genetically closer to Dalits in Tamil Nadu than non-Dalits in Uttar Pradesh.
  3. There are clear indications of 1,500 of endogamy in a village in Andhra Pradesh (elsewhere too).

When I first stumbled onto these facts they were shocking and bizarre. Totally unexpected. I assumed some caste stratification, but this was ridiculous.

These are the reasons that though I believe the new modern Hindus do sincerely abhor caste and jati, it is sometimes hard to take their protestations that the connection between caste and Hinduism is incidental. You are {{{Brahmin}}}, the product of several thousands of years of endogamy written all over your genes, the scion of the priestly caste of Hinduism, protest that caste and jati have nothing to do with the religion! Except that the priestly castes seem to be amongst the most punctilious adherents to endogamy of all!

So what’s the future? As an atheist of Muslim familial background I have some advice: make Hinduism less Indian, because that is the fundamental issue. Hinduism evolved organically within the Indian subcontinent with jati and varna, and like intertwined siblings growing up in the same house, there are some shared characteristics. Grow up. Leave the house. Be your own person.

The Self-Hating Prophecy of Indian Elites

 

What is the difference between introspection and self-hatred? Introspection brings reflection, intention, and evolution. Self-hatred brings rumination, doubt, and rot. One is essential, the other is extinction.

Engagement of either shift one’s fate. From the roots of mentality grow branches of thought, blooming into flowers of action and eventually the fruits of result. Nowhere is this more clear than the night and day of the Indian elite.

The ancient elites of India wrote eternal tomes of meditation that built the bedrock of a civilization that has seen the best and worst of humanity, outlasting every peer and power. Their art and literature emanated confidence, beauty, and advancement. While sure of themselves, they had no qualms integrating new ideas from abroad or from home. Diversity was strength, and challenge was opportunity.

Their descendants today are devolution incarnate – Kali Yuga realized. An unending anguish for the approval of outsiders, self-flagellating of even the most innocent of traditions, and an obsessive compulsion for mediocrity are the trickle-down that these elites have given Indians since independence.

While trivial bashing of them is enjoyable, I want to get to the meat of their minds as well as what these minds have yielded.

What causes the exceptional self-loathing of these elites? The mania of knee-bending and the need to constantly look outwards for validation? The ability to be stupendously arrogant towards their birthright to rule yet despise their roots? Continue reading The Self-Hating Prophecy of Indian Elites

Browncast: Abhinav Prakash and Karol Karpinski

Two BP Podcasts, one after another. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

You can also support the podcast as a patron. The primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else. This website isn’t about shaking the cup, but I have noticed that the number of patrons plateaued a long time ago.

First, I talk to Karol Karpinski. Karol lived in Dhaka for two years in the mid-2010s. Most of our conversation was around economics since he is an economist, but he also mentions his brush with the tragic events of the Dhaka Isis attack.

Second, to Abhinav Prakash on the farmer protests. Mukunda joins in. Abhinav’s view is that this is basically a rentier class strike.

Sharing a continent

25% of humans live in the Indian subcontinent. 18.5% live in China. Together that’s 43.5% of the world’s population in the two great Asian civilizations. Not a trivial number in the 21st century, especially in a nascent multipolar world.

And yet the two societies often lack a deep awareness of each other, as opposed to an almost pathological fixation on the West, and in India’s case the world of Islam.

Indians are clearly geopolitically aware of China. Obsessed even. But aside from cultural exotica (e.g., the Chinese “eat everything”), there seems to be profound ignorance.

This is illustrated most clearly when I hear Indian intellectuals aver the proud continuous paganness of their civilization. Setting aside what “pagan” means, and its applicability to the Hindu religious tradition, the key here is a contrast with the world to the west, which was impacted by a great rupture. The people of Iraq have a written history that goes back 5,000 years, but the continuity between ancient and modern people of the region is culturally minimal. Modern inhabitants of Bagdhad know on some level that their ancestors were Sumerian, but for most of them their identity is wrapped up in their religion and the lives of the Prophet and his family, or for Christians that of Jesus.

This is not the case with the majority of Indian subcontinental people, whose religious traditions and cultural memory go back further, literally to the Bronze Age at the latest. The foundational mythological cycles which define Indian culture probably date to 1000 to 1500 BC. During this time Kassites ruled Babylonia, and the Assyrians were coming into their own. Until modern archaeology, these people were only names in the Bible or in Greek historians.

But this is not only true of India. These Chinese also look to the Bronze Age Shang dynasty, and in particular, the liminal Zhou, to set the terms of their modern culture. The ancient sage kings, who likely predate the Shang, are also held in cultural esteem.

Does any of this matter? I don’t honestly know. I’m American, not India or Chinese. But perhaps it might help on some level if these two civilization-states could understand and accept that they share in common having extremely deep cultural roots apart from the revelation of the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

Open Thread – 12/05/2020 – Brown Pundits

Going to interview Tim Mackintosh-Smith today for the Brown Pundits podcast. He’s the excellent author of Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires.

I’ve posted a podcast with Karol Karpinski for patrons. Karol was stationed in Dhaka with the World Bank, and we talk about his experiences (which includes unfortunate proximity to the outbreak of ISIS-related violence in Bangladesh).

Remember the Brown Pundits reddit channel. It’s starting to finally take off. The link is always at the top-right.