Open Thread – 01/29/2021 – Brown Pundits

“Razib Khan’s two part essay on Indian history is brilliant. While it’s long for a blog post, you’ll learn more about India than you would in many full length books.”

-Scott Sumner

From The Money Illusion. I think this is obviously hyperbolic, but I’m actually rather proud of these two pieces of writing, which come in about 10,000 words. The two essays:

Stark Truth About Aryans: a story of India
Stark Truth About Humans: a story of India

Also, for an “Indian face,” Ramesh Ponnuru on the pro-life movement in America.

I understand my Substack is spendy for Indians. I’m thinking of doing a “special offer” for Indian readers. And yet, as it is, I would estimate that 25% of the people who subscribed have South Asian names! (I will tell you I have more than 500 subscribers as of now)

What’s going on with the protests and the farm stuff? Too much stuff in the US for me to track India. Any articles you recommend?

Reading An Environmental History of India. I would recommend it, it’s pretty decent as an introduction to someone who has no background in this field or topic.

+1

209 Replies to “Open Thread – 01/29/2021 – Brown Pundits”

  1. @Razib
    Basically, it turned into a Jat-Sikh rentier class riot masquerading as a “farmer protest” into a Pan Jat Caste agitation masquerading, rather poorly I might add, as a “farmer protest.” A lot of it stems from loss of Jat political power to the BJP political machine behemoth. That is the angle for Hindu Jats, along with losing their rent seeking privileges that rely almost exclusively on government hand-outs. The Sikh angle is mostly the latter but a lot of money comes from NRI Khalistanis so that ends up being used in play as well.

    This was after the Jat-Sikh element reached its Zenith, when Khalistani terrorists placed a Sikh Flag atop the Red Fort. A Khalistani flag was also present but at lower mast. This was highly symbolic because the fort is seen as a Pan-Indian symbol. To put a religious flag is highly disrespectful, especially on Republic Day itself. Several hundred police officers were injured. Some people from radical Sikh sects wielded swords and assaulted officers. One NRI Australian Sikh Khalistani goon tried to jump a barricade with a tractor and run over officers and ended up dying in the process (Darwinian ironic justice at play).

    The next day, the protests started to clear. The UP government got over confident and tried to move the farmers out of the area directly across the Yamuna. The Hindu Jat leader there cried on national TV. This inspired Hindu Jats from Haryana and UP to get more involved.

    They did this same shit before. Delhi is highly susceptible because it is in the middle of “Jat land,” with Western UP, Punjab, and Haryana surrounding it. These types of agitations have gained them benefits in the past including caste based reservations for Jats in Haryana, something the courts struck down, and also free electricity for farmers in those regions, something that was won via a riot during the tenure of a weak Rajiv Government and a benefit that has remained till this day.

    1. I wonder what came first. Leftism or “less hindu.” It seems to me it is possible the prior came first.

      1. I would say “Less-Hindu”.

        Less/Non Hindu political space gives rise to Communism, Dravidian-ism, Regionalism, Separatism, Woke-ism. The less-Hindu the space , more the rise of these other politics. And vice-versa.

    2. Nobody should be surprised that she’s an Indian-American. They are almost uniformly turbo-woke. It’s no surprise many become rabid SJWs. This is why naïve calls from some Indian quarters about getting Indian-Americans to act like Jewish-Americans do for Israel is naïve. Jews have a much higher amount of sheer tribalism. Indian-Americans are only about half Hindu and a large fraction of these Hindus are like this woman.

      They are highly socio-economically successful but way too woke and splintered to act as a coherent group. It’s sad. HAF is doing good work but they are demographically doomed given these social trends.

      1. “This is why naïve calls from some Indian quarters about getting Indian-Americans to act like Jewish-Americans do for Israel is naïve.”

        On the contrary, i hope that Indian American community doesn’t morph into Iranian-Americans, demanding sanctions on India and stuff.

  2. “What’s going on with the protests and the farm stuff?”

    “Abhinav Prakash on Farmer Protests” Dec 6, 2020 Mukunda and Razib pick Abhinav Prakash on the farmer protests in Punjab. What’s going on? Class? Caste? Neoliberalism?”
    https://brownpundits.libsyn.com/abhinav-prakash-on-farmer-protests

    Or is it late breaking news you want?

    BTW. I listened to that Browncast. The agricultural polices he described strongly resemble the first iteration of the US New Deal.

    1. Sikhs are a very pampered minority in India. Partly because they depend on MSP gibs to a greater extent than other communities, partly because they are given preference in the armed forces. You’d think the ‘martial races’ nonsense would be buried but it seems to be alive and well in India despite official denails.

      Finally, Sikhs have a very large share of their population as NRIs, which allows them to sustain these kinds of agitations due to foreign remittance flows from Kanneda and other places.

  3. I am reading Arvind Panagariya’s New India book which came out in 2020. Despite the boring title and even more boring descriptions, it’s actually a very lucid book. I’ve read a lot of books on the Indian economy (my favourite still being Vijay Joshi’s magisterial book from 2016).

    Panagariya has a rare gift for writing, which is far from obvious among economists. I am a social-democrat, so it is intellectually challenging to read something from someone who is a staunch neoliberal. Yet the evidence he marshals from all over the world to make his case is compelling. One of its strengths is his comparative perspective and he doesn’t let India off the hook while simultaneouesly refusing to give in to pessimism and fatalism.

    One of its biggest strengths is its focus on labour-intensive exports and how he uniformally slams India’s specialisation in higher-end economic activities, especially in IT services, pharma etc. India has for reasons unknown to me completely ignored its revealed comparative advantage and instead LARPed as a developing country.

    There is a budget coming up in the coming days, and there will be a lot of vapid hot air surrounding it. In reality, the vast majority of government expenditure is fixed (salaries, interest costs, pensions etc) which means each budget has rather little effect. Read this book instead.

    1. “India has for reasons unknown to me completely ignored its revealed comparative advantage”

      The comparative advantage here mainly comes from pushing docile, lower class women into repetitive, boring jobs. This might bring in a few dollars for a while, but has devastating long term effects via lower fertility. A second child is necessary not only for a stable population, but is also important for sharing the sibling’s filial burden when parents get old.

      Indian women, even from lower strata could possibly resist these lifeless jobs, especially if it is at the cost of having more children. The labor costs might not be as low as people are assuming.

    1. I have followed 3-4 linguistic twitter people – Samapriya Basu, Aryaman Arora, Abhishek Avtans, Suresh Pant etc.

      These guys post wonderful content. Tying together words-phrases-languages from Hindi to Bengali, Braj to Marathi – everything. Absolutely fascinating people and content.

      Please host some of these guys. I don’t know what to talk to these people about – a general conversation would be good too.

    1. The magic words for India were – Ivermectin, HCQ and a harsh lockdown. Most NYT journalists peddle agenda – Amy Kazmin is one of the worst. Glad to see so many Indians on twitter giving her a dressing down.

      1. I wonder where did that ramaswamy guy vanished who predicted there will be gazillions death in India, back in April.

        1. Its Ramanan Laxminarayan…lol. He is still giving advice on Twitter to whoever is willing to listen.

          From time to time Indian journalism parades these floaters like they were dispensing great wisdom.

      2. Ugra:

        With all due respect, the lockdown did jackshit except delay the inevitable. Also it is incontrovertible that the disease got concentrated among the unemployed and homeless migrant workers who then became vectors for the spread after the lockdown to regions with zero caseload up to that point, like my home state, JH.

        1. If India had the same fatality rate as the Netherlands, then 1 million Indians should have passed away. If we take Belgium (highest death per capita), then 2.2 million Indians should have passed away.

          If they have not, then there must be a reason.

          The reason could have been medical – superior Indian immunity or genetic predisposition to respiratory strength. But I do not see any doctors making these claims!

          In the Netherlands, some of the facilities I have witnessed for social distancing and treatment are outstanding. Yet they lost a disproportionately higher number. I travelled during the Christmas break to India and did some activities (temple runs, weddings, hotels) that would be considered high-risk activity in the Netherlands. Yet I got back a negative RT-PCR – to my own surprise!

          There is a very simple parsimonious explanation – we did a very good hardcore lockdown and we started using prophylactic drugs very early on! Here is another view….

          https://trialsitenews.com/an-unlikely-nation-is-kicking-this-pandemic-guess-which-then-why/

          1. A lockdown is not a lockdown unless it can whittle down the number of infected to a really small number. Clearly that didn’t happen or we wouldn’t have seen the number of cases rise to millions by the latter part of the year.

            As I explicitly said in my other email, if you look at the evidence, it is clear the virus did spread throughout the country regardless of any countermeasures taken by the govt but it created a lot less strife than it seems to have in Western countries.

            But hey, if you want to believe ideologically-driven explanations over lying eyes, be my guest.

    2. Call me a COVID-denier all you want, but my personal observations in India suggest that the almighty freakout we have had over the past year to this disease is completely out of proportion to its impact on Indians (key words are “India” and “Indians”; I’m not disputing that this virus has caused a lot more distress in other countries).

      Anecdotes: I know several people who were diagnosed with Covid and officially quarantined (a govt official visited them and put a sign across their doors). They all recovered without much ado. (I’m assuming they were not misdiagnosed.) Without exception, all of them lie in the “old” category. Before being diagnosed, they were mingling with people, none of whom seem to have contracted the disease. I know exactly one elderly person who died because of what would seem to be COVID symptoms (fluid filling up in the lungs).

      Had the Western world not caught this disease and it had not had such a severe impact on both peoples’ health and psyche there, my guess is that this disease would barely have made the news in India. Not even at the level of the Nipah virus. Probably somewhere in the region of our annual affair with dengue.

      I have no rational explanation for this. I read the twitter feeds and the articles about masks but I’m not convinced. I’ve been religiously wearing masks in the proper way since last March, but most people around here don’t. Some go maskless, many wear masks for show, i.e., on the chin but covering nothing, some (like my dad) are quite reluctant to cover their noses, complaining that they feel suffocated, etc.

      Next time something like this happens, I hope our ruling class will not try to pretend that we are a G7-country and instead apply one of our few natural competitive advantages to the hilt: that we live in a filthy environment with so much disease around in normal times that a new virus is not likely to floor us in the same way it floors people in richer and cleaner countries.

      1. You are in the timeline where active measures have been taken.
        You are not in the timeline where nothing has been done.

        You cannot postulate anything about the second timeline based on your observations of the first timeline. You are trapped in Newcomb’s paradox.

        1. You are not making any sense. I presented observations and analysis (which may well be wrong). You should present counter-observations or counter-analysis instead of spouting Deepak Chopra-like nonsense.

          Also, it gets tiresome when people living abroad keep educating those who actually live in India about what’s really going on in India and what’s really good for the country. You guys have the kinds of infrastructure and facilities we are unlikely to have in my lifetime. Those are the problems I’d like us in India to tackle in earnest. I understand NRIs have emotional needs, but please don’t try to meet them at our expense. You guys don’t have to face the consequences the way we do.

          1. I agree with u Numinous, but do u really feel this?

            “Had the Western world not caught this disease and it had not had such a severe impact on both peoples’ health and psyche there, my guess is that this disease would barely have made the news in India. Not even at the level of the Nipah virus.”

            I disagree on that front. Neither Dengue or Nipah have caused the number , nor have the geographical extent of deaths caused by the Corona virus, in a year. So any virus which would have caused this would have been news in India, notwithstanding the west.

          2. Saurav:

            You are right in that if so many deaths were occurring due to a mysterious cause, then it would definitely have made the papers. But I have a slight suspicion that may of the deaths being counted as COVID have little or nothing to do with that disease. It’s just that people who die of other diseases in proximity to COVID patients may get bundled into the death stat. (My suspicion could be completely unwarranted, and if someone who has first-hand knowledge of how medical stats are collected in India can correct me, that’d be great.)

            If my suspicion has any basis, in “normal” times, people wouldn’t see any mystery in these deaths, which would be attributed to other conditions the deceased possess, with a caught infection assumed to simply be a catalyst in some of those cases. Again, I emphasize I could be wrong, and the only reason I raise these suspicions is the plain fact that much fewer people in India have died than would be expected (comparing with the West) and these deaths seem quite random (even most people with pre-existing conditions who contract COVID are recovering fine).

            The other reason why I’m airing these views is personal. As I mentioned above, our govt and collective health facilities, in the futile quest make us look like a developed country, basically reserved a whole lot of medical facilities for future COVID patients. In effect, waiting for a phantom disease for, in some cases, months. If you had other diseases, even life-threatening ones, too bad. My mom’s cancer happened to recur right around this time, and it was late-stage. She did get some care and treatment, but I believe it was sub-optimal, and she passed away. Perhaps we could have done better if there were minimal restrictions rather than draconian lockdowns and if we hadn’t tacitly assumed that it was OK to die of older diseases but not of COVID, or perhaps not, but there will always be a lingering regret.

            So my interest is in ensuring that people don’t overreact to similar threats in the future (and I don’t deny at all that COVID was and remains a threat).

          3. Numinous:
            Are you views on COVID prevalence colored by where you live in India?
            Most of my rels live in Western India/Mumbai and I have had two close relatives die of COVID (75 and 55 – the latter was in South India) and two other 60+ age relatives with moderate to severe COVID. For this group I personally saw their reports including CT scan that showed severe effects in the lung. This is to say that not only were they symptomatic, imaging showed moderate to severe lung damage, and in both of these cases they went from nothing to this level of damage in 4-5 days. They both survived but only after the full Remdesevir treatment (with many other drugs also given) and not without major side effects even months after recovering.
            In my extended circle I know of another 7-10 people who died of COVID, and a few who survived after weeks of treatment (one of them was 45 and on ventilator). A close friend’s dad (mid 60s) passed away from COVID in December (went from nothing to death in 12 days). Which Nipah virus or dengue caused this sort of damage? That COVID was/is a real unprecedented threat is not in question in view. You could however question the government’s response to it and the jury on that is still out on whether such a severe lockdown was required especially taking cost-benefit into account.

          4. @lurker:

            Yes, clearly my personal experiences have shaped my views on this topic. I see (1) people being quite lax with both masks and social distancing, (2) relatively low spread of the disease among people I know or hear about, (3) low fatality rate among people I know who got the disease. This combination strikes me as implausible unless we are overestimating the seriousness of COVID.

            But I may have a very skewed perspective, and I’m definitely not an epidemiologist. So thanks for offering a corrective. I’m sorry to hear about the deaths of those close to you because of this disease. And as you say, our interest should be in ensuring that a rational policy is crafted in response to similar threats in the future.

            FYI, I live in Bangalore and have family in different parts of the country, MH, JH, WB, in particular.

          5. @Numinous

            Also, it gets tiresome when people living abroad keep educating those who actually live in India about what’s really going on in India and what’s really good for the country.

            The ICMR is not made up of NRIs nor is the Covid Task force. Neither is Modi an NRI. You should really start looking up Shamika Ravi who is the best person on twitter on this topic.

            Your arguments are like those of a Muslim cleric, “I didn’t take any polio vaccine when I was a kid. Look at me – I am perfectly alright”. This kind of argumentation cannot fathom that he is safe because the rest of the population took measures to prevent the spread. That is the payoff – he is enjoying – based on the hardships other went through.

            The biggest risk from Covid is for families who have a single breadwinner – they lose that person and its game over for them – a real stop to all their aspirations. See below. Perfectly healthy 39 year old man passes away and suddenly the family has no future.

            https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-nadiya-2

            And it has happened again and again. With the plague in Surat, encephalitis in UP and a host of perfectly preventable disease vectors. Listen to the public health administration – what they are saying.

            Your contrarian view is just amateurish. And you did not post any stats despite what you are saying. Brazil is exactly like India – high population density, similar medical facilities, socio-economic distribution. And they have a higher caseload/fatality rate than India – despite having only 1/6th of India’s population.

          6. Also Numinous, if i may , ur providing a counter narrative with “If my suspicion has any basis, in “normal” times, people wouldn’t see any mystery in these deaths, which would be attributed to other conditions the deceased possess, with a caught infection assumed to simply be a catalyst in some of those cases.”

            Because right now the whole thing is India is actually under counting its COVID deaths, but u seems to suggest the opposite. Its interesting view point.

  4. The “Kerala model” of combating Covid is turning out to be the most egregious example of marxist propaganda in recent history. From yesterday’s address by India’s CEA, the following stats stand out –

    1. In terms of active cases per population, Kerala tops out today beating Maharashtra by a wide margin.

    2. Kerala today accounts for 50% of all active Indian cases – for a small state this is a tall achievement.

    3. Positivity (by testing) rate is steady and has not fallen since October

    4. It also looks like the government is fudging mortality figures.

    5. Testing per million population is among the lowest in India, so indeed the situation could be even worse.

    https://swarajyamag.com/politics/a-long-painful-year-of-covid-how-kerala-government-turned-the-state-into-an-epidemic-basket-case

    The situation is so bad and also transparently visible that the Chief Minister of the adjoining state Tamilnadu, EPS, made fun of the Kerala model at a election rally calling out that the “Kerala’s trousers are torn down the middle”.

    https://twitter.com/Ravichandran15P/status/1354717854055063557

    Sometimes you have extant taxa whose structures closely resemble that of a fossil – then they are called living fossils. We must thank the Malayalis for preserving and enabling such archaic forms of political structures. Joke is on you, guys, in case you still believe your models.

  5. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.ndtv.com/india-news/punjab-cm-amarinder-singh-says-weapons-smuggling-by-pakistan-up-since-farm-protests-report-2360294%3famp=1&akamai-rum=off

    “The Chief Minister said Pakistan has sleeper cells which they can activate and “a disturbed Punjab suits Pakistan’s policy”.
    He also said that Pakistan and China are going to collude and 20 per cent of Indian Army soldiers belong to area where there has been concern among farmers about farm laws and the morale of troops can’t be allowed to go down.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/pakistan-violates-ceasefire-along-ib-in-jammu-and-kashmirs-kathua-205490

    https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202101/1214356.shtml

  6. Hit piece from leftist sham publication

    “According to Sikhs for Justice, this inability to repay farm loans has led to increased suicide rates amongst farmers in Punjab.

    SFPD officers stand in front of the Consulate General of India building during the protest. The metal barricades in front of the building were pushed closer together to make room for the remaining group of protesters. (Jun Ueda / Golden Gate Xpress) (Jun Ueda)
    A majority of protesters wore or flew Khalistan flags, a sign of the increased desire many Sikhs in Punjab have to secede from India. The Khalistan movement seeks to establish a sovereign state in Punjab and has gained popularity because many Sikhs feel as if they are underrepresented in the Indian government. Singh cited India’s refusal to recognize the Sikh’s referendum as a major roadblock toward an independent Khalistan”

    https://goldengatexpress.org/96094/latest/news/bay-area-sikhs-protest-in-front-of-indian-consulate/

    1. Man U folks seems more worried than Indians back home about Khalistan. It’s like Pakistan for NRIs

      1. The republic day fiasco partially occured precisely because Indians in India underestimated the nefarious Khalistani crap going. In general though, this has become a classic Jat-land issue. This is a caste agitation to use violence to extort more Indian tax payer money. Leeches who want to continue to suck India dry. Funny how they spew vitriol against actual job creators. They want their 17th century land pride but with 20th century Marxist subsidies to buy 21st century luxary consumer goods.

        1. RW Indians in India still fall for the ‘Sikhs are our saviors’ nonsense. Sikhs are put on a pedestal, while Bengalis, Tamils, Malayalis are deemed irredeemable.

  7. Sad how some black dalit sharecroppers defend the the white Jat plantation owners.

    “While more than 472 farmer unions from across the country are protesting the new farm laws and the farmers at Delhi’s borders have now been there for 40 days, this agitation is being led by farmers from Punjab. In Punjab, all communities own land, but Jats, who constitute 25% of the state’s population are the major landowners, while the Dalits who constitute 32% of Punjab’s population own only 2.3% of the agricultural land.

    In 2014, for instance, when the Dalits of Bald Kalan village in Sangrur district demanded one-third of the village’s panchayati land on lease, they faced attacks from the police, court cases and even jail. Eventually, though, they won the right to a third of the commons.

    Yet, landless labourer Harpal Singh of Bald Kalan joined the farmers from Punjab at the Delhi border, even though he has access to just 0.2 acres of the village panchayat land….

    We have a relationship with farmers,” said Harpal, who is back in Bald Kalan. “If the new farm laws are not repealed, we will lose employment. It is our responsibility to stand with the farmers.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.thewire.in/article/caste/punjab-landless-dalit-farmers-protest/amp

  8. “All support for Khalistan was almost dead here in punjab until Nov 2019 when kartarpur corridor opened up. Now you can’t go a km in punjab without seeing a car with Bhindaranwala’s sticker or a road sign that has been vandalised to cover up Hindi and English. The soft support of local police and administration has emboldened these radicals. I hope the government comes to senses before we see a full scale revival of Khalistan.”

    From reddit but heard similar sentiments before. Katarpur was bad news. Also, internet age and just growing wealthy critical mass of NRI khalistanks who are so desicated to propaganda, almost Trotskyesque in their approach, has changed the game. Pak also assists w/ clever promotion of Pan Punjabiyat. Seeds of Indimus vs. Ganges disunity are also being planted by them via extremely clever selective reading of history. You are dealing with PR pros, something the silent unity loving majority sorely lacks on the international stage, that too with the other behemoth of leftist media also contributing to this worsening mess..

    1. Simple. Brahmins can take a little bit of “criticism”. Do it to Yadavs – ham tod ke rakh denge. Same with Jats/Marathas/Rajputs etc. etc.

      There have been precedents too – Karni Sena protest for “Jodha Akbar”, “Padmaavat”.

      There is a saying in Bhojpuri – नंगा से भगवान ड़ेराला – God too fears a obdurate/stubborn person (Lost in translation – Sorry).

  9. Where else in the world has ancient migrations/genetics steeped into modern political and cultural discourse? Like how your position in AMT vs OIT makes you leftist vs nationalist, western stooge vs proud hindu nationalist, etc etc..

    From my (very uninformed) opinion, Celtic vs Anglo-saxon has parallels in Irish vs England troubles, etc

  10. “I wonder what came first. Leftism or “less hindu.” It seems to me it is possible the prior came first.”

    Hinduism’s patriarchy is quite stifling for a young liberated woman. There is a need for reform here or at least making space for spiritual liberated Hindu women. What she did not see was the possibility to carve your own space, and create your own journey, which may come in time.

    1. What are you talking about? “Reformer” is quite pro-laws. Even those against or only against for political reasons and not actual content, stating stuff like: “Laws are good but Modi should have spent more time convincing before trying to implement.”

      1. ” Even those against or only against for political reasons and not actual content,”

        Yeah which doesn’t amount to much. Either you are for the reforms or against it. Which shows when rubber meets the road, how upright our “economic reformers” really are.

  11. I was looking for history of Sugarcane and it appears to be domesticated in PNG/SE Asia around 8000BCE and sugar already shows up in Indian writing by 600BCE-0CE (with some genetic evidence of PNG version hybridizing with Indian varieties by 1000BCE). A very cursory search online says it as “voyage by Austronesians” to give sugarcane to India. Early Austronesians can be conducting sea voyages that far regularly that early? Does anybody know a good reference to look up how domesticated sugarcane arrived in India?

    1. that seems a bit early, though not impossible (austronesian contact)

      most of the austronesian stuff in the indian ocean seems to be well after 0 AD

    2. @Violet

      Word etymology indicates that the origin of crystallised sugar is India – some Indian cultivar varieties (not the Polynesian) are noted to have been from as early as 1500 BCE.

      Indian textual tradition holds that the Ikshvaku lineage held a lot of sugarcane plantations and monopolised crystal production. The word Ikshu is interchangeably used for sugar in many texts.

      One of the many important primers to hold that Ramayana is a Gangetic Plains tradition is the extent of archaeologically attested sugarcane cultivation in Ancient India. Rama belonged to the Ikshvaku dynasty.

      Sugar has been found paleobotanically in the Indus Valley at the Rojdi site.

      1. @Ugra,

        I was enquiring about genetic evidence of hybridized sugarcane in India with PNG domesticated variety estimated to have happened at 1000BCE. Sugar can be extracted from different sources (E.g. palm sugar mainly from coconuts).

        Note that Indians didn’t domesticate coconuts ever. There can be use of plants from wild varieties without any selective breeding just because of the abundance.

        Another interesting feature is that coconut trees didn’t reach North India even by the time of Chanukya but sugarcane of hybridized variety did (apparently) by around 1000BCE. Don’t you find this too strange without some sort of people travel?

        1. The dispersal method of coconuts is floating on water across large distances They have even evolved to achieve this by making lighter mesocarps. So the reasons for non-travel to North India could be entirely botanical – lack of a dispersal mechanism.

          Human domestication of plants produces a rather diminishing effect on their reproductive capability – they enter a vegetative state very quickly. The seeds become smaller, sometimes they don’t split to give up their innards for dispersal. So in the neolithic, it might have been an counter-intuitive action to limit to wild breeding to retain fecundity.

          Look up Nikolai Vavilov “centers of origin” theory – he only identified 8 centers of domestication throughout the world in the Neolithic – sugarcane and coconut are in the Indian center. Rice is heavily disputed – its is either China or India. He put it in China.

          1. @Ugra,
            Just take the next step in your logic. Coconuts can reach shores of India but can’t travel north without human travel. Sugarcane of PNG variety can’t reach shores of India without human travel.

            Two things here:
            1) It is likely North-South travel isn’t common enough to carry coconut to North (coconut has no problem growing in Bihar).
            2) Austronesian humans could be going across oceans before the time frame commonly agreed.

            How did sugarcane of PNG variety arrived on Indian shores and travelled up North that early?

            Are you arguing that sugarcane of PNG variety never came to India? Because Saccharam baberi (Indian variety) is hybridized with Saccharum officinarum (PNG variety domesticated in 8000BCE) by 1000BCE (ref. Genomics of Saccharine, Patterson et al. 2013).

            Or are you saying south Indians were travelling all over to get PNG sugarcane (by sea) and send coconut palm sugar to north Indians (by land)?

            I don’t care to argue for merits of domestication because the central objective is to find evidence for timeline of sugarcane hybridization in India. Sugar can exist without sugarcane and so, evidence of sugar timeline itself is not useful for sugarcane inference. Sugar timeline can be leveraged if all other sources of sugar production can be identified. However, it is not “sufficient” evidence because we can never be conclusive of all possible high sugar content liquid sources prior to 1000BCE in India.

          2. There is a difference between “cultivation” and “domestication”. Indian coconut is cultivated without domestication.
            Perhaps you should look up the geography contained in the Indian center.

        2. Another interesting feature is that coconut trees didn’t reach North India even by the time of Chanukya but sugarcane of

          Might be the cold.
          Even in Sri Lanka 5 degrees from the equator coconut does not grow above 500m elevation.

          1. coconut grows easily in bangalore which is on a >900m plateau. That said, according to old timers, the planting of it away from the coast is a fashion of recent generations

          2. girmit
            That said, according to old timers, the planting of it away from the coast is a fashion of recent generations

            That makes sense for Sri Lanka too. The hill country above 500m, above Gampola started getting populated after the British (1815). Cleared virgin forest Initially for Coffee and then after the blight tea. South Indian labor was used. I think even now the majority population is of South Indian origin brought by the brits.

            Under the Sinhalese Kings it was forbidden to settle in the highlands above gampola. They were well aware the forests were responsible for rain and that all the rivers originate in the high mountains,

  12. Has anyone here read Greater Magadha by Johannes Bronkhorst?

    I am considering ordering it on Amazon. A bit skeptical since not sure of the author’s ideological leanings. I don’t mind those leanings but don’t appreciate it when facts are left out or too much subterfuge is applied to connect historical events with modern politics.

    1. I have read 20% of it. Seems a bit of a over analysis – not sure if that’s ideological or otherwise.
      Some critiques of Brahmanism seem like templated ( fitting evidences)

  13. https://swarajyamag.com/amp/story/economy%2Fwhat-the-economic-survey-says-fueling-growth-with-borrowed-money

    What The Economic Survey Says About Fueling Growth With Borrowed Money

    …… this renewed thinking is important as it signals a departure from the conventional hawkish stance on the fiscal front which has been criticized by many.
    As the budget is due on the 1st, here’s hoping that the findings of this chapter are duly considered and eventually we do get a more accommodative fiscal stance over the next couple of years as growth indeed is critical to ensure debt-sustainability

  14. how can india deal with iran, in light of the recent bomb blast? will shias also become like sardars, a failed project of the hindutva brigade?

  15. i feel that since now, the agitation is being led by up jats, who are susceptible for compromise as there are bjp jat mps who can open an channel to the jats, i can see a compromise and end to agitation in 15 days.

    1. Or the opposite could happen, where seeing the Jat agitation the BJP MPs might be forced to side with the community to stay politically relevant.

  16. https://twitter.com/MrSamratX/status/1355816434404741122

    “The real price of India’s independence was paid by Bengalis and Punjabis who lost their lives and properties in Partition, while others ran away with the country”

    As i have said, all Indian ethnicities think they ‘own’ India and paid a price for its Independence, totally blindsided from the fact of their collaboration with the Brits. Right now its Punjabis, tomorrow it will another ethnicity.

  17. already there is talk of a respectable ending. i feel govt did a good thing in arresting a few ‘farmers’ who are now pawns in an exchange deal!!!

    1. after the budget a meeting with modi will be arranged. tikaits will be made to look like winners…..

      1. yeah this is a huge loss. BJP has learned an important lesson. It has to be savvier next time. A lot of this is just Delhi’s unfortunate geography

  18. My girlfriend was just messaged on facebook by a random stranger who claims to know my identity and says I have spread “false” stuff about Khalistan, leftism, and radical islamic terrorism and the connection between the three online. They told her to spread it to all Punjabis I know and to talk to me about it. They said some other very odd stuff.

    Funny how Khalistanis just prove my points over and over again. The online harassment continues.

  19. Fact

    Khalistan movement had committed terrorist acts

    Fact

    There is a Jat Sikh ethnonationalist component to it. Of course, not all Jatt Sikhs are part of it and even those who are, of course all don’t endorse terrorism. But stll, on balance the movement aims to destabalize India, including via terrorist means, from historical plane hijacking to the killing Hindus through the early 80s in Punjab.

    Fact

    It is has links to Pak ISI which has links to known Jihadist groups

    Fact

    It has known links to leftist organizations, epitomized by known Khalistani, Jagmeet Singh, and his affiliation with socialist parties in Canada.

    I have spoken out against racism, bigotry, etc for awhile. Ironically, most of the race trolls I have faced who have denigrated me and others like me have been from one group. Most in that group are not like this. But those who have trolled and harassed me, including now those who I love tend to be from that group.

    They also brought up “anthroscape,” a now down raceboard. Funny thing is that none of my posts on there were anything but me calling out and arguing with racists. Ironic the mental gymnastics these people do.

    I will continue to spread and speak truth to power.

    1. Hopefully all of them.

      The good thing abt the Budget it no longer tries to stick to fiscal deficit numbers, there is no need to fight battles with one hand behind ur back, when ur opponents (Commies and Congress) don’t stick to the (fiscal deficit) rules.

      1. Fiscal discipline is understandably hard to maintain in a populist democracy but IMHO it’s worth paying a political price. But one would hope, given the BJP’s impregnable hold on political power, that their budgetary (and other) policies wouldn’t be guided by the petty concerns of trying to outmaneuver pipsqueak opponents like the Congress or the Commies.

        1. If only folks/region who don’t BJP or still vote for Commies/Congress had that much foresight.

          I wont begrudge BJP breaking the bank to become political superior. At the end of the day its a pollical party, and i wont put restrictions or have demands from them which i wont from Congress or Commies. But that;s just me.

  20. https://www.yahoo.com/news/texas-high-school-recruiting-mexican-101438239.html

    Interesting idea

    Also, interesting strawmans people use. When I say I hate the Khalistan movement, people mislabel me as hating Punjabis and Sikhs in general. When I saw I hate radical islam terrorism, they claim I hate all Muslims. When I say I hate the genocidal authoritarian CCP and the radical left, they claim I hate all Chinese and American Democrats (voted for Biden btw).

    With the post above, they will now claim I hate all Latinos.

    I have spent again the majority of my time arguing with supremacists, people who actually make themselves and their own groups look bad by being bigoted representatives. That is what I do. Now they are trying to label me as one. The projection is the epitome of irony.

    1. read the full post. the comments section was as interesting as the original post. looks like you confused people mightily with your pagans vs christians analogy. but good write up overall. (and i am assuming the over-dramatic tone was tongue-in-cheek really.)

  21. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/president-macron-gets-tough-with-radical-islam-after-death-of-samuel-paty-tdsh35fqq/

    President Macron’s crackdown on radical Islam reaches parliament today as a wide-ranging bill proposes to curtail cultural practices.

    The so-called law against separatism is intended to curb the spread of fundamentalist Islamic doctrines that feed terrorism and reject the laws and values of the French state.

    Its 70 measures, which include limiting home schooling, a ban on preaching in sports clubs, a purge on religious symbols from public services and outlawing virginity certificates, were toughened after a jihadist beheaded Samuel Paty, a teacher, near Paris, and three people were stabbed to death by a Tunisian migrant in Nice.

    In response to Paty’s death, the government shut a number of mosques, prayer halls, and religious associations deemed to be Islamist.

    Prefects, or county governors, will have power to order local authorities to stop religious practices such as single-sex swimming sessions at public pools that are deemed to breach France’s strict laws of secularism in public services. Staff at privately run public services, such as Paris airports, will no longer be allowed to wear hijab headscarves or other religious garments.

    Home schooling will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances to prevent parents from keeping girls at home and subjecting them to religious education.

    In an attempt to rid the country of foreign-financed preachers, a new register of imams is being set up by French Muslim leaders. They have also agreed with the government on a code that commits imams to respecting “Republican values”, including gender and racial equality and freedom to espouse any religion or none.

    Meanwhile, Cuckrenda has frozen CAA and UCC is nowhere to be found.

    1. Yeah India is very bad about implementing measures to stop radicalization of Islamic youth. Unfortunate how some are brainwashed in madrassas and how women are treated under Sharia. They really have to get a move on with UCC. CAA I feel less strongly about because of the religious test nature of it. They should be against all illegal immigration in general.

      Modi has been quite soft. I think he is using all his political capital on much needed neoliberal reforms for now. The culture wars will start again around election time.

  22. Lol, hadn’t followed for a bit, but this whole protest thing seems to have gone batshit crazy, don’t understand who wants what anymore

    Khalistanis celebrating Gandhi’s statue being vandalized, while condemning anyone that celebrates Godse

    RW trending Godse, but condemning Khalistanis that attack Gandhi’s statue (maybe they see it as an indirect attack on India? idk)

    And some Khalistanis sound like they’re ready to shoot any Gujju (throw in some hate for Brahmins too, for whatever reason) that ever shows up at their doorstep

    Diaspora ones seem to be extra dramatic (insane gatekeeping too), Bollywood runs in their veins

    1. They targeted my family on social media. They want to strawman anyone against the protest and their separatism as someone who is bigoted against Sikhs and pro genocide. I have no idea how they got my info, but they did. And they are misrepresenting me. They also contacted my cousin. They are malicious about trying to shut down the speech of others.

      Just for the record. 1984 was wrong. I don’t hate Sikhs or anyone for their religion, but I am against Khalistan. Targeting my family is off base. Go after me directly. Message me on here or wherever for a constructive debate. Don’t make Facebook troll accounts and harass my loved ones.

    1. It is what appear to be three specifically made troll accounts with no profile pics and random names that sent messages. Not sure how to address. Anyway, I think I’m going to take a break from this online stuff.

  23. @thewarlock, Do not hesitate in contacting Facebook/whatever website platform you’re receiving harassment on. Such type of harassing people turn out to be real life cowards. I’d say contact Facebook and report this harassment.

  24. Till few days back, i had this inkling that the farmer protests would succeed (they still might). But the events of the last few days of foreign officials and celebrities lending support to the movement had made me think twice, that Modi might not back down now.

    The surest way to discredit an Indian protest is to have foreigners supporting it. That could be also the reason the sikhs have now taken a backseat, allowing hindu jats to assume leadership. Let see how it goes.

  25. “As a nation, we are playing with fire, especially in the northern state of Punjab, where many of the protesting farmers are from. An agrarian state, it sends the largest number of soldiers to India’s military. At the protests, I have met more than one proud farmer with a son serving in the military. All are appalled at being besmirched as separatists. They remind me that one of India’s national slogans has long been “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” or “Salute the Soldier, Salute the Farmer.” Yet no can erase the memory of the 1980s, when secessionist violence overran Punjab, culminating in the assassination of the prime minister and shameful pogrom against innocent Sikhs.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/02/india-farmer-protests-polarization-rihanna/

    This statement about most soldiers is false on both a per capita and overall basis. A lot are sent but not the most. There needs to be better fact checking.

  26. So far, Serbia was one of rare places in the world without anti-Semitism because Jewish and Serbian people had in common that they were subjected to multiple genocides in the past which decimated the Serbian nation. The relationship between two nations originated during the ancient times. Serbs gave a refuge to Jews after Babylonian captivity when they were unwelcomed in Jerusalem due to the city overcrowding. Serbs also gave refuge to Jews after their exodus from Egypt. Moses got 10 commandments from God on Sinai’s (which former name was – Serbal) – Serbian peak (still the same name in Arabic). Premier Netanyahu recently thanked to Serbian president for friendship during the Roman Empire.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhxmLuXYNG4 (watch first 30 sec)

    Couple days ago, Israel “thanked” to Serbia by recognizing jihadists, narco-state Kosovo stolen from Serbian territory. Kosovo was a heart of Serbia since the beginning of time. In this 90 km in radius, Serbs have 2000 medieval churches and monasteries, some more than 1000 years old, Albanians do not have one monument.

    After this, I believe that Serbia will not be any more a lonely, anti-Semitism free island in the world.

  27. Similar to farm laws, i had this view that BJP in Bengal might finish a honorable second. Its just too less-Hindu space , with a substantial muslim pops. But seems like BJP might actually win it according to the one of the very few Indian elections experts who i take seriously.

    https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2021/feb/03/winds-of-change-blowing-in-bengal-ahead-of-assembly-polls-2258814.html

    “Now, with prevailing ground sentiment and BJP sending the right signals, thereby striking a chord with a majority of the electorates, the momentum for change is too strong to be dipped. Winds of change are blowing in Bengal.”

    1. Contrary to your views, Saurav, my impressions of Bengalis (I have known many, and count many as friends) is that they are at least as Hindutva-minded as any cow-belter. I always thought their opposition to the BJP was not the Hindutva part but the Bania part. They seem to take leftie economics seriously to heart and are not fond of business people and traders who have traditionally been the BJP’s base as much as the zealots. I could say the same for my extended (Tamil Brahmin) family; with few exceptions, they have an inbuilt suspicious of business people.

      Your views about non-North Indians have always struck me as weird. Not borne out of personal experience but rather inspired by typical North Indian prejudices from a generation or two ago (which I was very much familiar with as I was growing up in the 80s).

      1. On the Bengali front , i disagree. There is still lurking suspicion about ‘miyas’ but its not hostility to the extent its prevalent in N-India. Almost all political culture is made by the upper crust (non-English) society and u just need to read and hear how much Bengali media (Anand Bazar etc) and the N-India (Dainik Bhaskar etc) media differ in that respect.

        Also i understand from where you come from, folks from S-Indian or E-Indian background who grow up in North also start to mirror the N-Indian mindset rather their own. Not surprising, one of my friend’s whole family is in RSS, and they are Bengalis from Benaras.

        On my views on Non N-Indians, i again understand. Almost all non N-Indians in North India are Upper castes, who are already more cosmopolitan or “North-shifted”. They speak in Hindi, carry same prejudices, intermarry, have same values and tastes, so its not strange that they don’t suffer as much prejudice as a normal S-Indian person would.

      2. I concur with Numinous here.
        Bengalis, after controlling for education etc are as Hindu minded as other North Indians. The main issue is Bongs are over-represented in academia, where wokeness supercedes any ethnic tendencies.

        Bengalis also generally lack tact, which I find endearing. One of my Bong friends in college used to say stuff that made even some of my RSS-lite friends from UP/MP squirm.

        Also, I think it’s not as easy to classify folks on the Hindutva front. People can have sympathies one way but vote another because of other concerns. My comments here may give an impression that I am a BJP voter but IRL I am pretty vocally pro-AAP.

      3. Important factor that’s possibly being overlooked. Bengalis are plenty hindu inasmuch as they take their mythology, poetry, draped clothing, gastronomy rooted in the local ecology, and even rituals of worship very seriously. They are among the cultural descendants of Maghada, what could be more classically hindu than that? What differs is that they are not vegetarians, and the mainline BJP political orthodoxy is a type of vegetarian nationalism. Its why “less hindu” lingayats and jains can participate more naturally in this than than bengalis who are much more pious to vedic authority. Dietary differences create their own apartheid. The lok sabha party map of india correlates strongly to this cultural feature as well. with Assam as the notable exception.

        1. girmit: Bengalis are plenty hindu inasmuch as they take their mythology, poetry, draped clothing, gastronomy rooted in the local ecology, and even rituals of worship very seriously
          – well said mate. Would say the same about Tamils and Mallus as well.

          To me the tag that these people are painted with by some (‘non-hindu’) seems to come down to the fact that they aren’t Muslim-hating (yet). The fact that the foremost hindu kingdoms in the past have come from ‘non-hindu’ regions like the cholas or the magadhas like you mentioned doesn’t seem to matter nor the fact these regions still have intact authentic hindu forms of art and culture, it’s just that they don’t hate their muslims (or x-tians) enough.

          I would grant that loony communism or dravidianism has done much harm to these regions, but I think that some sort of course correction is underway. And in this sense the BJP with its focus on breaking caste/patronage politics and greater integration to the rest of the country does represent a positive break from the past as long as it can break away from the ‘N Indian party’ tag.

          lurker: BTW as a “north” Indian I have noticed a sort of inferiority complex among your folks, the Southies, too towards Northies
          – nothing could be farther from the truth, mate. Don’t let those light skinned N indian heroines in the films fool you, they’re just there for item value and nothing more. The serious roles requiring acting prowess are still played by S Indian actresses. The events of the recent past and the incessant bad headlines coming out of the North have seen many S indians mentally check themselves out of the Indian mainstream, and I don’t blame them. I’d say most of the positive stoies to come out India in the recent past – the startup scene, the space-tech scene, the defence manufacturing scene, etc. are all S India based. I actually tell most of my Euro friends who want to visit India to start from the S and to save N india for another trip, if they feel brave enough.

          1. “The events of the recent past and the incessant bad headlines coming out of the North have seen many S indians mentally check themselves out of the Indian mainstream,”

            I would say thats true for much of Indian history after Independence rather than being recent.

          2. Siddharth:
            I did acknowledge that the South has stolen a leap on North. The equation vs. West is different though, because a lot of entrepreneurial/business activity always has and continues to be driven by “west Indian” peoples (Parsis, Marwaris, Gujaratis, Punjabi Hindus) and living standards are better or comparable to that in the South.
            The inferiority complex exists wrt to appearance and pop culture. I have experienced it personally (being slightly lighter than average North Indian) and have had it verbalized in some form by Southies.
            Your vantage point is different as a Tam-Bram – you can claim the positives of both the South and the North (cosmpolitanism, appearance – on average, culture etc) but the same doesn’t apply to the Bahujan (first time using this term::) or the masses.
            Even Girmit acknowledges this:
            “please cite where i show disdain for n indians. And yes, i see plenty of the racial inferiority complex among southerners too. There are some nuances as to who it afflicts more than others though.”

        1. yes, but its also why, despite all the external meddling, the actual social integration between sikhs and hindus has been so resilient and despite cross-border ethnic overlap of the biradari clans, sikh-muslim relations have natural limits. Its also why SAD can be a natural constituent of NDA and that northern hindus bend over backwards to accomodate and valorize sikhs and not gurkhas. Diet is not the only variable, nothing is so simple. But it informs social proximity that has bearing on political tastes.

      4. I feel like the RW’s cuckoldry to the Sikhs and hatred for Malayalis, Tamils, Bengalis is more than just the old prejudices.

        1. Hoju:
          Don’t go by a single poster here. Rightwing has a disproportionate number of Bengali idols. Where is the proof of their hatred?
          As far as Mallus/Tamils this is reciprocal politics: Commie/Dravidian vs Right wing. Don’t see any hatred there. Right wing is consistently the one trying to unite all Dharmic strands. It’s a big tent so there will be some that deviate but look at the leaders and the ideology.
          Agree with you on the excessive deference to the inflated ego of the Sardars but that is fast being corrected only because of the arrogance of the radial Sikhs (constant spitting on Hindus will have an impact even if the right wing is programmed to be deferential)

          1. Disproportionate is the wrong word dont u think?

            Almost all Bengali ‘idols’ (if we can call them that) is just political strategy. I mean u dont really believe that Hindutva has some admiration for Bose or Vivekanand. The real idols for the right(much like the rest of the country) are North Indians heroes. The furthest south u can go is perhaps Shivaji. Come Tamil elections, Modi will recite a lot from Thilluvar. Does that make him a right wing icon too?

            P.S: I get Hindu right obsession with “unite all Dharmic strands”, but then something gotta give. Smaller Asabiyyah –> Stronger Asabiyyah

          2. “BTW as a “north” Indian I have noticed a sort of inferiority complex among your folks, the Southies, too towards Northies – for their more boisterous culture and for their lighter skin and “sharper” features”

            White Skin Fetish is a Pan-Indian Phenomena. Don’t tell me Katrina Kaif is popular Actress for her Acting Skills or Curves, she has neither of those. As for “Sharper” facial features, that’s debatable. Facial/Cranial Structures are too diverse in India, from caste to caste and region to region. Either way, i’d say that a lot of Southies do have sharp facial features, its just that no one cares cus they’re dark skinned lol

            “pop culture mostly seems to flow from the North to the South”

            What’re you talking about? South Indian Movies are different from Bollywood. Idk what gave you the idea that Southies “admire” the culture of the North. South(and Rest of India) looks down on Gangatic Belt’s culture because its too poor.. There’s a reason why “Anti-Hindi” Sentiment is so popular, its cus no one likes to be associated with low status and Hindi is spoken predominately in the least developed regions of India.

            Ever noticed how Tamils have 0 problems with learning English as a second language? Cus it has a global prestige they can get behind, Hindi doesn’t even enjoy National Prestige despite the best efforts of Central Govt.

          3. Enigma:
            “BTW as a “north” Indian I have noticed a sort of inferiority complex among your folks, the Southies, too towards Northies – for their more boisterous culture and for their lighter skin and “sharper” features”

            [White Skin Fetish is a Pan-Indian Phenomena. Don’t tell me Katrina Kaif is popular Actress for her Acting Skills or Curves, she has neither of those. As for “Sharper” facial features, that’s debatable. Facial/Cranial Structures are too diverse in India, from caste to caste and region to region. Either way, i’d say that a lot of Southies do have sharp facial features, its just that no one cares cus they’re dark skinned lol]

            It is a pan-Indian phenomenon, so we agree on that. I was just countering Girmit’s point to say exactly this. Southies do have complex about their appearance vs. Northies – there is a huge overlap and the differences are generally not big, but the fetish for lighter skin means that this complex exists. I have anecdotal experience with this complex, and it is all quite visible in how North Indian actresses are imported to the South (same as Katrina in Bollywood), how Tamil women would marvel at Amma’s complexion etc. No point denying this.

            [[What’re you talking about? South Indian Movies are different from Bollywood. Idk what gave you the idea that Southies “admire” the culture of the North. South(and Rest of India) looks down on Gangatic Belt’s culture because its too poor.. There’s a reason why “Anti-Hindi” Sentiment is so popular, its cus no one likes to be associated with low status and Hindi is spoken predominately in the least developed regions of India.]]

            And yet South Indians have adopted Mehndi, and Sangeet, and dancing at weddings. They are following Bollywood and Bollywood music more than the other way around. Middle Age Chennaites are the ones humming/singing songs from Guide and other 70s classics and not the other around. They are the ones that have rapidly developed working proficiency in Hindi while UPwallahs revel in their monolinguistic culture. English is the elite language and Hindi is the the language of the masses and I have seen many a South Indian (even the most Bahujan one) here in the US that try to speak Hindi or at least understand it. Sorry reality doesn’t support your point.

            [Ever noticed how Tamils have 0 problems with learning English as a second language? Cus it has a global prestige they can get behind, Hindi doesn’t even enjoy National Prestige despite the best efforts of Central Govt.]

            See above.

            Just to clarify, I don’t support any of these complexes. My point was in response to Girmit who from his South Indian perch was passing judgment on the complex of “Hindustanis” relative to Sikhs. Some of what he said is true, some is not (just expedient for right wing unity), some a relic of the past (Sikhs as sword arm etc…). And I was countering that he shouldn’t be too judgmental because Southies demonstrate some of the same complexes vis a vis Western/North Indian (I as a middling “west Indian” have been at the favorable receiving end of these complexes IRL). Girmit even agreed to this point in his subsequent reply.

            The dynamic vs. Sikhs is a special case and it will play out differently over the next couple decades. A section of the Sikhs have decided that antagonism to Hinduism (and by extension BJP) is how they are going to protect their privileges (MSP and preferential procurement is an unearned privilege that comes at the expense of the rest of India – 97% of the population), that they will align with Muslims in India and woke/Islamists/Pakistanis abroad. This is the bet they have made and it will play out. There will be a counter reaction and it already forming. I haven’t ever seen Hindus mocking Sikhs and their symbols (langar for example) but it is all over social media now. Just an example of how things could change.

          4. “but the fetish for lighter skin means that this complex exists.”
            I mean, you can fetishize someone without respecting them as human beings.

            “And yet South Indians have adopted Mehndi, and Sangeet, and dancing at weddings.”
            Westerners have also adopted Yoga,Chicken Tikka,Masala Dosa and Bollywood music, they still don’t respect Indians all that much. BTW Mehdndi is a Mughal invention, so its an Islamic cultural Import into Hindu Culture to begin with. Is Mendhi proof of the Ganga-jamuni-Tehzeeb in the North India?

            “They are following Bollywood and Bollywood music more than the other way around. Middle Age Chennaites are the ones humming/singing songs from Guide and other 70s classics and not the other around.”
            That does not mean they respect the millions of Biharis&UpWallahs, dude.

            English is the elite language
            That’s exactly my point, everyone wants to associate themselves with the Elite. Sanskrit is also an “Elite” language and it enjoys prestige that Hindi can only dream of.

            and I have seen many a South Indian (even the most Bahujan one) here in the US that try to speak Hindi or at least understand it. Sorry reality doesn’t support your point.
            Dude, i’m a South Indian and i’m proficient in Hindi too. My point still stands, no one in my family or friends circle has a very high opinion of the Hindi Belt or its Culture. No one will respect your language&culture unless it has a certain pre-existing prestige like English which is the language of Harvard&Oxford or like Sanskrit which is the language of the Vedas.

            Hindi Belt is just too impoverished to command any kind respect from the rest of India, its as simple as that.

          5. Enigma:
            I was making a limited point and not about general “respect”.
            I’ll give you an anecdote: One of posters here mentioned how he gets extra points from *some* SI women in the Bangalore dating scene for being lighter. A few even creeped him out by mentioning that to him. Not saying by any means that this applies to everyone but illustrates the point I was making.
            Didn’t mean to hurt your feelings so let’s agree to disagree.
            Last post on this topic.

          6. lol my “hurt” feelings? Please, its you who is hurt by girmit’s alleged “contempt” for the Hindustanis. I’ve logically explained to you how S.Indians don’t view your “boisterous” Hindustani culture&language in a positive light and you’ve got nothing to say about that. Agree to Disagree? Sure…

            S.Indians have a White Skin Fetish and so do North Indians. That isn’t proof of S.Indians considering N.Indians Superior, Chauvinistic tendencies in the South proves that isn’t the case whatsoever.

        2. The mainline RW has a distinct inferiority complex, and for hindustanis, sikhs are their “best selves”, courageous, generous, egalitarian, resistant to islam and a bit lighter skinned. Bengali hindutva is the inverse. with a kind of a phlegmatic noblesse oblige towards a muslim underclass (pity them with their ersatz persianate motifs). Tamils, Mallus ect are just interlopers..”when did these folks get the impression they matter?”

          1. Maybe. But to me seems more like they just want to integrate dharmics at any cost, including excess appeasement

            The RW things it has others “in the bag,” so they don’t try as hard.

          2. “Tamils, Mallus ect are just interlopers”

            Interlopers is a strong word. I think one metaphor would be the South Indians are like the maternal side of the family. You know they are there and interact once in a while but don’t want to get too involved in their drama.

            Now that I think more about it, this metaphor also has a poetic echo in the mtDNA vs Y-DNA distribution.

          3. girmit:
            Part of what you said is perhaps driven by your contempt for (or at least disdain of) the Hindustanis. There are certain caricatures that have been prevalent in India, bolstered by Bollywood and other media: Jovial, courageous but a bit stupid Sardar; jovial idiosyncratic Parsi; jovial, charitable and bad Hindi speaking Christian who thinks all people are equal(always Goan Catholic with a cross, in the media), God fearing, namazi, nobile Muslim…The last of these has now been demolished, and with what hte Sikhs have been up to the first one is also on it’s way out.
            The underlying driver of the deference to Sikhs to keep them in the flock (this is for the right wing leadership and ideologues) – and like warlock said they are not worried about the Jains or say Marathas or others…

            BTW as a “north” Indian I have noticed a sort of inferiority complex among your folks, the Southies, too towards Northies – for their more boisterous culture and for their lighter skin and “sharper” features (no surprises there). This has been changing now due to how the South has come up economically post liberalization but still pop culture mostly seems to flow from the North to the South

          4. Prats:

            “Tamils, Mallus ect are just interlopers”

            [ I think one metaphor would be the South Indians are like the maternal side of the family. You know they are there and interact once in a while but don’t want to get too involved in their drama.]

            Your metaphor too is informed by North Indian patriarchy 🙂 South Indians have a different family dynamic where the maternal family are on an almost equal footing with the paternal side.

            In the North it is (was?) very different. One example that comes to mind is of a worship offering (prasad) which was supposed to be only consumed by the family – my married Buas (father’s sisters) were not allowed to partake but Dad’s cousin and their wives were (the cousin’s wives were now part of the family, but the married Bua was not, after her marriage).

          5. please cite where i show disdain for n indians. And yes, i see plenty of the racial inferiority complex among southerners too. There are some nuances as to who it afflicts more than others though.

          6. girmit:
            It was something I inferred from your posts over time. Perhaps your disdain is really for the Indian right which is disproportionately North and West Indian, and it comes across as disdain for “Hindustanis” (LOL is this the new term for UP/Bihar/MP walas? At least it’s sort of neutral unlike BIMARU and cowbelt which are the preferred terms of Lefties and Southies) But if you say do you don’t then I’ll take your word for it.

          7. lurker. i like using “hindustani” for north india, and i think its much more respectful and rooted in tradition than “bimaru”. For a blog such as BP, north indian and south indian loses too much nuance and most readers understand that the subcontinent is a patchwork of cultures. Rather than giving my personal credentials as a well-wisher of north indians IRL, i will say that treating the entirety of the India as even vague monolith is frustrating just from the POV of reaching insights in these conversations. I don’t even consider bihar and rajasthan to be that similar. Overall. I think people should attest to the cultures they understand (or at least qualify statements a bit more often) and lots of folks here, north or south speak as if they have the totality of the indic experience in their bosom.

  28. now, capt. amrinder singh says that pakistan should not be allowed to exploit the farmer’s stir. how can they respond if the local population is firm? it is the separatist section which will be responsive to pak. when others say this the sikhs get angry.

  29. As i said yesterday , these external personalities tweeting abt India has rallied the right wing (and general populace) behind Modi. Now it just became 200 percent tougher for farmers to get their demands.

    The next 4 years with Harris as VP would be interesting for India-US ties.

    1. This is what most of the Indian media is clueless about – a complete ignorance of the Indian psyche. Even Indian cricketers are tweeting about it.

      The “farmer” went from being a Separatist to a Jat to a Mia Khalifa cause.

      This is some kind of record transmogrification – I lost it when RaGa started referencing Kangana Ranaut’s tweets.

      What is the next horcrux?

      1. Does anyone really think it’s going to have any decisive effect on the movement?

        We were here on R-Day as well. The violence was supposed to have dealt a blow to the movement amidst condemnation from all sides.

        IMO the stakes are just going to be ratcheted up again.

      2. I see no effect on the farmers front, but some changes on Govt side.

        Till now moving back for Modi would have meant losing (some) face internally. Now moving back from his stand is ‘sovereignty’ issue. I think the most the farmers would get is suspension of the laws now.

        But i see quite a few “Indians” outside India, rejoicing at all this. I mean, its not for nothing that we were British colony.

        1. This is all a lose-lose game. So much tamasha for reforms that aren’t really going to change all that much.

          The documents that came to light are quite interesting.

          Don’t know who’s using who as useful idiot here. The ‘farmers’ the foreign leftists or vice versa.

          1. Can u link those documents, reading abt them on twitter, but cant seem to find it

            And yeah i agree the farm laws have already been scaled down to an empty shell, but then it was never about the laws anyways.

  30. Another article on Bengal

    https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/in-bengal-the-salience-of-jai-shri-ram-101612363734119.html

    “The story of Jai Shri Ram goes beyond the BJP in Bengal. It has become a code of solidarity, a way of greeting, and a signal of anti-TMC consolidation. And it has become an everyday tool of political demarcation not only against the TMC but also against the patronising attitude of the old elites who privilege ideology over the everyday precarious experience of the subalterns. It signifies the fusion of the subaltern with Hindutva against the worldviews of Bhadraloks.”

    “The Bhadralok response to the slogan has been one of unease. It claims that the slogan has never been a part of Bengal’s religiosity and is almost alien to the land, and therefore, those invoking must be the migrants from neighbouring states.”

    Less-Hindu ethnicity.

    1. So much bias. If Congress had an actual non democratically elected leftist dictator, their wluld he less bias. What a joke.

  31. https://m.timesofindia.com/city/varanasi/uttar-pradesh-youth-dad-arrested-for-minor-girls-rape-conversion-attempt/amp_articleshow/80484976.cms

    “Ballia, UP:Abdul Rehman raped 14-year-old when she was alone, made a video of the rape which he used to force her into further rapes. When girl’s father pleaded to have video deleted, father of the accused refused & said if victim converts to Islam, either his son or he himself would marry her.”

    Rape Jihad

    1. Such documentaries remind me why fight against exploitation of women must cross national and religious lines. I was angry when the revelations of the grooming gangs roaming the UK came to light (mostly paki men targeting white and vulnerable girls, plying them them with drugs and then raping them).

      However, it later came out that some girls of the sikh community – let alone within the pakistani community itself – had also been targeted. Yet a lot of the right-wing forces in the UK didn’t want to engage that, because they don’t fundamentally care about women’s rights and just used it as a cover to bash brown people in general.

  32. P.S. thanks to Saurav for linking the articles by Sajjan Kumar. This is why I’m coming to places like BP, to get in-depth knowledge about the situation on the ground. Coverage of India in the Western press is starting to approach its coverage of Russia. All ideology and zero nuance.

  33. has time come to cancel the ‘harris’ tribe after, one of them tweets in support of ‘farmers’?

  34. Some random thoughts on the farmer protests and associated tamasha –

    – The ‘don’t meddle in our internal affairs’ twitter statements by the MEA and celebrities come across as petulant and insecure and it isn’t a good look. But on the flip side for the farmers, the stakes have been ratcheted way up and the gov’t will not back down now as it has nothing more to lose in terms of perception. In a way, both sides got from this fracas what they wanted

    – It’s clear the gov’t has been absolutely clueless about how to handle this from the very beginning and has lost the PR war. Any window for decisive action post 26 Jan has now been lost for good. But the shifting of the action from Punjab to the Hindi heartland is good for the BJP as it has some levers at its disposal

    – I still can’t get my head around how a purely economic issue morphed into a battle cry for global sikhism. Some fanatics have managed to get some egg in the face of the Indian gov’t but at the cost of any goodwill or flexibility the gov’t may have had.

    – The gov’t will eventually learn to weather the PR storm, which is a taster of what the new normal under the Biden admin will look like. But Indians aren’t ‘keep you head down and get on with your life’ type people like the Russians or Chinese so get ready for ever louder and clumsier pushbacks.

    – The Indian middle DGAF anymore about the protests, contrary to what the news channels are saying.
    – The BJP really really needs better spokespeople

    – Delhi is a prisoner of it’s geographic location in Jatland, being surrounded by (how do I put it politely) more hotheaded groups willing to deploy street power at the drop of a hat and bring it to a standstill. It has also served to place the NW of the country firmly in the country’s imagination and invisible-ise the rest of the country, particularly south of the vindhyas.

  35. “The BJP really really needs better spokespeople”

    Siddharth, I would attribute this to the fact that a majority of people leading the opposition (esp. the Congress & the Left), including top journalists, are from old money, and have the verbal register and social capital to know what ticks and what doesn’t. They’ve been brought up in an urbane environment, and would always seem more polished than those who’ve come up via the RSS ranks.

    Frankly, the BJP doesn’t stand much of a chance against these guys in PR – most of those at the top levels are from middle-class small town vernacular-speaking backgrounds. Propaganda for the old entrenched elite would be as easy as showing two side-by-side videos, one of Sachin Pilot in a tux dancing in a ballroom, and the other of Nitin Gadkari marching in khaki shorts. Those brought up in a surplus environment would just seem cooler.

    The BJP needs to get someone like Jyotiraditya Scindia or some old money doyen to explain their policies to the intelligentsia, including journalists, academics et al. They’ve been missing that ever since Jaitley and Swaraj kicked the bucket. High-society people have a habit of openly saying one thing, and deciding who gets to enter their ‘tribe’ via subtle behaviour and signaling, something that would fly above the heads of many of the ministers who were brought up in poorer households.

    All I want is that the 3 laws are passed, they’re good for the country as a whole. Not passing them not would mean it gets shelved till at least the next general election, and thus many more years of farmers living under monopsonies and bad storage leading to volatile prices and another money drain for funds that should go into capex.

    1. I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t buy it.
      One doesn’t need to be privileged to be able to put forward a decent nuanced point of view on a debate, and for sure there are folks in the party who can do that but the incentive structure in the organisation doesn’t seem to think it’s worth their time in grooming these traits. And I don’t believe that (language skills aside) folks from vernacular backgrounds lack these traits. It’s actually quite elitist you think so! On the + side, I’ve actually stopped watching TV debates that feature any BJP spokesperson since they make me want to gouge my eyes out, much better instead to spend that time listening to a podcast like Bharatvaarta which actually features decent right of center folks who aren’t all about shouting matches.

      It’s actually no wonder the party’s viewpoint is so misrepresented and their global image in tatters. And the party’s image has started to reflect badly on the national image. I used to be sympathetic to the party due to the reasons you mentioned but there’s absolutely no excuses on this front now after all these years of being in power

      1. This trope of BJP PR/communication “not good enough for muh” is subliminal teeth-gnashing at “messenger is not from my social circle”.

        The political messaging is on point, reaches the intended constituents most of the time. That’s why they win elections. Period.

        Reforms require sagacity. So far the government has displayed that – with adequate signalling to its own constituency. It was never going to be a cakewalk. Two steps forward, one step backwards. It’s going to be like that.

        1. I 100% agree that BJP’s PR/Comms is bad, bad, very bad. I have seen comms being doing at large US companies for public facing issues which are not even close to existential, and they prep and prep, refine and further refine their message and have contingency plans.

          BJP folks seem to shoot from the hip without any prep. We saw this with Balakot, we saw it with 370 and we are seeing it now again with the farmer’s protest.

          They may be communicating well enough to their core base (even this is up for debate) but their core vote base is not the only constituency they should be addressing. There are the marginal supporters/floating voters, there are external governments, there is media…All of these matter, and you can have a differentiated strategy and even subtly different messaging for all of them. It’s not only they could only address their core or others..Doesn’t work that way.

          Their horrible comms have tarnished Modi and BJP’s image and is affecting India’s image as well. Yes, the opposition (Indian, foreign) is opportunistic and in many case malevolent but so what..They are supposed to deal with that.

          As for the cause of this bad comms, I think it is because nobody in BJP wants to take a risk of putting the wrong foot and offending the top two. There is a downside to the Modi-Shah iron grip – everyone else has just decided to be in the background and be risk averse. Otherwise we could have had senior ministers go on the offensive early on..Some level of intra party/government openness would do Modi/Shah/BJP good.

      2. “Frankly, the BJP doesn’t stand much of a chance against these guys in PR – most of those at the top levels are from middle-class small town vernacular-speaking backgrounds.”

        IMO it’s not so much the class factor as a generational/cultural factor. Strange as it might seem, the IT cell seems to not have kept up with new age social media platforms like Reddit, Discord and the likes. This is where international perception is formed now. They’re too much millennial and not Gen Z enough.

        Don’t think the government has suffered much PR damage internally. It might even have increased its constituency, even in places like Haryana (as that Scroll article attests).

        IMO the government needs to be more savvy in getting ahold of important subreddits and get content upvoted strategically. Abuse and spam on Twitter is a blunt tool that is past its sell by date. They need sassy memes to appeal to midwit teenagers.

  36. https://www.yahoo.com/news/mexicos-sinaloa-cartel-built-empire-152759053.html

    “According to him, users in the US started asking for fentanyl-boosted heroin in 2015, but they didn’t receive the order and recipes to cook it until 2019.

    “The cook learned from a Chinese man, brought all the way here by the” cartel. “He is the only one who knows the recipe,” the cartel member told Insider.

    “But many started dying because we still didn’t have the right recipe, and some of them were not aware of the potency of the new product,” he added.”

    Revenge for the opium wars

  37. “It has also served to place the NW of the country firmly in the country’s imagination and invisible-ise the rest of the country, particularly south of the vindhyas.”

    Not only the south of India is invisible but also the rest of the non-Jutt/Jat farming population from North India. Whither are the Yadavs, Gujjars, Kurmis of Haryana, UP and Bihar? Its as if only Sikhs and Jats are farmers in India and nobody else. I hope whatever conclusion this episode has, the govt of India ensures benefits reach farmers all of India and not just in Punjab.

    Another thing I must say I am really disappointed by is how absolutely nobody from the Sikh community has come out publically in support or even a nuanced take on the Farming laws. The entire Sikhs community has closed ranks behind a stance of

    a) Roll back farm laws
    b) Give us MSP on ALL crops forever by law

    otherwise they will continue to hold Delhi hostage, blockade major highways indefinitely, amass international support by leveraging their community abroad, go an a rampage on Republic Day and hoist a Sikh flag on a National monument. No criticism of them should be allowed however much they harm India lest they become even more separatist. Even the retired Generals and other high ranking Officers from the Indian army have shown themselves to be suffering from a Sikh superiority complex.

    How can it be that in such a large population engaged in varied professions absolutely noone sees the benefit of market reforms in agriculture? This communal tunnel vision does not bode well for Sikhs. Like the Muslim aristocracy and middle class in pre-partition India, it seems they feel they cannot compete with the Hindus in a competitive business environment. A desperate lack of confidence is hidden behind their bombast and juvenile show-boating in Punjabi songs.

  38. “BJP is bad at communications. ”

    This is true. The government should look for better communicators in BJP, arm them with the correct message and ensure the message is broadcast in the correct mediums and language. Currently, it seems that the govt is totally uninterested in communications which don’t help it in winning elections directly.

    However it is also true that a very large section of the Indian media particularly one which has international contacts and reach is forever railing against the govt, impugning its motives and running propaganda against its policy and legislative efforts.

    The media’s job is not to report allegations from vested interests or to become deranged activists themselves. The media’s job is to find out if those allegations are legitimate and report on something with the proper context. Far too often has the media been fanning the flames and deliberately muddying the waters recently. Case in point: the reportage on the death of the idiot Sikh hoodlum who rammed his tractor at full speed into a police barricade on 26th January.

    Its rather difficult for a govt. to get its message across in such an environment even if it were at the top of its game at communications.

  39. Sadanand Dhume and Mihir Sharma have supported farm laws in international publications when they might well have stayed silent or denounced them to boost their liberal credentials.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/rihanna-rallies-to-the-wrong-cause-in-india-11612465735

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-26/india-s-modi-should-stand-firm-against-protesting-farmers

    Respect.

    Hope the govt. goes through with these reforms. With the road and the rail network improving in UP and Bihar , corporate contract-farming fueled by exports can take off. It may not improve the economy by a lot since manufacturing and services are more remunerative but it will be a definite boost nevertheless.

    1. I don’t know anything about Mihir Sharma but your comment about Dhume is off-base. He has long been a bona fide member of the libertarianish right, both in the Indian and the American contexts. He was an early supporter of Modi’s 2014 PM campaign and one of the few people who would publicly defend that position in Western media.

      Like many of us who had hoped that Modi was not the caricature the Congress/left (and the media) had painted of him, he was sorely disillusioned by stupid and tyrannical acts like demonetization, the ratcheting up of culture war issues, the demonization of Indian Muslims, and the damaging of science by trying to mix it with myth and dogma.

      Dhume works for organizations like the AEI and the WSJ which lie squarely within the American right-wing. He has no “liberal credentials” to burnish nor is he trying to. It’s just that he believes in a certain model of government (and governance) that it seems Indian society is incapable of understanding or appreciating.

  40. The son of the ambassador of Pakistan to Romania, who was arrested in Serbia on suspicion of smuggling migrants, has diplomatic immunity, his lawyer said. Defense counsel claims that this man was also detained, his vehicle belonging to the Embassy of Pakistan was confiscated, as well as his diplomatic passport.

    The son of the ambassador, as it is supposed, promised the migrants that he would manage to transfer them from Serbia to the European Union, that is, to Hungary.

    – They handed him the money and after that he drove his car in the direction of the Horgos crossing, towards Hungary, where the control of police officers at the border established that migrants were hidden in the trunk – the prosecutor’s office said.

  41. The son of the ambassador of Pakistan to Romania, who was arrested in Serbia on suspicion of smuggling migrants, has diplomatic immunity, his lawyer said.

    Overseas elite Pakistanis have a habit of doing destructive things. Umair Haque, the son of well-known economist nadeem haque (worked for the IMF for almost a quarter century) posted this vile rant a few days ago. He lives in London.

    Generally, I’ve found that the worst elements from third world countries tend to be precisely the secular, English-speaking and wannabe Westernised class. They are most likely to drink the BLM/anti-white koolaid. Not necessarily because I think there’s some unique social force about them that makes them more hostile per se. It’s just a question of class distinction, assimilation. They are the most likely type of people to absorb the elite culture of the West.

    Elite Western culture is anti-white, which may be surprising to outsiders, but elite Indian culture was anti-Hindu (arguably) for most of India’s post-independence period (as well as before). So this shouldn’t be difficult to understand for an Indian.

    I have a suspicion that the exact same types of people who post vile anti-white rants today would be precisely the same kinds of people trying to diss their countrymen as “racially inferior” if elite Western culture was far-right. Again, not because they’d be inherently far-right but simply because they ape the dominant social mores to a much greater extent than any other social group in their respective societies. When they aren’t emigrating, they are teaching “afrofuturism” in Pakistan. Seriously. Not because it is about blacks. It’s about conforming to Western elite culture.

  42. I wrote recently that Pakistani government and Bosnian muslim ambassador in Pakistan organised 2000 fake travel visas for Pakistani to come to Bosnia. The most of them are jihadists, now in sleepers’ cells with assignments to be on standby and wait under protection of Muslim(&Croatian) half of Bosnia (the other half is Serbian Republic).

    The topic about Western anti-white elites is huge and is getting enormous proportions in US with new administration. It seems that US, which is riding on anti-white wave, is rapidly sliding into totalitarianism.

  43. Does the “BJP IT Cell” even exist?
    As in a (large) group of social media accounts belonging to people paid by the BJP to do propaganda on its behalf.

    If so which ids on twitter for instance belong to it?

    This phrase keeps getting repeated so much everywhere that its existence seems to have been accepted as gospel truth.

    I do not think the BJP IT-Cell exists. I can see only one account belonging to Amit Malviya who is self-avowedly incharge of the ‘BJP IT department’. But there do not seem to be any of his minions around.

    This phrase is mostly just a way to counter and belittle the overwhelming support for BJP in middle-class, urban Indians which manifests itself as support on social media. Leftists and other assorted opponents of BJP don’t want to lend further credence to this support and thus deal with it by calling it “BJP’s IT Cell”.

    BJP and Hindutva has overwhelming support in urban-middle class Hindus. Increasingly also in rural Hindus. The manifestations of this support in social media are organic. People support BJP because they want to do so themselves. Its an expression of their beliefs. Thats precisely the reason why this support comes across as so passionate. If this were a paid, astro-turfed campaign it might have more resembled the pious homilies Communists today tell each other when Communism has been a proven failure all over the world.

    1. Yup. The IT cell is a bogeyman that’s convenient to bash. But there’s no denying that there’s a certain type of archetypal RW Indian on twitter who spouts absolute nonsense, has no tact or decency in argument and falls prey to conspiracy theories. These are typically the ones with an angry Hanuman profile pic or one of an akhand bharat stretching from Afghanistan to the Phillipines. But I do agree that’s its organic and not orchestrated. I wish that Indians realise that it’s much easier to win over opponents not by shouting them down or abusing them but by tact, measured speech and a bit of humour. With a diaspora as large as ours, a booming English speaking population that’s clued in to the Anglosphere and a growing economy India should be a PR success story but it’s even outclassed by Chine and Pakistan in this department. Calls for much soul searching in this ‘IT Cell’, if it does exist

      1. During the 2014 LS elections and in the few years post that, some of my friends worked with the burgeoning political consultancies that had come up with the likes of Prashant Kishore.

        From what they’ve told me, there indeed do exist teams that are responsible for online warfare. Back in the day, it would have been 20 volunteers sitting on broken Neelkamal chairs in some dingy room in Patparganj furiously typing away on cheaply assembled desktops.

        It’s more de-centralised these days with networks of WhatsApp groups where requisite copies are shared for dissemination.

        1. Prats, I’m connected to some of these folks as well. They have cells operating all the way down to the district level and they recruit influencers. Congress folks followed suit and a few political consultancies emerged post-2014, some even brought US consultants. My impression is that the BJP team as we know it isn’t going to get more savvy all of a sudden, but a significant chunk of the effete chattering classes will pivot to the BJP (think hindol sengupta). The overton window has shifted and i don’t think core hindutva positions are as taboo to hold among the cosmopolitan under-30 crowd.

      2. Things will get better in time.
        You must see that its often the very first generation of Indians who are online and English educated. The Indian elite, the ones with fancy degrees and pedigree, instead of trying to understand this assertion and channelling it in proper ways has instead chosen to behave like Brown Sahibs, completely alienated from the uncouth natives. The native intelligentsia is completely dominated by assorted leftists, marxists, maoists and anarchists who mostly see kicking down upon common Indians as a way of moving themselves up the totem pole of global clout.

        Sophistication takes time to develop and comes from good education, economic prosperity etc. India is on the right path.

        BTW if the Chinese internet weren’t cut off from the world, they would have come across as even more raucously uncouth and prickly.

        Pakistan lacks English education at a good enough scale to truly have heft in online discourse.

  44. Indian govt. has donated coronavirus vaccine to Barbados despise that oaf Rihanna’s stupid intervention in the farm protests.

    This fact should be plastered by the Indian govt. anywhere they find a flat space.

    Also IMO Modi should reverse his policy of outreach to Sikh fundamentalists abroad. He has been removing them from visa blacklists for quite some time now and also unnecessarily approved the Kartarpur corridor. It should be made clear to Khalistanis that their activism abroad will have material consequences like visa-refusals and property seizures etc.

    1. how does one draw the line between unlawful pro-khalistan operative and sympathizer? does it matter?

      1. Haha.

        The condescension dripping in your question deserves an answer.

        It is ofcourse very easy to distinguish between a Khalistani activist or Sikh institutions actively working to undermine Indian interests and a diaspora Sikh who might be a Khalistani sympathizer or a Sikh fundamentalist. Even the first one not ‘unlawful’. Its not against Canadian law to advocate for the formation of Khalistan. However India can and should take steps to ensure that such advocacy and activism has its consequences. A lifetime ban on ever seeing the Golden Temple again may bring some of these diaspora Sikhs to their senses.

        1. That sort of response by the GOI would be a a gift to the separatists, they have a lot less to lose if this becomes an ego battle. Punjab is in a tantrum over waning influence and economically developed India needs stability, and a stones throw from the capital even more so. I wasn’t even trying to be condescending but you seemed to enjoy it so there’s that .

    2. Indian govt. has donated coronavirus vaccine to Barbados

      Forget Barbados, when are they going to let elderly Indians get the vaccine? I’ve been waiting for my 71-year old dad to get it, but thus far there’s no sign of it being available. Apparently there’s supposed to be an app, but it doesn’t seem to have appeared in the app stores.

      1. Numinous:
        “Forget Barbados, when are they going to let elderly Indians get the vaccine? I’ve been waiting for my 71-year old dad to get it, but thus far there’s no sign of it being available”
        Didn’t you say Corona is not real or is/was not as big a threat as the government made it out to be? And that it as at the level of the annual dengue epidemic. What’s the rush then to get the vaccine and risk side effects?

        [Call me a COVID-denier all you want, but my personal observations in India suggest that the almighty freakout we have had over the past year to this disease is completely out of proportion to its impact on Indians (key words are “India” and “Indians”; I’m not disputing that this virus has caused a lot more distress in other countries).]

        [Had the Western world not caught this disease and it had not had such a severe impact on both peoples’ health and psyche there, my guess is that this disease would barely have made the news in India. Not even at the level of the Nipah virus. Probably somewhere in the region of our annual affair with dengue.]

        Looks like the government can’t win no matter what it does.

        1. saurav:
          Yeah that comment was a bit borderline but sometimes the mirror needs to be shown. The hypocrisy was too glaring. That said, I wish Numinous’ father all the best and hope he he can get the vaccine soon.

        2. “Not as big of a threat” doesn’t mean “no threat at all”. One can think of a disease as threatening enough to require mask-wearing and social distancing (as I have religiously done over the past year) plus get higher-risk people (like my dad) vaccinated as soon as possible WITHOUT conceding that it required the kind of overreaction we saw all year, including lockdowns, unnecessary disruption to the lives and livelihoods of people, and as a corollary, a reduction in the quality of healthcare for non-COVID-related cases.

          Go that in your head, pea brain? Now go troll someone else, you fucking moron!

          1. Numinous:
            What you said:

            [Call me a COVID-denier all you want, but my personal observations in India suggest that the almighty freakout we have had over the past year to this disease is completely out of proportion to its impact on Indians **(key words are “India” and “Indians”**; I’m not disputing that this virus has caused a lot more distress in other countries).]

            [Had the Western world not caught this disease and it had not had such a severe impact on both peoples’ health and psyche there, my guess is that this disease would ***barely have made the news in India. Not even at the level of the Nipah virus. Probably somewhere in the region of our annual affair with dengue.]**

            “would have barely made the news in India”, ” Annual affair with dengue” etc etc. You completely minimized CoVId in India to score a point against the government, but when it comes to your own family you are desperate to get vaccinated. What is the rush, especially now? Cases/deaths in India are at 1/10th or less what they were at the peak. Your 71 year old father is not special compared to our relatives who died or were critical whose misery you completely dismissed all because you wanted to score points.
            Your hypocrisy has no bounds. And you are now resorting to namecalling. Par for course for hypocritical numbwits like you.

  45. “Back in the day, it would have been 20 volunteers sitting on broken Neelkamal chairs in some dingy room in Patparganj furiously typing away on cheaply assembled desktops.”

    This is more like short term election campaigning online which all parties do. Infact AAP and Congress seem to do it more than the BJP. A lot of fake news floating around during elections is generated by these operations. Remember the letter against Manish Sisodia supposedly authored by Gautam Gambhir which contained casteist slurs.

    What the BJP IT-cell theorists posit is different however. They claim there exists a paid army of lakhs or thousands of internet trolls who drive up support for Hindutva all throughout the year and harass its critics online. Thats just not true. Its never been true.

    Regarding right wing, Whatsapp groups again I think it would be a very very far-fletched claim that its not organic and its driven by a political party at non-election times.
    All sides have a whatsapp ecosystem today. Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, lefty-liberals everyone. Its strange to say that only among the Hindus it may be driven by a political party.

  46. RE: Texas University Tells Students To Wear Masks During Masturbation

    A Texas University suggested in a series of tweets that students should wear face masks during masturbation, even quipping that they should ‘mask-urbate’.

    The University of North Texas’s Student Health and Wellness Center fired out the tweets, which have since been deleted because they offered advice contrary to that of the school’s guidelines on coronavirus, according to Campus Reform.

    One of the tweets declared “Mask-urbate?! Read below to learn more,” with an accompanying image suggesting that any students with COVID symptoms should “skip sex and stay in.”

    An infographic emblazoned with the university logo read “Mask-urbate! Use face coverings during mutual masturbation to reduce your risk,” while also suggesting students “be creative with physical barriers & sexual positions to prevent close face-to-face contact.”

    A further tweet declared that students should wear masks during sex, “pick a large, well-ventilated space” for getting it on, “avoid kissing” and “wash your hands before and after.”

    The tweets were reportedly removed because the University doesn’t even want students to go near each other.

    “Face coverings are not a substitute for appropriate social distancing,” the school guidelines state.

    As we previously reported, The University of Georgia published a similar guide on its health website that advised students to consider “wearing a face mask during sex.”

Comments are closed.