Sacred Texts and Jewish-Muslim Relations

From Dr Hamid Hussain

This is part of a series of my work on Jewish-Muslim relations encompassing a wide canvas of similarities in scripture, rituals, Arabic & Hebrew language, mysticism, literature, coexistence in historical context and conflict in recent times. It has been a fascinating journey tracing the sibling rivalry of Isac and Ishmael.


Jewish Muslim Relations – Sacred Texts – The Torah and the Quran

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

                                               Anne Lamott

The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and the Quran are two sacred texts considered revelation from God by Judaism and Islam respectively.  Both sacred texts are considered foundational stones of faith.  Tanakh is acronym for Torah (five books of Moses called Khumash in Hebrew), Navi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings). The Torah is called sefer (book) and the Quran um al kitab (mother of books).  Both texts share several commonalities in terms of themes, narratives, and ethical teachings and are at the same time quite different.  One can pick any side depending on what one is trying to convey.  In the inter-faith interactions, participants stress commonalities sometimes exaggerating the similarities or trying to find common ground where none exists. On the other hand, polemics with aim of denouncing the other side can give a long list of differences between two texts. Continue reading Sacred Texts and Jewish-Muslim Relations

Reinforcing Caste Boundaries in Everyday Social Interactions

I stumbled upon a thought-provoking but rather “vitriolic” thesis during my search. While I haven’t fully read it, it discusses the role of upper-class Bania women in reinforcing caste boundaries. The thesis suggests that while these women are subject to patriarchy, they actively contribute to upholding the caste system, benefiting upper castes. Through interviews with seven Bania women, the study explores their influence on everyday social interactions, including food practices, dating, marital relations, and interactions with lower castes.

The thesis requires significant trimming due to its excessively exaggerated and offensive language, but one statistic stands out prominently:

Statistically, 46% of people in Corporate boards in India are Banias, followed by 44.6% of Brahmins, while the lower castes collectively make up only 3.8% (Patel, 2009).

These statistics predate the Modi era, so it would be intriguing to examine the extent of change over the past decade. Additionally, as an observational note, I’ve noticed that Indians often socialize within cliques based on caste, consisting of relatives and old friends, whereas Pakistanis tend to be more class-based, with a notable tendency towards incessant social climbing. While these observations are subjective and the usefulness of such generalizations in the era of extensive globalization is debatable, it’s worth considering whether the underlying structures of society endure despite such shifts?

Corporate Boards in India. Blocked by Caste?

An examination of the caste diversity of Indian corporate boards of a thousand top Indian companies – accounting for four-fifths of market capitalization of all companies listed in the major stock indices in India – measured by the Blau-index shows that their median score for 2010 is zero, indicating that there is no diversity at all. Indian corporate boards continue to remain “old boys clubs” based on caste affiliation rather than on other considerations (like merit or experience).

Namma EN

The Beginning

2002, September 19

At the coffee pot , a dear friend asked me why I haven’t bought a car.

His following questions were

Do you not have money ?

I said I do have some savings

Do you not know the car you want to buy ?

I said of course I do for a long while

Do you not know the colour you want to buy ?

I said there is only one colour I want


Just haven’t thought about it since I have been traveling all the while

OK , which car ? Which colour , How much many do you have now ? Any birthdays coming up

The next few calls from the friend to the a few banks for the loan sanction .. On the call he negotiated the rate

He called the the car showrooms and said whoever delivers day after tomm will get the deal

September 20th

Morning : Was instructed to go pay 10000 advance on the way to work for the car

Did you get your check book ? Yes .

The Loan guy from ICICI came and got a 1000 signatures and 36 cheque leaves post dated signed . The friend told him by evening the loan has to sanctioned and paid to the dealer

September 21st

Morning : calls to everyone , ensured this beauty was ready to be driven that evening after work. Only 1 problem … Who will drive it ? I had driven only a few times and that too an automatic ..Again he came and drove this wonderful pride possession home . A White Maruti Zen ..Was this an impuslive buy ?


” Baharon Phool Barsao”

We celebrate a common birthday me and my Zen . Rishi was in love as a small fella and continues to be in love with it that a very very long time ago he refused to exchange it for a Merc my uncle offered .

The later Zen’s never caught my fancy

He called it the EN ( namma EN) when he was 3 or so ,since the letter Z has fallen off ..

The zEN’D .

Rishi’s  impression of the Zen at a GP …


The Ambani Wedding & the Modern Face of India

The recent Ambani wedding has undoubtedly captured the attention of those within the Indian community. The extravagant details, such as the staggering cost exceeding $100 million and Nita Ambani’s necklace possibly valued at around $50 million, have been widely discussed.

These exorbitant figures represent a level of opulence unparalleled in many other cultures. Reflecting on this with Dr. Lalchand, I pondered whether Hindu culture, having endured centuries of conquest, finds solace in displays of wealth and material abundance.

This stands in stark contrast to the Persianate tradition, where luxury is revered but with a strong emphasis on restraint. In my own Baháʼí upbringing, luxury has typically been met with guilt.

Without significant historical political power, mainstream Hindu society often sees wealth and its ostentatious display as a form of security. The Ambanis, with their immense wealth, power, and fame, have become emblematic figures within the Desi community, and to some extent, beyond.

Yet, I can’t help but feel that the Ambanis could redirect their resources towards bolstering India’s STEM legacy or preserving its architectural heritage. Eventually, excessive opulence may lose its allure and succumb to hedonic inflation.

Brown Pundits