Browncast on Bangladesh, 2023

Amey, Karol and me review what’s going on in Bangladesh right now.

– Elections in 2025, but an Awami League one party state emerging
– Lack of integration and interaction between West Bengal and Bangladesh
– Geopolitical orientation toward Southeast Asia
– China’s soft power spreading through videos of Chinese women speaking Bangla

Open Thread – 11/19/2023

A new podcast with Karol is posted on Bangladeshi politics, culture and economics (me and Amey co-host). At one point Karol notes that Sheik Hasina, the Prime Minister, has a son who is being groomed to be heir apparent, but he is married to an American and lives in the DC area and does not seem very enthusiastic about taking the reins of power in the future.

I decided to look up this person, and quickly and easily found his daughter’s public Instagram…and she does not seem to be very appropriate as the daughter for someone who wants to become the leader of a Muslim nation… (there are angry comments from Bangladeshis on the gram; you can look her up in more official photos, and it’s pretty clearly her now that she’s in her early 20’s).

The 100th Browncast with Amey the Maratha

Well, here we are. Razib and Amey talk about Sri Lankan genetics, casteism or lack thereof in the USA, the FUBAR of American immigration and finally how William Dalrymple triggers Amey’s Maratha pride.

Since I haven’t asked in a while, please review positively on Apple and Spotify.

Also, if you want to support the hosting fees for the podcast as well as recording software, please consider joining the Patreon.

The creation of Homo General Category

This Politic piece on caste in America is pretty balanced. But one thing that this “Indian Americans are so casteist” discourse misses is that 85% of Indian American Hindus are “General Category”, with a few percent being Dalits or Scheduled Tribes (the remainder are OBC). There aren’t many low caste people to discriminate against, but secondarily, America is a caste shredder.

The latest surveys suggest that for Indian Americans born in the USA, 30% of their spouses are non-Indian, 30% of their spouses are US-born Indians, and 40% of their spouses are Indian-born Indians. I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of the the 30% who marry other US-born Indians are marrying outside of their jati-varna. I suspect that perhaps a majority of the remaining 40% who have Indian-born Indian spouses are jati-varna endogamous because of arranged marriages, but I know a substantial number of US-born Indian Americans, men and women, who met and married Indian-born Indian immigrants, usually meeting them through work or social contexts. I am pretty sure that the majority of US-born Indians are marrying outside of their jati, often outside of their region.

You can test this proposition at the high socioeconomic status groups by looking at the NY Times Wedding Announcements.

Look under some very distinctive names, and look who they are marrying.

– Mukerhjee
– Iyer
– Sen
– Mehta
– Patel
– Arora
– Reddy
– Singh
– Deshmukh
– Kulkarni

Fear of a Bihari nation

I’ve fascinated by regions that border each other and have very different fertilities. For example, Saudi Arabia has a TFR of 2.2 and Yemen one of 4. Today it looks like Bihar has a fertility of around 3.0 and West Bengal 1.6. Bihar surpassed West Bengal in the late 1990’s, and is still more populous even without Jharkhand. But the data below suggest to me that West Bengal experienced a “windfall” population growth with the arrival of Hindus from East Pakistan and Bangladesh in the decades after partition, and we’re sort of reverting back to the mean…

Sri Lanka Genetics

Reconstructing the population history of Sinhalese, the major ethnic group in Śrī Laṅkā:

Interestingly, we found an unexpected excess of smaller chunks sharing between Marāṭhā and Sinhala (>16%) than the Marāṭhā and STU, thus supporting the linguistic hypothesis of Geiger, Turner and van Driem. To confirm the excess sharing, we looked for the population which was sharing maximum IBD with Sinhala and STU.

Looks like confirmation of Sinhala western Indian origins rather than eastern Indian origins.

Female labor force participation in India

A quite repetitive piece in The Wall Street Journal, What’s Holding Back India’s Economic Ambitions? Just 24% of women in India are working or looking for work. In the American upper-middle-class women not working is a sign of affluence a conscious choice to focus on investing in child-rearing rather than consumption. But this section jumped out at me:

In neighboring Bangladesh, female workers have played a crucial role in helping develop the garment industry—although the country’s factories have drawn charges of safety issues and worker exploitation. Bangladesh had a female labor-force participation rate of 38% last year, up from 28% in 2000. Its GDP per capita has surpassed India’s since 2019.

Economists say compared with India, Bangladesh has looser labor laws that have allowed factories to expand quickly and doesn’t have as many strong caste rules that encourage social conformity.

Reading about what has happened in urban Bangladesh due to the employment of young women in textiles is like reading about New England towns in the early 19th century. It’s basically history repeating itself. As I was reading the article I did wonder about caste and communalism; in many nations worries about who young women would meet at factories in particular was and is a massive concern. Could this really be an issue?

(China’s female labor force participation is 60%)

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