Super30, Casteocracy & Blacked Up Hrithik Roshan

We did a late night viewing of Super30.

The movie was inspirational and was pretty much in line with the recent theme of how uplift the lower castes of India. This followed through from Daughters of Destiny and our very own CAMbFIRE launch.

I found the idea of Hrtithik Roshan, who has the colourings a Greek deity, blacking up to play an OBC to emblematic of India’s Casteocracy.

The idea that an education system, designed by dead white men and then rapidly disseminated to all traditional elites in the world, can somehow uplift the masses is deeply problematic. The template of the IIT/IIM system suits rural and poor upper castes, who have a culture of education and enough urban access to understand how the system works.

It’s similar to Oxbridge & the Ivy Leagues, which are geared towards the aspirational segments of the petty bourgeois (the aristocrats don’t really need educational pedigree).

Other than that the movie had very interesting motifs; it was downright anti-Hindu. It quote a segment in the Mahabharat where the tribal Eklava, who was a better archer than Arjuna, had his thumb cut off by their teacher so that Arjuna could remain the best.

Every caste Hindu is a product of Casteocracy just as a white American is a functionary and beneficiary of the Republic’s early origins. This isn’t necessarily an indictment but merely a reflection of fact. We all carry privileges embedded within us.

As India Westernises and follows trends emerging in the West; will it too suffer the ongoing racial convulsions in the West. The idea of a white actor blacking up to play a role is now simply unthinkable.

I’m extremely involved in BAME activities in Cambridge; in fact I’m co-founder to two initiatives that are rapidly catching the University’s attention.

A lot of the Upper Caste Hindus are involved in BAME because they can’t tolerate being the equivalent to Dalits in the West.

In some ways I think Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal’s mistake was that they didn’t fuse their valid demands with linguistic representation. It’s very obvious that the replacement of Persian with English and the evisceration of Urdu into Hindi only reinforced the dramatic caste divides.

The idea of English as the elite language binding together South Asia creates an effective barrier to the rest of the classes. In Pakistan learning English doubles one wage immediately.

Why Cambridge University needs a central Asian Kitchen

We threw a hugely consequential event last night in Cambridge. The University sent very senior reps to participate in the discussion and change is in the offing.

It’s interesting that I’m directly involved in the two great BAME initiatives that are emerging from Gown (which is what we call the University); BREAD and CAMbFIRE.

The university needs to do more to alleviate the intense alienation that is there in Cambridge. However I’m the sort of the person that I’m not confrontational but rather conversational.

I also follow the wisdom of my Parsi kinfolk when they first came to India. A good immigrant is “sugar in the milk“; we should be sweetening society where we can rather than simply transforming it.

So it’s a two way process however the host society must also make accommodation for the new arrivals.

I realise that with the BAME community, the silent humiliations and mockery builds up until it bursts the dam and the angry activists come through with these demands. Then the stereotype of an angry immigrant emerges.

My suggestion is that if we stop otherising “the other” (both host and guest) then we can deal with each other as human beings. That’s why I focus on these conversational and cultural initiatives; as a Baha’i I work towards unity.

However throughout the University there happens to be 30 college formals happening every evening. They serve Western food and usually people have to wear gowns to them.

If the University were to repurpose one of its old building in town and make an Asian Mess (with proper Asian chefs); it would do so much to serve the BAME community. One could argue why not Latin American or African but the Asian community is now 10+% and Asian cuisine is very particular (I would define Asia as per the US Census, Pakistan to Pacific).

Integration is not assimilation and it would be nice to have a less stuffy space that would cater to a growing community.


When Brownz don’t stand together; the Coloniser wins

It’s a sad day for the Subcontinent as the Cricket World Cup is now all-white even though the majority of the participating nations are not.

I wrote a few screeds after India’s defeat to England but thankfully they went unpublished.

My spidey sense told me that India conspired to keep Pakistan out of the World Cup and I felt quite betrayed by it.

This parable of the World Cup disaster reminds me of the Indian obsession with Pakistan. India is so keen to be “Western”, at any cost, that it sometimes forgets itself.

Australia, Canada & New Zealand are the “Old Dominions”, not South Asia, and I think India would do a lot better by seeing Pakistan as a friend rather than a foe.

Peace in the Subcontinent will only come about when we stop “otherising” one another. Surely one can understand why Pakistanis wanted to avoid the fate of Dalits and Muslims in India?

The jingoistic upper caste nationalism that seeks to Saffronise and purify everything in its wake has been hugely destructive (and frankly a bit nauseating; vegetarian biryani is not tasty) to the post-1857 South Asian political landscape.

Rahul Gandhi Resignation

What a powerful resignation letter; Pappu’s quite the wordsmith!

Jai Hind indeed??

Even though I’m not feeling very charitable towards India or England for what they’ve done to Pakistan in the World Cup..

A Dalit writes on Oppresive Hindi

The historian Sumit Sarkar, in his Modern India: 1885-1974, writes that literary Hindi was very much “an artificial creation closely associated with Hindu-revivalist movements.” Bharatendu, Sarkar notes, “combined pleas for use of swadeshi articles with demands for replacement of Urdu by Hindi in courts, and a ban on cow-slaughter.” Around the same period, a historian and linguist named Shivaprasad was promoting another link language, Hindustani. Where Bharatendu’s Hindi was highly Sanskritised, Shivaprasad wanted something closer to the languages already popular at the time. The champions of Hindi were especially offended by Hindustani’s incorporation of Urdu elements.

Biting My Tongue -What Hindi keeps hidden

Hindi carried Brahminical and communal impulses from its inception. Later, its installation as a dominant language came to be a demand in the nationalist movement, though even then this was highly contentious. Anil Chamadia, a veteran journalist who has taught at Mahatama Gandhi International Hindi University in Maharashtra, told me that Bharatendu’s language prevailed because it appealed to the emergent, Brahmin-dominated nationalist movement and administration. The dominant castes, he said, saw in the Sanskritised tongue a tool to further their varchasv, or dominance, over society. Sanskrit, of course, had earlier served exactly that use. Chamadia described Hindi as “varchasv ki dhara”—a stream of dominance. Today, he said, those who control the Hindi language are the same who control the dominant societal narrative.

Comment of the Day:

Apart from not touching untouchables or not eating with them, there was no feeling in the masses that they (Dalits) were separate from us.

The best analogy of the Dalits are blacks in the American South. If you won’t touch, eat or sleep with someone how can you claim any sort of kinship or connection to them?

Let’s not also forget that they were the ones who handled excrements and corpses (I could be wrong about the latter).

As my Kashmiri activist friends said the Indian state has a “territorialist” view of Kashmir in that the land not its inhabitants are vital.

The commentator above is exhibiting the same “territorial” nationalism; the Dalits belong not because they do but rather they are a part of the all-important landmass.

In some ways Pakistan is exactly opposite since we are nation rooted in a sense of “peoplehood” as evidenced by the Muhajir migration. We don’t have the Taj, Delhi or Lucknow but they are more ours since we have an intensely spiritual (and ancestral) kinship to those lost locations.

We are watching the film Kesari by Akshay Kumar. This is where Sikh collaborators, serving the British, were holding off the Afghan attack. The Hinditva tones of the film (we are only twenty minutes in) are breath-taking and I’m shocked to see Dharma Productions backing this (Hiroo Johar was in the credits).

However one scene that took my breath away was when Akshay Kumar is moaning about freedom after being humiliated by his British officer. He tells his colleague that “first we were conquered by the Mughals, then by the British but I thirst for freedom.”

I was shocked and frankly a bit horrified. Good luck to this Brave New India where historical revision is now par for the course.

Would a Dalit Jinnah have gotten Dalitstan?

Was Jinnah simply the right man who happened to be Muslim?

Or rather would the Muslim community have always produced a saviour to “save them?”

Addendum, Comment of the Day:

Apart from not touching untouchables or not eating with them, there was no feeling in the masses that they were separate from us.

The best analogy of the Dalits are blacks in the American South. If you won’t touch, eat or sleep with someone how can you claim any sort of kinship or connection to them?

2 Hindus and grandmother of Hindus are the face of the Modern Left

2 Hindus (Kamala Harris & Tulsi Gabbard) and 3 white women running for the democratic presidential nomination. One of the white women, Elizabeth Warren, has *only* brown grandchildren (we’re going with one drop rule here).

We may need to wind up BP once our plans for world domination is complete.

What is a Hindu?

It does bring to mind about the age-old question if Hindu is a religious or racial term or a bit of both. I’m inclined to a maximalist definition; I see Hindu Kush, the Himalayas and the oceans as the ultimate limits of Hindudom.

However under that definition the Upper Castes can’t be allowed to define what Hindu or India actually means. That goes to the heart of the spiritual cleft of TNT; Jinnah (QeA) & Iqbal perceived the Hindu Raj where Nehru & Gandhi would paternalistically define the interests of Muslims as they did for the lower castes.

I do find it very problematic that the Upper Castes have completely monopolised the discourse. In many ways with Partition; they rather have a narrower definition of the Hindu and India but one that they could control.

It might work for them and India does seem to be rising, if one judges the deft performance of the Indian cricket team (it doesn’t pay being a Pakistan supporter since it’s really stressful). But at the same time I don’t see how this parochial attitude of the Upper Castes translates into any Civilisational grandeur.

Desidom has very limited borders and appeal despite the strength of its culture and diaspora.

It’s also why I tired when I see the Upper Castes flood twitter always somehow claiming how Pakistanis and Muslims are actually Indian/Hindu. When the definition is so narrow and slated then of course it becomes exclusionary and we opt out.

Why I stand with Ivanka Trump and Kim Kardashian

Image result for kim kardashian ivanka trump

I made a post today on facebook about why I admired Ivanka & Kim.

I just find them smart, successful and substantial women who are making a global impact. It’s also a fact that women have traditionally gotten ahead through sex appeal and nepotism, after all Britain’s Greatest Monarchy (up for discussion), Elizabeth the 1st inherited the throne from her half-sister.

So it’s nice to under-represented people taking centre stage. Also I have seen a clip where Kim K talks about the lack of representation for people like her (Middle Easterners, she actually said that) so I’m much more sanguine about the Kimono controversy.

To my mind it’s about a lot of deracinated Japanese people, who have white lives and values, getting their time to shine. It’s not lost on me that I do the same a fair bit but then I’m the first to acknowledge my hypocrisy.

However I just don’t see Kim K as a Social Justice Warrior so she’s just who she is. I’m fine with people being as they are and not claiming some superior moral mandate (I do the same thing alot of the time but then I rarely get overly worked up, I like to constantly test my opinions).

A few of my social justice liberal white friends are now taking issue with me because I’m admiring Donald Trump. Let me get this clear, I do not like the man (nor do I like Boris Johnson) and would not want to have dinner with him (well obviously I would since I’d overwhelmed by the star power but it’s a figure of speech). However I enjoy his fresh take on things and how he stands up to the US military-industrial complex.

What I find vexing about my white SJW friends is that they don’t really show contrition. They will poems about coloured people, boast about their super-power (being middle class white people but as soon as you deviate from the orthodox they bare their teeth and claws.

I would think they would allow People of Colour, who were oppressed a century ago, to emerge as the thought leaders of the New Moral Order. But as we see with the fledgling LGBT+ and Environmental movements, these are ways for White Liberals to “take back power.”

The ultimate contradiction of the White Liberal view is that they have to be the “silent followers* to offset centuries of their ancestor’s oppression. To atone, by their own standards, they should be the faceless volunteers being led by loud and vocal Coloured People.

They’re absolutely not willing to do that and hence all their vitriol and outrage has a moral conundrum. They still want themselves and their kin to lead the show.

It would be a better world if we constantly acknowledged that our positions are not pristine. I live by one axiom and one axiom alone (to paraphrase Hari Seldon, the Zeroeth Law); “Life, alone, is Sacred.”

Everything else is up for debate and that’s why I proudly call myself a Social Justice Ghazi with profoundly Tory instincts. I do believe in calling out privilege but rather asking those who do have privilege to exercise noblesse oblige.

It would lead to a better reality check than a white man writing poems about the oppression of a black woman by Chinese racism.

It’s sad that the word Jihad and Itijhad have been so misappropriated that we can’t even use it in common parlance (unless we want to see Butlerian Jihad).

Brown Pundits