A-star versus the X-factor

In our meritocratic age there is an increasingly distinction between the A-Stars and the X-factors.

A-stars are individuals who are academically brilliant and have Ivy/Oxbridge splashed all over them.

The X-factors are those who may not have the pedigree but have star quality written all over than not.

More often than not the two coincide but sometimes they don’t. In a question in how to raise a deprived community (Aframs, Dalits); one must ask whether the gambit should be to generate A-Stars or X-Factors.

This is the Dubois-Booker argument. To paraphrase (I’m not an expert) Booker T Washington wanted a black working class that would be the mechanics, blue collar works of the great American economy.

DuBois instead pushed for the “Talented Tenth”; the extraordinary Aframs (more often than not on the lighter spectrum like his mulatto background) who would ascend the American social hierarchy.

DuBois seems to have won out in the end and the Afram community mirrors the Indian Muslim community. A disproportionate cultural impact (it’s hard to think of American politics & culture without the black contribution same as with Muslims) but with strong deprivation on the other end.

What Shanti Bhavan (it’s non-religious by the way) has done is try to groom its Dalit students to the best of their ability but then also inject a bit of X-factor glamour into them.

Home-grown and authentic leaders are the only way to foster a community. How many of the African American and Muslim leaders actually stem from the ghetto?

Shanti Bhavan is taking girls (and boys) from the most deprived and broken homes; giving them quality education and almost forcing them to be leaders. It’s not easy because the students go back home for winter & summer holidays and are exposed to the problems of their lives. So they switch from a sanitised Americanised life to the most “Indian” experience, that of the poor and deprived Dalits.

It’s the sort of switch that can and break people, which also explains as to why the Shanti Bhavan students sometimes struggle. They usually repeat grades and I imagine use caste quota/reservations to secure the top slots for themselves.

However the upper castes have been able to *game* the Indian education system to be A-Stars but are unable to generate Global X-factor Appeal.

When white people look to India they don’t see Bollywood or Rajasthani palaces they notice the dire poverty. When the Upper Castes then try to *project* a different India; PewDeePie then immediately aims for the jugular.

The Upper Castes do not understand the Western mindset. Westerners have *won* history to such an overwhelming extent that they need new causes to evangelise over. The Environment is a symptom of that.

Instead of the Upper Castes *gatekeeping* India from Westerners; it would do better to make the elimination of Indian poverty a global affair.

Economic growth alone will not solve India’s social problem. The documentary happens over a decade and it’s obvious that the living standards of the girls’ families have risen. However their social circumstance hasn’t because they are still at the bottom of the social pole, they may have more to eat (not always) but they are still spiritually broken.

This social and spiritual malaise seems uniquely Indian in a way the caste system is uniquely Indian.

As I was telling V today; I don’t think caste is evil, in fact the Asabiyyah it generates against the isolation and anonymity of liberal capitalism.

However the Upper Castes monopolise the conversations on Caste the way White Americans did on race a century ago. That must end.

The absurdity that “caste is South Asian” (it may be South Asian but it is ultimately Hindu), the British invented caste (i don’t need genetics to tell me what my lying eyes see) or that caste *generated* just reek of bullshit.

What gives me the right to speak out. I’m an iconoclast and to paraphrase Theresa May; I am a citizen of nowhere.

If You Believe You are a Citizen of the World, You are a Citizen of Nowhere

Theresa May’ 2016

The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. Bahá’u’lláh 1860 something

I exist in the grey area between these two statements.

Coloniser boasts about his skin colour privilege


back to main post:


I found the below poem to be classic virtue signalling. One could argue I did the same thing by ranting three posts about Daughters of Destiny and advocating Dalit causes. But what really turns me off is the way it’s done.

Imagine I had a Dalit friend; took a photograph with them and then published a poem about how much more privileged I was compared to them.

What is so much more powerful is asking the Dalit friend to write the poem about their feelings and publish it.

One could argue I’m jealous but this is in exceptionally poor taste. The most privileged person on the planet is HM the Queen and she doesn’t humble brag about it but tries to serve as best she can.

The truly great are truly humble.

Foreign Skin

In 2012, I came to work in Nanjing for the summer
Ariel came to live and work here this year
Our experiences are very different

As a white person living in China
I receive a lot of unmerited positive attention
From people who do not know a thing about me
Restaurant owners giving me meals for free
Old men wanting to buy me lunch and show me the city
Old women telling me I am pretty and that I should find a wife soon
Young men wanting to chat with me and become WeChat friends
Young women commenting that I am “so white and handsome”
Little kids coming up to me and saying “Hello” cheerfully

As a black person living in China
Ariel faces negative judgment, annoyance, and violation daily
From people who do not know a thing about her
Strangers coming up and touching her hair without asking
People in the street trying to steal photos of her
Small groups of people glancing at her and then snickering
Businesses insinuating that her presence will scare away customers
Constant reminders that her dark skin is viewed as not beautiful
And racist remarks that add up to a considerable weight over time

I am only able to experience China inside of this white skin
I will never know a China
Where I am not given unmerited benefits because of my skin color
But for my Chinese friends, let me ask you this:
Who am I to you, apart from this whiteness?
If I wore a different skin on the day you met me
How would your feelings towards me be different?
And more importantly
What do you feel when you see people who look like Ariel?
Where do those feelings come from
And what do they tell you about
Your broken relationship with your own skin?

The truth is that none of us can see ourselves clearly
And so we have distorted perception of each other
But I long for a day when our insecurities are made conscious
And when the blinders are removed

On that day
We look at the skin of the other and into their eyes
That day we will say in spirit and in truth
“It makes me happy to know YOU.


Hanging with Ariel in Nanjing, Jiangsu China

Why it is very sad that racism arose in the US but not India-

As I was watching yesterday’s excellent and profound show; it dawned on me that all of the Dalit children looked very nice. I would say pretty but then that would make me a pedophile like nos ancetres.

This by my Westernised aesthetic standard, where I like all types of beauty. Nonetheless by our Desi standards these Dalit children looked hideous because of their dusky skins and soft features.

It dawned on me that we look at caste and genetics entirely the wrong way. Continue reading Why it is very sad that racism arose in the US but not India-

Why I hate the term Brown

After seeing the amazing show Daughters of Destiny; I believe the catch-all term Brown is deeply offensive.

The reason being is that we are not all the same shade and it masks privilege. Dalit South Asians are black and need to embrace that term (I know there was a movement to that effect) to be able to articulate their separate racial interests.

This idea that being South Asian is somehow only a colour spectrum undermines the darker members of the community who immediately get overshadowed by the lighter and fairer spokespeople (the upper castes of all religions and regions) who act as interlocutors and Macauley’s children. Continue reading Why I hate the term Brown

The Tebbit test is racist

In the recent World Cup my heart says Pakistan for some reason. I was feeling somewhat traitorous and disloyal because of the infamous Tebbit test as to whether a British Pakistan would (or rather would not) support England in a match against Pakistan.

As I grow older and wiser I realise now this is simply coded racism. The concept of British nationality is the Union of the 4 Nations (Ireland sort of broke away but no matter) and 3 Kingdoms.

So nobody would bat an eye lid if a Welshman, living in England and maybe even born in England, would loudly cheer for Wales in an England-Wales rugby match.

We don’t have team Britain in the Cricket but Team England. I don’t feel English and Asians have never been asked to be English. If an Asian came up to me and told me they were English; I would look down on him as a coconut.

This is different to Scotland, where a civic nationalist has arisen. The largeish Pakistani community there feels both Scottish and Pakistani whereas Englishness is linked to blood and soil (there are exceptions for mixed race individuals and the Black community since there are almost an extension of the working class).

Would I have it any other way? Not really but then if the Welsh, Scots and the Irish can be fiercely patriotic and still be welcomed as British, I can’t see why the same shouldn’t apply for me.

Supporting Pakistan doesn’t make me any less British.

The Dalai Lama is right-

The Dalai Lama has come under some flack for claiming that his successor has to be attractive.

I know that aestheticism is deeply prized in the Buddhist texts and even in the “Kathmandu goddesses.”

This idea that ugliness is a virtue and is correlated with BAME is profoundly pernicious.

A few good examples are:

please note I’m loving the representation of black and disabled people but I would also like to see Black Beauty really underscored as well instead of in a tokenistic manner.

Continue reading The Dalai Lama is right-

Markian asexualising Colored women?

I’ll start this piece with an observation- I follow this chap on Facebook and have noticed something rather odd (subliminal) about his videos. I first came across his viral video on what it’s like to have an Indian girlfriend.


Whenever he needs a platonic girl friend she’s usually black or brown. Whenever it’s a girl or romantic interest she’s blonde (unless it’s a video about specifically having an ethnic girlfriend).

The default romantic interest is blonde while a black(ish) woman is the *friend.* I’m assuming Markian has some sort of Armenian ancestry. Continue reading Markian asexualising Colored women?

Good luck Pakistan-

Ordinarily I’m stuck between three teams, England (I don’t like failing the Tebbit Test), India (Vidhi) & Pakistan (apni Qaum).

So I don’t want to say anything to jinx Pakistan but I play pool the way Pakistan plays cricket, erratically with flashes of brilliance.

The Rise of the Quarter-breeds in Bollywood

We saw Kabir Singh over the weekend and while I had issues with the film; I enjoyed it.

I had known of Kiara Advani (the lead actress playing a demure Punjabi girl) but I had just assumed she was another Sindhi (Brahmin) girl.

I was surprised to look at her profile and see that she’s half Muslim but that the Muslim half is mixed in with some European.

So essentially like the Kapoor sisters; Alia Bhatt (Vidhi was telling me that she’s Muslim because her nana is Razdan loll) and now Kiara, there is a trend of starlets having a hidden European maternal grandmother (lets not even start with Katrina Kaif).

They have the Indian surname, upbringing and Hindi but also get that “look enhancement” from the European infusion. I’m using that controversial term because that is the Indian beauty standards; sharp features with a fair skin and dark hair/eyes.

Pakistan girls will usually push the envelope and lighten their hair, if they can pull it off. Though I find the Pakistani aesthetic standard to be sometimes a bit too fake for my own tastes.

Intriguingly enough this aesthetic appeal was probably fixed during the Mughal-Muslim period since its not a European ideal. It also doesn’t feel that pre-Muslim India’s aesthetic ideal was similar but then in the Indian Numismatics podcast I was told India’s only imports were wine & (fair) women..

The irony is that the Western perception of Desi beauty is more along the lines of Freida Pinto; softer features with duskier skin.

Happy birthday to Hollywood’s most fabulous Brown Star; Mindy Kaling. She’s an amazing role model on so many levels and as I tell all my +35 single Desi female friends, just go to the sperm bank and get a tall Dane to be your baby-daddy.

Of course my own hypocrisy knows no bounds since my social media coup; I’ve erased all the previous Brown symbols (Kal Penn / Mergagh Man) and replaced it with Kiara Advani, Mughal Princesses & the Hum Safar cast(e).

Brown Pundits