Was there an “Aryan Invasion?”

I’ve been fairly busy recently with work but I read a very good comment right now about semantics.

An Indo-European migration is a very different term to an “Aryan invasion”; the latter seems simply to be a Euro-colonialist divide & rule tactic.

I confess I don’t know much on the matter but I don’t see how the recent genetics somehow justifies anything more than a population movement.

Until there is more evidence of an “Aryan invasion”; I don’t see why such hurtful terms need to be bandied about (it only accentuates unnecessary divisions, which do have modern-Day political consequences).

We should be wary of external narratives foisted on a vulnerable Subcontinent; South Asians have a worrying propensity for ideology that has already cost so much in terms lives, prosperity & prestige..


Paki Pundits

I’m responding to Kabir’s concerns that this blog is becoming far too Islam-focussed and not in a nice way.

I have been very busy so I’ve been following the threads quite lightly. Furthermore my perspectives are beginning to align online and offline (the advantage of blogging under your own name – difficult to troll).

So while I can appreciate why ethnic Pakistanis such as Kabir & myself may constantly refer back to Pakistan as a reference point, it’s becoming a bit obsessive on this blog.

If the whole point of Brown Pundits is for some commentators to bash Pakistan & Islam then that calls for introspection.

While there can be a healthy debate on whether the Islamic conquests, Partition and Islam are positive or negative influences on South Asia; the contention that Islam is the source of all misery is simply bunk.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu & Sri Lanka are probably the least Muslim regions in the Subcontinent since Islam was brought there by traders rather than conquerors. One could argue that it has much higher HDI than the rest of South Asia (Kerala & SL) but it hasn’t been all that more peaceful (Tamil politics in both countries has been turbulent).

One could of course counterclaim that the modern day polity of India was sullied by long periods of medieval Muslim rule. However Indonesia, Malaysia and even Turkey provide examples of very vigorous & even forward-thinking Muslim polities.

I’m not giving Islam or Muslims a clean chit but to dwell on them excessively, especially when one is not of the culture, smacks of Islamophobia. We have had some interesting discussions on Sri Lanka, caste politics, voting in Gorakhpur and other myriad topics however if the commentariat wants to obsessively continue to discuss Pakistan & Islam then let’s rename this blog to Paki Pundits so that we have a very clear focus..


Indian Diplomats in Pakistan harassed

New Delhi: Some Indian High Commission officials out for shopping in Islamabad’s main business district were aggressively followed and abuses hurled at them, the Foreign Ministry complained to the Pakistan government today. 

This is the second incident of Indian diplomats being intimidated and harassed over the last three days, Foreign Ministry sources said in New Delhi.

An Indian diplomat and his family on their way to a restaurant in Pakistan were chased by two men on a motorbike on Thursday this week, hours after India had called “harassment the new normal for Indian High Commission personnel in Islamabad”.

Pakistan: Land of the Impure Continue reading “Indian Diplomats in Pakistan harassed”


Shocking Sexism towards Kareena Kapoor

My wife alerted me to this shocking 20 second clip:

Such an extraordinarily offensive question by Rajdeep Sardesai. He basically asks Kareena if she’s educated and whether she was intimidated in joining the Pataudi family, who apparently are Rhode Scholars & Oxford. A few obvious observations:

(1) I was at the memorial conference for Pataudi Snr in London a few years ago. The handlers had to ask the press not to focus on Kareena, who was there with Saif & Sharmilla. She’s like the Ash of the Bacchan family, her star eclipses the family she’s married into entirely (that’s why Amitabh omits her quite obviously and Shweta/Ash have a hate-hate relationship).

Where is Ash in this tribute? Continue reading “Shocking Sexism towards Kareena Kapoor”


Padmavati quip; Jauhar or Jihad?

We watched Padmavati last night (I have a longer post on that) but I thought I would share this funny story.

I was reading up on the history of the Chittor Fort (where Padmavati is centred):

Beginning in the 7th century, the fort was controlled by the Mewar Kingdom. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the fort was ruled by Paramara dynasty. In 1303, the Turkic ruler of Delhi, Alauddin Khalji defeated Rana Ratan Singh’s forces at the fort. In 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, defeated Bikramjeet Singh and took the fort. In 1567 Akbar defeated Maharana Udai Singh II‘s troops. The fort’s defenders sallied forth to charge the attacking enemy but yet were not able to succeed. Following these defeats, the women are said to have committed jauhar or mass self-immolation. The rulers, soldiers, noblewomen and commoners considered death preferable to the dishonor of surrender.[1]

I made the slightly off-colour joke to my wife that Jauhar seemed to be the best strategy of Chittor.

Her immediate quip back: “in the 13th century Hindu women were commuting Jauhar, in the 20th century Muslim men are committing Jihad so you tell me Zach which culture is more advanced?”



Comment of the Day – the State of Sri Lanka

Alot of Brown Pundits focuses on the Hindustani question, which ultimately manifests as the IndoPak rivalry. I thought I would highlight sbarrkum’s thoughts:

Hmm, I assume none of commenters have been to Sri Lanka.

Seem to get the impression SL is part of greater India by the readers.

First and foremost we do not have upper caste varnas. The highest caste is Farmer/Govigama/Vellala. 50% of the society and within which old feudal class.
Almost on existent now among the Sinhalese. More prevalent among the Tamils.

Its a polyglot country where all and sundry have been visiting or invading over 2000+ years. 500 years under colonization, starting with Portuguese.

Of course everyone in this country is “Pure” Sinhalese or Tamil. Not much different from Americans. You are just supposed to become a Sinhalese (I am mutt, mainly Tamil/Kalinga)

Even with all that admixture, we are the darkest (in general) in South Asia and Asia. The Brahmin commenters run Sri Lankans/Sinhalese down as the low caste Dalits who emigrated from India with Aryan pretensions.

That said we dont seem to be doing too bad, even after a 30 year civil war. Compare and contrast the stats, Life Expectancy, Literacy. GDP/capita is no measure of the egalitarian country. The US has so much higher GDP/capita but misery and poverty of the inner cities has no comparison to rural poverty in SL.

ZachNote: I notice Sri Lankan Tamils in the West have alot of swag. They are into gangster culture and what not; completely different to their TN counterparts.

I copied the below data from Wikipedia; Sri Lanka, India & Bangladesh acquit themselves fairly well. Pakistan’s showing is absolutely disgraceful; shame on the Pakistani leadership.  Also Pakistan’s behavior in Afghanistan has dragged down that country to the shits as well; I understand Afghanistan was a proxy in the 80’s but supporting the Taliban after that, well that was an absolute effing disgrace!

A rough calc shows South Asia to be a 3 trillion dollar economy for appropriately 1.8 billion people. That’s an absolute disgrace by comparison since East Asia is an 18 trillion dollar economy with a slightly less population (the US is a 20 trillion dollar economy with a sixth of the population). It may just be that the festering sore of Indo-Pak relations may have a greater human and economic cost than one-offs like the American Civil War, the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.

(per km2)
Nominal GDP
GDP per capita(2017)[180]HDI(2016)[181]
 Sri LankaColombo65,61020,905,335318.6$84.02 billion$3,9300.766
 MaldivesMalé298375,8671,261.3$3.58 billion$9,9500.701
 IndiaNew Delhi3,287,2631,342,512,706408.4$2.450 trillion$1,8500.624
 BhutanThimphu38,394792,87720.6$2.31 billion$2,8700.607
 BangladeshDhaka147,570164,827,7181,116.6$248.85 billion$1,5200.579
   NepalKathmandu147,18129,187,037198.3$23.32 billion$7990.558
 PakistanIslamabad881,913207,774,520223.1$304.4 billion$1,6290.550
 AfghanistanKabul652,86434,169,16953.3$20.57 billion$5590.479

Do Muslim refugees have a right to Australia?

I don’t see what’s so wrong with Australia protecting her borders. The Ummah has a moral responsibility for Muslim refugees; why should the West have to take on this burden.

White South African Farmers have a right to escape to Australia. Pakistan & Iran can host Afghans & Iraqis; why do they need to travel all the way to Oz & Europe with their alien values?

If Australia was a neighbouring country to Afghanistan I can understand the need for refugee. This is why I’m quite sanguine about Latin American immigration to the US (it’s the same geographic region). Of course each country has a right to police its borders as it sees fit.

I’m all about Mughlai decadent culture but the West should not be raped any longer (as a corollary it should not rape either; what it did in Syria & the Arab Spring was unforgivable).


Comment of the day

This comment by girmit touches on the interethnic distribution of wealth. Of course a lot of the East is now following the West in adopting a more traditional class system determined predominantly by wealth.

“appreciate the detailed response. I can’t dispute that overall schema if we take a broad view of things. Most certainly, we’ve even seen historically the consolidation of ethnicities as service castes to strong polities. And yes, over a long enough period i don’t think its inconceivable that the most heterogenous stratified population could coalesce into an ethnic group. Sort of how in england the Saxon and Norman cultures are no longer ethnicities but are only subtly perceptible by surname and regional concentration and church denomination, they may still residually correlate to social class in a way. So something like this could happen in India I suppose, but I imagine the gestation time to be incredibly long, so long that it may not outpace the coalescing of a global human ethnicity.

Another thought about highly functional institutions is that they may be incredibly well performing but incapable of distributing opportunity evenly across the population. The Indian armed forces are an example of a national institution that is highly prestigious across all regions, but cannot possibly accommodate the majority of qualified candidates. So it can be respected and resented at the same time. Defence jobs are great careers for rural youth and the economic impact on high recruitment regions is exceptional. But this was also important pretext to the bhindranwale movement, where punjabi sikhs felt affront at legacy recruitment quotas being scaled back (or reverse discrimination, don’t know the whole picture) and it resulted in enough rural youth unemployment to be fertile ground for extremism.

Another challenge for india is major industries running like ethnic cartels. Even if we concede that these business communities have a certain genius for efficiency, and are in the current moment the most able stewards, it is a lost opportunity to another group. In many ways , the creation of Pakistan allowed the Punjabi muslim agrarian castes to move up the value chain into commodity dealing and other enterprises, one would assume that in an unpartitioned Punjab, khatris and Agarwals may have dominated those trade networks. So the appeal of separatism often goes beyond ethnic narcissism and can be sublimated economic strategy. If Punjab weren’t such a massive beneficiary of central grain procurement, it might have had less to lose by going its own way.”

ZachNote: I remember when I first lived in Uganda I was taken aback by how important tribal links were and in some cases superseded wealth; rich Ugandans would socialise very freely with their poorer counterparts, on the strength of tribal affiliation (this is of course diminishing over time thanks to Westernisation). This phenomenon was very different to Britain and Pakistan, where class has such a dominating role and guides one’s social life.

It’s also arguable whether to be fully civilised one must have a very differentiated class system, which supersedes all other ties like religion or race or caste. In Britain there are many aristocratic families with Jewish ties or descent (a few come immediately to mind like the Chlomondleys, the Marquess of Reading, the Whalley-Cohens, the Lascelles family), which means that anti-Semitism wasn’t really a bar to the elite over the last century, if not more..