This is just a short note from Irfan Muzammil. I hope to have Irfan writing blog posts directly on Brownpundits, but he is a busy man (and a real scholar), so this may take a while. Until then, I will be copying and pasting some of his musings..
Medieval Muslim scholars and courts seem to have been obsessed with the question of superiority of races: Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Indians, Franks, etc. (a debate that still rages). Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdi’s al-Imtāʿ wal-muʾānasah (Enjoyment and Geniality), a classic of Arab literature, presents discussions conducted in Baghdad at the court of the vizier Ibn Saʿdān al-ʿĀriḍ, who was executed in 984 AD after a short period in office. It illustrates the debates regarding a movement called Shuʿūbiyyah, which claimed cultural equality or superiority for the Persians over the Arabs. But the most surprising part, at least for me, is at the end.
First he quotes Ibn al-Muqaffa’, a prominent 8th century Persian philosopher, and seemingly a massive racist:
We said, ‘The Byzantines!’ “But he replied, ‘Not them either. They have strong bodies, they are good at building and at geometry but know nothing besides these two things and are good at nothing else.’ “we said, ‘The Chinese then!’ “He said, ‘They are good at handicraft and making artefacts; they have no deep thought or reflection.’ “we said, ‘well then, the Turks!’ “He said, ‘They are wild animals that can be made to fight.’ “we said, ‘The Indians?’ “He said, ‘People of delusion, humbug, and conjurer’s tricks.’ “we said, ‘The Africans!’ “He said, ‘Dumb beasts to be left alone.’ “Then we left the matter to him, and he said, ‘The Arabs!’ Continue reading “Race Stereotypes in Medieval Islam (and some lines on cousin marriage)”
Notice how Israelis are very respectful of and affectionate toward Bharat and Sanathana Dharma. No post modernist slander about right wing Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism being associated with Nazism. Israelis love to visit India and Indians love to visit Israel:
India is probably the most pro Jewish and least anti Jewish country on earth. As the Brown Pundit Slapstik wrote,
as per Tarek Fatah. Tarek Fatah in these two videos explains why India and Israel are such natural and good friends.
My hope is that PM Modi and the Lokh Sabha pass legislation that allows any Jewish person in the world–provided they can pass vetting related to crime–a pathway to Indian permanent residency and over the long run Indian citizenship. This would do a lot to reduce the fear most Jewish people feel about intense global anti Jewish bigotry.
India has no more reliable friends and allies than the Jewish people and the Israeli people.
Of course Israelis need to do right by the Palestinians. India can best help the Palestinians by being Israel’s best friend. India should simultaneously be best friends forever or BFF of both Israelis and Palestinians.
In my life time, I have seen more bigotry against people of Jewish heritage than I have against any other group of people. The reasons for the intensity of this bigotry around the world has always puzzled me.
Perhaps the most courageous thing to do it to address it head on. Here goes my attempt. Below, a Buddhist Canadian Nazi leader, Brian, attacks Jews in an interview with the always authentic, honest and perceptive Armin Navabi:
Armin means protector of the Aryan peoples. I think Armin is a protector of all people, not just Aryans.
One aspect of this interview that might be troubling to Hindus and Buddhists is that it reminds them of how Hindus and Buddhists were blamed for Nazis and the Holocaust in the 1940s by post modernists, marxists, socialists and the global left. Nazism is the convergence of nationalism, socialism, autocracy and German Indology. German Indology is the study of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sanskrit derived linguistics.
Number 1, I don’t think Hitler understood German Indology and it is unfair to blame German Indologists for much of what Hitler did, including Hitler’s rabid anger at Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and Slavs. I believe that Hitler came up with these ideas on his own rather than from German Indology.
Number 2, I don’t think German Indologists understood Buddhist, Hinduism and Sanskrit scriptures very well and it is unfair to blame Buddhism and Hinduism for German Indology. This said, Germans had the right to visit South Asia in the 1800s, 1900s, learn from Buddhists and Hindus, interpret Hindu/Buddhist scriptures any way they chose, and formally convert to Buddhism and Hinduism–which many did.
Brian, the Canadian Buddhist Nazi, is a meditator and chaneler of subtle “heavens”. Another way of understanding this is that Brian practices transcending gross thoughts to experience more subtle thoughts, feelings and emotions by using parts of the subconscious and unconscious brain. This is a common practice by the Eastern faiths and use to be practiced by many Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The Nazis tried to in conjunction of modern science use consciousness, meditation, sound power and the technologies of visual machines (Yantras) to increase competence, capability, intelligence and power. This explains part of the conversation between Brian and Armin.
Brian frequently mentions how Hitler praised Iranians, Arabs, Palestinians and Indians. Brian also emphasizes how Hitler allied with Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians. How should this issue be handled? I think Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians need to be fully open and honest about the past and the large numbers of Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians who fought shoulder to shoulder alongside the Nazis in WW 2. And at the same time carefully analyze Hitler’s critique of Jews in great detail; sharing their nuanced thoughts on each aspect of Hitler’s critique.
Brian mentions that different groups have different statistically measurable life outcomes and different measured IQ. Jewish people have far higher life outcomes and IQ scores than other people, including other caucasian people. Doesn’t this suggest that Nazis should greatly admire and learn from Jewish people? Is it possible that everyone else, Nazis included, should carefully study what Jewish people do right (whether that is breathing, stretching, exercise, dance, art, music, song, poetry, study, contemplation, meditation, religion, networking, collaborating, team spirit, family) and adopt the best aspects of Jewish culture?
Brian says that Jewish people dominate global entertainment, global finance, global business, global culture. Number 1, Brian overstates the degree to which this is true. Number 2, isn’t Jewish success a great and good thing? For Jews and for everyone else? Don’t we have a single global consciousness and super-mind and benefit from the success of others? In economics the greatest driver of global material living standards is total factor productivity, or product development and process innovation. Therefore if Jews who live in Israel invent something, the whole world benefits from it. This is why the world should celebrate the success of Jews. The success of Jews derives from competence, capacity and intuition (or intelligence) rather than hierarchies of oppression, exploitation, imperialism, colonialism, hegemony.
Brian also claims that Jewish people use their power and abilities with negative intentions to harm others. I think it is exactly the opposite. Jewish people benefit from the rise and success of others much the way others benefit from the rise and success of Jews. This is why Jewish global citizens (our heroes) have lead NGOs, civil society, human rights, and development.
Brian also sides with the Khamenei regime against Israel and Jews. Brian completely misses the point. Shouldn’t the whole world side with the great and good Iranian people against Khamenei? Hasn’t the 26 century alliance between Persians and Jews been very good for the world? Shouldn’t we try to breathe new life into it? Can’t an Iran that is a close and trusted ally of the great and good Israeli and Jewish people do more to help the Palestinians? Iranians are justifiably very proud of their Aryan heritage. I applaud and welcome this. The Aryans are the traditional friends and allies of the Jewish people. There are many close similarities between the Jewish faith and Aryan faiths [Zorastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, atheistic Hinduism (Charvaka and Ajivika)] that might be a topic for a future article.
Brian also emphasizes how Hitler was pro Palestinian. Here is a possible response. Anne Franks reminded us everyone has at least some good in their heart. Lucifer, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal and Hitler included. Lucifer, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal and Hitler do bad things; but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t good in them and that they don’t also do good things. In practice the most evil beings that have ever existed are partly good and do a combination of good and bad things. In this spirit, sometimes Hitler also said things that happened to be true. They don’t stop being true because Hitler said and believed in them. Palestinian rights included.
Honestly I couldn’t understand much of Brian’s attack against Jews? Why does Brian think Jewish people don’t desire the welfare of non Jews? Can the many wise commentators on Brown Pundits explain this to me?
Part of global Jew hatred comes from the twisted mind of Johann Andreas Eisenmenger, who wrote Entdecktes Judenthum (Judaism Uhmasked) in 1700. Johann Andreas Eisenmenger portrayed himself as a potential convert to Judaism and spent 19 years studying the Talmud with Jewish scholars. Then he wrote an omnibus book trying to interpret many quotes from the Talmud with the worst possible interpretation. Johann Andreas Eisenmenger is one of many to allege that the Talmud is some sort of secret conspiracy to take over and harm the world.
I personally strongly disagree with this interpretation of the Talmud . I still remember the wonder I felt when I was brought by a Jewish orthodox friend into a seminary filled with giant Talmud Talmud books and scholars. I “LOVED IT”! I think there is much secret embedded wisdom in the Talmud that can improve physical health (Bahu Balam), mental health (Chitta Shuddhi), intelligence (Buddhi) and global total factor productivity (technology). I think the Talmud is filled with beauty, sweetness, poetry and sound power (called Naad power or Mantra power or Shabda power in Sanskrit). Sadly I don’t understand enough Aramaic and Hebrew to grasp it 🙁 In another post I might try to elucidate some of the similarities between the Talmud and eastern philosophy.
This was a long rolling rant I wrote 5 years ago while reading Pankaj Mishra’s book “From The Ruins of Empire; The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia“. The format is that I commented as I read the book. So early parts are comments on early chapters and so on. Quotes from Pankaj are in bolded italics. I am reposting today after editing it a little because the topic came up once again.
Spoiler Alert. since the “review” is really a very long rolling rant, written as I read the book, some people may just want to know this one fact: this books is NOT about the intellectuals who remade Asia. That book would have to start with people like Aizawa in Japan, the first Asian nation to be “remade”, but that is one nation and one set of thinkers you will not find in this book. Why? because this book is not about Asia, its history or its renaissance, it is about post-liberal virtue signaling. For details, read on..
Introduction: After being told that everyone from Orhan Pamuk to Pakistani Ambassador (and liberal feminist Jinnahist icon) Sherry Rahman is in love with Pankaj Mishra’s new book I have finally started reading it. I have only read 50 pages so far but it is beginning to set a certain tone. And its not a very encouraging one. I am not impressed. At all. So Far.
On page 18 he says:the word Islam, describing the range of Muslim beliefs and practices, was not used before the 19th century. WTF?
This is then negated on the very next page by Mishra himself. The only explanation for this little nugget is that Pankaj knows his audience and will miss no opportunity to slide in some politically correct red meat for his audience. There is a vague sense “out there” in liberal academia that Islam is unfairly maligned as monolithic and even that the label itself may be “Islamophobic”. Pankaj wants to let people know that he has no such incorrect beliefs. It is a noble impulse and it recurs. A lot. Continue reading “Review: From the Ruins of Empire; The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia”
“A tree won’t fall with a single blow”. Turkish proverb
A failed coup attempt by some members of Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in July 2016 made international headlines for few days. The news quickly faded away and firm clamp down and a purge inside Turkey prevented any detailed information about the dramatic changes in Turkish Armed Forces in the last two decades.
Events of July 2016 were the final phase of the demise of the first republic established by the country’s founder Kamal Ataturk and emergence of second republic. Turkish Armed Forces assigned themselves the role of guardian of the republic and were a dominant force for almost a century. TAF directly intervened several times while at other times removed civilian governments by orchestrating events behind the scene if they perceived any deviation from the Kamalist secular vision. Turkish Armed Forces have finally met their tragic end and moved out of the power center. Continue reading “Turkish Turbulence – Shock Therapy for Turkish Armed Forces”
‘In a western democracy, you lose touch with your people, you lose elections; in a monarchy, you lose your head’. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Former Saudi ambassador to Washington.
In the last two years, Saudi Arabia has gone through many changes. Absolute monarchies are not easy to decipher. There are many opacities and it is very difficult for any outside observer to have a real sense of events. Two main factors are very limited expression by Saudis in their own country and opaque decision making process in the form of decrees with flavor of palace intrigue. A Saudi will not express his honest view in the presence of another Saudi due to fear factor. In view of these limitations, the perspective of an outsider has severe limitations.
Current system of governance of the country is based on accession to throne of one of the sons of the founder of the country Abdul Aziz bin Abdur Rahman al-Saud (d. 1953). He works with other family members especially senior princes, Council of Ministers (most of whom are also royal family members) and Council of Senior Clerics in running day to day affairs of the country. There is a fair amount of competition among all these groups about various issues and King carefully balances his act to avoid open conflict.
A few days ago, Razib posted a piece about “Castes of Mind” that discussed Historian Nicholas Dirk’s book that argued that the Indian caste system as it exists may be (mostly) a colonial creation. I have not read Dirk’s book, but it is my impression (from hearing about it) that it is not superficial and has useful information and perspectives in it. Still, what less informed readers take from it, or what residue remains in the Zeitgeist from that book, is a tendency to blame evil British colonialism for whatever is worst about the caste situation in India. In that sense, it has joined the long (and growing) list of “Right Hand Path Orientalism” pieces, written by Western scholars eager to exculpate orientals when it comes to practices that are not in line with current fashions and opinions (as opposed to old fashioned “left hand path Orientalism”, which was much better informed (and far more useful), but frequently racist). Currently the most favored (and sometimes unwilling) recipients of this largess are Muslims, some of whose cultural and religious practices are now considered passe, but since the RightHandPath orientalists do not wish to “blame” Muslims for these views and practices, they prefer to find some way to blame colonialism, capitalism or some other aspect of modernity. A trivial but truly outstanding example is this astoundingly ignorant and illogical (but extremely well-meaning) piece about dogs and Islam.
First up, I want to admit that I been a harsh critic of Pakistan Army’s interference in political matters, their gross inefficiency during all the wars that they fought (and lost), their myopic worldview and land grabbing in the garb of ‘National Security’. However, I believe that two very common misconceptions about our army need to be addressed.
While talking about General Zia, an Islamist dictator who ruled Pakistan for eleven years (1977-88), many people refer to his role in the ‘Black September’ events from 1970. If you try to look this up on the internet, there are conflicting stories about his involvement. What we know for sure is that he was stationed in Jordan as part of a military training mission (Read here) sent by Pakistan in the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israel war. The Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Amman at the time was Mr. Tayyab Siddiqui. According to an article he wrote in 2010, (Read here)
“Following the June 1967 military debacle, the Arabs requested Pakistan for military training. Pakistan sent training contingents to Syria, Jordan and Iraq.”
In August-September 1970, the Palestinians, aided by the Syrians, revolted against the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. During the battle, the Commanding Officer (CO) of a Jordanian infantry unit deserted. King Hussain asked Brigadier Zia to take charge of that unit temporarily. Zia sought permission from the embassy where Mr. Siddiqui established contact with Secretary Defence, Mr. Ghiasuddin. Ghias’s comments are the most cringe-worthy issue in this whole affair. He cabled Amman that
“We had [performed] Istikhara, Hashmite Kingdom’s star is ascendant. Go ahead. Follow king’s commands.”
In Ambassador Siddiqui’s words:
“That the foreign and defence policy of Pakistan was formulated not on a dispassionate analysis of the situation but on the dubious religious invocation still amazes me”.
Zia took temporary charge of the unit but before any fighting could take place, the Syrians withdrew and the offensive ended. Later on, Zia developed contacts with Palestinian leadership and was not accused of being the ‘Butcher of Palestinians’ by any Palestinian fighter. In fact, Yasser Arafat visited Pakistan three times during Zia’s regime.
2. You might have seen a picture of a soldier inspecting a Bengali man’s Dhoti, from 1971. That is provided as a proof that Army folks there used to inspect Bengali men’s genitals to decide if they were Muslim or not (based on circumcision status). While the Pakistan Army indulged in some of the worst atrocities against the Bengalis, this picture is not a valid evidence.
This picture was taken by Indian photographer Kishor Parekh. In an interview, his son Swapan Parekh mentioned that it was a photograph of Indian army personnel checking the [Bengali] collaborators for weapons. The caption in Kishor Parekh’s book validates this backstory.
Today was the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war. What follows is a review I wrote last year of Michael Oren’s book about the 1967 war. I am posting it today to commemorate the anniversary, and to think about what has changed, and what has not, about the equation between the “Muslim world” and its more modern competitors.
To the extent that it existed, this sense of the Muslim world being one of several “competitors” in a war of civilizations existed mostly in the Muslim world in the last 100 years; and even there, mostly in the minds of religious fanatics such as Maudoodi or Sayyed Qutb or modern Islamists such as the Indian Islamist Mohammed Iqbal. Most Western, Chinese or Japanese thinkers were unlikely to have something called “The Muslim World” on their list of civilizations competing in the modern world. This has certainly changed in recent time, with at least the Right wing of Western Civ and (and to a lesser extent, of Chinese and Japanese Civ) becoming almost hysterical about the threat posed by Islam. But has the balance of power changed? and if it has, has it changed enough? I think today’s drama in the GCC (among many things) indicates that the balance on the ground has not changed by much. The Muslim world is richer, and some countries (Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia) are more powerful than they were in 1967; Pakistan is even a nuclear power (and in the minds of many of its own citizens, if not all its power brokers, an “Islamic nuclear power”), but in many other ways the dreams of May 1967 were the high point of (delusional) confidence in the Muslim core region. In that year, many, perhaps most, in the Muslim street were eager to believe that their armies could, if given the opportunity, annihilate the “Zionist entity”. Which is why so many spent the first few hours of the war celebrating what their leaders were describing as “great successes”; that reaction seems unlikely today. If there were a new war, and Arab radio stations claimed the Israelis were losing, most people would not believe it, even if the Israelis really WERE losing. Anyway, on to the review. And don’t miss the documentary at the end.