Arundhati Roy on Kashmir; Pakistan is simply another Bantustan

A quick note on Ms. Roy’s thoughts:

NEW DELHI —With his reckless “pre-emptive” airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inadvertently undone what previous Indian governments almost miraculously, succeeded in doing for decades. Since 1947 the Indian Government has bristled at any suggestion that the conflict in Kashmir could be resolved by international arbitration, insisting that it is an “internal matter.” By goading Pakistan into a counter-strike, and so making India and Pakistan the only two nuclear powers in history to have bombed each other, Modi has internationalised the Kashmir dispute. He has demonstrated to the world that Kashmir is potentially the most dangerous place on earth, the flash-point for nuclear war. Every person, country, and organisation that worries about the prospect of nuclear war has the right to intervene and do everything in its power to prevent it.

I followed another link to this article, In Pulwama Bomber Adil Ahmad Dar’s Village, It’s Another Day, Another Death, and I was shocked to see that the bomber was a native Kashmiri.

In Pulwama Bomber Adil Ahmad Dar's Village, It's Another Day, Another

Kashmir is on fire and the Indian government doesn’t seem to have realised just how much of an own-goal this incident has been.

India should be viewing Pakistan and Bangladesh as the West Bank & Gaza Strip of the Subcontinent. These Muslims Republics are a great place for India’s demographics to be absorbed and in retrospect 1971 was not the great victory for India.

India pretends to be Israel but Israel has a strict Jewish First policy whereas India is territorial focussed. Israelis don’t hunker for a land between the Sea & the Euphrates but stay within defensible borders and hold on to their cantonments.

India shouldn’t be fighting corrupt Pakistani generals and businessmen; it should be bribing them. If Pakistan tomorrow becomes 5 banana republics; the Punjab border would be overwhelmed with Muslim refugees.

Post 1971 India was left with:

An estimate made in the year 2000 placed the total number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India at 1.5 crore, with around 3 lakh entering every year. 

I imagine the majority of these illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are not Hindu.

Like Israel, India will soon have to decide whether it wants to have a solidly Hindu future (with compliant Hindufied minorities) or a “Akhand Bharat.”

But deep down Indians, of all stripes (Hindutva included), cannot bear to part with Pakistan & Kashmir. There is an atavistic bond Hindus/Indians have to this mythical Mughal fantasy, that they just can’t quit Pakistan.

Any sensible Hindu leader would be advocating partition upon partition to isolate and quarantine these bantustan Pakistans. Isolated, weak, divided and led by a corrupt Muslim elite drunk on Indian money; these little Pakistans would have been wonderful pawns of India.

Instead India’s loss will be China’s gain; Israel doesn’t do such mistakes.

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Complete Victory For Imran Khan

Pakistan is offering to return the pilot as a gesture of goodwill. Huge humiliation for India on every level.

I’m extraordinarily impressed with Imran’s handling of the crisis. This is the end of Modi, who should have been the Indian Benjamin Nethanyahu.

Pakistan has been cool, strategic and conciliatory while India has been bombastic, hotheaded and bloodthirsty. Completely outfoxed and to lose in a dogfight with Pakistan is a big shame on the Indian air-force. Continue reading “Complete Victory For Imran Khan”

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Tensions and BP Readership

I just was rifling through our readership numbers.

We are average 8x our average daily readership; 5x the views of our highest ever readership count.

I have no idea what’s causing the traffic specifically (it could just be general events) but to be honest it’s a tense day.

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The Belgian neutrality is over; India’s next steps on Kashmir

Jesus Christ- just wow.

The Fifth column speaks:

The only winner in all of this is of course China. Finally a sensible commentator on Twitter:

India should cede the Muslim part of Kashmir but then accept that TNT is the “correct ideology” for South Asia.

Whereupon it should administer loyalty oaths to its entire Muslim population (the oath should be in such a manner than no practising Muslim can actually accept so should include some Hindu deities). 100million Muslims cross the border to Pakistan & Bangladesh; India will be left with the Khans the glamorous types of Muslims.

India can then look forward to beating China becoming a first world country. Indians must accept that they have lost the wings of India permanently (thankfully the South was saved by  the Vijaynagar dynasty) but instead embrace it’s Hindu Civilisational identity.

Modi has unfortunately lost the election with this humiliation; India will enter a period of darkness with Congress and the Italians. Hopefully the Hindu Right will evolve a new leader that can understand how the Nehruvian settlement is India’s true enemy.

Without Nehru; India would have been at 12,000 per capita, 95% Hindu and a prosperous autocracy.

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White Hepthalites?

This is a parody account, which has been started by that blonde twitter account (I can’t recall her name).

However what I find interesting is treating the Hepthalites as “white.” There is a strain in Anglo-Saxon civilisation to absorb other heritages into their own. Furthermore as a shadow of the Western hegemony, “whiteness” is a trait often bestowed (the Aryans are treated as a white people).

I understand that there are many nuances but as the Devil Wears Prada teaches us, subtleties in the elite level trickle all the way down into the popular one.

The average Persian or India has a continuous link to their ancient by way of geography, history or ethnicity. What link does the average WASP really have to Alexander the Great; except a sentiment that they belong to the same “civilisation.” Constantly absorbing the winners of history into a mythos is what led to disasters like the film 300. The last traces of colonisation is economic & psychological; you still have to perceive another civilisation as superior to be able to buy into their lifestyle.

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Do you want to join the Caste of the Europeans?

the Portuguese in Goa, Madurai & Asia

He wrote in the Tamil language works in which the Hindu wisdom and the Christian were brought into harmony. He composed Christian poems which resembled the ancient Vedic hymns. He allowed his Brahman converts to continue wearing the sacred thread and to celebrate certain Hindu feasts; in the school which he opened, he allowed pagan rites to be continued and he respected Hindu prejudices over caste; he allowed no outcaste to touch his person, and if he needed to administer the sacrament to a member of an inferior caste, he proffered the Host at the end of a little stick.

I’ve typed out some fascinating excerpts from the Book “The Reformation” by Owen Chadwick. I was so stunned when I typed out the paragraph above that I put it to the top of the post.

I’ll excerpt more paragraphs from the book in future posts but I’m posting what I’ve typed out now.

Especially intriguing is how the Brahmins of Madurai accepted a Portuguese missionary as one of their own; it lends idea to the fluidity of the caste system if you were foreign.

The colour basis of caste seems almost irrefutable since the incidents I touch on took place in Madurai, which endured only 150 years of Muslim rule.

If there had been no Islam all the Turkic invaders would have been absorbed into a Hindu framework like the pre-Islamic invaders.

Japan

Even though I haven’t typed out anything about Japan in this post I’ll excerpt one quote. ‘In ten years,’ wrote a sanguine missionary in 1577, ‘all Japan will be Christian if we have enough missionaries.’…..

From 1627 suspects were forced to muddy with their feet a picture of Christ or the Virgin…..

The Portuguese

While the Spanish were at work in the Americas, the Portuguese were moving eastward. Their progress is traceable by the foundation of new sees: Madeira 1514, Cape Verde 1532; Goa, which became the seat of the viceroy in the far eastern empire, 1544, and an archbishopric from 1558…… the Jesuit Bendetic de Does crossed the Khyber pass disguised as an Armenian merchant and journeyed through Afghanistan and over the Hindu-Kush into Chinese Turkestan, to die at Suchow in China.

The Portuguese missions had many deficiencies, but they lacked neither courage nor enterprise. They were less conscious of a colour bar than other Europeans.

The Portuguese in the East were facing a different problem. They were weaker than the Spanish, and were meeting civilizations and religions far stronger than those of Inca and Aztec.

The size of the task was not at first understood. In some places in the East the pace of conversion was as rapid as in the Americas. In the Philippines the Spaniards achieved the outstanding success of all the eastern missions: 400,000 converts by 1585, about two million by 1620. Manila was founded in 1571, had a bishop from 1579, an archbishop from 1595, a Dominican university from 1619. It was natural that expectations everywhere should be sanguine.

Francis Xavier from Goa to (Cape Comorin) Kanyakumari

He embarked from Lisbon in 1541 with three companions as the Pope’s Vicar for all the coasts of the Indian ocean, and he had support from the King of Portugal (all Portuguese officials were ordered to support him).

A plain-speaking aristocrat, equally comfortable in a south German court, he went to Goa. From Goa, where he found a bishop, a cathedral, convents, and numerous churches already flourishing, he moved to Travancore, thence to Malacca and the Malay peninsula, thence to Amboina, and back to Travancore. In 1549 he sailed from Goa to Japan, accredited with letters to the sovereign. After preaching in the streets or disputing with the monks for two years, he determined to convert China as a preliminary to converting Japan. To secure the requisite authority he returned to Goa. But he found it difficult to get further than Singapore, tried to smuggle himself into Canton, and died on the Chinese coast near Macao late in 1552….

‘All things to all men’ was a motto familiar to Xavier who rapidly felt himself at home and at ease among Hindus or Muslims or Japanese..

He followed the method of mass conversion. On the fishers’ coast near Cape Comorin he wandered from village to village accompanied by his interpreters. He would gather the villagers together by ringing a handbell, and recite the creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Hail Mary, which had already been translated into Tamil. When the audience, after a few days or weeks, had sufficiently learnt the words and professed their belief in the articles of the creed, he baptized them, and went on baptizing until his hands sank with exhaustion……

It was extraordinary that a single man should have succeeded in opening so many doors.

The Problem of the Great Religions

In the East the evangelists confrontered a task of which the American missions  knew nothing – the great religions. The Jesuits, who in 1579 went to the court of the Great Mogul, Akbar, found that their Christian worship was acceptable in the temple which he had built at Fatehpur-Sikhri, but they must share the building with Parsees, Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.

Christian Iconoclasm and the destruction of Buddha’s tooth in Goa

An alleged tooth of the Buddha was brought to Goa in 1560, and thought a bankrupt government wanted to accept an offer of £100,000 from a rajah, the archbishop stepped in to destroy the relic.

The Spaniards in America and in the Philippines followed the principle that all the old religions must be destroyed as being heathen, that thus the new might enter in all its purity. The Bishop of Manila in the Philippines forced the Chinese converts to cut off their queues and wear their hair like the Spaniards, as a visible sign that they were freed from heathenish customs. ‘I longed,’ wrote the Jesuit Vilela in 1571, after he had seen the worshippers dancing at the Shinto shrine of Kasuga in Japan, ‘I long to have had a second Elijah there to do what he did to the priests of Baal.’

But in the religious circumstances of India and China, this Hebraic and exclusive tradition within Christendom began for the first time to be challenged or modified………..

Goan Christanity:

As the other religions became better know, the question of practise became crucial. The Spanish had hardly been troubled; they discouraged all old practises, and turned their converts, not only into Christians, but into Spaniards. The Portuguese tried the same policy in Goa. The original Portuguese catechism for India translated the question ‘Do you want to become a Christian?’ as ‘Do you want to join the caste of the Europeans?’ But the policy was soon found impossible, and their missionaries must therefore decide which of the social customs of Japanese, Chinese, or Indian was merely social and civil, which were religious but capable of a Christian meaning, and which were incompatible with receiving baptism.

In China reverence for ancestors and in India caste was integral to the social system……

The Christian Brahmins of Madurai

The example of Ricci’s method of evangelism was followed with resounding success by two Jesuits, Alexander de Rhodes in Indochina and Robert de Nobili in South India.

From 1606 Nobili conducted a mission at Madurai. He had himself taught by a Sannyasi, a penitent of the Brahman caste, dressed himself in the saffron robe of the Brahman ascetic, shaved his head and wore earrings, lived as a hermit in a turf hut upon a vegetarian diet. The Brahmans began to admire him as a holy man, and ended by recognising him as one of themselves.

He wrote in the Tamil language works in which the Hindu wisdom and the Christian were brought into harmony. He composed Christian poems which resembled the ancient Vedic hymns. He allowed his Brahman converts to continue wearing the sacred thread and to celebrate certain Hindu feasts; in the school which he opened, he allowed pagan rites to be continued and he respected Hindu prejudices over caste; he allowed no outcaste to touch his person, and if he needed to administer the sacrament to a member of an inferior caste, he proffered the Host at the end of a little stick.

It is not surprising that some of his fellow Europeans were shocked, and a long succession of denunciations went back to Rome. In 1618 he was brought before the court of the Archbishop of Goa and astounded the court by appearing in the garb of a Brahman ascetic. ‘The case of the Malabar rites’ was referred to Rome. In 1623 Rome refused to condemn Nobili, ’till further information was available’ and he continued to extend this unusual and successful evangelism until there were twenty-six Brahman converts among the 4,000 Christians of Madurai.

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The Five Great Brahmin Castes and their proclivities

I haven’t written anything this week and I was going to flush out my thoughts on my written diary or locked blog but an interesting observations came upon me, which I would share.

I’ve noticed with Vidhi’s science-intensive path that it’s very uncharacteristic for our northwestern cultural streams. Sindhis, Punjabis and the lot are into different professions.

I also noticed that religious difference didn’t make so much of a difference (Sikhs in some ways are surprisingly similar to Muslims but one must not over-hype their kinship, their loyalties with the Hindu population will always come first) but it seemed that a region’s exposure to Islamicate ways reduced their inclination for science (the Gunpowder Empires were advanced in military tech but were reknowned for their aestheticism).

As an aside to deny that Hindu criticisms of the Mughals is not grounded in communalism is laughable. Louis XIV (whose reigns roughly coincided with the latter two Mughal Emperors) was renowned for his profligacy (Versaille is the mini-Taj of Western Europe) and his constant wars of conquest (Aurganzeb comes to mind). Nevertheless after a Revolution or so the French remain profoundly proud of their “Sun King” in a way the Hindu Right Wing do not towards the Mughals.

Back to the Brahmins; there are 5 sets of Brahmins who capture the Indian imagination.

(1.) The UP Brahmins who are the core of Hindu doctrine and society. Without them there wouldn’t be a coherent Hindu society or population (there are 20 million UP Brahmins).

(2.) The Bengal Brahmins who are the periphery of the Hindustani belt (but still very much a part of it with Bengal being significant in the Mughal era and core heartland in the Colonial one), emerged as a core of a more “Hindu cultural identity.”  Is it any wonder that the Indian national anthem is in Bengali?

(3.) The Kashmiri Pandits. Unique among Brahmins they were a minority among an overwhelming Muslim population. Surrounded by Muslims, they Mughalicised, became the Hindu Mughals and the political class of independent Indians.

(4.) The Maratha Brahmins. On the Edge of Aryavarta and the heart of the Deccan; they became the Hindu warrior class after the Rajputs were entirely coopted by the Anglo-Mughal establishment (the Rani of Jhansi was a Maratha).

(5.) Finally the Brahmin class, which sparked my initial thought. The Tamil Brahmins, furtherest away from the Islamicate world in every way possible (their Islam is similar to the Kerala, TN, Ceylon, South East Asian one) and most obsessed with the hard sciences. It’s pretty obvious Vidhi wouldn’t have been on her scientific path if she had grown up in the North.

In some ways the “millennia of humiliation” (not my words) splintered the Hindu response 5-ways, which is why any reconstruction of Hindu identity rests on a multi-regional response.

Ps: Shocking in a case of life imitating art – I was just browing girmit’s last comment and found out that the commentariat were discussing the exact same thing..

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Indians in Kerala are less religiously polarized, those in Bihar are more polarized


Because some commenters on this weblog have a lot more lived experience within India than I do, you try to bullshit me. I suspect it, but I can’t prove it.

But I realized today that World Values Survey is broken down by region within countries. This means I can at least doublecheck some of the crazy assertions some of you make.

What I did is pretty simple: I selected India as the country and then selected regions as the first variable. I crossed it with a question about how much people trust those of other religions.

One thing that jumps out of the result is that trust across religions is highest in Kerala. There isn’t a huge difference across the north, but it seems lowest in Bihar. This makes sense.

These sorts of single results need to be treated with caution. The main issue is that respondents are usually asked in their native language, but word choice can bias the outcome.

I invite readers who are interested in bullshitting less to look at the WVS themselves. Raw table below the fold (with N’s).

Continue reading “Indians in Kerala are less religiously polarized, those in Bihar are more polarized”

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