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The Advice of the Childfree

As an aside Vidhi censured me last night for my “polemical” post since it seemed as though she was condoning my views on Arjun Rampal.

I explained to her my perspective that rich and powerful men must always be held to account as they are the movers and shakers of all societies. That includes Mr. Rampal, Mr. Akhtar and Mr. Ali Khan.

It is interesting that Farhan and Saif are the “spoiled” scions of an Indian elite whereas the much more humbler Shah Rukh Khan has kept his marriage and family together (whatever the rumours may be about them).

Farhan Akhtar is simply replicating the pattern of his philandering father and is now infecting his close friend Arjun. What irks me about these boys is that they all have daughters (5 daughters between them and only Saif has a son from his first marriage) and essentially the message they are transmitting to their daughters is that they can be replaced for a younger model when the time comes.

It’s interesting that Zoya Akhtar has never gotten married; the sins of the father visiting upon the innocent daughter. I also think that Alia Bhatt’s older half sister (Pooja Bhatt) never had children either, so it really is the daughters who get the pain of their selfish fathers.

I do not condone selfish behaviour by fathers. I’m not a father and I’m very happily child-free because neither Vidhi or I are at the stage of our life where we want to be parents. As an old school libertarian I don’t believe in laws necessarily regulating human behaviour but custom and culture.

Having children is a long and painful process since they are meant to be the culmination of any relationship. While I believe government has no role in marriage I simply cannot understand how a couple, who cannot bother to have a wedding, can go on to have a child.

I’ve noticed that the most successful children are those that have received intelligent and formidable parenting. Just because a man can happen to have children does not mean he should have them.

While I don’t think abortion should be the answer, it would be incumbent on all to realise that having a child should be a very hard-thought process. A sign of an affluent society is the shift from the quantitative to the qualitative and to my mind the collapsing birth rates are usually a sign of civilisation. Of course the line between self-actualisation and self-indulgence is a sober one so collapsing birthrates in Russia and Eastern Europe is a very different phenomenon to that in Western Europe or the US.

I am simply taking exceptions to the neo-Mughals of Bollywood who strut about thinking they are demi-gods. A good example is when I heard Nasserudin Shah state that he had taught his children (with Ratna Pathak) the Quran to improve their “Tahafuz.”

I’m taking that to mean that their fluency in Urdu but if one wanted to get really good in Urdu it would be better to learn Hindustani and Dari since Urdu is not simply a creolic language where one can add Perso-Arabic words at whim. Also those words that have been added have in themselves been transformed so reading the Quran to learn Urdu is disingenuous and simply  cloaking the real reasons for teaching it to his children.

Linguistics Podcast

Finally we’re doing a linguistics podcast tomorrow; Razib, əbʰɪ əʋət̪əns̪ अभिअवतंस & Indian Linguist. Any questions please pop into the comment.

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All things “Brown” with the Brown Pundits – thoughts on the Carvaka Podcast

Further to Anan’s post below I thought I would share a few thoughts of my own below.

BrownCast Podcast episode 15: conversations with a Carvaka

I enjoyed doing the video cast with Kushal and Omar (Razib was unfortunately not able to join in).

I let myself “go” in this podcast since I had to get up at 4.30 in the morning to get it done so I thought I earnt a bit of a respite.

Ordinarily I’m rather reticent on the podcasts since they aren’t my guests and I also don’t want to venture too many opinions; surprisingly I’m becoming more circumspect in my old age.

At any rate it was a great discussion lots of fun and my penchant for dramatically diverging the conversation was rather welcome (Omar was very on point and it was refreshing to see that Kushal was opinionated as opposed to simply querying).

We did a fair amount of India-Pakistan but I don’t think they were the conventional perspectives. I also have to acknowledge my own biases stem from my background and life experiences.

I wrote a longer post but I decided to private blog it since I didn’t feel it was entirely relevant and I meandered (as I do).

All in I enjoyed the conversation and I found Google Hangouts a surprisingly easy interface. It’s a nice feeling to be “Live”; it was so dark that I didn’t want to switch on video but perhaps I should have and treated the audience to the dawn of a new day..

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1971, Majlis & Vande Mataram

We wrapped up the debate on 1971; as I quipped I had been forced to “Defend the Indefensible. Most of the audience who spoke up did so in our favour (the audience was very mixed).

Pakistaniyat

I found this an interesting debate because it was extremely difficult subject area; I could have argued for either side but it so happened I was slotted into “Team Pak”, which frankly suited me.

My “Pakistaniyat” is surging at the moment after Iran, Queen of the East, was slighted last week. I’ve realised Pakistan is the Persianate Shield and a stalking horse for our Turanian civilisational-complex. Once we cede the Satrap on the Indus; all chaos follows.

So this debate, which was rather serendipitous since it was only a matter of “timing” (I had gone for Chaat & Chat and then got drafted/enlisted myself in the debate) chimed with my own awakening Pakistani identity; dormant for so long.

However this does not change my pro-Hindu anti-Islam convictions (contradictory much I know). The latest controversy at Majlis is that the old logo had Vande Mataram on it, to which the Pakistanis are objecting to.

Vande Mataram

I’m extremely upset about this since as a Briton I’m rooted in a love for tradition. If the Majlis logo had Vande Mataram when it was founded in 1891 then it must continue the same tradition.

There are understandable concerns about VM’s anti-Muslim bias but Pakistanis must transcend the tit-for-tat mentality. Otherwise I will be making a move to change the name of Majlis to something neutral like “South Asian Gathering.” The Persianate culture did not come to India peacefully but forcefully and if we Pakis are to take on historical slights at every opportunity then we must also accept the dismantling of our shared culture.

VM is a rousing anthem about an ancient people waking up to defend their Motherland. It is a historical fact that those invaders included the Muslims and therefore just as God Save the Queen has some problematic verses so will VM. It doesn’t mean that we have to deny it but rather accept and understand the context in which it arose.

As a Kaffirstani I dislike the intense Pakistani attachment to Islam. Pakistanis must learn now to slice away this reflexive association and start immersing ourselves in a Hindu cultural framework. Just because India destroyed Babri Masjid and assault Allahabad does not give Pakistan any permission to destroy Hindu temples or rename Lakshmi Chowk. In fact Indo-Islamic culture has always been syncretic and Pakistan must embrace the Indian as well as the Islamic.

Cambridge as a South Asian Hub

Incidentally I was the first speaker of the first debate, in over 30 years, of a 128 year old Society that was extremely influential in the politics during the Raj.

As an aside Cambridge has always been a hub for South Asian politics unlike Oxford; Allama Iqbal, Chaudhary Rahmat, Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi are all associated with the college. I imagine this has to do with Cambridge’s more “radical” politics as opposed to Oxford being more conservative and establishment driven.

What I enjoy about Majlis is that it chimes so well with my online interests in BP and BC (BrownCast). A decade (patchy at times) of BP gives me a rather deep familiarity with the minutiae of South Asian contemporary politics and history..

The arguments on 1971

I made two arguments (we were limited 5 minutes each) and I got a bit carried away so I thundered them (at heart as a Kaffirstani, I’m quite the chameleon in my relentless need to blend in I take on lots of different roles):

(1.) The cause for a Just War. India did not sufficient explore diplomatic or international consensus. India as an “aggressive power”; 1948 Hyderabad, 1963 Goa and of course 1971 East Pak.

Furthermore the need to establish some greater consensus was not geniune as the Soviet Union was trying to avoid conflict a month before.

(2.) The nuclearification of the Subcontinent stemmed immediately from 1971 (December 1971 the war was lost, Jan 1972 Pakistan began the nuclear program).

I’ve heavily condensed my two arguments but I was only meant to deliver the main thrusts.

I was followed by my very good friend MJ, who’s a brilliant postdoc physicist (he’s Indian Hindu but his ancestors are from Dhaka). He structured his arguments as follows:

(1.) India was forced to act on its principles and help midwife the Bangladeshi people to freedom.

(2.) The genocide of the Bangladeshi people (he prefaced his remarks with gonimoter maal).

Following that we had some other argument (3 Prop, 3 Opp including ourselves) however my second Prop focused on the “hypocrisy” of Indian foreign policy.

To cut a very long story short I do think the Prop carried it because we did not contest the need for Bangladeshi independence but rather drew upon the reasons for Indian interference in 1971.

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Happy Birthday Vidhi Lalchand!

Turin, Pakistan, Tianzhu, Hodu, Aryavarsha, Hindustan, Bharata, Hindus, Aja Nabha Varsha, Jambu Dweepa, Sapta Sindu, the holy land sung of in infinite ways in many tongues cried out for a savior. All seemed lost. But the transcendent remembered Her (obviously female, duh) holy promise:

Whenever there is decay of Dharma, O Bharata, And there is exaltation of Adharma (opposite of Dharma), then I come forth; for the protection of the good, for the destruction of evil-doers; for the sake of firmly establishing Dharma, I incarnate from age to age.

The transcendent came not alone, but brought Her eternal ever sweet, ever happy, ever loving, ever free, ever stitapragnya (one whose bliss is unaffected and unruffled by all circumstances) companions. And one such companion would soon grace us all.

 

Zachary Latif was in a sorry state. Hopeless despair. He was only 98 percentile with seemingly no prospect of further improvement [translation for non Deshis who don’t understand impossibly high Deshi expectations . . . Zachary was a LOSER]. He was compassionate. He was smart. He was potentially wise . . . but it was as if he was waiting for something.

The symphony of symphonies, note of notes,  the pattern that is composed of all patterns was so close and yet so far. Zachary’s mentors Báb and Bahá’u’lláh had hinted at a connection between cosmology, fleeting morality, chaos, vastness and patterns (female, male, love, beauty). Some say that when they are in alignment, in tune, in harmony, melody . . . grace comes.

Zachary had toiled hard for alignment. But where was the grace? The grace that could save Zachary Latif. And transform Zachary into a 1 basis point [1/10,000] winner. What could melt the heart of this vicious dangerous ugly beast? What alchemy could transmute ugly into graceful studliness? What light could inspire majesty and wisdom from stubbornness? What could calm and tame this wild tempest of emotion?

And then December 18th, 2016 arrived:

Soulmates . . . two halves of the same soul joining together in life’s journey. Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.

“A lover’s heart is not from fleshly pine. Let love proceed from this or other cause. However well we strive love to portray we blush thereat when love our hearts doth sway”

And then it happened. That which poets, poems, songs, art, mystics, dreamers, lovers, saints and sages touch. The goose bump cold chills up and down the spine and brain. Kabir’s crooked door, so tiny and so everything:

Happiness

The boy had died. And a man was born. Our hero. Our leader of Brown Pundits.

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s seven queens of Sindh were as One. Beauty, light, grace, sweetness, strength and elegance given form.

We celebrate her anniversary of arrival in our Bhu lokha (earth) on this extremely auspicious chaturdashi Kali Puja day:

Happy Birthday Vidhi Lalchand from all of us at Brown Pundit 🙂 Thank you for being the sweetness of Aryavarsha and Sanathana Dharma. Thank you for marrying us with the Ba’hai family–the youngest sister in our Arya family in whom we are most proud. And thank you for saving Zachary Latif!

Seven Beauties of Sindh

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