{{{Brahmins}}} do not descend from a common group

I don’t know if I mentioned it, so I will do so here: Brahmins do not seem to form a natural descent group from a common ancestral population. I say this because Vagheesh Narasimhan looked into the question, and the model could not be made to work.

That being said, Brahmin groups do not seem arbitrarily descended from just any South Asian groups. South Indian Brahmins are clearly shifted toward having more ANI-like ancestry than other South Indians. Bengali Brahmins are clearly very distinct from other Bengalis. Both these groups can be well modeled as UP Brahmins in three parts and one part non-Brahmin native.

I will leave it to readers to puzzle these facts out and suggest how {{{Brahmin}}} groups emerged in the Indian context.


Why brown Americans find ethnic and national factionalism amusing sometimes

What do they call a light-skinned Punjabi? “The brown guy.”

What do they call the Pakistani Muslim? “The guy who worships cows.”

What do they call the sharp-featured Khatri? “The Indian looking girl.”

What do they call the black-skinned Tamil? “The brown guy.”

What do they call the pale Pandit? “The brown guy.”

What do they call the Brahmin? “Curry smelling guy.”

All this is not to say that you have to be what other people call you. Just because most of my life people have assumed I’m Hindu, and that I speak Hindu, doesn’t mean I should identify as Hindu and embrace he nonexistent Hindu language. But, the “important” differences between North Indians and South Indians, dark and light, even Muslim and Hindu, can seem a bit marginal to some people from the American perspective…

The converse of this is that liberal socially progressive Indian Americans should not think that people in India are just versions of themselves in the past. People in India are a different “fork” and have their own identity.


Brown American in 2019

Interesting interview of Zoomers by Millennial Hasan Minhaj. Especially interesting to me because I’m Gen-X.

Near the end, there is a reference to the fact that the diversity within Indian Americans is something that these kids wish people understood more. One of the things that the old Sepia Mutiny blog made many Gen-X and Millennial brown Americans aware of is that there was a lot of variation we didn’t understand or comprehend since we were often the only representatives of all things brown for our social circle.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about recently is that many of the people who immigrated between 1965 and 1990 are now becoming grandparents as their 1.5 & 2nd gen offspring become parents. These people often left an India (or Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, etc.) that had been independent for only a few decades. Their children grow up on stories of the “old country”, but that country no longer exists. It’s been more than two generations now since the early professional immigrants left.



A commenter below mentioned offhand how they didn’t like beef. Myself, I love beef. And growing up beef curry was something we ate a lot. Since we were Bengali we ate more fish and shrimp of course. I had assumed that among Muslims in the Indian subcontinent this would be common, least outside of Hindu-majority areas. But when I hit Google it seems “Bangladeshi beef curry” is one of the top hits.

Our of curiosity, is beef curry not eaten much among Muslims in Pakistan?

This brings me some confusion, and makes me wonder what else I don’t know. What’s the most curious or interesting aspect of regional Indian cuisine? For example, Lisa M. claims that a lot of classic Bengali food is actually from Odisha (chefs from that state went to work in Bengal).

Probably the strangest thing about Bengali food, aside from the copious usage of mustard oil, is many of us really love dried fish (shutki).


Why do nonmuslims treat muslims so badly (g)?

There are few examples of nonmuslim sectarian mistreatment of muslims more glaring than the way nonmuslims have abysmally betrayed LBGTQ muslims. Nonmuslim LBTGTQ are celebrated by Xi Jinping, Trump, Modi, Lebron James and many others. Any mistreatment of LBGTQ nonmuslims correctly dominates news coverage around the world and leads to massive global pressure. But when it comes to muslim LBGTQ, nonmuslims become suddenly silent.


The above video details the severe persecution of Palestinian LGBTQ. Palestinian LGBTQ have long been attacked by Palestinians, the muslim world and nonmuslim world.


Where are PM Modi, President Xi Jinping, President Trump, Lebron James, PM Bibi Netanyahu, PM designate Gantz? Do Englishman and Englishwoman feel guilt for the enormous suffering they have inflicted upon Palestinian LBGTQ during English empire and ever since the end of English empire? This blood debt could be repaid by giving English permanent residence status to every Palestinian LBGTQ who passes a background check to weed out violent criminals and members of organized crime.


Not that muslims are doing any better when it comes to Palestinian LBGTQ rights. Global muslim leaders Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have you no tears and compassion for Palestinian LBGTQ? How will you be able to look up upon Allah after having betrayed Palestinian LBGTQ?

Continue reading “Why do nonmuslims treat muslims so badly (g)?”


The shadow of the crescent

Obviously I have not had much time to write on my blogs recently. But I thought I would pass on a casual judgement I have come to in regards to Indians, and particularly Hindus. Their mentality is powerfully shaped by the Other.

This is true of modern Muslims as well obviously. As Bernard Lewis would famously assert, the victory of the West over Islam in geopolitics in the 19th-century induced a psychic trauma which Muslims are still reacting to. Postcolonialism suggests that this is the condition of all non-Western societies. They can be only understood in their reaction to the West.

In general, I think postcolonialism is not helpful. Obviously, there is some truth in the framework, but most people don’t have a “thick” understanding of history, so they simply use Theory to invent “facts.”

But, it is clearly the case that modern Indian, and Hindu, Weltanschauung, whether “secularist” or “Hindutva” or something altogether different, is hard to understand without colonialism. But it is not simply Western colonialism. It is also Islamic colonialism and conquest.

The peculiar and curious aspect of modern Indian/Hindu mentality then is the double-colonial layer. That is, the long-term sublimation of the Indian civilization under the temporal rule of Other civilizations. One could assert that China was ruled by Manchus for 250 years before its quasi-colonization. But this analogy is clearly weak because the later Manchus became so thoroughly Sinicized that Manchus as an independent ethnicity have disappeared in modern China (Manchus today are those who have descent from Manchus, not those who practice a non-Han culture).

Basically, it’s always modern complicated in India…


Indian Twitter shows why a “universal translator” wouldn’t work

India is one of the top countries on Twitter. And, since many Indians have some command of English, they interact somewhat with the English-speaking Twitter crowd which is mostly based in the USA and UK.

But, the differences in style, idiom, and cultural references, make conversations often very difficult and totally incomprehensible. Despite the fact that two interlocutors may speak the same language, with only minor syntactical and semantic differences. The difference exists between British and Americans as well, but the cultural gap here is much smaller, and some of the confusions I see with conversations with Indian Twitter happen far less.

This is not a function of how much similar British English is to American English. It is a function of the uniqueness of Indian culture and expectations, and particular idioms and frames. The usage of English allows for Americans to be exposed to this, but there is a level of opacity that is novel and surprising.

To me, my engagement with Indian Twitter is more a matter of anthropological curiosity than dialogue. Twitter lacks the nuance and density to puncture the incommensurable aspects easily.


The Indian cultural Left is in India, but not of India

A comment on Twitter about the lack of the Islamic world’s own Arundhati Roys, and therefore the lack of Leftism. My own reaction is that this is wrong. There is plenty of Leftism in the Islamic world, just not the sort of cultural criticism that Arundhati Roy specializes in.

To give an example, the PLO has several Communist member parties, and its largest element, Fatah, is Left-nationalist. Though the high-tide of Marxism in the Islamic world, and the developing world in general, was in the 1970s, the ghost of Left-nationalism haunts us to this day (the Syrian Ba’ath party has its origins on the Left, though today it is basically an Assad family enterprise). India, there remains to this day a militant Marxist movement.

So what’s going on with people like Arundhati Roy? I think the best way to understand her is that she is part of the global English-speaking intelligentsia, and as such caught up in cultural currents which are beyond, and above, her Indian milieu. She applies the tools and concerns which are validated among the global cultural Left to an Indian context.

It’s not just an English-speaking phenomenon. There is a global elite cultural movement united by share mores and disposition. Consider the movements for gay rights in East Asia, which seem to be clearly shaped by Western precursors. But, I think the Indian English-speaking elite exhibits the tendency to imitate and replicate far faster than in other developing societies because of its shared cultural presuppositions and linguistic fluency with the Anglosphere.


Is it time for Asian Americans and Latino Americans to ask to be considered “white”? (c)

This is the next article in the series “Is it time for Asian Americans and Latino Americans to ask to be considered “white”, “Is it time for Asian Americans and Latino Americans to ask to be considered “white” (a)”,  Razib’s  “Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act on Affirmative Action“, and “Is it time for Asian Americans and Latino Americans to ask to be considered “white” (b)”.

A growing part of the global caucasian intelligentsia are attacking Hong Kong protesters as far right fascists. This is part of a growing trend among xenophobic caucasians attacking Asians for “white supremacy”, “nazism”, “racism”, “oppression”, “patriarchy”, “imperialism”, “colonialism”, “hegemony”, “exploitation.”

Why is this happening? Is it just jealousy? Is it that many caucasians fear that “darkies” own a growing percentage of global wealth, earn a growing percentage of global income? Is it fear that “darkies” have growing competence, capacity, merit, mental health, intelligence? Is it fear about improving “darkie” academic outcomes?

I am not sure. Can everyone share their thoughts?

How should us “darkies” react?

I believe in loving and respecting our enemy with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our might. This includes everyone who is disrespectful, not loving, racist, bigoted, prejudiced, white supremacist, Nazi, facist, oppressive, hegemonic, exploitative, patriarchal towards us. And everyone who accuses us of being disrespectful, not loving, racist, bigoted, prejudiced, white supremicist, Nazi, facist, oppressive, hegemonic, exploitative, patriarchal. And everyone who labels and mislabels us. And everyone who falsely accuses us.

Everyone has the right to freedom of art and thought. If we truly love and respect others, then how can we not respect their right to disrespect and not love us?

The sweetness of love will gradually melt their hearts.

Some might say that this works for most people who are mean to others, but is insufficient for dangerous people. For particularly dangerous people, we can combine the deepest of love and respect with dialogue. And for the most dangerous people, we can combine love, respect, and dialogue with other things.

Can there be any other way?

This topic is one of the reasons The Brown Pundits Podcast would like to interview Irshad Manji:

Irshad Manji has touched the sweetness of the heart, the silence that is always with us. And while I agree with her that we should respect and love others, and not label others. I don’t think we have the right to limit the freedom of art and thought of others by asking them not to label and mislabel us.

One example that inspires me is how Krishna dealt with harsh bigotry, criticism, false allegations, others mislabeling him, disrespect, bigotry, prejudice, white supremacy, Nazism, fascism, oppression, hegemony, exploitation, patriarchy. Krishna insisted that others be allowed to criticize Krishna.

I would be curious to listen to Irshad Manji’s thoughts about this.


America does a good job assimilating immigrants

If you are lucky, you are not aware that Priyanka Chopra got “called out” by a young Pakistani woman for “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan.”

On the face of it seems very unlikely that Chopra was doing anything more than making a vanilla patriotic statement during a very tense time (I assume literally no one except for insane people would have wanted nuclear war in any case or even a conventional war!).

Though the initial stories referred to a “Pakistani woman”, you can tell by the accent that she was raised in the USA. In fact, she was naturalized as an American citizen at a very young age (she posted the certificate on her Facebook page). To be honest, even when I heard her referred to as Pakistani (she refers to herself as such), I was a bit skeptical and suspected perhaps she was actually American because this sort of self-righteous grandstanding is what America teaches the current generation.

Ayesha Malik is self-centered, ignorant, and milking an issue of genuine geopolitical concern to elevate her own individual profile as a beauty vlogger. Very American.