Friday, February 28, 2014

Idolatry runs wild

Tamil society led by the Great Man used to take great pride in breaking Ganesha idols  and burning Rama portraits (to symbolize a break with Brahminical hegemony). The Dravida movement was perhaps even more focused on rooting out all Hindu traditions (superstitions) than the communists. Even a few years ago Karunanidhi was calling Hindus thieves.

Now we have this.

The Chief Minister of the state, J Jayalalitha celebrated her 66th birthday yesterday the 24th February 2014. All over the state, posters and hoardings of the leader were put up by her enthusiastic admirers and party workers. One of the posters portrayed the Chief Minister as Goddess Lakshmi. 

Actress Khushboo landed in trouble recently when she offended a Hindu religious outfit by wearing a saree with Lord Rama, Krishna and Hanuman printed on it. Also actor Jai starrer 'Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham' was in the fire as the film portrayed God as watching a Kuthu song and being glamorous.....

Last year when Rajinikanth had a quiet 63rd birthday, one poster put up by a few overenthusiastic fans had both his fans and the superstar in trouble. The controversial poster depicted the Superstar standing in a queue to cast his vote and the Gods Ganesha and Vishnu standing in the same queue, squeezed among other people. A religious outfit was outraged by this depiction of Rajinikanth, and promptly lodged a police complaint.

The same Ganeshas that were being destroyed earlier have now re-incarnated (resuscitated) as Rajnikanth the living God.

As an outsider it appears to me that the symbolic (and not so symbolic) expulsion of Tamil Brahmins has perversely led to the dominant Shudra communities being relaxed about superstitions, image worship and the rest. On top of this you have now Tamil hindus complaining about blasphemy. Karunanidhi is calling Modi a hard worker and a good friend. The whole thing is of course very silly but quite sinister as well.


Copts- elites amongst elites

as per Gregory Clark (The Son Also Rises). Indian Christians merit a separate category (why? they are all Brahmins). Separate Iranian Muslim category (there must be a large count of Iranian non-muslim physicians). Chinese are surprisingly low down in the ranks. Black African is possibly the most meaningless classification (the author would probably like to single out black non-Americans, but then there is also black Haitian).

As far as Indians are concerned it would be of interest to look at data across generations- first generation, second generation,...and so on.


Appeal for personal law Pakistan

In a South Asian context the fault lies here as much with the (faux) liberals as with the dyed-in-the-wool conservatives. These laws more than anything else keep people in their ghettos. Also it points to the huge (sometimes evil) influence that pre-modern Britain had on the sub-continent (not that this excuses the inability of SAsians to repeal discriminatory and stupid laws).

A Pakistani man on Friday challenged the nearly 150-year-old Christian Divorce Act in a court so that he could separate from his wife without accusing her of adultery. Ameen Masih, who filed a petition in the Lahore high court, said, "I want separation but owing to complications in the Christian Divorce Act of 1869, I have no other option but to level an allegation of adultery against her.”
He said: "With pain I have to admit that I accused my wife of adultery, which she never committed, in order to divorce her." Masih said divorces under the act had been tarnishing the image of innocent Christian women.
The act enacted during the British Raj has legal lacuna that should be done away with, he said. Section 10 of the act should be declared ultra vires and in contravention of the Constitution, he added. "Only provision of divorce abridges the fundamental rights of Christians," he said. Masih asked the court to strike down the impugned section of the act so that Christian men could divorce their wives in a "dignified way".


Fight to the bitter end

How much do we the browns value "clean chits" from our superiors- the whites (of course they are our superiors in every way)? Evidently a lot. Unlike the original Battle of Britain some 60 years ago, the new battle of Britain (and the USA) will be a hand to hand combat experience. The funny thing is that the "visa question" may even benefit Modi (victim status confirmed) more than it hurts him (and it must hurt a lot).

A debate on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s controversial past sparked a row at a meeting within Britain’s parliament complex.
Human rights groups and organisers of ‘Narendra Modi and the Rise of Hindu Fascism’ at a committee room in Parliament building on Wednesday claimed they had been subjected to intense pressure and death threats from Hindu right-wing groups in the UK to cancel the debate.
“This meeting has been held under extremely difficult conditions, in the face of death threats. It just highlights the inability of Narendra Modi’s supporters to tolerate anything other than their narrative and attempts to suppress free speech,” said Chetan Bhatt, director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics (LSE).
The meeting received the backing of a number of British parliamentarians, led by Labour MP John McDonnell, as well as celebrated India-born British artist Anish Kapoor. “We are in a moment of great danger and your call to our sense of justice is much needed,” Kapoor said in a message read out at the event.


Understanding the geographic context for Islam

 I hope I'm not sounding too much of a geographic determinist but it does echo what I'd be droning of for years as Islam as predominantly a mercantile and arid faith. Islam's borders can be pretty much defined by the prevalence of pork in the East, West & South (Uganda is 15% Muslim but pork is a very favoured meat here).
The wonderful story given by the demi-god Mackinder on Lahore is the last paragraph of the top page and continues on. Oh and by the way Russia is not a European power but a North Asian one.

Flat out prejudice

Many people much wiser than me have voiced this thought but it needs repeating, Hindus (and Jains and..) and Muslims of all stripes need to learn to co-exist with each other. Communities (to use a cliche) should learn how to recognize is that the enemy is not the other man (or woman), but the common poverty, illiteracy, and all other social ills. All said and done you dont have to be a hero to get a flat in Mumbai, let alone a muslim one.

In September 1990, Captain Zainul Abidin Juvale, master of a cargo vessel called MV Safeer, became master of the fate of 722 Indians who sailed out with him from Kuwait to Dubai. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's troops had invaded Kuwait and the Indians there were stranded for over a month.

For over a month now, Juvale has been house-hunting in Bandra (W), but he is unable to buy a flat when he likes one. The brokers have frankly told him that the societies where he has shown interest have an unwritten rule: not to rent or sell flats to Muslims.

"Nobody asked me my religion when I risked my life to rescue fellow Indians who faced starvation and death in Kuwait," says Juvale. "Now I am being made aware of my Muslim identity." 


PS In response to Zachary, most likely to be societies dominated by veg Hindus/Jains. Non-veg Hindus will also not be welcome.

A world built on Slavery

As late as 1940 under sustained duress by France, Haiti was still spending 80% of its budget paying slave-owners compensation for their 1791 independence and emancipation. Essentially it took Haitians 150yrs to buy their own freedom as a free people and then we have the temerity to ask why is Haiti a poor nation?

I'm interested to consider whether one-drop rule had much to do with the lingering effects of slavery in Anglo-America?

Consider, for example, the way the advancement of medical knowledge waspaid for with the lives of slaves.
The death rate on the trans-Atlantic voyage to the New World was staggeringly high. Slave ships, however, were more than floating tombs. They were floating laboratories, offering researchers a chance to examine the course of diseases in fairly controlled, quarantined environments.  Doctors and medical researchers could take advantage of high mortality rates to identify a bewildering number of symptoms, classify them into diseases, and hypothesize about their causes.
Corps of doctors tended to slave ports up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Some of them were committed to relieving suffering; others were simply looking for ways to make the slave system more profitable. In either case, they identified types of fevers, learned how to decrease mortality and increase fertility, experimented with how much water was needed for optimum numbers of slaves to survive on a diet of salted fish and beef jerky, and identified the best ratio of caloric intake to labor hours. Priceless epidemiological information on a range of diseases — malaria, smallpox, yellow fever, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and so on — was gleaned from the bodies of the dying and the dead.
When slaves couldn’t be kept alive, their autopsied bodies still provided useful information. Of course, as the writer Harriet Washington has demonstrated in her stunning Medical Apartheidsuch experimentation continued long after slavery ended: in the 1940s, one doctor said that the “future of the Negro lies more in the research laboratory than in the schools.” As late as the 1960s, another researcher, reminiscing in a speech given at Tulane Medical School, said that it was “cheaper to use Niggers than cats because they were everywhere and cheap experimental animals.” 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The victims of partition(s)

...the (in)fighting never stops as the poison re-circulates in perpetuity.... minority communities will bear the greater burden everywhere...the lines separating the minority from the majority are very thin and are being continuously re-defined (majority oppressor class today, minority oppressed class tomorrow). Finally, it would appear that the separating and dividing exercise will continue until we are all in our box of one- each one of us a minority fighting against the other (my brother, cousin, friend,...etc.)

Unidentified gunmen shot dead four persons, including a prominent India-born Shia scholar, in this Pakistani port city on Thursday in target killings. Four gunmen opened fire on an auto-rickshaw in which Allama Taqi Hadi Naqvi was traveling.
Naqvi succumbed to his wounds in hospital, police official Imran Shaukat said.

Renowned within academic circles, Naqvi was born in Moradabad district of India's Uttar Pradesh state and moved to Pakistan with his family after independence.

Three other persons, including the administrator of a madrassa and his son, were shot dead by gunmen in separate incidents in the city.