Saturday, February 21, 2015

Our matrilineal future - I

Today I was introduced to Marilyn vos Savant because of this article. I went through the Wikipedia article on her. The following paragraph caught my eye.

She says one should keep premarital surnames, with sons taking their fathers’ and daughters their mothers’.
This has been my position (even thought I might have wrongly termed it as 'ambiliny') too. I might have already written about it (but couldn't find it).

But in a patriarchal society a girl taking up her mother's surname need not necessarily mean it's matrilineal. I believe women in patriarchal societies need to come up with their own surnames which can be inherited afterwards.

Similar is the case with matrilineal society where men have to come up with their own surnames to pass it to the next generation.

However, I also endorse complete matrilineal inheritance for variety of reasons. Generally, in majority regions female lineages are far more autochthonous than male lineages. So, I would say children should take up matrilineal identity in terms of surname, religion and culture.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Reading - Economics, A Primer for India

I'm reading 'Economics, A Primer for India' by G. Omkarnath of Hyderabad Central University. The author makes a point in the preface that considering the failures of most of the economic theories in present day society there is no point in teaching any theory as a dogma. Instead, the approach should be to familiarize the student with the economics of the native country and understand the processes involved. However, at one place the author says,

People meet their material needs through their command over a range of goods (eg. rice, cloth, cooking oil and television sets) and services(eg. bus rides, haircuts, doctors, schools and maid servants).

Let's consider services like doctors and maid servants. A doctor him/herself can get services of other doctors. What about 'maid servants'? Would they work as servants if they can afford to have their own maid servants? So, doctors and maid servants can't be grouped together. And if we consider maid servants as 'people with needs', then they themselves can't be part of services as they can't avail that service for themselves.

There are two types of families who keep 'maid' servants. A middle class family where both spouses work and a rich family. However, a middle class family can only keep a servant when there is a huge economic disparity in a society and many women are forced to take up such jobs. For example, many Brazilian middle class families unlike their parental generation can't afford to keep maid servants owing to improving living standards of poor in that country.

In a nutshell,  a maid servant in  a middle class family basically represents failure of the society. So, I would suppose a student should have a clear view that a command over a service like 'maid servant' isn't equal to other materialist services. It doesn't consider her materialist need as a person.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Movements and Ideologies - India

The Aam Admi Party(AAP) which was formed in 2012 was borne out of a nationwide movement against corruption. Adding them to my list of major political parties:

AAP: Bourgeoisie (many top leaders appear to be atheistic but follow unethical atheism by pandering to religious and casteist elements).

Aravind Kejriwal, the leader of the party comes from a merchant caste. Among the leaders from merchant castes, M K Gandhi overcame "crisis of faith" and even supported the caste system, while EV Ramaswamy became a true atheist and denounced both religion and the caste system. However, in present day, it's believed that majority merchant castes support the Hindu nationalist party, BJP and basically play second fiddle to Brahmins in propagating Hindutva ideology. I wonder if Aravind Kejriwal becomes successful, will they remain loyal to the BJP?

Growing up in Karnataka, I hardly knew anyone from merchant castes. I must say, I haven't met any of them in Kannada and Malayali societies. Also, in Dravidian lands their caste position wasn't much different from weaker Shudra castes. However, the situation did appear to be similar in northern India  in olden days but conversion to Jinaism by some sections and the Raj appeared to have elevated their social position rapidly there. But ritually, their claim to become part of twice born castes and fight over the right to wear the sacred thread wasn't all that different from their Dravidian counterparts in Telugu region. Now they are part of the official 'twice born' or the forward castes or they aren't considered for affirmative action. The term 'Vaisya', which meant common people initially, has almost become synonymous with these castes.

After moving to Telugu region, I came across few Telugu and many northern Indians of merchant caste background. However, among northern Indians all my interactions were with Marwadis (though none of them from Rajasthan). Even though, I can't generalize but all my acquaintances of Telugu merchant background don't show any atheistic or rational bent of mind and appear to be deeply religious. This is in stark contrast to their northern counterparts. Of the four acquaintances, two of them are openly atheistic, another one is a believer but doesn't subscribe to astrology and superstitions. The fourth one, an openly BJP supporter, comes across as a staunch Muslim hater than Hindu believer.

I would think typical merchant castes would be like my Telugu acquaintances. It seems longer educational traditions of these  northern Indians probably have given them progressive attitude. However, there was one exception. One of them, a highly successful businessman, had the basic education of ten years and then went into business. That probably speaks more of his family tradition than his intellect. But what interests me about these atheists from the northern merchant caste is that their strong anti-Brahmin outlook.

Now this isn't new to me. I've seen OBCs in my circle from northern India having strong anti-Brahmin outlook. However,  there is one big difference. Even though OBCs are anti-Brahmins they are also overawed about Brahminism or Hindu scriptures. In this they match many Dravidian OBCs. But these northern Indian atheists don't hesitate to criticize the scriptures too.

But that doesn't mean they are just normal people who overcame all types of indoctrination and prejudices. Both of them are strongly against affirmative action.

It's well known that the BJP is hypocritical about social justice or its Hindutva ideology actually undermines affirmative action. In my opinion, the support of merchant castes to the AAP also depends upon how far it steers clear from social justice agenda.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

OBCs and Affirmative Action - II

I talked about this friend of mine in one of my posts. I wondered how he reconciles his status as an OBC and his association with the Hindutva.

As I discussed, Hindutva and affirmative action are incompatible. Generally, the Hindutva narrative twists the caste history. According to them;
- The caste system was good (but became bad later)
- There is something great in the caste system and because of which India remained predominantly Hindu even after hundreds of years of Muslim rule (It doesn't bother about analyzing other societies, which of course beyond its scope and logical fallacies don't exist)
- Brahmins preserved India's culture (There is nothing more hideous than this propaganda. A classic twist of Brahmin monopoly of knowledge and deliberate exclusion of other castes)

Now, no OBC brought up in this propaganda can give any rational explanation for affirmative action. As I said, it generally leads to perversion of their thinking. My worry was this friend was one of the victims and that's the reason for him to forward  couple of malicious jokes against affirmative action. To top it, his basic education was in a school run by a Hindu organization.

However, I do have to acknowledge he is certainly not fooled by the Hindutva propaganda.

Well, he liked couple of posts of mine on Facebook. In the first one, I mentioned how becoming foot soldiers of Hindutva movement is demeaning for OBCs. In another post, I mocked at a Brahmin priest's contention that the Untouchability was the creation of Dravidians (I suppose the legacy of Brahmin apologist George L Hart).

There are many OBCs and my own cousins drawn to Hindutva among my friends' list. However, none of them 'like' my posts that attack the caste system or Hindutva. So, it does show he is aware of the contradictions.

It probably boils down to their inability to articulate their thoughts and also counter the pro-caste privileged caste propaganda. Also, as one of my friends who is associated with the RSS once confided that there was a fear among people part of the movement that if they counter many of twisted narratives of the caste system it wouldn't go well with the privileged upper echelons.

I'm sure the Hindutvites of privileged caste background will always be grateful that there are Muslims around.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Dubious Term Called Westernization - VII

I have argued before that any knowledge if it has to be learnt or a person has to use his/her brain then that knowledge is individualistic. It can't get any identity. However, this simple logic seems to elude Hindutvites. Unfortunately, India produces too many of them and they are set to mess up Indian education system(though unsure what we have is worthy of preserving) since now they are in power.

I was thinking about this phenomenon among many non-Christians world over. Can we come up with a solution which when not diluting the modern scientific knowledge also ensures that it doesn't instill a sense of alienation or inferiority complex among rationally challenged non-Christians?

The greatest danger of dumbing down of the education is in the field of social sciences. However, it's the achievements of some Europeans in physical sciences that has created alienation or inferiority complex among right wingers. One can find the evidence of that in Muslim preacher Dr, Zakir Naik's claim that, "the West is true when it comes to science and technology but we are true when it comes to religion".

The people behind development of knowledge and the regions where they got support and help to promote it aren't very important when it comes to imparting that knowledge to completely different set of people and regions where such people in the past and knowledge were either actively suppressed or never encouraged.So, we can create fictitious names and regions. Albert Einstein can be some Ramesh from Gujarat or some Saranya from Tamil Nadu depending upon the regions. Of course, caste and religious sensibilities have to be accounted for.

 I believe respecting a scientist or a philosopher is just an extension of patriarchal or feudal thinking or its internalization. We can take inspiration from Gandhi's words, "One shouldn't hate sinners but the sins". It's a brilliant non-hierarchical and in turn non-patriarchal thinking. Extending that we can say, "One should never respect/love/worship saints/scientists/thinkers but respect/emulate their deeds".

So with this we can address identity question of most of the physical and social science fields. However, there still is a problem with the study of history. I would think history should be only available as a research field. Anyway, majority don't learn anything in history classes and is very evident in the way  it's being easily twisted. So, remove history from school curriculum.

These studies should be taught in a way that they should show how the scientific Indian (or vernacular) school of thought has triumphed over other Indian schools of thought.

Eventually, students would know the truth. However, normal people who aren't bothered about 'westernization' may not care at all. But it would be tough for people with right wing disposition to suddenly reject everything that they thought was part of their identity throughout. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Soft Hindutvites' Caste System

Very amusing!

  • Stephen: Is there still a caste system over there?
  • Tharoor: There is a caste system.
  • Stephen: I wish we had one.
  • Tharoor: Well, if they invented the caste system today, I’m sure that talk show hosts would be right on the top.
  • Stephen: Oh, yeah.
  • Tharoor: Absolutely. Because it was a profession-based thing. It goes back three thousand years, and essentially the people in the so-called unclean professions were the bottom of the caste system …
  • Stephen: So, I would be a Brahmin over here.
  • Tharoor: Oh, you would be a Brahmin!
  • Stephen: Are you from the Brahmin caste?
  • Tharoor: No, I’m not, actually.
  • Stephen: You’re not?
  • Tharoor: Nope.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Random Thoughts: Human tendency - II

I sort of think these are the mistakes people make while believing in stereotypical notions about god/religion, nationalism etc...

1. Generalization of exceptions that confirm their biases. Going as far as claiming those are better than scientific understandings.

2. A complete ignorance about being privileged and thus promoting their identity and their status as natural order of things.

3. Sidestepping glaring problems by only providing lip service as those don't hurt them (could be short sighted -> is that ableist? Am I allowed to use it since I'm short-sighted?).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Random Thoughts - City planning

How should a city be developed? It should be planned in such a way that a future generation would be able to destroy everything easily and rebuild it from scratch.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Random Thoughts: Human tendency

There are many analyses of human regressive behaviours that in spirit try to explain but in reality legitimize  them. There could be is-ought fallacy in their usage but I feel many don't get it. One of them is;
In group identity:
    A research finds some kind of ingroup identity behaviours which would then used by others to explain hereditary castiest and racial behaviours. However, if you go through those studies there are many caveats for such behaviours. It depends on gender(mostly male specific) and other factors. If one observes caste, more than anything innate, it depends on societal factors like pride and shame, monetary and social profit. If one studies the caste associations and groups then one can observe imbalance in their camaraderie factor. These factors are something that need to be eliminated in a civilized society. However, people attributing the caste feelings to in-group love, forget that fact that they are legitimizing the factors which are inhuman. Even if their intention was to spread in-group love to whole of humanity, they fail to understand the implications of their words.

Some others:
- It's all bell curve
- It's all survival of the fittest
- Everything is like religion


Sunday, June 08, 2014

Original father of Dravidian Speakers - VII

Maybe 'appa' became derogatory word in Malayalam not because of Nair tradition of 'Sambandham', where 'appa' was a ritual father and not a biological father. The reason could be very silly. A dish common in Tulu and Malayalam region is called 'appam', a rice pancake puffed in the middle and the tapering sides, in southern Malayalam region, whereas, 'aapa' in Malabar region (or only in Kasaragod). In my opinion, when southern Malayalis for some weird reason turned 'aapa' into 'appam', children started making fun of 'appa' and 'appa' and father appa went out of favour.

The creation of a taboo on kinship terms can be very quick. It appears grandmothers of Tulu region no longer like to be addressed as 'grandmother' in local lingo. In Tulu, traditionally, it's either 'dodda' or 'ajji'. However, in its place they are making their grandchildren to call them 'ammamma'.  The other day, my mother said that her friend admonished her for allowing her grandchild to call her 'ajji'. So, it appears once a new kinship term appears, there would be  an active and concerted effort to make the old term obsolete by making it derogatory. In fact, making it derogatory is necessary for suppressing it. If I extrapolate this 'ammamma' in Tulu region to 'appa' in Malayalam region, I would say appa was used widely in Malayalam region once upon a time.