Monday, February 23, 2009

Tit for Tat

Now I'm so used to giving serialized headings to my posts that I feel a sense of inadequacy whenever I have to give an isolated heading like the one for this post. The need for my posts to be part of a greater theme restricts my freedom to comment upon many dangling events around me. But the question would be we Homo Sapiens of common descent can ever come out with expressions that would not be part of some common theme? I think it is the pseudo-identities built upon misguided knowledge but are accepted as legitimate that make these expressions as dangling events. The artificial, if not illegitimate, expressions can become realities in such setting when took up by opposing identities. This is the reason I feel Shekhar Kapur has to tell the story of '"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and Danny Boyle, "The Slumdog Millionaire".

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Predictions - I

I used to think South India would herald Indian Renaissance. Now, I'm more and more getting convinced that it would be Pakistan. I should have guessed it earlier. After all, it was Christian heartland of Italy that heralded the Renaissance in Europe.

Buddhism and Jainism in South India -7

Initially I thought this is a present day perversion of Buddhism;

there's a new wave of Indians—affluent, rational, metropolitan, English-educated individuals impatient of organised religion and willing to experiment with alternate spiritual forms—who are increasingly turning to the Buddha's teachings for anwers to their dilemmas. A far cry from Ambedkar and his Dalit followers who converted to Buddhism 50 years ago as a way of getting back at Hinduism and its hierarchy, these small bands of new-age spiritualists shy away from the very word 'Buddhist' with all its political baggage. Their Buddhism instead is more therapy than religion, a self-help practice that enables them to cope with the daily pressures of city life—nuclear families, generation gap, divorces, collapse of family support systems, relationships, pressures of jobs and joblessness, lifestyle diseases, teenage angst and loneliness—even as it unlocks their hitherto hidden potential.

Then I thought this perversion was there from the beginning in India. Buddhism changed a big chunk of marauding nomads of Mongolia and Tibet to celibate monks and defined their identities. In those regions most likely Buddhism acted the way it was expected to. But here in India it(along with Jinaism) was a mere utilitarian religion to rich merchants in the past. Though I think we can fairly guess why it didn't change their caste identity.

Buddhism and Jinaism are totally clueless about normal life. As a result while caste identity clearly defined ideals (or lack of it) for rich people in their worldly life, they could take time out and spend some time in non-worldly life of Buddhism and Jinaism. For not so rich people Buddhism and Jinaism were useless in the past as it is now.

Its present success with Dalits in India is rooted in the question of identity(as pointed in the article). That probably tells us that unclear or non-existent religious identities of East and SE Asia probably helped it to grow there. However, Srilanka is still a mystery. Maybe Brahmins never went there or too small in a number to have any say in social life. Likely, the society was structured around king and subjects. In societies where king ruled supreme his identity became that of his subjects (the spread of Christianity in Germanic lands). In Indian region king's position was always subordinate to Brahmins.

Seeing in the dark (Outlook)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Legacy of purity and pollution

Manu's Smriti
Like its uneasy relationship with Gandhi (how do you attack a meticulously devout Hindu who may be a Muslim-lover?), the Sangh parivar has an uneasy relationship with the modern Indian woman. How much freedom should she be allowed? The parivar may have travelled some distance from the barefoot, pregnant and in-the-kitchen mindset to the current Smriti Irani position. Ms Irani is the ideal, modern Indian woman for the parivar. In her body language, sartorial style, fluent opinions and exaggerated sindoor, she represents how far the parivar is prepared to go to accept modernity. The inestimable Ms Irani wouldn’t dream of wearing figure-hugging jeans, much less sip the occasional glass of white wine. Smriti, no doubt, works in the decadent and morally loose film industry, but she is fully protected by the indestructible Hindu ethos.

Pubs are anathema to the parivar. If a woman must go to a bar, she should be chaperoned by her husband and drink only fruit juice while hubby gets sloshed. That arrangement is acceptable. However, two or three or four girls going unescorted to a pub is against our Indian culture! Why? Firstly, these women are exercising independent choice—always a dangerous thing. Secondly, they are unaccompanied by either uncles or elders. Thirdly, and this is critical, pubs are places where innocent Hindu girls are trapped by Mohammedan men with the aid of alcohol and false promises. Thus, not only is a pub a location for alcoholic vice but a venue for Hindu-Muslim social commingling. Another worry: these Muslim males are invariably fair, handsome and virile, so our pure Hindu girls are easily lured. Consequently, pub culture is a source of twin evils: liquor and inter-communal intimacy. It is okay, even admirable, for Hindu men to have illicit sex before, during and after marriage, but for the Bharatiya nari, sex outside marriage is a sin guaranteed to send her straight to hell. Only when the parivar accepts that adult men and women have an equal right to do ‘evil’ will it come to terms with pub culture.

The American journalist-writer, H.L. Mencken, believed that once you put a few drinks inside a woman, you are 90 per cent sure of getting her into bed. If he were alive today, Mencken would be a card-carrying member of the BJP.

I thought notable features of this article by Vinod Mehta are;

1. An absurd frame of reference
2. An uncharacteristic and ironic allusion
3. An ambiguous position

I tried to check Vinod Mehta's previous usages of H L Mencken's quote.
THE celebrated American journalist, H.L. Mencken, cautioned his readers not to fret over howls of "rape of democracy" from political parties since, in all probability, not even a molestation would have occurred. As the BJP’s ‘rape’ protests mount, with the party threatening to move everything from the Supreme Court to buses on the streets of Lucknow, it would be prudent to coolly consider what manner of constitutional ‘subversion’ has taken place through Governor Romesh Bhandari’s decision to impose President’s rule.

Maybe Vinod Mehta wants to become H L Mencken of India. A person with an ambiguous attitude towards social issues. Or is he just bothered that Taliban has been trivialized to 'women beaters' thus echoing H L Mencken's sentiment about "rape of democracy"?

In my opinion, it is just a law and order situation. Any intellectual analysis is absurd. There is absolutely no difference between purity pollution rules of castes and of the religions they hate. The rules of these were sanctified in West Asia.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Merits of Hatred and Jealousy

A very important study, I say:

By recognizing their inequalities, members of disadvantaged groups can mobilize and attempt to bring about social change. However, the results of a new study suggests that positive contact with majority groups may result in disadvantaged groups being less likely to support social change- with improved attitudes towards the advantaged groups and reduced attention to social inequality, the disadvantaged groups may become less motivated to promote change.

These expectations were the result of overall improved attitudes towards the advantaged group and reduced attention of the disadvantaged group members to the inequalities between the groups. However, these expectations proved to be unrealistic รข€“ the advantaged group discriminated against the disadvantaged group ...

Via Science Daily