Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rise of Patriarchal Society - IX

In one of my posts on Dravidian words I wondered about a Telugu festival called badukamma. I made an assertion that the festival looks too patriarchal and could be a northern import. Well, my knowledge is limited in this regard, I suppose. Closer home, there is a similar festival called Tiruvadira in Kerala. The festival was caste specific hence my ignorance.

It appears the festival was traditionally celebrated by Brahmin, Kshatriya and Nair castes. According to the Wikipedia article;
It is largely a festival for women; unmarried women observe a partial fast on this day to get good husbands and married women take a fast from the preceding day (Makayiram nakshatra) and on the day of Thiruvathira for the well being of their husband and family.
It appears there is a similar festival in Tamil Nadu too. Tamils celebrating one of the highly patriarchal festivals isn't surprising considering the region was the first to develop a caste society owing to its earliest kingdoms. As a matter of fact, it has still remained the most casteist among Dravidian states.

But I believe this festival in Kerala shows that it is not a native festival. If you consider the term 'husband' didn't hold any meaning to Nair women before mid 19th  century (or much later), the idea behind this festival appears to be absurd.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Random Thoughts - Love_Lust

Maybe Tom Daley is Heterosexual-Homoamoural like Nick Carraway.

So the present list includes:
Heterosexual-Heteroamoural -> Anna Karenina (Fictional, Anna Karenina), Max Weber
Heterosexual-Homoamoural -> Nick Carraway (Fictional, The Great Gatsby), Tom Daley
Heterosexual-Inamoural -> Emma Bovary (Fictional, Madame Bovary)
Homosexual-Homoamoural ->  Uncle Frank (Fictional, Little Miss Sunshine)
Homosexual-Heteroamoural -> Francis Bacon, Freddie Mercury, Chirlane McCray
Homosexual-Inamoural -> ?
Asexual-Heteroamoural-> ?
Asexual-Homoamoural -> ? 
Asexual-Inamoural -> ?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Neanderthal Score

Based on my FTDNA Family Finder results and this article;

rs10800485 - CC - Neanderthal
rs6670818   - GG - Neanderthal
rs10494778 - AA - Sapiens
rs7536180   - CC - Sapiens
rs16845098 - TT  - Sapiens
rs17503834 - TT  - Sapiens
rs17430552 - TT  - Sapiens
rs17254301 - CC - Sapiens
rs1330692   - TT  - Sapiens
rs16918958 - CC - Sapiens
rs16917040 - TT  - Sapiens
rs12416000 - GG - Sapiens
rs11252810 - CC - Sapiens
rs11815066 - AG - Neanderthal-Sapiens mixed
rs17745316 - GG - Sapiens
rs9609421   - AA - Sapiens

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Random Thoughts - Love_Lust

Chirlane McCray is another example for Homosexual-Heteroamoural orientation.

So the present list includes:
Heterosexual-Heteroamoural -> Anna Karenina (Fictional, Anna Karenina), Max Weber
Heterosexual-Homoamoural -> Nick Carraway (Fictional, The Great Gatsby)
Heterosexual-Inamoural -> Emma Bovary (Fictional, Madame Bovary)
Homosexual-Homoamoural ->  Uncle Frank (Fictional, Little Miss Sunshine)
Homosexual-Heteroamoural -> Francis Bacon, Freddie Mercury, Chirlane McCray
Homosexual-Inamoural -> ?
Asexual-Heteroamoural-> ?
Asexual-Homoamoural -> ? 
Asexual-Inamoural -> ?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Notes on Dravidian Words - viii

Bathukamma is supposedly a unique festival of Telangana region. The term 'bathuku' refers to 'life' in Telugu. The equivalent Kannada word is 'baduku'. And here lies the mystery.

The native Dravidian terms that start with 'b' in Kannada should start with 'v' in Telugu. I wonder why baduku is an anomaly here.

The aspects of the festival are starkly patriarchal and resemble Indo-Aryan festivals like 'Karva Chauth' or 'Raksha Bandhan', generally, not found in Dravidian lands. This festival is restricted to only a section of Telugus.

There are two strange things here.
1. The word doesn't follow regular Dravidian sound changes between Kannada and Telugu
2. The aspects of the festival appear alien to Dravidian ethos.

I wonder whether the term 'baduku' is derived from an Indo-Aryan word. Tamil and Malayalam tend to nativize the terms. However, Kannada and Telugu aren't that fastidious. But what about the festival?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Notes on Dravidian Words - vii

In Kasaragod Malayalam, the word for 'housewarming' is 'porakudi'. Where pora means house and kudi also means house but probably takes the verbal form 'residing'. I was fascinated by this compound word. The verb form of kudi is hardly used. The other meanings, farmer or house, are more mainstream.

Then I started analyzing its Kannada equivalent, manehokkalu, where mane means house and hokkalu means entrance. I felt something was wrong there. If I go by the Malayalam format, it should be 'maneyokkalu' (mane+okkalu), where okkalu means residing.  Then I confirmed from a born Kannada speaker that the word was indeed maneyokkalu.

However, similar to kudi, the popular usage is okkaliga -> farmer. I suppose because of my unfamiliarity with its multiple usages, somewhere in the past, I over-corrected the word to hokkalu from okkalu. It's unclear whether the term hokkalu is itself correct or not. I most likely modified the term 'hokku' meaning enter.

It's interesting that the same idea has been implemented in the compound word in both languages using all different words.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Road to True Capitalism - IV

I support Food Security Bill as it has rudimentary proposals for making women the heads of the households. There are government schemes which provide free houses to the poor. I hope the ownership of those houses also rests with the females.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oh, those Russians

"We are Russians. Maybe we are different than European people, than other people from different lands. We have our law which everyone has to respect."

- Yelena Isinbayeva , via BBC

Friday, July 12, 2013

Classical Status for Malayalam

I came across this rather hilarious reason that supposedly clinched the classical status deal for Malayalam.

Mahadevan’s intervention on the Edakkal engraving was decisive in a way. He proffered the reading ‘pazhama’, meaning ‘antiquity’ in Tamil and Malayalam. Coincidentally, just about then, Kerala had set up an experts’ panel to make a case for classical status. Besides litterateurs like O.N.V. Kurup, it included linguist Naduvattom Gopalakrishnan. Now, he had just what he wan­ted. Zeroing in on ‘pazhama’, he ext­ended it, saying the prefixed string was not ‘Sree’ but the Malayalam ‘Ee’ (‘this’). Most advocated caution, Varier even called it a “dangerous interpretation”. But who was to argue against the tide of provisionist history! If you’re looking to prove your antiquity, what could be more fortuitous than to come across a petroglyph that proclaims, precisely, “O! This Antiquity” and putatively joins you to Indus cultures? It’s almost pluperfect: a past that talks of an older past. One neat standing jump on an Indus Valley zebu over the 1,500-year cutoff.
In fact, the author of the article mentions Tulu being left behind. But if Malayalis say 'This Antiquity' and get Rs. 100 crores classical status, Tuluvas can say 'pirak' (archaic/old) and claim the same. In fact, some of the Tulu enthusiasts have observed the origin of the word in the Indus valley region Pirak. Thus Tuluvas are also connected to Indus culture.

Anyway,drab I don't see any reason for not giving classical status to Tulu. 

Friday, July 05, 2013


My cousin now into his late twenties probably has the similar social withdrawal condition which in Japanese is called Hikikomori. He exhibits all the symptoms described in the article and psychiatrist consultation hasn't helped. But I wonder whether it's parental expectation (which as far as I know never really existed) or the person's perceived notion about societal expectation based on his perceived identity through societal expressions.

From the article:
  • Andy Furlong points out that young people in Western societies frequently "take time out" in gap years or have "false starts" on careers or courses without attracting stigma

I wonder how much financially feasible is that  for many families even if there is no stigma attached.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Usefulness of Genetic Horoscope - III

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has undergone a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting breast cancer.
She said her doctors estimated she had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. "I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much I could," she wrote.
"but the truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer"
Her chances of developing breast cancer have now dropped from 87% to under 5%, she said.

Via BBC News 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Random Thoughts - Love_Lust

Love, as we know today was invented by the English(along with ambition and happiness) and in particular by Shakespeare. So says this article. I don't have much idea and I haven't read Shakespeare in original. But according to the author;

Today, of course, this most powerful feeling is familiar everywhere within the so-called "Western" civilization (which includes all societies based on monotheistic religion, i.e., Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and it has penetrated into other civilizations as well

That certainly carries some weight in Indian context as one can observe that the passionate love songs in Hindi movies are the works of poets with Islamic background (including Atheists and Hindus with education in Urdu).

Anyway, non-articulation of this emotion need not mean non-existence of it in other societies (but for practical purposes could be as good as non-existent) or in England prior to the sixteenth century.

The characteristic of true love that Shakespeare stresses in this sonnet is its unchanging nature: it is one-in-a-lifetime passion. Admit it: this is what we all want, however difficult it proves for most of us to find. Those who argue that our desires are genetically, and therefore, evolutionarily determined, should consider that; it is far more likely that we share our genetic endowment with the clearly polygamous apes, than with species genetically remote from us, such as wolves, penguins, or swans, who mate for life. Yet, we long for a monogamous lifetime relationship.

I guess here the author confuses love with lust. However, I believe even a person in love can fall in love again with some other person simultaneously. Didn't Levin fall in love with Anna when he was still passionately in love with Kitty? In the case of unfaithfulness in lust, when a person lusts after more than one person, it requires action from his/her part to truly become unfaithful. However, unfaithful love is a natural phenomenon as it doesn't require any physical contact. It's easier to become unfaithful in love than in lust. There exists freewill in lust but not in love.

But I believe one-in-a-lifetime passion isn't supported by the "scientific" studies too. I guess it's been measured that love lasts only for one and half years and after that one needs regular sex or some mutual work to keep that oxytocin running in the relationship. But of course, the narrative could be changed if it's always in love and not always in love with one person.

Then the author ends with this absolute mystical flourish. I suppose the field of psychology badly needs scientific validity just like psychiatry so as not to get into these unverifiable.

In short, love makes it possible for every one of us to find one’s proper place in the world and to define oneself. It leads one to the discovery of one’s true identity (we often say that we find true understanding in the loved one, someone who really understands us): one’s identity, one’s true self is found in another person, in what he or she sees in one. This other person, immediately recognized (thus true love is love at first sight), then is recognized as one’s destiny, the One, and finding love at once also becomes self-realization, giving meaning to life as a whole.

The way I see it the feelings of love and lust could be felt from your early childhood. The passion could only go up when one reaches his/her puberty but I believe one can distinguish between love and lust even before that. Also, even after coming of age, the raging hormones don't adulterate the feeling of love. However, since the society around doesn't articulate it for you, probably, one could be confused about those feelings and could think it's another form of lust. I'm not sure the idea of understanding or identity influencing coming into picture in any of these. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Random Thoughts - Astrology

In my previous post I argued that negative predictions would impact psychologically and that might be responsible for some of the "successes" of those predictions.

I found my thoughts echoed by a commentator at P Z Myers's blog.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Identities - IV

The other day, I was talking to my Chinese colleague in Shanghai. The topic went to the caste system. I sort of felt they had some kind of idealized notions about it. They were guessing the castes of some of the Indians higher in hierarchy in the company.

That set me thinking the way we view other societies. I suppose people in India growing up reading Jane Austen would have a very idealized and romantic notion about the  English classes.

I guess the danger of reading with a neutral angle is we lose focus how these societies could actually suppress a big chunk of population. A woman idealizing chivalrous patriarchal society, A Dravidian idealizing the class English society or a southern Chinese idealizing the caste Indian society are some of the dangers of uncritical reading of history.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Agriculture in South India - 2a

In my previous post on this topic I discussed the non-Indian vegetables in our food that appeared in the last five hundred years. The list I found was included in an article written by a Malayali Christian (which I have lost). One of the contentious items in the list was 'gourds'. From my other readings, I thought they were mainly Indian.

Now a new study[1] says all plants belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae, like cucumbers, melons and pumpkins originated in India (or from the foothills of Himalayas). I'm not clear whether that means all present day species of this family are native to India. Consider the case of pumpkin.

The Kannada name for pumpkin is 'chini kayi'. The etymology of 'chini' is puzzling as far as I am concerned. Since it's also called sweet pumpkin and chini in Hindi means 'sugar', it appears the name was derived from a north Indian name for that squash. But its Hindi name is 'kaddu'. So, from where did this name come? Why did Kannadigas name it using a Hindi adjective? Is this a legacy of some of the old Prakrit migrations?

I wonder whether 'chini' here actually means 'from China'. The Tamil name is 'parangi kayi'. 'Parangi/Farangi' in Kannada/Tulu means 'foreign/foreigner' (I suppose European). I wonder whether that's an indication of non-native origin of this vegetable.

1. Indian Origins of Pumpkins and Cucumbers confirmed

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Random Thoughts - Hinduism and Hindutva

I keep hearing this absurd statement from many people and today I came across the same from a Muslim fundamentalist.

"We are not opposed to Hinduism but are against Hindutva".

Well, I'm against both Hinduism and Hindutva. Hinduism is nothing but a euphemism for the caste system and Hindutva is nothing but a clone of Islam or Christianity(or both). I believe both are dangerous and regressive.

However, Muslim fundamentalists hating only Hindutva makes sense as Hinduism plays into their hands.

For the same reason, I believe more than eliminating the caste system the critical requirement for a country like India is to eliminate all religious identities (and hope that the caste identities also lose their relevance in due course).

Monday, March 04, 2013

OBCs and Affirmative Action - I

I know this person for many years now. First time when he sent me a joke against the reservation system, I was stunned. I understand he comes from an Other Backward Caste (the castes eligible for the reservations) and more over is a beneficiary of the system. In fact, my other friends had grumbled that his elder brother was also a beneficiary. Their main grouse was that they were an affluent landholding family with some other business ventures too. The other day, I saw him repeating the act.

I view affirmative action or the reservation system as a way to improve cultural capital of the castes who didn't have traditional educational background. I would define cultural capital as the opportunity to imitate the people with whom you can identify. The way I see it, the son of, say, a sweeper from a privileged caste with an average intelligence  has more deterministic determination to succeed than that from a faceless caste with the similar intelligence level even after overlooking influence/nepotism/favouritism factors. I even support financially blind affirmative action as I believe because of the nature of the caste system they have limited worldview and the amount of money doesn't change it. In this respect I don't agree with the 'creamy layer' concept too though the Indian Supreme Court considers it a valid clause.

However, I wonder how many from Dalit and OBC backgrounds understand and appreciate the reason behind the reservation system. I don't remember studying the social and financial impact of the caste system and the untouchability while in school. Maybe the topics are too advanced for primary and high school students. I suppose the pupils who have faced first hand caste discrimination or the pupils who have heard first hand accounts of caste discrimination from their kith and kin can understand it. How about others? Especially the ones from the OBC background?

Before that, do I really need to expect that students should think about the reason behind affirmative action? Even otherwise, mechanically using the opportunities and reaching certain positions achieves the purpose of creating cultural capital for their castes. But there are other situations. They have to constantly address injustices faced by few privileged individuals. They have to develop thick skin sense of humour in the face of hateful jokes about being non-meritorious.

Again does it matter? They can become defiant for the single reason that they know their caste is not considered  number one. Any deep understanding isn't necessary.

Another question is, what percentage of OBCs have benefited from the system. Considering their huge number and limited opportunities, I would guess the beneficiary number could be very small. So, likely, majority wouldn't identify with it anyway.

Another mindset, which could be called corrupt, is, "I don't bother why, but I got benefited; so, who cares?" I suppose these people can even join the fun as they could be least bothered.

But from my interactions with him, I don't see him belonging to that last category. The one important character that defines his personality is his hard core support to the Hindutva cause. If you check the Hindutva crowd from the privileged castes, one thing that defines them is their vulgar hatred against Muslims, Christians, Leftists, Secularists, and affirmative action. Actually, they get whole-hearted support in the last from the privileged sections of Muslims and Christians too, similar to their confluence of minds in the case of sexism.

Now if you are part of that crowd, what would be your mental state? You feel close to them in your hatred against the Muslims but confused about affirmative action. I believe this will result in perversion and my friend is a victim of that.

I believe unless OBCs like these who have benefited from the system move away from their caste identity (which means leaving Hindu identity) they are going to pervert the system from within.

Because of this, I would think there should be some literature, explaining the idea behind affirmative action, for the students from the castes eligible to avail the benefits of it, before they apply for the professional courses.

It, of course, doesn't mean that every OBC would agree with affirmative action or would find it rationally acceptable after s/he has benefited from it(I read about a famous surgeon, I guess a Tamil Muslim, who himself was a beneficiary but talked against the system) . But what we need is articulation against the system out of their own thoughts than merely forwarding the malicious jokes from their privileged friends.  The way I see it, the ignorant perversion of OBCs will hurt them whereas the same from their privileged counterparts is irrelevant.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Idea of a Nation - iv_a

There are quite a few independence movements that are gaining momentum in Europe. The recent one being Catalonia. My understanding is that they want to secede from Spain but want to become part of European Union. I believe many Scottish nationalists and Basque nationalists have the similar goal.

In my opinion (which I expressed here or somewhere else), nations with two or three linguistic/ethnic identities shouldn't exist. These nations invariably try to impose the identity of a dominant group on other smaller groups. So, a natural nation could only be a region with no dominant identity or even if there is a dominant identity it doesn't make up the majority. In this sense, India and Europe are natural nations.

I suppose, for humanity's sake, it's better for Sri Lanka to join Indian union and Turkey to join European union. This is the only way the humiliations and suppression of Tamils and Kurds in those regions respectively can be addressed. 

Of course, the authority to grant new states should only rest on the central government in these unions.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gandhi, the patron saint of misogynists

This article, written curiously in a cynical street language, comes up every now and then in forums.

I suppose the claim that Gandhi's legacy is responsible for misogynism in India is preposterous. First of all, his attitude towards women aren't wellknown and second, none of his legacies meant anything in post-independence India. However, his own misogynistic attitude isn't surprising considering the society he was born and brought up. Even then I thought the following claim sounds bit out of character.

Gandhi believed Indian women who were raped lost their value as human beings. He argued that fathers could be justified in killing daughters who had been sexually assaulted for the sake of family and community honour. He moderated his views towards the end of his life. But the damage was done, and the legacy lingers in every present-day Indian press report of a rape victim who commits suicide out of "shame". Gandhi also waged a war against contraceptives, labelling Indian women who used them as whores.
The Gandhi I knew would have said that sexually assaulted females should commit suicide by some grotesque means (true to his Jain philosophy of inwardly directed violence).

Unfortunately, the writer didn't mention what were his moderated views. I suppose just to confirm this point I have to buy and read Rita Banerji's book "Sex and Power". But when I read the introduction, it was a dampener.

As squeamish as India is today about sex, this is also the land where queens once copulated with dead horses at religious ceremonies, where the art of love-making was declared the revelation of the gods and recorded in elaborate detail in the kama sutras and prostitution was a form of sacred offering at temples adorned with erotic sculptures.
Ritualized sexual antics don't represent open society. The past society was also barbarically misogynistic by present day standards. And past is irrelevant anyway to define our present character. I just want to check whether the book contains proper references for that claim against Gandhi. If yes, I guess the quality of his moderated views only can save him from the barbaric deviation of his philosophy.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

About Bhagat Singh

 He was born into a Sikh family, but many historians believe he was an atheist.

Via BBC News

It's no belief but declared so in no uncertain terms by the man himself.

Why I am an Atheist by Bhagat Singh