Thursday, December 17, 2015

Leftist extremists and belief in innateness

I wonder whether leftist extreme positions are borne out of their belief that many human traits are innate or overwhelmingly determined by the genetics. In that case, the group in power and dominant in commerce, science and technology is always the enemy as any kind of nastiness from genetically weaklings would matter little in the long run. The noblemen from the dominant group basically perpetuate the privilege for their group but conservatives from weaker groups always blindly refuse to accept any kind of magnanimity and thus negate that privilege. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Climate Change and India - i

Developing countries were exempt from the obligations. During the 1990-2012 Kyoto Protocol period, developed countries reduced their emissions by 16 per cent or 32 GtCO2e.

The twist in the tale, Dhara told IndiaSpend, is that emission reduction is fictitious. First, the emissions are accounted for in the country that produces goods and services. Over the past two decades, the developed countries countries have turned into net importers of goods and services from the developing countries, particularly India and China.

For one, developed countries emitted around 65 per cent of historic emissions, cumulative emissions since 1750, and their historic emissions, per person, is 1,200 tonne, 40 times more than every Indian, according to Dhara.
Even if you give the entire carbon space to third world countries, they are not going achieve living standards of the developed world, Dhara said. 

“If they decline to play ball with developed countries at COP 21 regarding their own emission cuts, they will be toast to the effects of climate change as they’re economically and geographically the most vulnerable,” he said.

“If they play ball with developed countries and accept emission cuts, their own development, as is popularly understood and touted, will suffer, and inequality and disparity between developed and developing countries will increase. Whichever way you slice this, you’re in a deep ditch.” 

Via Rediff 

I don't have the exact details so I would like to see some calculations which claims that even if you give the entire carbon space to the developing countries they are not going to achieve the living standards of the developed world.

I believe we do have technology in place to reduce the emission so the cumulative historic emission per person in the developed countries need not be the criteria. If properly managed with existing technologies it could be lot lesser. However, it all depends on the government's will.

If the choice is between development and avoiding the effects of climate change, I would prefer development at the expense of avoiding environmental catastrophe.

I would think continuing to be a poor country is a bigger catastrophe than anything else. Also, when there is no intent to harm but the harm is a side effect of our dream for a better life for every human being it shouldn't be criminalized.

Therefore, I would think the idea of reducing the carbon footprint by controlling human beings is flawed. Research and money should be spent on reducing the carbon footprint from the environment. If it fails, bad luck.

It looks like austerity measures whether during economic turmoil or in climate change strangle only the poor who make the least contribution to both in general. More over, when it comes to environment, the measures appear to be a permanent austerity.

If the situation is a permanent austerity what are the options for the poor?
- Remain poor

What if there is no climate austerity measures in place and technology fails to find a solution to reduce the carbon footprint?
- Remain poor and lose 10 years of life
- Have a hope of prosperity and lose 10 years of life
- Some prosperity and lose 10 years of life

I would think second scenario is far better.

As the author points out, when we don't have an alternative developmental idea without considering climate change as a variable, why should we even remotely consider we can do better by adding one more constraint? The concern for climate change shouldn't turn into rich man's fad.

Monday, November 23, 2015

India should send troops to fight ISIS - ii

I would think, the fight against ISIS must involve Asian forces or Asian forces exclusively. This is especially critical for India.

With a right-wing government in place and as of now showing little statesmanship in handling crazies in their flock, there is a danger that the radical Islam with its nihilistic approach would attract more and more Indian Muslims. There is no point blaming Hindutvites at the time (and rightwingers don't understand logical reasoning anyway) when Islamic crazies strike. The point is retaliation against the rightwing stupidity doesn't differentiate between rightwing or leftist so one has to be prepared for such an eventuality.

This requires Indian forces (both armed and police) having first hand expertise in fighting against the ISIS. This should also include developing scholarly understanding of their methods and popularity first hand. The goal of the fight against the ISIS need not be ending their tyranny but rather understanding and facing the radical and sociopath Islam.

I believe the best approach would be to create an Asian force similar to the African force. This Asian force should have mandate to interfere during turmoil in any Asian countries. The identity of this force should be completely Asian(even if the weapons are not).

Saturday, September 05, 2015

OBCs and Conversion

In my opinion, all non-Brahmin castes must convert to other religions which gives them non-hierarchical independent identities. Although, the caste identities didn't go away in Christian and Muslim communities in India, the present day India with its far open society provides genuine chances to people to get an independent identity and eventually may pave the way for individualism. However, the options are not all equal.

1. Islam: Converting to this religion would  hurt the manliness of Hindutvites. However, as things stand today, this religion is detrimental to both men and women part of that religion. Even though part of the ruling classes and had a literal religious background for so many centuries, the backwardness of people belonging to this religion in the cow belt shows it's not most suitable for the personal development of individuals in the present scientific era. So, I don't favour it.

2. Christianity: Converting to this religion would humiliate Hindutvites. It's a liberal religion owing to the development of rational society in European lands. However, the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in the USA would probably make the converts to look toward the US and not Europe. Even then compared to any Indian religions it's relatively open, so, I'm fine with it.

3. Buddhism: Converting to this religion doesn't bother Hindutvites as they think they are more virile than Buddhists. But the compelling reason for being a Buddhist in India is, at present it's the religion of Dalits. And the intellectuals from Dalits are some of the most level headed and rational people I've come across(except when some of them start talking about glorious Buddhist past at which point they start sounding more like Hindutvites).

However, one of the recent OBC conversion to Buddhism appears to have glorious Buddhist past narrative. But there are OBC conversion with better reasons like those from Koeri caste converting. As long as Buddhism doesn't degenerate into vegetarianism/veganism and OBCs don't try to keep a separate identity from Dalit Buddhists, I'm fine with it.

4. Jinaism: Even though this is a minority religion, Hindutvites probably consider it as one of the Hindu castes. At present, Jains are at the forefront in promoting casteism in India with their promotion of vegetarianism. As a recent survey showed they are only next to Brahmins when it comes to caste discrimination.

So, I'm not at all in favour of conversion to Jinaism (even less than Islam). However, previously, considering Jain theoretical concept of casteless society, their theoretical hardcore concept of atheism and most importantly their contribution to Kannada culture, I was seriously thinking about joining Jinaism. In fact, my plan was to start my own Jain, Cow Eaters Gana(cultto rationalize it completely. But as things stand today, I'm completely disappointed with that religion as I find myself completely helpless with their vegetarian onslaught.

5. Sikhism: Hindutvites have overawed reverence for this religion. Sikhs are seen as protectors of Hindus. I find this as disgusting as their hatred for Islam. I'm neutral about this religion. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

OBCs and Affirmative Action - iv

Creamy Layer
I suppose the idea of creamy layer is that these are the OBCs who have arrived both economically and educationally. However, the stronger indication is the income of the parents. I'm not sure how valid is that.

However, even though I find affirmative action in education is a must for OBCs, I'm not all that sure about jobs. I do agree with affirmative action in administration (as along with education, this was another area where many but not all OBCs disadvantaged because of the caste system). So, I believe there should be proper correlation between affirmative action and disadvantages the caste faced because of the caste system. Priesthood of course one of them, however, nobody seems to be really bothered about it. Because of these I would agree with affirmative action in education for dominant Sudras too.

Any argument for job reservation, apart from administration, because of lower quality of education, I'd think, can't be accepted. Low quality education is only because of the incompetency of the administration and not a policy like the caste system.

Previously, I had some misgivings about the creamy layer concept. However, the way reservations have been implemented, now I feel they aren't all that bad.

I've heard stories of how x% reservation for OBCs have been turned into (100-x)% reservation for the privileged castes. Even if the candidate had scored enough marks to be admitted under 'general' category, s/he would be forced take up reserved category seat because of their reserved category caste certificate.

So, creamy layer concept can mitigate such duplicity somewhat, in case these 'creamy layer' OBCs tend to do well academically.

However, I was told getting a caste certificate for an OBC is not all that difficult. There is hardly any income checking. You don't even have to bribe. So, there is some kind of cynicism in the official circles if they are from privileged castes and stupidity if they are from under-privileged castes.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

True Capitalist Society - ii

Anyone who has spent time in the US will recognise the type: strong, decent, honest, unfailingly polite and with a sense of right and wrong so highly developed as to take a terrorist threat as a personal affront. Combine that with the US tradition of can-do pragmatism and it was a safe bet that of all the passengers aboard, Spencer and his crew were the least likely to take this lying down. The key thing is the absence of any tendency to complain that “they” (the council, the state) have or have not done something. The downside of this commendable outlook is that it is used to underwrite the ideology of the free market whereby everyone, however powerless or disadvantaged, is left to fend for themselves.

When I read the above paragraph from this article, the immediate thought that came to my mind was Nikolai Chernyshevsky's "What is to Be Done?". Because I could recognize that ideal US male type in his Russian novel. However, what didn't match was that such a outlook results in mindless free market.

According to Chernyshevsky, in such a society the market is far more egalitarian and makes everyone owner of their produce. Or not just the brave men, the sense of justice exists among entrepreneurs too.

It has been speculated that Lenin was deeply inspired by Chernyshevsky's novel as his manifesto takes its name from that novel.However, when I went through the Wikipedia article, I didn't find much connection.

I suppose those Americans would have still fought the terrorist even if they had found themselves out of harm's way but others in powerless situation. If fighters have that kind of outlook, shouldn't the affluents in the society have that kind outlook towards their disadvantaged?

Let's say there were no 'saviours' on that train, wouldn't we expect the government to take proper security measures? If the US is so confident about its brave men, we wouldn't have heard about so many over the top security measures in the American state. If that's the case with security, shouldn't there be some considerations from the state towards the struggling population?

Just like brave men, there could be generous businessmen spending their money on the welfare of the poor. However, just as in the case of security measures even when a state have such brave men, it requires that the state to take care of its struggling population.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Vernacular Indian Media and Bigotry

It could be said that traditional literature in Indian vernacular languages is overwhelmingly castiest and sexist. So, I agree with some Dalit intellectuals' argument that fellow Dalits should embrace English to escape the castiest indoctrination of the vernacular literature. I suppose that should be true for most of the non-Brahmin castes too.

However, in the last century we have seen radical ideas becoming mainstream in India because of their success in European society, even though those ideas always existed in Indian society but losing out to the castiest ideas and leaving us in dark ages. And these ideas came to be represented in vernacular Indian languages too.

While I was growing up I read both liberated and bigoted literature in Kannada. If I look back, I feel, liberal literature was more mainstream than the bigoted ones. Of course, there were mainstream bigoted authors too but in sheer numbers liberal Kannada authors held sway. So, Kannada was becoming the language of Kannadigas irrespective of caste. However, now I wonder whether it's true any more, especially in newspaper industry.

In my region (coastal Karnataka), I would say there were moderate Kannada newspapers along with rabid Hindutva ones. However, over time, I observed that many of the Kannada newspapers were moderate in the sense they were moderately bigoted.

They show communal prejudices and promote conservative and pseudo-scientific (which in Chesterton's words represents true India) ideas. In fact, there was an attempt by Christians in that region to come out with a 'secular' newspaper to counter the parochial view of these papers (which are run by Hindus). However, I don't think it has been successful. A left leaning newspaper is not even a mainstream one. In fact, a columnist with Hindutva views became quite popular in some other region of Karnataka and got elected to Indian parliament.

I wonder whether a tiring liberal movement, which reads and watches mostly English media, has created a vacuum in the vernacular media to be exploited by bigots. I suppose this is true in Pakistan too. I've heard Urdu newspapers are generally bigoted there.

It appears as if native Indian languages once on the way to become the voice of reason have relapsed into becoming the tool of bigots.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

India should send troops to fight ISIS

Archaeological sites belong to major sections of human population part of different countries. The artifacts are mostly from an era when nation states were not created or the original population of those places now could be moved to different regions or some of them could be created by non-natives. 

City Planning - 2

We need dryers run by solar power in every residential regions so that people don't have to hang their clothes for drying. This way we can get over that ugly sight of drying clothes. In fact, once we have these dryers available for everyone(for free or nominal charge), hanging clothes should be made punishable under law.

I still don't have a practical solution for public urination.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bengal famine of 1943 and the caste system

My colleague brought to my attention the point that majority deaths were among artisans because of the famine and not in castes who had land or involved in agriculture in some way.

This was also mentioned in the Wikipedia article

As in previous Bengal famines, the highest mortality was not in previously very poor groups, but among artisans and small traders whose income vanished when people spent all they had on food and did not employ cobblers, carpenters, etc.

The explanation given, that artisans and small traders had no income as nobody spent money on their skills or wares, basically considers existence of artisans and small traders as a natural order of things in India as in any other society.

But that is never true in Indian society.

Those artisans and small traders were endogamous caste units. In other societies, artisans and small traders would have relations among farmers and others. Or in a village everybody would have been related to one another. Of course, there were class differences. But majority lower classes wouldn't have divisions based on occupations such that they would have kith and kin from the same occupational group.

Even class divisions are not natural order of things. However, consider a similar society in India. Would we have read that the majority mortality was among artisans and small traders in that case?

I would think there would have been less hoarding and more distribution of food because of kinship.

Considering the fact that the situation wasn't really bad for the poorest of the poor(who most likely involved in agriculture), I would think situation would not have been so worse for not so poor non-agricultural non-privileged castes. 

I certainly think the caste system was responsible for such caste specific deaths.

This is not the only moment of truth for the caste system where it failed spectacularly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sanskritization and Vegetarian OBCs

The caste system is far from a rigid system in which the position of each component caste is fixed for all time. Movement has always been possible, and especially in the middle regions of the hierarchy. A caste was able, in a generation or two, to rise to a higher position in the hierarchy by adopting vegetarianism and teetotalism, and by Sanskritizing its ritual and pantheon. In short, it took over, as far as possible, the customs, rites, and beliefs of the Brahmins, and adoption of the Brahminic way of life by a low caste seems to have been frequent, though theoretically forbidden. This process has been called 'Sanskritization' in this book, in preference to 'Brahminization', as certain Vedic rites are confined to the Brahmins and the two other 'twice-born' castes.
M N Srinivas in  Religion and Society Amongst the Coorgs of South India

We don't know what particular castes M N Srinivas was talking about. He was more a caste apologist than an objective anthropologist.

One look at the vegetarian profile of the castes in India shows Sanskritization was just a 'wannabe'ness than a real upward movement. This is particularly true for OBCs.

When Mr. Modi makes a comment that "people who eat meat have a different character", pointing to his upper caste meat eating colleague and rival, he only shows the castiest thought process and not his elevated caste position as a vegetarian.

When I hear vegetarian OBCs gloating that many IT professionals in the US are vegetarians, I wonder whether they really understand the caste profile or do they really believe sense of brotherhood with their non-meat eating privileged castes masks the social and educational backwardness of their fellow OBCs? Hasn't the progress of meat eating societies all over the world helped to overcome their overawed reverence for the caste reference society?

I would think they have a misplaced pride about being vegetarians.

Their real pride should show in non-conformity of Brahmanical rules and not in playing by the rules set by the Brahmins. I believe they should only consider the spirit of their ancestors who didn't think they were low but not the path (vegetarianism) which ultimately served only Brahmanism.

Maybe they just don't understand that they were Sanskritized.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Nehru and Jinnah

Since a right-wing party has come to the power, it's been open season on Nehru. He is the ultimate villain. Now before getting into Nehru, something about people who putforth such thoughts.

It's difficult to argue with the people who only view well known people as either heroes or villains or any thing in absolute goodness or absolute badness creating irrelevant moral dichotomy. But they of course consider themselves as practical persons.

Let us consider couple of allegations against Nehru.

1. Nehru was not secular as you think
    - When they proudly say this something as a 'gotcha', sometimes you get the suspicion that the very radical and counter-intuitive nature of the claim itself might have convinced them the truthiness of it. Considering the unbridled hatred that the Hindutvites show for Nehru in this country, it of course is counter-intuitive. But it's not something people who do not worship Nehru but acknowledge his work towards secularization consider worthy of discussion.

2. Nehru was responsible for the partition not Jinnah.... I mean both are equally responsible.
    -  This comes with some unclear ideas about Indian-ness, nation-state and even democracy based on majority. Nehru becomes power hungry and Jinnah a rational man finding no place in Hindu dominated India (there are many other reasons for the two-nation theory which of course aren't important here)!
    -  For all the talk about Jinnah being secular, he certainly showed prejudices that he inherited because of his Muslim identity. He was in the league of atheist and communal Savarkar(though I don't think Jinnah was an atheist).

   - When Jinnah joined Muslim League (which he found initially too communal), he endorsed a kind of people who always felt entitled to rule. This section of the Muslim community has always been enemy of an idea of democratic, egalitarian India. The results could be still seen in Pakistan which is still ruled by feudal elites. However, when there was a discussion on partitioning the country, there was another movement from under-privileged caste Muslims opposing it. Even though, they formed the majority in what is now nation-state India, their social standing and the stature of their leaders were insignificant. Their common-sense and rational argument against the partition held no chance against the philosophy of Allama Iqbal, descendant of Kashmiri Brahmin converts to Islam, an ideologue for the two nation theory. This side story of lower caste Muslim opposition to the partition and its irrelevance, strikes a chord with rationals from lower castes who themselves have been rendered irrelevant with the rise of Hindutva. Nehru would have become Prime Minister anyway as a leader of the party that won majority but for Jinnah it was an entitlement similar to the feudals who formed the Muslim League.

   -  Jinnah's prejudice because of his Muslim identity could be seen in his personal front too. He was a typical example of those rotten Muslims who would marry women from other religions but wouldn't consent their women to marry into other religions. So, Jinnah carried many prejudices as a Muslim and also as a privileged caste Muslim. It's not just his ego but the prejudices because of his Muslim identity that led to the partition and deaths of millions. If he was really secular the question of identity would have never been there. It's no wonder that people with prejudices are very short-sighted and responsible for great calamities. The two-nation theory was the creation of entitled Muslims and Nehru had no stake in it. So, it's unfair to hold him responsible in any way for its implementation.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Random Thoughts - Hinduism and Hindutva

The way right-wing and liberal differences are unraveling in India, the worrying and scary part is we are probably becoming a highly divided society. Because of the right-wing rule, many of the "sensitive" topics are becoming commonplace. In those arguments, conservatives get into the 'Otto' mode.

Otto: You pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, English, giant, twerp, scumbag, fuck-face, dickhead, asshole.
Archie: How very interesting. You're a true vulgarian, aren't you?
Otto: You are the vulgarian, you fuck.

A simple example;
A: Some libberral fascists think that Yoga shouldn't be taught.
B: Well, fascism is about imposing and controlling things or having general intolerance about dissenting voices. So, imposing Yoga is fascism. How opposing such imposition could be termed fascism?
A: No, you are a libberral fascist.

It appears as if a right-wing strategy to employ anti right-wing terminologies purely as abusive terms against liberals without any meaning or context.

Then if you try to reason with them to show the absurdities of such usage, they get into either
- whining mode;
A: Alright, you libberrals are always right...
- combative mode;
A: Alright let's see who is going to be proved right...
the Otto mode.

And here emerges the scary picture.

One can argue that both right-wingers and liberals have strong beliefs. However, it's the emotional nature of the arguments for right-wingers' self-righteous beliefs that makes any argument highly incompatible leaving bad taste among all parties.

And most worryingly, this is dividing people who should be natural allies because of their social situations and standings.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Just Individual - vi

Recently Ireland held a referendum on same-sex marriage. I had mixed feelings about it. It was heartening to see that majority endorsed it but at the same time I was troubled that a question of justice was put to the masses.

In most part of the world, the question of justice has changed from a majority desire to minority desire. In olden hierarchical days, with the rule of privileged minority, majority indeed suffered relatively. Feudals suffered because of the king, the middle class suffered because of the feudals and king and the working class suffered because of everyone. Therefore, justice was indeed part of the majority desire. However, this has changed with the advent of democracy.

Now the question of justice is mostly applicable to minorities of any identities. In such situations only people well versed with justice should decide upon it. I do understand our legal professionals could be found wanting when it comes to segregating justice from morality, however, I still believe it should be left to them and not to the majority population.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

OBCs and Affirmative Action - III

I came across the following words at ESPNcricinfo.
With an unbeaten 222 in his debut Test innings, Jacques Rudolph vindicated those who believed he had been a victim of reverse discrimination in South Africa.

Now, I've hardly seen 'reverse discrimination' used in mainstream media. What discrimination are we talking about here exactly?

- Stereotyping an entire group
- Denying education to them
- Monopolising the land
- Claiming sexual privileges over their women

If reverse discrimination is true then we would have been talking on these points and not on individual isolated cases. In Jacques Rudolph's case, since Europeans have colonized so many countries, even he could have had a very successful career and life in other countries. In fact, it's true for any individuals in any society.

The phrase wouldn't have been used had they understood the implications of it. However, the sense of entitlement is so great in their privileged self that they can hardly ponder over it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Random Thoughts - Love_Lust

I don't agree with these homosexuals in heterosexual union opposing gay marriages. However, I do understand that it's possible to have a stable married life between homosexuals and heterosexuals. For one thing, unlike love, lust doesn't require another person for fulfillment. So, if a person is homosexual-heteroamoural, they can still have happy married life with an x-sexual and heteroamoural person.

Via Pharyngula

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to use "Karma"?

If anybody understands 'Karma' in Indian caste system then they would be reasonably aware that it's an inhuman concept to justify the hereditary caste identities and can only be used negatively.

Good usage:
This comment at Salon:
I am now quite sure that the trolls are going to proclaim that this is impossible, and that any research against their notion that fat people are lazy and gluttonous must be wrong. Because they are so smug and self-satisfied in their not-fat bodies. I just hope Karma is a real thing and they pay for their attitudes in their next life.

Bad usage:
Satya Nadella of Microsoft:
 But take Nadella’s word for it: Good things come to women who don’t ask.“That might be one of the initial ‘super powers’ that, quite frankly, women [who] don’t ask for a raise have,” he added. “It’s good karma. It will come back.”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

About baba and pilla

I was going through the BBC article on the origin of the word 'king'.
The Anglo-Saxon "cyning" from cyn or kin, and -ing meaning "son of" evokes images of long-gone tribes choosing as leader a favoured son who is mystically representative of their common identity.
I suppose somewhat similar idea is behind pan-India term 'babu' and Dravidian term 'pilla/pillai' which were the titles of high officials ( but pilla is now mostly associated with certain castes in Tamil and Malayalam regions). However, baba denotes affectionate term for son and pilla for child in general in Dravidian lands.

It appears both terms are of Indo-European origin. So, probably assimilated IE speakers in Dravidian lands brought with them the Proto-IE idea of a favoured son.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Random Thoughts - Israel's right-wing

By reaping benefits of his warning , "the Arabs are voting in droves", I suppose Benjamin Netanyahu has clearly illustrated that the Israel's first-world right-wing has now degenerated into third-world right-wing. However, they are far more dangerous because of their economic and technological advancement.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Random Thoughts - Love_Lust

I think this woman is Asexual-Heteroamoural.

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-> Emy, a French woman
Asexual-Homoamoural -> ? 
Asexual-Inamoural -> ?

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.