Non-Western Worldview

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Cyrano » 17 Feb 2021 01:22

Chinese media warfare is dump money, corrupt, honey trap, blackmail to control the media actors. And play aggrieved victim at the slightest sleight and try to ruin those who don't fall in line one way or other.

Not our usual style.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rudradev » 17 Feb 2021 01:59

The point is: does it matter? And if so, why? Exactly what are the goals of this "countering" the Western narrative? I am not saying there are no worthwhile goals... but I think it is worth identifying exactly what we want to achieve and understand why, rather than proceeding on a simplistic basis of outrage over misrepresentation.

Knowing what WE want as the end point of a finite game (or clearly defining our rationale for an open-ended game) lets us focus our efforts on securing that outcome rather than on "rebutting" stuff-- which effectively lets others set the agenda while wasting our time and energy.

See, at one level, you'll find no shortage of people in India who identify white people with "loose morals", poor family values, and overall consumerist decadence. However, white people for the most part don't care what the majority of Indian middle-class people think of them or their culture. Conversely-- many Western whites may think that Indians are basically slum-dog stereotypes who live in $hit while persecuting "minorities". But by the same token, many Indians think that gori chamdi wimmenz have no respect for their own bodies, and most educated Indians think whites in general racially discriminate against blacks and other minority groups.

My point is-- our popularly-held opinions don't make much of a difference to white people. So in real, concrete, absolute terms-- why should we care what any average white Western person thinks of India or Indians? Is that average white person going to harm us (or our loved ones) as individuals on the basis of these beliefs? Is he/she going to actively do something that harms Indian interests?

Sometimes I think the unspoken expectation many of us have is that white Americans, British, Australians, Canadians etc. must start to see the world just as we see it. That the populations of Western countries will one day fully accept that Pakistan is the irredeemable epicentre of global terrorism, that China is the ultimate evil empire ... and then they will force their democratic governments to behave in accordance with such beliefs. Not only should they demand that their countries adopt the exact same kinds of policies India does towards these "evils", but they should insist that their governments pursue them even more aggressively than our "coward babus" would ever dream of.

This is a futile, not to mention stupid, not to mention pathetic, expectation. Indeed, none of us would admit to entertaining such an expectation in our rational thoughts. But in fact, when we are upset by some particular element of Western narrative, many of us respond emotionally as if supporting India is somehow a realistic expectation that Western countries and people have-- either through ignorance or malevolence-- betrayed. How dare they be so adharmic as to not see things our way, etc.

This is all part of a deeper postcolonial pathology that we've internalized through a certain upbringing in a certain political system and educational milieu. Not much point discussing it further here, except to say the sooner we get over it the better. People-to-people wise the relationship will always be ultimately transactional. Where there are mutual interests, e.g. money to be made by commerce (or even such neutral matters as pursuing school reforms in neighbourhoods where our children are educated alongside theirs), we can collaborate as individuals and families with our White western counterparts. But in the end, they will have their irrational views of us, and we will have ours of them, and "never the twain shall meet". '

So that's how things are at the level of individual citizenry. Let's go all the way to the other end of the spectrum. At a government-to-government level, there is currently no problem. The GOTUS for example has come out and officially expressed support for GOI's Farm Bills; they have also refrained from making any controversial statements on human rights regarding the landowner protests, Article 370, CAA or any other issue. Yes, Justin Turd-eau put his foot in his mouth once, but soon had to eat crow when he came begging the GOI for vaccines. Apart from this there has been no criticism of GOI's policies at the official state level.

So the battlespace is somewhere in the middle. It is at the level of politics, local (city council and state legislature) as well as national (e.g. UK parliament and United States congress). It is at the level of school and university curricula in certain humanities and social-sciences departments. It is at the level of the mainstream media discourse-- which so far, has not shown the capacity to influence corporate business entities to any degree.

Let us also be clear that the corporate world of business has every reason to resist pressure from any and all quarters-- media, universities, politics, government, etc. being exerted through anti-India narratives. There is a lot of money to be made from the world's 3rd-largest economy on a PPP basis, period. Business is by and large not just neutral, but on India's side, as long as it can figure out a way to pursue its interests without running too far afoul of public opinion back home.

We need to look more closely at the battlespace. This is already getting to be too long a post, so I'll just try to provide an overview of the domestic political battlespace for now.

In the UK, we saw Labour going all in for the Pakistani and Khalistani vote and allying itself with the Indian leftist opposition-- and in a model of how the diaspora everywhere should behave, we saw British Hindus organize themselves and counter-mobilize with what has been a very effective campaign of supporting the Conservative party.

In the United States, there are some aspects of the battlespace that have been consistent with earlier times, and some that are relatively new. The consistent, long-standing features are largely at the level of the national legislature-- the US Senate and the House of Representatives (Congress). As long as we can remember there have been pro-Paki, pro-Chinese, and anti-Indian voices in these bodies (e.g. Dan Burton, Robert Toricelli, Wally Herger, Gary Condit etc.) The ONE new development at this level has been the fact that Indian-American congresspersons have been drafted into the anti-India fronts: most notably Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal.

This has had some effect on the optics, but in general the dynamics have remained the same. Pakis (Pak diplomats as well as Paki-Americans) spend tons of money buying Congresspersons and Senators and compelling them to advance the Pakistani line in exchange for continuing support. Indian-Americans give tons of money to Congress/Senate candidates, take a photo with them, and never ask for accountability after that. Indian MEA considers itself "above" lobbying-- so in contrast to the Pakistanis, GOI makes no serious effort to buy Congressmen and Senators to back the Indian point of view. The Congressmen and Senators of the "India Caucus" are mostly there at the behest of the US government and US business interests trying to make headway in the Indian market (and to some extent, Indian service providers like Wipro and Cisco trying to cover their bases in the US market). But overall, matters proceed as always.

Now what's changed in the US? Two things. First, at the local civic and state level, a lot of individuals backed by Pakistan, global Islamist organizations, and/or China have decided to become involved in politics. Many of them have done so taking advantage of the groundswell of organization against Trump by left-wing political groups over the last 4 years. These anti-India individuals cleverly ally themselves with BLM/Antifa/Climate-Rescue type organizations and use existing networks of fundraising, publicity, and grass-roots promotion to advance themselves; they accomplish this largely by posturing as fellow "victims of a fascist government" (in this case, the "Hindu Nationalist" government of Narendra Modi). By such means, they have found their way into a lot of local civic bodies and state legislatures, completely unnoticed and unopposed by Hindu Americans. This is why you see resolutions being passed by multiple city councils against CAA or Article 370, and most dramatically in recent times, a "Kashmir American Day" resolution by the New York state assembly.

The second thing that's changed in the US is that with Bernie Sanders' speech to the ICNA, we saw for the very first time a candidate for office at the Presidential level bringing up a false grievance derived from the anti-India narrative as a vote-getting measure. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have done similar things during their campaigns for the Democratic Party nomination (though Kamala herself has been carefully silent after actually becoming the VP candidate).

Now these two developments REALLY begin to show what the battlespace is like, and suggest what our precise goals should be in fighting against the anti-India narrative in US media and academia. At this point, that narrative has NOT affected (1) Govt-to-govt relations (2) Indian-Americans' individual interests as private citizens (3) business or commercial relations between India and the US. What it HAS done is opened new fronts that need to be countered because they have the potential to become dangerous if unopposed.

I think our time would be much more productively used focusing on those fronts (which at present, are disposed in favour of the enemy) and perhaps also opening up entirely new fronts that would be favourably disposed to us. A general, once-size-fits-all approach of "how to rebut Gadhanand Dhume or Michael Kugelman or Mehdi Hassan on Twitter" is of little or no use. It amounts to completely ignoring our requirements for the battlespace, but instead walking headlong into the enemy's entrenched artillery positions and trying to toss grenades into their gun barrels. It may feel good to go online and give them gaalis but in the big picture it is a complete waste of time and effort.

Just my thoughts.
Last edited by Rudradev on 17 Feb 2021 02:08, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Suraj » 17 Feb 2021 02:00

Cyrano wrote:I found that asking questions to clarify question/statement the premises behind the question quickly deflates these holier than thou types.
For example, a conversation would go like this:
Q: Why is there so much caste discrimination in India?

That's way too much detail. You could simply show them two pictures and ask them to tell you which one is the 'upper and lower caste person' . That's always fun.

Back during the Khobragade incident there was a discussion on bhestern news site about how this demonstrates Khobragade's Brahminical casteist discriminatory mindset. I congratulated them on their brilliant insight and posted information showing Khobragade is Dalit, and inquired if they'd like to come up with another brainless theory instead. There was sputtering that I was lying, and then claims that 'even Blacks can be racist' etc. I didn't bother to do anything more than laugh at their backpedaling - I wanted to show them as clueness.

Your approach is too informative, too respectful. People who have already confidently asserted some argument about something they are completely clueless about beyond having spent 2 prior minutes on Wikipedia or Google, are not to be treated with respect. They need to be mocked, not educated. Education is suitable for those who are humble, express understanding of their own ignorance and show a desire to learn.

For the others, as I once replied, it's easier for me to use their ignorance against them than to educate them - education is only worth my time when they demonstrate the humility beforehand to learn. I'm not going to teach someone who confidently asserts garbage, I blow a hole through it, and they whine that Im attacking the messenger instead of educating them. I'll educate when I control the narrative, not when they're busy trying to do that.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby sanjaykumar » 17 Feb 2021 02:23

Cyrano wrote:Most people I come across are not trying to antagonise me, but if they were, I'd reply on similar lines as well :)

In fact this is a shortcut to a quick education. We all have ethnocentric biases. A common one is that our own society is a utopia.

All that is needed is a reminder of just much of a utopia it is for blacks/blecks, travellers/Jews/Irish (no blacks or Irish was not uncommon on properties to let into the 1960s)/Chinks/Hindoos/niggers/spics/wetbacks/Japs/daygos/gooks/krauts
/pollocks/russkies etc etc.

Of course there is plenty in India of the same. The recommended approach is a shortcut into cognitive biases, that is all. It is not necessary to offend those who are not educated in these matters.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby AshishA » 17 Feb 2021 02:58

Cyrano wrote:Chinese media warfare is dump money, corrupt, honey trap, blackmail to control the media actors. And play aggrieved victim at the slightest sleight and try to ruin those who don't fall in line one way or other.

Not our usual style.

This may not be our usual style but it does sound effective and interesting. We should try this out. Except, we make it more efficient than the Chinese in terms of money because our pockets aren't as deep as China's. Throwing money at problems is not how we do things.

As Rudradev said, we need to get involved in US politics in a major way. Since the Americans don't mind whoever decides to interfere as long as their side (aka left or the right) can win, we must use every trick in the book to ensure we dominate their elections. If non democratic countries like Chinese and Pakis can do some dirty politics in USA, I am 100% sure we can do better than them. Considering we have a large experience in democratic systems.

Hence its time for BJP to establish it's USA branch. BJP USA. I like the sound of it.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby KLNMurthy » 17 Feb 2021 08:56

Rudradev wrote:The point is: does it matter? And if so, why? Exactly what are the goals of this "countering" the Western narrative? I am not saying there are no worthwhile goals... but I think it is worth identifying exactly what we want to achieve and understand why, rather than proceeding on a simplistic basis of outrage over misrepresentation.


Here's why it matters:

All the phenomena you described--excessively valuing the white man's opinion of us etc., are symptoms of a deeply-ingrained individual and collective self-doubt, which is one of the outcomes of centuries of suppression and repression. V.S. Naipaul (much as I have my own issues with his work) put it thus: "India, a wounded civilization" and he is more right than I care to admit.

These wounds have to be acknowledged, and they have to heal. Deep down, we wonder whether the worst things the whites say about us--like Katherine Mayo's drain inspector's report--are actually right, and "we are like this onlee." We need to develop a counter-narrative that responds to the canards that are flung at us so relentlessly and cavalierly, so that we can actually start believing that we are, in fact, not worse than anyone else, and are better in many ways. Sure, we do engineering, medicine and math better than the average white, and our military is second to none, and we run a hell of a Kumbha Mela and General Election, but I am talking here about the ways of our people--our fathers, mothers, ancestors, ways that live and persist to this day, subject to sterile analysis, denunciation and revilement, all of the time.

In a way, the whites and their Indian acolytes are doing us a big favor: by making us think, apply our knowledge and information, and revise and reconceptualize the narrative so that, we heal from the wounds inflicted on us, and, in our own eyes, take our place among the common run of humanity, a place that has been denied to us so much and for so long, that we now deny it to ourselves.

A time will come when it no longer matters, and we are secure in our goodness and humanity. But to get there, we have to pass through the difficult phase of learning to react creatively to all the mud that is being flung at us, with the aim of making us sink deeper into the Slough of cultural Despond.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Vayutuvan » 18 Feb 2021 06:59

sanjaykumar wrote:A better approach might be:
Why do you have caste discrimination in India?

Answer. For the same reason English discriminate against the Irish in marriages, employment, housing etc.

Or, for the same reason blacks face discrimination in America.

One woman, a good friend, asked me whether she can be a brahmin. So the conversation went this way.

Q. Can I be a brahmin?
A. Yes sure. You need a gotra. Since you are not married, I will accept you as my sister. You will be a kashyapasagOtra. As it is you live a brahmin lifestyle; you are a vegan, abstain from smoking and alcohol, and practice yOga. It is much harder for you to be a daleet. Most lower "castes" do not want to be considered brahmin.
Q. Why? Who would like to want to live like them?
A. What do you mean? There are poor in all "castes" and rich folks in all castes. Let me ask you this.
Now I started asking questions.
Q. Can I be white (with a smirk on my face)?
A. You are white. You live in a nice house, have money, are well educated, and kids going to college.
Q. But am I white?
A. <silence>

Me: You won't and are incapable of understanding India unless you live there for a few decades.
R: Oh but would I be safe? I heard there are a lot of rapes.
Me: (turning to my wife who was listening to the conversation with interest) What do you think? Would she be safe?
My wife: (Big grin on her face)
Friend: (sheepish grin on her face)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby sanjaykumar » 18 Feb 2021 07:51

Q. Can I be white (with a smirk on my face)?
A. You are white. You live in a nice house, have money, are well educated, and kids going to college.

That is the most significant part of the exchange.

In America one can aspire to be 'white', bizarre as that may sound.Except for black people.

Race much like caste can actually be nebulous and elastic.

Race is contextual. I had an odd experience on the hospital wards; after managing a somewhat more complex case, I was asked if I was Belgian by the patient, with the family nodding eagerly.

Now I know Belgians must be very handsome, but I perhaps can be called Italian-looking by an Italian or have a French Canadian speak French to me or perhaps a Latino in Miami may ask me something in Spanish, but Belgians are white white. Unless there has been a history of French migration into Wallonia.

At any rate if you present as 'successful', speak well, and perhaps reek of money your jati may not be stable.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby NRao » 02 Apr 2021 01:51

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