Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

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chetak
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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby chetak » 25 Apr 2016 22:35

Karthik S wrote:^^ Sirjee, people of TN were distinguished based on dravidian identity and almost only brahmins were considered non dravidian. Your point that telugus and kannadigas don't have dravidian politics is right, but the point I am making is in a society that's divided in either caste, regional etc lines, there will be such personalities who'll make use of such divisions.


the dravidian divide was purposely created out of thin air by the british and specifically pushed by the person of one Bishop Caldwell, a member of the protestant clergy. They then worked backwards and created the framework to fit the hypotheses. This pap was then fed to the gullible "dravidians" and it took off like a rocket.

The brahmins were sought to be destroyed as a people because they were the ones who stood in the way of these conniving englishmen.

before the british magically conjured up the dravidians, there simply weren't any. It was a false ethnic identity foisted deliberately upon a set of people to suit very specific needs of the empire. Those needs are still being met today by the descendants of the originally infected "dravidians" despite people knowing better. The seeds of separatism sown by the "dravidian" identity still resonates today.

the social ruckus and the dominant role played by castes and regionalism, is not very old and it has been specifically nurtured and strengthened by electoral politics and reservations that seeks to divide the social and economic pie by providing govt jobs and facilities, be it educational or financial or even land. This jockeying by caste and regional groups for social and political power to enable the garnering of even more resources has been a recent phenomena.

when periyar operated, in the time of the fragmenting society of the "dravidians", such a social milieu of caste, as we know it politically today, was hardly present and neither was regionalism to the extent it is today

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Satya_anveshi » 25 Apr 2016 22:51

^^

Very, very well put Chetak ji. Pranams to you!

Here is a post from OIT thread folks might want to refer.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby peter » 26 Apr 2016 03:22

chetak wrote:^^^^^^^

..... This ersatz idea of perriar goons driving folks out is just that, an over blown and over hyped concoction. That he troubled brahmins is undoubtedly true and he was an antisocial, unpatriotic and an eager EJ puppet

......

Really?

2006: http://swarajyamag.com/politics/hate-crime-cutting-the-sacred-thread-of-brahmin-priests

"In 2006, when a statue of Periyar (EV Ramasamy Naicker) was damaged in Srirangam by unknown people, goons belonging to various Periyar outfits unleashed a spate of attacks on Hindu temples across the state. But they also followed it up with specifically targeting Brahmins in the state. Sacred thread worn by at least four Brahmins were cut. A petrol bomb was thrown at Ayodhya Mandapam in Chennai, a place where Brahmins congregate to listen to devotional speeches.Now, in 2015, two Brahmin temple priests, easily identifiable with their tuft of hair and trademark dress have been attacked in two separate incidents in Chennai, and their sacred thread cut off by six goons belonging to Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (Dravidian Liberation Front).

The provocation now is probably linked to a function organized by Dravidar Kazhagam to demonstrate removal of ‘thaali’ (mangala sutra) and eating beef, and the all around opposition to that event by Hindus in general."

1940s:https://vnbalakrishna.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/periyar-the-evil-incarnate/
"Now for the uninitiated the shocker: In the 40s and 50s this fat Periyar slob used to take out a procession carrying a huge picture of Lord Rama in an open carriage and then slapping it hysterically with chappals. Those who watched this sinful act – Dalit, BC, OBC, SEBC, Brahmins, Banias, Kshatriyas and everyone else — would stand shocked at this brazen display of venom.

These processions became a common affair winding down the streets of Madras. None voiced protest or even dared to think of protest seeing the bloodthirsty Periyar goons"

....
"But why did Hindus really turn into mute spectators? The reason the DK/DMK thugs created so much fear that not one Hindu dared to raise his voice was the “terror of SODA BOTTLES” which was 10 times more deadly and lethal than even the AK 47."

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby peter » 26 Apr 2016 03:33

peter wrote:
chetak wrote:^^^^^^^

..... This ersatz idea of perriar goons driving folks out is just that, an over blown and over hyped concoction. That he troubled brahmins is undoubtedly true and he was an antisocial, unpatriotic and an eager EJ puppet

......

Really?

2006: http://swarajyamag.com/politics/hate-crime-cutting-the-sacred-thread-of-brahmin-priests

"In 2006, when a statue of Periyar (EV Ramasamy Naicker) was damaged in Srirangam by unknown people, goons belonging to various Periyar outfits unleashed a spate of attacks on Hindu temples across the state. But they also followed it up with specifically targeting Brahmins in the state. Sacred thread worn by at least four Brahmins were cut. A petrol bomb was thrown at Ayodhya Mandapam in Chennai, a place where Brahmins congregate to listen to devotional speeches.Now, in 2015, two Brahmin temple priests, easily identifiable with their tuft of hair and trademark dress have been attacked in two separate incidents in Chennai, and their sacred thread cut off by six goons belonging to Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (Dravidian Liberation Front).

The provocation now is probably linked to a function organized by Dravidar Kazhagam to demonstrate removal of ‘thaali’ (mangala sutra) and eating beef, and the all around opposition to that event by Hindus in general."

1940s:https://vnbalakrishna.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/periyar-the-evil-incarnate/
"Now for the uninitiated the shocker: In the 40s and 50s this fat Periyar slob used to take out a procession carrying a huge picture of Lord Rama in an open carriage and then slapping it hysterically with chappals. Those who watched this sinful act – Dalit, BC, OBC, SEBC, Brahmins, Banias, Kshatriyas and everyone else — would stand shocked at this brazen display of venom.

These processions became a common affair winding down the streets of Madras. None voiced protest or even dared to think of protest seeing the bloodthirsty Periyar goons"

....
"But why did Hindus really turn into mute spectators? The reason the DK/DMK thugs created so much fear that not one Hindu dared to raise his voice was the “terror of SODA BOTTLES” which was 10 times more deadly and lethal than even the AK 47."

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/what-have-i-done-to-deserve-this-humiliation/20150505.htm

The distraught family of Viswanatha Gurukkal, who was attacked by a group of youngsters, blames some political parties for taking up anti-Brahminism as their poll plank. Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com reports.
Image
Viswanatha Gurukkal's second son Mangala Nathan took his father to the police station to file an FIR before taking him to the doctor. Photograph: Sreeram Selvaraj

'I was a priest in the Mangalambika temple in my village for 40 years. I was respected and loved in my village. Today I feel insulted and humiliated'

'It was not the physical pain but the mental anguish that brought tears to his eyes'

Viswanatha Gurukkal is 78 years old, suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and loss of hearing. He also has a weak heart and walks haltingly.

Fifteen years ago, after he retired from being a full-time priest in his quiet, serene village near Villupuram, he moved to Chennai to be near his two sons. From then on, he has spent each morning and evening slowly walking from his small house in an agraharam (a Brahmin enclave) to the nearby Karneswara temple to pray and sometimes help his elder son, Shanmugha Gurukkal, who works there as a priest. He does so both because his doctor advised him to walk on a daily basis and because he cannot imagine passing a day without visiting a temple.

On April 19, Viswanatha Gurukkal, as usual, sauntered back home at 7 in the evening, silently muttering prayers to himself. The street was quite dark and deserted by then. He had reached the front of his house when eight-nine young men approached him on three motorcycles. They stopped their bikes and surrounded him. They shouted ‘Periyar Vaazhga’ (Long live Periyar, the father of the Dravidian movement) and one of them slapped Gurukkal hard.

Then they pulled his veshti and pushed him so hard that he lost his balance and fell down on the road. In the meantime, one of the men cut his ‘poonal’ (sacred thread) and shouted ‘Periyar Vaazhga’ once again. As he lay on the road writhing in pain, unable to understand what was happening to him, they fled the scene.

The noise alerted some of Gurukkal’s neighbours who rushed out of their homes and saw him lying on the road. They helped him up and took him inside his house.


Viswanatha Gurukkal with his wife Sakunthala. Photograph: Sreeram Selvaraj

“I was not at home when this happened. When I came in, I saw him sitting on the floor, shaken and shivering all over. I saw tears streaming from his eyes. I could sense that he was in terrible pain. I couldn’t understand what had happened to him. I thought he must have fallen down on the road. Later, I understood it was not the physical pain but the mental anguish that had brought tears to his eyes,” his 76-year-old wife Sakunthala said.

In no time, both his sons were by his side. Mangala Nathan, his second son, a priest who conducts launch pujas for the Tamil film industry, decided to take him to the nearest police station and file an FIR before taking him to the doctor.

“Later we came to know that the attackers belong to a political party that derive pleasure in attacking Brahmins. I do not know why they target old men. Three old priests were attacked the same day at different places but nobody dared make a police complaint. I was not ready to let it go. I took my father to the police station and filed an FIR. I must say the police were extremely helpful and understanding. Before cutting the ‘poonal’ of old Brahmins, the group had cut the ‘thaali’ (mangalsutra) off of some women,” Mangala Nathan said.

Mangala Nathan, 46, remembers seeing such incidents in the early '80s in Chennai. “My father had only experienced the non-political quiet life in a village. In the '80s, as a teenager, I had seen goons cutting the kudumi (the tuft on the head) of Brahmins in many places in Vadapalani. Only after MGR (M G Ramachandran) became chief minister that these kind of incidents stopped occurring.

“In the 15 years of MGR rule, not a single incident of this sort happened here. For the first time after the Dravidian movement started, we felt safe. After that, till now, I didn’t see any anti-Brahmin movement in Tamil Nadu but unfortunately, it has sprung up again with some political parties taking up anti-Brahminism as their major plank. They want an issue to come to the forefront and this is one issue they feel they can use that can attract attention.

"I have performed pujas for 1,500 films myself. What happened to my father was more like what happens in films -- so shocking and painful. My father has not slept properly after the incident. It is heart-breaking to see him sit alone and weep. Let’s forget the fact that he is a Brahmin and a priest, he is an old man. Is it right to treat an old man like this? That is my question,” Mangala Nathan said.

Image
The 78-year-old Viswanatha Gurukkal outside his home in Chennai. Photograph: Sreeram Selvaraj.

Gurukkal's daughter, who lives in Salem, asks of the attackers, “Why did you pick on my old father? Why don’t you pick on people who can resist your action? What harm has he done to you? I have nothing to do with politics but he is my father, he is sick and he is so old. Why do you have to insult my father like this? He is so old that he can’t even lift his hands to stop you from hitting him. It is so painful to see what my father has gone through now. He has performed so many pujas for so many people and conducted so many marriages. He hasn’t done a single bad thing in his life. Does he deserve this humiliation?”

Viswanatha Gurukkal, who was listening to his children speak, said in his quivering voice, “It all happened in a minute and I just couldn’t recollect anything for some time. I only remember some drunken youngsters coming in a bike very fast and surrounding me. They twisted my right hand before slapping me. I couldn’t understand why someone should beat me and do something like this. I have never hurt anyone in my life...”

The very thought of those scary moments shook him, even though more than a week had passed since the incident.

Image

As we were about to leave, he folded his hands and said, “I was a priest in the Mangalambika temple in my village for 40 years. I was respected and loved in my village. Today I feel insulted and humiliated. What have I done to deserve this? Please do something so that no other old man has to face this kind of humiliation.”


Chetak this incident from 2015. You need to change your stance. Brahmans were booted out almost like kashmiri pandits by periyar goons.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 26 Apr 2016 04:09

chetak wrote:
Karthik S wrote:^^ Highly doubt that sir, Tamil hindus are as religious as Telugus or Kannadigas if not more. The reason for his success in gaining popularity is same thing then as now, divided hindu community.


Do the telugus and kannadigas consider themselves "dravidian"??

I can't answer for Andhra/Telengana but Karnataka is marked by a dominant class of Lingayats who do not see themselves as in any way inferior to Brahmins. As you rightly pointed out the Dravidian bogey was raised by the Brits and conveniently absorbed into Tamil Nadu politics. I am sure those same "Dravidian" politicians would burn down a few British consulates if they found out the crinkly nosed racist contempt that the Brits held Dravidians in until the Church got into the fray. But Inidia is packed with under informed cargo culters so why single out Dravidian political goons?

Ka distribution of communities is:

Lingayat 18%
Vokkaliga8%
Kuraba12%
Muslim11%
S C15%
Others 36%

Incidentally a very large number of TamBrams moved to Karnataka, that already had an indigenous population of TamBrams. I have interacted with a large number of TamBrams (for various reasons) and although it appeared to me that many of them had been chased out of Tamil Nadu by the oppressive anti-Brahmin atmosphere there, the TamBrams themselves did not claim to have been driven out.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby peter » 26 Apr 2016 04:15

shiv wrote:
peter wrote:Are you really rooting for no oppression against Dalits?

Are you really interested in my answer?

If you are, read on. Or else others will read.

Like n1g.gers and c.h.i.n.k.s I want to point out first that from a constitutional viewpoint there is no community called "dalits". They are called scheduled castes/tribes. Dalit is word coined deliberately with a political purpose and I am the sort of person who will question a lot of assumptions. I am happy with the word Harijan. I will use the word harijan

When a Muslim asks another "Do you believe in the Prophet of Islam" it is a sort of threat. If the man says no he can be punished.

Among Indians, if anyone asks "Are you rooting for no oppression against Dalits?" it is like a Muslim asking another "Do you or do you not believe in the Prophet Mohammad as the last and final Prophet?" A threat that is waiting to lampoon,criticize and rail against any moron who says "I believe harijans were not oppressed".

The truth is that harijans were and still are oppressed. But harijans are not Prophet Mohammad and we are not required to stop and shut up saying "Harijans were oppressed"

I ask questions like:

1. There are 90,000 jatis. How many of these jatis opressed harijans? Was it only Brahmins and Banias? Did all the other OBSs, SCs and STs simply love the Harijans?

2. If a list of 10,000 or 20,000 backward caste jatis also discriminated against harijans let us put it on record. It will only help harijans and make the record honest

3. I have pointed out in another post how Brahmins practice untouchability to this day. There is a scientific basis for that practice. You need not accept that. It is still untouchability. If I make that information public why should anyone get upset and start having delusional thoughts that I am somehow denying the cruelty shown to harijans?

I am not. I am opening out the discussion. And definitely this discussion starts with the knowledge that harijans were oppressed. But I warn everyone who reads this that the discussion could also throw up areas where harijans were not really oppressed, there may be people and groups who treated them well. Why should we be unfair to those people and act like Mullahs who will allow no word that even begins to appear like a denial of the Prophet.

I am certain that for every nine people who oppressed harijans, there must have been one who did not oppress them. There were people who treated them well at the risk of being thrown out of their jati. Why ignore that as if it did not happen? 10% of 200 million (India's population in 1850 or so) people is 20 million.

What is the exact evidence available that all harijans were always treated badly by all people 100% of the time? If there is only circumstantial evidence, I can offer circumstantial and anecdotal evidence of their being treated well by some people.

Why should anyone be scared if someone asks "Surely there must have been a few harijans who were treated well. or better than others over a 5000 year history

And what is the exact reason for taking one quote from Manu and not looking at much else about what he is supposed to have said? And even if Manu said "Pour lead in the ear of a shudra who hears the veda" what does that have to do with harijans. Shudras are not harijans. If they are someone please explain to me how shudra become harijan. Swami Vivekananda does not answer that - or at least I have not read his answer.

You are arguing for a sought of bell cuve like response to the atrocities against the shudras. This is a reasonable assumption and probably it does have fat tails. We have tangential evidence for it.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 26 Apr 2016 04:37

chetak wrote:The brahmins were sought to be destroyed as a people because they were the ones who stood in the way of these conniving englishmen.


This is the reason why I bring up the issue of accurate history recording so that we can document exactly who oppressed whom. Brahmins were specifically targeted to break up Hindu society and their reputation smeared so that anyone in India today or outside India will say Brahmins used to pour lead into the ears of untouchables who heard the Vedas. This has taken a life of its own with Manu smriti English translation being pushed and used as Hindu Bible of Brahmin padres.

In India when Brahmins are targeted it is secular and just targeting. When Muslims or harijans are targeted it is communal Brahminism that does it. We know how the country sits mute watching Kashmiri Pandits fade into history after their exodus. The targeting of Brahmins in Tamil Nadu is hardly documented.

On the other hand, the "Dravidian politicians" have not read a word of history so meticulously documented by the Brits who felt that Dravidians were dumb lower beings who would have corrupted the intelligent Aryans if they had not been kept separate. Now there is pride in being a former heathen lower being because the Church which initially pushed Brahmins as a superior class now has set up a "Dalit theology" thing for the Dravidian heathens whom they earlier thought were a lower class.

The interesting part is that whether it was Brahmins embracing the racist British views or "Dravidians" or "Dalits" acccepting and swallowing the latest twist in the views of white man our nation followed white man's opinion no matter which way white man changes his attitude. Our racism is reverse racism - maybe "Bhakti racism" where we admire and accept views coming from Europe and America. They say. We copy.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 26 Apr 2016 04:49

peter wrote:You are arguing for a sought of bell cuve like response to the atrocities against the shudras. This is a reasonable assumption and probably it does have fat tails. We have tangential evidence for it.

I am arguing for evidence based historical accuracy where all our past is not based on one set of books but takes into consideration the total civilizational experience of Indians from their own narratives.

Take Sati for example. There is no doubt that the concept of Sati existed and was used in particular situations. Hindus admit this but it is also to be known that it was not a practice endorsed all over India and a very small percentage of Hindus actually believed in it. What percentage and where and under what circumstances is something that can be studied if we accept the truth.

But then let me come to "Pouring lead into the ear of a shudra who heard the Vedas". For this I would like to read one Indian narrative - either a proud narrative of a cocky upper-caste guy who did this, or the sad narrative of a lower caste person who saw this happening, or of a British Penal code punishment meted out when the oh so fair and just British saw this being done. With the British having conducted censuses by 1890, and Vivekananda seeing with his own eyes the treatment of Harijans, surely there must be recorded instances of Brahmins pouring lead into the ears of a shudra for hearing the Vedas.

Please let me see those records of lead being poured. If the evidence for that is absent or very sparse whey do we constantly bring up that punishment as if it is "Normal Hindu behaviour". Do we love flagellating ourselves? And the minute someone asks such questions he gets counter questioned the way you asked "Are you trying to deny oppression of Harijans?" No in fact if we can show that 2,738 Brahmins were punished by the just and fair British between 1890 and 1910 for pouring lead into the ear of a Shudra we get an idea that this, like Sati was a known and documented practice. Isn't that the way to go about testing for truth or not of any belief?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 26 Apr 2016 05:21

The irony of India is as follows

1. No one other than a few egg-head intellectuals know that the British cooked up a "Dravidian race" to explain how black people could speak a lovely Indo-European language and have a mother-lode of language grammar stored in Sanskrit. Or how black people could have some of the oldest texts and writing. The British said that fair skinned people brought that language to India but those people got corrupted by interbreeding with black race of heathen inferior people worthy of contempt called "Dravidians". That explanation made the Brits happy and contented.
2. Any person who points this out is immediately expelled from the ranks of "Intellectuals" into the ranks of exclusivist Hindu extremists

There is a deep streak of stupidity and slavery in Indian minds that makes us as a nation deny what is available for us to see in front of our eyes.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby peter » 26 Apr 2016 05:31

shiv wrote:
peter wrote:You are arguing for a sought of bell cuve like response to the atrocities against the shudras. This is a reasonable assumption and probably it does have fat tails. We have tangential evidence for it.

I am arguing for evidence based historical accuracy where all our past is not based on one set of books but takes into consideration the total civilizational experience of Indians from their own narratives.

Take Sati for example. There is no doubt that the concept of Sati existed and was used in particular situations. Hindus admit this but it is also to be known that it was not a practice endorsed all over India and a very small percentage of Hindus actually believed in it. What percentage and where and under what circumstances is something that can be studied if we accept the truth.

But then let me come to "Pouring lead into the ear of a shudra who heard the Vedas". For this I would like to read one Indian narrative - either a proud narrative of a cocky upper-caste guy who did this, or the sad narrative of a lower caste person who saw this happening, or of a British Penal code punishment meted out when the oh so fair and just British saw this being done. With the British having conducted censuses by 1890, and Vivekananda seeing with his own eyes the treatment of Harijans, surely there must be recorded instances of Brahmins pouring lead into the ears of a shudra for hearing the Vedas.

Please let me see those records of lead being poured. If the evidence for that is absent or very sparse whey do we constantly bring up that punishment as if it is "Normal Hindu behaviour". Do we love flagellating ourselves? And the minute someone asks such questions he gets counter questioned the way you asked "Are you trying to deny oppression of Harijans?" No in fact if we can show that 2,738 Brahmins were punished by the just and fair British between 1890 and 1910 for pouring lead into the ear of a Shudra we get an idea that this, like Sati was a known and documented practice. Isn't that the way to go about testing for truth or not of any belief?

Well let us for a minute digress to this piece by a Brahmin women:
".......I took up the study of Sanskrit for real.

One of the reasons this did not seem outlandish to me was because my father is a poet and writer in Hindi, and I had been exposed to Indian literary and intellectual traditions at home from a very young age. Along the way I had studied Romance languages as well, so that adding Sanskrit to the repertoire did not feel at all counter-intuitive. At Oxford, I wrote an M.Phil thesis about how the study of Sanskrit had shaped the ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of modern linguistics in Europe. ...."

"Nothing in my experience or education up to that time had prepared me for the sheer wall of prejudice that blocked the access of someone like me to the particular aspects of the history, ideology and politics of Sanskrit that I was interested in. Here I was — female, a north Indian in south India, a student enrolled at a foreign university, a Hindi-speaker, and only tenuously and dubiously of a caste that pandits considered acceptable. My teachers and I struggled to communicate, but in the end, most things were lost in translation. A well-known Sanskrit professor in Maharashtra told me that only “perverted women” became scholars, a pronouncement that brought several months of our readings to an abrupt close one afternoon, and ensured I never again returned to meet him."


It is certainly not pouring of lead. It is certainly not the norm for all who learn sanskrit.

Yet if we believe the author this is a real case of prejudice. That too by a brahmin against a brahmin.

So IMHO if something is written as in manusmriti whether it happened or not is interesting and should be dug if possible but the text will always be used as a hammer to show hinduism in bad light. With or without evidence.

How do you fight it ? Not by showing it never happened! Or happened at the tail of the curve in miniscule numbers!

So any other way that comes to mind?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 26 Apr 2016 05:57

peter wrote:
How do you fight it ? Not by showing it never happened! Or happened at the tail of the curve in miniscule numbers!


By documenting all sides of all stories and not suppressing any as false.

If you think you are a Hindu ask yourself if you are a Hindu or an "observer of Indian society from Europe or USA"

If you are not simply an observer of Indian society, but grew up as Hindu think of your parents, grandparents and ancestors whose stories are known, people of your community whom you have met at weddings and other functions and ask if you have ever been taught in your Hindu upbringing that Sati is the right thing to do, or if your father died your mother has to jump into a pyre.If this was never taught to you as "standard holy Indian law" then how did Sati become declared as normal Hindu practice. Is it possible that we, like Pakistanis talking about terrorism are saying "Not me but "someone else" used to do it. Which someone else? How many? Was there a reason?

These questions have to be asked to as many people as possible and recorded because Hindu history is in narratives and not in history textbooks

The story you have posted is a narrative - which is quite good although one can make all sorts of accusations about the lady. She understood why people behaved in that manner - but in the end she puts up a paragraph for which I would like an explanation or clarification:

Sanskrit must be taken back from the clutches of Hindu supremacists, bigots, believers in brahmin exclusivity, misogynists, Islamophobes and a variety of other wrong-headed characters on the right, whose colossal ambition to control India’s vast intellectual legacy is only matched by their abysmal ignorance of what it means and how it works.


What I find interesting about the paragraph is that she probably discovered weaknesses in the knowledge of her own Brahmin teachers. She has actually written about those weaknesses in an earlier paragraph. But later shoe goes on to blame those weaknesses on "hindu supremacy. misogyny, bigotry, Islamophobia etc

I had a physics teacher in school who did not know physics. he was a bad teacher. But no one blamed him as a low caste person or hater of the wealthy or any such thing. He did not have a grasp of his subject. Why does this lady blame the motives of bad teachers as people who are "Holding back their knowledge?' Her assessment is wrong. they are bad teachers. And like a lot of people she wants to "rescue Sanskrit" from bad teachers by calling them "Hindu supremacists, bigots, believers in brahmin exclusivity, misogynists, Islamophobes and a variety of other wrong-headed characters on the right"
Last edited by shiv on 26 Apr 2016 07:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 26 Apr 2016 07:46

peter wrote:Well let us for a minute digress to this piece by a Brahmin women:

Although this is an old article I thought that this student of Pollock deserves a reply on email.


I post here FWIW
Dear Madam,

I read your 2014 article in the Hindu and since your email is mentioned I thought I would reply. <personal details deleted>

While I must compliment you for your love and dedication to Sanskrit I must point out that your love and dedication seems to be transactional. It is not just love and dedication, it is because you desire that "Sanskrit must be taken back from the clutches of Hindu supremacists, bigots, believers in brahmin exclusivity, misogynists, Islamophobes and a variety of other wrong-headed characters on the right"

From a Hindu Dharma viewpoint learning based on an agenda is fine as long as one does not claim that there is no agenda. You have clearly stated that your agenda is to "take Sanskrit back" from people whom you think are holding Sanskrit from others.

May I point out a huge lacuna in the idea that someone is "holding back" some knowledge from you or others because they have some needless ulterior motives (as you allege)?

It's like this. There are two reasons for not imparting knowledge to someone. One reason is that the teacher has the knowledge but makes some excuses about his student and refuses. the other possibility is that the teacher does not actually have the required knowledge and makes some excuses. Both ways the teacher does not impart knowledge and is seen to be making excuses.

Why do you believe that your right-wing misogynist teachers had knowledge to give you but did not give it because of their biases? Maybe they were bad teachers making excuses and you are pasting an agenda on them. Did you pay them money for knowledge and did they fail to complete the transaction by giving you knowledge for money like Oxford, Harvard and many other institutions?

When Sanskrit knowledge is to be imparted free, the teacher must have the knowledge in the first place and must be ready to impart it. If you did not pay them money and selected them on reputation, perhaps they are just inadequate teachers for someone of your degree of accomplishment? Why attribute their inadequacy to some agenda. The agenda could be yours.

In modern universities there are teachers with knowledge who will teach in exchange for money paid to the university as fees, but the University must first accept you as a student. You may need to be a brighter than average student to get to Oxford, but the best students don't use that to prove their extra special worth except in job searches. Similarly a teacher who accepts you for free may be a poor teacher in the first place. The better teachers may not accept you as a student.

Where do you stand exactly and where are you coming from. I don't need an answer. You need it more than I do

Thanks if you got this far

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby chetak » 26 Apr 2016 07:54

peter wrote:

Chetak this incident from 2015. You need to change your stance. Brahmans were booted out almost like kashmiri pandits by periyar goons.


peter, old chap,

let me decide if I want to change my stance. Right now it would take a lot more than what you have pointed out for me to do that.

We were talking about periyar. You have shifted to current TN politics which is very different beast.
The ousting of kashmiri pandits was ethnic cleansing, where as the repeated assaults on brahmans in TN was/is part of electoral politics.

do the the valiant "dravidians" have to prey on helpless old men to assert their mardangi??, these same "dravidian" separatists are like barking dogs running after speeding cars, they wouldn't know what to do with the car, if they actually ever caught one.

In TN, films are mostly vehicles of political expression. This is not so much elsewhere. the odd example may be found, more as an exception than the rule. Otherwise, illiterate actors and screen writers would not rule so easily, desperately conferring upon themselves, several honorary doctorates, used to pull wool over gullible "dravidian" eyes

The penchant of these "dravidians" to repeatedly choose and continue to be led by carpet bagging outsiders is also psychologically revealing.

MGR, thatha, amma and the list goes on and on. Can not these "dravidians" throw up a genuine "dravidian" leader of their own or will they, for some strange reason, choose to be led by the nose, by outsiders, like they have done from the time that the sly bishop caldwell set upon them with his ersatz theories.

If a "dravidian" stepped outside the comfort zone of TN and it's EJ contaminated politics, he would not survive even for a single solitary day before he was hacked to pieces.

I am equally sure that you already know this.

Is it coincidental, that both states that you mentioned have strong religion dependent regional parties and both harbor some separatist tendencies?? and of course both are influenced to some degree by extra territorial break India and anti India forces??

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RajeshA » 26 Apr 2016 12:49

Cross-posted

Sanskrit must be taken back from the clutches of Hindu supremacists, bigots, believers in brahmin exclusivity, misogynists, Islamophobes and a variety of other wrong-headed characters on the right, whose colossal ambition to control India’s vast intellectual legacy is only matched by their abysmal ignorance of what it means and how it works.


Two words that mostly "Left-Liberals" use are "bigots" and "misogynists". I call "Left-Liberals" as "social-conflict-parasites". Their aim is never never ever to diffuse any social-division but rather to create new ones, keep alive old ones and to exacerbate nominal ones, as much as possible. Social-conflict is the very air they breathe, and they can never allow such conflicts simply to dissipate.

Their "Standard Operating Procedure" is as follows:

  1. Select a community, which may not have many outspoken members

  2. Declare this community to have been a victim of injustice and humiliation

  3. Create volumes of work on this alleged injustice and humiliation

  4. Nurture a few voice within this community to take up this narrative

  5. Organize some easily swayed among the community into a vocal protest group

  6. Start agitations and keep thus ensuing conflict simmering

  7. Provide vocal "intellectual" support to this agitation from outside

Lather, rinse, repeat! It's not rocket science. It's an easy formula that is used everywhere by them and all the time.
Last edited by RajeshA on 26 Apr 2016 13:11, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby svenkat » 26 Apr 2016 12:59

I will post some thoughts on dravidian movement.

1)The dravidian movement had three components.
2)First betterment of non brahmins in education and jobs.
3)Social inequality and identification of brahmanas with Aryans.
4)Language identity peculiar to tamils.
5)The dravidian politics did liitle for tamizh identity until the emergence of dMK.Even then DMK had a strong telugu presence.The telugu people have this extraordinary ability to assimilate into the lands they migrate.
6)Beyond this,there are usual class issues as everywhere else.

The brahmin migration from TN would have taken place even without dravidian politics.It seemed particularly harsh because of a stunted economy and divide and rule of British.

People forget that the last pandyan king was killed by Malik Kafur and after that TN was ruled by telugus,kannadigas and maharshtrians.This created a pecculiar dynamic.Also Kanyakumari was ruled by Travancore.A number of telugu,kannada and marathi speaking brahmanas came to TN and they were unaware of ancient tamizh traditions.This created another dynamic.And finally people like Periyaar,other Justice Party dravidians genuinely feared democracy as many came from families that had migrated to TN as rulers.The Justice Partys leading lights were from telugu castes and the vellalas(the 'higher' pillais and mudaliars)who had been custodians of tamizh literary traditions for more than a thousand years.As the telugu tamil Ki.Rajanarayanan wrote that tamizh is the 'only' language which requires translation from its classical form to spoken form.

Today tamizh has the standardised dialect and the spoken dialects.A tamizh scholar once told me that tholkappiars grammar has space for both marapu(classical) tamizh and spoken(pechu vazhakku) tamizh which is not very different from other sister dravidian languages.Vairamuthus poems of naatu paadal(folk language)have great appeal.

MGR thrashed Karunanidhi because he was able to 'exploit' the gulf between the 'high brow' champions of chen tamizh(chaste tamizh) and the much simpler spoken tamizh.Yet one must remember that MGR did not portray it that way.The reason being,chen tamizh,marapu tamizh is the heritage of all tamizh people including the todays illiterate.As Jayalalitha understood in 1991,the children of ADMK workers wanted reservation and identified themselves with DMK world view.("Namma pasangale nammala ethirkaraaanga"-Its called aspirations/social mobility based on group identity)

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby svenkat » 26 Apr 2016 13:10

MGR would not on his own have come into politics.It was G.Parthasarathy and Mohan Kumaramangalam who supported from behind.
Both were left liberal congressmen,GP being the first vice chancellor of JNU.

A Puri Sankaracharya once said "Theres nnothing unique about Hinduism and thats the uniqueness of Hinduism" and I think he was making a profound point.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 26 Apr 2016 14:23

An alternative to BR Ambedkar's path is that of Sree Narayana Guru, in what Swami Vivekananda called the lunatic asylum of Kerala. Wiki article, that does not do him justice:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narayana_Guru


From: http://www.gurudevan.info/ten-commandments-of-guru
SREE NARAYANA GURUDEVAN- HIS TEN COMMANDMENTS
1.Be enlightened with education.

2.Be strengthened with organization.

3.Make progress through industry.

4.Don’t speak caste, ask caste and think caste.

5.One caste, one religion and one God for mankind.

6.Whatever be the religion, it is sufficient if it is good for mankind.

7.Whatever be the difference in faith, dress or language, as all humanity belongs to one caste, there is no harm in inter- marriage and inter-dining.

8.Do not make liquor, don’t drink it and don’t sell it.

9.Spend judiciously.

10.Man who knows dharma should work hard for the progress and well being of his neighbour.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby JE Menon » 26 Apr 2016 16:26

Ananya Vajpeyi is about as Brahmin as I'm communist. But there is a falling out among thieves of the intellect too...

http://www.thedelhiwalla.com/2014/08/01 ... a-vajpeyi/

I didn't know that Ananya was married to Basharat Peer. Going by his literary record, we know at least part of the reason why she takes the positions she does. And the ethical foundations of her action in the above link, no doubt adds both credibility and value to the following position she occupies:

Vajpeyi is currently a Global Ethics Fellow with the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, 2014-2017. Her first book Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India was named book of the year 2012 by the Guardian and the New Republic. It received the 41st Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize from Harvard University Press, the Tata First Book Award for Non-Fiction (2013), and the Crossword Award for Non-Fiction (2013).

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby svenkat » 26 Apr 2016 20:08

Regarding Sree Narayana Guru,theres no doubt he was a great reformer.

The kanchi periyaava(sri chandrashekharendra saraswathi highly respected by a substantial section of tam brahms)once noted that its not the theoretical ideals of a sampradaya that matters but how much ones anushtaanam(practice) dovetails the claims of that sampradaya.Bauddhavaada made massive claims like many of our sickular/social justice warriors.

The sharp minds of this dhaaga are not professional do gooders-the hysterians or sociologists of amir khan universities,but sensitive first rate STEM minds who are turning the gaze inward.Thats the key to understanding Hindu world view.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby SaiK » 29 Apr 2016 08:37

The number of Muslims around the world is projected to increase rapidly in the decades ahead, growing from about 1.6 billion in 2010 to nearly 2.8 billion in 2050.
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/musl ... stables73/

Image

Image

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby JE Menon » 29 Apr 2016 09:37

Only 3 Arab countries in 2010 list and only 2 in 2050

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 29 Apr 2016 16:14

According to the CIA World Book, the Pakistani population in July 2010 was 184,404,791. If as per the above chart, 167,410,000 were Muslim then 9.2% of Pakistan was minorities in 2010. Does anyone believe that?

In general: there are no reliable Pakistani population figures after 1998.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 30 Apr 2016 06:11

Ok - I have been meaning to bring up this subject but did not have enough inspiration. Let me give it a try now, but I will obviously deal with it in the way the convolutions of my own mind, my own knowledge and my own biases make me say things.

This is about women in India.

Starting with definitions, Indian history goes back 5000 years or longer. Women have been around since then, in fact earlier unless I am mistaken. When one talks about "The status and treatment of women in Indian society" one is talking of 50 % of people in that society and making two assumptions:
1. That 100% of that society has a fixed attitude towards 50% of that society. This is a weird suggestion. It means that all women and all men have the same ideas and biases about women in society. Instinctively I think this can't be right. If men feel sexually attracted towards some women, it cannot mean that women are also feeling that way about other women (ignoring the minority gay issue)

The second assumption that crops up in speaking of "The status and treatment of women in Indian society" is:

2. That these attitudes are somehow fixed and timeless and have been a constant theme for 5000 years.

There is a "hermeneutics" problem here - an issue with the way we use and interpret the information we have eventually to paint all Indian society of having a particular attitude. This is a densely difficult subject because it is very difficult to separate out personal biases from "objectivity". Objectivity itself may be the sum total of a large number of personal biases in society in any given era if you get what I mean.

I don't want to digress but if you see the reactions in social media to Trupti Desai - a woman who is using a mix of mob rule and legal means to break down barrier to the entry of women into certain Hindu and Muslim places of worship. Many reactions are on gut feel - attributing motives to the woman that are not obvious from her actions. These are personal biases that impose themselves on views and opinions. To illustrate a minor point: Does Trupti Desai simply demand equal access to women into places of worship? Or is she a representative of Western Universalism trying to impose Western standards on Indian society? Of does she represent the church in attempting to systematically damage Hindu society? The thing is that if you take a cross section of Indians their views of Trupti Desai depend on how they see her actions. They are likely to support the equality part not because of Western universalism but probably because there is no blanket Hindu bar of women in places of worship (and a few other factors that I will not bother mentioning). But if a person believes that her motives are less innocent then that person will oppose the entry of women into places of worship simply because he believes Trupti Desai is bad news (for a variety of reasons)

So some of these issues are complex and discussing them requires an understanding of our own minds and our own biases. On a forum like BRF - when we seek to take discussion to a higher plane, these "hermeneutics problems" need to be considered.

I have, in recent days been writing a lot about women, menstrual periods and social taboos. I don't want to get into that now but this is another classic subject where half knowledge and personal biases prevent an objective discussion.

In most discussions that I see, there is a heavy male bias. For example a forum may have men discussing "Where do I pee when I want to pee?". We are less likely to see women discussing this subject in the open - it does happen but a cross section of female views is unlikely to appear in public forums. Whether we like it or not male opinions and the male way of dealing with certain subjects that come around to sexuality/sexual organs are different from the way women deal with the same topics. This is in complete contrast to discussions about subjects like hunger, or children's education or other non sexual topics where there is easy understanding and exchange of male and female opinions.

I have mentioned before on BRF that female views on certain things in India have an impact on society that we must acknowledge and admit. Mothers teach their daughters to "manage" their fluid intake so they don't have to get to pee in public places. But they have no problem in allowing their sons to stand against a wall and pee. Girl children and boy children are treated differently by mothers in this regard (fathers rarely deal with girls wanting to pee beyond a particular age).

When we come to the question of rape and attitudes to women, there is plenty of information to suggest that respect for women should be taught to boys at home when they are little children. The mother must be involved here and if the mother treats her little boy child as a little Prince who can lord over his domain then he gets an attitude of lording over wimmens as well. I am not blaming women for rape, but I am asking about women's attitudes towards the way men should behave and whether that is appropriate or not. Complex subject and I don't want to dig deep lest a hurried statement of mine is misinterpreted.

And all this is only about today - 2016.

What were things like in 1850?

What was it during Mughal invasions?

What were societal attitudes to women in India in the year 1000

What were they like in 2000 BC?

Some attitudes have come down from 2000 BC. Some are acquired. What is what? I am hoping to look at some of these thorny issues with objectivity here.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 01 May 2016 07:14

Let me ask a question for which I have no answer - I can only speculate and state my views from hearsay.

Are women embarrassed to show their bras/breasts/cleavages/butts/panties to each other in places like changing rooms, women's toilets? What information I can muster in terms of an answer says no, women are not routinely embarrassed at doing that. OK there may be a few whose sensibilities are hurt, but to my knowledge women are not reluctant to show body parts to each other that they would not show in public or in front of men in general.

Why is this sexual innuendo question relevant here? The point is that the presence of men signals a change in female behaviour. Why would women change their behaviour just because men are around? I do not claim to have an exact answer, but I think this is because some body parts of women are sexual signals that attract male attention, and women probably do not want to attract male attention except under circumstances and company of their choice. To me this explanation seems reasonable. I also think that this is "learned behaviour". Girls are taught actively that they must not expose and not all of them agree with the idea. Some women probably rebel in various ways and may not necessarily worry about some types of exposure in public. But they may not expose as an invitation to touch/feel or have sex. The exposure could be for comfort - like a man taking off his shirt on a hot day.

Different societies have evolved different rules for what a woman can expose without attracting undue attention. Were these non exposure rules made by men? Or were they made by women? Or did these rules come up as a sort of pact, or a tacit agreement between men and women of that society?

The question I am asking here is "How much covering up of the female human body has been forced by men? How much exposure would be acceptable if men were not allowed to touch/defame/assault women who did not want to be touched/defamed/assaulted? "

I have no clear idea of the answer, but if you go back even to the 1900s there were tribes in India where women lived with breasts exposed. I have photos in from a 1910 book (available online as well). That aside the exposure of female breasts appears, empirically, to have been routine in parts of India perhaps 800 or more years ago - as is evident from millions of stone carvings. I do not know if the shaming of Draupadi in the Mahabharata was below waist level or above waist level. I don't know if Sita had no issues with exposed breasts. However it does appear from some old carvings that breasts could have been covered by jewellery/garlands. Not sure here - I am more of a speculator than expert. But all in all it appears that in hot, humid India topless women was no big deal. If someone has information to the contrary I would like to learn.

So how and where did the idea of covering up come? I know that the attention Brits gave to topless tribals and the joy with which they were photographed by Victorian Brits and the christian criticism of "nakedness" has played a role in Indian society in the last 150 years. But even before that Islam came up with some interesting strictures on women and that may have played an even bigger role in causing women to be covered up. But both Church morality and Islamic laws called for he covering up of women and covering up became and stayed the norm all over the world until Western liberalism went against the Church.

What about Hindus? It seems to me that Hindus have absorbed a mix of Victorian and Islamic morality and amazingly the most devout Hindus and many militant Hindus sound like mullahs and padres in their attitudes to female exposure.

What did Hindu culture say about female exposure? Was it different from what Hindutva groups seem to demand much to the mirth of neo-liberals?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 01 May 2016 11:29

How did India get this way? (in a manner of speaking)
Image

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Arjun » 01 May 2016 11:51

shiv wrote:How did India get this way? (in a manner of speaking)

You seem to be living in a different India than I do...The cartoon is most certainly applicable to the 15% of India that follows the Muslim faith, with burkhas becoming increasingly prominent across most Indian cities. But I don't see any basis to generalize the obscurantist Muslim puritanism to the attitude of majority Hindus - which is very much the polar opposite.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 05 May 2016 07:32

Grist for your mill, Shiv, story in the Mahabharata:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01123.htm
The translation is in stilted English, but the meaning is clear.

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by his loving wife, king Pandu, well-acquainted with all rules of morality, replied in these words of virtuous import, 'O Kunti, what thou hast said is quite true. Vyushitaswa of old did even as thou hast said. Indeed he was equal unto the celestials themselves.

But I shall now tell thee about the practices of old indicated by illustrious Rishis, fully acquainted with every rule of morality. O thou of handsome face and sweet smiles, women formerly were not immured within houses and dependent on husbands and other relatives. They used to go about freely, enjoying themselves as best as they liked. O thou of excellent qualities, they did not then adhere to their husbands faithfully, and yet, O handsome one, they were not regarded sinful, for that was the sanctioned usage of the times. That very usage is followed to this day by birds and beasts without any (exhibition of) jealousy. That practice, sanctioned by precedent, is applauded by great Rishis. O thou of taper thighs, the practice is yet regarded with respect amongst the Northern Kurus. Indeed, that usage, so lenient to women, hath the sanction of antiquity. The present practice, however (of women's being confined to one husband for life) hath been established but lately. I shall tell thee in detail who established it and why.

"It hath been heard by us that there was a great Rishi of the name of Uddalaka, who had a son named Swetaketu who also was an ascetic of merit. O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, the present virtuous practice hath been established by that Swetaketu from anger. Hear thou the reason. One day, in the presence of Swetaketu's father a Brahmana came and catching Swetaketu's mother by the hand, told her, 'Let us go.' Beholding his mother seized by the hand and taken away apparently by force, the son was greatly moved by wrath. Seeing his son indignant, Uddalaka addressed him and said, 'Be not angry. O son! This is the practice sanctioned by antiquity. The women of all orders in this world are free, O son; men in this matter, as regards their respective orders, act as kine.'

The Rishi's son, Swetaketu, however, disapproved of the usage and established in the world the present practice as regards men and women. It hath been heard by us, O thou of great virtue, that the existing practice dates from that period among human beings but not among beings of other classes. Accordingly, since the establishment of the present usage, it is sinful for women not to adhere to their husbands. Women transgressing the limits assigned by the Rishi became guilty of slaying the embryo. And, men, too, violating a chaste and loving wife who hath from her maidenhood observed the vow of purity, became guilty of the same sin. The woman also who, being commanded by her husband to raise offspring, refuses to do his bidding, becometh equally sinful.

"Thus, O timid one, was the existing usage established of old by Swetaketu, the son of Uddalaka, in defiance of antiquity.


PS: It is beyond me why "patriarchal Sanskritic Brahminists" would preserve this story.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 05 May 2016 09:50

^^^ simply because they needed to preserve both itivRtta and itihasa

itivRtta: simply occurrence - but my humble suggestion is to use to use this term for history
itihasa: simply chronicle - what has been the traditional legend - with a moral to grok at the end

ardhAGgini - term for wife - as in one half of the body - when monogamous marriages got in vogue -
There was no longer the luxury of individual action by any man or woman- remember the problem of Rama not
having Sita during the yaga, etc. Men begged for their women's atma during marriage and promised to
protect it under duress to their own. In return she gave the man her uncontested friendship...
If one loves another - this is perhaps the most romantic and sweetness way to achieve an union.
For a contract as in the Abrahamic context demeans both to the baser state that is chronicled by the tale
in the Mahabharata. There are other tales - that of Jaabaali, Urvashi & Pururava (Rig Veda 10.XCV.16) -

using bad griffith translation as I dont have time to dig out better ones with my edits:

1. Ho there, my consort! Stay, thou fierce-souled lady, and let us reason for a while together.
Such thoughts as these of ours, while yet unspoken in days gone by have never brought us comfort.
2 What am I now to do with this thy saying? I have gone from thee like the first of Mornings.
Purūravas, return thou to thy dwelling: I, like the wind, am difficult to capture.


No Indian feminist has found her inspiration from these sources.
Indian Social Sciences are just foreign supplants at best and mutant kinder of multiple frameworks at worst.
What pains one as a intellectual is the depth of Social Sciences in the Indian tradition and the poverty now!

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 05 May 2016 20:29

The two posts above, by AGupta and Pulikeshi serve as an apt illustration why I tried to cover a broad swathe in naming this thread "Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society"

This is how I have come to see it. Western education (that I am not criticizing or dissing) teaches us to split up, dissect, classify, separate-into-parts, break open and see the parts, "reduce the whole to parts that you can comprehend" rather than the swallow the whole. My own observations about Ayurvedic medicine as opposed to the Allopathy that I practice tells me that the same differences hold true. Ayurveda is more holistic, Western science is reductionist. For complete knowledge both may be necessary - but I am digressing. Let me get to the point.

The story that Arun referred to and the one's Pulikeshi mentioned in passing are a mixed record of sociology, psychology, historic narrative, tradition and ethics. Indian knowledge is passed down that way and has been dissed because it does not fit into the "separate titles for topics artificially separated from each other". Even we, who are trained to think in a western reductionist fashion have scoffed at Indian folklore as fiction without making a fair assessment of the role it has played in moulding Indian society.

All too often the criticisms offered are inane. For example one may ask "Who the hell is this Uddalaka or Swetaketu?" "Which era did they live? What is the proof? This is complete nonsense because those details are completely irrelevant.

As an example (which i referred to earlier). It is now normal for people all over the world to speak of washing hands for hygiene. It is completely unnecessary to know that the first Europeans who are recorded to have discovered these principles include a chap called Lister and another guy called Pasteur. That information is irrelevant. Not only is it irrelevant it is also a misrepresentation of fact because some unknown names in India had instituted such practices thousands of years ago as routine social norms. Note that "Dharma" itself calls for "shaucha" (cleanliness) which is well described and in practice for millennia. The names of the originators of such practices are lost in the mists of time.

The post by Arun simply puts in story form a narrative of ancient Indian sociology, sexual behavior and liberal norms along with a chronicle of change in social norms and a description of the monogamous norms that came in later. There is, if one looks at the tale. a description of why the social norm of monogamy may have been imposed. And that can be seen both in the tale posted by Arun and the tale of Urvashi and Pururava mentioned by Pulikeshi. In both cases male jealousy/anger at a woman having a different partner are indicated as consequences.

The Urvashi Pururava tale - which led me to several interesting links when I Googled for it has another sociological record. Arjuna spurns Urvashi's advances because she is actually his ancestor and he is cursed by her to live a life where he cannot have women despite being male. This curse is mitigated to one year onlee- the 13th year of hiding of the Pandavas when Arjuna lives as what we now call a "transgender" . The story carries a description of the social role that transgenders were given before British laws made them members of "Criminal tribes, whose members are criminal by birth"

And we moronic Indians think that we are guilty of discrimination. Colonization runs deep in our minds
Last edited by shiv on 05 May 2016 20:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 05 May 2016 20:32

I found this to be an enchanting, humorous and thoroughly modern Indian English rendering of the Urvashi-Pururava story :)
https://thegreatindianepic.com/2013/06/ ... ove-story/

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 09 May 2016 18:16

Here are some thoughts that occurred to me while making posts in the New history thread of the burqa forum and though they might be relevant here and may evoke more thoughtful responses to things that I don't know or where I have reached wrong conclusions.

I had asked a question there and posted my thoughts - I will simply ask the question again here but post a completely different set of ideas. The question was an abstract one: "How do we relate to our texts?"

I want to broaden the scope of the question and include my thoughts on how the west regarded the Bible, how Muslims regard the Quran, and how Hindus regard the vast variety of literature that we have inherited over the centuries - especially the ancient texts that have been maintained by oral transmission.

Western liberalism and freedom of expression have allowed the Bible to be dissected and thrown open for examination for internal consistencies and even rejection. But even before that the Bible has been exposed to rejection by Islam. I am uncertain about finer points and to what extent Islam accepts the Bible per se. But dissing the Bible and rejecting it seems quite OK.

As regards the Quran, there is no question of dissing or criticizing. Long ago Islam, while being critical of all other faiths made it clear that the Quran could be rejected only on pain of death. The Quran has to be accepted "as is" and has become an unchangeable symbol of faith for Muslims.

Now what about old Hindu texts? How do Hindus see them? Are they unchangeable symbols of faith like the Quran, or are they open to be dissected dissed and discarded like the Bible?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby ShauryaT » 09 May 2016 20:06

shiv wrote:Now what about old Hindu texts? How do Hindus see them? Are they unchangeable symbols of faith like the Quran, or are they open to be dissected dissed and discarded like the Bible?
Since there is no direct comparison, the answer also necessarily is not direct. Think of SD as many religions and you are asking how do the many religions within SD together in the composite compare with another single religion in another region.

Divide the world of SD into Brahmanic and Shramanic traditions. Broadly, ones that uphold the veda and the other that does not. In the latter part come traditions of Jaina, Buddha and Sikhs. Some want to exclude them from the fold of SD, but I firmly include them in it for good reason and so does our supreme court.

Within the Brahmanic traditions, which can be further divided into six major categories. The texts are indeed numerous including the many vedangas, the upanishads the two itihaasas, the 18 major puraans. Then of course we have the dharma shastras (law books), at least 26 major one's as documented into six volumes by PV Kane. There is a classification of these texts into sruti and smriti. The smriiti's intent is clearly for its times and hence time and space bound. These include the dharma shastras (law books) and the two itihaas of Ramaayan and MB. But in practice the itihaas are used widely to provide guidance on what Dharma is and its stories and analogies used constantly through multiple generations. Same thing for the puraans (in that i do not find the puraans being sruti and itihassa being smriti helpful - Arvind Doshi an academic of Indology, I like has some good write ups on this aspect).

For the purpose of dwelling only on the "older" texts, I am not including the massive interpretive works done by folks such as MadhavAcharya, Shankara, Kumarila Bhatta, Kapila, patanjali, tantric texts from Kashmir and many, many others). Most people today indeed use many of these interpretive texts and not the original, but that is a separate matter. The lack of knowledge of Sanskrit has been an issue.

The brahmanic traditions usually use the puraan and itihaas as guidance markers. Where it is clearly expected that what you make of your Dharma, is up to you to define and act upon. The dharma shastras (law books) being "non implementable" frameworks today are largely ignored but in eras or regions where a monarch or republic did indeed follow these shastras, usually a king's council acted as the "judges". But its execution was more dependent upon bottom up frameworks. A karta being responsible for a family, the panchayat for the local community, gram panchayat for a group of communities. Where laws were deemed to be violated they were referred to the prosecution system in place and ultimately punishment was enforceable by the King's order or orders in his name by the council and its functionaries downstream. Even here there was no one definitive law book at most a dominant one used or created for its times. Most dharma shastras "claimed" adherence to the principles of the vedas, including a process of "precedence" as claimed by modern law books.

The vedas, the one definitive source of brahmanic texts lost its interpretive capabilities as I believe they were largely metaphysical. There is a latent attempt to interpret them again. However, what has been retained are the words and the interpretive rituals (brahmanas) quite nicely through the oral traditions. The rejection of the vedas by the Shramanic groups is not a rejection of the Samhitas and their meanings, it is more a rejection of the associated brahmanas and rituals.

At the end of the day, our traditions combined all the knowledge of the seers and enforced them through a Dharma Shastra in that region, time and space bound. These shastras were applicable to ALL regardless of whether they were brahmanic or shamanic tradition followers.

Without these Dharma Shastras, as enforceable (to whatever degree) ALL of our texts are now open to massive interpretations, misinterpretations along with the deracinations and invasions that have occurred in the social, political and psychological spaces.

IOW: It is one f***ing big mess for an honest practitioner with NO defining walls. Many have tackled this by segregating the "secular" from the "spiritual" a segregation that in the best of societies is tenuous and in Indian society is a fraud. Since the freedoms to practice your own beliefs always existed and plurality of beliefs was never an issue in our traditions, there is no question today of "adherence" to a single view of the traditions or the texts.

A process needs to be undertaken to construct some new dharma shastras, keeping in view the principles, objectives and goals of dharma and respecting its traditions and evolutions, changing those that needs changing but keep its principles intact. This is only for those who believe that these principles are humane and valuable in the first place and not for those who believe there were some fundamental flaws in these principles, values and goals of SD.

Questioning the meaning of the Vedas has never been an issue as attested in the upanishads itself. So, the problem has never been, if the texts can be questioned. But at the end of the day, all these questions stopped at the gates of a "state" which has to govern with a common minimum program. The Dharma Shastras.

I look upon this new unified republic as an opportunity to reconstruct a dharma shastra, to preserve its civilization continium, who's goals are worthy and rewards sweet and fulfilling.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby kenop » 14 May 2016 16:02

IMVHO all the western concepts wrt India can be simply understood with reference to their own situation.
As it is clear from the discussions here, the west had a Church, Feudal oppressed society. The "soveriginity of God" over the whole universe being outsourced to these two entities gave rise to the "rights" at a later time was also discussed here.
On the first contact with India, there was a natural need to fit all the data within their own frameworks. So, the "enlightened" people who came to India (and recognized the oppression by the Church/Feudals) tried to identify the clergy of Indian society (which in strict terms) did not exist. The closest they could find were Brahmins, who by definition were only keepers of the knowledge/Dharma and not expected to be hoarders of the riches/power. But necessity demanded that the whole trash be heaped upon them and you have the hatred for them started and institutionalized over time. The other aspect is that if the trustees of the core of the civilization can be destroyed, the civilization itself can be exterminated. The project is still unfinished but the hatred for Brahmins persists with the additional feature of seepage of hatred towards the whole "upper castes" continuum.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 05 Jun 2016 16:30

This article is a keeper. This German lady has diagnosed Indians perfectly. My pranaam to you respected lady.
When Germany is Christian, is India Hindu?

First a quote: Then I will post the whole article
In my early days in India, I thought that every Indian knew and valued his tradition. Slowly I realized that I was wrong. The British colonial masters had been successful in not only weaning away many of the elite from their ancient tradition but even making them despise it. It helped that the ‘educated’ class could no longer read the original Sanskrit texts and believed what the British told them. This lack of knowledge and the brainwashing by the British education may be the reason why many ‘modern’ Indians are against anything ‘Hindu’. They don’t realize the difference between western religions that have to be believed (or at least professed) blindly, and which discourage if not forbid their adherents to think on their own and the multi-layered Hindu Dharma which gives freedom and encourages using one’s intelligence.


Whole article
Though I live in India since long, there are still some points that I find hard to understand – for example why many so called educated Indians on TV discussion forums become agitated whenever ‘Hindutva’ is mentioned. The majority of Indians are Hindus. India is special because of its ancient Hindu tradition. Westerners are drawn to India because of it. Why then is there this resistance by many Indians to acknowledge the Hindu roots of their country? Why do some people even give the impression as if an India that values those Hindu roots was dangerous? Don’t they know better?

Their attitude is strange for two reasons. First, those people have a problem only with ‘Hindu’ India, but not with ‘Muslim’ or ‘Christian’ countries. Germany for example, is a secular country and only 59 percent of the population are registered with the two big Christian Churches (Protestant and Catholic). Nevertheless, the country is bracketed under ‘Christian countries’. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, stressed recently the Christian roots of Germany and urged the population ‘to go back to Christian values’. In 2012, she postponed her trip to the G-8 summit for a day to address the German Catholic Day. In September 2011, the Pope was invited to address the German Parliament. Two major political parties carry ‘Christian’ in their name, including Angela Merkel’s ruling party. Government agencies even collect the Church tax (8 percent of the income tax) and pass it on to the Churches.

Germans are not agitated that Germany is called a Christian country, though I actually would understand if they were. After all, the history of the Church is appalling. The so called success story of Christianity depended greatly on tyranny. “Convert or die”, were the options given not only to the indigenous population in America some five hundred years ago. In Germany, too, 1200 years ago, the emperor Karl the Great ordered the death sentence for refusal of baptism in his newly conquered realms. It provoked his advisor Alkuin to comment: ‘One can force them to baptism, but how to force them to believe?’’ Heresy was put down with an iron hand. I still remember a visit to the Nuremberg castle prison as a school kid. There, we were shown the torture chamber and the torture instruments that were used during inquisition. Unbelievable cruelty!

Those times, when one’s life was in danger if one dissented with the dogmas of the Church, are thankfully over. And nowadays many in the west do dissent and leave the Church in a steady stream – in Germany alone over 2 million officially signed out in the last ten years and during a survey in 2011, 5,5 million Germans ‘considered’ leaving the Church – partly because they are disgusted with the less than holy behavior of Church officials and partly because they can’t believe in the dogmas, for example that ‘Jesus is the only way’ and that God sends all those who don’t accept this to hell.

And here comes the second reason why the resistance to associate India with Hindutva by Indians is difficult to understand. Hinduism is in a different category from the Abrahamic religions. Its history, compared to Christianity and Islam was undoubtedly the least violent as it spread in ancient times by convincing arguments and not by force. It is not a belief system that demands blind belief in dogmas and the suspension of one’s intelligence. On the contrary, Hinduism encourages using one’s intelligence to the hilt. The rishis enquired into truth, discovered universal laws and showed how to live life in an ideal way. Hinduism (please don’t get irritated by this ’modern’ word. In today’s world it is in use for the many streams of Sanatana Dharma) comprises a huge body of ancient literature, not only regarding Dharma and philosophy, but also regarding music, architecture, dance, science, astronomy, economics, politics, etc. If Germany or any other western country had this kind of literary treasure, it would be so proud and highlight its greatness on every occasion.Yet we Germans have to be content with only one ‘ancient’ epic which was written around 800 years ago and probably refers to incidents around 400 AD. That is how far back ‘antiquity’ reaches in Europe, and of course children in Germany hear of this epic, called ‘Nibelungenlied’, in school. Naturally westerners consider the existence of Sri Krishna and Sri Rama as myths. How could they acknowledge a civilization much more ancient and much more refined than their own?
Inexplicably, Indians cater to western arrogance and ignorance by downplaying and even denying their tradition. There is a “Copernicus Marg’ in New Delhi and Indian children do not get to hear in school that the rishis of the Rg Veda knew already that the earth is round and goes around the sun – thousands of years before westerners ‘discovered’ it. (Rg 10’22’14)
When I read some Upanishads, I was stunned at the profundity. Here was expressed in clear terms what I intuitively had felt to be true, but could not have expressed clearly. Brahman is not partial; it is the invisible, indivisible essence in everything. Everyone gets again and again a chance to discover the ultimate truth and is free to choose his way back to it. Helpful hints are given but not imposed.

In my early days in India, I thought that every Indian knew and valued his tradition. Slowly I realized that I was wrong. The British colonial masters had been successful in not only weaning away many of the elite from their ancient tradition but even making them despise it. It helped that the ‘educated’ class could no longer read the original Sanskrit texts and believed what the British told them. This lack of knowledge and the brainwashing by the British education may be the reason why many ‘modern’ Indians are against anything ‘Hindu’. They don’t realize the difference between western religions that have to be believed (or at least professed) blindly, and which discourage if not forbid their adherents to think on their own and the multi-layered Hindu Dharma which gives freedom and encourages using one’s intelligence.

Many of the educated class do not realize that on one hand, westerners, especially those who dream to impose their own religion on this vast country, will applaud them for denigrating Hindu Dharma, because this helps western universalism to spread in India. On the other hand, many westerners, including Church people, very well know the value and surreptitiously appropriate insights from the vast Indian knowledge system, drop the original source and present it either as their own or make it look as if these insights had been known in the west.

Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation has done painstaking research in this field and has documented many cases of “digestion” of Dharma civilization into western universalism. Hindu civilization is gradually being depleted of its valuable, exclusive assets and what is left is dismissed as inferior.

If only missionaries denigrated Hindu Dharma, it would not be so bad, as they clearly have an agenda which discerning Indians would detect. But sadly, Indians with Hindu names assist them because they wrongly believe that Hinduism is inferior to western religions. They belittle everything Hindu instead of getting thorough knowledge. As a rule, they know little about their tradition except what the British told them, i.e. that the major features are caste system and idol worship. They don’t realize that India would gain, not lose, if it solidly backed its profound and all inclusive Hindu tradition. The Dalai Lama said some time ago that already as a youth in Lhasa, he had been deeply impressed by the richness of Indian thought. “India has great potential to help the world,” he added. When will the westernized Indian elite realize it?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 07 Jun 2016 05:29

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/opini ... d-yet.html
Justin E.H. Smith in the NYT illustrates why the Purana is superior to any history.

We are supposed to find some solace these days in the assurance that Donald Trump is “not Hitler.” One reasonable response is this: Of course he isn’t. Only Hitler is Hitler, and he died in a bunker in 1945. There is no such thing as reincarnation, and history is nothing more than a long, linear series of individual people and events that come and go. It is, as the saying goes, “just one damn thing after another.”

This quip is in part a rejection of the idea that history is, or might someday be, a sort of science in which we subsume particular events under general laws. This idea motivated Hegel to conceptualize human history as a law-governed dialectical process of the “unfolding of absolute Spirit.”

Marx in turn eliminated the ghost from Hegel’s system, and conceived the process of history as one of material relations between classes. But it, too, remained bound by general laws, so that when any historical actors did this or that (crossed the Rubicon, repealed the Edict of Nantes, etc.), they did so not so much as individuals, but as vessels of a historical process that would be unfolding even if they had never existed.

Even when Marx facetiously riffs on Hegel’s claim that historical facts and personages always appear twice — by adding that they do so the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce — he is still perpetuating the very serious idea that individual people and happenings in history are instances of something more general.

But what would it mean for the “same event” to happen again? What are the criteria of sameness? How alike do two individuals have to be in order to be paired? How much does this repetition depend on the individuals themselves, and how much on the similarity of external circumstances? Can we really compare the United States at present to the late Roman Empire or to the Hittites just before their collapse, given how much we know to have changed in human societies since antiquity?


History seems to present us with a choice between two undesirable options: If it is just one singular thing after another, then we can derive no general laws or regularities from it, and so we would seem to have no hope of learning from it; but when we do try to draw lessons from it, we lapse all too easily into such a simplified version of the past, with a handful of stock types and paradigm events, that we may as well just have made it up. History seems to be a pointless parade of insignificant events until we shape it into something that has significance for us, until we build myths out of it, until we begin using it to make up stories.

This is what makes it so easy and tempting to weaponize history, to forgo any interest in “how it actually was” — to use the 19th-century historian Leopold von Ranke’s definition of the true goal of the study of history — and to bend it toward our own present ends.


Purana is neither a pointless parade of insignificant events nor is it a weaponized history bent towards our present ends; rather it is structured to promote dharma.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 07 Jun 2016 06:15

History seems to be a pointless parade of insignificant events until we shape it into something that has significance for us, until we build myths out of it, until we begin using it to make up stories.

This is one of the most concise definitions of history and how it is used. In fact Balu said exactly this in different words when he referred to the manner in which Protestantism created history and weaponized it for their ends

And yes that is why the Puranas do not fit into the mold of a pointless parade of events that have been molded and weaponized to achieve a particular goal.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby maxratul » 16 Sep 2016 12:27

So all of us have heard our National Song, Vande Mataram, officially set in Raag Desh.
However, it was not always so. I found a super rare 1920 recording of the verses set in Raag Brindavani Sarang and sung by Pt. Vishnupant Pagnis, and the result is pretty much awe inspiring. So I made this video to share it with all of you!
All credit to Mr Rajan Parrikar whose site is a great resource for Indian Classical Music lovers

http://www.parrikar.org/

https://www.facebook.com/maxratul/video ... 9841199612

(youtube decided to mute the video due to some ridiculous copyright claim, hence fb)

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby panduranghari » 16 Sep 2016 12:53

That was quite beautiful. Many thanks.

Vishnupant Pagnis portrayed the lead role in Sant Tukaram film produced by Damle-Fattelal's Prabhat films. It still is a wonderful movie to watch.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 19 Sep 2016 19:49

One possible way of looking at Indians at large is "Eager to hear new ideas, but naive, gullible"

Things have been done to our minds that we don't even realize until we sit and think about it - or have it pointed out to us.

One of the biggest fukups in our brains is the concept of conservatism and liberalism as misunderstood and misused by Indians who like to call themselves "intellectuals". Traditional Indian thought never split opinions up into "conservative" and "liberal". A whole slew of ideas were discussed as "schools of thought" and not as political movements to make society behave in a particular manner.

When the Brits sat in India at the peak of their imperial power Britain and Europe were going through the pangs of change from conservative societies to liberal, but what we Indians understood from that must be viewed in the context of what "conservatism" was in Europe and what "liberals" were doing.

In Christian Europe, "conservatism" was essentially Christian values of morality and societal behaviour as well as ideas of women's roles, sex, land ownership, human rights and expression of ideas outside of what the Christian church was willing to tolerate. I think there was an additional layer that was imposed - based on Protestant ideas. The industrial revolution called for thousands of "workers" to be usefully employed. Later the recruitment of millions of men into armies in WW 1 called for the recruitment of women into factories after which the "old conservative" ideas of a woman looking after the home and children were gradually demolished.

Indian society was completely different. A non industrial society and the lack of male-gendercical wars like WW 1 did not call for women to be "looked down" upon as "mere housewives". Housewife has become such a demeaning word now that it has been replaced by "home-maker". From the Indian societal standpoint - ruled essentially by dharma the woman had a role at home. However even that role is greatly misunderstood - actually women ended up doing a great deal of labour in addition to household duties. What this meant was that the role of women in Indian society was not an exact copy-paste of European society. There were aspects of the Indian woman's role that were "illiberal" by any standards which made it look like Indian women were worse than European women - in that they sat at home, unseen by outsiders and were "not allowed to go out and work". But on the other hand a lot of essential non-factory food processing and farming work was done by women. They were not "salaried" and hence unemployed and "a waste" of human resources. But cultural practices related to India - the processing of seasonal products were linked with festivals and the woman's role which went far beyond "Sunday best" on Sundays, and a Christmas and Easter. Some of the more subtle differences in gender role have not been looked at by Indian sociologists outside of a European "Indological" lens. Indian ritual life, family life diet and society are linked to the land, seasons and produce, and this societal difference cannot be simply dismissed as "conservative", to be replaced by the new. For example the controversy about "maternity leave" arises when the "conservative" role of woman as bearer of children grinds incompatibly against the modern liberal 8 hours a day "factory coolie". In India we have never ever examined whether the societal structure we want is better than the structure there was and why the new is better and old is bad. We have never examined whether freedom that we try and promote actually removes certain other freedoms - such as the freedom to live a spiritual life in relative poverty and not be forced by modern economics into abject destitution because of the bulldozer that takes us towards "employment for all", money essential for all. money only from employment, full life possible only with more money. I say all this from the viewpoint of a sceptic who asks - "if modern scientific progress is based on evidence, and evidence comes from studies, what studies have been done to show that one form of society is better than the other?"

Yet our "liberals" rail at "conservatives" and our "conservatives" curse and rant at our liberals - but neither have managed to analyse and define Indian societal norms in any way except what western sociological experience tells us. We are coolies all who hate each other based on what we think of each other based on Western literature and Western commentators.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 19 Sep 2016 22:37

shiv wrote:
History seems to be a pointless parade of insignificant events until we shape it into something that has significance for us, until we build myths out of it, until we begin using it to make up stories.

This is one of the most concise definitions of history and how it is used. In fact Balu said exactly this in different words when he referred to the manner in which Protestantism created history and weaponized it for their ends

And yes that is why the Puranas do not fit into the mold of a pointless parade of events that have been molded and weaponized to achieve a particular goal.


History is pointless BUT...

We have been forced to undertake this exercise precisely b/c the West fabricates its own version of it and foists it on us to create fissures in society.

Brahmanical Hinduism => Caste System => Buddha offers salvation => Brahmanical Hinduism coup d' etat => Current societal oppression of lower castes and dalits


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