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Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Kuttan
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Kuttan » 27 Apr 2002 08:39

Since I'll probably be going off into a long cooling-off period following this, let me make one more post and ask a few questions of my own regarding BRF:

1. What percentage of BRF postors:

a) are women
b) are not Hindu

2. Is this representative of the demographics of India, or of Indian-origin people outside India?

3. Why?

4. How have these percentages changed in the past 3 years?

5. Why?

6. Given the answers which I can figure out for myself to the above, is BRF a fair representation of India, or is it pretty-much a hangout of one very particular demographic subset - sort of equivalent to what is called a "redneck bar" in the part of the world where I live?

Of course I could give the standard brush-off answer: "the internet is a free medium where people participate in anything which interests them, and no one is stopping them from participating in BRF". But there may, just may, be some of us who feel sad about this situation, because it really could be a lot better as a forum for discussion about India.

And that, I submit, has a lot to do with the issue of "what defines Indianness"..

Atish
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Atish » 27 Apr 2002 09:30

In any military forum, the proportion of women would be minimal. As for the rest, in Carl's defense, right now self censorship worked pretty well (should be better). Also we dont have any idea of the religious affiliation of members. What I do know is that there are a large number of atheists/ agnostics.

If admins propose, I am willing to delete any of my posts, though I dont think I have violated the rules in letter and spirit.

shiv
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 27 Apr 2002 17:49

A Palestinian student in my college hostel used to describe Pakistanis as "Indian". An drunken Algerian I met at the bar in Edinburgh station called Pakistanis "Indian".

There are some "average" cultural characteristics that seem to light up the "Indian" warning light. These lights come on even in that exam hall in Edinburgh, full of Egyptians, Pakistanis, Italians, Spanish, Algerians, Zimbabweans, Chileans, Australians, Nigerians, Indians, Bangladeshis, Chinese, Malaysians and Sri Lankans. The "Indian subcontinent" types gravitate together in the unfamiliar cold and bump into each other in the curry restaurants and bed and breakfast joints and not in the pubs. The distinctions are blurred but one tends to notice and positively identify them and there is sometimes a tendency to want to "connect" for whatever reason.

Yes it does go wrong. The Indian is occasionally mistaken by an Iranian as a compatriot and only a short exchange of information leads to clarification and subsequent lack of interest in each other. The girl walking in front of you is wrapped up against the cold. She has petite (thin? scrawny?) calves of undefined color in those stockings and that strikes a chord. "Voila! The hair is black - maybe I have chance here." A stare as you overtake shows that she is probably Chinese. "Ooops. Sorry. Maybe my chances are not that high" :)

Why should these vague cultural characteristics be called "Indianness"? They could well be called "Pakistaniness" or "Bangladeshiness" or "Sri-Lankanness" The answer lies mainly in history - the vague defining features of "Indianness" have been around for far longer than any of the other names. History continues to play a role by the accident that the geographical entity (bound by a line) "India" still holds the maximum number of people definable by their characteristic, if fuzzy, "Indianness"

Every new wave of people that came to the fuzzy geographic confines of India added their genes, culture and technology to "India" but those that stayed gradually took on chracteristics of "Indianness". I have links to genetic studies of Indians that seem to show that they are pretty much related to each other. Never mind what is done on the outside, but something completely different has gone on under the bedsheets. Nobody really knows much about "India" before history was recorded by those Chinese travellers and by the snippets brought back by Alexander's soldiers. All prior knowledge was in "memes" handed down as stories and legends. But Indianness seems to have transcended physical and religious boundaries due to some pervasive compulsion.

So what does all this mean to Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans? Well - if they are comfortable being mistaken for Indians and are yet able to maintain their identity, that is fine. If they don't like it, the onus is on them to live down or somehow disown their "Indianness" while highlighting and projecting their own identity - Pakistaniness or Bangladeshiness or whatever.

What about Indians, both Indian citizens and those who feel Indian even if they are not citizens of India? My opinions here. I thinks it behooves every Indian citizen to try and be a useful citizen - actively following the laws of the land and trying to facilitate the following of the Indian constitution in letter and spirit. And those Indians who are not citizens - India must be grateful to them for any help they can provide - which they often do without asking for anything in return, and be prepared to extend to them the warmth and love that Indianness gives you.

shiv
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 27 Apr 2002 17:58

Originally posted by Carl:
but i wish there were other organized forums that could discuss "sensitive" topics in a serious, sincere and frank manner. some of these sensitive topics are definitely relevant,
If BRF is unique and popular - it worries me.

Surely there need not be one "mother of all" Indian forums. BRF were meant to occupy a specialized niche right from the beginning.

I would certainly like to see a "hundred flowers bloom" - a hundred serious Indian fora crop up and let everything be said.

I have been part of controlled posting environments - popular BBSes if you like - for something like 7 years now, and have some strong views on the requirements for moderation of a forum that will allow much discussion and yet suppress or discourage flippant, irrelevant or obscene posts - which certainly put off many serious people.

Regarding N.'s view of this forum as a redneck bar equivalent - well yes, of course. I think net sociologists are still trying to figure out why and how anonymous bboards get populated and used the way they do. They represent a subset of something - but BRF a subset of India? Don't know - and it's off topic anyway.

Sahastra
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Sahastra » 28 Apr 2002 00:52

1. What percentage of BRF postors:

a) are women


Yeah, Admins had better come out with some numbers/figures.

I am interested too. :)

P.S: I am still searching for an answer to Indianness. Maybe i'll get one, once the India-WI cricket series gets over.

Agnimitra
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Agnimitra » 28 Apr 2002 03:27

To narayanan:
Its amusing the way you keep putting my name in quotes.
Anyways, like my last post said, I don't intend to go against the sacrosanct guidelines of this forum. That should have been enough I think. As for other suitable forums, I'll find one myself. Your types can choose to not discuss certain issues in order to avoid the unpleasantness of an unfailing tantrum from any one party.
Have a nice day.

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby S Bajwa » 29 Apr 2002 20:28

Ai aab-e-raud-e-Ganga wo din yaad hai tujhko
Utra tere kinaare jab kaarwa hamara
True... but Iqbal also says about his Indian civilisation that

Misr-o-Roma sab mit gaye jahan se, ab tak magar hai baaki jaano-nihaan hamara.
(Egypt, Roman, Greeks all are gone but our Civilisation still carries on..).

He wrote several poems on Ramchandra, Krishna, Buddha, Nanak, etc Here is his couplet about Nanak.

Sada Tauhid ki phir uthi Punjaab se, Hind ko ik Mard-e-Kaamil ne jagaya khwaab se
"the voice of sanity arose from Punjab, India was awakened by this great-man"

I think Iqbal was a patriot Indian yet wanted to go along with his co-religionists. He asked for a Muslim state inside Indian union and not a "Separate State as Pakistan"., Iqbal was basically for "United states of India".

He was dead in 1938 while the call for Pakistan was declared at Lahore in 1940 (two years after his death), so he never heard about a separate country for Muslims to be carved out of India., and it is totally wrong to doubt his Indian patriotism., remember he wrote Indian national song... "Sare Jahan se acchaa".

Sai
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Sai » 29 Apr 2002 20:34

Vague answer to a question that I do not fully comprehend: my Indianness constists of: my love for the land and its people, my cultural conditioning and the belief that only India and its people can sustain and nourish that culture. Perhaps this is a circular definition.

Atish
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Atish » 29 Apr 2002 23:23

Originally posted by sbajwa:
Ai aab-e-raud-e-Ganga wo din yaad hai tujhko
Utra tere kinaare jab kaarwa hamara
True... but Iqbal also says about his Indian civilisation that

Misr-o-Roma sab mit gaye jahan se, ab tak magar hai baaki jaano-nihaan hamara.
(Egypt, Roman, Greeks all are gone but our Civilisation still carries on..).

I think Iqbal was a patriot Indian yet wanted to go along with his co-religionists. He asked for a Muslim state inside Indian union and not a "Separate State as Pakistan"., Iqbal was basically for "United states of India".

He was dead in 1938 while the call for Pakistan was declared at Lahore in 1940 (two years after his death), so he never heard about a separate country for Muslims to be carved out of India., and it is totally wrong to doubt his Indian patriotism., remember he wrote Indian national song... "Sare Jahan se acchaa".
All the above couplets are from sare jehan se accha.

Iqbal wrote a lot of stuff. Not a consistent guy. Also wrote poems praising and hoping for continuation of British rule. So not a reliable guy, fickle almost.

Correction to sbajwa's couplet, should read:

Yunan Misr-o-Roma sab mit gaye jahan se,
ab tak magar hai baaki naamo nishaan hamara.

What he called for is dependent on definition of 'state'. We can only make conjectures about what he meant. Though I tend to agree with Bajwa's interpretation.

Atish.

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby krsai » 29 Apr 2002 23:52

On the similar front, is it possible to draft a brief about American-ness, British-ness, German-ness, SA-ness, Ausie-ness, French-ness, Chinese-ness, Japanes-ness, Russian-ness, etc.

"-ness" I guess more or less describing "behavior"... There could be some common behavior that exists in all types of "-ness"-es but there ought to be something different for being "Indian".

I feel, Indian-ness {"We" = "!Generalized!"}:

- Culture and Religious teachings remain more or less the same through out India, though different languages exists.

- We are a race normally would accept reasonable invasions as we feel we have more than enough to give.

- We are less competitive in Sports world relative to many big nations.

- We attain complacency very quick, and feel inferior by color but superior by thoughts, especially culture and family values. Foreigners are firang {superior color} and the fairer you are, better is your life concept...

- Our public actions are less democratic in nature. We do not share the same right as some else deserves in public.

- We have less sacrificers for the nation compared to the billions we have. Instead we have many nation looters and corrupted people in the whole world- We loot our own country and looting our own men is considered okay, as long as "phirangs" don't do that! {pakis are phirang!?, I don't know - they merge quite well in public, and also in BR forum - I understand how difficult is for some-one to refrain from thinking against/like paki}.

- Fundamentally, our socialistic behavior is very very corrupted. Only a behaviorla revolution can change theses bad behaviors we have.

imho, In a nutshell, We & Our Indian-ness are ARCHAIC by nature {in both good and bad sense}.

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Umrao » 29 Apr 2002 23:53

If one doesnt care about India then he is Indian Resident!!!

krsai
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby krsai » 29 Apr 2002 23:55

Originally posted by John Umrao:
If one doesnt care about India then he is Indian Resident!!!
A master-piece of a "nutshell" writing!
John you are super-de-dooper!

Guest

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Guest » 30 Apr 2002 11:19

Indianness cannoe be an exclusive property for those who live in India only. Those Indians who were born in Britain or US or elsewhere and hold British citizenship are identified as Indians so what? If Pakistanis are identified as Indians there is no problems except that someone mix up their terror image for Indians in general! Otherwise Pakistan was and is part and parcel of India.. if British did not divide it or instigated the religious communalism among them. British still hold responsibility for what is happening in India even today because they were openly in favour of communalising people during their regime. Just imagine if majority of Pakistanis were not Muslims, they would have remained with this great nation as Indians. I do not find any problem with Pakis who tend to identify themselves or happy with an identify of Indian because many of them are ashamed of being called Pakistanis and with an identity of terrorised nation of Mush.
If others call Pakistanis Indians they recognise India still to be the subcontinent rather than a nation. Here our own political leaders are making us to be ashamed of our own nation by instigation communal violence. It makes people like us who were born to Thiagis (freedom fighters) very angry because these communal forces are selling our nation to others and destroying it by instigating in the name of religion.
Where is Gandhi? Where are Thiagis? Indianness was made up of these people's characters. Now where are such characters? Why are you silent?

Agnimitra
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Agnimitra » 30 Apr 2002 12:16

Yeah Atish, sbajwa, Iqbal did write a lot like that too. One of his anthologies (Zarb-e-Kaleem or Baal-e-Jibreel) begins with a quote from the Sanskrit poet Bhartrihari. Atish is correct when he says that Iqbal was a little inconsistent.

After all this discussion about 'Indianness' on this thread, I feel a little silly reading the some of the more dogmatic posts here, including my own. Forget all the civilizational/racial/idealogical bulls**t. At the end of it all, I say only this-- Anyone who feels loyalty to the Indian State, and an affection for Indian culture, is Indian. The only 'condition' I would now attach is that this feeling should be at a level that makes it permanent and consistent, and not fickle.

That's about it from me on this thread! :)

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Ponniyin Selvan » 30 Apr 2002 15:31

Originally posted by Sridhar:
Badar:

I see your point now and agree with you. Ultimately, the line on the map defines us. Why it is not apparent to us is that we take the line as given and then start looking beyond that.
A big "me too" for Badar and Sridhar. I confess that I didn't really think in terms of line on a map, but if I reflect on my "Indianness", that is the most accurate view I can pick.

Culturally I'm a Hindu, born and brought up in TN, although my Tamizh is pretty hideous, and I can't read more than a short-story at a stretch :(

Line on the map is actually important for more than one reason. Without it, it permits people to frame the dialogue so that everybody conforms to their view, or else they are "anti-national". Just as a pseudo-secularism where people don't really believe in secularism is evil, so is pseudo-nationalism.

Ultimately, what is important is an unquestioning sense of Indian-ness. It doesn't come with any riders, and leaves the individual free to be proud of any other ethnic/linguistic/regional identity. Donwside of cours is that encourages casteist identity. But then, we cannot drag India kicking and screaming through a narrow hole in a hedge. The hedge has to be cut down and we celebrate our diversity.

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Sai » 30 Apr 2002 17:41

Originally posted by k r sai:
On the similar front, is it possible to draft a brief about American-ness, British-ness, German-ness, SA-ness, Ausie-ness, French-ness, Chinese-ness, Japanes-ness, Russian-ness, etc.
That suggests another way of answering the original question, which is by answering this question :-) : what, if removed from Indianness, makes it indistinguishable from other x-nesses?

JE Menon
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby JE Menon » 30 Apr 2002 20:10

Now if this thread is itself not a sign of "Indianness", I don't know what is.

All we need now is for someone to throw in an equation.

Where are the IIT guys when you need them?

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby krsai » 30 Apr 2002 22:51

Let me try it JEM, Possibilties and Probabilities:
...
Indian-ness(Iu) = :Union: of all X-nesses ?
Indian-ness(Ii) = :Intersection: of all X-nesses ?
Indian-ness(I') = :Complement: of all X-nesses?(hi prob)
Indian-ness(iU') = :Complement: of Universal-ness!!!?? (hi probs :) )

did I miss any assumptions to begin with?

===PS:
Indian-ness(Ius) = (:Union: of some X-nesses) && (:Intersection: of some other X-nesses)
Indian-ness(Ius') = (:complement: of Ius).
Or
Indian-ness =
(Iuso :intersection: Ius') && (xiU') || iU'

where
xiU' = :complement: of Universal-ness, from all intersection of X-nesses.
Iuso = intersection of some other

:D
[Indian-ness]

Atish
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Atish » 30 Apr 2002 23:56

Carl,

I have a simpler definition.

Anybody who feels loyalty to the Indian state is an Indian.

As for culture, that might qualify Mushy to be an Indian.

Indian as in the political sense. And thats all thats important in the collective sense. For culture, that comprises belief system, language etc is a person's personal business.

ramana
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby ramana » 01 May 2002 01:05

H.E. the Polish Ambassador to India: [url=http://www.dailypioneer.com/secon3.asp?cat=\baz7&d=Bazaar]Desi by nature[/url]
---------------
Desi by nature
Anup Kutty

A Polish person with Indian influence" is how the ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Dr Krzysztof Majka, describes himself. The cooption, we must say, has been rapid given that he's done only five months of his diplomatic tenure.

"But I am not a newcomer," says he. "I came to India about 22 years ago as an exchange student to study at the Indian Institute of Science. The stay was supposed to be a short one but I ended up staying three and a half years in Mumbai."

The time in India rewarded him with a PhD. "I learnt a lot about the country while I was here and I really do love India. Like me, my family is also in love with the country."

Ask him what he likes about Indian culture and he says, "This country is made of so many different cultures that it is hard to point out one. But I like the different forms of dances here, although what I really love is the food."

He has travelled all over the country and claims to be fascinated by the fact that every state in India has a different culture, dance form and food.

Dr Majka says he enjoys South Indian food and makes it a point to eat it whenever he can. Says he, "Although there is no specific Indian food, since every state has a different menu, I relish dosas with chutney, sambhar and rasam, as does my family. At home, we often eat Indian food. In fact, my wife uses Indian spices for most types of food." According to Dr Majka, his home back in Poland has more of an Indian influence than Polish. "My house in Poland has lots of Indian handicrafts. Instead of Polish paintings, we have batiks on our walls. Our carpets are also from India."

Our ambassador also loves collecting Indian musical instruments. He has a rather large collection and he is trying to learn how to play each one of them. "I really love the tabla. I bought one and am trying very hard to play," says he. If the feeling is right, the beat will catch on!

Agnimitra
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Agnimitra » 01 May 2002 01:53

Originally posted by Atish:
Indian as in the political sense. And thats all thats important in the collective sense. For culture, that comprises belief system, language etc is a person's personal business.
Well almost. Culture is not a purely individual thing. One aspect of a culture is how it relates to differences with itself.
So finally, I would put it this way--ANY cultural preferance is fine. The ONLY thing about that cultural preferance that needs pointing out, is TOLERANCE for other cultural preferances. So I guess attitude towards (sub-)cultural differences is the only thing that is important in being defined as an Indian.
I think the fathers of the Constitution said as much! Do your own thing as long as you do not offend your neighbour. After going around in circles I think I'm gonna agree with that :D Not adding or subtracting anything.

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Atish » 01 May 2002 02:23

Well,

We still dont have to change the definition. There are some personal/cultural attitudes that are impossible to reconcile with the interests of the Indian state. Intolerance is one of them.

Please note that every Indian citizen (and people of Indian origin) etc is Indian and I am not denying that. Just my own view of an Indian in the political sense.

Hope I am not being nitpicky, just my engineering mind searching for a concise complete definition. After all, such questions have vexed committees of experts.

Atish.

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby SK Mody » 01 May 2002 03:59

JE Menon
Now if this thread is itself not a sign of "Indianness", I don't know what is.
All we need now is for someone to throw in an equation.
Where are the IIT guys when you need them?
k r sai
Let me try it JEM, Possibilties and Probabilities:
...
Indian-ness = (Iuso :intersection: Ius') && (xiU') || iU'
I see that Indian-ness(I') didn't effectively appear anywhere in the equation. So are you are implying that:-

( Indian-ness :intersection: (Iu)' ) != NULL iff iU' != NULL

? Profound!

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Aditi » 02 May 2002 16:36

"Are you Indian?

If yes, why do you say that? What makes you Indian? What constitutes Indianness?"

I was born in India, (and am resident in India). Forefathers Indian. Can not imagine being described as anything other than Indian. To me, Indian-ness is a sense of belonging to India. I know in my bones that I belong. Period.

"a)You are a Muslim from North India. Your family is and has always been Indian as far as you can remember. People from your family have been teachers or in the armed forces for generations. Yet you are asked if you are Pakistani. Are you Indian? Why?
b)You are from Nagaland and are a devout Christian. Your friends in college in Pune ask you if you are Chinese. Are you Indian. Why?"

I am Indian because I belong to India. If somebody calls me a Pakistani or Chinese that’s his problem, not mine. I may be hurt by his ignorance (and insensitive) comments because I am also human, but I am still an Indian. BTW, I am also a UP-ite, MP-ite, or Bihari. a Naga, Mizo, etc., and feel proud of my origin. There is no conflict in being a Naga and an Indian at the same time,…etc.

"c)You are from a tribe in central India. Your family are not allowed to share the water from a well that is owned by high caste people. You have managed to get a school education and a college degree in engineering in a reserved quota seat. Are you Indian? Why?"

I am Indian by birth and residence. My family, and my forefathers have faced the discrimination which they may have been conditioned to accept as part of life. With my education I do not accept such discrimination any more. I am a dalit, and also a dalit Indian, who fights for rights as an Indian within the framework of the Constitution of India.

"d)You are a Hindu Brahmin from a family that traces its lineage back to a pre-historic rishi. All your relatives are illustrious well-placed people. You suffered a little before getting into college because of this reservation business, but you got a merit seat and a scholarship and you topped your university. You live abroad and are pained at the way the country is being run by unqualified people. Are you Indian? Why?"

I am Indian, because emotionally I belong, resident status notwithstanding. I live abroad because of job requirements, circumstances, whatever. If ‘unqualified’ people run my country, I would naturally feel pained. (I however concede that ‘unqualified’ is a subjective point, has little or nothing to do with formal education… an educated crook running the country is far more ‘unqualified’ and dangerous than somebody with less education).

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby member_314 » 02 May 2002 17:20

Congrats Aditi! You have not only got the sense right but were able to articulate them clearly. I think your post was the best of the lot so far!

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby S Bajwa » 03 May 2002 02:42

Here is a link to a very moving story about 1947 and riots..

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Articleshow.asp?art_id=11695837

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Calvin » 06 May 2002 04:33

Topic: Garv se kahon ki hum Indian hain
Virata
Member
Member # 4184

posted 30 April 2002 07:48 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Shashi Tharoor

THE inevitable backlash to my column about the Gujarat horrors (and the version of it that was published in the New York Times) has come in, and a fair bit of it has taken the form of belligerent e-mails and assorted Internet fulminations from the less reflective of the Hindutva brigade. I have been excoriated as "anti-Hindu" and described by several as a "well-known leftist", which will no doubt amuse those of my friends who knew me in college 30 years ago as perhaps the sole supporter of Rajaji's Swatantra Party in those consensually socialist times.

One anguished member of the Parivar tried to whip up support for a full-page ad in the New York Times denouncing me, but fortunately his potential sponsors seem to have found the idea as risible as I did. And at least one correspondent, reminding me of the religion that has been mine from birth, succumbed to the temptation to urge me predictably to heed that well-worn slogan: "garv se kahon ki hum Hindu hain — Say with pride that we are Hindu".

All right, let us take him up on that. I am indeed proud that I am a Hindu. But of what is it that I am, and am not, proud?

I am not proud of my co-religionists attacking and destroying Muslim homes and shops. I am not proud of Hindus raping Muslim girls, or slitting the wombs of Muslim mothers.

I am not proud of Hindu vegetarians who have roasted human beings alive and rejoiced over the corpses. I am not proud of those who reduce the soaring majesty of the Upanishads to the petty bigotry of their own sense of identity, which they assert in order to exclude, not embrace, others.

I am proud, instead, that "Hindu fundamentalism" is a contradiction in terms because Hinduism is a religion without fundamentals: no organised church, no compulsory beliefs or rites of worship, no single sacred book and therefore no such thing as a Hindu heresy. I am proud that Hinduism is a civilisation, not a dogma. I am proud that India's pluralism is paradoxically sustained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of Indians are Hindus, because Hinduism has taught them to live amidst a variety of other identities.

I am proud to claim adherence to a religion without an established church or priestly papacy, a religion whose rituals and customs I am free to reject, a religion that does not oblige me to demonstrate my faith by any visible sign, by subsuming my identity in any collectivity, not even by a specific day or time or frequency of worship. (There is no Hindu Pope, no Hindu Vatican, no Hindu catechism, not even a Hindu Sunday.) As a Hindu I am proud to subscribe to a creed that is free of the restrictive dogmas of holy writ that refuses to be shackled to the limitations of a single holy book.

Above all, I am proud that as a Hindu I belong to the only major religion in the world that does not claim to be the only true religion. I find it immensely congenial to be able to face my fellow human beings of other faiths without being burdened by the conviction that I am embarked upon a "true path" that they have missed. Hinduism asserts that all ways of belief are equally valid, and Hindus readily venerate the saints, and the sacred objects, of other faiths.

I am proud that I can honour the sanctity of other faiths without feeling I am betraying my own. I am proud that Hinduism understands that faith is a matter of hearts and minds, not of bricks and stone. "Build Ram in your heart," the Hindu is enjoined; and if Ram is in your heart, it will little matter where else he is, or is not.

I am proud of those Hindus, like the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, who say that Hindus and Muslims must live like Ram and Lakshman in India. I am not proud of those Hindus, like "Sadhvi" Rithambhara, who say that Muslims are like sour lemons curdling the milk of Hindu India. I am not proud of those who suggest that only a Hindu, and only a certain kind of Hindu, can be an authentic Indian. I am not proud of those Hindus who say that people of other religions live in India only on their sufferance, and not because they belong on our soil.

I am proud of those Hindus who realise that an India that denies itself to some of us could end up being denied to all of us. I am proud of those Hindus who utterly reject Hindu communalism, conscious that the communalism of the majority is especially dangerous because it can present itself as nationalist. I am proud of those Hindus who respect the distinction between Hindu nationalism and Indian nationalism.

Obviously, majorities are never seen as "separatist", since separatism is by definition pursued by a minority. But majority communalism is in fact an extreme form of separatism, because it seeks to separate other Indians, integral parts of our country, from India itself. I am proud of those Hindus who recognise that the saffron and the green both belong equally on the flag. The reduction of non-Hindus to second-class status in their own homeland is unthinkable. It would be a second Partition: and a partition In the Indian soul would be as bad as a partition in the Indian soil.

For Hindus like myself, the only possible idea of India is that of a nation greater than the sum of its parts. That is the only India that will allow us to call ourselves not Brahmins, not Bengalis, not Hindus, not Hindi-speakers, but simply Indians. How about another slogan for Hindus like me? Garv se kahon ki hum Indian hain.

Shashi Tharoor is the
author of Riot. Visit him at www.shashitharoor.com
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Kedar Bhandary
Member
Member # 3819

posted 30 April 2002 10:29 AM
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Virata, good article by Shashi Tharoor even though I feel that this thread will have a shorter lifespan than a samosa on Shammi Kapoor's plate.

The Pariwaris should change the slogan like this:

Garv se kaho ki hum Sangh Pariwari hain
Garv se kahete hai ki hum Bharat ki tulna Pakistan aur Saudi se karte hain

Finally, I am reminded of a quote by Gandhi where he said that Hindus and Muslims are like the two eyes of the nation. It will be seriously handicapped by the loss of either.
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Ashok
Member
Member # 4082

posted 30 April 2002 10:47 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Kedar Bhandary:
Finally, I am reminded of a quote by Gandhi where he said that Hindus and Muslims are like the two eyes of the nation. It will be seriously handicapped by the loss of either.
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Is it true that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had only one eye? . One of the nation's real heroes too! maybe we should introduce the concept of Shiva's third eye to gandhiji's two eye theory....
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AjaySharma
Member
Member # 4163

posted 30 April 2002 11:09 AM
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I like the message of the post however, Shashi should have criticized the anti national Jehahi mentality too.
In the following quote he should have included “NOT MUSLIM” too.

“not Brahmins, not Bengalis, not Hindus, not Hindi-speakers, but simply Indians”
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George J
Member
Member # 2202

posted 30 April 2002 11:34 AM
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Kedar:
Quick note....its funny you mentioned Tharoor and the Kapoor clan. Actually Rishi Kapoor and Tharoor went to the same school for a while i guess. And there are historical documentation to show that Rishi Kapoor and Shashi Tharoor had some altercations bout each others acting abilities in the school play.

Ashok:
Ranjit Singh survived small pox, and that blinded him.
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Rudra Singha
Member
Member # 3011

posted 30 April 2002 11:39 AM
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virata, do you hang around in virata-globespan ?
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Manavendra
Member
Member # 2489

posted 30 April 2002 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by AjaySharma:
I like the message of the post however, Shashi should have criticized the anti national Jehahi mentality too.
In the following quote he should have included “NOT MUSLIM” too.

“not Brahmins, not Bengalis, not Hindus, not Hindi-speakers, but simply Indians”

Right.. He should have included "NOT PARSEE" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT JAIN" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT CHRISTIAN" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT BUDDHIST" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT SIKH" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT RAJPUT" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT MARWARI" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT TAMIL" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT TELUGU" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT JAT" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT BIHARI" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT MARATHI" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT PUNJABI" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT ORIYA" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT ASSAMESE" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT KANNADIGA" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT NAGA" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT MANIPURI" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT MIZO" too.
wait... He should have included "NOT GOAN" too.
wait...
wait...
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k r sai
Member
Member # 3537

posted 30 April 2002 01:16 PM
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Jeez!
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AjaySharma
Member
Member # 4163

posted 30 April 2002 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by AjaySharma:
I like the message of the post however, Shashi should have criticized the anti national Jehahi mentality too.
In the following quote he should have included “NOT MUSLIM” too.

“not Brahmins, not Bengalis, not Hindus, not Hindi-speakers, but simply Indians”

Manavandra : You are trying to dilute the issue. context of the posted message is Gujarat so "NOT MUSLIM" deserves to be there.
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Calvin
Member
Member # 60

posted 01 May 2002 01:47 AM
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I believe Tharoor was cautioning against precisely the kind of obsession that Ajay Sharma is exhibiting.

As long as people (such as Ajay Sharma) view the conflagration in places like Gujarat through communal glasses, they will not view it as a gross violation of the fundamental individual right (to the right to life, liberty and property). The simple riposte to such violation of life, liberty and property is the need for OBJECTIVE punishment.

This is not a time to make a political statement that is "acceptable" in communal terms. This is the time to make the statement that crime (i.e., those that seek to abrograte and abridge individual rights) will be punished, and punished severely.
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jobatra
Member
Member # 3620

posted 01 May 2002 04:49 PM
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brilliant article.
definitely one for the scrapbook, *click* *save*.
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Manavendra
Member
Member # 2489

posted 01 May 2002 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by AjaySharma:

I like the message of the post however, Shashi should have criticized the anti national Jehahi mentality too.
In the following quote he should have included “NOT MUSLIM” too.

“not Brahmins, not Bengalis, not Hindus, not Hindi-speakers, but simply Indians”

Manavandra : You are trying to dilute the issue. context of the posted message is Gujarat so "NOT MUSLIM" deserves to be there.

Yep, the context was Gujarat: not Brahmins, not Bengalis, not Hindus, not Hindi-speakers, but simply Indians

ramana
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby ramana » 07 May 2002 23:46

The progress of Inglish: Yeh dil maange more...of Indian English

"To help spearhead the evolution of Indian English, the University of Pune’s department of English has for the first time allowed two students to take it up as a research topic for MPhil last year. This year, a subject is proposed to be introduced at the MA level as well."

shiv
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 08 May 2002 08:12

Originally posted by ramana:
The progress of Inglish: Yeh dil maange more...of Indian English

"To help spearhead the evolution of Indian English, the University of Pune’s department of English has for the first time allowed two students to take it up as a research topic for MPhil last year. This year, a subject is proposed to be introduced at the MA level as well."
You know ramana - I see this as a very positive development. Looked at dispassionately, English does not really "belong" to anyone any more. I see that accepting this is very much a part of self image building for India.

The language has grown and thrived by borrowing freely and having extremely flexible (and silly) rules of spelling and pronounciation.

While the Americans and Aussies went ahead and made their own dictionaries and the Oxford dictionary featured sections listing regional variations of English in the world - it has been us Indians who have been the last and most reluctant to accept that English has been enriched and put to effective use in India.

Fortunately I am seeing fewer and fewer indians looking to the BBC for pronounciation of "Queens English" (Qyoon's english - as some Indians pronounce it). English does have an Indian identity, and the way english is used is a factor in "Indianness". IMO Salman Rushdie (regularly) and Arundhati Roy (one off) are classic examples of the use of Indian english effectively.

Two decades ago a neighbour of mine (now living in the UK) wrote a book of Indian English words - and included "prepone" and "co-brother" - expressions that only Indians will understand, not to forget the classic Indian contribution to English "non-vegetarian"

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Umrao » 08 May 2002 09:13

when you consider the following, there is hope for Indish No?.

<I> "Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."-- Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000

"They misunderestimated me."—Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000
</I>
By none other than Prez Bush, the sole super power with lotsa Nuklear Bombs
:)

Jodhka
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Jodhka » 08 May 2002 21:04

To attempt to define Indian-ness is to attempt to define the boundaries for a certain percentage of the human population and consequently expect them to be constrained by them.

Just be yourself. Then if the other person sees you as Indian or Srilankan, it is a reflection of his/her limitations.

advitya
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby advitya » 08 May 2002 21:19

Originally posted by Jaspreet:
To attempt to define Indian-ness is to attempt to define the boundaries for a certain percentage of the human population and consequently expect them to be constrained by them.

Just be yourself. Then if the other person sees you as Indian or Srilankan, it is a reflection of his/her limitations.
Good one!!! I agree!!

krsai
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby krsai » 08 May 2002 21:59

I feel there are many who feel like I do and so I feel that is what "Indian-ness" is. Sometimes, I drive it, others dummy on. Still feel part of Indian-ness {never taken advantages of such situations though - unlike many :) }..

Regarding prounciations, I guess yindoos are really really wrong when it comes to English. I feel it should seen as a language and how you may want to subscribe to it. Since, it has borrowed from many, does not mean one can go and pronounce it the way one wants, and get itself or vouche for subscriptions... think if someone talks in a wrong way marathi or tamil or kannada, it sounds odd or may be insulting in certain instances. Hence, it is a better habbit to pronounce the right way. If yindoos doit, I feel it is udderrrrrly wrrrroong!

krsai
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby krsai » 08 May 2002 22:18

other thoughts!!::::
Do many Indians have these behavior?

- spitting paan on the corridors or buildings
- urinating in public places with pride
- loud speakers for anything and everything
- destruct public property without permissions
- dig roads,
- tap electricity,
- break tap water,
- tap cable & phone,
- forge signatures, tell lie about one's age,
- wrong information on ration cards
- convert to reserved categories for benefits
- bribe netas and sub-netas for personal gains
- bribe electricians, phone linesmen, and other service-men
- buy from defence supplies and sell it out for profits
- pay high premium for lousy cinema tickets
- fanatism to the core / freak out with indecency
- rag women in public and tease them
- rag hijadas and mentally ill people in public and harass them (starts from school days).
- break a line system and barge in and behave like hooligan (rowdy) or say I was here inline before you came.
- never follow rules in getting into or out of public transports.
- ticketless travelling and hanging on transports as a serious and legal (proud-chest beating) means of transporting oneself.
- bribing for anything and everything...

[please feel free - to add/delete/change]

shiv
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 09 May 2002 07:56

Originally posted by k r sai:
other thoughts!!::::
Do many Indians have these behavior?
sai your message too is a function of Indiannness.

No hiding or attempts at hiding from the truth.

Satyameva jayate to the core. A fine distillation of all that is wrong in India and among Indians, without an attempt to point out anything that may be right.

Again, in Indianness, an attempt to point out that which may perhaps be right is often met with criticism and an accusation of jingoism.

I hate to use the phrase again - but there is, deep within everyone, lurking with one's Indianness - a conviction that we are useless as a people, and that we will never change - that forbidden phrase let me call it, paradoxically "POS" - short for (I say it for the last time hopefully - another acronym) Psyche of Subjugation". Individuals feel that they can change - but their minds do not allow them to feel that other Indians can or will change.

So we come to another aspect of Indianness. One changes oneself to become a better and more useful citizen/human being but despairs that all is bad with Indianness. Yet I don't see a rejection of this Indianness. By and large there seems to be a deep need to stick on to this truthful, weak and decadent Indianness.

JMT :)

ramana
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby ramana » 09 May 2002 23:25

krs thanks for the self criticism. I would like to suggest the same traits are exhibited by most societies still low on the economic ladder. Given more time and growth these will diminish.
Some on said India is a like a snake with its head in the 21 century and the tail in the 17th. So the paln is to make sure all of it is in the same time frame. That means more growth. The challenge is how can the world accomodate this growth? And how does India position itself so that this can happen?

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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby krsai » 10 May 2002 01:55

PoS syndrome.. I like that. Good one. I have not lost hope.. It may be the "mass"/size that kills our good thoughts.

Calvin
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Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Calvin » 28 May 2002 06:05

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