RMF Summary: Week of July 25 - 31, 2011

July 26
Protest 'Sita sings the blues' showing at NY's Starlight Pavilion !
Srikumar posts: ...We have received complaints from several Hindus about the showing of a film 'Sita sings the blues' at the Starlight Pavilion in New York next Thursday (21st July). 'Sita sings the blues', which its producers claim to be based on Sage Valmiki's Ramayan, is actually a denigrating parody of the Ramayan ! Through this animation film, animator Nina Paley has shown irreverent parallels between her own heartbreak and the divine story of Lord Rama and Mother Sita,...

Patanjali notes: "The organizers and host have decided to cancel showing the film after mountain
of complaints from the Hindu community."

Ramanan makes an important point:
"Love this one in particular:
"In the Ramayana, Sita is only a footnote in the story, but obviously my film is about Sita and her suffering." Source: http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/faq.html

The above statement by Ms. Paley shows her ignorance of the epic. Valmiki has this to say about his own work:
... The entire epic Ramayana is primarily about the sublime conduct of Sita, and secondly about the slaying of Ravana.

Chitra adds:
" ...
It's interesting to me that this movie "Sita Sings the Blues" has resurfaced – and that the main thrust of the anger at this movie is still focused at Nina Paley.
I was furious at this movie.  But not so much at Paley.  Paley is a gifted animator – her interpretation of the character of Rama and the plight of Sita is in line with western perspectives – I found no real surprises there.  
To me, the real significance of her movie and the reaction to it is what it tells us about our fellow Indians.
You see, I was INCENSED by the commentary of her "shadow puppet" narrators of the Ramayana.  To me, they were a painful reminder of how utterly (almost deliberately) clueless some Indians are about their own cultural legacy.  Some remarks by the "shadow puppets" were so asinine I flinched. "

Anila suggests:
Just click below the video, click on the Flag. In the drop-down menu, select 'Violent & Repulsive Content'. With enough votes, this video will have to be taken off YouTube."

Rajiv Malhotra comments:
When this movie was being made, our very own Anju Bhargava (yes, the Hindu American leader featured in Breaking India for her complicity with the Christian nexus) was approached by the makers. She gave them a favorable
reinforcement of the script, seeing it as women's  empowerment. Only after it came out several years later, and caused a stir, did Anju realize the problem she had been a part of. This is just one example of how ill-informed many of our "leaders" tend to be - focusing to build their personal profile with appointments, high profile publicity, etc. Serious research, reading, intellectual inquiry, etc., is not natural to them... 

Manas notes the response of a known Hindu baiter:
"Salil Tripathi takes the opportunity of Paley's movie show being cancelled to throw muck on Hindus, for among other things, critiquing Coutright [for his concoctions], etc.

Instead of calling for "bans", there should be a scholarly analysis and pointing out of mistakes."
Doclse007 responds:
"Having seen this movie for the first time a few days ago I am in a position to make an informed comment. The movie distorts the Ramayana and makes a mockery of what we have held sacred for generations. If Ms. Paley wanted to make a movie about her life based on a love story in popular literature then there are many to choose from, including the works of Shakespeare. West Side Story is based on Romeo and Juliet. The Ramayana does not lend itself to this kind of treatment and therefore her argument about artistic freedom lacks substance. .."
July 27 
Is the Hajj an act of apostasy? Comments?
Namaste, In view of the recent discussion about the Taj Mahal, would anyone care to weigh in on this article by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch.

Harihara responds:
"But the idea of drawing similarity between "Kaaba" with "Kaabali" is wrong. Kapalishwara is one of the epithets for Shiva. Since Tamizh doesn't have a proper phonetics background especially, after the admixture of Sanskrit words, Tamilians pronounce both "p" and "b" accordingly it presents to their tongue..."

Chitra is thankful:
Thank you for that much-needed clarification,  Mr. Subramanian. I don't doubt that ancient Hindus had cultural and trade contacts with Arabs, but the kind of  etymological  eureka-moments such as the following excerpt from the article make me wince and reach for the Hajj-Mola..."

July 27
Retired IB Officer on Binayak Sen-- Western interests behind Sen's '
... From: Madhukar Ambekar <madhukar_ambekar@...> Date: Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 1:41 AM Subject: Retired IB Officer on Binayak Sen To: Madhukar Ambekar...

July 27
Re: More of the myth-- Growth of schedulaed castes and tribes
N. S. Rajaram provides yet a useful reference. One of many expert recommendations you will find within these archives.
"Please read K.S. Lal's "The Growth of Scheduled Tribes and Castes in Medieval India" for a scholarly study of this issue. Lal was an outstanding scholar worth reading"

July 27
Report of my Waves talk

July 28
List of "Secular" Intellectuals named hosted by Ghulam Nabi Fai
Sagar posts: S. Gurumurthy, has written an article which has a list of "seculars" and "liberals" named by FBI as guest of Ghulam Nabi Fai(who was recently arrested). The...

July 29
More of the myth
NeeShabda writes: The task of breaking the 'Aryan Myth' is arduous and never ending, but as all informed educated Indian it is our individual responsibility to continue the work that Rajiv Malhotra has started - to confront and open a dialogue with the Indologist, teacher, layman, anyone who is perpetuating the myths and downgrading the Indian civilization.

I happen to find this site called mrdowling.com," and read some of his online course on India.

I am sharing some chapters with all of you..."

Neeraj asks:
"Till now, I have not been able to find any reference of untouchability as a practice in Hindu/Sanatan/Vedic/Arya dharm, on the basis of caste. Can anyone provide such a reference "

Raj provides many useful links in his response:
"Further reading: [1] *MUST READ* - By Vishal Agarwalji - http://www.docstoc.com/docs/67764904/The-Hindu-Caste-System-Vishal-Agarwal [2] Section D here - http://www.letindiadevelop.org/irochtc/02.shtml
[3] Related messages posted here earlier:

Senthil provides some feedback:
"Our society is NOT based on any book or authority, and hence it would be futile to find any reference to untouchability in scriptures.. we are a civilization and NOT religion..

As a person coming from rural side, and who have seen untouchability practiced right in my home, i am putting forth the following reality..

1. Untouchability is NOT practiced just by brahmins.. but by all jaathis.."

Vishal is emphatic:
"... Hindus are not a Bookish religion but the Shastras are the prime authority for what is correct and what is wrong. Sadachar ranks below shruti and smriti in terms of what constitutes authority in matters of Dharma. Traditions can be correct or incorrect, and they change with time anyway. So they CANNOT constitute what is Sanatana Dharma. The localized, parochial version of Dharma that you conceive has largely ceased to exist today and surely does not belong to the future..."
Mrithak posts:
"Below is the quote that I copied from Sankarachaarya's Brahma-sutra-bhaasya regarding the great achaarya's objection to teaching the vedas to the sudras. As i see it the explanation given by Sri Sankarachaarya is more of sanskrit
BRAHMA-SUTRA-BHASYA (Topic 9: PSEUDO SUDRA, I.iii.34 & 35)..." 

Vishal responds:
Shri Shankaracharya was conditioned by the times when he wrote his commentary.
The context of the story is this: The entire story emphasizes the point that while it is important to be Dharmic, it is not sufficient. Brahmavidya trumps Dharma. Now, Janshruti was a philanthropic and a just king but he had this ego that by his benevolence, everyone in his kingdom was happy. However, the swan belittled his glory in front of that of Raikyamuni Shaktayana (The cart owner, Muni of the Raikas). The very name of the Muni indicates that he was a nomad and therefore not an Arya in the conventional sense, but a Shudra.
However, Janashruti judged Raikya by his external appearances and tried to BUY the wisdom that Raikya had by offering him money. Raikya in turn addressed the despearate king, who was grieving for having been slighted relative to Raiky as a Shudra (cock a snook, so to say).
It was only when Janashruti offered his daughter as a wife to Raikya that the latter relented....

...The teaching that Raikya gave to Janashruti also emphasizes that Brahmavidya trumps Dharma (or that excellent Karma is not sufficient for Moksha, and Brahmavidya is the crown of punyakarma)...
So far from debarring Shudras from acquiring Brahmavidya, the Upanishad actually shows how a Shudra teacher gives the teaching to a Kshatriya.
Likewise, the following story of Satyakama Jabala in the Upanishad shows how a child of unknown parentage becomes qualified to acquire Brahmavidya by virtue of being truthful because a truthful person cannot be a 'abrahmana' (non brahmana'....
...Far from being 'casteist', the entire Chhandogya Upanishad is actually a very liberating Scripture that shows that Shraddha of lowly dogs trumps ritual of learned Brahmanas, that Brahmavidya of a nomad trumps royal wealth and good deeds, that truth trumps lineage, and that even a person of a high lineage is not really a Brahmana unless he knows the Brahmavidya. And the seventh Prapathaka in turn has the story of Narada and Sanatkumara which shows how all bookish knowledge is of no worth when compared to Spiritual wisdom."
July 31
book on similar intervention in south america by Rockefeller, Evange
Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon : Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil [Paperback]Gerard Colby ...


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