RMF Summary: Week of January 15 - 21, 2013

January 17
"US Marriage Efforts and Being Different Connection
Saket shares:".... came across this article in latest Economist issue titled :Marriage in America, The fraying knot: America's marriage rate is falling and its out-of-wedlock birth rate is soaring...

...Being from field of economics there appears to an interesting connection between this article and discussion of frictions between scientific discovery and Church in Being Different. I feel this friction has wider dimension and this apparent from this article. The following is direct quote from the article:
the workshop's leader, Boston Snowden, told his charges, "We're not trying to make you get married. We're trying to show you there's research that shows that there are definitely a lot of benefits to marriage.

As Mr Snowden's careful phrasing suggests, the politics of marriage promotion is tricky. Some bristle even at the phrase marriage promotion, hearing in it browbeaten sinners being forced into church and down the aisle. ..

Thus if one reads between the lines the the idea of original sin is now the biggest stumbling block in running a programme that is trying to arrest this sorry trend in collapse of family in US.

In contrast, if one looks at Dharmic traditions family is basic building block of a society and considerable efforts were made to preserve this building block in Smritis. The basic building block in standard western economic theory is utility/profit maximizing individual.

Not recognizing this has costed US economy very dearly which can be described as - Nationalized family and a privatized economy.

Thus one finds that even in field of economics Dharmic traditions can never been in friction apart from scientific discovery already discussed in Being Different. The importance of family is also captured in concept of Karma Chakra expounded in Gita."

[this thread cites an interesting article by Madhu Kishwar in The Hindu]

January 17
Imperious Authoritarianism in the Garb of Modernity
Chandramauli shares:
Ideas from the book "Being Different" trickles into MSM

Imperious Authoritarianism in the Garb of Modernity
Pleading protection from the New Missionaries of Uniformity
An edited version of this article appeared in The Hindu .."

This same article is discussed in another thread.
Don t like this temple? Choose another

January 18
Varahamihira Indian
Alok shares: ".... I was looking for Rajput history in the internet (which does not find a space in the ICSE curriculum of history), and came across an article on Indian astronomer Varahamihira. The author Dr. Samar Abbas claims that Varahamihira had an Iranian origin and whole of Indian astronomy or Vedic astronomy is borrowed one. To support his point he has quoted Dr. Rajesh Kochar and others. Below I am providing the link which does not have any space for readers response..."

Ganesh provides feedback:
Attaching couple of files related to Varahamihira

If you are interested you could buy this book titled "Brhat Samhita" of Varahamihira published by Motilal Banarsidass publications.."
Utsav makes a point:
"It also needs to be understood that the "indian" or as I would be more appropriately call Hindu civilization, extended from the Oxys (river) to the far East. So it really does not matter whether Varahmihira came from Persian background or not. His intellect and inquisitiveness was framed by the Dharmic ethos.

This is the problem of limiting civilizational entities to geographical boundaries. Tomorrow when Kashmir ceases to be part of "India", will we start disowning everything that the Hindus in Kashmir achieved?

Rajiv comment: An important point. This is why in the 1990s I popularized the term Indic Civilization to show that India's political boundaries are not the limits of a worldview, just like Abrahamic religions claim to have no geographical boundaries, and so does science, etc. The Indic term caught on and now many people use it. But then I decided to move to dharma civilization as my term because dharma is well explained in our traditions. (Of course this new term is also getting appropriated sometimes by activities that might not be in our best interest. So we must remain vigilant.) The point in the post above has merit. It is important historically to research locations of people/developments. But even if a given person were deemed to have come from outside present day India, that would not mean that his tradition was other than
dharmic. Here the criteria becomes important as to what qualifies as dharma. I decided in BD not to base the criteria on history or geography."

January 18
Sudhir Kakar - good parenting
Neel posts: "... I am a young parent-to-be, and my concerns are sprouting primarily from the "item number" influences that my 5 y/o niece is showing. ... There was a NDTV show last night on this topic, and amongst all the seven or so panelists and bollywood people, Sudhir Kakar made most sense from the socio-psychology perspective.

An example of Kakar's spiritual belief is here -
I haven't studied Kakar's work before. And I would highly appreciate any pointers, views/review, personal reflections..."

Rajiv's response:
I have interacted with Kakar who is well known as India's leading psychoanalyst using western models including Freud,and as Wendy Doniger's main Indian collaborator. The issue I raised with him was on his critique of Hinduism. When he responded that people from all religions make such critiques of their own religion, I asked him to supply me a comparable critique by Indian Muslims on Islam. He sent me the reference of a recent book by an Indian Muslim. After I read it, I wrote back to him that the book had no complaint about Islam's central tenets, and it was complaining about society in general. He did not respond. However, such differences are routine and not a big deal.

What specifically concerns me about his work on Indian psychology is that is does not show a deep understanding of dharma on his part. To get into details on where we disagree you would need to read BD to know where I am coming from and then be able to appreciate why I disagree with him. I dont think he knows the Indian mind very well. He is trying to validate western psychoanalytical theories that he has popularized in India across the academy of Indian psychology.

I am on the aide of the counter movement that studies and promotes Indian models of psychology, and in this regard Infinity Foundation has sponsored over a dozen conferences, books, individual scholars, etc for well over a decade. Unfortunately we ran out of funds, so we could not continue. But meanwhile, there is now a robust group of scholars with annual meetings who are pursuing the field known as Indian Psychology - i.e. not based on western models. One of my main contacts in this is Prof. Suneet Varma of Delhi University who is active in organizing such events. Those interested to help should fund his activities. Kundan Singh of this forum is another champion of this counter movement.

Bottom line: Kakar represents the old guard of Indians who wanted to prove their credentials to other Indians by demonstrating how much Western theory they have mastered, and how much the Western academy loves them with recognition. This does not diminish his many accomplishments for which he deserves credit... "

Saket responds:
"On this very important comment posted by Shri Rajiv Malhotra, I would like to share link ... on Indian Psychology Institute which I guess is outcome of the efforts by Infinity Foundation. I am myself exploring the concepts of Indian psychology and their connections with Hindu Economics models in line with burgeoning field of Behavioral Economics in West. I dont have much to offer but could be a good exploratory direction..."

Sandeep responds:
"In the NDTV video you provided, Sudhir Kakak quoted a perceptive remark by Rabindranath Tagore: " We have borrowed their (western) spectacles but lost our eyesight"

I have read many of Kakar's works. Kakar says that in India men are afflicted by the Ganesha complex as opposed to the Oedipus complex in the West, because in India the son remains enmeshed with the mother long into adulthood.

In his essay on "Indianness", he outlined the cultural beliefs that get ingrained in the Indian psyche :
"Some of the key building blocks of Indian-ness or Indian identity are: an ideology around personal and especially family relationships that derives from the institution of the joint family, a view of social relations profoundly influenced by the institution of caste, an image of the human body and bodily processes that is based on the medical system of Ayurveda, a cultural imagination teeming with shared myths and legends, especially from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, a "romantic" vision of human life (in contrast to a more "ironic" vision prevalent in the West), a special Indian cast to the mind that prefers a relativistic, contextual way of thinking. ..... By contrast, the Western image is of a clearly etched body, sharply differentiated from the rest of the objects in the universe. This vision of the body as a safe stronghold with a limited number of drawbridges that maintain a tenuous contact with the outside world has its own cultural consequences. In Western discourse, both scientific and artistic, there is considerable preoccupation with what is going on within the fortress of the individual body. "

In "Western science, Eastern minds", published in 1991, Kakar wrote that Freudian psychology is NOT universal because the Indian (as well as Chinese and Japanese) psyche has a different history:
Kakar: The model of man Western types of psychotherapy is uniquely a product of the post-Enlightenment period in Western history. ....All Western therapies talk, in some fashion or other, about the growth, development, and self-actualization of the individual. They talk of increasing the individual's environmental mastery, his positive attitudes toward himself, and his sense of autonomy.

[...] Indian patients, like Chinese and Japanese, have in their minds what might be called a relational model of the self, which is quite different from the individual model of the post-Enlightenment West. In Asia, the person derives his nature or character interpersonally. He is constituted of relationships. His distresses are thus disorders of relationships not only within his human- and this is important- but also his natural and cosmic orders. The need for attachment, connection, and integration with others and with his natural and supernatural worlds...

Rajiv comment: Problem with many such Indian postcolonial scholars is the double facedness depending on who the target reader is and where a given sponsorship comes from. ...They might be called "useful Indians" just as there were useful Blacks, and useful bhadralok in colonial bengal. Kakar's writings as Wendy Doniger's co-author, life long collaborator and staunch supporter tell a different story. To nuance Freud and Indianize the application of the ideas is very much his genre. Most postcolonialists who attack the colonial enterprise are encouraged by the Western academy to do so as part of the aura of "being balanced" - something Indians have not understood because Indians tend to lack similar nuance in their own thinking. Indians look for blatant hatred as the mark of an opponent. This assumes that the opponent comes wearing horns on his head."

Surya adds:
"Kakar's explanations are jarring and offensive but his general point that Indians are centered on family and extended connectedness is not off the mark.
Kakar's offensiveness comes from his wanting to depict India in Western categories. He should read BD about non-translatables and study how the Chinese now depict China in Chinese non-translatables and not in Western non-translatables. But then again, Kakar is probably aware of this but sold his Indian face for a price to Western voices.

Chinese reversing the gaze
At a recent lecture at Peking University, renowned linguist Gu Zhengkun explained that wenming describes a high level of ethics and gentleness of a people, while the English word "civilization"derives from urban people's mastery over materials and technology.

The correct Chinese translation of civilization should be chengshi jishu zhuyi. Wenming is better,but untranslatable. It has been around for some thousand years, while Europe's notion of"civilization" is a late 18th century "invention".

Tourists and imperialists do not come to be taught. They never run out of material because it is a trick, a language trick: China indeed has no concept of "privacy" or "love". Why? Because those are Western words, steeped in Western history. On the other hand, Chinese tradition has the concepts of siren and ren'ai, which have no corresponding words in Western languages.

"Democracy" is a concept of Greek origin. The Hellenic "civilization" failed a long time ago, of course. It's gone, while China's wenming is still here, uninterrupted, after 5,000 years. "Democracy" originally had little to do with letting the mob vote, even less so for the mob to rule the country. On the contrary, it meant that various, powerful interest groups should fight over the resources, each mobilizing its supporters of influential city dwellers.

While in China we still see a family-value based social order, in the West the order is based on interest groups. You do not apply strict laws or make contracts in your family, instead you induce a moral code. Laws are needed for strangers, interest groups that fight against other interestgroups and cannot be trusted like family members...."

Poonam responds:
"I recently heard someone in India say this in a public speech,"America has a nationalized family & a privatized government." I am one of the Indians educated in the western ways, & mocked the Indian joint family system, till I actually experienced it. There are problems, I won't deny. But the benefits were so much more that my children, who are now grown up, are really upset that they are not able to provide the same experience to their children. That was a great safety net for the society, & the joint family system was a great schooling in the art & science of relationships, a great educating ground for that. I find that in the west, the people have a great problem grasping the concept."

January 18
dalit freedom network at it again
Utsav: I went and watched a pre-screening of the movie "Not Today" on January 17, 2013 at a Church auditorium in downtown Washington DC. Working in partnership with...

A short trailer from this DFN propaganda movie "Not Today" can be seen in the middle of this Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Video

January 18
Hindu-Muslim divide didn't exist in Mughul India
Ganesh: I'm attaching a link to one of the articles that appeared in 18Jan2013 edition of Times of India. The views expressed were in relation to setting up of a Tipu University in Karnataka in line with Aligarh Muslim University. For all political reasons the issue is getting major secular backing. And Times of India went out and published this article initially with the heading "Tipu Sultan University comes under Sharp attack" which seems to have subsequently changed to

"Why Tipu Sultan university is a bone of contention among parties in Karnataka?"

In connection with this ToI published this view by William Dalrymple..

Here's a latest interview with William Dalrymple that appeared in the 20Jan2013

edition of ToI
There one question by Times of India about the raging debate in Karnataka over the Tipu University issue for which William Dalyrmple uses the word "White Moghul" to describe Tipu. Somehow I get the feeling that these self proclaimed Indian liberals holding fort in media and academia are hell bent on re-writing Indian history in a manner that suits them..."

[our own celebrity thread, not surprisingly, generated a lot of comments] January 18
Confused celebrities who are intellectually deficient, ashamed of be
Here is a typical example of a confused celebrity who is intellectually deficient and appears to be ashamed of being different (no pun intended). Shaan (a.k.a....

Surya responds to a comment:
"Viswa writes "Being comfortable with one's own faith, with the faith of others - that IS BEING HINDU."

That is acceptable in the following sense: Hindus accept other religions with a sense of mutual respect. When they go to Dargah or Church, it is a demonstration of their explicit acceptance that other people can have their own beliefs and still be respected. One cannot take it any farther....

What is the point of someone going to Dargah or Church if he is Hindu? How does it enhance his spiritual growth? It does not. However, it is a fact that many Hindus go to Dargah or Church to pray. They clearly are taking an illogical, non-discriminating stance. Why do they do this? Just hedging their position by praying to God everywhere - a non-intellectual pragmatism similar to Pascal's wager."

Viswa responds: "... This is not to answer on behalf of Shaan or SRK. This is just offering a plausible explanation as to why someone comfortable with one's own religion may also visit other's places of worship. None tries to substitute one structure with the other...."

Jalan responds:
"I do not have a problem with Shaan going to a Masjid, Church, etc. What does annoy me is that while the Hindu does not miss one chance to report (with a degree of dubious pride) his immense catholicity in areas where it is desired (respect to non-Hindu religions and symbols) he miserably lacks the element of assertiveness in areas where assertiveness is desired (e.g., exclusivity claims, conversions, etc.) Now unless the latter is there, I class the former not as true catholicity, but as a form of cowardice and tamas....If not, then his catholic expression is doing more harm to Hinduism than good. Citing SV in Shaan's defence thus may be premature."

Sumant responds:
"I think Jalan makes a very important point. True catholicity of views in one's spiritual quest comes from inner strength. Swami Vivekananda and Gandhiji are only two examples of this inner strength and clarity, amongst many, many others, in the Hindu fold. And because of that they never shied away from opposing proselytization based on deceipt and a hatred of Hinduism based on ignorance. This is to be differentiated from a show of catholicity that springs from a colonially-induced inferiority complex. Would a man professing such a catholicity object to Hindu-hate professed by so many churches, for example ? That would be the real test..."

Narasimhan responds:
"I wudn't think that Shaan is not being apologetic about his religion.His religion is Hinduism, and by saying that he belongs to the religion of humanity, he is saying that he does not conform to some traditional form of Hinduism that may be limiting him.He says his wife is an AryaSamaji. I wud think that an AryaSamaji knows something of the Satyartha Prakash authored by the founder of Arya Samaj, Dayanand Saraswathi. The latter critiqued the religions like Christianity and Islam, but how is it that the AryaSamaji wife has symbols of these religions? I wud therefore think that Shaan and his wife are a bundle of contradictions, which however they tout as a sign of their 'humanity'."

Wadhwa adds:
".....Unfortunately, Arya Samaj which once brought a revolutionary change in raising Hindus spiritually and morally by reviving true and progressive Vedic values is gradually losing its original spirit. This is happening because some of its members 'without realising depth of Vedic wisdom' have joined the 'sameness bandwagon'. What will happen to amorphous beliefs and identity of others who are trying to sit between two stools?"

Rohit adds:
"All this does not change the fact that one cannot simultaneously believe in incompatible belief systems. It is illogical.....
SRK, on the other hand, reads the Quran and is a devout Muslim. You can rest assured that he does not recite Gayatri Mantra with his kids. Why do his kids read the mantra then? Same as Salman Khan and Aamir Khan. Because their mother
is Hindu.
Historically, these "gaps" get normalized in a couple of generations.

Think of Aurangazeb, son of Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan was milder towards Hindus as his mother and grand mother were Hindus. Apparently, this "kindness to Hindus" is not a transitive property....."

Venkat shares:
"1. Sri Vishwa Ghosh claims "Being comfortable with one’s own faith, with the faith of others – that IS BEING HINDU." However what we read in the article is that Shantanu Mukherjee explicitly rejects his ancestral faith Hinduism and embraces the Humanity religion, whatever it means.

2. There is no harm in exploring other beliefs. But one has to be anchored in one's own beliefs first, which does seem to be in Shaan's case. As an analogy, one should be well versed in one's own language and then go on to explore other languages. Knowing a little bit of English, Hindi, French and advocating the same to the children will leave them confused, weak in all languages, more so in the mother tongue..and what will/can they pass on to their own children? Most likely the dominant language English and all Western culture/religion
brings with it, so it is tata bye bye to their own mother tongue. The same will happen with religions as well.

3. Something many writers here missed. It appears that Shaan is actually a Christian than a Hindu. Look at what he writes. he Christian association comes stands out:
" I had a secular upbringing as my mother would keep images of Mother Mary, the Kaba as well as Radha-Krishna in the mandir in our home. "
"I used to study at Stanislaus High School, a Jesuit institution and would wear a cross around my neck."
"I visit the Mount Mary's Church or a dargah or a temple whenever I feel"
"I visited sometime ago, I visited all those places that were
connected to Jesus Christ."
On the other hand we don't see him talk much about Hinduism. The Ganesh idols he receives only as "gifts" So they seem to be beautiful furniture pieces only
It is his mother's influence they have havans, not his. And he
downplays them. "But we are not bound by religion to do a havan at home" The only silver lining and and Hindu influence seems to be his arya samaj wife.

3. An unmistakable lesson here is that Convent school education Christianize our people while dehinduising them.
The take home message of the whole article is that parents should become aware of the highly corrosive impact of convent school indoctrination and ensure (among other things) that their children are not enrolled in such schools..."

January 19
Thorsten Pattberg's Review of Being Different
Worthwhile review to read: Rajiv Malhotra, Hinduism, and the Challenge to Western Universalism or ‘The Importance of Being Non-Western?’ "BEIJING- ‘Being... "

Manish responds: Excellent review. Captures the nuances pretty well.

The best thing is that it accepts the term "poorva paksha" as it is. The reviewer is living BD !!

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