Interesting piece, but it stereotypes the interaction of "brahminical thought" with the traditions of the hoi polloi

The paternalist attitude of the brAhmaNas is less evident in Southern India, where the give-and-take was more even…
This is most evident when one studies the history of the Alvar and Nayanar saints of Tamil country

Where the cultural interaction of the brAhmaNas with local vellAlars was definitely not characterized by a supercilious attitude of the brahmin towards local traditions
Two good examples are -

1. The relationship between Appar and Sambandhar in Nayanar lore

2. The very high status accorded to Nammalvar in Sri-Vaishnava lore
Appar was a vellAlar, while Sambandar was a Shaiva brahmin

Appar is actually a title bestowed on Navukkarasar by the great Sambandar, who was a younger contemporary of Appar

Both engaged heavily in the promotion of Shiva-bhakti, with no sign of brahmin-tamil rivalry
Same is true in the case of Nammalvar

Widely regarded as the greatest of Sri-Vaishnava Alvars. He was born in a Vellalar family. And his compositions were retrieved and preserved for posterity through the efforts of two brAhmaNas - madhurakavi Alvar and nAthamuni
Even to this day, nobody views Nammalvar as inferior to brahmin Alvars like Perialvar or Vipra Narayana (thondaradi podi Alvar)
The conflict between Tamil bhakti and the Sanskritic traditions is not stated at all. Rather later commentators (mostly brahmin) went to great lengths to legitimize the Tamil works by bestowing the status of "marai" (veda-like) on them
My view is-

There definitely was brahmin contempt for local traditions in regions where those traditions were base and vulgar

But that contempt was missing in other regions (like say TN) where the traditions could be more easily integrated with the brahminical mainstream

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More from @shrikanth_krish

22 Oct
One of the things that distinguishes Hinduism and the Vedic religion from other traditions is the importance ascribed to the shabda

Reciting texts in the original with correct pronunciation (ucchAraNa) and the right tonal modulations (svara-pATha)

The meaning takes a backseat
But does this have traditional sanction?

Is it OK to equate vedic study with mere chanting "pArAyaNa") as opposed to understanding the import of the works?

What's fascinating is that the tradition itself appears divided on this.
First of all learning through the oral tradition is clearly one of the obligatory duties of a brAhmaNa. There are no two ways about it.

Even Manu himself is explicit about this in his smRti -

Verse 1.88

अध्यापनमध्ययनं यजनं याजनं तथा
दानं प्रतिग्रहं चैव ब्राह्मणानामकल्पयत्
Read 14 tweets
20 Oct
Often encountered the question in discussions -

"Why are you not a libertarian/classical liberal"?

I was one, back in my 20s

Outgrew that for a few reasons

1. Classical liberalism is predicated on "reason". Tends to dismiss prejudice altogether

2. It ignores history/culture
Classical liberalism is fundamentally anti-politics

Because it is based on the universalizing notions of individual liberty, economic freedom

It does not acknowledge "groups", "special interests"
E.g libertarians insist on low tariffs

But then zero tariffs are always in general interest. They may reduce prices for everybody just a wee bit

But not in the special interest of any group.

So if the idea is to support domestic industry, zero tariffs may not be beneficial
Read 13 tweets
16 Oct
It is often said Indian states diverge a lot in terms of incomes

I view it differently

E.g. TN PCI : $11K in PPP Terms
UP PCI : $3K

That's a ratio of 3.7. But absolute difference is $8K

In China, Jiangsu is at $33K, Yunnan at $11K
Ratio of 3. But absolute difference is $22K
To my mind, it is the absolute difference in PPP-adjusted PCI across regions you should focus on

Not the ratio

When you move from a province with $11K income to $33K, you feel the difference a LOT more than when you move from a province with $3K income to $11K
Ratios don't make sense when the base is low.

E.g. UP is perhaps 2 times richer than Haiti

But it may not feel that much richer.

As opposed to say moving from Argentina to US
Read 5 tweets
14 Oct
I can sense a certain Trad anxiety here

To my mind, ICM is merely a manifestation of a deeper deracination in habits / lifestyle

When lifestyles and values converge, ICM is inevitable

If the cultures are indeed v distinct, ICM will also be marginal
So my gratuitous advice to Trads is -

Don't campaign against ICM. That's just a symptom

Instead reflect on the distinctiveness of castes, and whether the diversity is worth preserving

If people are rooted enough, they are less likely to marry out
Trads tend to think -

Endoogamy will conserve traditions

I reverse it -

If the traditions have value and hold attraction, there will be a natural resistance to ICM

As is the case in much of India even today
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
The reaction to the Tanishq ad is way over the top

The issue with H-Right is - the reactionary instinct predominates. There is no creative instinct

E.g. You can make a "conservative" movie where a H-M marriage fails because of cultural schisms

That never happens
There are many ideas for "conservative" films

1. H-M marriage fails because of differing cultures
2. Failure of love marriage. Parental wisdom held up favorably against young love
3. Show films where endogamy can drive better social outcomes / prevent cultural discontinuity
This creative spirit was v much present among "conservatives" 50 yrs ago

The last major manifestation of this spirit in Bollywood was the actor/director Manoj Kumar

Whose films may be cringe worthy in parts, but exude a certain creativity that is missing on the indic side today
Read 4 tweets
11 Oct
A common western critique of Hindus

Hindus are not "humanists". They don't value equality of all human life. Hindus view society as comprising of many human species (jAtis)


This "narrow-minded" country has seen FAR less ethnic cleansing than most parts of the West!
It is one thing to declare -

"All men are equal"
"Hum sab allah ke bande hain" etc

Do you live up to it?

The history of the West and Middle East is one of ethnic cleansing / pogroms. Decimation of numerous cultures
I don't mean that as a blanket critique. There is much to learn from the West too

But clearly the history of the West is not one of continuity. But numerous discontinuities

Caused by state-sponsored violence.
Read 9 tweets

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