Random Angst


There are many reasons given for the reasons for severe casteism in India.


You may know that Vaidika peoples were not all that keen about vegetarianism, and animal sacrifices were common in pre-Buddhistic times. however, with the advent of Buddhism, all this changed, and the Buddhists brought into effect draconian laws against animal slaughter, and against trades that brought suffering/death to animals.

Of course, people could not stop wearing or requiring leather, or stop eating meat completely, especially the people who earnt their living by manual labour. therefore, like the Burakumin in Japan, people who were associated with occupations such as butchers, undertakers, tanners, leather workers and also people who used to engage in hard manual labour and therefore consumed meat on a regular basis were automatically relegated to a lower section of society, and were disparaged by the Buddhist elite.

India is not the only place where this has happened, this has happened in Japan also.

Colonialism and census

The British, with their propensity to mensurate everything, crystallised the caste system even further, and codified it into what it is today.
Earlier there were no regional divisions in castes, only divisions based on actual practicality.

When I say the abhivaadaye, i only mention my family's gotra, pravara, veda, suutra, shaakhaa and finally, only my name. Not even my last name. Not even my father's name.

However, according to the British census classification, I am classified as a deshastha rgvedi marathi Brahmin.
This caused the caste system to be further stratified, creating sub-divisions within sub-divisions within sub-divisions.

Reservations in modern India

Today the caste system in India is being perpetrated because of the reservations. The forward castes use it to 'show' how the backward caste people are inferior to them. The backward caste people clamour for more reservation as a large majority of the backward caste people are not receiving any benefit of the reservation system, since the same creamy layer amongst the backward castes and its progeny are enjoying the reservations.

What do you say?
Random Angst

(no subject)

This provides for a lot of laughs, especially before Bush's trip to India.
It would be great if a morcha of people gheraoed Bush, asking to join the Republican party!
Random Angst


For the past few days, I've had this burning desire to do something essentially Hindu.
Like, conduct a yadnya or something.

I don't know why this is so, but it's still there. And it crops up every now and then.

Now, I know, some are going to say it's this 'ne mazhasi ne' longing, but no, that has always been there.

This is something new. And I don't know how to deal with it.
This is not a brahmin block. This is return of the brahmin. And it scares me.
Random Angst

On the road again...

These three songs describe my mood as it is now. For those who know what has happened, you know. For those who don't know, don't ask me.

Musafir hu yaaron
Na ghar hai na thikana
Mujhe chalte jana hai
Bas...chalte jana hai

Mai zindagi ka sath nibhata chala gaya
Mai fikr ko dhuve mein udata chala gaya
Barbadiyon ka shok manana fizool tha
Barbadiyon ka jashna manata chala gaya.

Koi aa raha, koi jaa raha hain
Mushik vo rasta hai, jis pe dil basta hai
Aise kinare bhi mile hai kabhin?

And finally, if Marathi doesn't depict pathos wonderfully, I don't know which language does-

Akherache yetil maajhyaa hecha shabda othi
Laakha chukaa astil kelyaa, keli pan priti
Random Angst

hindutva reignited

I am ashamed. I am guilty.
For the actions of others who lay claim to the same name that I do, but don't do it justice.
What name might that be?

What is a Hindu? People have come up with various answers, some lavish with self-praise, some critical, some downright derogatory. And the surprising thing is, they all may be right.

Yesterday, a discussion with some friends over a couple of beers brought fresh ideas to light. Loose Framework was the catchphrase that evolved from the discussion, courtesy Ramakrishnan. It explained why Muslims don't feel apologetic for the 9/11 attacks or Christians for the ethnic cleansing of tribal Hindus in Nagaland and Tripura, but Hindus feel ashamed for the actions of so-called Hindus in Gujarat.

The Loose Framework idea proposes that there are Hindus that are more distant or at best as distant from other Hindus following a different philosophical paradigm than they are from Christians or Muslims.

The fault/merit of Christianity and Islam is the restrictive definition of who can be a Christian or a Muslim by their canon and clergy. This gives the practitioners of those religions a solid framework within which they can classify things as haram and halal or christian and unchristan. We, the Hindus have no such framework, or even if it exists, is not universally accepted within the body of Hinduism.

Therefore, you have Hindus that abhor casteism, and Hindus that uphold it, and neither is breaking any tenets of Hinduism. Now, while some may label this obfuscation in Hinduism as a resounding failure of the religion, I consider it to be the veritable success of the religion, in terms of it's tolerance of plurality and conflicting ideas.

Hinduism allows for conflict to rise within it's ranks and assimilates the lessons learnt from that conflict. In the good old times (what's considered to be the golden age of India by most Hindus), we had many schools of philosophy, from Sankhya to Uttara Mimansa, which had almost nothing in common, except their non-rejection fo the Vedas. Sankhya and Yoga as schools of philosophy are now defunct, but many concepts, such as the triguna combo of sattva, rajas and tamas has been adopted from these philosophies. Yoga is now more widespread than Hinduism itself, though only in it's physical form.

But that does not veil the fact that a blind eye has been turned towards Hindu suffering, and while it is good that Hindus do not feel as insecure as their Christian or Muslim brethen when a Hindu is killed, tolerance of wanton murder is definitely bad and unjust, and Hindus should rise to the occasion with a singular voice to oppose it, and deal justice to those who were wronged.

Why should I care? Who is Maniappan Kutty of mine? Why shall I waste my time on some person who was just driving lorries in a far off land?

Because you can, because you should, because that man who was decapitated and left to rot on the roadside was a Hindu. More than that, he was an Indian. The act was an effrontery not only on your belief but also on your nationhood. It was a challenge to India that it's citizen could be subjcted to a fate worse than that dealt out to animals and India would be powerless to do anything. Not powerless because of debilation, but powerless because no one chose to exercise the power at their disposal. Now, that is what is shameful.

And was there a murmur from the NGOs that beat their breasts every time a Muslim girl is raped or a Christian man killed? Did they even try to save this man from a horrible death; they, who blemish Hinduism every time a Hindu transgresses the law? I am talking about the Shabana Azmis and the Teesta Seetalvads of our SECULAR nation. Where were these people when a Hindu was being cut from ear to ear? Nowhere.

It wasn't discussed in the Parliament either. Maniappan Kutty did not even deserve a mention in the Lok Sabha of the nation that calls itself as Shining. Is this what a Shining Nation does? Completely ignores the homicide of one of it's taxpaying citizens in a foreign land?

On the other hand, any atrocities committed against the 15 million illegal Bangladeshis in India become a national issue. Kill them, I say, kill them all. Let them not come into India and become reason for controversy in the Lok Sabha, wasting previous hours of the National Parliament paid for by the hard working tax payer. Kill them at the border itself, no questions asked. We need Daya Sawants in the CRPF and BSF.

But will that suffice? Aren't we already being numb to the atrocities that being perpetrated on Hindus in India by their Indian Muslim and Christian brothers? There are reports of Hindu girls being kidnapped and forced to convert against their will to Islam, but these stories do not get investigated.

Scum like Salman Khan and that Tarannum bar dancer female, suddenly don Muslim caps and burqas, and the entire Muslim community rises to their defence? Where was Islam when she was bar dancing? Where was Islam when Salman drives under the influence of alcohol? All these acts don't put Islam in danger, but when these scum are arrested, suddenly Islam khatre mein hain?

It is time for the intelligentsia in India to realise the difference between milk and water.

The subhashita comes to mind:

hansa shveto baka shveto ko bhedo hansabakayoH
neeraksheeraviveketu hanso hanso bako bakaH.
  • Current Music
    Enya - The river sings
Random Angst

file conversion

Woke up today with a headache and a completely blocked nose and throat. Decided not to go to office. Awoke again at 1130 and there was a spate of calls from office for some trivial issues, some of which I resolve, some of which I pushed for tomorrow.

Anyway, I realised that I had this svcd in bin format that I wanted to watch, but as you all know (or don't), there's no sound in my vlc, and therefore, since I couldn't play bin files directly in xine, this is what i did.

sudo bash
my password
apt-get install vcdimager
vcdxrip -p --nosegments --nofiles -o /dev/null -b

It took about as long as it took me to log into livejournal and finish this write up, and viola, I was on my way to watching a movie for lunch away from work, sniffling and snorting and hoping that the hot noodles I was having for lunch would help clear up my nose and throat.
Random Angst

The limits of the observable universe.

Yesterday my mother called. Mayura is getting married. Mayura is the youngest daughter of the Sule family living next door. She is exactly one month and one day younger to me.

There was a brief period when I used to compete with her. She hit puberty before me, and grew like a teak tree. I, who was used to lowering my eyes when talking to her, now had to get used to having her head towering over mine. Fortunately, I hit puberty a year or so later, and not only did I catch up with her, but also am a good 15 cm taller than her now.

She was like a sister, or so tradition demanded, because she used to tie me Rakhis on Raksha Bandhan. She never spoke much, never played the games the other girls used to play; she had her own trio with Bhakti and Vidya, who in time were going to be girls that wielded immense clout, not just amongst the girls, but also amongst the guys, who generally did not take girls quite as seriously as they took He-Man and cricket.

So, when my mother told me that she was getting married, I asked her to give her my good wishes as well. But my mother never goes in for that kind of thing; she asked me to call her up and wish her myself. Now, girls I knew better than I knew Mayura have got married without receiving a congratulatory phone call from me, and my mother never had an objection to that, so there had to be some underlying meaning to it.

This is what my hunch is. My mother is hell bent on creating this good guy corleone type of image for me in the minds of all the people who know her and me as her son. She doesn't give much for the image that people who know me have about me, but people who know her must think of me as some gentleman purushottam who is the strong caring type. Maybe it's to embellish her success as a mother to the people she knows.

This set me thinking, if my mother cares only for her observable universe and is extremely happy, I would say, is that the secret to happiness in life? Or is it sheer shallowness and hypocrisy to care only about the opinions of the people you know? Is there not a fundamental judgement of a person? Did people who knew despots like Stalin and Hitler personally think of them highly genuinely, or did they do so just to save their necks?

I have just had lunch, and my mind is a bit numb. The questions that I have just raised will require a lot of blood flowing to my brain. Maybe I will tackle with them at night, when I will not need as much blood going to my extremely efficient digestive system.
  • Current Music
    Server room hum
Random Angst

lazy monday

i am supposed to move out today. not like they move out in bollywood, with tears and all, i am going to a better place. this does sound like i am reading my own obituary, but it's indeed one so. i will send photographs to prove it sometime later.

in the meantime, i am addicted to the x-files. not only am i finding gillian anderson incredibly attractive watching her the second time around, but the cases seem a lot more compelling. maybe, just maybe, i am beginning to believe. after all, i totally bought the ganapati drinking milk incident.

i am waiting for a new serial to come up where agent mulder exclusively tackles alien abduction and visitation cases. for some reason, i feel cheated on being left out of the whole alien deal. if moron farmers in alabama are being visited by aliens, what the hell is their problem in visiting me? i do have my apprehensions, though; like they say, be careful what you wish for...

so where does that leave me? apart from dreaming of vampires for two nights in a row, nothing out of the ordinary has happened. i just cannot seem to get vampires out of my head while i am sleeping. initially it startled me, because i don't remember my dreams, but now it's almost like i am getting used to the fact of seeing flying bloodsuckers in my sleep.

this is what i am planning to do tonight. i am going to try and make friends with count dracula or one of his brides, preferably the latter. or maybe the count and i could have a discussion about the position of abortion in american politics or whether muttiah murlitharan is a chucker. being from romania, i don't think the count cares much for cricket though. and if i talk about ice skating, the image of me skating on ice would kill both the count and myself, and then the world would be half a dreamer short. can't allow that to happen, can we?
Random Angst

India Shining

Look boss, its straightforward. Middle class getting richer, poor people getting the hard end of the bargain.

Well, its been a BJP tactic for long, let the middle class prosper. If the poor get into the middle class they will prosper as well. I think its a unique economic policy where people who are in the middle class are favoured rather than the people in the richer economic group, as in america, or the people in the really poor economic group, as in the socialist countries.

In India, the middle class is not required to pay realy high taxes, like in the Scandinavian countries, and therefore, the standard of living of the middle class is going to improve drastically, as the purchasing power increases.

For 50 years, India tried to make things good for the poor class, but things did not go anywhere. Now, making life easy for the middle class seems to make things work. I think its a good model. It will drive poor people from the cities to the villages where it is cheaper to live and sustain families.

This will result in highly developed hubs around the country where the standards of living will be equivalent to those in the first world countries.
Random Angst

bhangra night

Let me say this at the outset, I am no fan of Bhangra. Well, I am no fan of dancing in an enclosed space of 20x20 where 500 people squeeze themselves in and sway to really really bad music either. But there are certain responsibilities that you have to carry out as an Indian living outside India, and attending Garba nights and Bhangra bashes are some of them, I would say. Also, the venue was one of the best pubs in downtown Singapore, Embassy, and they were slashing prices by 33% for the event, so I joined the rest of my friends, who were not very enthusiastic about this affair either. If nothing else, occasions like these can be treated as ornithographic surveys of the region.

The event was supposed to be organised by the NTU/NUS Sikh social and cultural society. Though I have enough Sikh friends to know that Sikh culture and society does not gravitate around Bhangra and Whiskey, these two societies certainly seem to think so. Appreciation of Sikh culture and society is liberally used as an euphemism for rave parties and embezzlement of hard liquor. Needless to say, I was going into enemy territory.

The event was supposed to go from 6pm to 6am, the poster exclaimed "Bhangra all night long!" Of course, since we have been living in Singapore for the past 5 years, we knew better. We reached there at 10pm after a quick bite at Delifrance, quite like how Ganguly turns up for a toss. We were, for want of a better word, appalled. There were hardly any people there! Hmm... the word fashionably late had just taken a new meaning. Making the best of a bad situation, we ordered our drinks, relieved that we did not have to meet the heavy rush that really makes the bartenders earn their pay.

At about 11, the people started pouring in, and what people, girls with RQs skyrocketing through the roof, accompanied by swaggering hulks of muscle and bone with the brains lost somewhere therein, some with rags tied to their heads in a feeble attempt to look Sikh. The dancing frenzy followed subsequently, and I must say, the DJ did belt out some good numbers in the beginning. There wasn't a single person or couple that dominated the dance floor, as they show in the movies usually, there were too many people jammed down there. Oh, and yes, Sholay was being screened on a gigantic screen just above the DJs head. Some of us preferred to watch the movie as the rum hit the bloodstream.

We had stocked up on fags before we went in, knowing that the alcohol was going to be really expensive. Almost everyone lit up, and soon enough, I felt like I was at the Bada Bing, as the females on the dance floor were trying their best to outRQ each other, one female in particular. The DJ deteriorated exponentially somewhere after midnight, having run out of his stock of good Bhangra and Bollywood songs, apparently, because he was repeating songs. Also he had this irritating tendency to stop vocals and sing, rather, bray it himself from time to time. There was this chap who brought in a authentic Punjabi wedding style Dholak and beat the living hell out of it for 20 minutes or so, but, apart from that, there was nothing much going on as regards the to the music scene. But the people were getting more and more interesting. Cypher raised the L-alert somewhere just past midnight, just as the house specialty, the Tequila man, a guy that went around giving people shots of tequila for s$5 each was being announced by the DJ for the nth time.

Apparently, there was a lesbian couple in the house, and the dyke was getting unfashionably drunk. Some equally drunk loser was hitting on the lipstick, and then the dyke lost it. It was Jerry Springer on tour, almost, and it took three guys to restrain the dyke from pulping the bamboozled flirt.

I had a very lucky night, running into three teetotalers, two of whom voluntarily offered me their drink coupons, the bartender forgetting to take my coupon on one occasion, and overturning my almost empty glass on another. Of course, the overturned glass meant that I got another drink, on the house, which meant that I had almost 6 drinks for the price of 2. As we sat down on the couches, smoking, talking about nada, we discovered this Vulcan jelly, that was hyper-inflammable. After some exploratory pilot testing in the ash-tray with an orange peel, Cypher and I made a mental note of flick two cans of the jelly while leaving, but it seems we lost that note somewhere.

When we finally signaled time-out, we were really dehydrated, thirsting for water, sweet, plain, simple water. But our miseries had just begun. Some idiotic firangi, whose low IQ was miniscule IQ was completely obscured by the RQ of the firangins accompanying him got onto our bus and realised that he was on the wrong bus only after about 20 minutes, so we had to take a detour and drop him off before we headed home. The bus driver, some old shakkar chap, was playing really forlorn songs, though they were a tad better than what the DJ was playing. By the time the bus turned into the campus, we were at our nerves' end, so the first thing that we did after getting off the bus was to head for the coolers. We sat and joked about the student recruitment policies of the Singaporean Scholarship Disbursement Authority, after which I was too tired to carry on, so I changed and went to bed.

Ankit's playing rock music now, and that sounds like honey to the ears, after all the abuse that they have suffered yesterday. I would like to extend my apologies to all Sikhs for attending this 'Bhangra Extravaganza', though I wouldn't mind going back to the Embassy pub again, the bartenders are forgetful and they know how to make their drinks. Or rather, my drinks.
  • Current Music
    Doors - Break on through