Quantcast

«

»

Nov 08 2013

Age of Kali – Everything’s Indian

So… I had an interesting Twitter argument.

There is a problem in Indian culture. Most people are not educated much about it. All they see is the filth, the poverty and the lack of any sane rules. People see the dirt, the misogyny and the terrible things only without the flip side.

I am not speaking about Indians who are poor, we are discussing Indians who are fairly well off. Most poorer Indians aren’t hanging around Twitter to argue things such as Ireland being “aryan” so Indian (Eireland is named after Eriu). By that logic Scotland is Indian due to it’s national dress being a pleated lungi.

This came from a provocative message.

British people went to the USA to murder Hindus. I was puzzled. Maybe he was confused about the Indians in question… But on asking his entire argument was based on “some” Native American words (like Maya) being the same as Hindu words (Maya in Hinduism is Illusion).

I found this silly. Not only do Indians suffer massive stereotypes at the hands of Americans who often jokingly ask “Dot or Feather” without realising that it only demonstrates ignorance.

This concept is “Everything’s Indian”. Indians rarely learn the truth about Indian culture. School textbooks are often white washed for political purposes to portray all Indians in a fantastic light. Every local boy is clean cut and polite, every cause is just and every invader is a card carrying villain.

So books gloss over the atrocities committed by Indians in the 1857 revolt but embellish those of the East India Company. They glorify Subash Chandra Bose without mentioning the Japanese managed to beat the Nazis at the Atrocity Game and that any such deal would have made India slaves to a government even less humane than the Brits.

You have men being cheated of their lands. All the Hindu kings are brave and lose because of Muslim subterfuge. All the then Muslim kings are brave and lose due to myth and legend.

And in this the real history  of India is lost. Indians learn about the zero and are told to be proud of it but they don’t realise why. They are proud of the Taj Mahal but don’t understand what it’s political significance and why it was the doom of the Mughal Empire. There are Indians who think that Indian soldiers were effectively Jedi Knights and could deflect bullets but not one is able to tell me how such a force would lose to some poxy brits with boom sticks.

And it ignores the Indian love affair with gunpowder and guns…

See this is the problem. Indian culture is so poisoned by people who think like this you end up embellishing existing culture and ignoring the rich and diverse culture of India. In the post Khadi period Indians were rather shabby at dressing and dressing for success was not a thing. So Indians were enthralled by the Western Business Ideal. Men (and Women) looked powerful. Indian men and women looked like the same whether they were village farmers or high powered lawyers.

So “real” Indian culture is hidden away. It’s denigrated constantly in the minds of Indians and I suppose a lot has to do with colonialism.

So they embellish Indian culture to the maximum. And they do so wrongly. They would rather use India’s late 17th and 18th Century Rocket Artillery to imply that Indians were first into space. They would rather that Indians could fly. They would rather that Indians had special powers.

These are people who are proud of Ramanujam but cannot understand why. No mathematics class sits kids down and explains the elegance of the self taught genius. They are proud of Bose but don’t know what a Bose Einstein Condensate is.

There is a lot to know and to be proud of what your culture entails but you aren’t going to improve it by stealing that of others or making things up.

And there is a trope about this. An Indian trope. It is called “Everything Is Indian”.

6 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    flex

    While I can’t speak to the ignorance of modern Indians about their history (which I suspect is no worse than the ignorance modern Americans or modern Brit’s have about their history (both groups probably know more about Hogwarts: A History than their own)), I will agree that patriotism is often used to plaster over ignorance.

    I’ve enjoyed my, desultory, studies of the history of the Indian subcontinent. One of my favorite books in my library is William Sleeman’s work, A journey through the Kingdom of Oude. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16997/16997-h/16997-h.htm

    Yes, it was written by an imperialist. But it is surprisingly sympathetic and as far as I can tell a relatively accurate description of Indian life in 1849. I’m aware that others will have a different opinion. ;)

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    But, please, always remember God is an Englishman!

  3. 3
    otranreg

    Most poorer Indians aren’t hanging around Twitter to argue things such as Ireland being “aryan” so Indian (Eireland is named after Eriu). By that logic Scotland is Indian due to it’s national dress being a pleated lungi.
    [...]
    British people went to the USA to murder Hindus. I was puzzled. Maybe he was confused about the Indians in question… But on asking his entire argument was based on “some” Native American words (like Maya) being the same as Hindu words (Maya in Hinduism is Illusion).

    If anyone, the folk etymology crowd are people who make me want to commit war crimes.

    Oh, yeah, ‘gift’ is ‘poison’ in German, so watch out for the stuff that the Krauts give you!

    Oh, yeah, ‘nVidia’ sounds exactly like ‘envy’ in Spanish. There must be a corporate conspiracy against the Hispanic world!

    Oh, yeah, ‘hui’ (a word-syllable that is not uncommon in Mandarin) is close to the Russian word for ‘cock’ (a bleepable expletive in this case). So, it must be those unwashed Far Easterners who’ve brought smut to the Motherland!

  4. 4
    johnlee

    “British people went to the USA to murder Hindus.”
    This is completely unfair. As a patriotic Englishman, I would like to point out that my ancestors did not pick on Hindus. They went all over the world to murder, rob and subjugate anybody they could find, regardless of race, colour or creed.

  5. 5
    Rich Woods

    @johnlee #4:

    Yeah, and people just complain because we were better at it than anyone else. Now that’s a heritage to be proud of!
    </sarcasm>

    Anyway, I see that just this week India has launched a probe to Mars, at a cost of just £42m. That’s a superb achievement. And as was pointed out recently, £42m is one-thousandth of what the UK government is expecting to spend on building the HS2 train line from London to Birmingham, a distance of just 103 miles. Now that’s a heritage to be proud of!

  6. 6
    Arnab

    I agree that Indian history has been documented by so many different cultures and beliefs that truth is really hard to find. Thereafter there are the corrupt ministers who just for the sake of votes keep appeasing different communities [not just the muslims] at different places and in the process often truth never comes out. Some of the disturbing facts are:
    a. Brahmins are not by right of birth. It was like a degree that one had to study and earn. If you browse Wikipedia you will find that till 2500 BC Sanskrit was never written down, but transferred orally. So every graduate [or Brahmin] has to remember close to 5 standard sized dictionaries. So not all could graduate and then those days there was not discrimination. Each had right to learn. Only if their learning was complete they could be a brahmin. Later when foreign attacks started it was decided that knowledge will be passed on within the community and so only the trusted [own blood] were allowed to learn. So this was a strategic move that unfortunately stayed back and now we have caste politics and a big misunderstanding of the upholders of knowledge.
    b. Our own archaeologists do not accept the truth of plenty of archaeological facts that will set many beliefs to run for cover. Some of them are like 10,000 BC underwater city found in Gujrat [by Discovery Channel], Taj Mahal is a Temple that was converted to a mausoleum etc.
    There are plenty of others too, but who cares to let the world or even the Indians know the truth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>