Archive for February, 2011


The argumentative Indian

For starters let me be honest that it took me 8 months to complete this book, partly because of other engagements and partly that I found some portions boring as I would narrate. Dr Sen certainly has done a good job in trying to make west understand about India but unfortunately from an Indian perspective his observations were more focused on the eastern India from Bihar to Jharkhand and mostly his beloved Bengal where he traces his ancestry from.Though I would like to add that he did give accounts of medieval and ancient India in complete fairness. It was the modern history that he talked about and specifically about Tagore that made me think on those lines.

The book has been very meticulously divide into four parts,  I can say with conviction that I consider all the parts thoroughly engaging barring some chapters which I found not interesting(  a fact that I could not relate to them in any way).

His books as 4 parts , namely

  1. Voice and heterodoxy
  2. Culture and Communication
  3. Politics and Protest
  4. Reason And Identity

For starters the first chapter is the most engaging of all, providing a detailed insight of the way India society works in terms of the opinions of people on religion and science. The chapter of the argumentative Indian he talks about  “good amount of debates” that use to take place in the Indian society at large in past, such as the debates within various religions . Akbar‘s tolerance and the secular nature of India formed. His approach is again more in making the world understand that how debates and arguments have been institutionalized in the history of India and that it is this behavior which led to the formation of a democratic India. Even though many in west claimed otherwise that it was because of “western” ideas and colonialism.

He is also particularly harsh on the NDA government , a fact that the book was written when NDA was in power. The book also address the angle where Hindu militants(Hindu aggression and parties with those ideology) has been talked by Dr Sen and how BJP cannot win more than the seats that it won at the time(184  precisely). His analysis of BJP and its ideology was  to offer an insight into an organizational structure which has worked secretly (pretty much till its RSS link came out in the open). Though he gives them credit for the meteoric rise. I found all this information very fascinating and none the less somewhat like a lecture from grandfather type figure telling as though “how the world runs”.

In the chapter of Diaspora of the world he very rightly touches the topic which has concerned me for very long time, the Identity debate.

The second section of the book it is the most boring which I found (which caused the delay in finishing). He talks at length about Rabindranath Tagore, it may be his fondness of the man or that he studied in the school which was laid by Tagore but the talk about Tagore made me lose interest. If I may add in some points I was furious about why he was talking about him so much, whereas overshadowing other people at that time in modern India. Later I did calm my self by realizing that the man was basically giving respects to the culture he was coming from ( a fact which my friends might acknowledge when I speak so more often about Jats, his action kind of gave validation to my attempts as to speak about your own too) .

The chapter that stood out here however was that of “our culture and their culture” in which much to my dissatisfaction he talks how Satyajit Ray tries to portray his understanding(again proving that it is not wrong to talk about your people, as Ray is a Bengali). The best of the lines for me in this part were on page 133 last paragraph, on word “modernism” which I for all means consider a raped word. I thoughtfully enjoyed his questioning as it was again something which has made me think a lot and made somewhat uncomfortable. It was reassuring that a Nobel laureate also thought this way.

Here he also mentioned about three ways west usually looks at India

  1. exoticist
  2. magisterial
  3. curatorial

Exoticist approach where everything is fascinating about India. The magisterial approach where the British governors tore apart Indian culture and intelligence by calling it barbaric and archaic(which many of their Indian admirers retransmit). The curatorial approach, the most balanced of all.

In the context of China and India he talks at length about how china and India have interacted since ancient time.(Nalanda university time). He talked about the fear of Chinese people when Buddhism came to their footsteps and about what both “nations” have learned from each other.

The third part was the quickest for me as most were related to the recent events and the fact that I read it in my Delhi to gurgaon metro journeys(where I don’t have much apart from either getting bored to death or sleeping or  finishing my pending books in the bookshelf). The chapters involves the freedom to the class distinction in India. It varies from the gender issues to the nuclear bomb thing, which he consider another BJP brouhaha as it was already done in 1974 by Indira Gandhi government secretly.On the gender issue he takes the usual line of women as victims and all the stuff that you read and watch on TV set.( it seemed to me that most of the media people must have read his book)

The fourth part Reasons and Identity he talks from various calendars to the topic of enlightenment.The importance of “new human psychology” as propagated by Jonathan Glover met with cynicism by him( I hope the pseudo-intellectuals are listening). He at one point brings rightly into the different ways in which west and east approach the same issue. He also rebuts the claim that most westerns feel that Asian societies lack liberty or tolerance(which baffles me too). It would be interesting to see that how many of the “western intellectuals” who shape the opinions of the mass public actually know about people like Akbar and Asoka who championed both of the causes. His well constructed argument in understanding the various calendars and pointing towards Gregorian calendar. ( the only way world running). Giving credibility to the fact that power does influence cultures , as he points out about various time median have had such influence. Greenwich time median is another example. It was made official at the time when Britain was a force to reckon with, I doubt now US would agree to such things if it unfolds.(hope western ideology worshipers in India are listening).

All in all I found couple of points in Dr Sen’s book to be used very much often Tagore, BJP and reasoning. The first one got to my nerve, though I must say that he quotes that many Bengali’s are baffled that Indian people not appreciate Tagore  for his intelligentsia. It is but true as most are interested in singing their region’s choirs plus Tagore was never that a universal leader as Gandhi who came from Gujarat(a state on the west of India). Similarly many of the rest of the Indian are baffled that Bengalis do-not appreciate other parts of the country that much and neither their leaders. It was a through grandfather speech affair, which I could say had moments of amazement to disliking to great knowledge. It is a book must read for those who wish to brush their history skill(something which I fancy a lot).

The word feminist in dictionary means the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Like most of the causes it also started out as a noble cause to make sure a large amount of work force doesnot goes untapped and could be payed equally.

The question how ever remains is with the multiple waves of feminism and the militant form of feminism emerging (which consider “all men as pigs of worst kind”). How will a boy be raised by women with such ideology in comparison for a girl ?

Will he be subjected to same “atrocities” as a chauvinist does to a female child or like “true feminist” say they will become “real balancers” for gender equality ?

A Quote which must be seen carefully, stating the feminist ideology :

We need to politicize motherhood and to recognize the work that mothers do – we need to claim that work for feminism, to learn its strategies, so that we might convince mothers that as much as feminism needs motherhood, mothers also need feminism. (Quoted from Hirsh 367 on page 254)

Can a feminist do justice to being a mother of a boy child by not making him a feminist by not influencing him(or not allowing her husband to make him a chauvinist) but rather letting him become a true chivalrous gentleman with traditional ideologies ?

In most of the debates that I have seen online and in live audiences either the woman stops being a feminist (out of protectiveness for the male child) or makes the life of the male child worse, by being extra strict.

I can’t help but notice a very similar type of behavior pattern for feminist of today and chauvinist who they are trying to “uproot”. If you would listen to their lectures and watch them talking you can get a sense of how they want the world to be: A matriarchy (as though that will set everything right). No wonder there are faults being “discovered” where men are “running the show“. It is but all “fair” if they fight the “so called oppressors”. The problem arises when they target the future generations and their desire to cripple the other gender and particularly target young boys, so that they can “balance” the world.

The case where the apparent feminist might have a son and a daughter, the question is how much she would “cut the boy to right size” and “upgrade the girl enough” so that she feels it equality has prevailed ?

Additionally can a mother of “daughters only” give an expert opinion on how boys should be raised and treated by her girls ?

Shouldn’t that be a bastion best left to people who actually have a male child or those with no real experience of raising a male child be experts in pointing to the way a male child must be raised(since she believes that she is  an expert after receiving a bad relationship from her male relatives) ?

The whole idea of feminism revolves around the fact of woman rights only ( as many scholars have time and again said that woman rights and child rights are two separate topics completely as women are abusive towards kids, in this case the weaker of the two lot ), so for a mother obsessed with woman rights, will the rights of a boy be considered equally and given paramount importance ?

The big question however is that feminism always say men are exploiters but will they become exploiters themselves so that they could “nullify male superiority” for the future female generations ?

A girl child might be allowed to do things which a boy child might be refused (citing the behavioral pattern that the feminist mother might feel about boy and thereby “training the animal right”). A boy might be disallowed to talk to girls or be friends with them, go out at nights or even go for adventurous trips (if they don’t follow the code of conduct prescribed by their feminist mother) but certainly a girl might be allowed to interact with the opposite sex and allowed to “find herself“. The girl might be allowed to do all the “wild” things men are suppose to do/have done and boy child would be made to sit at home getting lecture at how bad men are.

How can a feminist mother keep “true” to her feminist ideology and at the same time be “true” to her son as a mother,since he will be at the receiving end or a combination of innovative approach with a mix feminist-Traditionalist ideology (which many people also term as humanity) be a new outcome of raising a boy child by her. In this process the father’s role is being subverted throughout . By keeping in dark or just using  a male’s sperm to get impregnated not becoming an act of “use and throw” approach which the earlier feminist use to abhor deeply ?

In order to address such situations feminist have been having their intense debate within and some women with the good hearts have undoubtedly said that feminist have made young men confused at to what they should do( and in reality bit overdone this victim-hood non-sense), as most of them wanted to convert their society into feminist one( with everything coochi coochi). In this process extincting the “male masculinity” and “machoness”. Eventually then getting bored and disliking the “tamed and well groomed metrosexual man(beast)” that they have created.

The point being the boys feeling subverted/manipulated to “groom” him right and girls feeling “enraged” to empower her. Can these simple act not be classified as abuse of    the right of boy in the process of being a man ?

Feminism in developing world usually take a leaf out of the “developed” world (as they can teach the “right” thing and not visa versa) , but do these developing world feminist are willing to understand what boys feel or is it too out of the world for them( and additionally accept their flaws too). It has been widely understood that woman become feminist out of oppression of themselves in the hands of their male peers of elder males in the families since they cannot understand their “feeling”. It may be so that in process of being a man in order to not get affected by emotions in decision making ,they needed to subvert their feelings. A phenomena which has been successful to men for thousands of years.(but how can a man expect a feminist to understand this feeling, after all it is always other way round)

After reading the question many feminist would say that they can be good mothers and provide their male child with the right education, but who decides what the right education for being a man is, someone who is not even a man ?

These question though insignificant to some but are relativity important in terms of parenting and specially parenting a male child by a hard core feminist or at least feminist sympathizer . The pink male population might give it a pass by not getting involved in order to get married to “set” of women who “looks beautifully right” but has a underlining agenda for a matriarchy dominated society is just ridiculous. Using young boys as guinea pigs to “realize” their dreams by such “beautiful women” is equally ridiculous.

I watched a lecture once where a “ex-feminist” was saying that rather being a feminist and chauvinist first movement, it should human rights movement at whole as the whole idea is so misplaced. Since if you propagate human values then “everything” should come under rights and if someone wishes to be complacent in this approach then, morality in asking or telling what is “right” is certainly lost.

In this war against boys concept where a feminist is picking on a young boy rather than fight a man(to settle their scores), so that she may protect a better future for a girl is completely despicable.

Chahat (The Desire)

Chahat ka ikrar toh ho…..

dil mein jo basa hai vo izhar toh ho…….

Hum marte hain jinke liye….

unhe humse thoda hi sahi…..

par pyar toh ho….                                                            ————–Diwane-e-sahil

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