Thursday, June 25, 2009

Knowing India

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The problem with Indian history, IMHO, is faulty translation of words like Raashtra, Dharma, Sanskriti to Nation, Religion, Culture respectively. The word civilization is translated to Sabhyata. The word Sabhya literally means Decent. Sabhyata means decency. It can also mean civilized nature. But, Bhaaratiya Sabhyataa when translates as Indian decency, it becomes a dicey word to be used in historical context.

The state of being "civilized" in western sense has something to do with nobility in Indic context, and our ancestors have typically used the word "Aarya" to refer to such nobility, aristocracy. Instead, it is made up as a racial word. It is the most ridiculous thing conjured up in past century reagarding racial connotations of word Aarya. This was the most poisonous venom ever spewed in Indian psyche by anyone throughout the history. Aarya is synonymous to civilized.

An Aarya can be sabhya (Yudhishthir) or asabhya (Duryodhan), but he is Aarya (civilized, from Indian context) nonetheless.

The Sanskriti of Bhaarat has been Dharma-based. This understanding of Dharma as concept has spread outside domains of subcontinent and retreated back to the heartlands of subcontinent many times. But, subcontinent (Bhaarat) remains the heartland of Dhaarmic-Sanskriti. All Indic philosophies espouse following one's Dharma. They may or may not differ from each other in supernatural context or Moksha/Nirvana. Irrespective of different takes on moksha part of life, emphasis on Dharma remains constant in Bhaarat.

Hence, Bhaarat is an a single and continuous entity throughout space and time, from point of view of Dhaarmic Sanskriti. Emphasis on Dharma is the glue which gives Bhaarat its identity, continuity and uniformity.

In his book "The Philosophy of Civilization", Albert Schweitzer defines civilization in 1923 as -
It is the sum total of all progress made by man in every sphere of action and from every point of view in so far as the progress helps towards the spiritual perfecting of individuals as the progress of all progress.

According to wiki article on civilization, most widely used definition,
civilization is a descriptive term for a relatively complex agricultural and urban culture

Complex agriculture and urban lifestyle might be the standards applied to determine and define a civilization, but how can it be used to determine the Sabhyataa of a society is something which is beyond logical reasoning.

Rigvedic people, "supposedly", were unable to till land and lived in villages. Yet, they composed literature which is revered until today as one of most complex philosophies of world. By above mentioned definition, Rigvedic people are uncivilzed. So be it, but then how can they be termed as people without Sabhyataa, is again beyond logic.

Mis-translation and inability of the "History Re-writers" to understand the meaning of such basic terms which are so frequently used in vocabulary of Indians is the reason for such mess-ups.

From point of view of memetics, the region of earth, where people value the Dharma based meme-complex as their world-view is Bhaarat. For most of the time in history, that region has been Indian subcontinent.

This commonality offered by Sanskriti based on Dharma is the glue which identifies Bhaarat as one and continuous entity, in spite of the diversity in space and time.

In such system, the concept of nation-state with fixed inviolable boundaries and concept of religion interfering in all Dharma-Artha-Kaam-Moksha aspects of life, which are essentially segregated in Indic system, when applied without Vivek, creates a huge confusion. This is exactly what has happened, IMHO.

The real meaning of terms like Dharma, Sanskriti, Sanskaar, Sabhyataa, Raashtra etc is very well understood by common Indian people while speaking in their language. Even while speaking in English, ordinary Indian man knows exactly what he means when he uses these words. However, their English counterparts become dicey because they mean somewhat differently in European and Abrahamic context.

Hence, when Dharma is translated to Religion, the conflict begins in Indian mind. Due to power of westernized educational institution, passage of time, he starts doubting his real understanding of these terms and begins to commit the same mistakes which the original "mis-translators" committed.

What is required is re-education of Indian mind to remind them that their original understanding of these terms was right and that these Indic terms and their popular English synonyms mean different things. If this happens, slowly, people who say that there was no India before arrival of british will slowly start decreasing.

They will understand that India is not merely a nation-state... India is an idea, a concept, a phenomenon which is continuous, coherent, single throughout its expanse in space and time. It is very easy to feel her, experience her, but very difficult to grasp and understand her if one relies on faulty understanding of these basic terms.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Understanding Islamic social power-structure: Critical Appraisal of Muhammad from perspective of memetics

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Philosophers come up with all sorts of philosophies they feel like. We have whole range of them. They are originators of memes.

The blame for misuse of ideologies and subsequent massacre of people lie on the head of kings and policy makers who utilize the suitable meme from available set of memes for gaining political mileage. Just like Constantine for life time was massacring Christians and on his death bed, accepted Christianity and started massacring Pagans. Constantine made Jesus as popular as he is today. Ashok made Buddha as popular. Without Constantine and Ashok, Jesus and Buddha were just another philosophers.

Muhammad was one of the very few originators of religious memes who patronized himself to become so successful. He did not depend upon some king. This shows that he was a successful human being. He became an authentic policy-maker of his kingdom and as I said, political policy-makers are the ones to blame primarily for misuse of the ideological memes. Muhammad being originator and implementor of Islam, gets both the accolades for being so immensely successful and criticisms for using his own philosophy for gaining political mileage.

The character was Adolf Hitler showed slightly similar trajectory. He came up with philosophy, he got power, he implemented his philosophy and became immensely popular. And later, infamous !!!

Muhammad was a man of power and always aspired to be one. He was an ambitious man. I am just looking at him as an ambitious politician and a human being, instead of divine messenger. This was not the case with Moses and Jesus as they were just another philosophers and not politicians and policy-makers. They came up with philosophy, people utilized it for their good and evil.

This "Islam in danger" mentality is the real pain in the ass for Muslims. Sadly Muslims don't recognize this. This is denotes the influence of Mullah-theocracy under whose exasperating influence lies the Muslim society, and will cause their doom in coming days.

The social power-structure

A Qazi or a Mullah controls the social matters and ascertains the "report-card" of spiritual progress of ordinary Abdul. And sad part is ordinary Abdul in India can't even think of rebelling because if he does, he will be branded as "enemy of Islam" by power-establishment and will bring "Islam in danger". Hence, Jihad against him.

"One God-One Book-One Prophet-No Pork" was so far the best definition of Islam given to me by an illiterate Thai-Muslim cleaning lady in my dormitory. This is the central dogma. Around this central dogma has developed a system in which Mullah who uses this opiate (of religion) to control masses and usurps power, himself consumed by the one. Thus, once a part of system which gives you enormous power as long as you keep ordinary Abdul frightened of divine wrath, it is an extremely seductive offer.

Ordinary Abdul is prohibited to learn Quran in his mother-tongue. He is prohibited and threatened with his life, he tries and makes his own interpretation of the book which somehow goes against this power-structure. He is forced to suspend his critical faculties in favour of faith and fear of Sky-daddy. He is actively dissuaded from free-thinking.

This power-structure is inherently linked perhaps with the nature and Chitta-Vritti of Prophet Muhammad himself. Belief in Allah is not enough to ensure the place in heaven. One has to depend upon Muhammad's favours and his influence on god to go to heaven and get 72 hoors. Thus, Muhammad made himself more powerful than Allah.

Thus, in Islam for all practical purposes, Muhammad, the Rasool, is supremely powerful figure. This is as perfect and complete as it can get. Muhammad will only talk to Allah about you if you were a true Muslim.

But who determines who the true-Muslim is and who is not, herein lies the real crux of the issue.

Historical aspects of expansion of Islamic power-structure

Muhammad made himself irreplaceable and went to Jannat. But he left behind a power-structure which was perfectly organized in otherwise dispersed pre-Islamic Arabia. Thus, this power-structure was perfected and cemented by Islamic expansion under first four Caliphs.

Interesting thing is that, the important civilizations of that age were Western-Roman, Eastern-Roman, Egyptian, Carthaginian, Persian, Indian, Chinese. Persians and Byzantines (eastern-Roman) were exhausted in long warfare with each other. Persia in particular; which also had similarly modelled monotheistic power-structure of one-main god (Ahura Mazda)-One messenger (Zarathushtra)-One book (Zend Avesta).

Egypt was decadent. Carthinigians were ideologically stagnated for some time. Byzantines were strong because they had new influx of ideas from all over the world Istanbul being on silk-route, had access to traders, technologies and most importantly ideas from China, India, Persia, Israel, Greece and Rome. Thus, it took time for Islam to overcome Byzantines.

The biggest losers in the expanding power-structure of Islam were Persians and Egyptians; Persians in particular. The soft-monotheism of Zoroastrian Persia could not counter the hard and perfected monotheism of Islam. The military might of Persia was already weakened due to Byzantine wars. Hence Persia crumbled. Yet, time and again, Persia, unlike egypt, has shown that its old civilization is not dead yet. The memory is still very much alive in subconscious minds of Persians. The most glaring example of this is the persistent popularity of "Shahnama" by "Firdowsi" in Persia for over a thousand years now.

Bhaarat or India, OTOH, was a different ball game for Islam. Arabs could not conquer any part of region which was under influence of Indic civilization for at-least 250 years since their first raid on Sindh in 640 AD. Until 711 AD, there were many successive waves which were thoroughly repelled. Muhd bin Qasim successfully ventured into Sindh. However, arabs were gradually replaced by Sumer Rajputs in Sindh. Battle of Rajasthan completely nullified any Islamic influence in subcontinent for almost 300 years.

Interestingly, Afghanistan resisted Islamization for 250 years after fall and Islamization of Persia. The most interesting thing, worth noting is that central Asia (turkmenistan, Khazak, tajikistan etc) was conquered and Islamized about centure before Gaandhar and Afghanistan was. And within 20 years of fall of afghanistan, the Islamic raids started on Gaandhar and Kekay. This shows the influence and resilience of Indic civilization.

The Islamic expansion in India was primarily Central-Asian. Central Asian tribal mentality has been eternal enemy of Indic civilization since Rigvedic days and battle of ten kings. This mentality was always invasive towards throughout the history. Just that after Islamization, this tendency became more rabid and malignant. Destructive, it always was. But ideologically inferior and barbaric than Indic civilization.

But, this was not new to Bhaarat and Indic civilization was accustomed to assimilating new tribes, people, ideas and memes from central asia and perfectly Indianize them. Scythians, Kushans, Huns, Yavans and many others are glaring examples of this fact. The central asian variant of Islam too was gradually on verge of Indianization. Dara-Shikoh was the primary example of this co-synthesis of new Indianized traditions. The turning point in Indian Islam came with advent of Aurangzeb in 17th century. Herein, lies the place of Aurangzeb, and hence Shivaji, in Indian history. The defeat of Dara was IMHO one of the most tragic incidence in Indian history. Without Aurangzeb, there would have been a perfectly Indian variant of Islam.


Propagation of Islam is in fact propagation of Mullah-based social power-structure associated with it.

Sufis played a major role, yes. But once Islam was established, they found themselves enlisted as Kaafirs along with other Kaafirs. Any established monolithic power-structure does not like influx of new ideas. Rather it wants controlled influx of new ideas. They prefer standardisation and mass-production over innovation. This ensures efficient execution of power-machinery.

Even where Sufis introduced their abstract free-thinking ideas, this free-thinking was standardised and all anomalies were removed by forcible imposition and dominance of Deobandi Islam, which is now followed by Wahabi Islam. Wahabism is so far the most efficiently standardised school of Islam with maximum devotion of followers towards Qazi-Mullah power structure and minimum anomalies. Anomalies are looked upon as abnormalities and are violently uprooted. They follow the literal meaning of the book.

They can and have declared non-Wahabis as Kuffars. But so far, no Deobandi or Barelvi or Sufi or Shia or ahmediya or Bahai people have dared to declare Wahabism as Kufr and un-Islamic. The power structure, along with separation of Abdul and Ayesha from ability to think rationally, gives propagation of Deobandi and Wahabi forms of Islam maximum mileage. Most of others are already enlisted as Kaafirs and are on target list of suicide bombers eager to meet their 72 in paradise. This is because, deep down, every Mullah knows, that he cannot defeat the Wahabi interpretation of Quran as Non-Islamic unless Quran is reformed, which is not allowed. Hence it seems that deobandis will have to merge in with Wahabis or become as fanatic as Wahabis.

The cycle initiated for grabbing and then cementing a lucrative position in the power-structure (Qazi/Mullah) initiated by Prophet Muhammad ends in Wahabization of Islam.

Concluding observations

Finally, it can said that, evolution and adaptation is fact of life which every replicating entity has to accept. And that evolution is best suited for the survival of a replicating entity or meme, when it is in harmony with surrounding or if it forces its surrounding to be in harmony with self.

Islam, when initiated, introduced much needed standardisation in otherwise free-thinking and dispersed Arabs. Standardization helps in efficient survival where resources are scarce and cost of living in terms of energy is high. Civilizations like India where resources are abundant and cost of living in terms of energy is ridiculously low, are better off being free-thinking and non-standardised because it is best suited for progress of mankind. Violent suppression of critical faculties of certain section of people leads to dissatisfaction between free-thinkers (Indic people) and standardised products (Sunni Muslims of Deobandi and Wahabi schools in particular) and hence leads to conflict.

Once ordinary Ayesha (common muslim woman) is emancipated from clutches of Qazi/Mullah based power-structure, the demise of this power-structure won't be far behind. It will be matter of one or two generations that this power-structure will meet its 72. Once Ayesha is emancipated, she will free Abduls as well. Because it is woman who holds the string of cradle and hence entire civilization.