Friday, 17 June 2016

In which we establish my Sanghiness

  • There is much wrong with the Mohenjodaro poster, and the movie may be worse (or better). But the worst part is that there is nobody to represent them. I am not trying to defend the cottage industry of ‘hurt sentiments’ but when it came to Jodha Akbar, there WERE people from Rajasthan at least registering protest. The Barber community protested against Billu Barber and the Mochi community against Aaja Nachle. Sikhs were upset at Jo Bole So Nihal, Muslims at Vishwaroopam and Hindus at PK. But there is literally no one to take up the cudgels, file random FIRs, burn posters or block screenings, on behalf of the Harappans.
  • Okay my feelings just turned from outrage to grudging admiration. Well played Ashutosh Gowariker.
  • My second favourite Indian empire after the Mughals (because I have those now) is the Mauryas. Emperor Ashoka, who I have rhapsodised about before, is not the only reason. They also had India’s favourite economist-policy maker, Chanakya. Even Subramaniam Swamy loves him, I suspect, because apart from being suitably ‘mentally Indian’, he was three-quarters Raghuram Rajan, one-quarter Amit Shah with a dash of Arun Jaitley.
  • A recent scientific study (using DNA samples, no less) pointed to the Guptas as being the period when endogamy within a caste began to be followed (though the caste system as such preceded the Guptas). It was also the period when the Vaishyas and Shudras rebelled against the slavery imposed on them. This was the precise point when the wise Brahmanas declared the beginning of the Kali-yug, i.e., the period of most depraved human values. We just call them anti-national now.
  • The obsession with #Ease-of-Doing-Business did not start with 2014. That happened in 1608 when Jahangir started handing out rights to the British to set up ‘factories’ first along the West coast and then all over India.
  • If you go to the Gaekwad’s palace in Baroda, you get to hear the audio recording of one of the princes whining about how their house was so big that the coffee would go cold before the servant could lug it up to his room. #Upping-the-ante-on-urban-poverty.
  • Turns out such a sense of entitlement will also make you intensely unpopular among your subjects. The revolt of the Wagheras of Baroda, was a rare case of opposition to the own ruler (Gaekwads) that took place in the pre-1857 period. In contrast, in most cases people supported their rulers (despots they may be) in revolting against the British.
  • Did you know that Hinduism (or Brahmanism more precisely) derived its practice of idol worship from Buddhism? Till the point I read about it, I was quite sure that Buddhism did not sanction idol worship. This could be reflective of how badly we were taught anything in school but also of how little attention I paid, while there. [Let me know if you thought so too, then we will know who to blame].
  • Hinduism is a most interesting religion. In fact I am inclined to believe that it’s not a religion at all. At the risk of sounding Sanghi, it does seem like a way of life. How else do you explain schools of thought within Hinduism that tell you to not believe all the balderdash about karma or rituals and enjoy life (even if you have to borrow ghee to do so)?
  • We have been discussing marital rape for more than a century now, and the terms of the debate are not radically different. In 1891 the Parliament introduced legislation to increase the age of consent from 10 years to 12 years for women female children. (Of course as long as she was older than 12 and married, her consent or lack thereof did not matter). This was after the reported death of an 11 year old when her husband forced himself on her. Tilak opposed the law. Clearly Swarajya was a birth-right only for a few.