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return_to_hades

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Posted: 20 February 2014 at 5:27pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by hindu4lyf

This made me laugh out loud! :P
http://thatscoop.com/harsh.pawar/8-reasons-why-delhi-is-jealous-of-mumbai-1277

*runs away from Dilliwale*

"A girl in Mumbai can dress up in a Pair of shorts, casual tee and go to a mall or coffee shop without feeling insecure about her-self. Girls in Delhi are still busy dressing up to go to a sabziwala to buy 1kg alloo."ROFL


OMG!  LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL

The FB comments below are hilarious too.

Gal 1: I'm an "Proud" Bombaties but residing in Delhi for quite some time *edited out the BS*
Guy: I'm an "Proud" Bombaties"? Are you a Bangladeshi?
Gal 2: Why insult Bangladeshis? "I'm a proud BOMBATIES" seems like a Delhi-effect with respect to language. Let her dwell in it. :)

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 20 February 2014 at 6:40pm | IP Logged
I haven't read the Wendy Doniger book yet. I hope to read it later this year. So my opinions are not as someone who is familiar with the contents, but more based on the principle of things.

My thoughts echo a lot with Devdutt Pattanaik who is undoubtedly the foremost authority on Hindu mythology in our times. http://www.rediff.com/news/column/column-hating-wendy/20140213.htm

We Hindus are uneducated about our history and culture. Our exposure is either to the devout Hindus often blind in their worship or the skeptics who want to question the caste system, sati and other evils. Like the guy in your article Genie, we are faced with many questions that we don't know how to explain or answer. Instead of delving deeper into our religion, trying to explore its history and evolution we pick two extremes - one that blindly fights for religion, one that blindly denounces it. Both are equally wrong.

Coming to focus more on Wendy Doniger's work and issues with it. Here are my main thoughts.

Hinduism is an interpretative religion. There are many versions of myths and many interpretations of these myths. Someone from a western Abrahamic background is bound to interpret differently, not out of racism or prejudice, but out of perspectives. Psychosexual analysis isn't accurate, but it isn't perverse or offensive either. Freud approached human nature with psychosexuality. Also our myths do have sexuality and we need to accept it.

That being said I know Doniger's book hurt many sentiments. Many people found factual inaccuracies as well. As Devdutt Pattanaik says her psychosexual interpretations are off base. We do have the right to question her, we do have the right to ask for explanations, we do have the right to make counterpoints, we do have the right to defend how we interpret our religion.

However, banning a book and pulping it is not the way. That is a gross violation of freedom of speech. Because Wendy too has the right to her version, no matter how inaccurate or misinformed. Censorship and curbing free speech of any form is a dangerous precedent. Our country is already suffering from people in power silencing the voices of the counterattack. But freedom of speech aside, banning and pulping is counterproductive. It has made her book a sensation. People will download it on their tablets and e-readers. The paper copies are still circulating the world over. Many Hindu kids will read it and believe this to be truth about their religion, without ever hearing another side. Many people across the world will read it and assume this is the truth about Hinduism and Hindus banned it because they are too ashamed to admit it.

The right thing to do is publish critical reviews that find flaws and factual errors. Publish an alternate book to give the alternate version. Best have scholars of Hindu history and myth invite Wendy for public debates so both sides can hash out their counterpoints on a public platform. This way all Hindus get exposure. The Hindutva extremists learn that there are aspects to Hinduism like sexuality and the religion can be explored in a myriad of ways. The liberal apologists can learn that it isn't as start and there is more truth to the beauty of the religion. Those outside of Hinduism don't just stick to one source and judge Hinduism but get to see valid counterpoints as well.

The problem is that we like to stick to our extremes and no one wants to take the effort to dig deeper into our history and culture and go beyond what we have learned.


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Posted: 21 February 2014 at 4:30am | IP Logged
I have read the book couple of years back and  also some previous work of Doniger on Hindu religion. But for every perspective I have on this issue , the banning of the book is abhorrent and  curtails the freedom of speech that was one of the main cause for our Independence movement. 

I won't recommend her book unless the reader has had some solid experience of Hindu literature. It is a nicely written book , I will applaud her for getting the basic right but thats where it ends for me, her work is severely loop-sided , not enough researched and is probably too conclusive in its findings. Just for the ones who haven't read it , basically its her take on casteism in India with Hinduism as the understudy. I won't go into the sexual references because I have read far more controversial pieces and with a lot more descriptive sexuality about our mythical beings than this one. What I sense is the reason her book fails to draw appreciation from Indian intellectuals or Literati  is the finality and her refusal to see the counter-argument. Her book sets itself as a know-it-all text.

The reason for this outrage against her stems from three reasons, one I have mentioned the other two being that she is foreigner and the third perhaps is something to do with her personality, she has vehemently opposed any counter points to her pieces and books in that past. Having listed these, I will still strongly voice by disapproval on banning her book, it will cause nothing but Streisand effect will ensure an even wider readership, these right-wing goons will harm the religion and its teaching by doing this book such disservice. 

Hinduism is for me personally just a way of life, it is too abstract and too action driven that it cannot be interpreted in one particular manner. The multiple Gods, the fables all do add to the allure and bring a certain romanticism to the religion but the meanings and the teaching of these tales are lost by the magnanimity of the characters. Though this is not something just related to Hinduism and its followers, every religion in every part of this world elicits same response. Holy books burning around the world , its not because of hate as such but more so that religion gives an invisible support to certain people and changing/objecting their ideology unstable their whole being. Though that doesn't mean one should not voice a different voice, but a moral code of responsibility should be excerpted which the author here failed to do so. Not the words , but the conclusiveness she holds has made her polarizing figure since the book first released.

This book has been referred as one of the main texts on Indian religion for few years now for academic purposes especially abroad. There is a sense that western world has  taken to it too literal sense. The  article I referred and DP ( have read his article before, read his take on Sita also) both have stated that since colonization there is a very superficial reflection of Hinduism by western scholars and in India as well. I won't attribute it to lack of material on Hinduism for I have read almost all the major interpretation but what I feel that pulls Indian society down is its eagerness to get some acceptance from foreign word. Somehow the legitimacy is only guaranteed if it is backed by foreign endorsement. 

That brings me to the point, India is not closed. It is young. Just 60+ , it is continuously struggling to cope with vastness of culture, spirituality and religion it holds under its borders. This comes after 1000 years of foreign invasion , it has always accepted the invader as its ruler. So the sense of "superiority" with the westerners comes from a long period of conditioning. Hence the society is too sensitive. 

Another reason , education in India is too influenced by the govt in power both at Centre and state. You would find too many and huge discrepancies in the books from one state to another. Thus many times a propagated version of religion is fed to the masses.

There are enough and far superior counter points , stories and interpretations written on Hinduism by Indian authors like Ajaya, Asura and Leela's book ( my fav by alice Albinia). Leela's book in particular brings a beautiful and most accurate interpretation of female emotions during Mahabharata, yet  these books have been widely celebrated even with all the sexual connotations.  So I feel the argument that people should write books, papers arguing against "The Hindus" is moot, as they exist and very well written if I might add, just that noone is aware because unfortunately, press everywhere latches on the more influential voice and will prefer to take a Non-Indian view on this. 

Parting note, its shameful Penguin had to burn the book , a part of our freedom rights went up the flame and so did the integrity of Hinduism which holds tolerance as one of its principles. Yet, authors too need to exercise , a moral duty to be sure of their research and their work to let it not have such a final conclusion on something as vague and abstract as religion. 


Edited by charminggenie - 21 February 2014 at 6:23am

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Posted: 21 February 2014 at 7:55am | IP Logged

As soon as I heard about the controversy, I immediately downloaded a PDF of "The Hindus" out of curiosity. Ideally, anyone who reads a controversial book should have good prior knowledge of the subject matter. We don't live in an ideal world, but my curiosity reflects the biggest paradox of attempting book bans. You made a book one never heard of or would have cared for before into must have, must read. Conservative Hindus have ironically become the best marketing for Wendy Doniger than anyone else.

 

Couple of things

 

We have to be careful to separate India the country from Hinduism the religion. Hinduism at its peak spread from Afghanistan to Indonesia. Today there are Hindus almost in every nation. While India the country is young, the religion is one of the oldest surviving religion. There are Hindus who have never set foot in India. There are the Balinese and other South East Asians who also adhere to Hinduism in their own way. I find it quite illogical and unfair when "Indians" try to establish themselves as gatekeepers of the religion.

 

I don't think legitimacy is guaranteed by acknowledgment. Most people fail to acknowledge Wiccan, Voodoo, Shamanism and many other ancient nature based religions that still survive today. But within the followers it is legitimate and true. However, we do live in a global world. Whether we will it or not some sort of acknowledgement and acceptance is necessary. This acknowledgement and acceptance allows freedom of faith. It encourages sharing of faith. It promotes learning so that people don't misunderstand each other.  So while I don't think we need western people to endorse Hinduism, in that aspect our faith in Hinduism is sufficient, we do need westerners to acknowledge and accept us as a faith. I think it is vital that westerners do have some sort of curiosity to learn and study Hinduism. We want people to be better aware of Hinduism.

 

I wasn't aware that counter books existed which is why I suggested that counter books be written. If the counter books exist then we need to promote them more. At least someone should take the boiling controversy as a means to publicize these works. If as you say Doniger's books are the authoritative texts for Hindu studies across the world, we need to make the push to include insider Hindu perspectives in the curriculum as well. Public debates are also a great tool. Debate her in an auditorium in the Chicago University she teaches. The recent Bill Nye debate shows that even when you go up against someone who has made up their mind, it is an excellent tool to educate masses and raise awareness of issues.

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Posted: 21 February 2014 at 8:24am | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades

 Conservative Hindus have ironically become the best marketing for Wendy Doniger than anyone else. Word.

 

Couple of things

 

We have to be careful to separate India the country from Hinduism the religion. Hinduism at its peak spread from Afghanistan to Indonesia. Today there are Hindus almost in every nation. While India the country is young, the religion is one of the oldest surviving religion. There are Hindus who have never set foot in India. There are the Balinese and other South East Asians who also adhere to Hinduism in their own way. I find it quite illogical and unfair when "Indians" try to establish themselves as gatekeepers of the religion.

True, but the mythological origin point for most of the popular literature is India. I won't call it unfair, religion is free to be anyone's right. Some would be pacific about it while others agressive. Indians take religion too sensitively as for most they symbolize everything and their whole existence.  I am aware of Hindu protests in Nepal and Bali too , but considering the economic shift and global eye on India , the spotlight is more on Indians. This literature, particularly, dealt directly with Hinduism and its subsequent caste system in India, hence the protest. also it has to do with association, you say Sati and a normal reaction will insinuate towards India. You mention Ram to anyone outside India and they will link him to only India. Hence by default Indians do tend to be most identified Hindus. 

 

I don't think legitimacy is guaranteed by acknowledgment. Most people fail to acknowledge Wiccan, Voodoo, Shamanism and many other ancient nature based religions that still survive today. But within the followers it is legitimate and true. However, we do live in a global world. Whether we will it or not some sort of acknowledgement and acceptance is necessary. This acknowledgement and acceptance allows freedom of faith. It encourages sharing of faith. It promotes learning so that people don't misunderstand each other.  So while I don't think we need western people to endorse Hinduism, in that aspect our faith in Hinduism is sufficient, we do need westerners to acknowledge and accept us as a faith. I think it is vital that westerners do have some sort of curiosity to learn and study Hinduism. We want people to be better aware of Hinduism.

No we don't need endorsement or acknowledgment for our beliefs yet Indians do suffer from the need to have it. Right from the fair skin tone to hoping for an Hollywood mention. Most do tend to look at west with a sort of reverence. The point is not that Hinduisms or  Indians need this endorsement, but that they do seek it because of their issues. Wrong but understandable. Religion is not anyone's personal property, it is a thought, can be studied , read and practiced by anyone including the curious Westerner.

 

I wasn't aware that counter books existed which is why I suggested that counter books be written. If the counter books exist then we need to promote them more. At least someone should take the boiling controversy as a means to publicize these works. If as you say Doniger's books are the authoritative texts for Hindu studies across the world, we need to make the push to include insider Hindu perspectives in the curriculum as well. Public debates are also a great tool. Debate her in an auditorium in the Chicago University she teaches. The recent Bill Nye debate shows that even when you go up against someone who has made up their mind, it is an excellent tool to educate masses and raise awareness of issues.

Hades - This book has been around and so has Doniger for years now, there have been debates regarding this and otherwise, but the fact that most have not got publicity indicates how these discussions catch mass public sentiments.Someone might win an argument in a closed auditoruim in Chicago or in Delhi, but it will never be enough to satiate every involved party nor will it dispel all the myths in both worlds. Especially the right wings in India who don't have excess to such views, they don't read the book but are swayed by what they have is a feeling of betryed and insulted. The start has to be with the education everywhere,  the fight should be to give every point of view without bias and let them make their own opinion. Till then , authors should exploit their right to freedom with a moral intent.



To respect such an extreme opinion about a particular belief , the reader needs to be exposed to  such books/opinions from a really early age. This Indians lack, hence the outrage. Literature exists but the exposure is nil.
 

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Posted: 21 February 2014 at 9:33am | IP Logged
rangrasiya is super super super boring.. tumhari pakhi wins 
#random ramblings

n today FB is full of views on the book Tongue


Edited by enigmatic_zephy - 21 February 2014 at 9:33am

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Posted: 21 February 2014 at 9:36am | IP Logged
btw, hv u heard of this mountain range in the NE or tibet.. Om in hindi is etched out on the top and apparently the only area ( om) that gets snowfall.. 
FREAKY

i can understand the shivling of amarnath - thats basic science and given least surface area that is but the shape that snow falling through a funnel would take..

BUT OM is a tough one


i wonder if someone saw it and then came the whole idea of om Tongue

#Glad that earth still has some mysteries

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Posted: 21 February 2014 at 9:36am | IP Logged
I keep a track of Jodha Akbar, love Rajat's acting. 
My fb is full of weddings!

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