Sunday, April 02, 2006

nytimes: on religion and secularism

apr 2nd

thought this was quite an interesting review, and the book sounds interesting too. 'Earthly Powers'.

the author's contention that forcibly created 'religions' are totalitarian is precisely what my critique of 'dravidianism' has been.

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But he is right to see radical French atheism setting the stage for the drama that unfolded just after the revolution, when the Jacobins went to war against Catholicism, destroying churches, imprisoning priests and nuns or sending them into exile, and brutally suppressing spontaneous Catholic uprisings that took place across France. Yet it turned out the Jacobins were not opposed to religion as such, just to the Catholicism that had sanctified centuries of tyranny. Having studied Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Social Contract," they were convinced that a strong republic would need some sort of civil religion to establish a spirit of self-sacrifice and belonging, and so they tried to create one, organizing public festivals modeled on pagan cults and remaking the calendar. Burleigh, like so many historians today, sees in these Promethean efforts a premonition of the theatrical mass meetings of the 20th-century Bolsheviks, Fascists and Nazis.

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this is the contribution of good old evramaswamy naicker -- a totalitarianism, like marxism, fascism (hard to distinguish between the two, actually), and nazism.

more, on the creation of marxism-like totalitarianisms:

====== quote =========

And so the utopians took out their rulers and compasses and set to work. Saint-Simon imagined the creation of an autocratic technocracy run by industrialists and bureaucrats, and maintained as an organic whole by a new religion of reason. Some of his followers formed a commune outside Paris, where they wore special uniforms and performed secret rites. Comte wrote pamphlet after pamphlet laying out a new "positive" system for society, which would include a "religion of humanity," complete with ceremonies, saints and high holy days.

======= end quote =====

i have long held that whenever a new religion is invented, it tries it damnedest to differentiate itself from the existing ones.

thus, when christism was invented, its differentiation was "we don't allow graven images (other than the crucifix and the bible, of coruse), because they offend god (why, our book says so, so it must be true)"

when mohammedanism was invented, its differentation was "we don't allow images of any kind because they offend god (why, our book says so, so it must be true)"

when marxism was invented, its differentiation was "we don't allow the idea of god, because it offends marx (why, marx says so, so it must be true)"

so when 'dravidianism' was invented, its differentiation was "we don't allow god, (but we will make exceptions for the gods of the semites because we're scared of them)"


san said...

It's not even that they're scared of the Gods of the semites, but rather that they find them to be useful strategems in smiting the local Gods that they loathe. "The Enemy God of My Enemy Gods is My Friend."

Because they regard the local faith as a yoke of oppression, they are always looking for another 'Far Emperor' to intervene locally on their behalf. If we were to all convert to Semitic religions, then they would have to seek out yet another faith to differentiate themselves once again. So it would become a perpetual game of musical chairs.

redrackham said...

a very incisive commentary on indian marxists by "Jaffna"


hindu said...

Iam just posting this response (to rajeev critic of my response), here related to a previous blog refering to 'maharashtra in south'


whats your problem? on one hand you talk as if you are the sole defender of hinduism, but dismiss everything i say about our ancient books. The references i said do exist, go read them if you want.

Just because tibet is not included ..u say the 6 division is crap? Are you crazy? Tibet was never a part of india. India ends with the himalayas. Just because kailash & Manasarovar is there tibet wouldnt become india's. Its like saying baluchistan is ours because hinglaj is there. We all know balochistan is beyond the kirthar range in the iranian plateau and always fell under the persian sphere of influence. If you say tibet is ours..then there is no difference b/w you and the chinese maoists.

Also, you are right. Manu was expressing his opinion. But mind you ..that he was addressing the people and society of his times, NOT ours. Every author writes books to express his views on the topic he is writing about. That is what he did too, So you saying he does not have that right? Your problem is that you view all the old scriptures against the current background.

Whatever he wrote he did so thousands of years ago when it had been only a few generations after the migration started. May be he was trying to conserve the uniqueness of his people, by discouraging mixing? Just like today we are against the converions to christianity and islam.

BUT my point is he did so for the people of his time. Now ..if we are still are trying to follow it and seek guidance from the manusmriti..thats entirely our problem. I think if Manu were to come back now.. he himself would rewrite his work to suit the society of today.

This reponse again proves that you dont know a sqat, what you talking about. I have seen this time and again in your blogs, that you either praise something as a whole or totaly booo it as a whole. Nothing is perfect, rajeev. We have to see what part of the subject we are discussing and in what context.

I was just using the manusmrti as one of the items of proof, as it has indirect, references to the migration.

also, did i ever mention the word 'skin color'? NO. so why u using it against me? cant you read english? But anyway..if you want to know, they were fair skinned than the natives. Not because any race factor ( which by the way can contribute) but mainly because the natives who lived in more humid and hot tropico-equatorial conditions are bound to be dark skinned. And it is true that the new comers refer to the natives as dark skinned. But mind you when alexander..came in he called the natives dark skinned too, even the predominatly aryanized punjab ( which could have been a result of mixing). But what iam trying to say is that it is all relative. Alex'r being from europe was much fairer than the aryans, who inturn were much fairer than the natives. And skin color cannot be used as factor to argue such a old happening.

and iam not coming up with grand theories. rememeber i said ORIGINAL central asians. Todays central asians are a mix of turks, grecko-persians and mongols who raided these lands. Its funny that you say they came in only with mughals and mongols... ha ha ha. What about the shakas? (The shaka republic of yakutia still exsits in siberia.. these people were and are mongols.) And what about the later invasion by the kushans? Dude go learn your history well and i mean the true history and NOT the congress/left version, which we all hate.

Now this is for this chitrakut guy.. go read the books dude. You just want to argue without reading them. Atleast go and read the english translations. The references to the old lands in central asia exist, OK. let me know if you need to know where.

And why would valmiki write about the migration? You certainly dont have a sense of time scale of history. the migration would have happened atleast a thousand years before him. And he was writing about Rama. So why would he go out of his way to write about the migration which is not related to his topic and when he belongs to the N'th generation and is completly a naturalized indian. Are you nuts? Are you saying that if one sets about writing a book on electricity, then he should cover the whole realm of Physics right from the origin of the universe? Just dont talk rubbish. Ok !?!

daisies... the compilation and standardization of sanskrits grammar was done by Panini around 600 BC. Till then it was very much flexible and each grammarian and associated groups followed their own set of rules and style. By this time it had also borrowed in many native words. Thats why you see a great difference b/w early vedic and later vedic sanskit. But not much has changed after that. Infact panini himself states that "though early vedic sanskit was still understood in his time, it was totally outdated and not in use".

There are two unrelated things i wanna state here ..just thoughts. would like your opinion.

1. I think sanskit should have been the national language. This would have been evenly fair on all regions of india. This is the only common 'ligual' thread which binds us all. I know the tamils would still have a problem, but it would be a much better deal that the current Hindi.

2. I think Madras, bombay, karachi, lahore, delhi and calcutta (and even Kanpur) should have been made Union territories. All the people under these four presidencies paid taxes to build these cities and its administrative offices and infrastructure. They were the melting pots for the people of their respective regions. So why should just the states where they physically fell, reap the benefits? while the other had to build new capitals? I said Kanpur as that was the major town for the gangetic basin. And i said lahore and karachi 'coz i still think india should have stayed as one piece.

Kaunteya said...

what is this guy's problem? who is he? what was this all about ? how long have i been away from this blog? which year is this?

KapiDhwaja said...

which year is this?

Kaounteya, As Rajeev had mentioned in his Ugadi greetings, it is Kaliyuga 5108th year.:-) So many years have passed since the demise of Krishna Paramatma.

KapiDhwaja said...

Oops Kaunteya, not Kaounteya!

daisies said...


i am glad that this one language,
sidelined by oversight, got set
aside only for sacred purposes.
i feel infinitely glad.

sanskrit creates a sacred space
no one can touch.

(though some have dared to call it
a dead language. this is how it
was mentioned in ncert textbooks.
some nephews of mine from delhi
once chanted this to me, much
to our horror. and then i found
out the source - delhi classrooms).