Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Origin of the Patriarchy?

Stilted old English translation but this story from the Mahabharata (PG-13) makes one wonder why the supposedly patriarchal oppressive Brahmins who are supposed to have manipulated the epic for their evil, cunning purposes, preserved this story.

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by his loving wife, king Pandu, well-acquainted with all rules of morality, replied in these words of virtuous import, 'O Kunti, what thou hast said is quite true. Vyushitaswa of old did even as thou hast said. Indeed he was equal unto the celestials themselves.

But I shall now tell thee about the practices of old indicated by illustrious Rishis, fully acquainted with every rule of morality. O thou of handsome face and sweet smiles, women formerly were not immured within houses and dependent on husbands and other relatives. They used to go about freely, enjoying themselves as best as they liked. O thou of excellent qualities, they did not then adhere to their husbands faithfully, and yet, O handsome one, they were not regarded sinful, for that was the sanctioned usage of the times. That very usage is followed to this day by birds and beasts without any (exhibition of) jealousy. That practice, sanctioned by precedent, is applauded by great Rishis. O thou of taper thighs, the practice is yet regarded with respect amongst the Northern Kurus. Indeed, that usage, so lenient to women, hath the sanction of antiquity. The present practice, however (of women's being confined to one husband for life) hath been established but lately. I shall tell thee in detail who established it and why.

"It hath been heard by us that there was a great Rishi of the name of Uddalaka, who had a son named Swetaketu who also was an ascetic of merit. O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, the present virtuous practice hath been established by that Swetaketu from anger. Hear thou the reason. One day, in the presence of Swetaketu's father a Brahmana came and catching Swetaketu's mother by the hand, told her, 'Let us go.' Beholding his mother seized by the hand and taken away apparently by force, the son was greatly moved by wrath. Seeing his son indignant, Uddalaka addressed him and said, 'Be not angry. O son! This is the practice sanctioned by antiquity. The women of all orders in this world are free, O son; men in this matter, as regards their respective orders, act as kine.'

The Rishi's son, Swetaketu, however, disapproved of the usage and established in the world the present practice as regards men and women. It hath been heard by us, O thou of great virtue, that the existing practice dates from that period among human beings but not among beings of other classes. Accordingly, since the establishment of the present usage, it is sinful for women not to adhere to their husbands. Women transgressing the limits assigned by the Rishi became guilty of slaying the embryo. And, men, too, violating a chaste and loving wife who hath from her maidenhood observed the vow of purity, became guilty of the same sin. The woman also who, being commanded by her husband to raise offspring, refuses to do his bidding, becometh equally sinful.

"Thus, O timid one, was the existing usage established of old by Swetaketu, the son of Uddalaka, in defiance of antiquity.

Shvetaketu, son of Uddalaka, might be a historical figure (that is, if the ancient Hindus had history :) )

And Pandu was informing his wife Kunti that the practice of Niyoga was legitimate. In the Mahabharata, Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura are the children of Veda Vyasa (traditional author of the Mahabharata), by niyoga.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Life as a dhimmi - 17

During April-May, 18 Christian women kidnapped and converted to Islam in Pakistan.

The gloomy report for Pakistani Christians stated that charge sheets were not brought against the abductors in any one of the case after the abductors presented the Christian abductees’ certificates of conversion to Islam.
In none of the cases, the parents or family members of the Christian abductees were ever allowed to meet their daughters, they were just informed that their daughters have married Muslim men after converting to Islam.
The NGO stated in its report that there has been a sharp rise in cases of abduction of Christian girls, and their forced conversions and forced marriages with Muslim men after a Fatwa issued by Islamic clerics on electronic media. The report detailed the fatwa declared “Islam permits Muslim man to keep non-Muslim women as mistresses and perform sex with them without marriage while he is married to Muslim woman.”

In contrast to the Christian marriage Act under which the Christian marriage stands in effect even after conversion to Islam, there are claims that after conversion to Islam, the previous marriage becomes invalid and the kidnappers misuse this fatwa while the police fervently drops charges of kidnapping filed by the Christian families. On the other hand, Hindu girls are being kidnapped and forcefully given in marriage to Muslims in Sindh.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

More on the Aryan Invasion Theory

The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) says that a set of invasions of people(s) from Central Asia around 3500-3200 years ago, first introduced the Indo-European (IE) language family to India.  Since the archaeological record does not show any discontinuity (e.g., as is evident in parts of Europe where an invasion did take place), sometimes AIT is moderated to AMT (Aryan Migration Theory), and instead of outright conquest and extermination, elite dominance is the mechanism by which the large native population utterly forgot its original language and place-names.

Please note, 4600-3900 years ago is the "mature period" of the Saraswati-Sindhu civilization; and per AIT/AMT this civilization is not of the IE family; and so  the postulated period of invasion/migration cannot be pushed back very much in time.  That is, if for example, an IE incursion occurred 4200 years ago, it would no longer be AIT/AMT.  The linguistic basis of the AIT/AMT theory also suffers if the incursion is pushed back in time.  For example, the Indo-Aryan words found in the written records of the Mitanni (a people of Northwestern Syria, eastern Anatolia) date to 1400 BC, and were, per AIT, part of the expansion of Indo-Aryan speakers into India.  (BTW, if you examine it closely, "Indo-Aryan" is simply a fancy and obscuring word for archaic Sanskrit.)

The counter-narrative to AIT/AMT is OIT (Out-of-India Theory).  OIT, I think covers a wide gamut of possibilities, but the basis of it is:

1. The Saraswati river that was an abundant river in the time of the Rg Veda, as mentioned there, is the same Saraswati river whose dried up course is described in the Mahabharata; the Mahabharata river  corresponds to the dried river-bed along whose banks the vast majority of Saraswati-Sindhu civilization sites have been found - very much more than along the Indus.  Hence the "Saraswati-Sindhu" rather than "Indus" civilization.

2. If the above is valid, then IE speakers were in India while the Saraswati still flowed, and that throws AIT/AMT out-of-whack.   And then the initial seeds of the IE language might have been spread by migrations out of India much before 4000 years ago.   Nothing precludes round-tripping, of course.

Anyway, there's also an increasing amount of genetic evidence and more to come (Indian populations have been vastly undersampled, most of the studies having people from Pakistan or Gujarat as representative of the whole of India).   And according to Prem Kumar, "There is Genetic Evidence against the Aryan Invasion Myth".

The Indian population is a mixture of two ancestral populations, termed ANI and ASI. Except for some isolated tribes in the Andaman islands, everyone else in India is a mixture of these two.  A diagram from one of the papers is shown below.  This shows a family tree, but not the time depth.  Other papers claim to establish that the Europe-ANI split is at least 12,500 years old.   The ASI-ANI split is theorized to have arisen 60-55,000 years ago.   The great volcanic eruption of Toba in Indonesia, some 75,000 years ago, has left deep deposits of ash in parts of India; it is theorized to have greatly depopulated India.  Incursions of new peoples, some 55000 years ago led to ASI.  With that background, you can read Prem Kumar's article.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Indian Left and Freedom of Expression

Mayuresh Didolkar writes:

To truly appreciate the scale of the attack on Freedom of Expression (FoE) that the Jadavpur incident represents, you have to see ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’. I think most of the social media discourse about the movie is misleading as it refers the movie as anti-naxal or anti-left, and hence the battle for its screening as a battle between red and saffron in a manner of speaking. Actually the movie is neither of these. It is a microscopic, almost anthropological, look at how the poorest people of India are hard done to by evil corporates on one side and the militants on the other. Vivek turns his creative eye on the right wing hooliganism like the Mangalore pub incident, where women were attacked for wearing skimpy clothes. He is also critical of the counter insurgency movements like Salwa Judum, showing how often the ground levels of both Naxal and Salwa Judum are in cahoots to target the poor people. That intellectuals supporting terrorism and NGO activists are in bed with the militants is no secret either. As the movie cuts back and forth between the metro where college professors talk revolution, and the harsh, arid landscapes of rural India, we realise there are no heroes, only victims. That, argues Vivek, is the true tragedy of this conflict.

What the movie refuses to do, is to portray the cold blooded Naxallites as messiahs of the poor, like in the 2012 film ‘chakravyuh’ where Om Puri’s Naxal leader is seen telling to Abhay Deol to distribute money earmarked for buying guns to the poor. That does not happen in real life. You cannot call a movie right leaning or anti left just because it refuses to fabricate lies. Vivek’s own credentials as a right winger (Or Sanghi if you will) are iffy at best. After all, less than 18 months ago, his wife and eminent actress, Pallavi Joshi, resigned from the FTII in protest. One of the reasons for the protest, as we all know, was NDA government appointing Gajendra Chouhan as the Chairman.

So here is a movie that reflects the counter insurgency movement and the right wing extremists in an extremely unflattering light, made by a moviemaker with no particular political leanings, and yet the activists at Jadavpur nearly killed the filmmaker when he landed in their den to screen his movie. When you reflect on this, the true extent of left fascism and intolerance will dawn upon you.

The Mayor of Londonistan

The just-elected Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is reported to have said:
"This isn't just about me - it's about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world," he said.

Mr Khan added: "Donald Trump's ignorant view of Islam could make both of our countries less safe - it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of extremists.

"Donald Trump and those around him think that Western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam - London has proved him wrong."
The second sentence is quite infelicitous.  He seems to be saying -- "If you offend mainstream Muslims, then Muslim extremists will attack you".  "Or you alienate us, and we will dump Western liberal values."

If you look around, that is how it is being interpreted by some: The Daily Caller headline is "London’s New Mayor Warns Trump: Let In Muslims Or They Will Attack America".

This is not going to build any bridges.

Secularism, Indian-style!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Columbus sought South Asia?

If we go by the California school bureaucracy,  Christopher Columbus hoped to discover a sea route to South Asia.  Or did he?
E.g.:  "It seems clear that the Spanish monarchs also shared at least a part of Columbus’ enthusiasm for spreading the message of Christ. The first entry in Christopher’s journal of the maiden voyage stated, “Because of the report that I had given to Your Highnesses [Ferdinand and Isabella] about the lands of India and about a prince who is called ‘Grand Khan’... Your Highnesses . . . lovers and promoters of the Holy Christian faith . . . thought of sending me, Christobal Colon, to the said regions of India to see the said princes and the peoples and lands .. . to see how their conversion to our Holy Faith might be undertaken” (Dunn and Kelly 17,19...)" (via
The Dunn and Kelly reference is to a translation of what remains of Columbus' diary from his first voyage- "The Diario of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage to America, 1492-1493".  You can get a preview on, and the book has the original text there as well as a translation into English.  What is "India" in the translation is "Yndia" in the original text.

So are students in California going to be taught that Columbus was looking for "South Asia" (a term that did not exist until relatively recently when some European university or the US Department of State or such invented it)?

If Americans are going to sacrifice the understanding of their own history in the name of some political correctness misbegotten among the leftists of the Indian immigrant community, aided by Harvard honchos,  they probably deserve the President that they are about to get.

And while they are at it, are they going to try to rename the Indian Ocean?

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

How the second-place behaved: Clinton 2008 v. Sanders 2016

Clintonistas like Prof. Krugman are complaining that Sanders is behaving badly by not conceding to Clinton right now.  But looking at the record, at least, as captured in the New York Times archives, Clinton in 2008 behaved pretty much the same way as Sanders is in 2016.   Of course, the situations are somewhat different then and now; it would be a miracle if history repeated itself exactly; but Clinton pretty much followed the Sanders game plan of 2016 until she was mathematically eliminated from the nomination in 2008; and Sanders is not yet mathematically eliminated.

All links but one are to the NYT archives.

Here goes:

Raising the electability-in-the-general election issue

May 2, 2008: Clinton more electable than Obama

Seven former Democratic National Committee chairs released a letter on Clinton's behalf:
In fact, if the election were held today, Hillary would beat Senator McCain, but Senator Obama would lose to the presumptive GOP nominee. According to the most recent polls available, Hillary would beat McCain by a margin of 279 to 259 Electoral Votes. But McCain would beat Obama by a margin of 291 to 247 Electoral Votes. 

In a hypothetical general election matchup with McCain, Clinton is winning handily (50%-41%) while Obama is statistically tied with McCain (46%-44%), according to the AP-Ipsos poll released Monday.
May 19, 2008: Clinton repeats the argument about electability.

 “The states that I’ve won total 300 electoral votes,” she told about 300 people in a high school gymnasium in Maysville, the birthplace of the actor George Clooney. “The question is who can win 270 electoral votes? My opponent has won states totaling 217 electoral votes.”
Winning the more relevant states 

 May 19, 2008: The states Clinton won are more relevant than the states Obama won.

As she has in the past, she discounted Mr. Obama’s victories in caucus states and states likely to vote Republican in November, ticking off Alaska, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas and Idaho. “Many of his votes and delegates come from caucus state which have a relatively low turnout,” she said.
Contesting the super delegates

June 1, 2008: The super delegates might switch sides and support the so-far-runner-up.

Remember that Florida and Michigan broke the Democratic Party rules and held their primaries out of sequence.  As a result, their delegates were initially disallowed; and eventually allowed but with half the votes.  Moreover, Obama and other candidates had withdrawn from the Michigan primary, Obama was awarded delegates proportional to the non-Hillary vote.
"Mrs. Clinton had hoped that the rules committee would uphold the elections in Florida and Michigan so as to confer legitimacy on their popular vote; if they were added to her national tally, she would lead Mr. Obama in the popular vote. Mrs. Clinton hoped that would stir the passions of the party’s superdelegates, who would then swing to her side and choose her as the party’s nominee."

Complaints about the Democratic primary rules

May 19, 2008: If Democrats followed Republican rules, Clinton would be the nominee.

"She also dismissed Democratic nominating rules requiring proportional allocation of delegates from primaries and caucuses, rather than the winner-take-all system used by the Republicans.

“If we had same rules as the Republicans, I would be the nominee right now,” she said. "
May 22, 2008: The primaries should be decided by the popular vote.
"Her swing across South Florida on Wednesday seemed essentially to be a campaign-within-a-campaign, one that is about process and is directed chiefly at the party’s rules committee.

“I’ve heard some say that counting Florida and Michigan would be changing the rules,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I say that not counting Florida and Michigan is changing a central governing rule of this country.”

She also sought to whip up populist sentiment, telling voters in Boca Raton, where the 2000 election played out vividly, “You didn’t break a single rule, and you should not be punished for matters beyond your control.”

She argued with fervor that the nomination should be determined by popular vote.
She has claimed to have the lead in the popular vote by including Florida and Michigan in her tally."

Threatening to go all the way to the Convention
(CBS News, not NYT archive link):
May 14, 2008: Taking it to Denver!
Less than an hour after news broke that John Edwards would endorse Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe walked out of Senator Clinton's Washington home and stood before the rash of press spread out on her cul de sac.  

"We have six million eligible Democrats left to vote," McAuliffe said. "They're going to determine who the nominee of the Democratic Party is. And it's not someone on television telling them what to do. People like it that Hillary Clinton is fighting for them."

"These folks are not quitting on Hillary Clinton, and she is not quitting on them. We are in this thing 'til the end. We are in it. We are taking it to Denver, and we're taking it to the White House. Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States of America."
May 22, 2008: Headline: Clinton Signals She May Carry Fight to Convention

Fighting on till the last possible moment 

June 1, 2008: Continuing the contest
"To jeers and boos that showcased deep party divisions, Democratic Party officials agreed Saturday to seat delegates from the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries at the party’s convention in August but give them only half a vote each, dealing a setback to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton."

"The deal prompted one of her chief advisers, Harold Ickes, a member of the rules committee himself, to declare that Mrs. Clinton’s fight may not be over, even though Mr. Obama’s advisers say he is only days away from gaining enough delegates to claim the nomination.

“Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the credentials committee,” Mr. Ickes said before the final vote, raising the specter of a fight until that committee meets. " 
June 4, 2008: Not conceding
And while Mrs. Clinton reminisced about her campaign and talked of a need to unite the party, she did not concede, and indeed did not acknowledge that her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had passed the threshold of delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Of course, eventually Clinton yielded to Obama gracefully.  I think Clinton supporters should not complain about Sanders unless and until he deviates from the pattern she followed in 2008.

June 8, 2008 

 {After the North Carolina Primary on May 6, 2008}  Deep in debt and no longer harboring even illusions of winning the nomination, Mrs. Clinton stopped attacks on Mr. Obama to avoid alienating him or the party.
By last week, though, anger had given way to resignation. Even before the final primaries on Tuesday, aides said Mrs. Clinton knew she could not continue. But she told them she would not concede that evening in the college gymnasium where she was to give her speech celebrating victory in South Dakota {June 3, 2008. Per Wiki, Obama had won enough delegates for the nomination on that day.} She and her supporters, she told aides, had earned the right to their own day, and she planned to take two weeks to think through her options.

The next day, though, Democratic supporters in Congress pressed her on a conference call to give up quickly. She gave in, hung up and asked top advisers to prepare a plan to withdraw. They met with her at campaign headquarters, where every member of her inner circle recommended she pull out and endorse Mr. Obama without preconditions or negotiations — every member except Mr. Penn, who said she should hold out for concessions.

But Mrs. Clinton was, at last, ready to call it quits and switch focus to the general election, two aides recalled. “Let’s get on with it,” she said.

Stumbled across this yesterday - - looks like a lot of interesting reading - mostly mathematics, and some physics.  I came across this via a trail that began at a classic - The Art of Unix Programming.