How secularism is solution to a Western problem, which doesn’t exist under Dharma in India


An article is written on News Gram titled “Secularism -Western: Dharma,  Indian solution: Rajiv Malhotra” at the link below:

http://www.newsgram.com/secularism-western-dharma-indian-solution-rajiv-malhotra
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In response to this article a comment is made by Deafdrummer as follows:

Wow!  Excellent article.

I just had my head blown off-top from this!  It took me a while to figure it out, and I think I had most of this issue with secularism (as I had been an American secularist for a long time) largely understood when I read about this particular topic in Being Different this past week.

This article NAILED completely the understanding of secularism, and why it’s not a good thing in Dharmic civilization, because it is NOT NECESSARY because of Sanatan Dharma’s inclusive, pluralistic nature.

Superimposing a western concept of separation of Church and State onto Dharmic civilizations is a misunderstanding of what Dharma is as opposed to SD or sampradāya, mata, or pāntha, AND the misunderstanding or lack of awareness regarding inclusivism/exclusivism and pluralism/singularity characteristics of religion around the world.

Now I understand fully why secularism (Western) is a problem, because it is a Western solution for a Western problem. It doesn’t apply to a Dharmic problem that doesn’t exist in the first place.

Robotic universal human unemployment looming large


By : Shreepal Singh

The World Technology Network (www.WTN.net) is a community of the world’s most innovative individuals and organizations in science,  technology, and in related fields.  It is launching the first World’s Summit on “Technological Unemployment” on September 29, 2015, at the Time Life Conference Center in New York City.

It is how they introduce the theme and the need to hold such summit.

Accelerating technological unemployment will likely be one of the most challenging societal issues in the 21st Century.  Never before in history are so many industries being simultaneously upended by new technologies.

Though “creative destruction” , in which lost jobs are replaced with new ones, will be a factor,  our newest technologies have the clear potential to eliminate many more jobs than we create.

With technology advancing at a geometrical pace,  robotics,  artificial intelligence,  3D-printing,  and other innovations with enormous disruptive potential will soon hit the mainstream.  Billions of people worldwide are currently employed in industries that will likely be affected – and billions of new entrants to the workforce will need jobs.

While much has been written about the coming collision of rapidly advancing technology and an increasingly displaced workforce (a recent Oxford study predicts 47%  of  US jobs gone from technology within two decades), there has been no structured attempt at any level of government,  academia,  or industry to define,  address,  and even begin to conceive solutions to what may well be the greatest threat to our social fabric in the years ahead.  Until now.

What do you guess of the future?

Do we need to change the way we share our planetary resources?

Change in ” Mode of Production ” that is happening rapidly today shall end ” Capitalism ” soon


By: Shreepal Singh

Today in the 21st century, the “Capitalist Mode of Production” (that is, industries powered by machines, which need human beings to work them up, and the capacity of capital to hire those human beings who can work those machines) is giving its way to a “New Mode of Production” based upon the new technology, which is called automation and is powered by a new invention known as Artificial Intelligence.

The Artificial Intelligence makes the production of commodities completely automatic, obviating the need of human beings in the production process.

In an economic system (that is, in Capitalism) where the production-activity is carried on solely with a motive to earn more and more profit, the technological capacity of Artificial Intelligence to obviate the need of human-employment will create a situation where the major part of humanity would be rendered unemployed for the want of work. It will result in a volatile global civil-war like situation. We will consider this situation in the emerging world scenario.

Let us continue with the concept “Mode of Production” and, in that light, identify a “New Mode” that we can see today emerging on the horizon and find out how or which way that “New Mode” is qualitatively different from the present “Capitalist Mode” of production.

We are talking here of a new mode of production of commodities.

How that new mode, which we can sense coming soon as an economic way of life, is different from the capitalist mode that we follow today and so very well understand?

What is that element in the capitalist mode of production which makes it qualitatively different from all other past modes of production? Let us understand it.

How the capitalist mode of production is qualitatively different, say, from the agricultural mode of production? And, how is the agricultural mode of production qualitatively different from the slaved-humans’ mode (which was a short-lived aberration) or from the primitive people’s hunting-gathering mode of production?

That element which determines all these mode’s “difference of quality” would provide us the touch-stone to judge the new emerging mode’s status in this respect.

Humans have evolved out of animals. Humans are still animals, except that they make “tools” of production and animals do not. (Humans need to make tools to produce commodities and this tool-making activity has evolved their brain from an animal’s state to the state of a human).

What is the “utility” of a tool in the process of producing commodities?

The utility of a tool is that it “saves human labor” in the process of producing commodities.

Consumption of commodities by humans is the means of their (humans) survival in their struggle against the forces of Nature. Animals also consume food (which is not commodity in their case) to survive, which they do not produce. Humans also consume food (and many other things, which almost all are commodities), which they produce with the help of tools.

And, humans are wise; they want to save their labor in the matter of commodity-production.

Let us see, how humans have fared in this labor-saving exercise over the long period of their history.

In the primitive society, humans were almost bare-handed in the matter of producing commodities, which were items of flesh taken out of the hunted prey; horns, bones etc. of the killed animals to be used by them as scrappers, borers etc.; collected honey; gathering wild fruits; etc.

The “tools” used by primitive people for these food-collection activities (technically, production of commodities) were crude bone-made and stone-made scrappers, borers, harpoons, axes, hammers etc.

As these tools were crude, they “saved” very little “human labor”. Then, almost “the entire labor” was done by humans by the force of “using their hands; getting together as a group to kill an isolated prey; agility of their body to climb the trees or run to kill animals”. Thus, at that stage, the tools “saved very little human labor”. Then, the quantum of labor saved by tools was the “minimal” in the primitive stage of the development of human history.

We leave the slaved-humans mode of production (which is obvious and is not so important part of human history in respect of the commodity-production).

We come to the agricultural mode of production and see how much “quantum” of the saving of human labor was achieved by the agricultural tools in the feudal society.

In transiting from the stage of the primitive society and its stone and bone tools to that of the agricultural or feudal society, humans had/have much developed their tools of production (like iron-plough, horse/oxen, wheels etc.), which save much of their labor.

How has this saving of the human labor been achieved in this agricultural society?

This saving of the human-labor required for producing commodities has been achieved by “taking this labor away from the humans and imposing it on the animals”.

The origin of the natural clash of interests between two antagonistic classes in a given type of uman society lies in the human tendency/nature to somehow get oneself free from the labor (which is necessarily required for producing commodities) and impose this labor on somebody else.

It is only for this reason alone that, except in the primitive human society (where the extreme odds of Nature made tribal people to jointly share this labor for the sake of their very survival), in the slaved-humans stage, the labor needed for commodity-production was shifted by a group of “intelligent and powerful” people from themselves to the slaved-humans (serfs). Then in the next and another type of society, this needed labor was shifted by such group of people from themselves to horses/oxen and these animals’ drivers (tillers of land). Again in another type of society, the needed labor was shifted by such group of people from themselves to machines and these machines’ operators (workers in industries).

And, now in the 21st century today this needed labor is in the process of being shifted by such group of people from themselves to  the automatic robots working by artificial intelligence.

We are concerned here with the “quantum” of labor that is saved by a particular kind of tools.

This quantum determines the question whether the new production-tools (or, means of production) are qualitatively different from the old ones or not.

We find that in the primitive tribal society, the production-tools like stone hammer or bone spear save “negligible” human labor.

In the next serfdom stage, slaved-humans save “considerable” amount of human labor.

Further on, in the agriculture based feudalist society, the animals-driven plough etc. save “great amount” of human labor.

In the modern machine-driven industrial society, there is the “greatest or the maximum” saving of human labor.

Today, in the 21st century, the new technology known as “Artificial Intelligence and Artificial General Intelligence” is slowly replacing the old tools known as “machines”.

How much amount of the human labor is “saved” by this new technology in the matter of commodity-production? What is the “quantum” of this saved labor?

The new technology of the 21st century makes humans completely “free” from labor in the matter of commodity-production. There is the “total” saving of human labor here.

It is a new “Mode of Production”, which is qualitatively different from the old “machine-driven industrial” mode of production.

We know that in the primitive tribal society the people who lived by hunting animals and gathering wild fruits, it were the ferocious odds of Nature (the question of their very survival) that forced them to live united (or collectively). Their primitive tools – stone-hammers and axes, bone-spears and piercers – were not enough to make them survive against wild animals and hunger. In addition to these tools, these people needed the strength of their unity as a tribe or family and the superiority of their number. Then, in the struggle for survival there was no scope left for them for any social discord or division among them. It was a primitive society.

We leave this subject at that. For the time being we are not touching the question of how this new technology (or the new mode of production) would cause “total unemployment” of humanity.

At the end, we note that from the primitive tribal society, where their tools saved almost “negligible” amount of human labor in the matter of the production of commodities, to the 21st century of today, where our tools are saving almost “complete” amount of human labor in this respect, there is the completion of one cycle.

It is a full cycle commencing with the arrival (by way of evolutionary transformation from animals etc.) of the primitive tribal humans and ending with the modern humans, who are able to fabricate artificial intelligence.

It is one complete phase of life’s evolution on Earth.

And, a new evolutionary cycle awaits us.

This time,  it is not the “Mode of Production ” alone (and acompanied with a new type of social order) that is going to change; it is the human race – as we know it – that is going to change this time.

It is an interesting subject and the most vital one, and humanity must ponder over it.

“Reading” versus “Listening”: An observation of Indians’ habits


By : Kollengode S Venkataraman

Here are my general observations about the habits of Indians in “reading” versus “listening” context:

  1.  Indians in general —  even educated Indians  —  are not serious readers of books.  By “serious readers,” I am referring to readers who have the temperament to plough through difficult subjects unrelated to their narrow field of specialties, but subjects on politics, economics, sociology, history, religion and comparative religion, spirituality.  These are abstract topics.  They are reluctant investors in books.  With India’s 30% Anglicized and semi-Anglicized population (this is 300 million), when an English book written by an Indian author and published in India sells, say, 50,000 copies, they declare victory!!!!  It is more pathetic in regional languages.  It is the ground reality.

  2.  But these Indians, whether in India or abroad, may nor be good “readers,” but are good listeners.  This is understandable for deeply held cultural reasons.  All our Puranas, even Mahabharata, Yoga Vasistha, and Upanishads, etc were all addressed to people gathered under a tree or around a Sabha.  Even the great Buddha taught his followers in talks in Banares, etavana, Deer Parks, and other places, always tailoring his language to the needs and intellectual backgrounds of his audiences.  This tradition continues to this day.  Just see the thousands of people of all kinds of background sitting through 1 to 2 hours of pravachans, or listening to politicians in rallies.

Indic concepts of “Caste ” and “Varna” in “Dalit” context


By : Sameer Jalnapurkar

There are two Indic concepts – Jati and Varna, that are different from each other and need some exposition.

Examples of Jatis are – Cobbler, Boatman, Fisherman, Potter, Washerman etc. There are essentially hereditary occupational guilds.

Jati is essentially a social custom, it has nothing to do with Dharma.

The Jati structure helped to preserve Indic society despite oppressive foreign occupation and colonization.

In modern times, the Jatis structure continues to play a significant economic role. See for example the article “Caste as social capital” by S. Gurumurthy –

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/caste-as-social-capital/article4721276.ece .

Many Indians, even from so-called “lower” Jatis, have prospered through their Jati-based support networks.

Varna, on the other hand, is a Dharmic concept.

It represents the state of evolution of an individual, in the journey towards Self-realization.

It is certainly not  (meant by Dharma Scriptures to be)  hereditary (but in fact has been made so by vested interests=editor).

Varna is not the same as occupation, although it is true that individuals at different stages of evolution tend to have different aptitudes and needs.

Varna is also not something that is imposed by force, it manifests through the desires and life-goals that an individual chooses for himself.

Neither of these two concepts is properly captured by using the term “caste”.

In fact, that term is most often used to denigrate the Indic civilization. We in fact need to stop using the term “caste”.

Ancient Indic society was far more enlightened and benign than any other contemporary civilization.

Outsiders like Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, have recorded their surprise at the freedom enjoyed by Indians of every social class.

How a Dalit proponent full of hate and rage is not open to reason: A syndrome


By : name withheld for privacy reason

I went through the whole three ring circus with Mr A, a Dalit proponent (name withheld for privacy reason), and he is blind to any realistic evaluation of the situation.

All he does is send you more and more of emails about Ambedkar and stats about how dalits are oppressed.

I told him  caste discrimination was declared illegal in India since 1954, so why was he blaming Hindu higher castes for something illegal.

I told him that India as a whole had accepted the inferior position of dalits and scheduled castes and taken serious steps like reserving places in schools and jobs and special funding for dalits. Including the very higher caste Hindus he likes to blame so much.

I told him no reputable Hindu body or Hindu leader has ever come out in support of discrimnation against dalits, and that pretty much all of them have denounced such discrimination.

Therefore, one of his aims of getting the Hindus to say such discrination is wrong has already been achieved. I told him criticising the Hindus as a whole was tactically wrong, as there were many Hindus who had little or no contact with dalits and therefore no opportunity to discriminate against them, such as children, housewives, retired people etc.

I told him there was discrimination against dalits among the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, so obviously this was not a Hindu issue as such but a social evil.

I told him if the situation was so bad as he reports, then dalits should leave Hinduism en masse and become Buddhists or Muslims and the matter of Hindu caste discrimination would not exist.

I told him maybe the dalits should take the revolution road, and start mass attacks on the Hindus who are oppressing them. After all, they have over 160 million people.

I went on to sweep every corner, and he was not satisfied.

I conclude that he is a jackass moved only by blind rage.

What he wants is for the whole Hindu population to  say we have been wrong to discriminate against dalits, and we will change our religion and get rid of any scriptures that show prejudice against dalits.

I told him that was ridiculous and will never happen.

Millions of Hindus, in India and in foreign lands (where they have no dalits as such) would never agree to that.

He doesn’t listen to anything. It’s a dialogue with the deaf with him.

Even if you put a rope around your neck and hang yourself, he will not be satisfied until you get  800 million Hindus to do the same.

I ‘ve got better things to do in this life than arguing with fools.

Jaipur Literary Festival in Boulder, Colorado, US: An India-bashing occasion


By : Raghavendra

I attended the JLF@Boulder as a private delegate and as a sponsor (due to my association with a fine arts organization).

This is my first ever literary festival. I participated mostly as a listener and wanted know what’s being talked and discussed.

The organizers, particularly Sanjoy Roy, talked about having people from all positions, walks of life and opinions are being invited where they agree, or disagree, or agree to disagree, in a meeting some months ago.

I was particularly interested in the sessions on India related topics with Indian participants.

Here are some of those topics: ·

In Search of Sita:

The Indian Woman in Myth and Memory with Arshia Sattar and Namita Gokhale in conversation.  They mostly talked about victimhood of Sita and mapping it to the contemporary situations in the India society.

The injustices done by Rama to Sita with trial by fire on the suspicion of chastity, supposedly going on even in today’s India in different forms. Sattar said, being a Muslim woman and working on Indic studies, particularly on Ramayana, isn’t easy for her. Her measure of age of Ramayana is 2,500 years old and not a very old myth.

Rama is an abuser symbol in all sense with the male chauvinism suppressing Sita’s liberties.  They did show some snippets of ‘Sita Sings the Blues’.

It appeared they were trying to appeal the Boulder liberal crowd and including them in some way to seek social justices for women. Primarily projecting gender disparities as an issue.

Namita mentioned that over 10 years ago (while BJP in power) there were suppression of freedom of speech and it has come back again (indicating the present administration). She also quoted Javed Akhtar ‘In a society where women are worshipped it is a suspect and need be worried about them’. ·

Vijay Dandetha:

The Shakespeare of Rajasthan with Christi Merrill and Uday Kumar. This was a better session with Vijay Dandetha and his literary work, which was best presented.

On a private conversation with Uday Kumar, he mentioned these days airing any view as opposed to traditional ones, people are harassed (UR Anantamurthy) and most recent incident where MM Kalburgi was murdered.  ‘They’ seem to control the narratives as to what is to be said and what not, probably blaming the ‘Hindu right’ and referencing over to the top level of the present administration. ·

The Spoken Word: Celebrating Oral Literature: Vikram Chandra, Christi Merrill, Linda Hess, Marcia Douglas moderated by Claudia CraggI try to focus mostly on what Vikram Chandra said.

He mentioned about his new book ‘Geek Sublime’, a nonfiction work with Sanskrit in focus for technological application. Spoke more about Panini’s Ashtadhayaayi and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. ·

Special Delegate Session:  Enduring Wisdom of Asia with Vikram Chandra, Arshia Sattar and Shabnam Virmani. A general discuss on Vikram’s book.

Arshia again narrated on Ramayana (2,500 year old myth!), her favorite topic and expertise.

Shabnam talked about Sufi, Bhakti, Baul (??) and oral tradition of folklore.

Arshia in her sense talk about Dharma, Karma etc.  Vikram delved a bit in to spiritual and mystical nature of built in to Sanskrit language.

In Q & A, I mentioned about Rajiv’s concept of Open Architecture of Dharma and several world views existing within it.

Arshia exclaimed ‘oh Rajiv Malhotra’ and some in the audience murmured a bit. They might be knowing Rajiv’ work.

Arshia didn’t want to go in to the topic and she evaded by saying ‘oh the spiritual and mysticism again’ and moved on to next question.  ·

Matters of Faith:

Anosh Irani, Brian Aivars Catlos, Esther David, Kalyan Ray moderated by Arshia Sattar.

With Arshia Sattar sitting in the driving seat, took the opportunity to mention Indian History being rewritten and the government placing individuals of its choice, which need to be opposed.

Renaming of roads and other places were mentioned by her.

Kalyan Ray, a noted academic who teaches at County College of Morris, berated Hinduism and claimed to be a rational humanist.

He quoted often on Naasadiya Sookta, questioning who is beyond all this creation and beyond that.  ·

Gods Without Men:

Narrating the human condition:

Hari Kunzru, Vikram Chandra & Kalyan Ray in conversation with Nayana Currimbhoy. A bit repetitive from the topic. Matters of Faith conversations by Kalyan Ray.

Vikram mentions that spirituality left out of the liberal debate. Took a bit of middle ground.

The murder of the rationalist MM Kalburgi mentioned again by Arshia and said the right has stooped down to extreme violence.

She was very critical of the current administration for encouraging such acts.

One of the poets Arvind Krishna Mehrotra mentions Sanskrit should be taught to everyone, particularly erotic poetry. ·

Emerging Stories:

New Media Narratives:

David Barsamian, Rayan Gattis, Mihir Sharma with Maeve Conran. David Barsamian, a Boulder native, a talk show host for the local CPR, was deported from India years ago for trying to report human rights issues in Kashmir.

He says, Hindu Nationalists cannot tolerate any adverse mention on Kashmir. Making India a villain particularly related to Kashmir.

Mihir Sharma complains on politics, caste systems and say can’t keep his mouth shut and will say what he wants.

Mentions on Kashmir police brutality, torture camps and how the media builds the narratives and put them together. Happy about how Pankaj Mishra brings these in to light.·

India: A billion Aspirations:

Mihir Sharma, Saranath Banerjee, Rahul Jacob in conversation with Amitava Kumar.

This panel discussion trashed India into bits. Rahul Jacob said, government is just series of sloganeering (Make in India) in India and Abroad (ref. Mr. Modi) and parading the symbols.

Mihir said, there seem to be a huge poverty for ambition and there is nothing in sight for fulfilling the aspirations and promises.

Mihir, regaling India in every aspect, from 17 security checks of baggage claims to water to infrastructure problems.  India cannot be an exporting economy and US cannot buy anything from India which is substandard.

Saranath Banerjee (a graphic novelist) said unqualified people are in positions, while soft emotions are turned in to hard fundamentalism.

In all it was washing dirty laundry and getting appreciation from the audience.

While an academic from Naropa sitting on my left was horrified and disappointed with the discussion, an anti-Modi signatory sitting on my right was elated while the panelists raved and ranted.

Closing:

At the closing dinner there were some sparks between us (Naropa academic and I on one side) and Sanjoy Roy.

We were accused of not being aware of the day to day happenings in India, how their moves have been watched, as we sit in comfort in USA and draw conclusions.

All in all the entire even was one sided, projecting India in a negative stereotypes.

I wish there were moderate speakers to counter several arguments presented in panels mentioned above. Hopefully sense will prevail for the next edition.

Addition by : Come Carpentier

The Boulder-Jaipur Lit Festival reflects the conventional “liberal” viewpoint of the Indo-American academic Intelligentsia encumbered by a lot of rigid and standard convictions about “castes, cows and curry” and by the fashionable feminist and “anti-traditional” concept of coolness and modernity.

Unfortunately when they criticise the changes being made by the present government they are unable to explain why some sixty years of Nehruvian secular socialist policies have failed to substantially reduce the poverty and inequality which they deplore in India.

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