October 13, 2008
Country, culture and warfare that do not lead to world wars..
Correspondence early 2008, article written on October 13, 2008
When I had joined Virginia Tech in 2001 for a graduate study it was a fabulous experience. Like many new and flabbergasting cultural and social experiences, better known as culture shock.
I had come to discover a negative trend among Indians staying in USA. There were often albeit in small numbers, groups that took great pleasure in denigrating the culture of India with their lack of understanding of the cross-section of cultural dynamics of India. These groups of people often gathered in their households or public meetings in seemingly “development agendas for India” and picked up so called contentious issues.
These are hardly contentious. These were just political shit which I had heard since time immemorial. I can swear I had heard these baloney million times before I had immigrated out of the bounds of my own country. I became naturally interested to know if there is more to it than I know. I had sincerely thought that these activities are necessary for discussing India’s social problems.
But the striking frequency of the mediocrity had a voice in it. Crap. You feed crap and you throw up crap. Over a few months time I became sure these are completely political and clandestine activities, these people are collecting money to brew social tension in India. Some people were utterly left in their attributes. If you don’t understand what’s left consider this, A man, unbalanced on his feet as his sense of right is not working inclined as much towards left as he can and walking or standing in that position.
These are utterly useless people by the way. I even came across people who would be completely drunk while making remarks on society and culture often in a prejudiced way towards specific sections. It was clear it was just a favorite pastime. I knew this was exactly what was going on even back home. When weaker sections found their life hardened by their prospects being meager to meet their educational needs and ends these people who enjoyed the subsidized education of billions of dollars in the most modern cities of India had no scholarly business to take up except these monolithic-ally useless ones to speak against the so called oppressors of India.
I knew India’s future was bleak in the hand of these pseudo-scholars. I kept distance and rather enjoyed my life. This trend of clandestine activities in cleansing India’s image by choosing to cleanse it with dirty clothe continued. The effort that was spent more on projecting the cultural face of India such as music, dance, food and medieval gathering, withered and my interest took a downturn.
Recently after almost 6 years of that experience I came across utterly stupid ways of forming caste groups to attack perceived demons. I would see groups of people gathering in student centers to chalk out their agenda for such campaigns. The Physicists eye often takes a little time to settle before it definitively tags the events for their true attributes. I had no doubt why these people would gather regularly. I didn’t have a damn business to wonder. I would sip my Egyptian Chamomile, silently moan over my life’s dark shadows and disappear.
But what these people really do is captured by some evidences, how they use academic resources for political warfare thousands of miles away is aptly clear. Emails are sent to public groups to advertise their agenda but responses are selectively allowed per their suitability to their agenda.
On Feb 8, 2008 3:34 PM, Mr V wrote:
There is an interesting talk next week. Please forward it to whoever you think would be interested.
Title: De-Brahmanizing religion and culture in India
Date: Feb 12
Venue: Lane Hall, 134
Speaker: Dr. Satyanarayana Adapa, Professor of History, Osmania University,Hyderabad
Talk sponsored by the Alliance of Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT), the Departments of History and Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Religious Studies Program.
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2008 8:18 PM
Subject: Re: [AID] Talk: De-Brahmanizing religion and culture in India
I am recent graduate of VT – from CS, and was involved with AID for a number of projects through my student career.
Being a non-partisan platform to serve the needs of sustainable growth in India, I believe AID should not be used as a venue to discuss religion, politics, and other such topics that have the potential of
My views are not targeted to any individual or group, just a generic philosophy for maintaining the sanctity of the great platform that AID has evolved to become.
I share and understand your concern. This talk is NOT an AID event, it is an academic event of a University department. The reason for publicizing these events are two.
One, as a matter of courtesy for people who advertise and support AID events on campus.
Two, it is important for citizens like us to comprehend the forces shaping the world we live in and talks like this are an avenue towards it.
The speaker, Dr. Satyanarayana has studied peasant, landless laborers, migration and dalit movements and forces shaping them in last fifty years. He is not advocating a view, but describing how, what and why of these movements.
ASPECT is not a student organisation, but an Interdisciplinary university
Hope this mail clarifies and addresses your concerns.
I take strong offense to such racist TITLES to draw attention of the international community. How appropriate is a title, in a similar fashion, is, like saying “De-Hindoonizing the religion and culture of India”. What kind of message is this sending. Is this a war against Brahmanism ?? Should this be allowed in the pretext of supporting cause of AID?? Should this be allowed by saying we want to understand the forces shaping the world we live in?? How appropriate would it be to make a presentation “De-Gandhinizing the religion and culture and sanctity of Indian Nation??”
Please think that Brahmans are one of the most respectable community of India, also, because of their contribution towards Nation building and progress than a matter of religion and culture.
I hope you attend the talk and raise these questions to the speaker. It is not supporting the cause of AID. It is a topic that for better or worse we have to deal with. Ignoring it is not going to make it go away. I am sure you realize that there are a lot of people who have made and continue to make that argument. As much as I admire Gandhi, he is far from perfect and listening to opposing views broadens our perspective. IMHO, every community has contributed to India in its own way and every community has harmed it in its own way. It wouldn’t help to think of communities as good (by implication some have to be bad) or bad. They are collections of individuals and we shouldn’t ascribe individual good and evil to communities. Who is the oppressor and who is oppressed varied by location, time, class, and trade reasons. I hope you do come to the talk and raise these questions. I hear he is available to meet with people during the day, so if you are interested, I will put you in touch with the appropriate people.
Thanks for caring to respond. I would have come and seen for myself how informed the speaker of the talk is since I have also spent 22 years in a so called “Brahmanized” religion and culture. But unfortunately I can’t cancel teaching my lab on tuesday, running from 4 to 6 p.m.
I understand that personally you are not responsible for the title of this talk. But there are certain aspects I would like to point out in the body of your email. I think its appropriate to copy to the listerv since the same has been used to advertise for the talk and I received those emails. I would appreciate if my previous email and this one is forwarded to the listerv otherwise it seems its a outright anti-Brahmin campaign and the resource of the VT academic community is being used for personalized and malicious campaigns.
PS I would appreciate if my views can be forwarded to the speaker and since this is a scholarly pursuit for him as mentioned in your email I hope he would care to answer.
Responses to your last email.
Read your last email in response to M’s email, You said:
“The reason for publicizing these events are two. One, as a matter of courtesy for people who advertise and support AID events on campus.”
[Now you are saying “its not supporting the cause of AID]
I agree with you that every community has added to India’s progress. But this is a topic that’s singling out the Brahman community and saying that Brahmans are responsible for many ills [as advertised by your email for this talk] That’s why its pertinent to point out that Brahmans contribution towards India’s progress is phenomenal and largest. I understand making such a statement hints towards a polarization as other communities will find it a reason for a competitive argument. Thats why its irresponsible to allow talks with such communal title. I hope you understand my concerns especially in an international community.
I think he is available throughout the day to meet people one on one. If you are interested I will ask for a morning/early afternoon slot. Indicate your preference. He isn’t saying that Brahmins are responsible for the ills of society. Atleast you can’t infer that from his title. As someone from Andhra(same state as the speaker), Brahmins haven’t been a political force in the state for the last 60-70 years. I do think his title
is provocative and misleading, but it is his job to justify/face flak for it. Part of his thesis, atleast as I gather from his publication titles is that caste has been a fluid and dynamic, who has power has changed
I can’t forward your mail since the listserv is not ment for discussion. If I allow one, I have to forward every reply and that would lead to discussion. I forwarded M’s because the announcement was vague and he(and you) was justified in raising concerns. We welcome feedback, even if it is negative as long as it is not trollish.
I believe if I don’t have a right to access the listerv to send my message and I get emails as a recipient then it doen’t make sense for ME to continue with this system. Its one-sided and controlled rather than moderated. So you either send all my emails including this last one to the listerv or please unsubscribe me. I don’t want to waste our time in any further explanation or email exchange.
I raised concerns at the title of the talk and the theme of the talk as it was depicted in your emails. I don’t have a interest in knowing more about this as I am capable of finding out facts for myself. It would have still been interesting if I could have made it to the talk as it would have a seemingly democratic set up. In any case its my inability to join.
I thought we were talking about religion and culture of India. [not if Brahmans are political force in Andhra where you are from] Anyway my emails were controlled by you as I have pointed out earlier, so they may be sent again albeit delayed or I may please be UNSUBSCRIBED from the emailing list.
The listserv is announcement listserv. It is not ment for discussions. We have a unsubscribe link at the bottom of all listserv messages and on AID website. http://www.aid.org.vt.edu/listserv
As I don’t want to continue on a obviously unfair platform and gimmick for India’s development whose main aim is personally vindictive and raking communal hatred I have unsubscribed from AID.