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India and you

Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
Azim Premji is a Parsi not a moslem.
The point remains the same.


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Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
Its like this, I am in the US and I have no problem in accepting my minority status because I know that US is in reality a Judeo-Christian country.
This is incorrect. The US is not a Judeo-Christian country. It is a secular society that gives no preference to any religion with the exception of one national holiday (Christmas).
Joe Pluta
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
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Its like this, I am in the US and I have no problem in accepting my minority status because I know that US is in reality a Judeo-Christian country.
The idea of a "minority status" in the US is simply wrong. Yes, there are more Christians than Hindus in the US, but there are no laws preventing someone from converting to Buddhism, no requirements for them to register their religion, nothing like that. There is in short no comparison between America and India regarding this issue.
As to the realtionship of Hinduism and castes, it's everywhere I look. For example:
http://www.friesian.com/caste.htm
http://www.hindubooks.org/sudheer_birodkar/hindu_history/castejati-varna.html
http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/08/20/stories/2002082000611000.htm
http://hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_caste.htm
http://hinduism.about.com/cs/basics/a/aa120803a.htm
As far as I can tell, the caste system is pretty specifically laid out in the Vedas. But what do I know? I just report what I read.
Joe
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

1. It is Muslim, not moslem!!! You wouldn't want to be calle Krishchan...
2. I can't believe Jason actually is a bartender!!!
I better stay off this forum, difficult to reason with that sort of logic and prejudices.
- Manish
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

So here's a Moslem complaining in the year after 9/11 because American security personnel are nervous about Moslems on airplanes. Get over yourself, pal. 3,000 Americans died because people of your religion decided to hijack planes and crash them into the Twin Towers. Give us a little while to get over that, OK?

Likewise countless Indians have died in various terrorist attacks in India over the years, Bombay blasts, attack o parliament, killing of prime ministers, riots... so many cases....
Similarly, there was animosity, feeling of lack of trust between the religions over these issues. And antisocial elemnts just fuel the fire...Very unfortunate, but even politicians play with people's emotions...
It only happened in US once and they overeacted like anything (read posts post 9/11 by S Khan, Salman Khan etc, even Shikhs were attacked only because they had turbans!!!), this has been happening in India since so many years (Prime minister Indira Gandhi was killed way back in 1984), there is great feeling of insecurity since very very long.... Sometimes, it is too much to take for an individual or a socity/community, they get provoked and they overreact (just like US citizen did after 9/11)
Surprising to see how can one not see the agony India and indians have been throgh all these years even after experiencing just a glimpse of the same on 9/11.
Just ponder and put yourself in shoes of a common Indian (who has nth to do with religion and issues related to that, he/she is more concerned about his/her job, increasing cost of commodities, and education cost going crazy!!! ), and you might realize how tolerant he must have been..
- Manish
AW (Blame it on ravish!!! ), I said I'll stay off this thread but couldn't....
Joe Pluta
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
I better stay off this forum, difficult to reason with that sort of logic and prejudices.
Which prejudices? Until recently the word was usually spelled Moslem; that spelling is now discouraged, although it is still used by some. The correct term is Muslim, of course, but no disrespect was intended with the use of the older form.
Joe
Paul McKenna
Ugly Redneck
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Joined: Jul 08, 2000
Posts: 1006
Its time I use the classic Pluta defense
Look, I didnt come to this thread with an intention of proving that India is perfect and everyone else is wrong. India is a nation with a very diverse population and a very diverse social fabric. It is impossible for someone like to me to try and explain that to anyone. (I agree there are other nations that are just as diverse.. so if you are planning to start a debate on that, forget it! ) It is sometimes this very diversity that causes problems and in a nation of one billion there are bound to be more than a few idiots (this idiot managed to snuck out ).
Its been 57 years since India attained independence and she has been stuttering along and sometimes striding. Blunders are bound to happen when you consider than one-sixth of all humanity resides in one spot! But to a greater extent the progress has been admirable.


Commentary From the Sidelines of history
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
you've asked:
There is talk about increased Hindu agression against muslims. I've read in a book that there were mob riots in Indian cities against muslims.
I don't know about global situation of relationship between muslims and hindus in India. It can't be all hate, because here are indians with muslim names (Sameer) posting peacefully with Indians with hindi name (Ravish).
[ February 12, 2004: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]

Hmmmm,
If I have to give you an honest answer, things do seem like that for a spectator, but there is lot more to this... the animosity spread by extremist from both sides, some "room for improvement" laws etc. As you yourself rightly said, speaking individually, two communities are quite friendly. The mob behavour is a different issue however, mobs generally have no brain but only emotions and they ca be provoked easily, esp in India, coz Indians basically are emotional. (Generalization, but gerally valid...)
It might sound cliche, but there are many inter-religion marriages between two communities. Famous ones are film stars (Sharukh Khan-Gauri, Aamir khan-Reena, many others) Leave alone the president, there are many muslim players in Indian criket team (and they are there because they deerve their place), and they are loved all over. Pathan was latest sensation on Australia tour. Samir is common name in Muslims as well as Hindus, and in Metros or cities like Banglore, best buddies often belong to diff communities. Some f my best friends are not Hindus...
India has always been secular and tolerant, and I hope it stays that way and people realize the dirty tricks played by political parties to provoke ppl.
AW, BTW I heard about increased American agression against Indians. I've read in a poss/articles/newsgroups that there were attacks in US cities against indians.... Got the point??
- Manish
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Paul McKenna:

Like I said earlier, I dont like that law and you are quite possibly right that the law was done to appease voters and doesnt really have much to do with law.
However I will tell you that I have come in contact with some of these missionaries who work in India and ,at least, I felt that they went a little too far. Its not like what you might imagine. A westerner doesnt go into India and look for converts merely for spirituality, the modus operandi is more complex. A westerner or a western religious charity organization sets up base in India and recruits some of the local christians. These chrisitans are then drilled for a month or two about the importance of their work and are promised indirect rewards if they can convert many people. When I say indirect rewards it is something like a transfer to a western country where they can possibly settle down in the future.
These recruits then employ a lot of pressure tactics to gain converts. Those tactics did not work on me or my friends because we come from very well to do families and we know what exactly their intentions are. But the same cannot be said about the lower segment of the Indian population. They are definetly more gullible and this is why a law was introduced against "forcible conversions".
Dont misconstrue the above to be a sign of anything against christianity. I have more christian friends than hindu and I definetly see many things in Christianity that I wish Hinduism had. I dont dislike missionaries either but I am merely trying to explain to you that the way missionaries work in India is very different from the way they do so in the west.

Thanks for saying all this, I really appreciate your openness in sharing all this. Let me assure you that just like you and me most people would not like such a law. India is a free country, and will stay the way it is. One must have freedom to choose everything, including religion.
- Manish
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
PM: I can't deny that caste exists in some parts of India but it is a system that has been in place for several hundred years. It can't be wiped out entirely over night.
Actually, it can. Communists did just this, wiped out all old prejudices, by wiping out those who believed in them. That's why I tend to tolerate "imperfectness" of other democracies, give people some time to get over it, ah?
Manish Hatwalne: I can't believe Jason actually is a bartender!!!
What does that mean?
--------------------
"I wish I will be as tasty as any other meat" -- Ravish.


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Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

Yipes. Here in the US, we find it absolutely unconstitutional to have to register your religion with the state. In fact, it's illegal to require someone to state their religion for any reason.
Not only that, in the unlikely event that any law such as the Freedom of Religion Act which discriminates against one or more religions was passed, it would immediately be cast down as unconstitutional. I guess America's definition of religious freedom is a little different than India's.
Joe

Hmmmmm,
Let me try to explain the reasons -
(1) Do you register sex/gender of the baby? Is that discrimination based on sex? Do you register nationality of baby's parents? Is it discrimination based on origin. These are formalities for some procedures...
(2) Only because it is considered unconstitutional to have to register your religion with the state in US, no reason why India should have it that way. Registerring is merely informing for records...
(3) There are far too many things based on religion in India. FYI, I am a Hindu and polygamy is illegal according to law for me, but not for an Indian Muslim, as his religion permits him. So muslims have right to do things as per his religion.
Secondly, when a person (including criminals) dies and nobody claims his dead body, he is cremated if he is Hindu and burried if he's muslim.
Also, the act of divorce, inheritance, hindu undivided family taxation exist and they show awareness/cultural sensitivity towards this diversity and subsequent diverse (at times conflicting) requirements for diff religions.
So it is done for many practical and procedural, and legal reasons. To say that it is "unconstitutional" or "discrimination" is naive and culturally insensitive.
Having said all this, let me also inform you that one of the more sensible, important but lesser known demands in India is for "common civil code", which simply says that if I am an Indian I follow Indian laws (which are uniform), irrespective of my religion, so no 2 wives for me even if my religion permits. But due to stubborn religious leaders, lack of education, selfish vote-bank politics, strong religious beliefs etc. it is unlikely that India will have this in the near future.
- Manish
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
Ranga: I'm completely against conversion if the (WHATEVER) includes coersion, fear, money and the likes.
Forced conversion through fear of harm is repugnant, and I agree with that sentiment. But if I want to convert to Whooskerdom because the High Whooskerdingy promises me a new car, then that's my business, not anybody else's.
Nobody has any right to "help" me choose the right religion. If my decision is based on cash, then so be it! What gives someone the right to stop me?
Joe


Agree!!! 100% !!!
But as I have posted earlier, conversion here is a far more complex and sensitive issue. The only analogy I can give is sth like this -
Consider a poor, illiterate, needy man; and someone promises him Rs 500 if he allows them to do a small "family-planning" operation which apparently is for his own good. He agrees, what do they do? They remove his kidney and sell!!! Sth simlar happens.... Shocking??? Indeed it is, the way poor and illiterate are exploited is beyond imagination!
Belive me, sheer psychological pressure change of religion could bring in person's life can make him insane due to cultural conditioning/programming that has been done in those remote rural place. This has to be experienced to be understood...
- Manish
Joe Pluta
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
I'd like to thank all my Indian friends for taking the time to civilly and frankly discuss these issues. It is clear to me that perhaps the closest parallel between our two countries on this is the similarities of casteism in India vs. racism in America. All know it is wrong, and yet in some parts of the country, the practice still exists. However, if the remarks here are a good representation of the thoughts of Indians in general, an objective observer would be forced to say that India's progress on casteism is at least comparable to, if not better than, America's on racism, simply because we in America have ostensibly been trying to solve the issue for much longer.
As I continue my research, I find India's attempts to provide religious freedom for its wildly diverse culture to be quite commendable to date, but (and you knew there would be a "but") in my opinion, as an outside observer it would seem that Hindutva in general and the FoRA in particular, if carried to extremes, could represent a step backward in that progress. However, this is an Indian issue for the Indian people to decide, and those of us not part of the struggle can only watch with hope and prayer as the issue is resolved, hopefully by forward-thinking people such as the many here who have gone out of their way to educate me without taking (too much ) offense.
I think the FoRA is a dangerous step on a slippery slope, but the religious issues confronting India are indeed more complex than a non-Indian might first envision, and it is only through conversations such as these that those of us on the outside can even begin to understand. At the same time, I think it is clear that the two countries are both rooted in democracy and that our commonalities outweigh our differences. I only hope that through frank discourse like this that those commonalities continue to prevail.
Thank you all again for taking the time to respond.
Joe
Joe Pluta
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
Map: Actually, it can. Communists did just this, wiped out all old prejudices, by wiping out those who believed in them.
Ah, Map, thank you as always for bringing the other side of the coin into view. Yes, there are ways to "fix" society's ills where the cure is far more painful than the disease. It's better to give these things time (although an occasional boot in society's back end from a courageous person, a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Mohandas Gandhi, certainly can help).
Joe
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I think it is quite funny that Indians keep saying that Americans just can't understand them because they are so complex but they are perfectly willing to spout off about what America should do because they think they understand us.

Speaking for myself, I am not saying you cannot understnad India, but it is dificult for a person who has never been to this place.
In case of America, it is a bit simplere because -
(1) There are far too many Indians staying in America or have vistied America, almost all of us participating here have many close relatives, friends from USA. They give us firts-hand information. Many of us have first hand information. They have been to US, and interacted with locals there...So American in America
(2) You might have been interacted with Indian in America, but they are "very" different from Indians in India. See, they are adpting themselves to a foreign country, besides they are highly educated and sophisticated compared to Indians in India. How many of you have visited Inida or have close friends/relatives staying here for a long time???
(3) Thirdly, unless I am grossly mistaken, America speaks english, which ppl here (at Javaranch and most educated Inidans) understand, so most references, books, movies are read and pinions are based on them. With India, if I refer to some martahi book or article, forget about Americans, I cannot even explain it to Ravish or Davesh (assuming that they both don't know Marathi). Lots of rich and in-depth material is available in regonal languages here, which is based on native's real experiences as opposed to TOI's ivory tower views. I doubt if America has the kind of linguistic diversity among natives the way India has.
(4) American media is omnipresent, and omnipotent (don't we remember WAR? ), so the awareness and information is more accessible and facts are often known. So....
- Manish
Sadanand Murthy
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Joined: Nov 26, 2003
Posts: 382
Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

The idea of a "minority status" in the US is simply wrong. Yes, there are more Christians than Hindus in the US, but there are no laws preventing someone from converting to Buddhism, no requirements for them to register their religion, nothing like that.
There is in short no comparison between America and India regarding this issue.

From what I've read about this act, I don't think that it prevents anyone or if even the DM can prevent it. I don't know. But I do agree with you; it is wrong & I wish someone would file a PIL in the Indian Supreme Ct & have it thrown out. I also believe that this is purely a political manuever and has nothing to do with religions.
Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

There is in short no comparison between America and India regarding this issue.

True. This could be because US has had more time as a democracy to mature into the country that it is. I'm hopeful that democratic India too will shake these shackles off as time progresses. She seems to going through some very similar learning as US did so many years ago.
BTW, is US considered a feminine gender as in motherland & should I say 'into the country that she is'? Can someone pl. clarify this to me? I don't want to be accused of refering to US with an impersonal pronoun like 'it' where as I address India with a personal pronoun.
Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

As to the realtionship of Hinduism and castes, it's everywhere I look.As far as I can tell, the caste system is pretty specifically laid out in the Vedas. But what do I know? I just report what I read.
Joe

You are correct Joe that casteism is part of Hinduism and is part of its ancient texts & treatises. But here is the difference in the implication of this statement.
The ancient Rishis of India analyzed societal fabric & structure and came to the conclusion that there are 4 types/categories of people/skills:
Please keep in mind the core ideals of Hinduism (which, I could endeavor to explain if anyone wants to know) as well as the age of hinduism when you read the following.
  • Teachers, especially spiritual & religious guides of the society.
  • Protectors & Governors - to protect the others & perform the governance of the city/state/kingdom/what have you.
  • Entrepreneurs - industrialists, businessmen, farmers, moneylenders etc, who keep the economy going
  • The rest - who serve the others, do the menial tasks, who are not qualified to do anything else


  • Now, the central idea was that this was a categorization of the types of skills & people who had these skills.
    People in the 1st category are called Brahmins
    Those in the 2nd are Kshatriyas
    Vaishyas comprise the 3rd, and
    Shudras make up the 4th category.
    It was also explained (not decreed) that the Brahmins should not amass wealth, that their wealth was spiritual and that the others would care for them in exchange for the Brahminical services.
    The most important point of this categorization was that this was based purely on merit and inclinations. It had nothing to do with one's birth. Anyone could move up or down this ladder based on one's inclinations, desire and merit. The problem started rearing its ugly head much later because of human nature when corrupted by evil influences. Brahmins, being the ones who were supposed to have studied all the religious texts and were the spiritual guides, realized how powerful their positions were (much like the Vatican did during the Middle Ages). And then the downward slide (redundancy deliberate) started which introduced more horrific practices. Since the Brahmins were very powerful, they dictated how the caste system was to be followed - one born as a Brahmin was automatically a Brahmin even if by nature he was not qualified to be one. Since the Shudras were totally unskilled they are the ones who suffered the most & got branded as untouchables (the only parallel I can think of here b/w US & India is slavery/racism as it was practiced before emancipation act; before any one jumps on this - I know the slaves were not considered untouchables). No serious attempts were made to stop it till about the late 1700s & early 1800s by Raja Rammohun Roy. He was successful only partially because of lack of education amongst the downtrodden, lack of understanding by the masses of what the scriptures actually said about castes (even today this lack is amply manifest) and poverty. Much later when that great soul Gandhi appeared as a star on the Indian horizon, he embraced the cause of the lowest caste and called them Harijan meaning God's People. From then on, they entered the mainstream to some extent.
    Free India abolished casteism (much like emancipation act abolished slavery in US). Just as the emancipation act ended slavery but not overt racism, the mere act of legislatively declaring casteism illegal has not cured the Indian society of the malformed casteism. As I mentioned elsewhere, it is a social anathema that needs a social solution; a legislative solution helps but doesn't remove the canker. And there are signs that this is happening. Example: My great grandparents had this caste thing firmly embedded in their being. My grandparents had it but it did not permeate their entire being. My parents or their many friends have very little vestiges of it. I have none. Certainly not the many neighbors & friends I grew up with. The next generation couldn't care less. Does this mean every single person of the next generation is free of this abhorence? Most likely not. There will always be the deluded and the ignorant and the evil.
    To redress the injustice & misery caused by casteism to the lowest caste, Free India introduced a system of reservation/quota system, very akin to the affirmative action in the US. It hasn't solved the problem (being a legislative solution); however it seems to have helped. It got (and continues to get) abused too and is causing resentment and backlash.
    [aside]
    It seems to me that India is repeating what US did earlier & is trying to learn the same lessons that US did (this is regarding reservation/quota system vis-a-vis affirmative action). It remains to be seen how resilient Indian society will be in adjusting itself to this learning.
    [/aside]
    I've writers cramps now. I don't think I've ever typed as much as I've done in the last 2 days (not even when I write my java programs)


    Ever Existing, Ever Conscious, Ever-new Bliss
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Joined: Sep 22, 2001
    Posts: 2578

    Originally posted by Jason Menard:
    No true democracy forces people to register their religion.

    What sort of logic is this???
    No true democracy forces ppl to register their sex/gender???
    No true democracy forces ppl to register their nationality???
    No true democracy even thinks of opposing outsourcing (better value for money, globally!!) or ban on H1B (Why discriminate ppl based on country)???
    Well, there is a registration form which has one column for "religion", which you should fill in while registering birth of a child (for govt records, for various reasons I posted earlier). Nobody "forces" you to register your religion as such. I don't know if anybody left it blank, but would love to know...
    Likewise, there are few forms which have field "cast" in them, ever since I can think on my own, I have made it a point to leave it blank, and haven't been even questioned once. Again, it is not for discrimination.
    BTW, how do you ppl know that there are 12% Hindus in USA, and 11% Muslims, 40% Protestants, 30% catholicks tc. They must be "registering" it somewhere, so as to have some categorized data....
    Jason, grow up Man!!! If possible pls do visit India at least for a year... Be my guest!
    - Manish
    Joe Pluta
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    Joined: Jun 23, 2003
    Posts: 1376
    BTW, is US considered a feminine gender
    Traditionally in song America is referred to as "her". Less so in spoken speech, but I'd say that if you were to choose a gender, America would be a she.
    Joe
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Joined: Sep 22, 2001
    Posts: 2578

    Originally posted by Jason Menard:

    Do you have to register that as well?

    Of course!!!
    Otherwise they can send you to the prison, whrere they'll serve you with live snakes and all sort of reptiles which are found in India which is mostly forests, no roads, elephants everywhere... snake charmers... so exotic no???
    - Manish
    P.S. Read this with a pinch of salt, don't miss the satire!!
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Joined: Sep 22, 2001
    Posts: 2578

    Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
    [QB]1.000.000.000 people and not a single bronce medal in the olympics. I could not believe it. [QB]

    Probably that is also a major reason why they have not been able to do well. Population perhaps is the most important problem for India. The resources are not sufficient, and if most ppl are trying very hard just to survive, not many can afford to get trained in sports.
    Of cources, the other reason is the one Paul mentioned about conventional preference to acads.
    - Manish
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Posts: 2578

    Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
    Just a few observations..
    Joe, majority of Hindus in India dont care about religion. Great majority of Hindus dont even know the basics of their religion. Take me for instance, I dont know anything about my religion other than a few fundamental tenets such as tolerance, karma etc. and two holy epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and I think most Hindus are as ignorant as me. Hinduism's real scriptures the Vedas and Upanishads would take years to read through leave alone master. Till date I have not met or heard of even one person who knows about all of the scriptures in Hinduism. The reason VHP, RSS have risen to some levels popularity is because of this. Hindus are ignorant about religion.. they dont care who worships what. There are periods when I dont go to a temple for years together. And its not considered a sin, if I dont pray its not a sin, its allowed. The VHP and RSS are able to manipulate the uneducated using these circumstances to their advantage. However I would also like to point out that I support some parts of their ideology too. If you look at the history of India its disintegrated nature was a direct result of lack of unity amongst Indians. The RSS and VHP believe for a strong country you must have a united country. You cant unite India based on language.. there are 300 official languages in the country. You cant unite the country based on skin color.. ever color in skin spectrum is there. But you can unite India based on religion. That is the one common thing throughout India. In this process they have sometimes trampled upon minority rights and I totally stand against that. But let it also be known that these acts have seldom gone unpunished. The judicial system, albeit slow, works and justice is ultimately handed down.

    Very very true!!!
    I concur with almost everything Paul said here.
    - Manish
    Sadanand Murthy
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    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 382
    From all the posts that have been exchanged b/w Indians & non-Indians about this topic and those that have been exchanged b/w Americans & non-Americans about the evil-US I have come to the conclusion that :
  • Either the India-bashers are staying away, OR
  • There are no India-bashers; just genuinely curious folk who genuinely want to know about India & her problems/issues/ills, OR
  • The US-bashers are just that - US-bashers and cannot discuss US-related topics without getting too emotional & at times shrill.

  • I can't say that Americans are more civil with regard to this specific thread (though many of them have been manifestly so whenever US-bashers have had their field day here) as I don't have enough data because mostly Joe Pluta has been pitching most of the balls here; and Joe could be from Mars and he would still be as civil.
    And considering how the Indians feel about all things Indian, I was pleasantly surprised by their mostly restrained, civil defense. If others don't think that this was the case, then I'd advise them to take a trip to India and start a discussion on this topic or a US foreign policy topic.
    [ February 13, 2004: Message edited by: Sadanand Murthy ]
    Jason Menard
    Sheriff

    Joined: Nov 09, 2000
    Posts: 6450
    Perhaps my original statement was a bit strongly worded, so I will retract it. It certainly was a bit too strong for some to handle civilly anyway. Regardless, forcing one to register their religion in a place where there is a problem with religious persecution and strife and that has laws such as the Freedom of Religion Act is a bad thing. Potentially a very bad thing.
    Now there is every reason to be hopeful that this is just growing pains and a passing phase. There is every reason to hope that given time these policies will be abandoned in the future. India appears to be progressing pretty well and given time these policies and prejudices may eventually fade into history.
    Also, Manish, you really need to carefully read this document.
    [ February 13, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Joined: May 05, 2000
    Posts: 13974
    Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
    BTW, how do you ppl know that there are 12% Hindus in USA, and 11% Muslims, 40% Protestants, 30% catholicks tc. They must be "registering" it somewhere, so as to have some categorized data....
    Actually no. Those are from independent polls based on random surveys like Harris Polls or from religions doing self reporting. No one actually knows what the exact figures for any religion in the USA is. I have never been asked my religion once in any questionaire I have ever filled out.
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Joined: Sep 22, 2001
    Posts: 2578

    Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
    I am a Brahmin, I have a non-Brahmin sister-in-law and looks like several of my Brahmin friends are marrying non-Brahmins as well. The picture of India that a great deal of westerners have is one of pre-1950. When I was seeking admission into an engineering college I needed to score 95% to secure a Computer Engineering seat. Why because there is a quote of 65% seats reserved for people of lower caste. In government jobs to a large percentage of jobs is reserved for lower caste. Now tell me seriously do you think caste system has any importance?

    Again, all that Paul said are the contemporary facts in India, and let me add to this. When I was seeking admission for my sis in colege we had this girl in front of us in the queue, who had significantly less percentage as compared to my sis, she travelled in a luxury car (we didn't own a car then) and was more than well to do. She did secure admision to Electronics because she was from this so called lower cast, and my sis didn't.
    In fact, there are laws which prevent referring to a person by his cast. If any of the fact you quoted is proved proprly would invite prosecution. So the picture in most parts of India is much different (saying all would be a lie), in fact it is quite the opposite. I am afraid, the reservations have started sth that might result in another outburst.
    - Manish
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
    (1) There are far too many Indians staying in America or have vistied America, almost all of us participating here have many close relatives, friends from USA. They give us firts-hand information. Many of us have first hand information. They have been to US, and interacted with locals there...So American in America
    (2) You might have been interacted with Indian in America, but they are "very" different from Indians in India. See, they are adpting themselves to a foreign country, besides they are highly educated and sophisticated compared to Indians in India. How many of you have visited Inida or have close friends/relatives staying here for a long time
    Don't you see the inherent contradiction in these two points? We can't rely on Indians in the US for information about India because they are americanized but you can rely on these same Indians for information about the US even though they are Americanized!
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
    It only happened in US once and they overeacted like anything (read posts post 9/11 by S Khan, Salman Khan etc, even Shikhs were attacked only because they had turbans!!!),
    Right, it only happened once. How many times recently have 3,000 people in India been killed in a single terrorist attack? This was a new situation for us and we needed time to adjust. And we have adjusted very nicely. As far as the attack against a Sikh (happened once in Arizona) the perpetrators were arrested and are charged with murder. The US has been very open to Muslims and I will bet that most will report that they have encountered little prejudice.
    Thomas Paul
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    (1) Do you register sex/gender of the baby? Is that discrimination based on sex? Do you register nationality of baby's parents?
    Sex is registered on the birth certificate. Nationality is not.
    (2) Only because it is considered unconstitutional to have to register your religion with the state in US, no reason why India should have it that way. Registerring is merely informing for records...
    But you tell us that is not the case. We are told that religion is the unifying factor in India therefore not being a member of that religion is breaking away from that unifying factor and can only be thought of as un-patriotic.
    (3) There are far too many things based on religion in India. FYI, I am a Hindu and polygamy is illegal according to law for me, but not for an Indian Muslim, as his religion permits him. So muslims have right to do things as per his religion.
    If it is OK for a Muslim to do it then the law shoudl say that it is OK for anyone to do it. Howm about if we pass this law... it is OK for Christians to rob Hindus but not for Hindus to rob Christians?
    Secondly, when a person (including criminals) dies and nobody claims his dead body, he is cremated if he is Hindu and burried if he's muslim.
    And so you need an entire governmental system based on religious beliefs just so you know how to dispose of a corpse?
    So it is done for many practical and procedural, and legal reasons. To say that it is "unconstitutional" or "discrimination" is naive and culturally insensitive.
    And so you make all the special benefits for Hindus and Muslims, what special benefits do you have for Christians (other than that if you try to convert someone you will be arrested)?
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:
    BTW, is US considered a feminine gender as in motherland & should I say 'into the country that she is'? Can someone pl. clarify this to me?
    The symbol of America is Liberty which is usually pictured as a woman. But we do usually refer to the US as "it".
    Tom: America is a great country!
    Joe: It sure is!
    The song "God Bless America" refers to the US in the feminine gender but I think that is more common in song and poetry than in regular speech.
    [ February 13, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Originally posted by Jason Menard:

    Also, Manish, you really need to carefully read this document.
    [ February 13, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]

    I have read this document , and that's reason why I didn't react the way I wanted. In fact, I had wanted to refer the one I had read about fallacies to you for your post -
    "No true dmocracy...".
    Nothing personal, and no offence inteded. I was just frankly trying to put accross how I felt about it.
    - Manish
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    Don't you see the inherent contradiction in these two points? We can't rely on Indians in the US for information about India because they are americanized but you can rely on these same Indians for information about the US even though they are Americanized!

    Not really, but I can understand if you see it as one. I had at least you'd understand.
    See the fact is I am relying on ppl from my nation, for information about a foreign nation, which they have visited. They've had chance to observer the "subject" (all of it, not just a part) in its natural habitat. So to speak...
    In your case you are relying on some foreigners (so a part of the foreign nation, matrked by diff in level of education, their background.) in your nation about information about information about their nation. There's a difference. Like I said, they are creamy layer of India, in fact if you discuss it with them, they'd explain what NRI status means.
    Of course, the Indians in US will be a much better and authentic source of info as compared to some news from a biased sites.
    - Manish
    Paul McKenna
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    And so you make all the special benefits for Hindus and Muslims, what special benefits do you have for Christians (other than that if you try to convert someone you will be arrested)?

    You forget that India has been under the rule of all different religions. Islam for about 500 years, Chrisitianity for 300 years and now its back to Hindus. During the rule of both Islam and Christianity, people from other religions were considered to be second class citizens and denied basic rights. For the first time, India has a secular fabric and for the first time equal protection is guaranteed for all under her constitution.
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Manish Hatwalne:
    See the fact is I am relying on ppl from my nation, for information about a foreign nation, which they have visited. They've had chance to observer the "subject" (all of it, not just a part) in its natural habitat. So to speak...
    That brings up an interesting question that has only a passing concern with this topic. Can an "observer" observe a "subject" without being changed by the subject? In other words, can an Indian visit the US for a period long enough to understand the US and not be changed by the experience? This is an old question in philosophy and I have no answer to it.
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
    For the first time, India has a secular fabric and for the first time equal protection is guaranteed for all under her constitution.

    But someone said that there isn't equal protection! If I want seven wives I can only get them if I am a Muslim. How is that fair?
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    So it is done for many practical and procedural, and legal reasons. To say that it is "unconstitutional" or "discrimination" is naive and culturally insensitive.
    And so you make all the special benefits for Hindus and Muslims, what special benefits do you have for Christians (other than that if you try to convert someone you will be arrested)?

    I did not speak about laws for Christians, because I do not know about it. Also, as far as I know nobody ever gets arrested if they try to convert. And ppl would strongly oppose such law.
    About Grham Stains killers, they've been charged for murder as well. And if you ask me, no punishment is strong enough for them. And most Indians would condemn it strongly!!!
    As for having common law irrespective of religion, I am with you on this one (didn't I mention about "common civil code" demnad somewhere?), but as of now there are separate laws with intention of allowing ppl to practice their religion. Noble intentions, but lot of practical problems implementing it and doesn't seem fair.
    I am *not* saying "I am right and you are wrong", I am just trying to present parallel situations, analogies and appealing that perhaps you can extrapolate, show a little cultural sensitivity and understand Indian society in a better way.
    - Manish
    Paul McKenna
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

    But someone said that there isn't equal protection! If I want seven wives I can only get them if I am a Muslim. How is that fair?

    Convert. You willfully realize that there are benefits for you in the other religion and provide a notice to the District Magistrate and convert to Islam, get your 3 wives. 7 wives and your head will roll
    Look, the point I am trying to get across here is not that Hindus are the only ones capable of creating a perfect society. Instead for the first time we have a nation that has the foundation for creating a near-perfect society with the equal participation of all religions. There are holes in this fabric and people are mending them, in a nation like India it takes time, helluva lotta time. If this very foundation is destroyed by special interests then we are back to square 1 and that is not going to be in anyone's best interests.
    Sadanand Murthy
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    That brings up an interesting question that has only a passing concern with this topic. Can an "observer" observe a "subject" without being changed by the subject? In other words, can an Indian visit the US for a period long enough to understand the US and not be changed by the experience? This is an old question in philosophy and I have no answer to it.

    Speaking from experience: No (answer to the philosophical question posed). I believe that no one can remain unchanged after spending some time in another culture/country (especially long enough period to understand that culture/country).
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    That brings up an interesting question that has only a passing concern with this topic. Can an "observer" observe a "subject" without being changed by the subject? In other words, can an Indian visit the US for a period long enough to understand the US and not be changed by the experience?

    Brief answer, not possible!
    They change a lot, gets much broader perspective. But that is valid for any person who travells to a distant land.
    Nevertheless, they do share their first experiences vividly and the cultural shocks they used to get in their stay.
    - Manish
    Joe Pluta
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    Joe could be from Mars
    Shhhhhhhh! I'm really trying to keep that information low profile...

    Joe (a/k/a Jxprthyln Oklgort-Erxnik the Third)
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
    Convert. You willfully realize that there are benefits for you in the other religion and provide a notice to the District Magistrate and convert to Islam, get your 3 wives. 7 wives and your head will roll
    So what if I start a new religion that says you MUST have seven wives? Will you change the law for me?
    What if I am an atheist and believe that the limitations on wives are based on stupid religious beliefs and should have nothing to do with any constraint on me?
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
    subject: India and you