How great were Mughals?

I have lot of doubts on accuracy of history, of India, about all kings – about all kingdoms! Something does not seem right to me, except British Raj! During their time they had press running in the country, which made things bit transparent. Apart from that there were other secret publications run by freedom fighters. With all these records we have a clear idea of bloodthirsty rulers of British East India.

History of Older kingdoms, on the other hand, was mostly based on travelogues of a few visitors and other delicate records. Travellers certainly had the pleasure of King’s hospitality, then, would definitely write something neat on him. Stone encryptions, again, are commissioned by royals. There are also palm leaf scriptures (in Pali, Sanskrit etc) which were written by the elite (educated) crowd of King’s court. Obviously, their education (and living) was funded by king himself. Now why wouldn’t we expect plain old asslicking praise on king and his kingdom? If these go on making history, how accurate is our history?

Talking about history and its accuracy, I would like mention about a post I came across on desicritics by beingCynical. It was about Aurangzeb and his misdeeds, especially his intolerance. This post presents a beautiful argument on this Mughal emperor, and claims that history is inaccurate about his rule. I am pasting a Para from that post:

What drives us to be so judgemental and conclusive without knowing the facts? Is it the bad and wrong history that been taught via the millions of government supplied history books, where truth is far fetched as history is fabricated to support someones ego and wants? The fact is good history is rarely about good guys and bad guys but unfortunately we follow this simplistic logic while going over our history, resulting in putting on a perception pair of glasses while engrossing it. I believe that history should be presented as it is, no biasing, no fabrication or no forced conclusion and the readers should be left to decide the good or the bad for themselves. I was sure that our text books are being pathetically modified, God knows for what and whom, so I always had a fascination for all those controversial & bad characters or so being pictured in books.

This part is 100% true; we certainly have omitted a large portion of history for our convenience (or likings). It could be due to several reasons, most probably to make our history look good, simple “tidy up”.

Anyways, my claim here is that our kings were not great, tolerant and merciful,Read More »

MF Husain and his freedom

Maqbool Fida Husain is no longer an Indian, he has accepted Qatari citizenship. It’s not a total surprise considering he was on voluntary exile from Indian Judicial system since 2006. There are few criminal charges against him for having hurt religious sentiments of Indians. For those who are not familiar with this, it’s a typical “freedom of expression” Vs “offending belief system” case. Husain now 94, painted few Hindu deities and Mother India in nude and socially objectionable positions (Indian context). When charged for this, he decided it would be better not to answer to the system and officially absconding since then.

Million dollar question behind this is “what is the boundary of freedom of expression?”, ideally there are none. In an ideal society freedom of expression is that anyone can express anything and nobody gets offended. It possibly could be well accepted if it were done with all intentions answered. But we do not live in ideal society. Here, each group consider themselves to be suppressed and others being appeased. Plenty of moral police are patrolling to maintain this attitude. So, anything could trigger hatred among the groups if the situations are not properly handled. Same is happened here – ‘not properly handled’!

Husain's Bharat mata

Husain claimed that he painted them for the love of those deities; let’s take it is true. Artists have different way to look at things and depict them. He also claimed that there were no intention of offending people, this also can be accepted. But the question followed by this is never answered. Why only deities related to a particular religion is chosen, why not others or his own? In a society where all communities look at each other with suspicion, this question certainly will raise eyebrows. This part seems to be a big hypocrisy on his part. BTW I am not after his apologies, just an explanation.

Right wing on the other hand, can never justify breaking things. They always have right to get offended and protest for it, but not Physical attack.

BTW quoting Khajaraho is never an answer for this; those were carved when these things were probably acceptable in society. Now we live in a society where kissing in public is not OK but pissing is! Society has changed since those temples were carved, so are the rules of every society. Something valid a millennium ago is no longer valid today. This is called “Change”. That’s the reason few things cannot be justified quoting, it “was”, in the same country. This change may not be good (like this one), it can always be protested on, from within the system.

There will be a day, may be in next hundred years, when all these things may not be issues at all. Majority of civilised world would have rejected religions and deities. This discussion would look silly then.[tweetmeme]

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Atheist Barbie

Presenting Atheist Barbie, as an answer to various religious barbies in market, including few in Rev attire and Hijabs. Clever and creative on BlagHag by Jen. Remember Jen? One who also created boobquakes throughout the planet to disprove an Iranian “Intellectual”.[tweetmeme]

Anyways, here is the design, due to be released shortly, I think.

Atheist Barbie
Atheist Barbie

Among all features of this Barbie, I find ‘lunch bag’ as very hilarious. I am breaking it down for the Indian crowd, who may be unaware of the relevance.  This is “South Park” style satire for those who are always surprised of Atheists morals, “If you don’t follow a (read :‘our’) religion, where do you get morals from?”. It’s the same bunch of people (especially Americans) who believe morals were invented on the day “invisible space daddy” presented Moses with tablets of  Ten Commandments. Without this list people (Atheists, etc) tend to kill each other or even eat babies!!!

How many of us had trouble understanding Evolution taught in high school biology? I am sure we did not. Apparently a lot of Americans do!  Parents and teachers in some states in America are not comfortable to teach only science in science class. They claim other theories like Creationism, Intelligent design are as valid as science.

I wasn’t made this confused when I was a kid. I studied in Hindu (later Christian) administered schools. They taught me evolution as the way it is, no teacher ever disputed the theory. Creationism was never a logical way to look at life on earth, in academic circles.

BTW, Flying Spaghetti Monster has come down to earth to resolve all these disputes.

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10 Public Intellectuals

The Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll was conducted in November 2005 and June 2008 by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (US) on the basis of responding readers’ ballot.
Noam Chomsky : American linguist, philosopher,  libertarian socialist
Umberto Eco : Italian medievalist, semiotician, philosopher, literary critic
Richard Dawkins : English  evolutionary biologist  author Atheist
Václav Havel :  Czech playwright, essayist, former dissident and politician.
Christopher Hitchens : British author, journalist, and literary critic
Paul Krugman :  American economist, liberal columnist, and author (Nobel)
Jürgen Habermas : German philosopher and sociologist
Amartya Sen : economist,  Professor (Nobel)
Jared Diamond : merican scientist and nonfiction author Atheist
Salman Rushdie : British Indian novelist and essayist
Fethullah Gulen : Turkish preacher
Muhammad Yunus : Bangladeshi banker and economist (Nobel)
Yusuf al-Qaradawi : Egyptian scholar and preacher
Orhan Pamuk : Turkish novelist (Nobel)
Aitzaz Ahsan : Pakistani Advocate
Amr Khaled :  Egyptian activist and preacher
Abdolkarim Soroush :  Iranian thinker, philosopher, reformer
Tariq Ramadan : Swiss Muslim academic
Mahmood Mamdani : Uganda) is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Departments of Anthropology
Shirin Ebadi :  Iranian lawyer, human rights activist

A weird analyses on the results for  Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll conducted by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (US). Do you see any difference as I did?

People who voted think religious preachers are more impotent intellectuals to this world than atheists. The same crowd was mentally aright  in 2005 :-(. Also , now there are more intellectuals in south Asia and gulf compared to west.

Looks like whole poll has intention of appeasement.

2005 list :

  1. Noam Chomsky : American philosopher, libertarian socialist
  2. Umberto Eco : Italian critic, philosopher
  3. Richard Dawkins : English biologist , author, atheist
  4. Václav Havel :  Czech playwright, essayist, politician.
  5. Christopher Hitchens : British author, journalist, and atheist
  6. Paul Krugman :  American economist, liberal columnist, and author (Nobel)
  7. Jürgen Habermas : German philosopher and sociologist
  8. Amartya Sen : Indian economist,  Professor (Nobel)
  9. Jared Diamond : American scientist , author Atheist
  10. Salman Rushdie : British Indian novelist,  Atheist

2008 list

  1. Fethullah Gulen : Turkish preacher
  2. Muhammad Yunus : Bangladeshi banker and economist
  3. Yusuf al-Qaradawi : Egyptian scholar and preacher
  4. Orhan Pamuk : Turkish novelist
  5. Aitzaz Ahsan : Pakistani Advocate
  6. Amr Khaled :  Egyptian activist and preacher
  7. Abdolkarim Soroush :  Iranian thinker, philosopher, reformer
  8. Tariq Ramadan : Swiss religous academic
  9. Mahmood Mamdani : Ugandan Professor Government
  10. Shirin Ebadi :  Iranian lawyer, human rights activist

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Sitayana – Sita’s Epic

The story Ramayana* is his entire life journey starting from his innocent youth, his mastery over skills in winning Sita, his role as dutiful and obedient son to adhere to his father’s words while aware of the flagitious intensions of his step mother. He gives up all the worldly richness and sets away to spend 14 years in jungle. Sita being his wife accompanies him followed by Laxman, Ram’s younger brother.

They spend quite an adventurous and romantic** life in the forest. Sita finds her world in her husband Ram and experiences an unspelled love for him. Everything works fine when one day, Sita gets abducted by Ravana while Ram is away to fulfill one of her impossible wishes. Ram does everything possible to get back his love. He gathers a huge army, builds a bridge across an ocean, does all that he could. Finally, he succeeds to kill Ravana and gets her back. With this they complete 14 years of stay in jungle and they return to their kingdom after which they should have lived happily ever after.

But the story takes turmoil instead, Ram’s story ends here and Sita’s story begins. This happens when a subject of Ram’s kingdom whispers “how could Ram trust Sita, who been with Ravana for so long”. Ram wants a test now, Agni-Pareeksha – A test to check purity of a woman, by entering into fire. Exactly this part of the story becomes hard to digest. This is where so many questions arise and is left unanswered.

  • Did it serve right for a person like Ram ‘the so called God’ to come down to such a cruel act?
  • Is he setting example for all men or rather his followers to commit such an act?
  • Or is he doing right by following well set example from his predecessors?
  • Ram must have done justice to his kingdom? But why not to his wife? Had he really loved her he wouldn’t have banished her at such a crucial moment.Read More »