Mythological Revisionism as Historic Revisionism
#1
Mod note: Changed the thread title

Greetings Nir-Mukta-s:

I am a new member. I have a lot of questions. These questions may offend many of you, but my intention is not to offend. It is my yearning to acquire your viewpoints on specific topics that I wish to delve into in order to understand your opinions and stance on certain matters.

1. Do you wish to destroy Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist temples of worship just like how Muslim iconoclasts destroyed countless temples in the past?

2. Do you wish to murder Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists just like how Muslims did in the past?

3. Are you siding with Muslims and Christians against Hindus?

4. The Islam forum has only about nine to twelve threads. But, Hinduism has more than 30, I believe. Is there a correlation? Do you wish to destroy Hindus and keep Muslims?

5. Do you despise Hindus more than Muslims and Christians?

These questions may be controversial, but if this is a free-thought community, it would behoove the administrators to post this thread in order to spur mature debate and discourse.
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#2
(06-Jul-2013, 01:49 AM)TheInquirer Wrote: 2. Do you wish to murder Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists just like how Muslims did in the past?

Let me tell you a story. It is a little different from stories you've grown up hearing and the stories in your head that demonize critics of religion as a bloodthirsty horde. In fact, I will let Prof. Kancha Ilaiah tell the story here (Read from 'In Andhra, the Madigas' and read until 'defeat the enemy on the moral ground'.)
Let me repeat the moral of that story for you:

Quote:Q: And then what happens to Brahma?

A: That is most interesting. You see, Jambavanta defeats him by argument, not by killing him. In the Dalit-Bahujan tradition there is no defeat by killing your enemy, which is so central to Brahminism, be it the Gita or the Puranas. This Dalit-Bahujan tradition of overcoming your enemy through logical persuasion runs right from the Buddha to Ambedkar. The understanding is that you must establish your philosophical superiority and defeat the enemy on the moral ground.

Let me restate the moral if it still not clear: Please outgrow the mythical mind that fails to distinguish an intellectual challenge from a physical threat.
More about that distinction which is so often lost on religious demagogues, can be read here.

(06-Jul-2013, 01:49 AM)TheInquirer Wrote: 5. Do you despise Hindus more than Muslims and Christians?

Ideas are discussed, dissected and often debunked here and the despising or deifying of people isn't the mission here. Anyone 'inquisitive' enough to eagerly inquire so eagerly about forum members' attitudes, can save themselves and members a lot of time if they were to read Nirmukta's About page clarifying how people deserve respect but ideas do not. A short answer quoted from here is
Quote:Our position at Nirmukta and Indian Atheists is extremely nuanced, given that we are anti-religion, but pro-people of all kinds. We are not anti-Muslim, but are anti-Islam. We are not anti-Hindu, but are anti-Hinduism. Same goes for Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and all other organized belief systems that seek the protectionist status accorded to this idea we call ‘religion’.
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#3
The Inquirer,

1 and 2) Nirmukta is about criticizing practices and beliefs. It is not about discriminating against people who hold those beliefs or engage in those practices. Of course, if the practices are inhumane, then we will condemn the people who engage in them.

By the way, the idea of Muslim iconoclasts is largely a myth. It was true in some cases, but it turns out that Turks had better things to do than smash temples all the time. By the way, Hindus used to wreck each others' temples as well-- it was considered a victory by Hindu kings to do this and carry away idols.

Likewise, the destruction of Nalanda by Muslims and the massacre of Buddhists by them is also a myth invented by Buddhist historians and propagated by anti-Islamic Europeans (see the excellent book Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road .)

3, 4, and 5) There are less threads about Islam and Christianity because people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris are already criticizing those. Nobody, however, is criticizing Hinduism, so that's why we exist. But we are against all religions.
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#4
Arvind,

With reference to what I posted above, I was quite disconcerted that you approvingly cited Kancha Ilaiah. Please allow me to state why. Kancha Ilaiah is not much of a scholar at all-- he is neither Ambedkar nor Phule. He can be seen, at best, as a nationalist intent on constructing an identity he calls "Dalit-Bahujan." There's nothing wrong with this per se-- after all, all nationalisms are constructed. But unfortunately, such nationalism often entails mythmaking as opposed to history.

That there was ever a uniform "Dalit-Bahujan" school of thought is highly dubious. The people whom we call Dalits today were shunned by the caste society for a number of reasons-- separated by region and by time (of when they were thrown out of society), it would be impossible for them to have a uniform culture. To trace a uniform philosophy ranging from the Buddha (who, by the way, was a Kshatriya-- Ilaiah in his books insists that he was an OBC)-- to Ambedkar makes little sense.

That's not the bad part though. Assuming this uniformity, he tries to show why his own religion is not that bad at all. The performance in which Brahma is not killed proves little. Plenty of Sanskritic works contain disagreements that are satisfied using argument-- Amartya Sen's book, despite its misleading title, contains plenty of these examples. On the other hand, village gods-- "Dalit-Bahujan" gods if you will, can be quite violent. Read Thurston's book on the village gods of South India. Their sacrifices are also quite cruel. The "Elamma" that Ilaiah talks about? She's at the center of devadasi prostitution.

Ilaiah's pet religions don't get run away from the radar just because he's an OBC. And he doesn't get to mangle history because of it. This is a disturbing trend in Dalit leadership. Another disturbing trend is that-- if we define "Hindu" as those who believe the Hindu scriptures-- much of the Dalit intelligentsia seem to be Hindus in this sense that they believe the scriptures. Take this excerpt from Ilaiah's Why I Am Not a Hindu :

"A large number of Brahmins came along with Sita, Rama and Laxmana to overthrow and usurp the Adivasi Republics and independent Bahujan kingdoms. They killed Tataka and usurped her kingdom. They also murdered Sambuka and occupied his kingdom."

Yes that 's all great-- but it assumes that people called Rama, Laxmana, and Tataka existed. Even if they did-- how can we infer from the very scant and unreliable source material that Tataka ruled over a republic and had the land taken from her?? The original source merely describes her as a demigod who was cursed to have a frightening form. If Ilaiah had written what he did in the USA, he would have been laughed out of academia.

I don't care that Ilaiah is an OBC. He is peddling Hindu myth and is an apologist for non-Sanskritic Hindu traditions. I would urge you to reconsider your support of him.
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#5
(06-Jul-2013, 04:25 AM)Sachin1 Wrote: By the way, the idea of Muslim iconoclasts is largely a myth. It was true in some cases, but it turns out that Turks had better things to do than smash temples all the time. By the way, Hindus used to wreck each others' temples as well-- it was considered a victory by Hindu kings to do this and carry away idols.

Likewise, the destruction of Nalanda by Muslims and the massacre of Buddhists by them is also a myth invented by Buddhist historians and propagated by anti-Islamic Europeans (see the excellent book Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road .)

The iconoclasm the Muslim invaders conducted is well recorded. In fact, it is the Muslim historians (that accompanied the invading armies) that recorded a majority of these iconoclastic occurrences. A multitude of them speak about how Hindus "scattered like atoms", how thousands were forcefully converted, how iconoclasts like Timur ensured a collection of skulls of Hindus were organized to fashion pyramids, how Tipu Sultan took great pleasure in converting Nambudiri-s by oppressive means, how Nadir forced his Turko-Persian troops to ravage the Punjab and bring back not only the plunder of jewels but of countless women.

If we are to make distinctions upon which historians that write about Muslim iconoclasm are to be trusted, aren't we supporting the cause of Islam in the end, only to be supporting Islam and vilifying proponents of anti-Islamism? If I can't trust "anti-Islamic European" and "Buddhist" historians, than I might as well not trust "historians" on this forum that promote intense hatred of Hinduism with their accounts of "Hindu history".

I am not trying to spur division. I am simply trying to state that the hatred for Hinduism on this thread is chilling and completely flabbergasting. It is the most hated religion on this whole forum portion of Nir-Mukta.
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#6
(06-Jul-2013, 01:49 AM)TheInquirer Wrote: These questions may be controversial, but if this is a free-thought community, it would behoove the administrators to post this thread in order to spur mature debate and discourse.

There is nothing mature about your posts. You are flamebaiting. Plain and simple. Consider this as your first warning.
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#7
The European historians whom I speak of are 18th and 19th century ones. Today's scholars are reliable.

Read this:

Richard M. Eaton has recently argued that there are no more than eighty confirmed instances of temple desecration from the 500 plus years between 1192 and 1792. While this is a conservative estimate, it is likely to be far closer to the truth than the figure of thousands of destroyed temples that is sometimes claimed, without evidence , by today's Hindu nationalists. (Emphasis mine)

Temple desecration was not a random act but typically occurred in the context of a moving frontier of military conflict. That is, temples that were damaged or destroyed by Muslim rulers were almost always situated within an enemy's (or rebel's) territory, had a strong connection with the enemy, and were attached in the course of warfare. This was a practice well known in the Indian subcontinent well before Islam became a political force, although it was never common. Desecrating a god and an institution associated with an enemy king was a serious blow to his claim to kingship and could also be very attractive for financial reasons-- the motives for temple desecration were by no means restricted to Islamic hostility to idol worship. Once an area had been incorporated into Sultanate territory… its temples were rarely desecrated. (Emphasis mine)

-- Source: India Before Europe, Catherine B. Asher and Cynthia Talbot
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#8
p. 48 by the way. It's on Google Books if you want to take a look.
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#9
(06-Jul-2013, 04:47 AM)Sachin1 Wrote: With reference to what I posted above, I was quite disconcerted that you approvingly cited Kancha Ilaiah. Please allow me to state why. Kancha Ilaiah is not much of a scholar at all-- he is neither Ambedkar nor Phule. He can be seen, at best, as a nationalist intent on constructing an identity he calls "Dalit-Bahujan."
...
He is peddling Hindu myth and is an apologist for non-Sanskritic Hindu traditions. I would urge you to reconsider your support of him.

The quoted portion above was only an expedient means of illustrating what really goes without saying, namely the need to outgrow the mythical mind that fails to distinguish an intellectual challenge from a physical threat. Dr. Ilaiah too cited it as a story that said something about the worldview of the people who told it, and not as history. None of it needs to be construed as a carte blanche for everything else the said writer says in other contexts. That too really goes without saying, and by way of example, some work of Sam Harris is quoted as relevant on the topic of wood-fires and other work on ethics is vigorously critiqued.

Dr. Ilaiah may well be a partisan polemicist, but partisan affiliation is hardly sufficient grounds to exclude a thinker from one's reading lists, and an affectedly neutral centrist stance is unreasonable to demand during conversations on lived experience in marginalized communities. If anything, according due attention to such voices is essential to remedying decades if not centuries of mainstream neglect. If adoption of a particular identity is found by marginalized communities to be an effective means of organizing and articulating protest, the decision is theirs to make. Earlier experiments by supposed saviours from the outside like Gandhi attempting to make decisions for marginalized communities, were remarkable historical failures.

Consider this question from the article 'Why not a Dalit priest?' by Dr. Ilaiah:
Quote:Do not these intellectuals, so called seers and NRIs understand that Deepavali as it is being celebrated today is an anti-Dalit-Bahujan festival as Narakasura, who was killed was a Shudra himself?
Is there a problem with ascribing an all-too-real caste label to a mythical demon? Obviously yes! But has Dr. Ilaiah bought into that equation? It would be unfair to say yes outright. Isn't it likelier that he is merely quoting in exasperation a literalist belief prevalent among communities of believers? To say that he is perpetuating a mythical belief rather than simply responding to it, is somewhat like saying that P Lal had a literalist belief in Arjuna and Krishna when he said that "Arjuna in the Gita is for whatever reason, the humanist; and Krishna, for whatever reason, the militarist."

For someone coming from where Dr. Ilaiah does, the consequences of all-too-prevalent belief equating demons of myth with the oppressed of today, are all too real to afford the luxury of adequately finessing the issue and padding the questions with clarifications like 'Narakasura considered to be a Shudra by many listeners of the Puranas'. Further, the Puranas that Dr. Ilaiah reserves special ire for, are indeed more consequential in shaping beliefs of the oppressing orthodox than the dialectical tradition considered to be led by Shankara and others, which Dr. Ilaiah has been accused of wilfully ignoring in his narrative. A question to be asked here is "How many children in caste-Hindu households would have grown up listening to Adi Shankara's bloodshed-free conquests and how many would have grown up listening to stories of demons slain by Rama and Krishna? Isn't it true that the Itihasas never pass up an opportunity to remind listeners of the Kshatriya identity of Rama and Krishna?" Is there any surprise that Dr. Ilaiah chooses to attack the elements and manifestations of faith that are most proximal and most consequential? To lament the absence of more coverage of nuanced Hindu theology and use this as grounds to dismiss critiques as unscholarly, would quite simply be an exercise of Hindu privilege.

To question of why freethinkers should at all be concerned with any priesthood and devote attention to questions like "Why not a Dalit priest?" that Dr. Ilaiah raises above, a response from a humanistic standpoint can be found in this article and the video linked at its end.

To call Dr. Ilaiah an 'apologist for non-Sanskritic Hindu traditions' would be a gross mischaracterization not only for the reasons outlined above, but also because his advocacy of Navayana Buddhism is very much on record. Having said all that, neither a record of apologetics or advocacy, even if true, can be reason enough to casually cast aspersions upon the competence of a researcher to the extent of imposing a banishment of their thought from online discourse by applying an affectedly pedantic standard of academic rigour to what undeniably is also political discourse. If Dr. Ilaiah's unflattering characterization of Hinduism as it is manifest to him rather than Hinduism as it was chronicled, is held against him and used as an excuse to dismiss what he has to say about, say, indigenous industry, the ongoing discourse on caste, religion and power would be poorer for it and less informed.
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#10
Hello Everyone,smile

I am a new member in Nirmukta.

Well....... The kind of importance people attach to religion and its ritualistic ways is truly amazing. It has grown over these years to unimaginable proportions, where people have started even resorting to strange rituals and beliefs, even forbidden by the so-called religions....

It is time for us to treat religion like an INNER WEAR. You wear it or not, it is your business. Anyway, there is no reason to wear it over your trousers anyway. We also should take away all symbols, which relates us to some religion, sect, cast, creed or anything of that sort.

In this context, I wonder why some people still carry symbols with their names. ............Even in places like Nirmukta........Example....Aravind IYER....

Regards
Anil
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#11
(06-Jul-2013, 11:23 AM)Anil Wrote: In this context, I wonder why some people still carry symbols with their names. ............Even in places like Nirmukta........Example....Aravind IYER...

There are very good reasons why concentrating on a persons name whilst ignoring everything else about them is pointless. So that was a pretty cheap shot. A personal attack actually. Please refrain from making such attacks.
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#12
(06-Jul-2013, 11:23 AM)Anil Wrote: In this context, I wonder why some people still carry symbols with their names. ............Even in places like Nirmukta........Example....Aravind IYER....

Regards
Anil
Anil,

There might be several reasons why people might carry such identity in their names. For one they have little control over their names and it is a hassle to change your name as it is a legal process. Second it might actually serve a purpose ( as shown in this post http://nirmukta.net/Thread-Morality-Neit...75#pid8175) when involved in humanist discussions about casteism. Third you do not need to know a persons full name to figure out what his/her caste background is, so changing your does not accomplish much. There could also be other benign reasons to carry on your identity in the name.

Do you think people should not carry their caste identity in their name? If so why?

PS: As Lije pointed out that was a ridiculous way of posing your question. You could have done it with out it being a personal attack.
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