Deadpan Musings -WordPress

June 2, 2017

Chinese Neo Colonialism vs good old Brit model

Filed under: Economics Of Colonialism — karigar @ 12:22 pm

Bibek Debroy shows China’s efforts to soft Colonize Africa, the Uganda rail (new “Lunatic Express”) example:

Brings to mind the Economic effects of British Colonialism, as demonstrated by Amiya Bagchi in this comprehensive study:

More matter – reference & otherwise – will be added as & when it occurs  …


Yoga: On McCartney’s “global agenda of Hindu supremacism”

Filed under: Yoga Vs Bhoga & Roga — karigar @ 4:56 am

Review Summary

Author Patrick McCartney fails to make the connection between his sweeping Hinduphobic allegation, and any of the various items he cites to make his case. Repeated bald assertions of “the global agenda of Hindu supremacism”don’t quite match up with the narrative he tries to build. He does make an attempt via description of personal experience in India (which really have no bearing on his allegations), and singularly non persuasive citing of known Hindu baiter and Protestant agenda toting Templeton foundation’s Meera Nanda’s writing. Colleague Remski’s cited definition of “Hindutva” -even if taken at face value – fails to show any connection with any ‘supremacism’.

A clear giveaway of prejudiced agenda is the attempt to counter-pose the thriving “Christian Yoga” to his supposed “Hindu Supremacism”. This is a superficial reductionist binary, but clarifies as to who the author thinks the ‘good’ – or at least neutral – folks are. But the issue of Christian Yoga is much more complex and hardly about ‘good guys’, as shown here in this interview of the founder of “Holy Yoga

The ongoing controversies of the kind “Is Yoga Hindu?” seem to be already resolved in his mind, with the evidence free conclusion that he needs to save Yoga from “Hindu Supremacism” of some undefined kind. He tries to take advantage of the usual fearmongering regarding “Hindutva” inspite of the glaringly obvious fact that even in the current dispensation of a post 2014 BJP government in India, none of the persistent doomsday fearmongering of academics has come to pass.

Of course he will find himself in company of many academics with similar agendas, and can join the mutually back scratching club who cite each other to create their own truths about the bogey that the resurgent Hindu civilizational identity of Indians is somehow “extremist”, “violent”, or … “Supremacist”. This has two uses, it plays well to a certain kind of gallery, and also it facilitates guilt free “Digestion” of Yoga into western frameworks ( see the work of Rajiv Malhotra ) on this).

Time permitting, I will link this review up with work-in-progress on similar scholars and perhaps weave it into a detailed paper.

Review Notes

Paper link:

Reading this paper about ” an under-appreciated relation between the quotidian practices of Western yoga practitioners and the global agenda of Hindu supremacism” (quoting from Abstract) by Patrick McCartney, where he seeks to “problematise this ‘Vedic way of life’ phrase, and take a phenomenological approach to investigate what exactly people imagine a ‘Vedic way of life’ to be”.

Here are a few jottings that came up directly in response while reading this paper. These might end up being worked into a paper, along with other similar current academic scholarship on Yoga.

  1. Initial framing quite clear. Paper’s viability hangs on credibly showing the existence of “Hindu supremacism”, and the successful problematisation of the ubiquitous phrase “Vedic way of life”
  2. Quote#1: “due to this heterotopia, the unrecognised intersection between global yoga and Hindu supremacism allows for a supremacist narrative to be subtlety infused within global yoga’s rhetoric. I argue that this can lead to a type of banal nationalism. These assertions are based on my almost 20 years of working in the global yoga industry, and as an anthropologist who works on the links between the production of desire, the politics of imagination, and the economics of religion
  3. Quote#2: “I assert that through adoption of certain yoga-inflected lifestyles we are (or at least at risk of becoming) unwitting supporters of an imperialist, Hindu supremacist agenda that has global, expansionist aspirations. The broader aim of my research is to explore whether the ontological realities may or may not be commensurable. There are parallel aspirations for an identity that includes the use of similar narratives and textual sources of authority, which are sourced from the Sanskrit episteme, i.e. the justified ‘true’ beliefs found within the Sanskrit literary canon.
  4. Chanting of Rudram at the Shanti Mandir discussed. Shanti Mandir supposedly ” embeds itself within a narrative built upon an ancient tradition. Presenting itself as a competent alternative to modern secularism, it cultivates desire for a nostalgic return to a pre-modern era, which is an expression of modernity, and not its antithesis.”
  5. Quote#3: “Yoga and Hindu religious nationalism are linked through a general idea of a greener, more sustainable and holistic worldview. This is presupposed by a transcendental idealist philosophical position. The metaphysical and epistemological doctrine of non-dualist (advaita) Vedānta asserts that an idea, namely Brahma, is the fundamental component of reality, and that while an objective, external reality does exist, Brahma is the supra-sensible reality beyond these categories. Kitiarsa (2008) and Halter (2000) explain how the commodification and merchandising of Indian cultural practices creates a cultural process that relies upon the marketing of ethnicity. In comparison, Sinha (2011) expands on how this process of Hinduisation effects both the domestic and international images of the Indian state. Whether we consider our understanding of ‘Vedic’ to be a 1:1 representation or not, our consumption of yogic lifestyles impacts on how we perceive India and yoga, and how India perceives and markets itself.
  6. Heavy quoting (implied, though not exact) of Meera Nanda. This Templeton Fdn (a Protestant view promoting rich fdn) scholar is being legitimized as expert critic of Hinduism. “Nanda (2003) explains that the forces of the global market are turning India, or commodifying India, into a Hindu-ised market, which relies heavily on the priority claims of the ‘scientific Vedas’ for legitimacy (Nanda 2015: 43)” . “Nanda (2009) explores issues related to how global processes of trade, marketing and commodification are homogenising ‘Brand India’ into a ‘Hindu India’.
  7. Matthew Remski -another Yoga entetpreneur/ colleague – is the next expert legitimized. “Remski explains how the Hindu supremacist forces (known as Hindutvavādin-s) seek to homogenize all things yogic into a narrow vision of India’s heritage:
    1. There is rising Hindutva discourse that seeks to reclaim all things yogic into a homogenized vision of Indian heritage. It is motivated by just grievances against colonial humiliation, the white privilege and racism of early Indology, and the postcolonial disempowerment of a global wealth inequality against which asana has emerged as a royalty-free multi-billion-dollar cultural export. But the loudest part of this discourse is twisted by saffronisation, the belief that the terms as polysemic as “yoga” can be defined (let alone owned) by cultures as diverse as global Hinduism, and the false assumption that global academic Indology hasn’t changed in a century.  (Remski 2015)
  8. Next move is to bring in Christian Yoga as a (implied as if legitimate) counterpoint to “Hindu Supremacism”. “An example is the growth in ‘Christian Yoga’, which further nuances our understanding of the globalising processes related to ‘classical’ and ‘modern’ yoga(s) (Green 2016). This example demonstrates how a ‘yoga narrative’ is used in an alternative way to the layer of interpretation I am suggesting, and how it does not have to necessarily draw on the same narratives as Hindu supremacists or the dominant narrative within the yoga industry, which is typically ensconced in a Hindu idiom. However interesting Christian yoga is as a new, alternative expression of the yoga idiom, it is not representative of the Hindu-oriented ontology inherent in ‘modern yoga’, which is the dominant form present within the transglobal yoga industry.”
  9. Methodological background next. “I have taught yoga in various studios across the world for the past twenty years. For more than one year I have been an active participant observer using a cyber-ethnographic methodology in a variety of closed and public forums related to yoga. My use of a cyber-ethnographic method is an evolving process. I have focused my attention on the closed Yoga Teachers’ group on Facebook, which has more than 19,000 global members. I have permission from the moderators to conduct research, and I frequently disclose my position as an academic.”
  10. On presence of Hindu/Buddhist icons in Yoga studios. “Based on my own observations in yoga studios and in online forums, the most common deities found in yoga studios are: Śiva-natarāja (the dancer), Kṛṣṇa (the flute player), Hanumāna (the monkey) and Gaṇeśa (the elephant). Interestingly, Buddha is also quite popular. One respondent believes that this is because Buddha statues are easier to get and possibly less confronting than some Hindu statues. Another popular approach includes honouring one’s lineage with life-size photos of gurus, like the ‘pioneers’ of modern yoga, such as T. Krishnamacharya, B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and T.K.V. Desikachar (Goldberg 2016). These are hung on the walls in yoga studios (McCartney 2016a).”
  11. On understanding the search by western Yoga practitioners for the Vedic way of life. “I assert that the quotidian, ‘traditional’ practice of (modern) yoga is promoted as a ‘legitimate’ representative of a much older, ‘eternal’ (sanātana) cultural idea, and that the cosmopolitan yoga practitioner has very little appreciation of the historicity of several premodern periods. The fact that a ‘Vedic world’ is located so far back in an ancient past, and does represent what many people consider an ‘eternal’ past, allows mention of it to be transposed in an uncritical way into discussions of yoga in cosmopolitan yoga studios around the world.”
  12. So far , no tangible connection to any “Hindu Supremacism” is shown. In fact the term itself hasn’t been defined at all, inspite of being asserted multiple times as somehow really existing.
  13. Gita gets brought in. Shown as being used for Nationalist purposes by politicians. Then the well known H word (Hindutva) makes its first appearance. Then comes the arguably false assertion: “The principle of Hindu dharma is used as a counterpoint to secularism. It is the core of the Hindu nationalist identity and the globalist agenda. ” This is followed by connecting it to how Yoga is intertwined with Dharma. “Dharma is also central to many yogic concepts and dialectic discourses. This is regardless of whether one considers themselves a ‘modern’ or ‘traditional’ yoga practitioner. Power Living Australia is arguably the most successful yoga business in Australia.” Then quotes on Dharma are given from its person, mixed with (slightly combative) quotes from Indian org HJS.
  14. After this, the segue is into Western style political activism, where attempts are made to show that it matters for the Yoga practitioner. The connection, if any, with Dharma is just left ambiguously in the background, as supposedly qualified to be different (? it is not clear) from the definition the above two quotes.
  15. Then comes the denouement/conclusion, as if the Indian state has had anything significant to do with the ballooning adoption of Yoga globally. “The support for this type of response demonstrates a central point related to my overall assertion that the general ambivalence many western yoga practitioners have toward glocal politics helps facilitate the assimilationist processes of an expansionist, Hindu agenda, which directly incorporates the soft power of yoga into broadening the sphere of cultural, political and economic influence of the Indian state.”

March 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — karigar @ 12:18 pm

Good one from Vajrin…


Although far from uniform, the composite picture of Christianity that emerges in a number of Japanese sources from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries is of a Buddhist heresy propagated by barbarians and focused around the worship of a demonic deity.28 This sect encourages loyalty to a barbarian king said to be the representative of this monstrous god on earth. It expands its empire by subverting the inhabitants of a region through a combination of bribery and deception or black magic. It takes advantage of and encourages civil wars. Peasants, the poor, and the uneducated are particularly susceptible to its teachings. Eventually-as was believed to have happened in the Philippines and Java-the barbarians, aided by local traitors, annex portions of a country, corrupting the local rulers and enslaving the populace. The Christian followers then destroy the images and temples of the true gods and buddhas while purging local customs. This…

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February 7, 2007

A Vishnu Strategy No Hindu Knew About!

Filed under: hindu — karigar @ 8:31 pm

A Vishnu Strategy No Hindu Knew About!
Of an Otherwise Scholarly Author who mixed up his Wish-now, Vishnu, Gita, Gatorade, Hindu, Hindi, Hundi, Honda, India, Indira, Indian, Injun, Gandhi, Ghandi, Gadhi….


“Oh no , not again!”

Every Indian sensitive to misportrayals of hindu thought in the media  says this often, probably more than once a day.

Asia Times Online [] is one online journal I read regularly, for it’s excellent coverage on GeoPolitical issues, with writings by Intelligent & well qualified leaders in their fields, who are ignored by the mainstream media machine. Its readership is big, & is growing more & more. It is published from Thailand, & has a lot of writers from the Indian Sub-Continent, other parts of asia, and of course many experts from the “West”.

But even there, there are times I cringe at their writers’ casual inaccuracies about India. Yesterday was one such occasion.


October 6, 2006

Part II-Brand Gandhi- A Wacky Analysis of a Wacko Mahatma

Filed under: Uncategorized — karigar @ 3:30 pm

Part II-Brand GandhiA Wacky Analysis of a Wacko Mahatma

Brand “Gandhigiri”: What are we selling?

It was dark. There was complete silence…the dark stage suddenly came alive with one spotlight, in the right corner. From the wings walked a man, a well built dignified African-American man in a suit. He walked to the center of the stage, to a podium, settled down, and began….

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.


Brand Gandhi- A Wacky Analysis of a Wacko Mahatma

Filed under: Uncategorized — karigar @ 3:25 pm

 Brand Gandhi- A Wacky Analysis of a Wacko Mahatma

(this grand brand is in great demand)

There they were, a group of elegant desi women, singing to commemorate this year’s Gandhi Jayanti. Dressed in White salwar kurtas & saris, they were swaying, Gospel Choir-like, as an uncomfortable looking desi guy strummed Guitar chords to their song. The song was not Gandhiji’s favorite “Vaishnav jan to” or even “Raghupati Raghav“, with the Gratuitous “Eeshwar Allah tero naam” thrown in.

No. This was America, & “cool” desis knew that in order to be “mainstream” [i.e. Gora Copy], one had to sing an “English” song, complete with harmonizing, & Guitar chords, & words like “let there be Peace…peace as it was meant to be“, and “God our creator” thrown in. So the predominantly White Christian crowd could nod to each other with self Satisfaction, “Oh! Isn’t that Nice! They’re just like us!(more…)

September 22, 2006

It is always “their” fault, not “ours”.

Filed under: Uncategorized — karigar @ 6:03 pm

It is always “their” fault, not “ours”.

(We are Not Violent! I will go to war with anybody who disagrees!)

[Scene- Name: AnySchool, location: Anywhere…Time: Any Century]

The class was strangely quiet, except for muffled grunts, and thuds, and scratching & scuffling noises that the teacher could hear as she walked closer towards the classroom.

Reaching the door, she saw only the backs of the kids’ heads, as they all seemed to be gathered around something going on , right on the floor in front of them. She quickly rushed thru the crowd, only to see two of the class’ “big guys” rolling around on the floor, clearly in the middle of a “fight to death“. [Kill, him! C’mon, finish him!” as one exhilarated, clapping member of the crowd was yelling].

September 15, 2006

Macaca’s fate in California hangs in balance

Filed under: Blogroll — karigar @ 11:19 am

Macaca’s fate in California hangs in balance

The macaca is a rare multicoloured African bird (no , a monkey, or some kind of chimp?). It has been hunted to death & is almost extinct. (OK I made that up…). But the macaca has gotten a rare lease on life in the recent past.

September 12, 2006

Also checkout my Other Blog

Filed under: Intro-link — karigar @ 2:48 pm

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