Saturday, September 15, 2007

Where do I stand?

I have written more than 150 elaborate blogs and each of them is quite lengthy explaining what my stand is on most issues. I have chosen to take a stand on serious issues. Therefore you will not see me writing two sides of a story here. If I believe there are two stories to an issue, I do not write about it. By now, some regular readers have understood me very well and sometimes I guess I even sound quite predictable. That shows they know what to expect from me.

But many times I stump some readers. They have never understood the underlying logic and reason that I present here. They seem to be happy when I praise Hinduism for its tolerance, but they just cannot tolerate my criticism which highlights Hinduism’s intolerance. That speaks more about them than about me.

Many other readers have already slotted me into a category. Some brand me a Marxist, a Communist, and I tend to detest such categorization, and do not have any affiliation to those theories. Some brand me a leftist, and I tend to agree that some of my thoughts lean left- more towards democratic socialism than to communism, but having said that, I do not hold any affiliation to those groups and am equally ready and capable to denounce them when necessary. Also, in practice I have a strong affinity towards capitalism though I support it with some restraint because I tend to see the negatives of it as well. I am an avowed believer in universal laws which I have laid out in many of my previous articles. And I believe morality is completely subjective and I do my best to stay away from that topic.

Some brand me a rabid Muslim under the disguise of a Hindu name. No comments there. If people call me Santa Claus, I don’t have to prove otherwise. If I try to understand Islamic fundamentalism, that doesn’t make me a Muslim, the same way if I try to understand Russian revolutions that doesn’t make me a Russian.

Some people brand me a Hindu-hater. A lady writes:

You hate Hinduism - don't you??

I do not see myself hating Hinduism. In fact, I find Hinduism relatively better than most other religions. This is the only religion where I find my place- as an atheist. Having said that, I cannot stand people who are limited in their intelligence and wisdom but believe they are entitled to define my religion for me. Their prescription of a certain style and standard imposed onto me is what I abhor and I reject their definitions for me. And yes, I do not stand radical and rabid fanatic Hindus who keep defending Hinduism just for the sake of defending it without citing merits or demerits.

I would like to see reason and logic to prevail because when shit hits the fan, the faint hope is that some people are still thinking logically.

This lady summarizes what some people have expressed their opinion about me. She writes:

You certainly have double standards. You repeatedly defend Islamic fundamentalism… demanding that we make strenuous effort to understand the causes and contextual reasons for its emergence.

I do not see myself having double standards. If ever, I strive for consistency. But what is consistent for me may not be for others. Let me clarify my stand on some of those issues. I believe I have not wavered from that stand. You are entitled to your opinion.

1. I have NEVER defended Islamic fundamentalism anywhere.
2. I have only tried to understand Islamic fundamentalism if ever.

Instead, I have defended other things, such as:

1. A man's right to fight for his homeland and to fulfill his aspirations to form an independent nation or state.
2. A man's right to keep his faith and not be imposed upon to conform to the majority to prove his patriotism.

Coming to Islam and other religions, a stance that I have consistently taken is:
Not to judge a religion by its books or its founders.

On a more general note, I have always believed that it is the duty of the majority and the privileged to accommodate minorities and underprivileged to create a harmonious society which in turn would benefit the majority and privileged on the longer run.

And one of the most universal stance has been the promotion of logic, reason, and rationale while sidelining blind belief, irrationality and superstition in the matters of state governance, laws, and mainstream society.

Some people have suggested that while I continuously attack Hinduism, I do not extend the same attack to other religions. I have made it clear many a times that being born a Hindu and Indian I seem to concentrate more on criticism of oneself. I also tend to criticize world powers that seem to suppress small societies (but have not concentrated much on that so far since India keeps me quite busy).

I do not believe that a religion like Hinduism can be belittled or ridiculed just because someone says Rama doesn't exist. However, when people start using such stories to stop constructing dams, or stop dredging sea, or stop people from fishing into the seas, then it becomes a ridiculous state. And I consistently fight that.

If Muslims were to protest against launching of PSLV citing some weird interpretations of Koran, I would completely call it rubbish and call them idiotic and ask them to just keep the religion to themselves. If Muslims were to impose Shariat onto me I would protest vehemently.

Right now, I am more bothered by the fanaticism of Hindus than fanaticism of Muslims. Therefore, I tend to criticize Hindus more. If you want to see criticism of Muslims, there are thousands of blogs already available, you could visit them. I would be very glad to see you off.

Note to readers and commenters

I do not expect to change your opinions (see the main title on this page). I do not expect to teach you anything. I have started this blog to vent my thoughts out – I guess it was the only way I could remain sane in this insane country. I do not pander to the sentiments of my readers. I am not bothered if they go away from this site never to return. It is not my attempt to boost my readership like TOI. If that was the case, I would be sticking to pornography- that would instantly boost the readership.

Also, I am not here to engage in a lively debate. I am here only to express my opinions. If you make sense I would be glad to read yours. If you write nonsense, I am going to call it nonsense. I am NOT going to be politically right about that.

Idiocy is no excuse for writing anything you like on this site. It’s like my way of saying, 'only intelligent responses will be dealt with'. Some commenters expect to see me concede I am wrong based on what they write. Look, its no disrespect to you when I write off your attempts. I am not saying that I am not ready to concede. But you have to understand that I have not written this topic without having thought about it. If you believe you have a different opinion please go ahead and write about it on your blog. To expect that I should change my opinion instantaneously just because you have written against it is a little far too much. I do tend to learn a lot from some of your comments. It helps me learn more - sometimes to refine my opinions and sometimes to alter my opinions.

There are some rational people out there looking for the right argument to make their case. Sometimes, my writings help them consolidate their thoughts. It makes them feel that there is someone out there who feels the same. They are happy to know that I have articulated my thoughts on their behalf. And that is a good enough reason for this blog to exist.

21 comments:

  1. Keep it coming bro.

    My hope on India and Indians rests on the existence of people like you there.

    ~ Vinod

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  2. If what you say is true, then you would've disabled the comments section, since you're least interested in what others say, unless they agree with you or if you're looking for some validation. Right? :)
    -Chirkut

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  3. Sujai,

    I don't think the guys who accuse you of a communist or Hindu hater can understand the nuanced position of yours and many other saner people around. The reason for this is simple. It is beyond the comprehending ability of these people. Now you can understand why I treat these people on the right like a dirt. Thatz the only language they seem to understand.

    Have you noticed this among the Hindus? Unlike the Islamic or Christian right, who take pride in being a right winger because of the strong belief in their ideals, Hindu right withers when they are characterized as right. For some strange reasons they believe in what are universally identified as right of center ideals but want to call themselves liberals. A specialized form of Hindu hypocrisy :-).

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  4. Sujai:

    I stumbled upon your blog only recently and found it quite refreshing. I turned to atheism after sudying hinduism in some detail. Not that I consider hinduism an abomination. I still admire many facets of hinduism esp. the liberty it grants me to be called a hindu despite my avowed hinduism. However, I do believe that followers of neo-hinduism tend to take themselves too seriously and it is high time that their bluff was called.

    I also agree to your point that by and large religion should be judged by the actions of its followers, not its scriptures. However, I draw a line between innocuous superstitions such as paganism, wicca or christianity and destructive cults like Islam. In this I tend to go by Sam Harris' assessment that even though all religions are superstitions in the final analysis, the case of Islam is different from others in the breadth and scope of its totalitarian ideology. Destructive cults like Aum Shinkyo, Nazism, Fascism or Islam need to be confronted at its source (read scriptures). My interaction with muslims on various Islamic forums (www.yanabi.com, www.irf.net, www.zakirnaik.com) have only confirmed this perception. Islamic views on not only just right wing Islamic forums but even on enlightened Islamic forums have convinced me that treating Islam as just another innocuous superstition is akin to living in a state of denial. You may not have defended Islamic fundamentalism outrightly but you seem to have downplayed the actual threat of Islamic ideology in most of your blog to make it look balanced.

    While I understand the danger of playing in the hands of right wing hindu elements by adopting an islamophobic attitude, forcing a balanced view in an unbalanced world may itself be a denial of reality.

    I believe that all totalitarian

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  5. Sujai is God and we are all His disciples. Also, Sujaiblog is our scripture.

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  6. I'd posted a comment which either you didn't publish or it's in your spam folder. Could you please check?
    It was a link to the latest incident of intolerance as a counterpoint to your post.
    -Chirkut

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  7. Chirkut:
    I have rejected that comment. Your comments says something, and the article that you link to is something completely different.

    I have had experiences before where people have misled others given links to dubious pages.

    I shall not encourage that on this site.

    If you want me to publish your link, please say what that link leads to.

    Thanks.

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  8. So, no humor/sarcasm allowed on your site, eh? :)
    Or maybe you don't have a sense of humor, weighed down by all these serious issues of India's progress, trying to make some sense of this messed-up world. ;)

    OK. Here's the comment, in response to your "where I stand" and why won't you criticize Muslims.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6996553.stm

    This is why you should criticize any and all irrespective of their religion if they go against the principle of freedom of speech, because it is in the best interests of India, which I'm sure you share. And yes, I know the above link is not about India, but it is an example of extremists (similar variety active in India too, e.g. MIM) who are enemies of freedom of speech. And yes, please continue to criticize Hindu extremists for the same issue - no problem with that.
    -Chirkut

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  9. Chirkut:
    You are bugging me now.

    I have said this clearly that I have been writing more about India-related issues and that itself takes up a lot of my time.

    When Muslims trounced Taslima, I wrote about it.

    In my article on 'our sentiments are hurt' I wrote about all religions!

    Please stop bugging me- otherwise I have to put you on 'ignore mode' which I do to some commenters!

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  10. For a few years now, I was going crazy, in an insane country (India!) It took me (engineer, by degree!) a lot of books, libraries, sleepless nights, JSMills, Russells, Dawkins, Sagans.... to cross over the non-sense. Yet, I find it very tiring to keep arguing with the non-sense thats on the rise, in India. You are an oasis!

    You are very correct about the reason for the existence of your blog. Please carry on your good work!

    Kudos!
    -vikadakavi

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  11. Try practicing yoga and breathing exercises. They help. :) :p
    -Chirkut

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  12. Arre Sujai, no intention of bugging you yaar. Tum to gussa ho gaye.

    There was a reason why I worded my comment the way I did - to make a point, not to mislead, and anyone who read your original post and comments, would have realized that. But you assumed that I was trying to mislead.

    Anyway, water under the bridge.
    -Chirkut

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  13. Yours is an excellent blog sujai. Keep up the good work.

    -vishal

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  14. hi..

    this is ankita. I wanted to educate myself on pro-telegana arguements and chanced upon your blog.

    the variety of topics presented here is a thought kindler of sorts. i might agree/disagree with your views..but it surely makes a worthwhile stop.

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  15. Sujai:
    I have been following your blog carefully concerning Telangana along with countless Telanganites.
    Firstly, thank you for writing excellent articles that are objective, clear, and factual.

    I am an admin on the Telangana group on facebook.

    I would love to post some of your articles, there. As always, before posting, I would like permission from you.

    People have been posting your articles regardless of your permission, but as an admin, I would want your blessing.

    Thanks,
    -- Sheena

    Link to our group:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=app_2373072738&ref=mf&gid=192063746840#/group.php?v=wall&ref=mf&gid=192063746840

    Link to our fan page:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=app_2373072738&ref=mf&gid=192063746840#/pages/Telangana/254831752813

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sheena Roy:
    You can go ahead and post the articles.

    Thanks for asking.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sujai,
    I came to your blog while following discussions on Telangana.

    I thought of commenting on the way participants discussing.
    After reading blogs dedicated to yourself, I have felt no scope of comments.

    Unfortunately we share a common weakness. I cannot refrain from discussing what I think I know.
    The difference I always look for more than one opinion whether it is crisis or normal issue.
    Not that I have self-doubt but I believe that every issue has multiple facets which one single person can understand.

    Usually criminal investigations are successful in revealing the identity of criminal by one of the two ways.
    Mistakes: criminal where he leaves some clues by mistake.
    Celebration: criminal wants to celebrate the success of his crime. Well you need at least one more to celebrate.

    But there are other kind of criminals who are difficult to catch.
    Natwarlal does not steal for wealth but cherished fooling poilce.
    When Sobharaj escaped Thihar jail there was anaylsis in India Today.
    Those like Sobharaj do not derive anything in committing crimes. No money. No wealth.
    They do not even derive 'pleasure' like sadists or intelligent criminals.
    This is not even a mental illness. They commit crimes just for the sake of it.
    It is just their behavior and no motive can be attributed to it.


    As I have mentioned already no need to look into your intentions, nor judge your behavior.
    But my problem is where to place you?

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  18. Prabhakar,
    Despite what you have stated here you simply make the same mistake. You just considered criminals as those who only cheat people and police. BTW there are lot more crime and actually different kind that goes on in this world. You seem to be oblivious about those.
    Tell me Where should I place like of you.
    Luckily I do not have problem like you cos I have the answer.
    "Emotionally charged Hypocrite"
    Sorry for using little strong words. But I cannot help it. It is quite obvious from your intentions.

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  19. Wow! I never expected to chance upon a blog like this. I havent read any article yet but I expect this blog to provide some intellectual succor albeit one sided.I know little about Telangana so I expect to learn a lot. From what I gather, I agree with you and disagree on certain issues. You have called yourself a rational being and in the same tone speak condescendingly of commentators. Even unintelligent comments should have an outlet unless they are abusive. I hope you dont block them, because it goes against the tenets of free speech. You cannot expect readers to not change opinions in the light of superior arguments. That is super irrational.
    Also , coming to religion, as a Hindu born agnostic, I can safely say that the threat from Hinduism is much less severe than that from organized religions. If I was born in a Muslim family, I could have been killed for abdicating the faith. Anyway, this was my rant.
    A slightly less belligerent attitude and a better sense of humor would go a long way in helping things.
    I agree with you on other issues, especially very strongly on labels being put on people and stereotypes being created (eg: radical communist, free market supporters) which encourage people to subscribe to a package of beliefs as opposed to choosing their individual beliefs on issues separately.

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  20. One of the best blogs I came across ! Very rational point of view, love it totally :) keep up the good work

    -Tina

    ReplyDelete

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