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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Tension amongst Sikhs/Muslims and more


    by Sunny on 3rd September, 2008 at 9:43 am    

    I don’t know if this embedding works, but this is the latest episode of the Guardian’s Islamophonic, by its religion correspondent Riazat Butt.
    I’m a guest this month, commenting on Sikh/Muslim tensions, the Muslim marriage contract and relationships etc.



      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Culture, Race politics, Religion, Sex equality




    152 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 10:31 am  

      Hey, Sunny…so you’re everyone’s favourite pundit and good guy, according to Mrs Butt…nice kudos!!!

      I do second that…you are a good guy.

    2. Ashik — on 3rd September, 2008 at 11:29 am  

      ‘Anecdotal evidence of forced conversions of Sikh’s’.
      ?????

      Does Mr. Moghul mean Sikh girls who marry Muslim Asian guys and tend to convert to the faith of their Muslim husband? Where does ‘force’ come into it? It is their personal choice.

      The real issue here surely is that Muslims tend to insist that in an inter-faith relationship involving Muslims and Sikhs/Hindus the partner (usually the gal) convert to Islam. The Muslim partner is unlikely to convert to Sikhism/Hinduism. Again there are many debates about the difference between Abrahamic faiths which tend to prothletise and ‘cultural faiths’ like Sikhism and Hinduism.

    3. beavis — on 3rd September, 2008 at 11:47 am  

      You should have just read out the current affairs board…

    4. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 1:18 pm  

      Ashik:

      You do realise that since the days of the Mughals, Muslims on the sub-continent have used rape of Sikh and Hindu women (and still are doing so) as a political and violent tool.

      I, as a Sikh, do not care about whether or not a Sikh girl who marries a Muslim man decides to convert to Islam: she can’t have been that dedicated a Sikh in the first place and if her and her husband are happy then live and let live.

      Forced conversions do, however, happen but the pride factor stops those affected and their families from seeking help as those whose daughters and/ or sons have converted to Islam are invariably caste out from the Punjabi and Gujarati communities.

      I personally have witnessed more instances of Sikh and Hindu men marrying Muslim women but not caring one way or another whether they retained their faith or not.

    5. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 1:31 pm  

      I personally have witnessed more instances of Sikh and Hindu men marrying Muslim women but not caring one way or another whether they retained their faith or not.

      This is also true for me, but although the ones I know haven’t formally ‘converted’, they do however take on Sikh culture. And their kids are raised as Sikhs.

      I guess kudos to Muslims for not getting het up about their women ‘marrying out’.

    6. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 1:38 pm  

      I personally know of lots of sikh MALES converting to Islam…the point is not that or another, it is to do with forced conversations, which the narratives states that the Islamist agenda is to deliberately get Muslim boys to date/sleep with sikh girls, propose marraige and force/con them into conversion. This, i state is ridiculous.

      Yes, there are many instances Muslims dating sikh women (don’t forget, many Pakistanis are punjabis, so there is cultural affinity, my family come originally from Indian Punjab which was sikh domianted in pre-partition days), and then, when things get serious they want their prospect wives to convert…however the two are not analogous.

    7. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 1:55 pm  

      Kanna:

      Kudos or are some in denial?

      My cousin married a Muslim girl in the 1990s when I was barely out of nappies and I’ve never met him because our family rejected him and her family rejected her. Go figure.

      Saqib:

      You do? I’ve never in my life heard of a Sikh man converting to Islam. Interesting.

      In my opinion, and forgive me for making this sweeping generalisation, but Muslims tend to be more religious than your average ‘Sikh’ or ‘Hindu’. Religion, from where I’m sitting, is a secondary concern for Punjabis and Gujaratis in the UK whereas the opposite seems true of Muslims. This means that it’s far more likely to see young Indians doing things that young whites would and hence their liberal stance on life seems to perpetuate into the dating arena and you might be more likely to see young Indians converting to Islam because they were never all that religious in the first place which is fine.

      The problem lies not in the fact that anyone converts but that those who comment in the media, like Sunny- no offence, don’t understand what’s happening in Universities now or on the streets of Slough. Don’t get me wrong: young Sikhs are to blame for this tension as much, if not more so, than their Muslim counterparts.

    8. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

      Nav

      I don’t think they are in denial at all, I mean they must be aware that Muslim women are no different to other women - in that they will forge relationships (sexual, marital etc) with people of other faiths and that this sometimes leads to marriage, which takes them outside of Islam.

      They just take it better.

      I know one Muslim woman who is married to a Sikh man and still has cordial relations with her Pakistani family.

      As for Sikh guys converting to Islam, so what? People chane religion all the time.

      Thankfully, Sikhs don’t have ridiculous groups such as ‘Apostates of Islam’, and ‘Ex-Muslims of Britain’ everywhere they turn!

    9. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:10 pm  

      Kanna:

      You say they take it better but then you’d be disregarding what apostasy means to Muslims- just because people don’t talk about it, does not mean it doesn’t happen.

      There wouldn’t be a need for British officials to have to go to Pakistan to pluck British Pakistani girls who have been forced to stay in Pakistan, for example, if they could take it so well.

      Also, you have to acknowledge that during Partition and going back countless years, Sikh and Hindus girls have been targeted for abuse by Muslim men so imagine how well a Sikh parent would react to his daughter converting to Islam having witnessed the horrors of Partition and I think you can understand the stigma.

    10. Ashik — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:19 pm  

      Sunny was right, Sikh complaints about Muslims eg. Nav @ 4 do hail back into history. Like Saqib, I suspect the majority of tales of ‘forced conversions’ are mixed up with a tendency where Sikh females tend to marry Muslim men. Islamists tend to disfavour pre-marital sex anyhow. So that conspiracy theory is out.

      Sikh guys tend to have insecurities about their women marrying out because Muslims unfortunately look down on Sikhism and do not consider it a ‘proper religion’ but a ‘bastardised’ so-called ‘cultural religion of Punjab’. In turn Sikh’s look upon Asian Muslims as ‘foreign interlopers’ and harbingers of the violent introduction of Islam into the subcontinent.

      Muslims tend to suffer from similar insecurities but given that fewer Muslim females marry/convert out it isn’t as much of an issue. This is why I am not in favour of cross religious/ethnic relationships. It causes too many problems across families and communities.

    11. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:25 pm  

      Ashik:

      I don’t think that forced conversions are nearly as common as they’ve been made out to have been by certain members of the Sikh and Hindu communities, they do, however, happen. I’m not concerned about point scoring so I only think this should be dealt with in proportion to how big a problem it is and I don’t see it as a huge problem at all. That doesn’t discount that it does happen, however, and we shouldn’t ignore it because of religious sensibilities in the name of cohesion.

      And I’m not so sure that it’s about the insecurities of Sikh men about their women because they really are not ‘ours’! Punjabi women are bloody strong-minded and you’d be hard pressed to find a Punjabi girl who let her male peers tell her what to do let leave tell them who they can and can’t marry… I, in fact, take it as a point of pride that Sikh women can marry Muslims or Hindus or Jews etc. etc. because it shows that they’re independent and won’t bow to cultural norms (and that those cultural norms aren’t restrictive or domineering as in other religious groups) but go after what they want- good on them.

    12. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

      fewer Muslim females marry/convert out it isn’t as much of an issue.

      Or is it just that you don’t really hear about it?

      Given the fact that apostasy is punishable by “kill kill kill”, to take a quote from Undocover Mosque, it’s hardly likely that Muslim women are going to broadcast their conversions/marriages.

    13. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:35 pm  

      Kanna:

      Precisely. You’re right that nobody will broadcast something like that but now that I think about it, we shouldn’t even throw about the term ‘Muslim’, ‘Sikh’ or ‘Hindu’.

      No offence to anyone who has converted but they can’t really have been great ‘Muslims’, ‘Sikhs’ or ‘Hindus’ if they just decide to convert to another religion for the sake of marriage- fine if you convert out of genuine appreciation and acceptance of another belief system but to convert just to accommodate a relationship doesn’t make you a Muslim, Sikh or Hindu.

    14. Ashik — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

      What does the Sikh RELIGION (ie. not culture or politics) say about Sikh men and women marrying out? What is the status of Sikhs who marry out? Are they considered to have left the fold of Sikhism?

      In Islam men are permitted (although it is discouraged) to marry women of the Abrahamic faiths ie. Christians and Jews. This is because theoretically we all pray to the same God, Allah/Yahwy/Jehova. However, women are not religiously permitted to marry out.

      The idea is that a man is head of the household and his children will be bought up as Muslims. If a women marries out then her childrens faith would be in the hands of the Non-Muslim father.

    15. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:44 pm  

      Ashik:

      I don’t know that Sikhism tackles this issue.

      And I find the hypocrisy of letting Muslim men marry women of other religions whilst forbidding Muslim women to do so as hilarious.

    16. Sunny — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

      Yo, if this thread turns into fighting I will shut it down without any hesitation.

      And I find the hypocrisy of letting Muslim men marry women of other religions whilst forbidding Muslim women to do so as hilarious.

      People can do what the fuck they want. What I find hilarious is how much interest people pay in other people’s religious choices.

    17. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 2:53 pm  

      People can do what the fuck they want. What I find hilarious is how much interest people pay in other people’s religious choices.

      Err, you mean like people who care so much they go on radio programmes to talk about it and then blog about it?

    18. Ashik — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:01 pm  

      Sunny, you are over-reacting. This thread has been informative thus far and enlightening as to negative attitudes held by both camps about each other.

      Right or wrong, for South Asians (whether Muslim, Sikh or Hindu) religion tends to be seen in a communal light rather than a personal choice. Maybe because of our frought history of religious strife eg. Partition. I happen to agree with Nav @ 13. People who convert for the sake of their relationship have weak and hollow Iman (faith). Culturally women who marry out are seen by South Asian culture (and especially our elders) as akin to common street hookers. Such attitudes may change over the changing generations.

    19. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:18 pm  

      Nav:

      “You do? I’ve never in my life heard of a Sikh man converting to Islam. Interesting.’

      Obviously personal experiences are not exhaustive…i would say the response they have received from their communities has been mixed…but you are bound to get that, even amongst white converts, as people are apprehensive when a family members adopts a different belief system, or any at all.

      I would agree with you on the points made in para 2.

    20. justforfun — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:20 pm  

      “….convert just to accommodate a relationship doesn’t make you a Muslim, Sikh or Hindu.”

      Nav - you would have thought it obvious, wouldn’t you.

      The reality is that the ‘conversion’ is just a submission to the ‘mother-in-law’ in order to be hopefully left alone to get on with your marriage.

      the ‘in-law’ family must be delusional to think they have actually achieved anything religious. But they have of course acheived something most significant - they are one up in the ‘power play’ that always exists in the relationships between highly social mammals.

      First comes conversion - then more heinous impositions … such as eating a boiled egg from the end your own mother said was bad karma. As a ‘funster’ I could never allow myself to be dictated to about which end of a boiled egg I start with. That would be a cultural change to far!

      justforfun

    21. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:20 pm  

      Kanna:

      ‘Thankfully, Sikhs don’t have ridiculous groups such as ‘Apostates of Islam’, and ‘Ex-Muslims of Britain’ everywhere they turn!’

      Maybe, however Shere Punjab fill that void handsomely!

      Really, this point scoring is very silly!!!

    22. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:23 pm  

      justforfun:

      I agree, however people do also genuinely discover faith through a relationship, which ones these are, well that is not for us to say.

    23. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:27 pm  

      saqib

      I’m not sure I follow. You are saying that Shere Punjab are the equivalant of ‘Apostates of Islam’ and the ‘Ex-Muslim Council of Britain’ and ‘Ex-Muslims of Iran’ et al?

      I think you are confused.

    24. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:29 pm  

      Nav:

      ‘I don’t think that forced conversions are nearly as common as they’ve been made out to have been by certain members of the Sikh and Hindu communities, they do, however, happen.’

      How do you define a forced conversion? Then let’s evaluate the ‘problem’? Personally, i don’t think a request to change relgion just to marry someone can be termed as ‘forced’.

      ‘Punjabi women are bloody strong-minded and you’d be hard pressed to find a Punjabi girl who let her male peers tell her what to do let leave tell them who they can and can’t marry…’

      Whilst i agree that Punjabis sikhs are more liberal in ‘general’ i think you are rather over-egging things…i know many cases to the contrary, just ask Jasvinder Sanghera.

    25. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

      Kanna:

      On the contrary i’m not confused, you mentioned ’silly groups’ so i added one more. Really, i should be asking what point are/were you trying to make?

      There are ugly groups formed along different ’causes’ amongst different communities, knit-picking won’t help anyone.

    26. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:37 pm  

      Shere Punjab were a street gang, not an organised group like the (former) Islamic ones I mentioned.

      And why do you refer to them in such a derogatory manner (’ugly’)?

    27. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:40 pm  

      Ashik:

      ‘Sikh guys tend to have insecurities about their women marrying out because Muslims unfortunately look down on Sikhism and do not consider it a ‘proper religion’ but a ‘bastardised’ so-called ‘cultural religion of Punjab’.

      Not sure i agree with that, sikhism to South Asian Muslims is no different to hinduism, jainism or buddism. The real issue is with the political history of the sub-continent, which causes friction to this very day.

    28. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:45 pm  

      The real issue is with the political history of the sub-continent, which causes friction to this very day.

      This is true. It’s almost identical to the way Muslims view Israel - as a foreign imperial entity feeding on the blood of the natives.

      Sikhs also see Islam and Muslims - who came as imperialists to the subcontinent - in the same light.

    29. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:51 pm  

      Kanna:

      I think they are ‘ugly’ for i see lies and slander, however that is only my view, one which may not be shared by others.

    30. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:54 pm  

      Kanna:

      ‘This is true. It’s almost identical to the way Muslims view Israel - as a foreign imperial entity feeding on the blood of the natives.

      Sikhs also see Islam and Muslims - who came as imperialists to the subcontinent - in the same light.’

      Is it not more the right-wind hindus who have that viewpoint, whereas with the Sikh community it’s the legacy of the Mughals, the wars with the gurus, and then ofcourse the carnage of partition which sours relations?

    31. Sunny — on 3rd September, 2008 at 3:55 pm  

      Sikhs also see Islam and Muslims - who came as imperialists to the subcontinent - in the same light.

      Maybe you do, not everyone does.

      Or is Kanna, Muzumdar? in which case, that would explain it.

    32. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 4:08 pm  

      saqib

      It’s not a ‘viewpoint’, it’s pretty well established fact that Islamic imperialists came and ravaged the subcontinent in the name of Islam. Not even Muslims deny this.

      Add to this the fact that Sikhs historically stood up to this imperialism and got burned badly, you end up with an antipathetic view towards Islam and Muslims that is embedded in the psyche.

    33. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 4:16 pm  

      Kanna:

      ‘It’s not a ‘viewpoint’, it’s pretty well established fact that Islamic imperialists came and ravaged the subcontinent in the name of Islam. Not even Muslims deny this.’

      Well i’m a Muslim and i deny it…Sunny is a sikh and he, well isn’t particulary enamoured either.

      You forget, many native indians were converts to Islam, and even those who came from outside integrated. The Muslims were not an imperialist group, they became, very early on, a community who were indians.

    34. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

      Islam proper on the subcontinent begins with the Syrian Arab Muhammed bin Qassim’s invasion into Sindh in 710CE. And it continues through a series of imperial activity from Mahmud Ghazni, the Mughals, to Nadir Shah to Ahmed Shah Durrani and others.

      Are you seriously telling me that Muslim Arabs, fighting under the banner of Islam, came to the subcontinent as anything other than imperialists?

      Sure, there were some who converted through choice, no-one denies this. But indigenous peoples (Sikhs, Hindus, Jains etc) view these people in the same way that Muslims view Arab puppet governments: as stooges to imperialism.

    35. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

      Add to this the fact that Sikhs historically stood up to this imperialism and got burned badly, you end up with an antipathetic view towards Islam and Muslims that is embedded in the psyche.

      Which imperialism? When Bin Qasim invaded Sind in the 8th century, Sikhism did not exist. Also, no mass conversions were attempted and the destruction of temples such as the Sun Temple at Multan was forbidden. That’s not to suggest he was not an agency of imperial force. VS Naipaul drew parallels between bin Qasim and the Spanish conquistador Cortez. I thought that was a pretty good comparison.

      Where Sikhs did fight oppression and persecution was against Mughal rulers such as Aurangzeb. But Sikhism fared quite well under the more religiously tolerant Mughals such as Akbar and Shah Jahan. Would it be correct to say that?

    36. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

      sid

      Which imperialism? When Bin Qasim invaded Sind in the 8th century, Sikhism did not exist.

      Well obviously not Qassim’s imperialism. I was making the wider point of parallel; that indigenous people of the subcontinent view Islam and Muslims as imperialists who caused carnage. Just as Muslims view Israel in the same way.

      Also, no mass conversions were attempted and the destruction of temples

      I’m not saying that every Muslim ruler/imperialist destroyed temples and committed mass rape. But most did. Read Ghazni’s autobiography for example. Aurangzeb also revelled in the rape and destruction of indigenous peoples and temples.

      Where Sikhs did fight oppression and persecution was against Mughal rulers such as Aurangzeb. But Sikhism faired quite well under the more religiously tolerant Mughals such as Akbar and Shah Jahan. Would it be correct to say that?

      Under Akbar, sure.

      But you, as a Bengali, cannot be blind to the fact that Islam was not only used historically as a justification for rape and pillage but also more recently in 1971 in your own backyard.

      Muslims have to ask themselves the question: how is it that a ‘religion of peace’ can be so frequently and consistently used as a tool of violence, ever since 622CE?

      Of course many Muslims have come to the conclusion that Islam is the very antithesis of peace and left it all together. Hence ‘Apostates of Islam’, ‘Ali Sina’ et al.

    37. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:04 pm  

      Kanna:

      ‘Muslims have to ask themselves the question: how is it that a ‘religion of peace’ can be so frequently and consistently used as a tool of violence, ever since 622CE?

      Of course many Muslims have come to the conclusion that Islam is the very antithesis of peace and left it all together. Hence ‘Apostates of Islam’, ‘Ali Sina’ et al.’

      I guess we should also ask the sikh men and women why they are entering Islam as well, if Islam is not the religion of Peace.

      Islam and Muslims brought a lot to the sub-continent, not all good, obviously. However, would India, ravaged with the caste system, have develeped along another, more ethically sound model?

    38. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:09 pm  

      Kanna/Muzamdar…why do you constantly get yourself banned from PP?

    39. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:11 pm  

      I guess we should also ask the sikh men and women why they are entering Islam as well, if Islam is not the religion of Peace.

      You’re the one who seems to know them all, why don’t you ask them.

      Me, I don’t actually care either way.

      Sikhism does not have a history of brutal imperialism, is not associated with rape and plunder and Sikhs generally get on well with other communities. That is good enough for me.

      However, would India, ravaged with the caste system, have develeped along another, more ethically sound model?

      Islamic imperialism was not an ‘ethically sound model’.

      And I ask, how would have Iraq, ravaged by Saddam Hussein’s murder and oppression, develeped along another, more ethically sound model without the intervention of the United States?

      It’s not so clear cut, is it?

    40. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:11 pm  

      But you, as a Bengali, cannot be blind to the fact that Islam was not only used historically as a justification for rape and pillage but also more recently in 1971 in your own backyard.

      The 1971 genocide and mass rape was certainly *not* committed in the name of Islam nor was Islam used as a justification. The Hindu population bore the biggest brunt but most of the victims were Muslims. Although, it is correct to say that Islamist collaborators sided with the Pakistani forces because they probably regarded a Pakistani state to be more “Islamically pure” than a Bangladeshi state. Thankfully, there is a sizeable group of Bangladeshis who are more than happy to settle for less Islamic “pureness” in their state.

    41. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:13 pm  

      The 1971 genocide and mass rape was certainly *not* committed in the name of Islam nor was Islam used as a justification.

      Well, Tariq Ali would beg to differ, but then he is only related to the Pakistani elite, what does he know?

    42. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:13 pm  

      Muzamdar:

      ‘And I ask, how would have Iraq, ravaged by Saddam Hussein’s murder and oppression, develeped along another, more ethically sound model without the intervention of the United States?’

      Mate, Saddam just happened to be from a ‘Muslim background’, he was not an ‘Islamic ruler’.

      They say love can be blind, I would say, in your case, so can be hate!

    43. Parvinder Singh — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:16 pm  

      The interview with Mr Moghul did raise some important issues, namely the tendency of mainstream Muslim organisations to ignore Sikh or Hindu concerns. It goes without saying our so-called community leaders are not interested in dialogue but to get the more progressive elements of each community together also seems a struggle. One because progressives tend to be in a minority or because many live outside their respective communities to make any difference to the people that matter. One exception to this is groups like in Slough who have tried to bridge the gap and some Sikhs who organised themselves against the war in Iraq. Regarding forced conversations, which is still very much a grey area, it’s not so much this but the perceived and sometimes quite genuine concern that Muslims, be they groups or individuals or whatever spectrum proselytize, whereas this is anathema in Sikhism.

      The events in the Indian sub-continent 400 or so years ago during the reigns of Jahangir and Aurangzeb has also been highlighted. You only have to visit any Sikh Gurdwara to see that the human rights abuses that occurred on the Sikh minority community by both Moghul and Afghan Islamists then are still etched in the minds of Sikhs, young and old. The failure of Muslim scholars and historians, especially in Pakistan to look at this period with some subjectivity or from the point of view of Sikhs has caused the present malaise. ie. naming missiles after Ahmad Shah Abdali, who used to invade and plunder the Punjab and kidnap girls. But as Sid rightly notes, there also was the tolerant Emperor, Akbar the Great.

      Sikh history is intwinged with Moghul history and also the Sufi movement which Sikh theology has some commonality with. The Sikh holy book contains hymns of Sufi Saints, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid by a Muslim from Lahore and the armies of Guru Gobind Singh contained regiments of Muslim Pathans.

      Only truthful look at these events, coupled with reconciliation can start the process forward, such as when Sultana Begum, a descendant of the last Moghal emperor visited the Golden Temple 4 years ago.

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/615168.cms

    44. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:17 pm  

      Well, Tariq Ali would beg to differ, but then he is only related to the Pakistani elite, what does he know?

      He should know because he’s “related to the Pakistani elite”? I don’t follow.

    45. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:19 pm  

      Muzamdar: And i suppose the hindu rioters who raped Muslim women in Gujarat as a waepon of war were inspired by the teachings of Islam.

    46. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:22 pm  

      How would have Iraq, ravaged by Saddam Hussein’s murder and oppression, develeped along another, more ethically sound model without the intervention of the United States?

      So the invasion of Iraq was not imperialism as well but only an “intervention”? Everyone, you included, seem to be guilty of selective historical revision.

    47. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:24 pm  

      And i suppose the hindu rioters who raped Muslim women in Gujarat as a waepon of war were inspired by the teachings of Islam.

      You’re getting delirious saqib.

      Trying to change the subject won’t help you.

    48. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:25 pm  

      Muzamdar:

      ‘Without wanting to digress, Tariq Ali, who has not only written extensively on the 1971 genocide/mass rape of East Pakistan - and cites Islam as a prime motivator for the Punjabi regiment, “to cleanse Bengal of the Hindu gene” - but he is also related to the people who ordered the slaughter.’

      Such an idea enamates from from the hindu caste system that different races are created from different parts of a particular God’s anatomy…not from Islam which is predicated on the belief that all humans come from Adam and Eve.

    49. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:25 pm  

      Without wanting to digress, Tariq Ali, who has not only written extensively on the 1971 genocide/mass rape of East Pakistan - and cites Islam as a prime motivator for the Punjabi regiment, “to cleanse Bengal of the Hindu gene” - but he is also related to the people who ordered the slaughter.

      So I think he is more qualified than you to comment on whether or not Islam was involved.

      I must agree with Tariq Ali then! :)

      But seeing as you are now wearing a Tariq Ali ‘tash and wig, can you tell us how oppression of one group of Muslims by another group of Muslims canbe Islamically justified?

    50. Saqib — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

      Muzamdar:

      ‘You’re getting delirious saqib.;

      Well, at least you haven’t brought out the infamous ‘pork-eating, wine-guzzling line’ you use when you get stuck.

    51. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

      So the invasion of Iraq was not imperialism as well but only an “intervention”? Everyone, you included, seem to be guilty of selective historical revision.

      sid, let me help you follow the argument:

      saqib implied that the subcontinent, ravaged by casteism etc, could not have progressed without Islamic imperialism.

      I turned it around and said the same about Iraq vis a vis the US.

      I disagree with both Islamic imperialism on the subcontinent and the US invasion.

      To remain consistent, Muslims surely have to disagree with both too. If not, they are hypocrites.

    52. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:29 pm  

      one group of Muslims by another group of Muslims canbe Islamically justified?

      Easy, group (a) Muslims just need to say that group (b) Muslims are not real Muslims (Shia/Ahmadiya/black Sudanese/take your pick) and then start a war.

    53. justforfun — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:31 pm  

      Saqib - read the Baburnama, it backs up your version of events. It a good read and like Mother Theresa, Babur says that he only came to India as a soldier of God to help the needy and poor, not for the riches! or was it the otherway round - its along time since I read it.

      Which imperialism? When Bin Qasim …..at Multan was forbidden. That’s not to suggest he was not an agency of imperial force.

      ‘Imperialist’ or just an ‘Agency of Imperialism’, or innocent dupe which was it?

      Sid - you don’t vote Labour do you? From your language you have the correct words to be a good labour candidate.

      “But Sikhism faired quite well under the more religiously tolerant Mughals such as Akbar and Shah Jahan. Would it be correct to say that?” - only if you call being allowed to exist as ‘fairing quite well’ - then an analogy would be B’hais are fairing quite well in Iran at the moment considering what could happen to them. But as you well know Sid - the ruler might try to set a tone for his reign , but he is ultimately in the hands of his supporting aristocracy and how they want to implement the prevaling ideas of the time.

      The Mughal court, like the Ottoman court was a fine balancing act for the Emperor - Both dynasties were started as a ‘band of brothers’ on the make. Then the top ‘brother’ took complete control. Henceforth his family would have to placate descendant of the other ‘brothers’. In the case of the Ottomans - they succeeded for hundreds of years in being a family empire - hence the Empire is know after the family not as the Turkish Empire. The Mughal Emperors were not as successful. Akbar and Shah Jehan both were opposed by their fellow ‘brothers’ because of the tolerance they showed. They were the ‘Emperor’ so it was easy for them to be tolerant, but for the lower ‘brothers’ out in the outer reaches of the empire, trying to collect the taxes that allowed the Emperor to play ‘happy tolerant family’; showing tolerance weakened their control and they opposed it. Akbar did not get to implement his world religion - I wonder who stopped him? and Shah Jehan - what happened to him?

      justforfun

    54. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:34 pm  

      To remain consistent, Muslims surely have to disagree with both too. If not, they are hypocrites.

      No they don’t. Americans have not and will not be in Iraq for the next 12 centuries and become racially and culturally indigenous with the country.

      If you want to draw a parallel, draw it with South America and the Spanish conquistadors, who’s legacy is now part of the fabric of South America. Would you say that Spanish imperialism has not benefitted South America?

    55. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:38 pm  

      Americans have not and will not be in Iraq for the next 12 centuries and become racially and culturally indigenous with the country.

      So it would be OK with Muslims if the Americans did this?

      All of that murder would have been worth it if this is what they do?

      You’re easily pleased.

    56. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:41 pm  

      So it would be OK with Muslims if the Americans did this?

      It would be better than cherry picking the best oil fields for grabbing Brent Crude and using the country as an airbase to bomb Iran from, donchathink?

    57. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:49 pm  

      Muz

      Your problem with imperialism is only valid if non-Muslims are the victims but you haven’t been able to address the question of whether the Spanish imperialism of South America indians (non-Muslims) has had been a net gain to the host country.

      How can the invsaion of Iraq be beneficial to Iraq when all they have done is split the country into three weaker theocratic states? Let me know when all this goes way over your head.

    58. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

      This thread isn’t about South America.

    59. Kanna — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:53 pm  

      That’s better sid, so you disagree with American imperialism but are OK with Islamic imperialism.

      Your hypocrisy is thus confirmed.

    60. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:53 pm  

      No but it is about imperialism, per se. Keep up.

    61. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

      That’s better sid, so you disagree with American imperialism but are OK with Islamic imperialism.

      I’m kind of ok with old school imperialism - Spain, Britain, Portugal, Islamic, Chinese. Not the new carpet bombing, smash and grab American kind.

    62. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

      Sunny:

      Err, you mean like people who care so much they go on radio programmes to talk about it and then blog about it?

      Ouch…

    63. justforfun — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

      Islam and Muslims brought a lot to the sub-continent, not all good, obviously. However, would India, ravaged with the caste system, have develeped along another, more ethically sound model?

      India is still ravaged by the caste system. The irony, which may have escaped Muslims from outside India, is that the vaste majority of Mulsims in India are the from the Dalit and other lower casstes who converted to Islam to escape their lot and appeal to the mercy of the top ‘brothers’. It did them no good of course. These ‘brothers’ in charge did not want to help the oppressed, just to get on with oppressing with a clean conscience. So for the majority of the Muslims remaining in India, who are singled out for oppression for their religion are not the desecendants of those brought Islam to the continent. However saying that, they are really singled out for oppression because they are poor and have always been at the bottom of the pile whatever their religion. India is not a country to be poor in whatever your religion. So Islam in nearly 1000 years was not a cure for India’s caste system, in fact it made no attempt to alter the system or provide a different ethical system.

      justforfun

    64. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 5:59 pm  

      New weapons, same shit.

      Well your shit wouldn’t be in this country if it were not for British imperialism. You may want to marinate on that for a second or two…

    65. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 6:04 pm  

      justforfun:

      So for the majority of the Muslims remaining in India, who are singled out for oppression for their religion are not the desecendants of those brought Islam to the continent. However saying that, they are really singled out for oppression because they are poor and have always been at the bottom of the pile whatever their religion. India is not a country to be poor in whatever your religion. So Islam in nearly 1000 years was not a cure for India’s caste system, in fact it made no attempt to alter the system or provide a different ethical system.

      Good point.

    66. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 6:08 pm  

      So Islam in nearly 1000 years was not a cure for India’s caste system, in fact it made no attempt to alter the system or provide a different ethical system.

      Islam did offer a different ethical system to the caste system - and that was Islam itself. East Bengal is completely devoid of any vestiges of caste because of 900 years of Islam preceded by 500 years of Buddhism. Both of which are social belief systems which dispense with caste.

      If you want to discuss an imperialist force which “made no attempt to alter the system or provide a different ethical system” you have to look at 400 years of British rule in India. Not only did they do nothing to offer a different ethical system, they milked the caste system for all it was worth for purely commercial reasons.

    67. Zak — on 3rd September, 2008 at 7:30 pm  

      A historical clarification, Aurangzeb did not target non Muslims alone in his rule, he after all imprisoned his own father killed his brothers and killed many Muslims (the Southern Sultanates and the Pashtuns being the best examples). The Mughals were not averse to killing fellow Muslims, Babur’s memoirs are replete with stories of defeats and victories against and at the hand of other Muslims. Even Ahmad Shah Abdali was not averse to striking up alliances with Hindu Rajputs and use their gunners.

    68. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 7:46 pm  

      Zak:

      No one has said that the sole aim of the Mughals was the conversion of India to Islam but it was on the agenda. Those who don’t agree with tyranny can be of any stripe- tyrants know no bounds.

      That doesn’t stop one of their aims from being aimed for.

    69. Nav — on 3rd September, 2008 at 7:51 pm  

      Saqib:

      I define forced conversion as being one that is undertaken under undue duress.

      I’m not only talking about under a marriage umbrella but that of wider relationships where Sikh and Hindu girls have been held to ransom to just date Pakistani guys.

      It has happened but you’re not going to hear about it because these girls would rather convert to Islam to appease someone who’s emotionally blackmailing them than have their parents find out some rather unsavoury things about their choice of leisure activities: parents don’t complain if she’s dead to them and the girl would rather live a lie than face her parents and the community knowing the truth.

    70. justforfun — on 3rd September, 2008 at 7:54 pm  

      Sid - as you have quite rightly pointed out Bangladesh was the last place Buddhism dominated on the sub-continent, till the modern era. So which was it - Buddhism that was the ethical alternative provided to the caste system, or Islam that came later? So while Bandladesh might be fortunate to have a caste free society - was it the work of 500 years of Buddism or is Islam now claiming the credit. It would not be the first time Islam is credited for the work of previous civilizations. Do you think through what you write?

      In India, Islam was not so successful, and caste now does exist within Muslims in India - its is of course a blurred into class , but the effects are the same. So lets get this striaght - are you saying Islam can banish the caste system when it has already been banished by Buddism, but can’t banish the caste sytem when it actually has the power as the religion of the richest and most powerful native Empire the sub-contintent has seen.

      As for your comment about British imperialism your words try to spin the idea that British Imperialism also made no attempt to provide an alternative ethical system , but also you say you are OK with British Imperialism. I assume this is because you know in your heart that your ethics are based on your British inspired liberal education.

      Like me, you also are a fish that swims in these waters, and its good you recognise the waters you swim in, even if you wont actually say it, and resort to silly attempts to condone one sort of land grab compared to other land grabs. The picture you paint of on the native South American views on the benefits of Spanish conquest seem very romantic. The Aztecs certainly knew how to pile up skulls very high and their religion was very disturbing to our modern eyes, but I bet Babur made higher piles of beheaded skulls, but we are not so squeamish about them, are we?

      justforfun

    71. justforfun — on 3rd September, 2008 at 8:10 pm  

      Zak - you are quite right. Aurangzeb did kill fellow Mulsims, often because they were not Muslim enough for him!

      #56 The Mughal Emperors were not as successful. Akbar and Shah Jehan …..showing tolerance weakened their control and they opposed it. Akbar did not get to implement his world religion - I wonder who stopped him? and Shah Jehan - what happened to him?

      was the exact same point I was making but in a very clouded way :-). The Emperor might be tolerant but its of fuck all use if his aristocracy are not. Aurangzeb captured the throne because more of the ruling elite was behind his form of muscular Islam than his brothers who were too Indianized for his liking. The Empire was in a contraction at the time and he and his supporters felt they needed to go back to their original roots that made the Empire in the first place, rather than Indianize.

      Muslim killing another Muslim because they are not Muslim enough is not new and nor is it confined to Muslims. It occurs in all sorts of places where power is being fought for. When a ruling elite is challenged, religion is often used as a weapon. Its the nature of many religions, there is nothing exceptional about Islam that prevents this.

      ***shrugs and sighs in that Gallic way***

      justforfun

    72. Zak — on 3rd September, 2008 at 8:25 pm  

      Nav: I respectfully disagree, till the 13th century contact with Islam was either raids from the North West or contact with traders in the south.

      The Mughals did not move into India for the sake of mass conversion, Babur did so because he was following the path of least resistance..having been forced out of his own Kingdom conversion wasn’t even on the agenda. The Jizya tax to my knowledge was only introduced during Aurangzebs time. Also Babur and Humayun#s primary opponents were fellow Muslims in the form of the Lodhi dynasty. Even Akbar’s main military debacle of his time was the dispatch of his army under Birbal’s leadership to the North West Frontier. While Shah Jehan and Jahangir’s armies were dominated by Rajputs and Afghans.

      The spread of Islam in the subcontinent can be attributed to the mass migration of Muslims into India after the mongol invasions of central asia and iran.

      Sikhism’s targetting by the Mughals was more realistically a reaction to the establishment of a new faith and the development of Punjabi nationalism.

      In the cyclical nature of history and life the Sikh rule of Muslim areas in the late 18th and early 19th century was far from benign.. nor was Sikh response towards Muslims after the news of partition particularly gentle.

    73. Sunny — on 3rd September, 2008 at 9:06 pm  

      I don’t know how many times I have to say this - if Muzumdar turns up, ignore the son of the bitch.

    74. Jai on annual leave — on 3rd September, 2008 at 9:33 pm  

      Well, I come back after 6 months and I see that it’s still all fun & games on PP :)

      I’ll let the rest of you continue to slug it out re: the Mughal Empire, European colonialism, and weighty matters such as whether the subcontinent is better off with artistic and cultural legacies from the Muslim-dominated north Indian medieval period such as Urdu poetry, ghazals, qawwalis, sherwanis, and courtesans twirling around while singing their hearts out. Incidentally, the last one is a wonderfully graceful dance form to our modern eyes, but to the average hookah-smoking moustache-twirling 18th century desi bloke lasciviously looking on and wondering how many rupees to throw at the vision of loveliness in front of him, it was probably the equivalent of getting a lapdance.

      Meanwhile, back in the 21st century….. ;)

      What does the Sikh RELIGION (ie. not culture or politics) say about Sikh men and women marrying out?

      Amrithdari, ie. baptised, Sikh men and women are only supposed to marry other Sikhs (ideally also Amritdhari).

      With regards to your average garden-variety Sikh, however, Juggy Singh or Juggi Kaur is *ideally* supposed to marry another Sikh, but this is not mandatory.

      Guru Gobind Singh did give some kind of warning to his followers regarding the pitfalls of getting entangled with Muslim women, but I can’t remember if it was to do with actually marrying them (which would make sense, as at the time it would be highly unlikely that the average Sikh would be able to marry his lovely begum without having to convert to Islam) or just to do with “getting involved” with Muslim girls, in the sense of running around trees, miming to Hindi songs suddenly turning up out of nowhere, and hoping you both wouldn’t get killed by the girl’s disapproving relatives and end up the subject of another tragic Punjabi romantic folk tale. And get played by Anil Kapoor and Sridevi in a Bollywood blockbuster a few hundred years later.

      What is the status of Sikhs who marry out? Are they considered to have left the fold of Sikhism?

      No.

    75. Rumbold — on 3rd September, 2008 at 9:35 pm  

      Nav:

      “No one has said that the sole aim of the Mughals was the conversion of India to Islam but it was on the agenda.”

      After about 1630, yes. But before that there is no attempt, or even any apparent inclination, to convert people to Islam. Babur and Humayun simply didn’t have the power to do anything like that, Akbar was actually tolerant, Jahangir is usually tolerant for pragmatic reasons, plus he didn’t really care. Shah Jahan was far less tolerant then Akbar, and began to persecute non-Muslims, but he realised that such a policy was impractical on a large scale. Aurangzeb/Alamgir owed his position to the orthordox Sunni nobles and clerics, so tolerance under him was doomed from the start.

    76. Rumbold — on 3rd September, 2008 at 9:36 pm  

      Yay Jai.

    77. Sid — on 3rd September, 2008 at 10:18 pm  

      Justforfun

      So while Bandladesh might be fortunate to have a caste free society - was it the work of 500 years of Buddism or is Islam now claiming the credit. It would not be the first time Islam is credited for the work of previous civilizations. Do you think through what you write?

      If you read my comment again, you will see that I have not suggested that it was Islam alone that contributed to a caste-free society in Bengal. I did say that the combination of 500 years of Buddhism *and* 900 years of Islam have both contributed. A similar story is repeated in Indonesia which was largely Buddhist before Islamicisation but not Malaysia, which was largely Hindu prior to Islamicisation.

      As for your comment about British imperialism your words try to spin the idea that British Imperialism also made no attempt to provide an alternative ethical system , but also you say you are OK with British Imperialism. I assume this is because you know in your heart that your ethics are based on your British inspired liberal education.

      I am not saying that imperialism(s) are all univerally and uniformally bad. They make contributions which have positive effects just as they create privations with negative effects.

      In your statement you suggested that Islam had no ethical counterbalance to the caste system, but we know it did. It can be observed by the fact that in Bengal, caste did not reappear after a long period of Buddhism. We also know that Buddhism attributed its adoption as a direct result of the effect of Brahmanical abuses of the caste system.

      Islam may have entered India by conquest, imperialism and the sword but it has become part of the very fabric of India. British colonisation came gradually, by trade and commerce. They both created benefical customs, institutions, benefits but they also created abuses. By the end of its stay, the British Empire had looted the country wholesale and shipped off everything back to London which wasn’t bolted down. The Brits also had a direct hand in not one but two man-made famines which resulted in the death of 40 million landless peasants.

      Are you still trying to suggest that I have a romantic view of colonialism and imperialism, per se? Hardly.

      I *will* take you when you make silly statements which suggest that Islam provided no ethical alternative to the caste system (you yourself mentioned millions of conversions of low caste people to Islam to escape the strictures of caste) or choose to elide the British Empires methods of commerce which took full advantage of the caste system let alone provide any measures to stamp it out.

    78. Gurpreet2 — on 3rd September, 2008 at 10:42 pm  

      No one really managed to escape the caste system just by converting, it was wishful thinking. The reason for this is while they may have converted, they still lived in the popular culture that was run by caste, the only way they could have escaped the caste system was to challenge the popular culture.

      Even today people of lower caste still try to escape caste system by converting to christianity/buddhism/islam/sikhism but it often makes little difference because they live in a society not only polluted with the idea of caste, but also the idea of religious predijudice. Note Hindu and Christian violence in some parts of India.

    79. Sunny — on 4th September, 2008 at 12:14 am  

      Hey Jai! Good to hear from you! btw, we’re having a meetup this weekend if you want to come?

      Rumbold, really you should delete and ignore muzumdar instead of engaging him every time

    80. Mangles — on 4th September, 2008 at 2:26 am  

      Sid: ‘I *will* take you when you make silly statements which suggest that Islam provided no ethical alternative to the caste system (you yourself mentioned millions of conversions of low caste people to Islam to escape the strictures of caste’

      ‘Jizya: Poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects. This tax applied especially to followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism, who were *tolerated* in the practice of their religion because they were “peoples of the book.” Originally intended to be used for charitable purposes, the revenues from the jizya were paid into the private treasuries of rulers, and the Ottoman sultans used the proceeds to pay military expenses. Many converted to Islam in order to escape the tax.’

      In my humble opinion, I don’t think taxing poor non-Muslims with jizya tax during Mughal era is generally classified as an ethical alternative to the caste system. However, this is a good representation of indirect forced (through economic means) conversion and the alternative being denial of the right to practice your faith. Therefore technically not exactly a conversion of choice. A small technicality I know, but choosing between death or conversion can be both a traumatic and emotional affair, especially when your actions impact not only on your own life but also those of your spouse and children.

      The alternative to not paying Jizya, as we know, was the denial of the privilege to practice ones own freely chosen faith. The non-payment of which, for example, was paid for by the martyrdom of the fifth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, after barbaric torture in Lahore.

      So did those poor, defenseless, many enslaved-through-labour and therefore not having any wealth, so called-low-caste hindus really have a choice other than to convert? How was that in any way classed as an ethical alternative? How that is somehow ethical, I suppose only Islam, or some other Abrahamic missionary faith, can justify.

      BTW how far has Pakistan moved in removing caste and class slavery after 60 years of Islamic state? Have the Arabs after centuries of Islamic based laws started treating non-Arabs (muslim and non-muslim) as equals and applied ethical egalitarian social models to their treatment and rights? Are non-muslims allowed equal rights in any of those autocratic regimes which demonstrate the positive influence of Islam on social models in that region for all citizens, and which have helped to uplift the common folk?

      What Sikhi offers is an indiscriminatory way of life, which imbibes God and service of all His Creation in serving Him and Him alone. To remember Waheguru ( Allah, Ram, God) in all your actions- not just in actions with fellow Sikhs - and thus denying the treatment of non-practitioners or infidels as second class. Gurbani, tells us there are thousands of Mohammed’s in God’s court. Realising God is all about whether you have the capacity to open your mind to God’s unfathomable realms, and then some. There the question is not about how many believers there are, it is simply a question of One Waheguru =Allah=Ram=God.

      Rab rakha!

    81. Nav — on 4th September, 2008 at 2:48 am  

      Zak:

      You didn’t seem to disagree with me in that I said the Mughals weren’t only or mainly driven by a desire to turn India into a Muslim country but rather that it was a secondary objective that came to fruition under Aurangzeb who was just a tyrant who killed everyone who disagreed with him.

      Those who didn’t toe his line the most spectacularly were the Sikhs so he attempted to eliminate them entirely- he’d have done the same if they were Muslims who didn’t agree with him, though.

      Rumbold:

      See my reply to Zak.

    82. Nav — on 4th September, 2008 at 2:50 am  

      Mangles:

      Great post.

    83. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:35 am  

      Mangles, can’t dispute anything you’ve said there. The jizya tax was a throwback to a tax Muhammad applied to non-Muslims in post-prophethood Medina and when re-applied in later precedents is one of the worst abuses of the Islamic legal system.

      I’m not here to defend every aspect of the Mughals - that would be silly. We are aware of many individual abuses, persecutions etc they were guilty of. But I do still believe the dynasty had a net positive effect on India in spite of the abuses. Just as the British colonial period did - in spite its abuses.

      There the question is not about how many believers there are, it is simply a question of One Waheguru =Allah=Ram=God.

      Agreed. To which I would amend to:

      One Waheguru = Allah = Ram = God = Theoretical Nicety = Useless in Practice

    84. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:57 am  

      Sunny:

      “Rumbold, really you should delete and ignore muzumdar instead of engaging him every time.”

      On this thread I haven’t spoken to him at all, unless Nav or Jai is Muz. You are right in general though. Sorry about that.

      Mangles:

      “The alternative to not paying Jizya, as we know, was the denial of the privilege to practice ones own freely chosen faith. The non-payment of which, for example, was paid for by the martyrdom of the fifth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, after barbaric torture in Lahore.”

      Guru Arjan Dev wasn’t killed for the non-payment of jizya, as jizya had been abolished some years earlier and wouldn’t be re-introduced for decades.

      Nav:

      I agree with your #81. But it is important to assess the Mughal rulers on an individual basis, as they were very different beasts.

    85. justforfun — on 4th September, 2008 at 11:21 am  

      Jai - welcome back - got a sun tan? We’re keeping the kettle warm for you as you can see :-)

      Sid - If you read my comment again, …. A similar story is repeated in Indonesia which was largely Buddhist before Islamicisation but not Malaysia, which was largely Hindu prior to Islamicisation.

      Fair enough Sid - Malaysia is your example of where Islam on its own can remove caste. I will bow to your knowledge of Malaysia - I know nothing of the place. Your previous examples are where Buddism did the rock breaking hard work.

      I apoligise I was not clear, while I understand Islam in its creed opposes caste, I wanted to point out that in practice when introduced into India Muslims did not attempt to implement their own creed when it ran counter to their material interests. I should not have made a mountain out of a mole hill but I wanted answer Saqib’s comment …

      Islam and Muslims brought a lot to the sub-continent, not all good, obviously. However, would India, ravaged with the caste system, have develeped along another, more ethically sound model?

      .. where it is implicit that he believes that the Islam as introduced by the Mughals, Afghans, Timurids etc was an ethical alternative and that due to Islam India is now a more ethical place know. This made my coffe come out my nose :-) - the idea India is more ethical now due to Islam. India is a pretty unethical place even at the best of times. Now Islam as a creed might be an ethical alternative , but if one doesn’t actually implement it then it is a waste of time. I made the point that when actually put to the test - when there were conversion by the lower castes to Islam, they were not supported by the rulers, because the last thing they wanted was poor Muslims that they would have to treat as equals and not tax as much.

      Its not rocket science , the poor are shat on who ever is in charge. To give conquest a religious legitamacy is a dangerous path to take, because conquerors by their nature never live up to the ideals of whatever religion they follow. Saqib - its a mistake to try and promote the Islamic invasion of India as some sort of ethical alternative. Saqib - you would do better to look else where for where Islam has made an ethical impact, perhaps Malaysia as Sid has pointed out. Here Islam might have got rid of caste and perhaps its sudccess in this endevour is not unrelated to the method of introduction into Malasyia as compared to India. Just an observation - where Islam came by trade it seems less troubled than in areas where it was on the back of men bent on conquest and pillage. But that is often the case with all religions.

      Sid -
      Islam may have entered …but it has become part of the very fabric of India. British colonisation came gradually, by trade and commerce. ..wholesale and shipped off everything back to London which wasn’t bolted down. The Brits also had a direct hand in not one but two man-made famines which resulted in the death of 40 million landless peasants.

      what does this mean in the context of this thread? - or are you just trying to muddy the waters more. Flippantly I would say while Islam is now part of the very fabric of society in parts of India, so has British thoughts and ideas. I only have to look at myself and you probably only have to look at yourself to see it. Both shipped vaste quanties of wealth out the country and I’m sure famine killed vaste quanties under both sets, just the British noted it down. What is your point other than - at least Islam was not as bad as Queen Victoria! If Gods have senses of humour I’m sure they would chuckle at the comparison.

      Is Kanna Muzumdar? He does not write like Muzumdar?

      justforfun

    86. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 11:30 am  

      what does this mean in the context of this thread? - or are you just trying to muddy the waters more. Flippantly I would say while Islam is now part of the very fabric of society in parts of India, so has British thoughts and ideas. I only have to look at myself and you probably only have to look at yourself to see it. Both shipped vaste quanties of wealth out the country and I’m sure famine killed vaste quanties under both sets, just the British noted it down. What is your point other than - at least Islam was not as bad as Queen Victoria! If Gods have senses of humour I’m sure they would chuckle at the comparison.

      It was apparent that by its first hundred years, both the Spanish civilisation in South America and the Persians Mughals in India, that they had settled in for good. They had become Americanised and Indianised repsectively. They spoke the language, ate the same food. Catholicism had become indigenous just as Islam had, in their individual spheres.

      This was never the case nor the intention of the British colonisers. They were there because they were largely adventurers and mavericks who beaten down a path to the elites, ingratiated themselves for Queen and Country, and stayed apart and distinct from the natives. British rule was a first pass at globalisation, it was about cotton, tea, opium and gold - from India to England and to England’s other colonies.

      When you say “Both shipped vaste quanties of wealth out the country” - would you like to qualify that? Where did the Mughals ship wealth out of India to?

      and I’m sure famine killed vaste quanties under both sets

      Indian historians are not so stupid as you seem to suggest. Mughal abuses have been recorded for posterity to quite fine detail. If there were famines created by the Mugals, you would know about them. I’m not disputing they may have not happened. But when you use flat-out whataboutery to diminish the 2 Bengal famines engineered by British rule, it says more about your flippancy than mine.

    87. Jai on annual leave — on 4th September, 2008 at 11:31 am  

      Hey Jai! Good to hear from you! btw, we’re having a meetup this weekend if you want to come?

      Thanks Sunny; it’s interesting and entertaining to see that sparks are still flying here in Pickleland, especially amongst some of the long-term regulars. I see some new ‘faces’ have joined the party too.

      Thanks for the invite too; sounds like fun but unfortunately I have family commitments this weekend. Have a great time anyway — and a mint hot chocolate on me.

      I’ll just keep (mostly) silently monitoring the proceedings here and occasionally hurling down my thoughts from the mountain-top, the shadowy, mysterious all-powerful figure who sees everything, knows everything, and occasionally does nothing if it carries too much of a risk of being dragged in front of HR for sexual harassment followed by a summary execution.

      You know, like God. But with a more lairy sense of humour.

      Yay Jai.

      Yay me.

      On this thread I haven’t spoken to him at all, unless Nav or Jai is Muz.

      Nope. In the words of the legendary Shaggy, Rumbold old fruity, “it wasn’t me”.

    88. Kanna (Muzumdar Shere) — on 4th September, 2008 at 11:47 am  

      In the name of clarity and to clear some other peoples’ names, some closing remarks from me are required before I disappear again.

      The only person on this thread who is Muzumdar, is Kanna, not anyone else. So leave the likes of Nav alone.

      I needn’t prolong the debate, as people like Justforfun and Jai will now take up the batton from me with regard to imperialism and its lionising by sid et al - whether J + J acknowledge this or not.

      Also, people such as saqib have been silenced due to their absolute lack of an argument and have been relegated to taking pot shots about Gujurat.

      Rumbold, what happened to you dude? You used to appreciate class. I guess that’s what happens when you hang around Sunny long enough.

      Justforfun

      He does not write like Muzumdar?

      I just changed my style in order to keep the heat off me for a while.

    89. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2008 at 12:11 pm  

      Under the Mughals, India became the great destination for European precious metals (mainly silver), because the Europeans wanted large quantities of Indian goods, but the Indians wanted very little from Europe. Certain Brits (nabobs) were able to make large fortunes in India in a short time, but given the size of India’s economy, it is not clear how much of a negative impact this had on India.

      I am not sure that the 1769-1770 Bengal famine was started by the British, but it was certainly made worse by the actions of some Brits, including Clive of India. The Calcutta Council continued to export grain even at the height of the famine. In England, when walking past Clive’s house after the news of the famine broke, “people are said to have shuddered as they passed at the thought of the monster herein.” The 1769-1770 Bengal famine played an important part in the ending of slavery and the slave trade in this country, as people were horrified at the abuses committed in the name of profit, so were receptive when anti-slavery arguments became more common.

      Jai:

      “Have a great time anyway — and a mint hot chocolate on me.”

      Steady now- no need to get out of control.

    90. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 12:18 pm  

      Rumbold, your encyclopedic knowledge of British Indian history is staggering.

      “people are said to have shuddered as they passed at the thought of the monster herein.”

      I understand Muzumdar’s neighbours experience similar emotions when they’re forced to walk past his house.

    91. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2008 at 12:27 pm  

      Sid:

      Thanks, but I just know quite a lot about certain parts, including the 18th century nabobs.

      “I understand Muzumdar’s neighbours experience similar emotions when they’re forced to walk past his house.”

      Heh.

    92. justforfun — on 4th September, 2008 at 1:12 pm  

      It was apparent that by its first hundred years, both the Spanish civilisation in South America and the Persians Mughals in India, that they had settled in for good. They had become Americanised and Indianised repsectively. They spoke the language, ate the same food. Catholicism had become indigenous just as Islam had, in their individual spheres.

      Have you been to South America?

      Spoke the same language?! Spanish and Persian are not indigenous languages to South America or India. You try to paint a picture of happy families using nice homely words like food , language - but when it just was not the case. Spanish was the lanuage of the rulers and Persian the language of the rulers, they did not learn the indigenous languages except where to command those too poor to learn their own.

      …British colonisers. They were there because they were largely adventurers and mavericks and the Spanish were not. Get a grip. You must think no one knows any history of the conquest of Mexico or Peru. Or are you just trying to write down stuff and hope it become official history.

      But why this constant referance to British colonizing methods compared to the Spanish and Moghuls - it really does not make any difference to the intial discussion or my badly addressed point to Saqib.

      Enough of the whaterboutery - I don’t dismiss the Bengal famines - its just they are not relevant to the points at hand - your continual use of 2 British famines on this thread and others as if they trump all other discussions accross time and space, no matter what the topic, is not anyway to advance the discussion on the causes of Muslim/Sikh anomosity.

      Sid -
      Where did the Mughals ship wealth out of India to? you should read the Baburnama, but as Zak has pointed out , afterwhile the Moghuls had nowhere to retreat to and until Britain became top dog, the ruling class had nowhere to remit money. However once the British were in charge, plenty came here to the UK. Who knows Sid - there may be some accounts tucked away in England with your name on it.

      Anyway - to try and leave an uplifting comment - perhaps if we tried to seperate out culture from religion I would think that the infusion of Persian culture into India, if dispassionately discussed; many North Indians would treasure this infusion, but to frame it as a religious infusion is what cannot bare the rational investigation, for all the points made earlier and elsewhere. To digress but hopefully sum up as well - I have said in past threads - India has alot to thank Persian culture for - Without Persia to blunt the edge off and civilize all the invaders who then came on to India, perhaps India would be in an even worst state. The little of Sikhism I know, it appears to try to put the past behind and look forward, but in many ways it cannot escape the cauldron in which it was fused, as the cauldron is often denied to have even existed.

      justforfun

    93. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 2:02 pm  

      Sid -
      Where did the Mughals ship wealth out of India to? you should read the Baburnama, but as Zak has pointed out , afterwhile the Moghuls had nowhere to retreat to and until Britain became top dog, the ruling class had nowhere to remit money. However once the British were in charge, plenty came here to the UK. Who knows Sid - there may be some accounts tucked away in England with your name on it.

      “Afterwhile the Moghuls had nowhere to retreat to”. Your main problem is that you seem to view the Moghuls with the same lens as of they were Brits. Babur was the first of the Turkmeni Moghuls, he spoke Persian. By the time his grandson Akbar took over, he was as Indian as dal and roti and urdu was the language of the court. This was never the case with British colonialism. There was never any two-way exchange. The darkies were always the darkies for the Brits, from day one to the day Mounbatten did the old goosestep around the British flag in August 1947.

      The little of Sikhism I know, it appears to try to put the past behind and look forward, but in many ways it cannot escape the cauldron in which it was fused, as the cauldron is often denied to have even existed.

      As is probably the true extent of British abuses in India. I doubt you’ll being taught to kids in history lessons.

    94. justforfun — on 4th September, 2008 at 4:12 pm  

      “Afterwhile the Moghuls had nowhere to retreat to”.

      Your point of view is from hindsight and the privilage of seeing the whole sweep of history from begining to end. But at the time Babur certainly saw himself as not ‘of India’. Humayun fled back to Persia for 9 years, before coming back for a second crack at conquest and to re-start the favourite Moghul past time - the 16century equivalent of “Ready Steady Cook” and “Countdown” all rolled into one - sitting beside a camp fire with the locals swapping recipies and spelling funny words. But seriously - with his goodwill in Persia now used up, he had to make a success if it in India. There was nowhere else to flee if not successful.

      “..was never the case with British colonialism.” The British liked to stay in America, South Africa, New Zealand, OZ , Rhodesia (North and South), Kenya etc. Doesn’t sound like a policy of colonizing by arms length. The difference in India was the local population was so large compared to the British and the attrition rate on the British who came over was so large, that a critical mass of ‘white’ folk was not possible at the begining, and by the end of British Rule, when the attrition rate had been halted, the politics of the British Empire would not permit wholesale emmigration to India.

      Anyway - what a nice cut and dried world you have in your head, but if it makes you feel better fine. However from your writing - I would advise you to let it go - This ‘imperialism’ is doing your head in - you must let go of this fixation on British Imperialism as the only prism to look at history. You must let go for you own sanity….. You’re begining to write gibberish. (I can’t make out your last sentence and my pretty lax about syntax.)

      gibberish … that’s my domain, not yours so get a grip.

      justforfun

      PS - thanks for the nudge on Buddhism in Bangladesh - its been good to read up on.

    95. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 4:46 pm  

      This ‘imperialism’ is doing your head in - you must let go of this fixation on British Imperialism as the only prism to look at history. You must let go for you own sanity…..

      I could say that same thing to you about Islamic imperialism in India. You could bear a grudge for so long before it starts affecting your liver.

      Like I said, I think I’m generally ok with British, Islamic imperialism - net positive effect but replete with horrors along the way.

      Sorry about the gibberish, I was eating a sandwich with one hand and typing with the other. :)

    96. Ashik — on 4th September, 2008 at 4:58 pm  

      Justforfun:

      ‘So while Bandladesh might be fortunate to have a caste free society - was it the work of 500 years of Buddism or is Islam now claiming the credit’.

      Bangladeshi society is not caste free.

      The impact of the caste system on society is not as pronounced as in India due to the teachings of Islam. However, caste distinctions like Chowdhury, Sayed, Talukdar & Sheikh still carry weight for example when choosing a marriage partner. Some of these castes eg. Sayed’s, even have Islamic connotations. An instance of Islamic practice adopting Indian norms. Then there is regional identity eg. Sylhetis and Dhakaiyas, which in some ways operates as a caste system in it’s own right.

    97. justforfun — on 4th September, 2008 at 5:13 pm  

      Touche -

      Well if you want to reduce Imperialism down to swapping recipies, which is fine by me, and not the number of dead (seems 40 million and counting these days), here is a fish receipe as a token. Swap out the pomfret for sea bass or any white fish. The rest should be easy to get in your neck of the woods.

      http://www.bawarchi.com/nonveg/parsi2.html

      justforfun

      PS - I noted the euphamism “eating a sandwich with one hand” ;-) it would induce gibberish in any man

    98. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 5:18 pm  

      Ashik,

      Chowdhury, Talukdar are not castes in the traditional canonical Hindu sense. They’re titles the British Raj conferred to village elders, movers, shakers and facilitators as favours for being their lackeys.

      Over the ages, they have became class-based, imbued with importance as social markers. Like I said earlier, the British Raj did much to create these ‘divide and rule’ hierarchies, even to extent of creating caste-like stations. Low caste dalits or “methors” were called “Third-class employees” in old British Raj parlance. In Bangladesh, they’re still keenly observed to this day by Sylhetis and Chittagonians.

    99. Jai on annual leave — on 4th September, 2008 at 5:40 pm  

      Jai - welcome back

      Thank you very much, mate.

      <blockquote) - got a sun tan?

      I’ve got a permanent sun tan.

      Have you been to South America?
      …..You must think no one knows any history of the conquest of Mexico or Peru.

      For anyone interested in the rise of the Spanish Empire in South America, I can strongly recommend an excellent book called “Rivers of Gold” (check Amazon). It’s quite a meaty tome and basically the size of a brick, but it’s very thorough and provides an incredibly detailed summary of the historical events involved in both colonial Spain and “the Americas”. Lots of interesting facts I’m sure the average (non-historian) person wouldn’t be aware of, and it’s very readable in its style too.

      By the time his grandson Akbar took over, …..urdu was the language of the court.

      The language of the Mughal court during Akbar’s time was Persian/Farsi, and this continued during the reign of the “Great Mughals”. It was Bahadur Shah Zafar centuries later who was a great patron of Urdu, along with being a renowned poet in the language.

      The difference in India was the local population was so large compared to the British and the attrition rate on the British who came over was so large, that a critical mass of ‘white’ folk was not possible at the begining, and by the end of British Rule, when the attrition rate had been halted, the politics of the British Empire would not permit wholesale emmigration to India.

      Actually, “going native” and marrying women from the local population was pretty widespread during the early centuries of the East India Company. It was only during the Victorian period (and the increased influx of British memsahibs to the subcontinent) that matters changed, due to changing attitudes to racial issues back in Ol’ Blightly at the time. Apparently, some dude called “Jai” even wrote an article for it on Pickled Politics once upon a time ;)

    100. justforfun — on 4th September, 2008 at 5:41 pm  

      Ashik, it’s best you take it up with Sid. I have no local knowledge of Bangladesh, but his ‘caste free’ status seemed quiet important to his arguement a few comments back.

      I await developments.

      justforfun

    101. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 5:47 pm  

      I await developments.

      Don’t say I never give you nuffin’:

      Choudhury

      Taluqdar

    102. justforfun — on 4th September, 2008 at 6:10 pm  

      Jai - yes many went native, but the point I badly made was that a critical mass of British men and women was not possible for a number of reasons, to start farming, forming complete towns etc which was the pattern of other colonies.

      The reasons
      -Death by climate and disease.
      -Too many locals already on the land to easily push them off and make large scale industrialised farms like Canada Rhodesia , Kenya, OZ etc
      - Quicker to make more money by trade and being the local Moghul tax collectors which is how the British actually got a large toe hold in Bengal.

      But when the British finally stopped dieing in large numbers from disease in the late 19th/early 20th c and had a good contol on India, the nature of the relationship between Britain and India would not allow wholesale settlement unlike Kenya and Southern Africa.. Think of all those treaties that were with all the divided nations - a veritable spidersweb. Why was there were no equivalent of Rhodesian ‘White Farmers’ in the Punjab or any other agricultural area at the turn of the 20th century. There would have been plenty of poor Brits and Irish ready to give it a go, as these populations fanned out across the globe. A thought to ponder for a while ;-).

      Hey! - it might come to pass when you make your fortune Jai and buy up a small/big estate :-). But you had better be quick - good farmland prices are bound to rise in the future.

      Bus

      justforfun

    103. Jai on annual leave — on 4th September, 2008 at 6:13 pm  

      Incidentally, from now on my comments regarding India’s medieval period/Mughal era or, to some extent, the British colonial period, are going to be much more limited compared to my previous online contributions on the subject. When you work in an environment where there are very few other Asians around, it’s really brought home to you that being excessively preoccupied with our own “internal squabbles” (present-day or, particularly, historical) — or becoming excessively heated about it — doesn’t mean squat when dealing with wider British society, especially when faced with the unreconstructed bigotted variety of Johnny Bulldog who has some nasty ideas about his inherent superiority over the rest of us darker folk.

      But it’s still been fascinating reading the various arguments on this thread, in some cases very informative, and I think that the issues concerned have been debated with skill by those of you who have been slugging it out on both sides of the fence. Great stuff.

      Sorry about the gibberish, I was eating a sandwich with one hand and typing with the other.

      Yep, when people are using only one hand to operate their computer’s keyboard/mouse, I’m sure that they’re usually “eating a sandwich” with the other ;)

      *joking*

    104. justforfun — on 4th September, 2008 at 6:16 pm  

      Bloody hell Sid I’ve read your link - its getting worse - these Choudhurywallas appear to be a proto-caste system introduced by the Moghuls. So is it now “stamp out Hindu castes but then introduce Moghul castes”. Lucky for you the British came along and taught you the error of these ways ;-)

      justforfun

    105. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 6:27 pm  

      Well the Choudhurys and Talukdars were usually high caste Hindus as well as Muslims. Both Hindus and Muslims have these as surnames. So there was never a question of hindus catses stamped out by Moghul castes. They were developed by the Moghuls but primed by the Brits, always keen to exploit a social schism.

      Incidentally, BR Ambedkar, the great Dalit activist supported the British to remain in India, because he thought they were fairer to the lowest castes than the Brahmins. Probably true.

    106. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 7:38 pm  

      Kashmir is another example of Kashmiri Brahmins converting to Islam, with people having names such as “Bhatt.”

      But where there is not caste, there is classism and discrimination stemming from regionalism. So while people are not systematically oppressed because they are “Dalit,” in, say, in the Gulf States , people who are of a certain background get treated like shit and ARE systematically exploited. In my mind, this could be another variant of casteism (of a different dynamic).

      I do not agree with the argument that a religion could totally eradicate social, political, and economic issues. If this were the case, we wouldn’t have the various oppressions we do in countries where people are overwhelmingly affiliated with a religion whose ideals are of equality, peace, etc.

    107. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 7:42 pm  

      “Sid - as you have quite rightly pointed out Bangladesh was the last place Buddhism dominated on the sub-continent, till the modern era. So which was it - Buddhism that was the ethical alternative provided to the caste system, or Islam that came later?”

      This is not strictly true; from my understanding, Nepal is a part of the subcontinent, and despite the “Hindu” moniker, it is Hinduism of a certain type- very, very mixed with Buddhism. There are as many stupas as there are mandhirs, and people freely pray at both places. And yet, casteism is deeply entrenched there (but unlike India, castes are actual ethnic groups and you can physically tell one ‘caste’ from another).

    108. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 7:43 pm  

      Dalits in Bangladesh:

      “Dalits in Bangladesh-who originally migrated from India under British rule and remained after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947-work principally as municipal cleaners and domestic workers, lowly jobs that are shunned by the country’s majority Muslim Bengali population.52 In the country’s capital, for example, Dalits make up the majority of the 5,500 cleaners working for Dhaka City Corporation. They live in small, squalid quarters provided by the city corporation with no gas or electricity and are paid a little over U.S. $1 a day. Dalits also breed pigs for Dhaka’s minority Hindu and Christian population and work as vendors and rickshaw pullers.”

      http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/globalcaste/caste0801-03.htm

      And:

      http://www.idsn.org/Documents/asia/pdf/SweeperCommunityBdesh.pdf

      One million Dalits in Bangladesh:
      http://www.slate.com/id/2164200/entry/0/

    109. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 7:55 pm  

      This is interesting: according to this article, it says:

      Society in Bangladesh in the 1980s, with the exception of the Hindu caste system, was not rigidly stratified; rather, it was open, fluid, and diffused, without a cohesive social organization and social structure. Social class distinctions were mostly functional, however, and there was considerable mobility among classes. Even the structure of the Hindu caste system in Bangladesh was relatively loose because most Hindus belonged to the lower castes .

      Ostensibly, egalitarian principles of Islam were the basis of social organization. Unlike in other regions of South Asia, the Hindu caste-based social system had a very limited effect on Bangladeshi Muslim social culture . Even the low-caste jolhas (weavers) had improved their social standing since 1971. Although several hierarchically arranged groups-such as the syeds (noble born) and the sheikhs, or shaykhs (also noble born)-were noticeable in Bangladesh Muslim society, there were no impenetrable hereditary social distinctions. Rather, fairly permeable classes based on wealth and political influence existed both in the cities and in the villages.”

      http://countrystudies.us/bangladesh/35.htm

      And yet, according to the links I provided above (esp the HRW one), there are Dalits in Bangladesh who are discriminated against because they are Dalits. And this paper points out:

      “Caste Discrimination today
      Caste-based discrimination in Bangladesh includes practices of untouchability imposed by the dominant caste
      of both Hindu and Muslim communities, such as denial of access to upper caste/Muslim houses, temples, and
      4
      restaurants/teashops. Dalits face discrimination in employment, housing, education, and access to basic
      services. The social exclusion of Dalits is manifested in the physical structure of the villages throughout the
      country. Social and economic interactions of Dalits are mostly restricted by religion, caste and occupation. Like
      in other caste-affected countries, Dalits in Bangladesh are referred to professions which are considered
      impure such as sweeping, sewerage cleaning, tea garden laboring, burying of dead bodies, processing of
      mastered oil, gardening, shoe and leather work, drum beating, washing, etc. Social boycott and forced labor
      are often imposed on Dalits as a means to control and exploit their labor.
      Dalits in Bangladesh are heavily affected by various forms of discriminatory practises both in the private and
      public sphere. Practises of untouchability are experienced in places like schools, markets, hotels/restaurants
      and hospitals. In public places, Dalits are regarded with contempt by other communities and treated as
      untouchables. For example, Dalits are never invited by other communities to participate in public events.”

      http://www.idsn.org/Documents/asia/pdf/Consultative_Meeting_Bangladesh_summary.pdf

    110. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 7:59 pm  

      SId:

      “Islam did offer a different ethical system to the caste system - and that was Islam itself. East Bengal is completely devoid of any vestiges of caste because of 900 years of Islam preceded by 500 years of Buddhism. Both of which are social belief systems which dispense with caste.”

      Jaanam, you are so totally wrong. There ARE vestiges of the caste system in East Bengal, look at the links I posted.

    111. Ashik — on 4th September, 2008 at 8:04 pm  

      I think some of the Bangladeshi castes have qualities which encompass caste, class and religious gradiations. There is definite discrimination involved.

      As i understand it in Bangladesh the Syed caste in particular is religious in nature. They are considered a ‘high’ caste. Syed’s tend to try and intermarry with other Syeds. They pride themselves in that their lineage is descended from the bloodline of the Prophet (PBUH) himself. It is said that Syeds tend to be light skinned (possible remnant of Arab/Persian heritage). The Syed’s in my extended family are very light skinned but that could just be coincidence. I am only acquainted with a few Syeds.

      In the Sylhet region Syed’s are also the descendents of the followers (Ansars?) of revered Sylheti Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal, the first Saint to convert Hindu Bengal for Islam, starting with Sylhet.

      Castes based on professions also exist in Bangladesh. For example Machwas (fishermen) and Samars (blacksmiths?) are considered low caste. My grandfather forbade me and my siblings from going to the Machwa village or Samar quarter in town when I visited Bangladesh as a boy.

    112. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 8:40 pm  

      Sid:

      “If you read my comment again, you will see that I have not suggested that it was Islam alone that contributed to a caste-free society in Bengal. I did say that the combination of 500 years of Buddhism *and* 900 years of Islam have both contributed”

      And then you said:

      Low caste dalits or “methors” were called “Third-class employees” in old British Raj parlance. In Bangladesh, they’re still keenly observed to this day by Sylhetis and Chittagonians.

      I thought you said Bangladesh was ‘caste-free’? If Sylhetics and Chittagonians observe it (in your own words), how does that translate as Bangladesh being caste-free? Are Sylhetis and Chittagonians not Bangladeshi?

    113. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 8:47 pm  

      Sid:

      “A similar story is repeated in Indonesia which was largely Buddhist before Islamicisation but not Malaysia, which was largely Hindu prior to Islamicisation.”

      From my understanding, Indonesia’s past was dotted with both Buddhist AND Hindu kingdoms, not overwhelmingly Buddhist.

    114. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 8:56 pm  

      Sid:

      #77

      “I am not saying that imperialism(s) are all univerally and uniformally bad. They make contributions which have positive effects just as they create privations with negative effects.

      In your statement you suggested that Islam had no ethical counterbalance to the caste system, but we know it did. It can be observed by the fact that in Bengal, caste did not reappear after a long period of Buddhism. We also know that Buddhism attributed its adoption as a direct result of the effect of Brahmanical abuses of the caste system.”

      Forget the ‘imperialism with benefits’ argument; this is a rhetorical exercise, and one which is leading you to make a very flawed and inaccurate argument with lots of errors. Why not look at how things are IN PRACTICE RIGHT NOW, and talk about that? Cast system is practiced in Bangladesh right now, and that’s a fact, and it needs to be addressed. Who cares whether Bengal (from both sides of the border) is the beneficiary of an ‘ethical’ system alternative? Clearly, it ain’t so.

      “Islam may have entered India by conquest, imperialism and the sword but it has become part of the very fabric of India.”

      1. Islam initially entered “India” via Arab traders along the western coast (Gujarat and Kerala), not the sword.

      2. It’s not “Islam” which entered by sword, conquest, imperialism. Claiming that an ideology came armed is stupid, as if the Koran walked into Delhi with a sword. What happened was that conquerers, who were of a Muslim upbringing, came to the subcontinent largely for economic and political reasons. Most empires are like that, with religion mixed in as a justification. But no one goes to conquer simply for conversion purposes, warriors need to see some economic fruit first.

    115. Ashik — on 4th September, 2008 at 8:58 pm  

      ‘Are Sylhetis and Chittagonians not Bangladeshi’?

      Dhakaiya Bangladeshis would probably say not. lol

      We have somewhat differing languages and cultures.
      Both Sylhetis and Chittagoingis also have strong Islamic identity.

    116. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 9:02 pm  

      Sid, are you making erroneous assertions on purpose just to test everyone’s knowledge? I’ve read most of your comments (I think), and I think that some of your assertions are amazingly false…

      I think you are pulling everyone’s Pickle just to mess around…

    117. Rumbold — on 4th September, 2008 at 9:32 pm  

      Not just false. Amazingly false.

    118. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 9:51 pm  

      I thought you said Bangladesh was ‘caste-free’? If Sylhetics and Chittagonians observe it (in your own words), how does that translate as Bangladesh being caste-free? Are Sylhetis and Chittagonians not Bangladeshi?

      Sylheties and Chittagonians, are indeedd Bangladeshis, observe the “Choudhury” and “Talukdar” proto-castes by “keeping things in the family” and marrying within these circles. Now they are nothing more than class. Thereby creating and observing a caste out of a Moghul introduced title, and bringing the removal and the reinstitution of castes full circle.

      A “methor” is historically a Bengali Hindu low caste order, tasked with the cleaning of public spaces, latrines and human ordure. They can still be see in West Bengal. But over the years this task has passed to abjectly poor, untouchable by dint of poverty. The British, beauracratically obsessive as they were, organised these workers and gave them the denomination of “Third class workers”.

      When I were a lad, I got to know a group of these people because I would go to their bastis (slums) to buy ganja and other goodies. I remember spending many happy afternoons chatting and smoking chillums with them and as a matter of fact, still keep in touch with them.

      Caste is not a feature of society in East Bengal to the extent it is in the rest of India. It is observed nominally. There are plenty of other kinds of social malaise that blights East Bengal. Not least of which are:

      1) Socially conservative to the point of paralysis.
      2) A horrendously constrictive class system.
      3) Almost no gender parity. Women have little in the way of rights. This is, to a large extent I think, a product of Islamiciation.

    119. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:01 pm  

      “Caste is not a feature of society in East Bengal to the extent it is in the rest of India.”

      Maybe because India is more populous and has more numerous Dalits than Bangladesh?

      1 million oppressed Dalits in Bangladesh is NOT a caste free society, no matter how much you bring up that spurious and meretricious argument that the “Islamic empire coupled with pre-existing Buddhism brought an ethical alternative.” You keep announcing that that East Bengal is ‘caste’ free while saying in the same breath that there is some caste observation.

      In terms of your argument that relative to India, East Bengal’s caste observation is ‘nominal, and therefore, East Bengal is ‘caste free’ (?????????), again, it’s the wrong comparison and frankly, useless. India has a significantly higher population, and it is overwhelmingly Hindu, whereas East Bengal is neither one. And yet, Bangladesh still has some ‘vestiges’ of the caste system whereby Bangladeshi Muslims ALSO discriminate against the Dalits. What explains that, Sid? Maybe Bangladeshis are not ‘true’ Buddhist/Muslims? Come on, yaar, no use in turning a blind eye to inequalities that exist.

    120. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:04 pm  

      Sid:

      “Caste is not a feature of society in East Bengal to the extent it is in the rest of India. It is observed nominally.”

      What the hell does ‘nominally’ mean? How can caste be ‘nominally’ observed? If it were not observed at all, then it wouldn’t be ‘nominally’ categorized. Nominally categorize=caste observance.

    121. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:05 pm  

      Sid, I find it atrocious that you would underplay the Dalit situation in Bangladesh with some glib argument about Buddhism and Islam in East Bengal. Seriously, if you’re going to be down with equality for everyone, then you should start by looking at the realities on the ground.

    122. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:09 pm  

      Sid:

      “Sylheties and Chittagonians, are indeedd Bangladeshis, observe the “Choudhury” and “Talukdar” proto-castes by “keeping things in the family” and marrying within these circles. Now they are nothing more than class. Thereby creating and observing a caste out of a Moghul introduced title, and bringing the removal and the reinstitution of castes full circle.”

      Why you keep focusing on two groups, while continuously glossing over about 1 million Dalits in Bangladesh is beyond me.

      A “methor” is historically a Bengali Hindu low caste order, tasked with the cleaning of public spaces, latrines and human ordure. They can still be see in West Bengal.”

      They are seen in East Bengal as well!!!!!!!!!!! Skim the links I posted!

    123. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:11 pm  

      Desi

      Maybe because India is more populous and has more numerous Dalits than Bangladesh?

      Dire inequalities exist in East Bengal. But they are not based on caste. This could be because its a Muslim-majority country and they simply don’t follow caste observations to the extent that a predominatly Hindu society will.

      And yet, Bangladesh still has some ‘vestiges’ of the caste system whereby Bangladeshi Muslims ALSO discriminate against the Dalits. What explains that, Sid?

      Because that is discrmination of these people because they are regarded as Hindus rather than discrmination because they are Dalits.

      There are myriad social inequalities in Bangladesh, but the caste problem simply not one of them.

    124. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:19 pm  

      ^^

      Sid, you are in deep denial. Really, seriously, truly.

    125. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:21 pm  

      And please, you paint places with a Buddhist history (whether ancient or contemporary) as the paragons of equality, etc.

      That’s why SL has Buddhist fundamentalist monks, and Bhutan has made refugees out of Nepali-speaking Bhutanese.

    126. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:24 pm  

      And quit picking on the Sylhetis, for god’s sake. You are engaging in tribalism, even if you are of Sylheti background yourself (which doesn’t mean jack). For some PP commentators, Mughals are the evil of everything backwards in the subcontinent; for you, in Bangladesh and the Bengali diaspora, it’s the Sylhetis.

      Why you are not talking about the discrimination against 1 million Dalits in DHAKA, by Dhakanese or whatever hell they are called, is beyond me. But maybe that’s because you are in denial about the caste system existing in Bangladesh.

      Bangladesh is NOT caste-free. Period. I don’t care if it is on a lesser scale than India (a flawed comparison, as I already noted in my comment somewhere above), it still doesn’t support your contention that Bangladesh is caste free.

    127. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:29 pm  

      Desi

      I’m not for a second suggesting discrmination of minorities does not happen in Bangldesh. There’s horrendous persecution of aboriginal Hill tribes in the south and, that hardy perennial, religious discrimination against Hindu minorities.

      Now, since we are both agreed that these the chances that a poor Hindu community in are going to be Dalits by caste, if they are persecuted, and chances are - they are - it will be because they are Hindus rather than because they are, Dalits.

      To put it another way, they are not persecuted by people who think they, as Fish catchers, are lower than Cow milkers, so to speak. They are persecuted because they are “dirty Hindus”.

    128. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:32 pm  

      “This could be because its a Muslim-majority country and they simply don’t follow caste observations to the extent that a predominatly Hindu society will.”

      Because a Muslim majority country??? Bullshit up the wazoo:

      1. http://www.ambedkar.org/research/Dalitsof.htm

      2. “Valasai’s online petition provides chilling details of the oppression of the Dalits by caste Hindus in league
      with local Muslim landlords and politicians
      . He claims
      that in the district of Thar Parkar in Sindh, where
      some 35 per cent of the population belongs to various
      Dalit castes, ‘Incidents of atrocities and caste-based
      discrimination against Dalits are increasing day by
      day [.] because of growing awareness and assertiveness
      of the Dalits’. ” SOURCE: http://www.countercurrents.org/dalit-sikand060304.htm

      3.http://www.tehelka.com/story_main40.asp?filename=Ws230808dalitpakistan.asp

      4. Letters by the Pakistani Dalits which call attention to the discrimination they face from upper caste Hindus AND Muslims. I repeat: AND MUSLIMS, in a MAJORITY MUSLIM COUNTRY:

      http://www.idsn.org/Documents/asia/pdf/PAKletter.pdf

      http://www.petitiononline.com/scfp2003/petition.html

    129. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:34 pm  

      And quit picking on the Sylhetis, for god’s sake. You are engaging in tribalism, even if you are of Sylheti background yourself (which doesn’t mean jack). For some PP commentators, Mughals are the evil of everything backwards in the subcontinent; for you, in Bangladesh and the Bengali diaspora, it’s the Sylhetis.

      Oh come off it and get a grip. Take a deep beath. Not once did I suggest that Sylhetis are ethically in the wrong for wanting to marry within their class. That’s acceptable, everyone does it and its not even my point. My point is that the classes in some places are articulated in terms of old titles such as Choudhury, Talukadr etc.

    130. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:37 pm  

      Sid:

      “I’m not for a second suggesting discrmination of minorities does not happen in Bangldesh.”

      You are. You keep ignoring the position of Dalits, the existence of caste, etc and keep bludgoning away with the Buddhist/Islam argument.

      “There’s horrendous persecution of aboriginal Hill tribes in the south and, that hardy perennial, religious discrimination against Hindu minorities.”

      Agreed. And acknowledging that caste oppression is also a feature, practiced by both Muslims and Hindus in Bangladesh does NOT take away from the killing of Hill tribes.

      “Now, since we are both agreed that these the chances that a poor Hindu community in are going to be Dalits by caste, if they are persecuted, and chances are - they are - it will be because they are Hindus rather than because they are, Dalits.”

      OK, so let’s take the generosity that you have afforded to the Islam/Buddhist argument and transpose that into enlargening the definition of ‘caste’. Bangladesh has a caste-like system in place, whereby Hindus are the untouchables, no matter if upper caste or lower caste.

      Happy?

    131. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:41 pm  

      Sid #129:

      “Oh come off it and get a grip. Take a deep beath.”

      You’re right. Why get worked up by your silly, grossly erroneous comments? You’re ignoring every single other thing I’ve said, you’ve failed to address stuff I’ve said, did not bother to look at the links I provided (and it really takes like 5 min to skim, about the same amount of time it probably took for you to post your comments), so why bother.

    132. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:42 pm  

      Bangladesh has a caste-like system in place, whereby Hindus are the untouchables, no matter if upper caste or lower caste.

      Happy?

      No, I’m not. You’re suggesting that clear-cut religious discrmination should be termed caste discrmination because the victims happen to be Dalits?

      That would be an imprescise definition, don’t you think?

    133. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 10:54 pm  

      Sid,

      I really think you are doing your utmost to bypass the entire fact that there are some vestiges of caste-system in Bangladesh.

      With that, I am sorry I railed at you (as I do often to other PP writers), and I think it’s suffice to say that I completely disagree with every single thing you’ve written here.

    134. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 11:15 pm  

      Desi

      Its an internet thing babes, no need to apologise.

      I really think you are doing your utmost to bypass the entire fact that there are some vestiges of caste-system in Bangladesh.

      I accept that they are generationally disenfranchised because of their caste. And so your argument, vestiges of caste *do* exist in Bangladesh is correct. I have to concede I overstated it by saying they don’t exist. You got me there (why I oughta, I oughta…)

      But I don’t believe discrminination by caste is a form of social blight in Bangladesh (and god knows there a few of those). Certainly not to the extent it is in, say, West Bengal.

      And pretty much non-existent in Buddhist Burma, though HRW might prove me wrong.

    135. Desi Italiana — on 4th September, 2008 at 11:48 pm  

      “And pretty much non-existent in Buddhist Burma, though HRW might prove me wrong.”

      Caste is not deeply rooted in Burma, but due to Buddhist Burma’s ‘ethical” system, just oppression and killings of the Muslim Karen.

    136. Sid — on 4th September, 2008 at 11:58 pm  

      Desi, please don’t tell me you’re suggesting Burma’s oppression of the Karen is the vestige of a caste thing.

    137. Desi Italiana — on 5th September, 2008 at 12:07 am  

      It’s not, at least I don’t think so.

    138. Ashik — on 5th September, 2008 at 11:12 am  

      Desi:

      ‘And quit picking on the Sylhetis, for god’s sake. You are engaging in tribalism, even if you are of Sylheti background yourself’

      Actually Sid is of Dhakaiya Bengali ethnic origin. I on the other hand am of Sylheti origin. As is Halima.

      Castism or remnants of castist thinking at least, is still to be found throughout Bangladesh, including Dhaka.

      In fact it is well entrenched despite increased social mobility in Bangladesh. To give an example when an acquaintance in Bangladesh wished to marry, a proposal came from a family whose daughter was a qualified Doctor. However, his mother (always the women!) refused to entertain the match as the girl’s father was a Machwa (fisherman). She was somewhat upset that the proposal was even put to her. Doctors are otherwise highly sought after in South Asia for marriage purposes.

    139. Sid — on 5th September, 2008 at 12:18 pm  

      Actually on Fridays, I’m of Trinidadian Malayan-Jewish origin.

    140. Miran — on 5th September, 2008 at 6:21 pm  

      Hey Sunny,

      You chose to make so many assertions but gave no evidence:

      1. You spoke of the fact that forced conversions exist? WHere? Some citable evidence that does not emerge from the BNP?

      2. There is a power struggle within the MCB? Again, who is your source, based on what report? Can we have a profile of the actors in this drama?

    141. Anon Y mouse — on 7th September, 2008 at 12:11 am  

      Nav

      “You do realise that since the days of the Mughals, Muslims on the sub-continent have used rape of Sikh and Hindu women (and still are doing so) as a political and violent tool.”

      And you do realise that Hindu and Sikh men (who make up a disproptionate percentage of the Indian army in Kashmir) are raping Muslim women in Gujurat and Kashmir as a political and religious tool

    142. Anon Y mouse — on 7th September, 2008 at 12:17 am  

      Nav

      “And I find the hypocrisy of letting Muslim men marry women of other religions whilst forbidding Muslim women to do so as hilarious.”

      Whats hilarious is your cluelessness. Muslim mean arent allowed to marry “women of other religions” without restrictions- specifically they are only permitted to marry BELIEVING Christian and Jewish women ; and in non-Muslim lands this borders on forbidden because of the danger of children not being brought up as Muslims.

      This “hypocrisy” is simply because of the inequlity of the two religions mentioned- a Muslim man married to a Jewish or Christian woman will respect her religion since Muslims believe Moses and Jesus to be prophets and both religions to have recieved revelations from God. A non-Muslim man married to a Muslim woman will not respect her religion and will consider it a false one. Big difference

      BTW while were on teh subject why werent any of the Sikh Gurus female?

    143. douglas clark — on 7th September, 2008 at 2:05 am  

      Anon Y Mouse @ 142,

      Whats hilarious is your cluelessness. Muslim mean arent allowed to marry “women of other religions” without restrictions- specifically they are only permitted to marry BELIEVING Christian and Jewish women ; and in non-Muslim lands this borders on forbidden because of the danger of children not being brought up as Muslims.

      I’d like to highlight some words you put in small letters:

      of the danger of children not being brought up as Muslims

      Well, your faith is weak, is it not? You are yet another group of folk that can only perpetrate your beliefs through childhood indoctrination?

      That is really annoying and incredibly narrow minded.

      And you do realise you are a complete utter tit, don’t you?

      This “hypocrisy” is simply because of the inequlity of the two religions mentioned- a Muslim man married to a Jewish or Christian woman will respect her religion since Muslims believe Moses and Jesus to be prophets and both religions to have recieved revelations from God. A non-Muslim man married to a Muslim woman will not respect her religion and will consider it a false one. Big difference

      Nope, no difference, just idiocy or stupidity on your part. Who are you to speak for atheists? It is entirely possible to respect someone and yet disagree with their religion. So big difference equals no difference.

      Stop being a tit.

    144. Anon Y mouse — on 7th September, 2008 at 9:09 am  

      Yes Douglas Clark if it is narrow minded and “incredibly annoying” for the Muslim minority to want to maintain itself and its identity I’m happy to be so.

      The call for Muslim women (its always women strangely) to marry out is just ethnic cleansing by stealth. Shouldnt Pakistani Christian women be marrying out more?

      All the pretty words in the world dont change the fact that a Muslim woman ‘married’ to a non-Muslim man or a Muslim man married to a non-Christian/Jewish/Muslim woman are fornicators.

    145. douglas clark — on 7th September, 2008 at 9:50 am  

      Anon Y Mouse,

      Pretty fundamentalist, aren’t you?

      All the pretty words in the world dont change the fact that a Muslim woman ‘married’ to a non-Muslim man or a Muslim man married to a non-Christian/Jewish/Muslim woman are fornicators.

      No they aren’t. It’s just in your mind. And why the greater restriction on the woman than the man?

    146. Anon Y mouse — on 7th September, 2008 at 11:00 am  

      douglas clark

      “Pretty fundamentalist, aren’t you?”

      A meaningless nonsensical term

      me

      “All the pretty words in the world dont change the fact that a Muslim woman ‘married’ to a non-Muslim man or a Muslim man married to a non-Christian/Jewish/Muslim woman are fornicators.”

      “No they aren’t. It’s just in your mind.”

      According to the religion they are. If they want to ignore the religion thats up to them- but if they seek validation from it for what they are doing from Islam they wont find it - its fornication not an Islamic marriage.

      ” And why the greater restriction on the woman than the man?”

      Strange - you abused me for saying Muslim men shouldnt marry non-Muslim women then ask me why Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslim women .Shouldnt you ask someone who agrees with such things?

      Muslim men can only marry religious Christian and Jewish women and its not at all encouraged quite the opposite.

      The funny thing is that some will claim that religious Muslims are seeking to take over x country/ spread Islam and amongst their tactics is marrying non-Muslim women- indeed the podcast Sunny mentions alludes to the fanatsy that Muslim men are targeting Sikh Girls for conversion - when its the religious who most oppose such unions.

    147. douglas clark — on 8th September, 2008 at 12:08 am  

      Anon Y mouse

      Sorry chum, it is you doing it to yourself.

      According to the religion they are. If they want to ignore the religion thats up to them- but if they seek validation from it for what they are doing from Islam they wont find it - its fornication not an Islamic marriage.

      Which was my point, not yours. It’s all in the mind, in’t it? And you, along with other religious groups can only survive through a process of indoctrination.

      You fear independence of spirit. In your own words:

      of the danger of children not being brought up as Muslims

      One of the dangers quite clearly is that they’ll stop being so stupid as to throw the word fornication about willy nilly.

      Then you say this:

      Strange - you abused me for saying Muslim men shouldnt marry non-Muslim women then ask me why Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslim women .Shouldnt you ask someone who agrees with such things?

      I called you a tit because you are coming across as one. That is not abuse. You are now an admitted monoculturalist that apparently has world domination in mind. I quote:

      Yes Douglas Clark if it is narrow minded and “incredibly annoying” for the Muslim minority to want to maintain itself and its identity I’m happy to be so.

      Apart from the fact that there are 1.4 billion Muslims and one of me, I find that you are not a minority at all. You just pretend to be. It is just another meme that folk play in their heads. Remember that point? Some, like you, more ridiculously, than others.

      The funny thing is that some will claim that religious Muslims are seeking to take over x country/ spread Islam and amongst their tactics is marrying non-Muslim women- indeed the podcast Sunny mentions alludes to the fanatsy that Muslim men are targeting Sikh Girls for conversion - when its the religious who most oppose such unions.

      That is really not the issue, is it? The issue seems to be that Wahhabism and Money are now trying to take over the Muslim faith. If I were a Muslim, I’d be a bit worried about that. Aren’t you?

    148. digitalcntrl — on 8th September, 2008 at 1:51 am  

      @147

      Douglas:
      Why do you persist in talking to the religiously obsessed? You might as well talk to a wall.

      Such people will always be judgmental of others, labeling fornicators or what not.

      Its almost as bad as trying to convince a redneck that a black man can be president.

    149. BABA DEEP SINGH — on 27th September, 2008 at 9:09 pm  

      peace to all of those here, i really mean it

      by the way all of this political correctness is giving me a headache :(

      basically the problem is rooted here; the muslims want to make a nice home for the upcoming arrival of the zombie army, and their leader the mighty penis.
      now this may seem a bit far fetched but i will explain all.

      the kabba at mecca is actually an ancient cult shrine, similar to a hindu shrine. at this place there was peaceful worship of the male genitalia of the hindu deity shiva. thsi was practiced by a mass orgy that circulated the kabba, and ensued the city of mecca. the black stone is an offering to this penis god, and the muslims hope that this will please him by them selves making love to it. nowadays this has progressed into people merely kissing the black stone.

      and as for the zombie army, well teh muslims beilieve that all of those good muslims who were buried after they died will come back to life as a zombie army. they will then create a caliphay or all muslim world. this is why the muslims thought their jihad are attempting to create their own caliphay by conversions and murder. tehy sincerely believe that this will please the zombie army and they will be spared.

      now personally i see this central belief as islam as a bit too much to accept in the near religious equilibrium we have found ourselves in between Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Jews, and all other monotheistic and fearing religions.

      i believe that the destruction of the last caliphay or the ottoman empire was a great success for the forces of sanity.

      so the muslims cannot be blamed for tehir brainwashed selves, but only for their actions. personally whatever a person believes to be true in tehir heart is their God given right but forcing the insanity onto other people is the opposite.

      these muslim ideals may never be destryod but the least tehy can do is stop tehir lies and conversions.

      feel free to reply and say your piece :)

    150. Paul — on 29th September, 2008 at 1:26 pm  

      Riazat Butt could have this as the topic of her podcast every month: Muslim tension with _____ (fill in space)

      Because it’s just about everyone, isn’t it? Muslims are in tension with Jews, with Christians, with Western society, with white people, with Afro Carribeans Christians, with atheists, with Hindus, with Buddhists. With secularists, with guide dogs, with the kitchen sink. What else could the shiny happy Islamophonic webcast discuss, if it came down to Muslims and Tensions? There’d be no room for anything else to talk about.

      Because Muslims seem to be in tension with EVERYBODY.

      Muslims in tension with non Muslims. Will anyone ever ask the question, and do a podcast, asking WHY? Why is that? Why can everyone else generally get along, and yet Muslims are in tension with everybody they rub up against? I’d certainly listen to that, might even download it to my i-pod for when I go jogging. Looking forward to it, Riazat.

    151. persephone — on 29th September, 2008 at 2:11 pm  

      @ 150 : I’ve only caught the end of this blog as was on hols when it was put on & don’t have time to read all the previous comments… but I believe its the relatively few muslims who feel tension/victimised.

      As to the majority of muslims? You don’t hear of them since they are quietly getting on with it & this does not make good headlines nor fit the propaganda of the day

    152. lee — on 25th November, 2008 at 9:01 pm  

      this program should have not talked about muslim- sikh tensions-

      the sikhs have a long way to go, to create a strong community with good communication, and loyality to their religion.

      the muslims being talked about- mainly pakistanis, have a strong cultural mix of indian-punjabi wid a twist of islamic influence.

      the sikhs are still realising how india and the british destroyed their kingdom leaving them with no strength.

      as a muslim i feel people should try harder to understand sikhs more and aknowledge that is 70-80’s generation of sikhs and muslims, fueled on drugs alcohol and lust who used violence and hate for no reason.

      the youth of today probally find racim pointless and boring



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