Friday, April 25, 2008

India's Genetic Map

According to this article Genetic map blurs lines from The Telegraph (Kolkata), findings from the Indian Genome Variation (IGV) project indicate that various populations within India have intermingled throughout the centuries.

As noted in the article:

"Dravidian lineages have mixed with Indo-Europeans, Austroasiatics have mingled with Dravidians, and bridge populations in central India are blends of Dravidian, Indo-European and Himalayan groups."


"The analysis has also indicated that Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims are genetically similar and share genetic similarities with Dravidian groups. It has also shown that some Dravidian-speaking population groups in south India have Indo-European lineage."

Samir Brahmachari of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says that the results of the IGV study recall Tagore's words in Bharat-tirtha:

Aryan and non-Aryan, Dravidian and Chinese... Pathan, Mughal/All have merged into one body.…

Might I also suggest that the findings also recall the words of Subramania Bharati?

She has thirty crores of faces, but her heart is one; she speaks eighteen languages, yet her mind is one.

Bottom line: It's time to put aside divisions among Indo-Europeans, Dravidians, and other groups to build a unified India.

Monday, April 21, 2008 :: Why Tibet matters

From (via the IndiaPride mailing list) comes an excellent column by Sonia Jabbar on Why Tibet matters.

She cites two reasons why Tibet is important to India.

The first reason is that Tibet has preserved the knowledge that disappeared from India after the Muslim sacking of Nalanda and other centers of Buddhist education. This is an important consideration for this blog, which promotes conservation of India's heritage, be it natural or cultural, tangible or intangible.

The second reason is that India has treaty obligations with Tibet that she inherited from Great Britain when India became independent. As Ms. Jabbar notes, "... when two countries have concluded an agreement between them, China has no locus standi as a third country. A sovereign state is one that negotiates and sign treaties with other states. Once a state exists it cannot simply be wished away simply because another nation has invaded it."

The Brahmaputra Watershed from Watersheds of the World: Asia and Oceania

Ms. Jabbar further notes, "... one should be aware that China controls the headwaters of many Indian rivers that originate in the Tibetan platea." There have been longstanding concerns that China is planning to divert waters from the Brahmaputra to the Yellow River.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

India Today's Top 10 Indians poll

Found through the drisyadrisya दृश्यादृश्य (seen/not seen) blog was information about the poll conducted by India Today on the Top 10 Indian leaders.

I agree with drisyadrisya that this was not a scientific poll. India Today states, "The poll began on March 14 and ran for three weeks through the India Today website and SMS." If there were no means to disallow votes from those who had already voted (and I suspect there weren't), then this poll was subject to vote-stuffing.

Bhagat Singh

In descending order of percent voting:
  1. Bhagat Singh - 37%

  2. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose - 27%

  3. Mahatma Gandhi - 13%

  4. Sardar Patel - 7%

  5. J.R.D. Tata - 4%

  6. Indira Gandhi - 3%

  7. Rabindranath Tagore - 3%

  8. Homi Bhabha - 2%

  9. Jawaharlal Nehru - 2%

  10. Jayaprakash Narayan - 1%
As drisyadrisya noted, April 13, 2008 marks the 89th anniversary of Jallianwallabagh Massacre, which galvanized Bhagat Singh. So maybe the timing of the poll is why Bhagat Singh took top spot.

I don't mean to disparage the results of the India Today poll; indeed, I take heart in the fact that those who voted in the polls sought to promote assertive leaders.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rethinking Gandhi


I have made reference to Gandhi in scattered posts on this blog. Now comes another article from the redoubtable Sanjeev Nayyar on Gandhi, Christianity, and Ahimsa. In this article, Sanjeev cites Sri Aurobindo, who was critical of Gandhi throughout his life:
“Some prominent national workers in India seem to me to be incarnations of some European force here. They may not be incarnations, but they may be strongly influenced by European thought. For instance Gandhi is a European-truly, a Russian Christian in an Indian body. And there are some Indians in European bodies!

Yes. When the Europeans say that he is more Christian than many Christians (some even say that he is “
Christ of the modern times”) they are perfectly right. All his preaching is derived from Christianity, and though the garb is Indian the essential spirit is Christian. He may not be Christ, but at any rate he comes in continuation of the same impulsion. He is largely influenced by Tolstoy, the Bible, and has a strong Jain tinge in his teachings; at any rate more than by the Indian scriptures-the Upanishads or the Gita, which he interprets in the light of his own ideas.”
Indeed, Gandhi's interpretation of the Gita is fanciful: he does not accept the need to take up arms against the forces of adharma.

Neo-Neocon is a blogger whose worldview changed after 9/11: she formerly was a liberal; after 9/11, she became, well, a "neo-neocon." In her article The varieties of pacifism: (Part I)–Gandhi’s absolutism, Neo-Neocon looks at Gandhi's extreme form of pacifism, in which he advocated collective suicide on the part of Jews in Nazi Germany and on the part of Sikhs and Hindus about to face massacres in Pakistan.

After hearing yet another hagiographic portrayal of Gandhi by a minister in a New Thought church, I told the minister that I disagreed with the portrayal as she greeted me in the receiving line following the service. She was nonplussed. I then forwarded Neo-Neocon's essay, with an apology for using that time and place to state my disagreement, to her by email. I never received a reply.

But then I'm a bit of a sh**-stirrer: certainly, I PO'ed Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekharan with my criticism about his reporting about Godhra.