Paradox Paradise

Would you still call it nonsense, if sense exchanges its meaning with nonsense?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sreesanth must be a commie, ponders captain Ponting

Indians are caught behind the wicket on a racist googly from none other than the masters of the game, the Australians. The majority of Indians believe the whites are superior in everything they do and fancies to imitate them to near perfection. Including, their racist behaviour. But before coming to that aspect of India Shining, let me clarify my thoughts on the alleged racist abuse against the Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds. I doubt how many people knows about his West Indian lineage; and it would be a safe assumption that the crowd were booing at his braided hair and painted lips than his tanned yet fairer skin. And it was not Symonds, but the Australian media who brought in the racist interpretation. Here Symonds is the scapegoat, and it is evident from his later comments that he realises that. He grew up in Australia, and knows a thing or two about racism.

Then I read about what the Australian captain is reported to have said. “They’re fairly passive sort of people, Indians, and he’s probably one from [the] left field.” Ponting said, referring to Indian pacer S. Sreesanth and his aggression in the field, according to the report. May be he should barter his name, Santhakumaran Sreesanth meaning ‘calm young boy of serene grace’, with Rudra Pratap Singh. Pointing has of course seen the red flags fluttering alongside the Indian national flags among the crowd in Kochi, Sreesanth’s home ground. Now, it’s not about Ponting’s commie-phobia, but about his trouble in accepting Indians not being a passive sort of people, as they are supposed to be. I’m not very sure Ponting had to say the same when he was India for the first time for a tour, in 2000 or ’01, about the girl he tried to molest in a pub. I always thought he looked a lot like that guy called George W. Bush. I know, Ponting doesn’t deserve such a huge insult.

The media, and general sentiment about the issue among the public, both in India and Australia is almost consentaneous. Indians played badly and behaved badly in the field, losing a series at home for 2-4. There was a time, not long ago, being in the Indian team required much more than talent, and a time when the players were ‘safe’ in the team in whichever manner they played. Winning was only for personal gratification of not losing, with almost no responsibility on the team. Making such an accusation is not without considering those few exceptions, but it is a just summary. Things have changed, because old ways are inadequate to sustain the fast growing business. Talent has of a little more importance in the selection criteria now.

I stopped watching test matches, ball by ball, quite a long time back. Still some of that old love is left in me. Cricket is not as charged up game as football, the first love. Well, when you put a ball between two strong legs, you ought get a good supply of testosterone, and cricket can’t match that excitement. The beauty of cricket is in its subtleties. The late cuts, or the leg break that whisks the bail off the off stump. Its beauty is in the lack of a second chance. It takes only 10 balls to finish a game, and it’s all about evading those ten deadly balls. Its beauty is in the abundance of chances. It takes only a few overs to turn the game around. A backhand half volley of Jim Courier from the baseline would inspire one to yawn, but an almost same movement before the wickets will give you a beauty of a cover drive.

Sledging is an acceptable practice in cricket. It’s no great surprise that two teams that uses it to the hilt are the now mellowed down South Africa, and Australia. “They pretend the aggression and that sort of backfired,” commented Australian coach after the India tour. To me it’s a clear admission, or claim, that Australians don’t pretend it, but mean it. “The Australians match the personal aggression with the bat and ball,” wrote enlightened Indian media. The trouble I have here is not whether Indians can use sledging successfully, or can win the game without it. My trouble is taking the argument that it is right for Australians and not for Indians, in a good sports man’s spirit. My trouble is in accepting that Australians are naturally aggressive and Indians are passive, and to buy the opinion that it should be so. It’s nothing but well accepted double standards – one so fair and one not so fair.

The Australian team is the finest among all current teams. You have records to prove that. Captain Ricky Pointing is arguably the best among the captains. They have reasonably good bowlers and about alright batsmen. They field well, and win games. The experts call it winning by playing as a team. Sledging is not personal insult, but a pressure mounting tactic, they explain. All true, from the surface. Indian bowlers are never counted as above average, that’s after beating every side they played against. When they say Indians can’t field well, they should give the extra credit to the bowlers for taking wickets without adequate field support. When they say Indians can’t field well, they shouldn’t be giving much credit to the batsmen scoring against them. When they say Australian fielding is impeccable, they should also admit each run scored by Indians against their finest bowlers is of the highest order, and worthier many times over that scored by their batsmen. But to see it like that one should evaluate the game beyond the scorecards. Winning is all that matters, they tell me. And when Indians win, they tell me Australians didn’t play their usual game.

It’s not the story of this series, it’s the same story that I’m hearing ever since I started reading sports columns. It was a very rare occasion of losing a series at home. Two of the four matches could have been won, if it were not for a few mistakes; and it would have been a 4-2 series win. That’s a lame argument in justifying the loss, but if Indians had won I would have got to read that they won by chance and sledging. I have nothing against losing, and don’t believe winning is the only thing. Indians usually win all the series matches at home, and rarely win any abroad. Indians rarely win abroad only means someone else wins at home; still, I never have read about that point of view. The people, who tell me Indians make pitches that support spin bowlers, don’t tell me all others make pitches to support their fast bowlers. This imposed feeling of guilt, and lack of self-esteem is not a very surprising thing for a nation that was colonised for over 200 years.

“Whatever logic you may say, but it’s a fact that we are way behind the Whites – in physical and psychological capabilities.” One of my good friends, who has seen a bit of the world informs me. “May be, it’s purely for socio-environmental reasons,” he adds in an attempt to cover-up the factual error in the argument. He is not alone in this view, he has got majority of Indians with him. Including most of the cricketers. And that shows on the field. With such an attitude, the best thing one can aim for is measuring up to them, once in a while, and then calling it luck. That’s why very often we end up reading Indians won because the opposition didn’t play their best game.

The induced aggression seen recently among Indian bowlers has something to credit to their coach Venkitesh Prasad. He is one who had to take it lying down during his playing career. And this attitude change should go deeper than the expressions. It can only be called a change on the day people start to accept it as not just mere pretension. And the up coming Australian tour can be a real test for it. If some of the eleven can prove it, then the rest of the billion can try to follow it.

While Australia is a topic of discussion, I would like to bring back another subject, that’s not so cricket, related to Australia. I had posted this piece sometime back, explaining the racist, genocidal policy of the Australian government, and called for to sign an online petition put up by Ridwan Laher. That post was the most visited on this blog to this day, getting more than 2000 hits for that page in a week. And hardly anyone among those visitors decided to sign the petition. I got some responses saying they are afraid that would affect their job, because the companies they work for has Australian clients. Another person wrote in and said she’s planning to travel to Australia for higher studies, and do not want to risk her visa. All you people, if wish, can sign the petition as anonymous. Still, I suggest you not to do it. A short but credible list is always more powerful than an inflated one. Those who like to spread the word through their blogs can get the banner from Tom.

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At Tue Oct 30, 04:03:00 am, Blogger Ridwan said...

Hello Jubin George!

This is a complex post with many layers that deserve careful attention.

Please allow me to 'tackle' a few:

When SAfrica plays in occupied oz it is usual for the Black players to face racist ridicule from the fans.

Correct me if I am wrong, but there was even an investigation into racism because of such incidents in oz cricket, right?

The Symonds incident was a quick reflex by the ozzies to prove that they too face racism in the field.

Symonds had to catch-up to the need to portray the Indian fan behaviour as racist.

What the incident allows for occupied oz, especially the white ozzy cricket estabishment and fan, to say "see they do it to us too."

Racism in this context is seen to be an equal opportunity deviance and not one in-bred only into whiteness.

What is most offensive about Ponting is that he gets away with describing Indians as
"passive" ... in this manner he evokes racist images produced alongside the need for the whiteness to see Indians as
non-threatening and friendly to domination.

When the content of passivity is betrayed, the issue becomes one of deviance. Indians who are aggressive are 'out of character' so to speak.

To act passive is to act Indian.

So Ponting would like all Indian cricketers to remain in the "passive" mode/frame.

That is how the game is supposed to be played by Indians.

Leave the aggression to the ozzies and the ever-choking South Africans.

Inside of this 'ordering' are the racist sub-assumptions that the colonialist created and continue to advance.

Ponting is merely relaying an 'old' racist truth.

Cricket in fact, cannot easily be decolonized. In these terms it is really a warfare of the
post-colonial tensions that persist.

Therefore, you will not find me supporting SAfrica when they play India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh, etc, (given the mostly white-make up of the team).

When SAfrica plays oz, England (especially England), New Zealand, etc, I am a SAfrican supporter.

The same thing is true of rugby.

The colonial hand is not too far from the outcome and description that embodies cricket, and rugby.

Still, I am a 50 over and now 20 over fan. I will watch it over rugby any day.

And when the ozzies lose, if even to a minnow team, my boys and I forecast the downfall of whiteness!

When they lose to India, we proclaim whiteness dead!

Be well my brother.

Peace and struggle,

ps. I want to think through a post on those Indians who are quick to see whiteness as advanced ... a post on internalized racism, perhaps.

What you think?

At Tue Oct 30, 04:03:00 pm, Blogger Jubin George said...

Thank you Ridwan.

You have explained the core of the post in much more straight forward language, as you always do.

Aggression is white-nature, and privilege. No one should try to challenge it. Be nice, be receptive, and we would still be calling you names. Let it be so. For everyone's good.

I picked to talk abut cricket, not just because of the incident, but of its colonial relevance. The relevance, that's hard to go off.

The T20 match was played at the Brabourne Stadium, which as a 'rich' history of this aspect of the game - The Bombay Pentangular tournament. It all started in 1877, when the Europeans of Bombay Gymkhana agreed to play against Parsis. This became a an annual event and later became a triangular with a team of Hindus, which eventually become a quartangular with the Muslim team. Gandhi opposed to these matches but was not affected until the mass civil obedience movement of 1930. It restarted in 34, and there were demands to make the teams on geographical zone based, than on religion, but was ignored. Another issue was many good players were not able to play because they were christians, jews or buddhists. And these players formed Rest of India, and the tournament became a Pentangular in 37, which was held at the newly built Brabourne. But Hindus didn't participate the first pentangular, over issues of not giving 'fair share' of seats for their supporters. The tournaments were held for next 9 years with growing criticism against the communal teaming, and was replaced with zonal teams in 46.

That's a brief history of the struggle to play it like the white men, and motivation for Pakistani captain to apologise to all the muslims in the world after losing to India in the T20 final.

Why cricket can't be decolonised is because, how many ever victories are not convincing enough for Indians. That was the second point I was trying to put forth in the post.

We look to the west, and that's from there our standards come from. Increasing standards of living only means getting close to that of theirs to us. And we all know we can never have their homes, their roads, their countries full of prosperity and beauty. We blame our politicians, we blame the lazy poor, we blame vote-bank politics of 'appeasing' minorities, rural poor, and other marginalised groups. We'll never blame the British, who looted the country for 200 years, making its share of world wealth from a huge 23% to 3%. That's just history; more than that it's the able, intelligent British who set up everything for us - the army, the railways, the judiciary and administrative systems. This view is what keeps the colonisation persist.

I'm looking forward to your post.

At Tue Oct 30, 06:21:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi jujube

you guys put across ideas with wonderful ease. that remark hurt to the core - "..Indians are passive.."

At Thu Nov 01, 07:00:00 pm, Anonymous Manjunath said...

No question "passive" stereotype was uncalled for. However, let the sanity prevail. Sreesanth is no poster boy of Indian aggression; he is a court jester of Indian cricket. In fact, Ponting sounds bit dumb when he equates Sreesanth's behaviour with aggression (just like Indian media). Even the pretender tag given by Aussie media is also not accurate. His antics may not be refined, but, they weren't artificial either. As his father vouches he has always been "aggressive".

Let me just write down various thoughts that came to my mind after reading this piece without any order.

Have you overlooked various layers of Indian society that are associated with passivity and aggression?

I was told Chinese think Indians are aggressive because they talk a lot!

How about this Romanian colleague of mine who feels there is something about Germans?

What is the religious profile of "majority of Indians" who accept white supremacy? If some section does not accept then is there any difference in their identity. More importantly, do they hold that identity as the most superior thus having an alternate racist identity for the white racist identity?

If majority of Indians think thus then what is the point complaining against Aussies?

At Fri Nov 02, 03:20:00 am, Blogger Jubin George said...

Anonymous: If it hurts, that's a very healthy sign. It doesn't hurt most of us. And Scout, you are becoming political :)

manjunath: Thank you, for taking the conversation a little further.

Sreesanth, his aggression, his performance, or the game itself, none of these are of much importance to me. Sreesanth’s behaviour on the field, and the reaction that followed, exposed something very deep rooted. And like Ridwan pointed out, cricket is a game that’s pretty tough to decolonise. These were my reasons to talk about this subject in the context of this recent incident.

I haven’t overlooked the complex layers of Indian society. And I’m aware that aggression, as a characteristic, is attributed on religious and regional grounds – pretty liberally. It can also be reasoned on economic classes as well. I have heard people saying Tamilians are a lot more aggressive in nature than Kannadigas. I have also heard people in Channarayapatna (in Karnataka) is more aggressive than the people in Hospet (in Karnataka again). This stereotyping is not completely baseless. It has its socio-historical reasons.

And is it too complicated to understand why the Romanians, even with their stories of Vlad III the Impaler, have ended up calling Germans aggressive?

It is the same socio-historical reasons that I was trying to point out here. When it comes against the White the same attitude pattern superimposes over Indian social strata. It’s universal, because of the unipolar nature attributed to intelligence. Intelligence, too has colour. Let me quote Frantz Fanon. “However painful it may be for me to accept this conclusion, I am obliged to state it: For the black man there is only one destiny. And it is white.” More clearly, in Indian context, it’s from this subconscious drive we, the majority of Indians, have developed what Amartya Sen termed as admiration and disaffection towards the erstwhile colonial masters. It’s because of this seemingly paradoxical mixture of an attitude – of admiration and disaffection – we have the difficulty to recognise the passive acceptance of double standards. The trouble is not just in the double standards, but in the assertion of the strong conviction behind it.

I’m unable to recognise any ‘section’ based on religious or regional identity that opposes or supports this attitude. And for the same reason, I’m ill-equipped to say whether such a section believes in a superiority over whiteness. The point I’m trying to drive home here has nothing to do with nationalist, religious and/or patriotic ideals. I’m talking more about an attitude, than of a view or opinion. One that’s more of subconscious in nature than deliberate.

The blame on Australians is no joke either. The Australian team, and the SA team till a few years back, are the undisputable champions in sledging on the field. And it is no surprise to anyone who knows a bit about the history of these nations.

At Fri Nov 02, 01:47:00 pm, Anonymous Manjunath said...

That Romanian thought highly of higher intelligence and stronger work ethics of Germans which he felt Romanians and other people can't match (he lived with them for sometime). So, it is not just Indians who think so. There people among whites who subscribe to that thought. (nothing to do with aggression in this case).

When Bertrand Russell said German mathematicians(that he found in the US) are better than the English
The Australian team, and the SA team till a few years back, are the undisputable champions in sledging on the field.And it is no surprise to anyone who knows a bit about the history of these nations.

Is it(sledging) only against non-white teams that they employ it? If we remind Australians their past and the sledging will they wonder why the big fuss about Indian 'passivity' considering our own past.

Is there any cynical approach in all these? Let's civilize the "higher strata" first so that aping population would imitate them there too.

At Fri Nov 02, 01:50:00 pm, Anonymous Manjunath said...

When Bertrand Russell said German mathematicians(that he found in the US) are better than the English ones. Did he stereotype? Or a mark of self-assurance?

At Fri Nov 02, 04:38:00 pm, Blogger Jubin George said...

manjunath: The core idea of the discussion is the left-overs of oppression. It is a fact that the attitudes sustain, and the responsibility of it is on both the oppressor and the oppressed, with the former always having an upper hand. That was why I blamed it on the majority of Indians, as well as Australians. That's why passivity becomes an accomplice.

Romania has a very turbulent history of oppression, and there's nothing to be surprised in seeing the people who grew up looking up to West Germany. Now, you shouldn't confused between the white supremacy with the white person. The trouble is only when a white person 'uses' that privilege of assumed superiority, irrespective of on whom it's being practised.

This blog has a couple of regular Romanian readers, and may be they can make this argument a little more clear.

I think, Russel's 'judgment' comes from comparing the prominent mathematicians from both the countries in his time . Or rather, his comment is more of statistical in nature than eugenic; and is valid only for that period. It's when you make that statement timeless, something that's worth being quoted ignoring the context, it becomes stereotyping.

If Australians practise sledging in England, they would promptly reminded that they are descendants of British convicts. Or, no media will write that they are just matching their game with the behaviour. And that's nothing but the same game being played over.

The distribution of this assumed superiority is pyramidal. And one need not be cynical to see who sits on top and who lies at the bottom.

At Tue Nov 06, 07:07:00 pm, Blogger dharmabum said...

this is one of the more complicated posts i have read in recent times, the comment thread - more so. think i'm gonna come back to this.

but yes, we been brain washed brother. into believing that we're passive. i don't think we are.

i've written a little story, and thats why i came here in the first place - to tell u abt it, coz i think u might like it :)

At Tue Nov 06, 11:45:00 pm, Anonymous Manjunath said...

The core idea of the discussion is the left-overs of oppression.

I suppose my first sentence was against stereotyping. Probably, our approaches are different therefore we are not able to appreciate or even recognize each others point of view. I have difficulty in agreeing with you view that the majority of Indians that ape(including racism) or adding angles to Sreesanth's episode. Though I tried with certain questions to understand your points, I feel I can't connect to all of them.

If you ask me I may say for a large section of Indian society 'oppression' is a relative term. Indulekha recognized there was an oppression because she was English educated.

I was trying to find a quote that resemble Frantz Fanon's quote when I stated Bertrand Russell's (because the following part sounded as if he Frantz Fanon believed the later part...and for me the later part was 'in his time')

However painful it may be for me to accept this conclusion, I am obliged to state it:

If anything skin colour is recently selected.

If Australians practise sledging in England, they would promptly reminded that they are descendants of British convicts.

Oh! the same approach that South Asians follow to get even (I remember Ranatunga using it long back). I believe that is a convergent cultural thing and not a borrow from the British. Yes, I still consider that was unwarranted.

I don't consider colonial history has any relevance to majority of Indians. There were layers of Indian society associated with all types of stereotypes. My understanding is that if a person is liberated (either from the top layers or from the bottom layers) from his/her layer then new white layer does not restrict his world view. Our own society gives us opportunity to liberate us from our mental slavery.

That Romanian is no different from your friend who has seen bit of the world. I am not confusing white racism with white person(but of course, I am talking about a white person but not about his country...which is just an identifier for his white skin). I am mere recognizing the fact that people can get overwhelmed or can turn racist in all societies. I do have problems with the word 'aping'. Right or wrong our expressions, our understandings are just individual specific.

At Thu Nov 08, 01:41:00 pm, Blogger Jubin George said...

dharmabum: I have read that post, and got disconnected while posting a comment. Will post it again.

manjunath: Thank you for furthering the discussion. And I sincerely apologise if I have made you feel that your views are not being understood and/or appreciated.

This is what I gather from your comments: There’s no blind following for whiteness in India, and the majority of Indians don’t think the things – cultural, social and intellectual – brought in by the colonial rule have any substantial impact in their world view. If there are instances that may raise a doubt on these, those are purely individual reactions. Such individual prejudices are present all over the world, across all the cultural, regional and ethnic groups. And, so such generalisations can’t be made.

I can’t disagree much to any of these arguments. But these arguments didn’t signify anything to the topic of discussion. Individuality is not as individualistic as the term suggests. An individual, in a society, does more or less same things as millions others do. Individuality is a construct around an individual by plainly ignoring the large picture. One buys and wears the same shirt thousand others do. Same with thoughts. When we agree or disagree, most of the time we are agreeing or disagreeing with a few million people.

The point of this discussion is about the influences that affects and directs individuals in their social behaviour, without even recognising. There’s a strong influence in the Indian subconscious that causes an involuntary subordination to its colonial masters. This is a common thing among all the communities that has been through oppression. And that’s what I referred as leftovers of oppression. This may not be explicit all the time.

Good that you pointed out Indulekha as an example. There’s a situation in the book, where Indulekha plays piano for the guests, and Chanthrakaran, naively asks whether she can’t play it standing up. Here, the objective is to point out Chanthrakaran’s oppressive, backward, attitude towards women. Now, what’s the method? The butt of the joke? Chanthrakaran’s ignorance about the piano, referring to his lack of English education. Before calling me cynical, look at it objectively. He wouldn’t have made the same comment if Indulekha were playing a Veena, sitting. The real objective of the situation is to tell Indulekha has a freewill and lot of self-respect, but the method used is to tell Indulekha has English education and it is superior. And, it suggests only English education, or following the Whites, is the way to develop freewill and self-respect, a thought that most of the Indians subscribe to. That exactly is the trouble I’m talking about.

The same subordination is followed in almost all aspects of life, developing what Amartya Sen called admiration and disaffection. And no society will give opportunities to liberate you from the mental slavery. Society’s job is to conform.

At Thu Nov 08, 06:07:00 pm, Anonymous Prasanth said...

Hi Jubin..Though I am a comparitively new visitor,I have been folowing this blog and particularly this debate with a great deal of interest.Allow me to present a couple of points

1)"If Australians practise sledging in England, they would promptly reminded....And one need not be cynical to see who sits on top and who lies at the bottom
I presume your pyramid would have the English at the top,the Australians in the middle and the poor subcontinentals at the very bottom.From a historical point if view this pyramid seems pretty fine but fast forward to the situation of the game today and it seems a bit different.The English are potrayed as Davids every time they attempt to claim the Ashes..their attempts at aggression a desperate or concerted strategy to needle the Aussies.it would seem that the power structure is a bit different.Similarly I do not remember such an adverse degree of coverage when Sourav Ganguly performed the great T-shirt discus at "the Mecca of cricket".In fact that actually became one of the "defining moments" of India as well(as it was used by umpteen national ntegration messages).
The fact that Indian potrayals did not in general buy into the version of Ganguly "desecrating" Lords is itself a pointer that neither might the acceptance be passive nor might there be any acceptance at all.The decolonising of cricket is indeed difficult but looking at it from another perspective the erstwhile "colonised" run the game.There is a lot of complaining going on about the subcontinental lobby that uses money to influence ICC decisions(Darrel Hair raised the isssue most recently) so it might seem that its not a one way road after all.The notion that Indians cannot be aggressive is long associated with western stereotypes(1.Indians--masters of guile--itself coming from the notion that Indians were generally cunning folks who would never come straight on but would use roundabout ways 2.India --a Hindu country --Hindus=weaklings) and its true that we have bought into it to a great extent as well.But the buying in has not been/is not a smooth process and is accompanied by a great deal of conflict.Sometimes the 'buying in' does not happen at all.
The fact that Sreesanth was universally pilloried seems to hint at the fact that it possibly had a lot more to do with the lack of cedibility he seems to inspire.And as far as the racism row goes,after an initial knee jerk reaction from the media(which obviously loved it) the Indian board responded with the argument that it was not racism and actually got CA to agree that the Indian board was doing a good job.I do realise that you mentioned that cricket match was only a context for a larger argument but I think that these facts are pretty relevant before one makes an asumption about "passive acceptance"

I do also realise that this sudden post(especially without any kind of intro might seem a bit random) but do bear with me.Btw..I am Prasanth..an ex-English student working in a software company in Hyderabad.

At Thu Nov 08, 06:18:00 pm, Anonymous Prasanth said...

One more thing..Could you please supply the link(if there is any) to the report where Ponting made those comments.It shd be an interesting read.

At Tue Nov 13, 02:47:00 pm, Blogger Jubin George said...

Thank you Prasanth for dropping in and putting across your thoughts.

The pyramid is only in the historical context. You might see the order changing slightly in different games and in other spheres like technology, business, art or literature, from time to time. This reshuffling, mostly on the top order doesn't mean much when you look at the large picture. The rules of power flow remains the same - and that's the root of the issue.

The buying in you are talking about is happening pretty smoothly when it's not explicit. I quoted a friend to illustrate that.

Even in the case of Ganguly episode in Lords, the general attitude of Indian media was of passive disapproval. It was toned down only because Ganguly had a victory to back him up. You can imagine how it would have been portrayed if he had done the same thing when taking a wicket, but had lost the game in the end.

Some of the news reports can be found at these links.

From the Indian Express

From Herald Sun 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

And Ponting had something interesting to say about Sreesanth before the series.

At Wed Nov 14, 10:51:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...

Hey Jubin. i'm confused. which means it's a good, layered post from you as usual.
maybe black and white. (no pun intended). but definitely the multi-coloured hues of grey. Neat-o! Would love to see you get really up-front and categorical. But the problem is when you do that, you don't leave the door open for the opposing viewpoint. ah! now i get it.

anyways, i digress. coming to the point. whatever that is, in this context.
forget the racist issue for now. let's take one that's not.
I don't see the reason why there's such a hue and cry about ponting calling us Indians passive. aren't we supposed to be? i agree with dharmabum. we've been brainwashed not just into believing we are passive, but brainwashed into making passiveness a part of our system. Grin and bear it, boys. we're indian! We're peaceful, non-voilent people. and our struggle is even more so. we 'struggle' in peaceful means. we'll be passive bystanders till you get tired of slapping all our collective 'other cheeks' and get to kicking our collective balls. and sometimes not even then.

i define passive here as 'not responding to any action taken against you'. we won't we're on a fast unto death. we'll spare you the trouble of getting rid of us. yes. maybe it's 'socio-historic' *nudge, nudge, wink wink* let's say it out loud. the collective emasculation of this nation began when ashoka won the war and decided to go non-voilent.

and it's been like that. so why jump on ponting when he's just stating the obvious. it hurts yeah? the truth usually does.

now don't get me wrong here. i'm not attacking anybody here, but just responding to whatevers been said out here...to the words and their connotations that's all.

hey Ridwan interesting thoughts. yes, this game of cricket cannot be de-colonised. it's an english game. and who're the test playing nations? most of then ex-slave countries. in other words, the

But this is also due in some ways to the way some people approach this game. You, for example, you're not following cricket and supporting the better 'cricket' team are ya? when watching a match? it's a parochial colonial game you play. if you're a cricket fan, and love the game, i don't see why you and your boys cannot support australia. they're definitely the better team (most of the times). now isn't all this 'i will support bangladesh because they're black/brown/not-white' just prolongs the excruciating 'colonial hangover' that we so abhor. not to mention advancing the colonialist agenda etc. etc. keeping it alive etc. etc. and not just because, as Jubin as rightly touched upon, all the 'good' things the able masters left behind.

also. you won't support the aussies because they're white. you'll support the windies because they're black. if this isn't racism i don't know what is. yes. yes. we can justify it thru socio-history and all that. hah! who do they think they are? carrying the 'white man's burden'. we can explain why this rascism is right. but then, in his own mind even a redneck from the australian outback (is there a creature such as that, Jubin?) can. only, 'our' explanation is not as tenuous as 'theirs'. racism works both ways. you know what they say about glass houses man. yes, i am a racist. i admit. and thusly, i condone it. so i can then fight fire with fire. better than saying racism is wrong, let's weed it out...etc. etc. when eveybody's a closet racist.

and speaking of racism, it's my honest opinion that us Indians are by far the worst racists in the world. this way. and/or that way. choose your path.

and to their credit, the aussies (and by this i mean only the ausssie cricket team) are fat better folk as far as consistency is concerned. they don't discriminate who they sledge. it's a mind game, and that's that said one of the great practitioners of the art of sledging said. it has nothing to do with the colour of the skin. it has to do with beating down the opposing team with words and wierd deeds. we don't do that. we're nice people. we'd rather lose the game than play a mind game or two. it's the participation that matters right? Not winning. how many times have we had that drilled into us?

aiyyo! did i just write all that. well. hope it makes as much sense to you as it does to me. enough rambling for now. which is what this can be construed as. some more points still need to be tackled, but let's get this out of the way.

looking forward to your comments and criticisms, if you think it's worth it.

At Thu Nov 15, 01:57:00 pm, Blogger Jubin George said...

shenoy: There’s a great difference between being abusive and being aggressive. Nonviolent resistance ideology of Gandhi, what your angry opinions about passivity remind me of, is very different from passively accepting the abuse. Nonviolence is saying ‘you are wrong, and I’m not doing the same wrongness’. Passivity is in effect saying, ‘you are/might be/could be right’, with or without saying it.

Orwell mockingly wrote about Gandhi’s 1938 response when asked about what the Jews should be doing with Nazis. Gandhi thought German Jews should commit collective suicide, in protest to Hitler’s idea of extermination. Now, this is not about being passive. It was one of the ‘great’ practices of the most aggressive Indians, the bravest of men and women, to die with honour than be killed by the hands of the enemy.

And Ashoka didn’t win the war, for he felt like a loser at the end of it. Like Rama felt after Sita went back in to the earth, or like Yudhishtira and the Pandavas felt before their Mahaprasthana.

What I find offensive in Ponting’s comment is not that Indians are passive; it is that he thinks Indians are supposed to be passive, and that he is upset when finding it’s not so. To me that’s an assertion of the assumed White supremacy. And that’s why I’d jump on Ponting, and anybody and everybody who tries to justify him.

The other argument of Aussies being ‘superior’ cricketers and sledging being an ‘intelligent’ tactic, too is by and large a made believe one. Is it possible for them to win as many matches ‘consistently’ without sledging in the field, which they use as a very effective ‘tactic’? If they can, why they do it? If they can’t, what’s the big deal about being ‘the best performing’ cricketing side?

The mere fact that Aussies employ sledging with every team, irrespective of the skin colour of the opponents doesn’t mean the attitude doesn’t arise from their racist behaviour. It’s not very hard to understand. And it’s no surprise that Australians and South Africans are the best, far better than the English themselves, in that ‘mind game’.

And how a brown man practices white racism? It’s in his attempt to be the white man, his grand colonial master, whom he looks up with admiration and disaffection. It’s where racism grows beyond the skin. Manjunath, in his comment, had mentioned about Romanians. They are big news on the same grounds now. The white-racists, the anti-Roma whites in Romania, are now at the receiving end of whiter racism of Italians. But why calling it white? Because, the standards and practices are White, irrespective of who follows it. And these standards are built on ‘indisputable’ ideas of intelligence, skill, and other such ‘brainy’ characteristics. All these brainy abilities – in science, technology, literature or art – were possible to develop only with the privilege that only the White enjoy. And that’s where Black disapproval doesn’t become ‘equally’ racist. And that’s why the term Whitey is not the same as Nigger, though both are described as ‘offensive’ in politically correct dictionaries.

Ridwan, in his blog, has answered many times over to the same argument you have against him. If he misses this conversation here, or decide not to answer one more time to the question that he has been answering all his life, and still you are interested know his answer, you can find it at his blog.

At Sat Nov 17, 07:29:00 am, Blogger Ridwan said...

Jubin I have looked at Shenoy's comments that refer to me.

With respect, they are simplistic and miss what I intended with my comment.

The national team is an extension of nationalism and thus can't be so conveniently made to disappear from the purpose of racism in a structural context.

I am irritated by this kind of nonsensical diatribe because it muddies my intention and because it displays so much ignorance about race and racism.

I work in the area of race and racism and I have grown weary over the years of sparring at Shenoy's level.

What is hurtful about his attitude is that it tramples the experiences of millions of people.

It is in a sense a disconnection from the reality of racism.

In these terms, Shenoy displays the utter arrogance of most whites
who counter the issues that racism raises with selective amnesia.

The outcome sought is to overturn the argument and make frivolous nonsense of 600 plus years of debate.

As for his point that Indians are the worst racists, I am stunned.

How many countries have you lived in to make this claim valid, Shenoy?

And what criteria are you using to offer this inane opinion?

I have lived in Canada, the US, South Africa, and India for extended amounts of time and can tell you without a doubt that you know very little of which you profess.

To me you sound like an apologist for white racism. And that is the colonial hangover I sought to take on here.

And before you go around throwing tantrums about what sounds like racism to you I suggest you school yourself on the differences that imply.

Begin by understanding that there are differences between racialization, racialistic, racist, and racism.

I too invite you to spend some time reading through some of the posts on my blog ...

I think you will find me careful about treading into arenas I know little about.

Perhaps this demeanour may be of assistance in disarming your shoot from the hip ignorance on race and racism.

Peace and struggle!

Ridwan Laher

At Mon Nov 19, 02:37:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...

Well, first of all, let me say that there was a follow-up comment to Jubin’s reply to my original comment which has since gone missing. It would have made my points clearer. It makes no difference anyway now. As I have not lived in enough countries, am not a professional in the area of race and racism, and not know the difference between the various alliterative words that are spoken of, etc. etc. to state what my views are on this matter.

But you do realise, we are both on the same side. Just that what I am saying we need to do and go about it is different from yours. Well. Doesn’t matter.

Ridwan, Point taken. But due umbrage has also been taken at yours truly being even remotely equated with ‘most whites’. Fair enough. I do accept your invitation to visit your blog, and hopefully the next time, my words will be seen in the context of the actual post that is being commented upon and not the whole wide world of rascism.

I wouldn’t want to give anybody no headaches by having to ‘spar at my level’ and conversely would expect you to be a little less patronising when you come across views that do not go smoothly with your worldwide, and the number of years that has gone into the debate, or your academic qualifications, semantic jugglery has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Maybe I’m again shooting from my hip here. I have not visited your blog yet, and am only reacting to your ‘holier than thou’ attitude more than anything else. I can imagine why, considering you may have grown weary of the same argument, day on day, year on year, in one country after the next.

And Ridwan, I have live in only one country. My own. India. I was brought up in all the small towns of this land, and i have travelled extensively around this country throughout the 29 years of my short life (oh shit! Is a young age another disqualification, my brother? If so, sorry in advance.)

And that, in my opinion is enough qualification and experience, for me to say that Indians, at large, are as bad a racists as any.

And mine friend, race and rascism (as implied in my ignorant tantrum) goes beyond just the colour of the skin. It’s a bigger issue than just black and white. To me sitting here in India at least. What is a race you ask eh ???? And what do I know you ask eh???

Ask. Ask. Ask. It is your right. Ask me whose country’s contributions have not been given their due because of a false theory of race. Ask me how the white man divided my own people based on notions of cooked-up races that still persist today and haunt our past. Ask why the foreign conquerors morally justified to themselves why their conquest of my country was the right thing to do. Ask. Ask. Ask me how much my great-great-grandfather and my ancestors, the gsbs of the past, had to suffer, be a part of a genocide, and then an exodus to keep their culture and traditions intact so that it could be passed down to me. Just because this happened in just this one large land, and not across countries and continents (like maybe in your case) does not make it any less painful and neither does it make your anger more ‘justified and purer’ than mine. That is the impression I got.

And I do think i have a right to state my opinion, even if it offends thee. It’s not an inane opinion, it’s one that I have based on my experiences, tinged by my beliefs and all the attendant ideological leanings thereof.

Anyways Ridwan, was nice to bump into you this way. Thank you both for the kind and condescending words, and I sure will visit your blog Ridwan.

And I will tread into issues that I think I have opinions of. Yeah. Yeah. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Just one more thing, you say “…the national team is an extension of nationalism and thus can't be so conveniently made to disappear from the purpose of racism in a structural context.” I agree. But do realise that I was speaking only in the context of cricket. Rugby I should’ve avoided I guess ‘cos that really muddied the waters. But let me make it clearer. I was talking only in the context of cricket? And what national team are you talking of? Team India? That is Team BCCI. If you realise, during the whole media rights issue and with the Prasar Bharti imbroglio, BCCI filed an affidavit in the Bombay HC saying that this team represents BCCI and not the Republic of India. And I think they added that this is the case elsewhere, albeit quietly as the ICL thing was just heating up and they didn’t want no rival Team Indias. So pray tell me what national team do you speak of?

Anyways, rest for later. I must needs get back to work now. Thank you again for the respect and your time.

At Mon Nov 19, 04:22:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...


Ooopsie! A coupla things I missed. As far as Ponting saying that ‘Indians are passive’ or ‘Supposed to be passive’ and whatever the permutations and combinations thereof, I still say that he is justified in saying that. Because that is what we have become. Sadly. Exceptions are just that. Exceptions.

‘Feeling like a loser’ is not the same as ‘being a loser’ or ‘losing’. Militarily and materially, Ashoka won. What he felt after that is his own emotion which he then went about stamping into the hearts of the people, and thus I still say that our collective emasculation began there and culminated in the high ideals of Gandhi.

You said ‘It was one of the ‘great’ practices of the most aggressive Indians, the bravest of men and women, to die with honour than be killed by the hands of the enemy.’ I didn’t miss the great in apostrophes. If by doing that, you mean to imply that they are not great, I don’t know what is. Anyways, yes it is true. One of the great practices was that. The example of Chandrashekhar Azad springs to mind. And so does Gandhi, if only he had been the chance to do so, but sadly for us all. But the difference is that Azad took down with him quite a few people, before he shot himself. Passive/non violence (even given the holocaust example) is just either playing into the enemy’s hands, letting him be or hoping he has the sense or decency or the intelligence enough to give you what you want. From where I stand, it’s the same. Nothing gained. Nothing achieved. In our context. Except let your sacrifice and life go wasted. Just either put up with the punishment or put up with the punishment and punish yourself while you’re at it. ‘Tomato’. ‘Tomato’.

By the way, there’s even lesser honour in sending your own people like lambs to the slaughter to fight and die for your enemy’s cause.

Coming to semantic jugglery, let me (as inferred from the above paragraph) state why and how I think non-violence is tantamount to passivity. Both at the end of the day come down to doing nothing, actively.

Non-violence is saying ‘you are wrong, and I’m not doing the same wrongness, but i will take no direct action against you to make sure you end that wrongness, and bring down/disturb the edifice of the now-established order’. Passivity is in effect saying, ‘you are/might be/could be right and so I will do nothing to disturb the edifice of the now-established order’.

Ah wait! Passivity is ‘doing nothing when you’re slapped on one cheek’. Non-violence is ‘turning the other cheek when you’re slapped on one cheek’. Wait. Now that I juggle it this way, I think non-violence is even worse than passivity. But that’s just bad jugglery.

The bit about sledging as a tactic, etc. I shall answer you in person over a cuppa coffee over at the House. One last thing, this time for sure :-)

Depending on whom you ask, we Indians are either ‘brown’ or ‘black’ or ‘not quite black, but definitely not white’. This is where some people throw that whole thing of ‘my black is more blacker than your black’ as if taking umbrage and going ‘wtf! I’m the back here, not you!’. I have told you about this. Anyways, what you realise that this does is put us in that very special (and in my opinion, a privileged) position where we can make the term ‘whitey’ or ‘dumb stupid yank’ or ‘friggin’ white’ mean ‘equally’, if not more, rascist than nigger. I know I can. It may sound tenuous at first, it may turn out to be so in the long run, but I think we can make it stick.

At Tue Nov 20, 01:45:00 pm, Blogger Ridwan said...

Jubin it is good to see a post draw this much interest.

Shenoy I was talking about the South African cricket team and my reference is to people of color who support India, the West Indies, etc, when they play against the mostly white SA team.

And I was specifically reacting to you calling me a racist based on my preferences in those terms ("if this isn't racism i don't know what is." you wrote)

Perhas if you read me more carefully you will note that my points were directed at South Africa and its postcolonial sensitivity to our still too white cricket (and other) teams.

I find your vehemence somewhat interesting nontheless. You obviously like to hear yourself think and talk hey?

I must, however, insist that contrary to your reduced view, you and I are not on the same side.

Your contrived notions of pussy footing around what is race and racism is nothing more than the kind of "double consciousness" DuBois diagnosed a century ago.

I try not to make false gestures and apologies for whiteness (if even implied). That is what I read in your comment to me.

Still, I can maybe understand that you may have been misunderstood. If, for example, you were kind enough not to equate my thinking as racist.

When white folks do that, and you sound white bra, it is a defense.

And man are you defensive!

Let me be clear, I do not intend to take on any such pose as you may deem.

My work and struggle activism in the areas of race and racism stand on their merits and have nothing to do with what you may consider semantics or academic puffing.

But f*ck man you can't go around calling a Black man a racist and think you can float that sh*t inside an apologist diatribe.

That was an unnecessary attack that is telling of your overall understanding or the terms your throw around so easily.

I grew up under apartheid and don't take lightly when anyone calls me a racist.

And I don't give a damn what your age is bra. You obviously think you are funny with your lopsided sarcasm.

I don't.

Also, am I to assume that there is some sanctity to your village origins? Are you pressing a classist case against my question about your worldliness?

My question was simple and sought to determine the essence of your assertion about Indians and racism.

In case you forgot already, read your wisdom again:

"and speaking of racism, it's my honest opinion that us Indians are by far the worst racists in the world."

Are you not apologizing for whiteness with this nonsense?

Who are you serving when you float irresponsible bullsh*t like this?

What you serve to do is to make a mockery of millions of people who have stood against white racism all around the world.

Me included. And mostly my comrades and family who have paid with their lives not to slaves and dogs to whitness.

I have nothing against brothers or sisters with training wheels who want to throw their weight around for effect in these sensitive areas.

It is a good thing if it is done with purpose and forethought.

Franky, your comments are lacking in these terms.

I will readily admit that I know not too much about the game of cricket. I accept that as a fact ... but my comments to Jubin were not about cricket in the main.

As for the rest man, I wish you all of the best.

Jubin I will leave it there brother.

But I do hope this is the last time someone calls me a racist on your blog ... I get enough of that in the US ;0)

Peace and struggle,

ps. Shenoy I invite you to sign our Aboriginal petition against the politics of occupation in Australia.

At Tue Nov 20, 02:54:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...

Sigh. And you call me defensive!
Well Ridwan, with absolutely no pun intended, let me say it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle back. And tell me, people in the US have called you racist before is it? Why was that? What in the world made them say that? If you have the time and the inclination, do tell us. I would like to know. For academic interest if nothing else.

And as far as this debate right here, right now goes, it’s just academic interest that remains. You are so coloured by what you think is ‘the only right’ position that you seem to be taking anything to the contrary very personally, and getting personal. I would like to get off this bus now, by your leave. The closer things are to the heart, the more anything about them get taken personally.

For now, ridwan, I say bye. And I do hope we will bump into each other again. I honestly have better things to do than to explain to you why i think i have a valid point, and how many of your presumptuous assumptions are wrong. All best man.

At Tue Nov 20, 07:56:00 pm, Blogger Ridwan said...

Shenoy white folks in the US call Black people racist all the time.

Hate crimes by official statistics are up by 8 percent in the US. And that is what is known to the FBI.

Being called names, and worse, is part of living in a racist settler society.

And as a professor of Black Studies and African Studies I have had my fair share of scraps with ignorant whites and their default denial.

All of it is sadly part of what I and other folks of color have to contend with most days in whitopia.

It is, therefore, quite amusing to me that much of your interaction with me, and your nonsensical diatribe from the outset, looks and feels just like white attack and default denial.

I guess we should be wondering how an Indian man living 6 decades after independence can sound just like a suburban whitey (globalization?).

One who wants the power and privilege to call a Black man racist but can't deal adequately with the inevitable fallout.

You are right Shenoy, I take this stuff seriously. Can't but do so.

Faced with dire consequences in racist settler societies, Black folk can't just sit around opining for the hell of it.

Racism is a dangerous fact of life. And you stepped up the ante by calling me a racist.

So what is left here may be of mere academic interest to you Shenoy, whatever you feel appropriate bra, but for Black folk racism is more.

It is nothing short of an ongoing war.

And there are plenty of casualties for your too see if you want.

Whiteness is at war in Iraq, and the occupied territories of New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada, and elsewhere.

600 plus years of white racism directed at our bodies of color.

When Ponting made those comments he did so inside of this history and politics.

Since racism is primarily a system of power he used his position of privilege to advance whiteness.

Being that I have no such power, I am challenging the system of racism by standing up against the mindset of Ponting.

Inside of this challenge, I can't ever define myself in terms that Ponting or other whites prescribe.

This is what whiteness expects of those it seeks to dominate. And this is exactly what I read when you say:

"As far as Ponting saying that ‘Indians are passive’ or ‘Supposed to be passive’ and whatever the permutations and combinations thereof, I still say that he is justified in saying that."

"Justified"? ... where is the 'justice' in helping Ponting to piss on us?

You are essentially condoning that white man's racist view of you and an entire 1.2 billion people (plus the diaspora).

That is a f*cked up duplicity you are perpetrating and yeah I take it personally. Can't but do so.

Ponting is a white man born of violent privilege. To accept his view of our beings is to accept the history that created him and the system that still keeps his whiteness dominant.

Fortunately my political principles don't allow me to be a
sell-out for whiteness.

If you thought race wars were over, you are seriously deluded.

Struggle Onward!

ps. I guess we can infer that your name will not be among those of us who are standing up against the oppression of Aboriginals in the Northern Province then?


Now who would of guessed that your opinions about racism amount to no more than hot air?

At Wed Nov 21, 05:46:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...

You can infer what you want, dr.racist.
And if you thought i was backing out you are sadly mistaken, bra (wtf is that anyway?). I wasn’t. I just didn’t want to turn jubin’s blog into a field of battle for us two to slug it out. I was going to continue it on my blog or yours. But what the heck! And people that know me know that I most welcome a break (with the threads to be taken up later again) once a debate and exchange of opinion degenerates into an argument, and people start getting abusive.

You seem to be capable of thinking only in black and white. And racism to you is only an issue between black and white. Up yours!! What are you? Some sort of mongrel in search for someplace to belong? Some people to call your own? Methinks and m has gotten the impression that somehow you seek a sense of identity and have chosen only to make the colour of your skin your identity. My blackness. My black brothers. My black this and my black that. I will give the fuckin’ middle finger and admit, yes, you are more black than I can ever hope to be. Your blackness is more black than mine. Your race is the only one that’s been oppressed and only your definition of race and race relations is right. I admit it. Enough? That what you wanted bra?

And me also thinks that there is something about you that you yourself are not comfortable with. I get the feeling I touched a raw nerve somewhere (with which statement I don’t know) that you don’t want to admit to yourself. Is it a misplaced sense of belonging and identity? What is it? I don’t know. Don’t tell me, I don’t give a flying fuck.

Call me a prejudiced abusive bigot if you will. You are no better, you self-righteous racist. These things cut both ways. Like racism does. Seen the movie crash? Racism, racist stereotypes are there for all to see. And it’s not just a black and white issue.

Don’t go around throwing duBois in my face. And thank you for the diagnosis. We here are born into various identities and two is just the beginning. Though I will admit I only have a cursory knowledge of this, but I do have common sense and can see things that way too I think.

And I serve nobody. Statement of facts are just that. If you have a problem with that, it’s your problem.

To start with my frame of reference has and always been my country. And downwards through all the things thereof. And thus it shall remain.

And fuck you man! I think you’re so full of yourself, always patting yourself on the back, things and causes that you stand for are tarnished by you. Remind me about what I call the Kurosawa principle sometime.

By the way, this is not the end. You will hear from me again soon. I promise. And the issues of hot air balloons will be addressed. Till then, keep up the struggle, as we know you will.

At Thu Nov 22, 03:50:00 am, Blogger Ridwan said...

Thanks Shinoy. Nice to read you for real.

When next I am in Bangalore let's get together and you can tell me all these nice things to my face.

I hope we can arrange all that hey. And I expect to be in south India in 2008/9.

This is definitely the end of my interaction with you here and anywhere on the web.

Jubin I sincerely apologize for this interaction here. I have my side to deal with hey.

It seems I ran into the one person who knows more about my intentions and being than anyone else.

Sweet world.

And even sweeter to read that people of color can be so hateful to others.

It is not everyday that a 29 year old twit tells me to "f*ck off" ... ohhhh yeah this has made my day and is perhaps my worst ever experience in the time that I have been blogging.

This then my closing bra. I am off to South Africa in two weeks and will keep in touch from there.

Thanks for your forum nontheless.

Peace and struggle,
Ridwan Laher

At Thu Nov 22, 11:02:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...

bye bye mah man. have a good time and may you be one with your people. hateful? don't flatter yerself man. hate is too strong an emotion and too valuable an asset to be wasted on minor irritants, especially if they are older, more qualified twits. let's put it that i find you distasteful.

i can see beyond the colour to the person. which you cannot. just because i am a man of colour doesn't mean i have to automatically like you. or that i have to pay lip service to you and your opinions. i don't agree with you here, and that's that.

i find you distasteful not because you are black, but because as a person you come across as somebody who thinks that there is only 'one right way' of doing things, and that way is yours. your thinking is far too coloured by set ways and favoured assumptions and much-loved prejudices to see things any other way. to be fair (honestly, absolutely no pun intended) you too have a right then to think of me that way too. i don't give a you-know-what. and will certainly not lose sleep over it.

and sure man. let's catch up. over a beer or two. at some of our favourite haunts. and i'll sure tell you what you want to hear. again and again.

there're a coupla nice places here you might like. especially a place called dewar's, which till independence most likely had a board that said 'Indians and Dogs not allowed'. And they weren't. Would make a nice story for you. Jubs, what say? shall we take him to dewar's? you're da dewars man here.

honestly i hope that this is the end as far as this is concerned. don't reply mah man. cos then by instinct i would have to too. so in closing, let me tell you a joke a (coloured) friend of mine told me long ago.

Two men, one white, and one black, carshed their vehicles a high-speed accident. and both died on the spot. as both their respective souls were rissign up to heaven, the white guy started a conversation to pass the time. 'I think God is black' said the white guy. Replied the black guy, 'wha!! What makes you say that? God's white man. God is white. has to be. Else we wouldn't have gone through all that injustice, and wouldn't have been made slaves of, taken from our lands and treated like animals man! If god was black, he wouldn't let this happen to us. cos he's so unfair, god must be white!'

the argument got heated. God is black! god is white! god is black! god is white! is too! is not!.....till there was a thunderous noise and light streaming all through the clouds suddenly. and a booming voice spoke out, 'I IS WHAT I IS!'.

The black man then turned to the white man and said 'you were right in your assumption after all'. 'But didn't god just say he was what he was?' the white said. Replied the black man, 'No brother, you heard the words he used. if he was white, he would've said 'I am what i am'.'

i'm sure you will find a hundred things racist and stereotypical with that joke. but we all found it funny. it's a joke. remember that sometimes man, sometimes.....a cigar is just a cigar.

At Wed Dec 19, 03:11:00 am, Blogger Jubin George said...

Honestly, it's really nice to see a good debate going on over a topic I write about. And, it's really awkward to see it getting downright abusive. I'll take refuge in the fact that passionate people do overreact.

I don't moderate the comments, and I believe I shouldn't until someone comes to post a petty personal remark - like in the case, my mom dropping in to ask me to trim my beard. Me too have received a good number of personal abuses at this space. I let them be here only because I refuse to take responsibility for them, and would love to see them taking that responsibility themselves. You can call me passive for that, and I'll let you weigh your argument yourself. :) Insults talk more about the person who's insulting than about the one who's being insulted.

Since, I personally respect both of you, Ridwan and Shenoy, I wouldn't mind apologising to you guys for not moderating the comments, and for not leaving a note that I'd be away for such a long time.

Shenoy: I disagree to most of your arguments, and as you suggested we can beat each other up over a cup of coffee, or some other better drink.

Before that, let me respond to your counter arguments.

Asoka started it, and it culminated in Gandhi. Gandhi let the Indian Army to fight for the British, and that way caused the 'sacrifice' of innocent millions for the cause of the British. A country that 'respects' him as the messiah of independence 'deserves' to be insulted as passive, and thus Ponting is justified in his 'observation' of Indians being passive. This is what I gather from your arguments.

Obviously, Ponting didn't make that comment with your reasoning. Ponting said what he did clearly for another reason - the assumed supremacy of his race, the naturally aggressive one, and his expectation of all Indians 'naturally' subscribing to that. If you can agree with me on that, you have no reason to justify Ponting.

Killing oneself for what one believes in is the extreme of turning the other cheek. The same guy who preached about turning the other cheek had said this too. My definition of greatness differs in the inclusion of a condition that before giving up one should take some. That's the reason why I put the word great in apostrophes. When Azad put the gun to his head, the British didn't flinch an eye. Was it the same every time when Gandhi did his fast unto death?

As for Gandhi, and what I think of him, we already had an argument in the post I wrote about Gandhi. You very well know when did Quit India happen, and you very well know why Gandhi and a lakh of his supporters were imprisoned for over two years during WW II. And the innocent Indians who had been sacrificed are the same group of innocent Indians who had their fun at beating up the 'passive' people who turned their other cheek to them. And it's the same innocent Indians who killed, and got killed by, INA. Do you really think Gandhi wanted Indian Army to continue being proud of their pre-independence 'service', which they ceremoniously do at India Gate? I refuse to see an Army as people. Salaried army is just a mindless instrument. Without Gandhi, and his enviable influence on the people, what I can see is six or seven unstable countries, and two or three south africas in the place of present republic of India. Something worse than the British expected to see when they left for good after their brilliant plan of partition. I don't buy Gandhi's views on religion, spirituality and the caste system. But his non-violent struggle, and its in effect value can't be ignored by anyone. Even Nathuram Godse couldn't.

And a few questions about the joke you left in your last comment. It's a joke alright, but why is it so? Is it for the same reason which made Fanon conclude that language is one of the mightiest tools of oppression? Isn't it the white man who taught us to laugh for it? Aren't we laughing without knowing that the joke is on us? Or are we doing it with that knowledge, but by deliberately ignoring it? Don't we have similar, 'innocent' jokes about regional accents? Is it all just about the fact of different people having different tongues? Or is it about one matches the Queen's tongue while the other doesn't? A cigar is a cigar only when you can smoke it, otherwise it's a stinking piece of stick meant for the filthy rich.

At Wed Dec 19, 03:02:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...

The marxist that i am, i hereby give you a neat statement from The Great Groucho himself, ‘you can quote as being misquoted.’

Welcome back mah man. Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond, can i call you what i will? :-)
But I’ll take my time here to first say thank you, and since we’re free to speak our minds anywhere I must think that comment moderation would not just be a waste of your time, but would also take the ‘flavour’ out of certain exchanges. ‘speaking your mind’ is a paradox if you know its going to be in a moderated environment. I know yours is a paradise, but c’mon man! don’t. i think I’ve had this conversation earlier with you about you why i think even the option of anonymous comments should be allowed, and why comment moderation and publishing of comments only after permission from the author is a no-no. I get a lot of anony-mouses on my blog every now and then. But that tells me more about their cowardice and their insecurity in putting their name after their opinions than anything else they would say.

As far as insults are concerned, they aint insults till you acknowledge them. Right? You being congenitally lazy should be able to understand that. And sometimes (and I speak from a recent experience) certain ‘observations’ and ‘questions’ get considered insults, and are acknowledged as such. Leads the observer (or the insulter as he’s considered) to conclude that ‘hmm…there must be something then in them observations…’

Honestly, I don’t think nobody here need apologise for not doing something they shouldn’t have been thinking of doing in the first place. Now that you’re back is there another looong post about your overextended biking trip across this land on the anvil? I should think so. From one end to another. Sure hope so.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand…..

*Jubin, you’re free to disagree. As is your right to. Doesn’t make me wrong. Doesn’t make you right.
Yes, I agree that ponting wouldn’t have made that comment coming from the way i reason it. But even shorn of all ponting-isms, my reasoning still stands valid.

And the way you put it, or rather the way you have worded your counter (‘if’ ‘then’ sorts) leaves me with no choice but to say, ‘yes, ponting is unjustified’. Talk about structuring! You’re a true blue writer-boy. Now whether it was an ‘observation’ or a ‘statement of fact’ and the search for ponting’s motives and means we have seen will lead nowhere, as they have not. Whites have always believed in the ‘inherent supremacy’ and to say that they have taken their supposed role as ‘civilisers’ a tad too seriously is an understatement.

And considering that semantics, and choice of words, seem to be playing a progressively larger role on your blog, and its comments sections thereof, i will henceforth be very very wary. I do not believe in editing and rediting and redrafting and rediting my posts or my comments. To you and your esteemed readers that must surely smack of all the trappings of a dilettante. Whatever. But I shall be wary. Starting sometime in the next decade or so.

Man, we gotta seriously beat each other up. Meet you over at coffee house. Let’s take it outside this blog, and into the real world. Where there are people around. Where you and me are face to face. *shudder* :-)

But tell me, all this blogging business.

But before i go a few statements in brief, and I will not go through the trouble of telling you in complete form my reasoning behind it for it seems to make no difference either way….
- You and I agree at lest on what constitutes great. Your inclusion of a condition is what I have stated in my previous comment, apostrophes notwithstanding
- when Azad put a gun to his head, the brits heaved a sigh of relief. A very big collective sigh of relief. Why that was, you know as well as I do. It’s not about flinching. Why should they have? They were glad one of the biggest thorns in their flesh was out of the way.
- The brits didn’t flinch either when Gandhi went on his many innumerable fasts which more often than not, never met their goal. Neither were the exact demands we wanted materialise, neither he die.
Like when Azad died, I’m sure the brits too heaved a sigh of relief. Because it would invariable mean yet another round of negotiation with The Great Gandhi because they knew they would get they want from ‘their man in India’.
- Yeah. Even Godse couldn’t in the end ignore gandhi’s ‘non-violent’ ‘struggle’, and its in effect value etc. Thank god for us he didn’t. I only wonder why Godse kept ‘ignoring’ it for so long. He waited till 1948!
- The only area where I would give Gandhi some (just some) credit are some selected views of his on spirituality and religion. Which you don’t buy. Awesome! One more beating up session. At this rate, Jubin, we’ll end up starting the Bengaluru Chapter of Fight Club!

Dude! Get the joke! A joke!!! Smile. Relax! A joke in any language is just a joke. And those ‘seemingly innocent’ mallu jokes and surd jokes we say and hear? They’re just that. Ain’t no malice behind it. And Queen’s language be damned, but if you’re gonna pick on choice of words in a joke, c’mon!!!!
Language is as much an instrument of liberation as it is a tool of oppression.
A cigar is just a rich man’s beedi. Or is a beedi the poor man’s cigar?
Light up!

At Sat Jan 05, 04:44:00 pm, Blogger shenoy said...

this is too good for words!! Symonds is at it again! go harbhajan go!! pay them back in their coin...dismiss them in the language they understand.

what say you jubin about this new incident? It is my feeling that it is these mongrels that are the worst. they have to prove themselves whiter than the whites and blacker than the blacks....which makes them more insecure than they should be and their loud noises and cliams is one way of proving who they identify themselves with. loudly. vociferously. regularly.
never like harbhajan. but if he's using samuel l jackson's fav 12-letter word with racist remarks...never been a a better reason to start liking this turbanator of ours.

At Tue Jan 22, 06:11:00 pm, Blogger dharmabum said...

you better write now.

oh, and happy new year :)


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