Friday, March 27, 2015

John Adams, Savarkar,Vivekananda and Chetan Bhagat


The original title of this post was John Adams, Savarkar, Vivekananda and 3 Idiots(the film based on Chetan Bhagat's book) but I was concerned that some irate readers may misinterpret that I was referring to the aforementioned esteemed individuals as the 3 idiots in question. Unlike a certain blogger I try to avoid click bait incendiary titles.

As what these gentleman have in common, well please read on.

I saw 3 Idiots with my parents when it had released in 2009 . Watching it with your parents was interesting experience as I was subject to the same pressure of most other Indian middle class kids ie major in engineering, get an MBA and find a good job abroad. In my case I was bit a goof off in college especially as an undergrad in America(so many distractions..)so I while I was smart enough for engineering I wasn't quite disciplined. And if you are not disciplined you aren't going nowhere in engineering no matter how smart you are. Ultimately I ended up in MIS and Business and touch wood am making more than I would've if I pursued engineering(of course since I am self employed, this comes with certain caveats)

This brings me a tiff I had with the depiction of Aamir Khan as a born genius. As Einstein said, genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Yet we rarely ever see this seemingly smart alek study or exert any academic discipline and yet he is always tops his class.This is what annoyed me about another movie featuring a blue collar genius- Good Will Hunting. Will Hunting(ably though a bit smugly played by Matt Damon) didn't seem to exert any effort at applying his seemingly superhuman genius except showing off to get women.

Both movies are beset by post 60s sentimentality and a therapeutic culture(in GWH ,Will Hunting goes as far as to hug his psychiatric at the end). Which is what is really wrong with our culture as well. We seem to be a unholy mixture  of cold calculating pragmatism and sappy syrupy sentimentalism which often masquerades as idealism. As a result we get the worst of both worlds.
And  neither are our leaders ,academics or entertainers exempt from this dysfuntion.

Rajkumar Hirani achieved fame with a remake of yet another Robin Williams(who himself was notorious for routine dissemination of formulaic schmaltz) film Patch Adams which we know as Munnabhai MBBS. We are sagely informed by this lovable street thug that we shouldn't be so unfeeling as to treat a patient as a moving part on an assembly and a good number of the worlds problems can be solved by a jaadu ki jhappi( a bear hug)
As an aside, how many lovable thugs do you know? What is with this Rousseauan love of lowlifes and criminals amongst filmmakers?
Of course the much demonized Dean (deliriously played by Boman Irani) is correct. It is impossible to function ably as a physician if you get too attached to your charges. A certain level of detachment is crucial in order to perform your duties. And isn't it understood that if it weren't for compassion, most of those who practice medicine wouldn't spend years of rigorous training in medical school and internship?

Hirani's former boss Vidhu Vinod Chopra and producer of MBBS suffers from the same disease of post 60s sentimentality. One of his first films(as a writer) was Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron - a hilarious satire of the corruption and incestuous politics of real estate kingpins ,media and municipality in Mumbai  which includes a not too subtle reference to Shobha De(shobhaji). Often the hapless duo Sudhir and Vinod (in a self homage to the writers Sudheer Mishra and Vidhu Vinod Chopra) break out into "hum honge kaamyab" a desi version of the Vietnam era hippie song "We shall overcome some day"(which in turn was misappropriated from the civil rights movement and gospel music)

VVC ditches whatever subtlety he was holding and ended a gritty gangster flick Parinda with a bunch of cuddly children in angel attire singing the same some towards the end.

In his next film 1942 : A love story , the protagonist played by Anil Kapoor repeats another clichéd crie de couer of the lovelorn youth of yore when confronted by his beau's admittedly unreasonably father about how he could he think of love during a time of revolution "If everyone loved each other what then is the need for revolution".
Sappy long hair neer do well in Haight Ashbury San Fransisco circa 1968 couldn't have put it better themselves

In Mission Kashmir, he went as far to indulge in their own secular propaganda that the REAL victims in Kashmir were not Kashmiri pandits who were hounded out of their own state but good natured moderate Muslims who were unfairly castigated as terrorist sympathizers.
Philip Lutgendorf , a professor of Indian popular culture and not unsympathetic to Indian seculars , feels fit to mock the sappiness that oozes through the screen

"While plotting to blow up Sufi’s transmission tower, Altaaf takes time out to dance exuberantly in her televised spectacles of National Integration. These might be auto-parody, or just incredibly bad taste: they conjure up a Never-Never-Kashmir, literally Made For (and of) TV, with “lakes” formed of glass blocks that resemble sets, upon which colorfully-costumed “natives” sing souped-up Kashmiri folksongs about bumble bees and communal harmony, with all the enthusiasm of, say, Chinese extras in a Beijing musical about life in Lhasa…. To be fair, the film makes brief, sporadic efforts to complicate its own picture: its secessionist militants are sympathetically shown as good-natured, tea-drinking boys who have simply fallen into Bad (Islamic fundamentalist) Company—though this furthers the depiction of Muslims as errant children who need to be straightened out.
Reborn after a purifyingdubki (immersion) in Dal Lake, his boyish dreams are no longer of unavenged massacres, but of (what else?) an Astroturf cricket pitch. Itself a Great Indian Metaphor—that other, less-sanguine battlefield for Indo-Pak rivalries, and lately for the revision of colonial history

He goes even further to degrade traditional norms and sense of duty in his stately but ultimately hollow Eklavya where the prince ponders about like Hamlet about the insanity of duty ,honor and tradition while his own father in the end is guilty of dereliction of duty when he refuses to kill his son.
Say what you want about the rather corny Kamalahassan film Indian where he plays both , an idealistic Kalari practicing INA veteran turned vigilante as well as his corrupt and glib government servant son. The former's killing of the latter made sense morally and narratively while VVC as always indulged in a sentimental copout in Eklavya

And so I hope the reader realizes how thoroughly marinated in regressive liberalism of a Western bent is the entertainment. Packaging Western hippie values in an Indian context does far greater damage to our youth than any subliminal Rothschild propaganda. 

Rajkumar Hirani and Chetan Bhagat have to little to offer our youth except "follow your dreams" and everything will be ok. Following one's dreams led many young people in U.S to major in such esteemed degree such Transgendered roles in 1950s popular, Fijian pottery and Gay and Lesbian Black studies.
As you may have guessed the employers are not exactly swarming towards them with job offers. Whats even worse is these young students are now chained by student debt they have taken to pursue their worthless majors. So much for following your dreams.

Theodore Dalrymple aptly notes that most of the revolutionary unrest since the 20th century was not started by the poor but by college educated middle class youth who felt they were not given the appropriate jobs,monies and prestige to which they felt entitled.

Rancho in 3 Idiots counsels his friends when they do poorly in engineering that they do what interests them ie photography and writing. At this point , my eyes were rolling so far behind my socket that I looked like a horror movie prop.

Who DOESNT consider himself a good writer or photographer. I remember buying a very expensive camera planning to become a photographer part time. And trust me, photography is just much a discipline as an art. There is just so much to learn with the aperture,flash, timing, zoom, framing ,lenses, optics and god knows what else. I eventually sold the camera and moved on.

Similarly writing is not a talent that one can acquire overnight. In the movie the character with the penchant for the pen is shown as a successful blogger?!!

In short the guy who did well in engineering was a born genius who didn't do a lick of studying. The photographer simply picked up a camera and started clicking and before you know it he had his own book on wildlife and the writer now runs a successful blog...once again -??!!

Is this really the type of message we want our children to learn?Even a prosperous country like U.S struggles to provide employment for its humanities graduates, what scope is there for a country like India?

But wait you ask," isn't humanities- the study of art,literature, music and sculpture the jewels and ornaments of a civilization? Sure we all need STEM but we crave the humanities." Why yes. I will go as further as to say that humanities are the soul of a country if the STEM is the body.
We need both.

I believe ideally it is the very rich whose offspring should pursue these pleasant occupations because well they can afford to. Full stop. And we cant be rich if we don't have a generation to sweat it out for its offspring.

Therefore need STEM and entrepreneurs and more of it first. This brings me to Founding Father and U.S President John Adams. I believe this was his response as to why he wasn't a renaissance man

The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts.I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture,navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children
a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary,
tapestry and porcelain.

One wonders if he meant it literally as John Adam's son, John Quincy Adams later became president ( a fact not lost on George Bush 41 who used to refer to George Bush 43 as "Quincy" while prepping him to be President) himself though he didn't quite have the luxury yet of studying mathematics or philosophy. He studied law and through his impeccable diplomacy greatly expanded the size of the United States.
Our forefathers Patel,Rajaji,Bose, Savarkar,Nehru,Gandhi have done their duty studying government and law.
We are have not kept up our end of the bargain for the last two generations and are already  willing to throw in the towel and move on to the more pleasant and stress fee distractions.

As early as 1910 Savarkar lamented that even back then too many Indians were attracted to the humanities which he saw a sign of escapism. He went as far as to state that Indians were Shudras ,at best Vaishyas and hence they should take up trades such as the engineering and hard sciences. At the same time he observed that the British and Americans were the equivalent of Kshatriyas and therefore were now suited to study the Vedas.

Vivekananda went even further and stated that a person who plays football is closer to god than someone who studies the Gita all day. He despaired that Indians were so physically weak . He believed also that much of heavily introspective and melancholic Indian music of the era enervated and demoralized the populace. "Are there no drums in this country"? He once asked cheekily.

"For gods sake stop swinging your arms like lassoes" implored a Indian student in Cambridge, a certain Subhash Bose, to his fellow compatriots.

Such type of populace as described by Vivekananda, Savarkar and Bose were not ready for war. War being an extension of politics which students were supposed to study. It was no less than Plato who stated the scholar should also be an athlete. These three individuals also recommended that we put aside our taboo about meat and consume the necessary protein at least for the sake of country.

How far we had fallen from the Vedic ideal where the students were taught dandaniti(governance) and prajatantra(politics) irrespective of whether these elites students owed their allegiance to a monarchy or republican state.

It is hard to believe that a religion that was so fixated on the myriad of ways the human body can approach the divine was lacking in a physical culture.

No less than Charak and Sushruta(who recommended beef) insist on daily exercise and no not just for Kshatriyas!

Alas just as Gandhi discovered his pacific Hinduism from second hand inaccurate sources such as Tolstoy,our youth are indulging in silliness such as self actualization and "finding myself" via 1960s Western liberalism which came about due to events in which we had absolutely no stake.

I wish I was exaggerating when I say the real religion of India today is Bollywood. I remember speaking to some youth last year when I visited India and they didn't know who Chandragupta Maurya or Chanakya were. But they were more than willing to share with the going ons of Big Boss and the latest escapades of Sunny Leone.

Should we encourage this lot to "follow their dreams"?

On a positive note. I will end by saying that I am very pleased the Chinese youth are big fans of 3 Idiots. I look forward to its Chinese remake. Indeed the Indian government should fund the production.
It will do more damage to the future Chinese power than those scores of Axis leaflets had done the Allied morale.
Our surplus humanities graduates will need all the jobs they can get. Even as factory hands....


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    1. I have had both negative
      and positive interactions with Vivek Iyer (windwheel).

      He is an incredibly well informed individual but alas also quite unbalanced mentally. So when he's on his meds, he is all sweetness and light. When he is off- that's when the death threats come in

      I respect Sanjeev Sabhlok greatly but with some caveats. He believes RSS/BJP is the epitome of evil. I don't think too highly of the Hindutvadis but I don't see them as any more corrupt and incompetent than any other organization or ideology

      He has some great insights into economics and reforming governance.
      Alas Im afraid his dream of forming a party will never come to pass as he is not interested in engaging with people. His blog is heavily moderated which is why I stopped posting there . Also he is not very interested in debate. When I posted some views countering his pro extraction points of Indian gold mines, he just told me to stop posting as he is not interested in debating.

      Well and good since I am not interested in debating such a person. So his dream of his party winning anything is DOA.

    2. I hurt your career and prospects and that sort of thing is cumulative. You are missing out right now because you were foolish enough to utter pornographic threats against a senior former I.F.S, St.Stephens, U.N diplomat. What's the point of saying that you have had positive interactions with me? It isn't true. We may enjoy trading insults- quite harmless, TO ME. Why? I've nothing to lose. But, as I said, it wouldn't be harmless to you.
      On balance, I gained a little by going after you- people my age have a sort of fellow feeling and express peer solidarity by expressing gratitude for the chance to slap down an egregious little turd, not to say septic catamite, like you- but you gained nothing going after me at all.
      Unless, your secret desire was to become unemployable.
      Let me be frank with you. You are stupid. But stupidity isn't necessarily a bad thing provided it is yoked with predictability. Never qualify a judgement. Black is black and White is White.
      Also- get a fucking Gornmint job. You are getting stupider by the second. Like Sabhlok, you can't survive in the real world.

  2. I would list the following as chief defects of Indian education ---

    1) True history of India is not taught to Indian children.

    2) No creativity in education - Rote learning is taking its toll. If you want India to become a technological super power, put an end to excessive rote learning.

    3) No enforcement of compulsory school education

    4) No emphasis on vocational training in school syllabus

    5) Too many are being permitted to study beyond Class 10 while 70 percent of them are unqualified for it.

    6) No program for specialized vocational training for folks who have completed school education --- Kindly do note that main reason for poverty in India is lack of specialized vocational skills relevant to modern economy.

    1. YSV a damn good article where I found nothing to disagree with you :)

      "No less than Charak and Sushruta(who recommended beef) insist on daily exercise and no not just for Kshatriyas!" - You are right is blaming Gandhi and 60s western influence in our physical denigration.Hindu pushups and hindu squats were a household routine in the dawn or dusk in every home in North India(yes including the effeminate Bengal :) ) .My paternal grandfather had been an active freedom fighter (Gandhian) in his college life.I heard from my relatives that he had continued his routine of Hindu pushups and squats upto the age of 70-75.The excessive ideological emphasis on Ahimsa had weakened this traditional culture of cultivating physical prowess.YSV an interesting fact is that Vivekananda had won the district championship in Indian wrestling(called Kusti in bong) at the age of 18-19.And Netaji had punched Prof Oten,who was nearly double his size, to the ground.Considering the popularity of Indian wrestling(Bhagat Singh and sukhdev were also parttime wrestlers in their college life),it is hard to believe that Indians have become so averse to physical rigidity.And reflecting on this perplexes me about the extent to which Gandhi had been able to influence us.Once I was reading in some website that Ayurvedic doctors of the past used to prescribe Suryanamaskar to patients with general health problems.Even the early Brits of 17th-18th century seemed to have been positive about the suryanamaskar exercise.

      "I wish I was exaggerating when I say the real religion of India today is Bollywood." -Rather I would say "secular" bollywood and entertainment is the religion at present,with cricket as one of its subsects.Some day the youngsters will start claiming that knowledge of Mauryas or Rajput dynasties is highly communal and anti-minority !

    2. At present, you wont learn anything about Hindu heroes and Hindu heroism from history classes.

      And even in those sections where reference is made to heroes and heroism, it is usually made to glorify invaders, subtly or openly.

      Only thing that they teaches in history classes is about so called ""socio-economic history"" which never fails to put a child to sleep.

      For these reasons, youngsters are not to be blamed if they are ignorant of Chanakya.

      If you want to blame anyone, then blame the old men who decide what a kid should study.

    3. 1) True history of India is not taught to Indian children.

      Yes. We are taught to glorify Muslim tyrants while their Hindu adversaries get a passing mention. The pre Muslim era is actually skimmed through so thoroughly that it leads to a lot of confusion.
      The Mauryas are separated from the Gupta by about 700 years but how many really know the difference between Chandra Gupta and Chandragupta Maurya.

      2) No creativity in education - Rote learning is taking its toll. If you want India to become a technological super power, put an end to excessive rote learning.

      Rote learning has its place. Memorization is one of the building blocks of sound mind. But yes in India there is overkill. At some point children should apply their mind. How shocked I was to discover open book exams in university in U.S? Apparently they have them in high schools too. The question papers are designed in such a way that no amount of referring to the books or notes will help you.

      3) No enforcement of compulsory school education

      You can lead a horse to water but cant make it drink. If there is no yearning for education in the family itself there is often little point.
      4) No emphasis on vocational training in school syllabus

      In U.S, there used to be be shop class where (usually) boys would learn carpentry and metal working skills. With the decline in manufacturing and effeminization of American schools that is gone
      Im not sure how many would take it up in India though. The middle class still sneers at jobs where you don't sit behind a desk all day.

      5) Too many are being permitted to study beyond Class 10 while 70 percent of them are unqualified for it.

      When there is dignity of labor in India like there is Australia ,France and U.S where plumbers and electricians pull in 80k usd a year, then we need not worry about that. But for now there is an excess supply of cheap labor and will remain until the population stabilizes or becomes more skilled which happens first

      6) No program for specialized vocational training for folks who have completed school education --- Kindly do note that main reason for poverty in India is lack of specialized vocational skills relevant to modern economy.

      Again no dignity of labor. Why cant a middle class guy become an electrician or carpenter if the pay is good?

    4. @JAM

      Thanks Jam. Please note that most English when they arrived were shorter on average than Indians in the late 1600-1700s.
      Well until the mid 1800s, the average height of an English solider was 5'5". And remember a soldier was supposed to the best physical specimen your country had to offer.
      The Portuguese,Italian, English and other observers noticed that Indians on average were tall ,healthy and strong.

      This was true even in Maurya times as these were Greek observations as well.

  3. "I look forward to its Chinese remake. Indeed the Indian government should fund the production."

    Haha ROFL. But to be fair to Chetan Bhagat, the book was deeper and more introspective, and used a lot of dark comedy. Bollywood is only interested in recycling its schlock year after year with well-timed dance numbers and pandering to the lowest denominator (that chamatkaar balaatkaar scene).

    1. @ YSV

      People who think and spread that writing is a lazy man's pondering,don't even know how much penance and skill it takes to hold the charm of the reader on the mundane black-and-white print.We often see bad movies getting hyped for some reason or other,but a bad author is rarely found to be receiving accolades.By "bad author" I particularly mean bad writing style and not bad content.Bad contents do have a potential to get popularised by leaps and bounds,as has been proved by a certain blogger whom you have hinted in this article :)

    2. @ Prem Chand

      I could never understand this obsession of bollywood in making everyone dance and sing,right from the worldsaving hero to the monstrous villain.This is one reason why I avoid bollywood altogether,except a few movies.But anyway I will also have to admit that bollywood is catering to the Indian psyche,that comprises of youngsters who haven't heard of Chanakya.

    3. Education makes sure that youngsters have not heard about Chanakya and that make them less dangerous than one who knows history. BUT WHAT IF this ignorant youngster one day by accident learns about true state of past and true state of present? That risk is eliminated by making sure that he or she is drugged with bollywood and reality shows.

    4. """"He despaired that Indians were so physically weak.""""

      Only Indians that ever were and are physically weak are those Indians educated in Macaulay's schools. What a good luck that majority of Indians are still either barely literate or semi-educated! If they become well educated, they too will become good for nothing, socially and politically speaking. Indian masses acting on plain common sense have done far more than our conceited graduates.

      """These three individuals also recommended that we put aside our taboo about meat and consume the necessary protein at least for the sake of country.""""

      Who had taboo about eating meat? Most Hindus were and are not vegetarian. But why this obsession with meat? Martial Brahmans of North India are vegetarian but made great soldiers. Plenty of Jat wrestlers in Haryana still follow strictly vegetarian diet.

      Aversion of sport and physical labor is a big problem among educated Indians which is making them cowardly and weak. This make sure that they debate endlessly about how to save country but will not act courageously when need arise.

    5. @ Sagar

      "Only Indians that ever were and are physically weak are those Indians educated in Macaulay's schools. " - yeah I was also trying to convey this point in my previous comment on this post.The rot in physical efficiency of Indians as a whole started with the ahimsa shit in 20th century.Before this Indians were not quite the ordinary Joe in physical culture.Suryanamaskar was prescribed frequently by Indian ayurvedic doctors for general health problems.I am not sure whether the poses were exactly the same as the modern variant practised widely at present .The common belief was that Sun god blesses the patient with long health and wisdom with practice of suryanamaskar.It is quite anomolous that the west has actually popularised and revived the suryanamaskar at present.Strange that this exercise was almost forgotten by the Indian masses from the beginning of Indian renaissance,probably because of its relative complexity wrt the Hindu pushup and other simpler variants of exercise.

    6. @Prem chand

      I skimmed through the book, yes it was more layered but ultimately Bhagat subscribes to follow your dreams meme.

      Call me pedestrian but I enjoyed the Ctrl F and replace chamatkaar , balatkaar joke and execution :)

    7. @ Sagar

      Yes those who educated in a regional curriculum tended to be far more uninhibited in celebrating examples of Hindu heroism as seculars failed to make inroads into regional languages perhaps due to oversight

      In Telugu, we had movies about Kakatiyas(who defeated Khiljis armies repeatedly) as well as Krishnadevaraya.

      Meanwhile Bollywood keeps producing one Pathan and Arab glorifying movie after another such as Khuda Gawah, Sultanat and Alibaba with Dharmendra.

    8. @Sagar

      Im not saying meat neccesarily is mandatory for good health but it is much more efficient to extract protein from meat than any other source

      That said while Roman soldiers did eat meat , they did so rarely. As Will Durant notices they conquered Europe on a vegetarian diet as those were the rations provided and the lack of refrigeration in that era made meat somewhat impractical

      The steppes people on the other hand came from a bitterly cold climate where meat would last longer and had a more meat centric diet. The Huns probably introduced the kebabs which may have disappeared with the destruction of their political power by the Guptas.
      Their descendents ,the Turks and Mughals reintroduced it and it stuck.

      BTW not all north Indian Brahmanas were vegetarians. Bengali Brahmins in particular don't even consider fish as non veg lol

    9. @ysv I have heard that a past famine in Bengal forced people to consume a diet high on seafood and the previously vegan Brahmins were also forced to eat fish. When things came back to normal, they had gotten into the habit of consuming fish or so the story goes. I guess JAM will verify it for us? :)

    10. But ysv, isn't eating red meat considered bad for health as it increases the risk of heart disease or cancer?

    11. @Anu as the Buddha who consumed pork and possibly beef, stated- follow the path of moderation :)

      For sure, North American levels of red meat consumption is not only necessary but harmful as they engorge in excess

      Also you have to consider the unwholesome practices of cattle rearing with the hormone treatment et al

    12. @ Prem Chand

      Though I don't doubt the historical authenticity of this fact,but by past which particular era do you mean ?Because the references of fish consumption in large amounts date back to very ancient ages in the Bengal area,when Bengali identity wasn't even established separately from the Magadha culture. Anyway the hearsay,though a bit funny,might have a slight historical authenticity.Atleast it is not a very crackpot one :)
      As of now the established perspective on fish eating in Bengal is a bit different.The Buddhist vegetarianism gripped almost the whole of north India but couldn't sweep Bengal.Infact north Indian brahmins had started considering people of Bengal as some inferior god-foresaken race for this .However it was for good that bengalis didn't quit fish.A huge number of people in Bengal had been fishermen traditionally.It might have something to do with the economic geography of Bengal but I am not sure about this.Infact the ancient "Bhatiali " folk music lineage had been solely developed by fishermen and boatmen in bengal area . Anyway the boycott of fish would have been disastrous to the Bengal economy.hence I think the good senses prevailed.
      As YSV stated,some species of fish are even considered holy in Bengal ;) But the decision of bengali brahmins in considering this probably had economic considerations .

      @ Anu & YSV

      Red meat is not actually required for anything except relishing and gratifying our tongue :) on the contrary chicken is beneficial for our health,as it provides easy source of good protein.The only utility of red meat is that it heats up the body in the cold climate.However in contrast I would say that it is far more beneficial to consume fish protein than either chicken or red meat,as fish offers a whole range of vitamins and nutrients,included HDL which is good for cholesterol and heart.

    13. JAM, can't we get our protein from plant based products?

    14. @JAM I have a different theory as to why vegetarianism became so respected in Indian culture. In the past, probably everyone including Brahmins consumed meat, except on days when they have to perform a ritual. It is already established in the Vedas that skin, hair, blood and bones are ritually polluting. But then during the Vedic age rituals were simpler. As the culture became more sophisticated, rituals also became more complicated and performing rituals became a full time occupation for Brahmins so they became full time vegetarians.

    15. @ Anu

      we can get protein from plants but as far as I know it will be a diverse list of vegetables.But some species of fish are sources of multiple vitamins and nutrients along with protein part.This is why doctors recommend fish to weak patients unless they are dead set on vegetarianism.I don't have any hard feelings for vegetables,I am just saying that multiple forms of vegetables might be reqd to replace one species of nutrient-rich fish from the diet.And this is the point on which fish can be cheaper than a pure vegan diet.Veg+fish is the best combination in my views.With this combination,chicken or red meat are not of any worth.Easy protein is the chief advantage of chicken,but fish can give that also and fish protein is even easier to digest.Cat fish and Indian carp are exported abroad mainly because they have almost all the major food values(protein,vitamins,calcium etc) that you might need.

      @ Prem Chand

      Interesting theory.And might be true.But I personally think that Buddhist philosophy was responsible to a large extent for the enforcement of veg on Brahmins.At one point of time,Hinduism literally was on the verge of becoming minority,due to the massive popularity of Buddhism.The brahmins countered that by including Buddha among the list of 10 avatars of Vishnu and also incorporating vegetarianism and some other minor ritualistic changes .Anyway this is my opinion,and it is hard to verify or substantiate this one. YSV might help us out :) Any other view or model from other commenters like Anu,Iniyavel ,Sagar etc is also welcome .

    16. Whether vegetarian or meat eater, one can be healthy and strong only if one have a balanced diet with sufficient exercise and sleep.

      I think it could be due to Jaina influence rather than Buddhist influence that Brahmans became vegetarians.

    17. Buddhism adopted the 'Middle path' between ascetic ahimsa of Jainism and grihasta-friendly Shrautism. This middle path may have varied depending on the different schools of Buddhism. Ashoka for example issued edicts against harming animals so we know this Buddhist was influenced by Jainas.

    18. @ PremChand and Sagar

      I agree with both of you.The veg obsession might well be a Jain influence.Sagar while the point you mentioned on exercise is true,still red meat or even meat is not particularly reqd for our physical wellbeing.Infact red meat is not for regular consumption at all,unless you live in a very cold climate.Particularly yogic system of exercise recommends that we should avoid the unnecessary food which is only meant to gratify our tasting sense.However other than the physical aspect,I don't have any problem with the concept of meat-eating.Infact chicken is a good source of protein for weak people.
      If there were no non-veg people in the whole world,we would have to rely on the cattle solely for production of milk and milk derivative products.Now imagine 7 billion people feeding wholly on veg and milk based products.All the free space of the earth would have become either a grazing field for cows or vegetable cultivation tracts of farmers.So I think it is logical for the balance of nature that all of us are not veggies.Even if I assume for the sake of argument that ancient Indians were wholly veggies as per the claims of a prophetic blogger,then also it must be kept in mind that ancient India had only a fraction of the population of modern India,leave alone the whole world population stats.

    19. JAM, pure vegans reject even milk and milk based products and prefer soy, almond or coconut milk and products like tofu, peanut butter etc.

      Also there is a controversy regarding soy products as they contain phytoestrogens which mimic female hormone estrogen and can possibly up the risks of certain cancers. I'd like to know yours, Sagar's and Prem Chand's views on this.

    20. Anu I think the problem is with the gm soybean brands and not the normal soybean.And if the vegans boycott milk,then the problem will not ease I am afraid .Imagine 7 billion folks consuming soybean on a daily basis.My god the whole agricultural economy will be ruined :)

      I would advise you to stay away from processes soy products as of now.If its natural soybean,then no problem.

    21. JAM, it's not just gm brands, all kinds of soybeans contain phytoestrogens. Anyway, phytoestrogens aren't as deadly as I had thought before. If it's consumed in moderation I think it's beneficial for health.

      I think I got my answer from these sources.

  4. Speaking of Chanakya, Im old enough to remember the TV series Chanakya on Doordarshan in 1990 got into some hot water as some secularists dubbed it communal!

    I never understood how an era in which Muslims didn't even exist could have bigoted anti Muslim Hindutvadi characters!

    Apparently not celebrating Muslim invaders and murderers such as Allaudin Khilji and Tughlaq (Discovery of India) constitutes communal in the secular imagination.

  5. The British closed a lot of gymnasiums and wrestling pits . In Kerala they went as far as banning Kalari payattu. As well banning the carrying of weapons(the Weapons Act lingers on to this day) And corralled all the youths into bookish pursuits such as lawyers and clerks. And then declared the bulk of Indians unmartial. Really the British were SOBs but I have to hand it to them: they had psy ops warfare down. And that was only because they had difficulty winning in a fair fight.

    Gandhi infamously observed that the average Hindu is a coward and the average Muslim is a bully. Its one of the many things about Gandhi that makes my blood boil
    Firstly this could well be more psyops warfare on part of Gandhi to make his Ahimsa satyagraha more palatable to the Hindu masses. But on the other hand, it is because of proto Gandhian emasculation of Hindu virility as practiced by the British that they turned into cowards

    If there is a hell, Gandhi is being tortured in the VIP seats.

  6. @JAM

    Ideal man of an Indian trained in Macaulay’s education is not a man who is strong, bold, decisive and independent minded. On the contrary,it was an Indian man who is weak, timid, vacillating and servile who always talk about “””providential character of British rule””” and who always expects that government will save him for his dog like loyalty.

    It is due to this reason that educated Indians even to this day always complain that government is not doing this thing and that thing. But note that they will not do what they can as taking initiative is not in the nature of clerks.

    Also many of the 19th century and early 20th century reformist intellectuals viewed physical training – particularly local combat techniques as a part of the feudal traditions they so detested and hoped to overcome.

    It was due to this reason that many of these intellectuals were contemptuous of 1857 rebels. They had not problem when Brits classified castes like Gurjars of Western India and Thevars of Tamil Nadu as criminal tribes (while in reality their only crime was the steadfast resistance to Brit rule even into 20th century).

  7. @YSV

    To understand Bollywood, one should know who finances it. Once we realize who finances it, we can easily understand why they avoid producing any movies that depict Hindu heroism.

    I don’t think Bengalis would be happy at being classified as North Indian, he he he.

    There is a story about Guru Gobind Singh – it authenticity is disputed but let me narrate it.

    Once he and his men defeated and slaughtered a whole Mughal detachment. Many Hindu warriors as well as Mughals died in this battle. At the end of battle, Guru ordered his aide to dispose the dead bodies. This aide cremated all dead bodies and came back and reported to Guru. But when Guru learnt that even Mughal corpses had been burnt, he is said to have lamented –

    “Now they will be reborn in Hindu households and will carry out their anti-Hindu activities as Hindus! What a shame!”

  8. Kalari-Payatt was a great system of martial training.

    Martial ethos and skill it imparted did enable Keralas to resist all attempts by outsiders to dominate them – whether local or foreign.

    If Sangham poetry is to be believed, Chera Raja Senguttuvan marched into North India and returned after defeating sixteen kings.

    Only time they lost was in early 19th century but that had more to do with stupidity of Rajas who “””snatched defeat from jaws of victory””” and sold of their kingdoms to English like pieces of real estate.

    Even when invaders like Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan occupied Northern Kerala, their armies were bled dry due to relentless resistance by locals.

    Longest war waged by Brits in India was Cotiote War in North Kerala which caused 10,000 British casualties and 4,000 freedom fighters dead. (See Pazhassi Raja and Cotiote War in Wikipedia)

    Even author Philip Mason (author of """A Matter of Honour: An Account of the Indian Army, Its Officers and Men""") have admitted frankly that an eighteenth century Indian soldier was superior to British soldier in physical skill, though equal in courage.

    If de-martialized castes and regions have to reclaim their lost heritage, only way is to revive traditional combat techniques and martial ethos. And yes, Arms Act must be scrapped.

  9. English boasted that they are a reservoir of all known martial virtues. Even the designated martial races of India had only some martial virtues seen in Tommy and hence needed English officers!

    All I could say is – STUFF AND NON-SENSE!

    Only reasons why English could dominate the world was because of their perseverance and cunning --- and not due to their military prowess.

    They were inferior militarily to all major enemies they fought (whether man to man or whether as armies) – Spaniards, French, Germans, Boers and closer to home, Indians like Marathas, Gorkhas, Sikhs, Thevars, Nayars and so on.

    If they had been such macho men, then why was it that their armies were heavily reliant on Scot, Irish and German recruits before conquest of India? After conquest of India, they could not do without local recruits.

    Not even a single major victory of Brits in India was due to pure military force – they won all battles before they fought through subversion of enemy.

    There is a lesson for us --- Mere military power alone does not guarantee success and survival – for that a ruling class should be clever and perseverant. Even Americans have not understood this lesson properly.

    1. @ Sagar

      "Ideal man of an Indian trained in Macaulay’s education is not a man who is strong, bold, decisive and independent minded." - Sagar a valid point.More precisely,Brits had wanted clerks and small scale officers to run the admin machinery on Indian mainland.It was not possible to pay so many Britishers for the large number of posts in Indian govt.But while I don't subscribe to Macaulay,I doubt how much effective the indigenous education system of India had been by the 17th century.Were Indians(more precisely Hindus) actually independent,bold or decisive after so many devastrating foreign invasions,social rigidity coupled with malpractices,and most of all the Muslim rule?I would say that the anti-British sentiment would actually have brought out the long-lost boldness and independent mentality among Indians,if the Congress had been inclined towards martial extremism instead of moderate policy of appeasing the British.The Ahimsa of Gandhi was the last nail in the coffin.
      To be frank,I don't think British education system is actually bad.We just need to indigenise and integrate our cultural values with this system.This is where India has been utterly lacking since independence. this same Macaulay system will generate far better Indians if the indigenisation is done on the basis of our traditional values.
      Sagar thanks for sharing info on the Cotiote war.It was a very interesting topic.These things are never taught to the Indian kids.All they learn is the ass of Gandhi and Nehru.But if you consider ethnic/regional revolts against the British,I think the crown should go to the combined Tribal rebellions against the British :) The adivasis of India never allowed the British to live in peace. the Adivasi rebellions are less talked about in Indian history.Imagine fighting musket and rifle battalions of an European force with swords and arrows! While reading about the Cotiote War,I felt that the Adivasi fights have been subjected to the same negligence like cotiote history.