Category Archives: Indian religions

Pathways towards the Transformation of South Asia

SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda, in Eurasia Review, 7 September 2017, where the title is Transforming South Asia: A Key To The Future ”

Commonalities are what we have in common. In most parts of South Asia the inheritance is common, shared origins, shared languages, shared religions and shared cultures. Yet in each case this common inheritance has diverged and taken its own unique path. This divergence has occurred at different times, in Sri Lanka it has taken place over millennia, in Bhutan and Nepal over several centuries, in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh it has happened during the 20th century. It is a history of common origins taking different shapes and forms with very different interests.

As South Asians we have a shared inheritance but do we have common interests? Do these common interests coincide with our national interests? Do our national interests converge? Where, when and at what cost? Only once we have achieved it can we seek transformation.

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Filed under British colonialism, cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, education, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions

Tamil Tigers: Dead Body Politics and Sacrificial Devotion

Michael Roberts, reproducing here an article  entitled “Tamil Tigers:  Sacrificial symbolism and ‘dead body politics’,” that was first presented in  Anthropology Today, June 2008,  vol.  24/3: 22-23. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla.

Scholars and journalists often mistakenly treat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) as a ‘secular organization’ at a time when stereotypes of the Islamic ‘terrorist’ or ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ dominate popular thinking about political extremism. Political scientists devote space to the Tamil Tigers in their global surveys of what they term ‘suicide terrorism’.[1] Recently, Roland Buerk of the BBC presented a similar view: ‘They are not religious and believe that there is nothing after death. Their fanaticism is born of indoctrination from childhood.[2]

Tiger fighters relax in camp but retain their kuppi with cyanide in chainsaround neck-Pic by Shyam Tekwani c.1989 whne embedded among the LTTE

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Filed under Al Qaeda, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, Eelam, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, Saivism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, Sri Lankan scoiety, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

Sidhu applauds fellow-cricketer-politician Imran Khan

The Editor, Express Tribune, 27 November 2018, “Navjot Singh Sidhu says Imran Khan’s name will be written in the first page of history books”

Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s name will be written on the first page of history books for opening Kartarpur border for Sikh pilgrims in India. Speaking in Express News programme “Takrar” on Tuesday, the visiting dignitary said the Pakistani premier will grow stronger by facing even tougher tests in the future. “I know him [PM Imran] for a long time … he is a brave, honest and empathetic man which made him join the tough field of politics,” he remarked.

Indian Minister and former Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu in the “Takrar” program of Express News

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Filed under communal relations, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, Indian religions, life stories, performance, politIcal discourse, tolerance, world events & processes

Romila Thapar lauds Iravatham Mahadevan in his Moment of Passing

Romila Thapar, in The Hindu, 27 November 2019, where the title is “Remembering Iravatham Mahadevan”

“He knew more about Indian epigraphy and the linguistic aspects of Dravidian and Indo-Aryan than some specialists”

I heard the news on Monday morning of the passing of Iravatham Mahadevan and was deeply saddened. Mahadevan, or Jani as his friends called him, was a special person of extraordinary talent and a much-respected scholar despite his having worked in administration for most of his professional life. Continue reading

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Filed under architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, education, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, life stories, unusual people

Secularism on the Wane in South Asia

P K Balachandran, in Financial Times, 27 October 2018 -where the title reads “Decline of Secularism in South Asia”

South Asia’s multi-religious countries, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, started off with a noble wish to be ‘secular’ and keep religion out of the business of the State. Hindu-majority India, under the leadership of the avowedly secular Jawaharlal Nehru, explicitly stated that it would be secular.


Jinnah–Getty Images DS Senanaayke

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Filed under authoritarian regimes, Buddhism, economic processes, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Islamic fundamentalism, modernity & modernization, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, press freedom & censorship, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, world events & processes, zealotry

Revelations: Oppression of the Dalits in India via A Family History

Tariq  Ali’s essay entitled THE UNSEEABLES  in the London Review of Books Vol. 40 No. 16 · 30 August 2018   …. reviewing  Ants among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla Daunt, 341 pp, £14.99, May, ISBN 978 1 911547 20 4


This is a family biography that encompasses a history rarely told: despite its longevity, caste, and caste oppression, is not a popular theme in India. Sujatha Gidla writes of poisoned lives, of disillusionment, betrayed hopes, unrequited loves, attempted escapes through alcohol and sex. What distinguishes her book is its rich mix of sociology, anthropology, history, literature and politics.

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Filed under accountability, British imperialism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, citizen journalism, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, economic processes, education, gender norms, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, social justice, world events & processes

Amer in India

Amer Fort in Amer, Rajasthan, India

On top of the Cheel ka Teela (or Hill of Eagles) in India’s Rajasthan state is the Amer Fort, a princely marble and red sandstone structure of immense beauty. Roughly four centuries old, the fort was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 along with five other Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Amer Fort is a great attraction for sightseers, and it welcomes thousands of visitors each day during the peak season. The treasures within include doors sheathed in panels of raised silver reliefs (or repoussé), marble carved with botanical motifs, and fantastic ceiling tiles inlaid with thousands of small, glimmering mirrors. A fortress palace fit for a Maharaja, indeed.

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Filed under architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, cultural transmission, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, travelogue