23.2.12

There's a Mughal in your drink

How many of you give your children the health drink Complan? If you are Hindu then you are an insult to your religion. You are glorifying Mughals. The ad for the product is under fire by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) for this depiction:

In a class-room, a (Hindu) teacher asks a boy the name of father of King Jehangir. The student shows as if he is unable to recollect the name and the teacher asks the same question to another student when he answers the question immediately telling the name of Jehangir’s father. The credit of the boy answering the question correctly is given to ‘Complan’.

The organisation wants the company to withdraw the ad and all TV channels to stop airing it. I was surprised by the Hindutva droppings in my inbox were so darned serious. I took a look at the whole letter. Here's one bit:

“Why do you remember only the history of Mughals who oppressed Indians? We are living in Bharat; therefore, we should teach glorifying history of Indians. Teach children history of great kings like Vikramaditya, Harshavardhan, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj etc. else an agitation would be staged in protest. Devout Hindus and Indians will boycott your products. Advertisements of companies like Cadbury and Amul which made mockery of history have been earlier stopped.”


I think all Hindu actors and models should be boycotted too if they wear clothes that are remotely reminiscent of the Mughal era. Why was the film Jodha Akbar not banned? What about Hritik Roshan and Aishwariya Rai? Designers creating Anarkali kurtas and angarkhas should be punished. No cuisine that has any connection with the Mughals should be cooked; those restaurants should be shut down.

Come to think of it, shut down all of Delhi; it has too many monuments. Rashtrapati Bhavan has the Mughal Gardens. The President of India should vacate that little house and apologise to Hindus for walking on those lawns and smelling the outsized flowers.


That leaves the Taj Mahal. All Hindu lovers posing before the monument on that ubiquitous bench are insulting their faith. I think Arnold Schwarzenegger who could not take a look inside since he visited on a Friday should be allowed to take over. He’ll manage it as well as he managed his housekeeper. Given that Complan is manufactured by a multinational it is only fitting that we hand over all things that remind us of the Mughals to the west. I really look forward to a ranch in Humayun’s tomb and Taco Bell at the Taj.

We are living in an age of the ridiculous. Someone really believes that because ‘Complan’ denotes brainpower in the ad and a Mughal king was mentioned, it would immediately suggest that only such knowledge is considered important. There is an ad for Taj Mahal tea where just a sip of it makes the Eiffel Tower disappear, such is the impact. Why not withdraw that as well? Or the soap ad where the mother teaches her child during a bath with a song that goes, “Babar ka beta Humayun, Humayun ka Akbar”?

I know she could have said, “Shahaji Rao ka beta Shivaji, aur Shivaji ka Sambhaji”? Look at it this way. The Mughals were obsessed with the good life – baths, scents, food, milk. The Hindu kings were spartan in their habits, and this is the message of what is unstated. The Mughals were good only for soap suds.

Anyhow, there are many ayurvedic products with rishi-munis telling us what to do with different parts of the body, and Baba Ramdev makes up for it by huffing and puffing. Our children are quite safe. Unless, of course, there comes an ad for male deodorant that would talk about the “Aurangzeb effect” or a hair salon that calls itself Babar’s Barber.

21 comments:

  1. FV,

    I am sure you had a rollicking time writing this stuff. Anyone would. If the central point is intentionally ignored.

    Even without going into cinematic merits at all, Jodha Akbar is a film that indeed ought to be 'shoe'd if not banned altogether. It is a conveniently filtered view of Mughal India that cowardly refuses to address the fanatic Islamic fervour that characterised the period. Hindu religion has never faced a more murderous onslaught of hate.

    The misfortune of Hinduism is that most people associated with this despicable film are brainwashed Hindus themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lately, I have been browsing this site for articles related to South Asia:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/02/kalash-on-the-human-tree/#more-15807

    Interesting thing to note is that factual story of gene flow in South Asia is so much more confusing and at variance with everything that makes up local beliefs all kind.

    Similar studies have been conducted about Jewish (Cohanim) DNA and its co-relation to other Semitic populations nearby (esp. Arabs).

    If we were to be strictly governed by scientific facts, almost none of the modern social/political identities make sense.

    Then, why is it that we cling to those identities despite over-whelming evidence against them? I believe major part of the answer lies in economics. These "identities" are more or less flights-of-fantasies, just like the modern nation-state or currencies are but that does not make them any less important.

    In fact, To Euro or Not to Euro is a life-and-death decision for many (esp. in the Southern part) in Europe nowadays. For a while "Schengen Visa" was a European blessing until the bill arrived.

    Turks and subsequently Mughals came into South Asia and destroyed existing power structures and when the British arrived and gradually subjugated all of India, erst-while rivals banded together to fight off the British in 1857 under a symbolic emperor Bahadurshah.

    When British left, old rivalries and self-interest came back with a vengeance; with Congress/Muslim League and subsequent partition.

    I am sure there are mixed feelings about British in the London ghettos you mention in other comment. There is now an economic co-dependence where there was an open rivalry.

    So, to pretend that we have magically transformed ourselves into a new identity at the stroke of midnight 15 August 1947 as Nehru would have us believe defies the reality.

    Now, economic and political forces in future may and will change all that but until then enjoy the protests against complan and rushdie.

    Such is life ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. FV,

    I always do enjoy your PoV , some of your remarks are always interesting and worth pondering over - but going after some arcane website like hindujagriti , honestly ?
    akin to some hindutva blogger writing against content on shariah4hind !

    I am not really pedantic as someone who keeps posting their comments here , thereby I am rendered useless when I will have to dispassionately assess my genetic predisposition and calibrate measured responses.

    Assertive Hindus are not the first to want to re-write their history - Past two millenia have not been too kind to them. Mughal rule followed by the English rule did leave the sub-continent in a limbo. Hindu psyche is left with too many inconvenient truths and uncomfortable questions.

    Leaves me with these questions - Do I gather from your PoV that we can only accept the Mughal Era as a perfect absolute ? One cannot enjoy the Mughlai biryani and also condemn Mughal atrocity ?

    Also, you ridiculed RSS leader over fond reminiscence of colonial past, now by the same coin if Hindus want to shed Mughalian past,which is equally alien, it translates into islamophobia ?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Farzana Versey is my name,
    Hindu bashing is my game.

    ReplyDelete
  5. >> Mughal rule followed by the English rule ...

    some convenient truncation of history there. Invasions prior to that are still reverberating in hindu psyche and polity up north and elsewhere ...

    ReplyDelete
  6. FV

    CC is so much more fun than Twitter.

    For all the self-righteous objectors: there's much, much more that needs to be vacated in Lutyens' Delhi.

    Tughlaq Road, Lodi Road, Lodi Estate, Humayun Road, Akbar Road (Vajpayee lives there), Shahjahan Road ...

    In 65 years they only chucked out the Brits ... Curzon, Kitchener, Hailey, Canning etc. etc. etc.

    The PM is safe ... he lives on Race Course Road. No pun intended.

    TE

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have raised a very interesting point Farzana, next we should show solid proof of secularism by labeling roads in name of our national guest "Kasab" and others who were martyred in 2008, you can start with your kid or grand kids. As a secular country it is our duty to make sure that minority community should not feel alienated, and that we should make sure we are politically correct in reference to terrorist and sand barbarians, sorry I mean Mughals.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You yourself know what Mughals were and did to India. I am still astonished but pleasantly surprised that compared to countries like Morocco, Iran, Indonesia etc., India could contain its ancient religion and values. Sorry but the underlying anger and hatred against Muslims (if there is any) can be fully justified, not only in India but throughout the world. If you, being a Muslim, aren't happy living in India, you are free to shift to Pakistan which was specially created for you Muslims.
    Islam has ruined many ancient civilizations and infused barbarianism/intolerance/segregation into many societies.
    You people are a huge problem in Europe too, wonder when it will get over. You can’t simply accept your negatives and integrate. Either learn to accept the negatives of your ancestors, people who converted you, or **** off to an Islamic country, enough is enough! Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Monika,

    Welcome to the (so far) silent majority!

    ReplyDelete
  10. F&F:

    I feel sorry that Hindus are still being “brainwashed” by the Mughals. Get over it. Jodhabai was a Hindu; she continued practising her faith. Birbal was around. Lookee, Hindu brain. Complan!

    Don’t see why you get excited about a new voice to the “(so far) silent majority”. You have been quite vocal, as have many others.


    Vishnu:

    I guess this is what is called rhyme without reason.

    Monika:

    Thanks for stopping by. But this post was not meant to be a pit-stop for travel agents. You want to plug your idea of “leave” then put up an ad.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hitesh:

    Interesting. I want to discuss a bit beyond my post.

    Part of the clinging to identities is the subliminal idea of the purity of race. Strangely enough, much of it is sought to be achieved by co-opting, conversion, ‘mainstreaming’ if necessary in order to ‘purify’.

    It is pertinent that you point out the last Mughal emperor Bahadurshah Zafar’s totemic role in the Indian Revolution. It just shows how we are ready to use history selectively.

    When British left, old rivalries and self-interest came back with a vengeance; with Congress/Muslim League and subsequent partition.

    Note that the Muslim League did not remain an important player in the politics of India or Pakistan.

    I am sure there are mixed feelings about British in the London ghettos you mention in other comment. There is now an economic co-dependence where there was an open rivalry.

    I think we go back to the initial comment about co-opting, this time the flip side of it. It helps that these ghettos exist even though there is co-dependence for the ‘rulers’ can nullify the economic dependence based on the same ‘pure’ race idea.

    ReplyDelete
  12. CandidSpade:

    I don’t surf Hindu or Muslim websites, and much of the stuff comes into my inbox copied entirely with the link pictures and often highlighted comments by the sender. Am I not lucky? You’d be surprised that the majority (ah, the word) are from the majority.

    I am truly astonished that most people do not find the reaction to the ad strange. It has not hurt anyone, or demeaned anyone. And it caters to a niche market. The power of advertising cannot be ignored or the subtext, but do we wish to deny history? I do not see a similar anger/hatred towards the British.

    Do I gather from your PoV that we can only accept the Mughal Era as a perfect absolute? One cannot enjoy the Mughlai biryani and also condemn Mughal atrocity?

    Not at all. I do not find any organised System as a perfect absolute, more so not a colonial power. But we have to admit that the Mughals despite the atrocities meshed themselves into the “watan”. They had no plans for taking the loot and going back anywhere. The treasures they created are here or were usurped by the British. So, of course, one must condemn what they did, but if, say, there is an ad for Mughlai biryani (we have our Lucknowi/Hyderabadi versions also fighting for a superior place against each other!) that shows some emperor inhaling deeply should we be offended?

    Also, you ridiculed RSS leader over fond reminiscence of colonial past, now by the same coin if Hindus want to shed Mughalian past,which is equally alien, it translates into islamophobia ?

    Did I use the word Islamophobia? I did not even allude to Muslimness, and stuck to the Mughal brief. What I too apart in Mr. Bhagwat’s comment was his flawed argument about ‘better’ rule. The next portion with Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi just added to this.

    ReplyDelete
  13. TE:

    Thanks for making CC sound so good!

    How good are Chanakyapuri, Ashoka, Prithviraj?

    The PM is safe ... he lives on Race Course Road. No pun intended.

    By my trot…

    Yogesh:

    Your attempt at sarcasm has been noted. Also your so-called liberal/atheistic stance seems to have chinks. Why don’t you and those who really care just file a petition and get done with it? And please demolish the Taj Mahal. Every bloody visitor recognises India by this Mughal monument. But, no, even the most hardened right-winger won’t wince, because that’s where the money comes in…

    ReplyDelete
  14. FV,

    QUOTE: "But we have to admit that the Mughals despite the atrocities meshed themselves into the 'watan'."

    Big deal. I reiterate (refer my past comments) that the merciless religious persecution of Hindu community by the Mughals was born out of the innate Islamic hatred for non-Muslims, propogated and justified by none less than the Quran. Anyone who does not agree with me here is welcome to share his/her email ID with me. I will mail him/her the necessary 'evidence' proudly recorded by contemporary Muslim historians themselves.

    The mindset survives across vast swathes of Muslim community with practically no voices of regret or apology since all this had Quranic sanction.

    I hope that was clear enough for everyone to understand.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I do think that Mughal history is sanitized and whitewashed. This is coming from a person who grew up on the liberal Indian Secular convent/public school education in his growing years and has a huge scientific temperament. I am almost sure that Taj Mahal pre-existed the Mughal era and so did Qutub Minar previous to the Islamic era. I have examined the evidence and counter evidence and the various websites and I do think there is a strong case for their pre-existence. So, by extension we don't know what else pre-existed and was converted. These might as well have been Buddhist structures but we don't know yet. So, there is a lot which we don't know about the history of the Indian nation and it has been very crudely written keeping the political and social issues in mind rather than accuracy.

    ReplyDelete
  16. >>This is coming from a person who grew up on the liberal Indian Secular convent/public school education in his growing years and has a huge scientific temperament. I am almost sure that Taj Mahal pre-existed the Mughal era and so did Qutub Minar previous to the Islamic era.

    Convent or not, I like this kind of scientific temperament. Feels easy on the brain ...

    ReplyDelete
  17. >>Part of the clinging to identities is the subliminal idea of the purity of race.

    With election season in India, this theme of caste is all the rage on Indian news channel again ...

    This seem to be as deeply rooted in the eastern culture and religions (may be due to much more ethnic diversity) as misogyny seems to be part of the middle eastern monotheistic traditions:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burakumin

    ReplyDelete
  18. My previous comments are on the contents of the theology, not what actually exists in society ...

    http://afghansurvey.asiafoundation.org/should-men-and-women-have-equal-access-to-education

    This is very likely much higher than attitudes in supposedly liberal Hindu society.

    On the other hand, Arab racism is quite well-known to Muslim immigrants from South Asia.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anon:

    I agree that one never knows, and the writing of history can be questionable. It also has several interpretations.

    So, we are not talking about what was, but how it is perceived today. If we are to be chary about colonial rule, then we need to blame those who let them rule us, too.

    My point in this short post was only the limited idea of responding to such history. There was an ad for a real estate portal that used an aging Shah Jahan...and there was a time the Qutub Minar was used to commit suicide. Do we blame the Mughals for that? We don't blame builders when such accidents take place, do we?

    Anyhow, just a few tangential thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hitesh:

    Racism, misogyny, repression are a matter of degree in different societies. Even the Arabs are fighting over who is superior within their supposedly uniform culture.

    Theology is only one aspect. We really have to deal with a lot of rubbish that is rationalised.

    - - -

    Generally, I found my response post to a feedback note on the Mughal stuff. Take a look:

    http://farzana-versey.blogspot.in/2006/10/u-bloody-bastards-he-said.html

    ReplyDelete
  21. FV,

    I apologize for the lengthy response to the recent spate of hate-mails you have received regarding the Moghuls ...

    Moghuls, who were the descendants of Mongols; were a pretty brutal but brunt of their brutality was borne by the Islamic populations of Central Asia and Persia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_invasion_of_Central_Asia

    Again in India, they came into conflict with Turkic Sultanate and most of the Hindu tribes (Khokhars in Punjab) helped them. Of course, the tale of Babur being invited by Rajputs to defeat Ibrahim Lodi is well known.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_invasions_of_India

    So, from a very parochial point of view, your Islamophobic readers should be grateful to the Moghuls.

    But, like your other commentator on Taj Mahal/Qutub Minar, small things like verifiable history are minor inconveniences in the larger interest of hating without discrimination.

    Babur from the young age was trying to regain his kingdom in Samarkand Bukhara, Indian empire just came to him almost as an after-thought, just like it did to British few centuries later.

    That says a lot about Indian society than these so called "invaders".

    Babur is likely to be in foul mood because of not getting his beloved "water melon" from his homeland than some decrepit mosque in his name.

    Aurangzeb on the other hand was a very pious man (writing Quran manuscripts to make a living) even if ferocious to the infidels. He might actually care about a mosque.

    Most tragic of Moghuls to me has always been Dara Shikoh.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dara_Shikoh

    After this defeat he fled to Sindh and sought refuge under Malik Jiwan, an Afghan chieftain, whose life had on more than one occasion been saved by the Mughal prince from the wrath of Shah Jahan.[12] However, Malik betrayed Dara and turned him (and his second son Sipihr Shikoh) over to Aurangzeb's army on June 10, 1659.

    Dara Shikoh is widely renowned[15] as an enlightened paragon of the harmonious coexistence of heterodox traditions on the Indian subcontinent. He was an erudite champion of mystical religious speculation and a poetic diviner of syncretic cultural interaction among people of all faiths.

    Dara subsequently developed a friendship with the seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai. Dara devoted much effort towards finding a common mystical language between Islam and Hinduism. Towards this goal he completed the translation of 50 Upanishads from its original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657 so it could be read by Muslim scholars.[17] His translation is often called Sirr-e-Akbar (The Greatest Mystery), where he states boldly, in the Introduction, his speculative hypothesis that the work referred to in the Qur'an as the "Kitab al-maknun" or the hidden book, is none other than the Upanishads.[18] His most famous work, Majma-ul-Bahrain ("The Confluence of the Two Seas"), was also devoted to a revelation of the mystical and pluralistic affinities between Sufic and Vedantic speculation.

    The library established by Dara Shikoh still exists on the grounds of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Kashmiri Gate, Delhi, and is now run as a museum by Archeological Survey of India after being renovated.[19][20]

    some bastard ...

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.