I’m Dalit, how are you?

While we are still busy over very serious issues like old KBC versus new KBC, Big B versus King Khan, prediction of Cricket World Cup, Windows Vista, technology convergence etc. etc. some small little issues missed our urban radar!

Tinkerbell sent me this YouTube video – thanks Tinker!

From Wikipedia:

In the Indian caste system, a Dalit, often called an untouchable, is a person who does not have any varnas. Varna refers to the Hindu belief that most humans were created from different parts of the body of the divinity Purusha. The part from which a varna was created defines its social status for issues such as who they can marry and what jobs they can do. Dalits fall outside varnas system and have historically been prevented from doing any but the most menial jobs. They are also known as outcastes. Included are leather-workers (called chamar), poor farmers and landless laborers, scavengers (called bhangi or chura), street handicrafters, folk artists, clothes washers dhobi etc. Traditionally, they were treated as pariahs in South Asian society and isolated in their own communities, to the point that even their shadows were avoided by the upper castes. Discrimination against Dalits still exists in rural areas in the private sphere, in ritual matters such as access to eating places and water sources. It has largely disappeared, however, in urban areas and in the public sphere, in rights of movement and access to schools.

Advertisements

What Men Really Want!

Somehow this chain-mail landed on my Gmail, later I found out my little sis Anu is deeply influenced by this. So this post is for you Sis – some reality check, take it with a light heart please! It’s a long list of 33 sermons about guys. My first reaction when I saw this was –

Either this is written by a virgin

OR

The author’s bitter better half was peeping on her screen when she was writing this.

I picked up some classics here and my responses inline –

Guys don’t actually look after good-looking girls. they prefer neat and presentable girls.

Take it the other way around girls. Will you go for the ‘Hunchback of Notre dame’ even if he is clean-shaved and wearing the best cologne and an Armani shirt and talks about post-modernism paintings with a British accent? Get real! Of course guys won’t go for even Marilyn Monroe look alike if the girl got a habit of picking nose in public (yes BASIC present-ability matters) but NO one, guy or a girl actively search for a repulsive looking life partner. Now, beauty is relative – it’s different to different people and changes with time and demography – but that’s a whole other issue!

When a guy says he doesn’t understand you, it simply means you’re not thinking the way he is.

Ahem! I don’t know what you call a person (girl or a guy) of that type – but, I have a sweet name for them – Asshole!

Guys may be flirting around all day but before they go to sleep, they always think about the girl they truly care about .

Yes – along with Upcoming Cricket World Cup, Playstation III, Mallika Sherawat, Next Semester Exam etc. etc. Human mind is multi directional – be that guy or girl! And if someone truly care about someone special – why the hell he will be flirting around?? Plan B – is it?

Guys go crazy over a girl’s smile.

Eh! Even if the girl got yellow, un-even and protruding denture with braces?

You have to tell a guy what you really want before he gets the message clearly.

If you really start acting with such a piece of misinformation – it won’t take long for the guy to classify you as a nagging girl!! We are NOT deaf – got it? Although we act like one sometimes! 😉

Guys love their moms.

I believe it took 327.5 NASA scientists to figure that out – right? Duh! Or there is a Freudian twist here? Very unlikely, as perceived maturity level of this author makes it very hard for me to believe that she ever heard of Freud!

A guy would sacrifice his money for lunch just to get you a couple of roses.

Yep! Totally! But only if – the guy is not a smoker or there is no new ‘must-watch’ movie in the horizon or he got the X-Box 360 in his last B’day……etc. etc.

Besides – won’t you prefer a guy who can earn enough to have lunch AND buy roses? Also – Roses are so overrated – try Orchid or Rhododendron please!

You can never understand him unless you listen to him.

Yes – please do that, as I am yet to learn sign language!

Guys hate it when their clothes get dirty. Even a small dot.

What kind of sissy guys are we talking about here? Those who keep a pocket comb (protruding out from back pocket)?

Come on now – I had a record of not washing my jeans for 2 years!

And what do you mean by this? Girls love to do mud wrestling all the time with their best dress on?

If a guy tells you about his problems, he just needs someone to listen to him. You don’t need to give advice … very true.

Rather I will go and talk to a piece of rock – no?

A usual act that proves that the guy likes you is when he teases you.

You heard her guys – next time you start liking a girl – go to her and pinch her butt! Surely that will prove the point! And it’s proven that eve-teasers are the greatest Romeo alive on the face of earth!

Girls’ height doesn’t really matter to a guy but her weight does! … very true.

Direct contradiction with the ‘look doesn’t matter’ point – don’t you think so?

You can truly say that a guy has good intentions if you see him praying sometimes.

Too bad, so sad – Atheist like me lost the last chance to be a lover boy – completely! Alas!

If a guy says you’re beautiful, that guy likes you.

With that logic – I love Mona Lisa, Pandas, Teddy Bears, Hello Kitty ….list will roll for few rims of paper!!

Sorry for bursting few bubbles here – but as I said – reality check!

Atheist, Atheism and some more blabbering

From my childhood, like many of you, I am in search of God; during many turmoil of my life – I was waiting for some miracle, wanted to believe in some supernatural, a supreme being. And after that, when things and situation stabilized, I felt ashamed of myself – how can I be so weak? A perpetual state of fear and underestimation of my own credibility – does that mean God? Or is it a search of peace and identity?

 

First of all – let’s have some clear definition of Spirituality, God, Religion and Ritual. Most of the time we are confused with God and Religion, and religion to most of the Homo sapiens is a set and subset of ritual believes, deeply embedded in the cultural roots of a society. Belief in a Supreme Being or God and religion is not the same.

Most of the religions, including ‘New Age Religions’ (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism) were invented by a few superior people of the society, all of these were time-specific, based on the best knowledge and ‘practical’ best practices available at that given time. Basic philosophies behind religions may be eternal, but how the rituals remain as same for ages?

Religion is the Opium of the people” (translated from the German “Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes”) is one of the most frequently quoted (and sometimes misquoted as “opiate of the people”) statements of Karl Marx, from the introduction of his 1843 work. Contribution to Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right which was actually subsequently released one year later in Marx’s own journal Deutsch-Französischen Jahrbücher-a collaboration with Arnold Ruge. Here is what Marx said, in context:

Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man-state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. [Emphasis added]

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Note that the sense in which the word “opium” is used is quite different from modern. At the time when Marx wrote this text, opium was freely available and viewed as a painkiller rather than an illegal dangerous drug. It is sometimes suggested that today the phrase “sedative of the people” might be closer to the original Marxian meaning.

Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm?

Mass genocide of World War II changed that, innumerable riots in my country changed that, “Ram Janambhumi – Babri Masjid” changed that, Gujarat Massacre changed that, September 11th changed that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense; it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labeled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let’s now stop being so damned respectful!

If you still can stand for some more heat – after religion, I am going to jump onto the topic of GOD! Yes, I have the right – NOT to believe on something, if you have the right to believe.

Now where the God or Supreme Being came from? Think carefully – isn’t all the unexplainable incidents and unpredictability of future – reminds you of God? There will always be unknowns in science. Many theists see these unknowns as reasons for believing in God. The argument usually goes something like this: “We don’t understand how the universe got here; therefore God must have created it.” (This is today’s version of the argument, years ago it was “We don’t understand thunder, therefore the thunder God must have done it.”) But is saying “God did it” really an explanation? No, it isn’t. An explanation is a description of something we don’t currently understand in terms that we do understand. Theists will usually admit that they don’t understand their God, saying things like “God works in mysterious ways”. Well if we don’t understand how God does something, then “God did it” is just about meaningless. We will never have all the answers, but postulating an infinite God and pretending that this provides the answers is just irrational. It is much better to have the intellectual integrity to simply admit that we don’t yet know. [Ref: Miracles, Intelligent Design, and God-of-the-Gaps].

But is it only the difference between known and unknown? Don’t we have ‘educated’ people amongst us who do not believe in evolution, till date? Isn’t there witchcraft? Denial of big bang or quark? Future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.

By Bhagat Singh, Why I am an Atheist

You may thrust yet another question at me, though it is merely childish. The question is: If God does not really exist, why do people come to believe in Him? Brief and concise my answer will be. As they come to believe in ghosts, and evil spirits, so they also evolve a kind of belief in God: the only difference being that God is almost a universal phenomenon and well developed theological philosophy. However, I do disagree with radical philosophy. It attributes His origin to the ingenuity of exploiters who wanted to keep the people under their subjugation by preaching the existence of a Supreme Being; thus claimed an authority and sanction from Him for their privileged position. I do not differ on the essential point that all religions, faiths, theological philosophies, and religious creeds and all other such institutions in the long run become supporters of the tyrannical and exploiting institutions, men and classes. Rebellion against any king has always been a sin in every religion.

What is the difference between Atheist and Agnostics? The term ‘agnosticism’ was coined by Professor T.H. Huxley at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in 1876. He defined an agnostic as someone who disclaimed both (”strong”) atheism and theism, and who believed that the question of whether a higher power existed was unsolved and insoluble. Another way of putting it is that an agnostic is someone who believes that we do not know for sure whether God exists. Some agnostics believe that we can never know. [Ref: www.infidels.org]

Here go some great conversational debates from www.infidels.org

“God is unique. He is the Supreme Being, the creator of the universe. He must by definition exist.”
Things do not exist merely because they have been defined to do so. We know a lot about the definition of Santa Claus – what he looks like, what he does, where he lives, what his reindeer are called, and so on. But that still doesn’t mean that Santa exists.

“Then what if I managed to logically prove that God exists?”
Firstly, before you begin your proof, you must come up with a clear and precise definition of exactly what you mean by “God.” A logical proof requires a clear definition of that which you are trying to prove.

“But everyone knows what is meant by ‘God’!”
Different religions have very different ideas of what ‘God’ is like; they even disagree about basic issues such as how many gods there are, whether they’re male or female, and so on. An atheist’s idea of what people mean by the word ‘God’ may be very different from your own views.

“OK, so if I define what I mean by ‘God,’ and then logically prove he exists, will that be enough for you?”
Even after centuries of effort, nobody has come up with a watertight logical proof of the existence of God. In spite of this, however, people often feel that they can logically prove that God exists.
Unfortunately, reality is not decided by logic. Even if you could rigorously prove that God exists, it wouldn’t actually get you very far. It could be that your logical rules do not always preserve truth – that your system of logic is flawed. It could be that your premises are wrong. It could even be that reality is not logically consistent. In the end, the only way to find out what is really going on is to observe it. Logic can merely give you an idea where or how to look; and most logical arguments about God don’t even perform that task.
Logic is a useful tool for analyzing data and inferring what is going on; but if logic and reality disagree, reality wins.

“Then it seems to me that nothing will ever convince you that God exists.”
A clear definition of ‘God,’ plus some objective and compelling supporting evidence, would be enough to convince many atheists.
The evidence must be objective, though; anecdotal evidence of other people’s religious experiences isn’t good enough. And strong, compelling evidence is required, because the existence of God is an extraordinary claim – and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

“OK, you may think there’s a philosophical justification for atheism, but isn’t it still a religious belief?”
One of the most common pastimes in philosophical discussion is “the redefinition game.” The cynical view of this game is as follows:
Person A begins by making a contentious statement. When person B points out that it can’t be true, person A gradually re-defines the words he used in the statement until he arrives at something person B is prepared to accept. He then records the statement, along with the fact that person B has agreed to it, and continues. Eventually A uses the statement as an “agreed fact,” but uses his original definitions of all the words in it rather than the obscure redefinitions originally needed to get B to agree to it. Rather than be seen to be apparently inconsistent, B will tend to play along.
The point of this digression is that the answer to the question “Isn’t atheism a religious belief?” depends crucially upon what is meant by “religious.” “Religion” is generally characterized by belief in a superhuman controlling power – especially in some sort of God – and by faith and worship.
(It’s worth pointing out in passing that some varieties of Buddhism are not “religion” according to such a definition.)
Atheism is certainly not a belief in any sort of superhuman power, nor is it categorized by worship in any meaningful sense. Widening the definition of “religious” to encompass atheism tends to result in many other aspects of human behavior suddenly becoming classed as “religious” as well – such as science, politics, and watching TV.
“OK, maybe it’s not a religion in the strict sense of the word. But surely belief in atheism (or science) is still just an act of faith, like religion is?”
Firstly, it’s not entirely clear that skeptical atheism is something one actually believes in.
Secondly, it is necessary to adopt a number of core beliefs or assumptions to make some sort of sense out of the sensory data we experience. Most atheists try to adopt as few core beliefs as possible; and even those are subject to questioning if experience throws them into doubt.
Science has a number of core assumptions. For example, it is generally assumed that the laws of physics are the same for all observers (or at least, all observers in inertial frames). These are the sort of core assumptions atheists make. If such basic ideas are called “acts of faith,” then almost everything we know must be said to be based on acts of faith, and the term loses its meaning.
Faith is more often used to refer to complete, certain belief in something. According to such a definition, atheism and science are certainly not acts of faith. Of course, individual atheists or scientists can be as dogmatic as religious followers when claiming that something is “certain.” This is not a general tendency, however; there are many atheists who would be reluctant to state with certainty that the universe exists.
Faith is also used to refer to belief without supporting evidence or proof. Skeptical atheism certainly doesn’t fit that definition, as skeptical atheism has no beliefs. Strong atheism is closer, but still doesn’t really match, as even the most dogmatic atheist will tend to refer to experimental data (or the lack of it) when asserting that God does not exist.

Just for fun, and not to end this post in a bitter note –
Ten Commandments Manifesto by
Hugh McLoid

I like the Bible – it’s a great piece of literature – but needs some context. So here’s my manifesto based on Exodus 20:1-17
1. God may, or may not exist – you decide. Does it matter if you believe in God? No, but if you do believe, believe in a good one.
2. Don’t mess about with symbols – Swastikas, Crucifix, Crescents, it all ends bad. Avoid them.
3. If you mess with any of the above – you’re fucked.
4. Best to forget a Supreme Being, chill out, have a beer, scotch or claret, and treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.
5. Get a life and concentrate on being nice to others even if other people are assholes.
6. Stop being stupid – you’re not as smart as you think you are. But remember neither is your boss nor are all the other people who tell you they are smarter than you.
7. Put one day aside a week for your self – your deserve it.
8. Don’t be a slave and don’t make slaves of others.
9. If your mum and dad love you – give it back in spades.
10. Don’t do any bad stuff like murder, adultery, theft, lying, or fucking a donkey.
By and large life is good, people are good. Keep a song in your heart and the truth on your tongue.

UPDATE:

How can I miss my favorite Scott Adams

Atheist: “Religion is irrational.”

Believer: “Oh yeah? Atheism is a religion too, because it’s a cause that’s believed on faith! See Merriam-Webster’s 4th definition of religion.”

Atheist: “Atheism is religion the same way that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.”

Believer: “You can’t prove the non-existence of God. And belief without proof is faith. Check Merriam-Webster’s second definition of faith. Therefore, atheists are irrational by definition.”

Atheist: “You can NEVER (or almost never) prove a negative. Besides, some things are so obvious that proof is unnecessary. Do you believe there’s a monster under your bed? You have no proof that it doesn’t exist. Therefore, by your reasoning, it’s only reasonable to believe there MIGHT be a monster under your bed.”

Believer: “Hey, you never know.”

And so it is argued by both believers and agnostics that atheists must be either irrational – believing the non-existence of God without proof for that position – or atheists are really just fence-sitting agnostics and don’t admit it.

My question is this: If you reckon that the existence of God has less than a 1 in a trillion chance of being true, based on all the available evidence, but not proof, can you call yourself an atheist? And if so, would you still be irrational?

UPDATE (28th Feb 2007):

Richard Dawkins at The Late Late Show

Richard Dawkins BBC Interview

Dreamer by Ozzy Osbourne

Depending on my mood, I like some songs better than others. Today, this song happens to catch my attention. I like the laid-back and eerie – feel of Ozzy’ s voice in this song.

“Dreamer” is a song about peace and love with simple but touching lyrics. This is about Ozzy’s vision of a better and safer world for his children devoid of all evils and hatreds. Personally I feel it’s about how one just dreams away of a better life but doesn’t actually do anything (like me 😉 ). This song was considered for releasing only after the terrorist acts of September 11 2001, though it was penned before.

I didn’t understand one particular line –

“After all there’s just the two of us
And here we are still fighting for our lives…”

But found the explanation on wikipedia:

Ozzy compares this to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which contains the line, “You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” The Beatles were a big influence on Ozzy, as they also became stars after growing up in a poor section of England.

Another reference to John Lennon is the line “After all, there’s only just the two of us.” This is an acknowledgment of the Beatles song “Two of Us.” Although Paul McCartney wrote it to his wife Linda, it has since become accepted as a description of his relationship to close friend Lennon, and was even used as the title to a VH1 TV-movie about them. (thanks, Greg – Calgary, United States)

Song Info:

Album: Down to Earth (2001)
Genre: Heavy Metal
Writer(s): Ozzy Osbourne, Marti Frederiksen, Mick Jones

Video from youtube:

Lyrics:

Gazing through the window at the world outside
Wondering will mother earth survive
Hoping that mankind will stop abusing her, sometime

After all there’s only just the two of us
And here we are still fighting for our lives
Watching all of history repeat itself, time after time

I’m just a dreamer, I dream my life away
I’m just a dreamer, who dreams of better days

I watch the sun go down like everyone of us
I’m hoping that the dawn will bring a sign
A better place for those who will come after us, this time

I’m just a dreamer, I dream my life away, oh yeah
I’m just a dreamer, who dreams of better days

Your higher power may be God or Jesus Christ
It doesn’t really matter much to me
Without each others help there ain’t no hope for us
I’m living in a dream, a fantasy
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

If only we could all just find serenity
It would be nice if we could live as one
When will all this anger, hate, and bigotry be gone?

I’m just a dreamer, I dream my life away, today
I’m just a dreamer, who dreams of better days, ok
I’m just a dreamer, who’s searching for the way, today
I’m just a dreamer, dreaming my life away
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamer_%28song%29


Eternal embrace

https://i0.wp.com/img251.imageshack.us/img251/6286/r3474172681yf4.jpgA pair of human skeletons lie in an eternal embrace at an Neolithic archaeological dig site near Mantova, Italy, in this photo released February 6, 2007. Archaeologists in northern Italy believe the couple was buried 5,000-6,000 years ago, their arms still wrapped around each other in a hug that has lasted millennia. REUTERS/Enrico Pajello/Handout (ITALY).