[ by Charles Cameron — nor intellect the best response to emotion ]
Offered without further ado.
[ by Charles Cameron — nor intellect the best response to emotion ]
Offered without further ado.
[ by Charles Cameron — a sad incident on the road, and its context & wider implications ]
I’m always on the lookout for what I term “serpent bites own tail” ouroboros reports; here’s another example:
A one-year-old calf was run over allegedly by the car of Hindu Yuva Vahini’s (HYV) Lucknow district convener in Nivada area in Janakipuram locality of the city on Wednesday. A social organisation founded by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, cow protection is one of HYV’s main objectives.
Two quotes by Gandhi:
THE COW is a poem of pity. One reads pity in the gentle animal. She is the mother to millions of Indian mankind. Protection of the cow means protection of the whole dumb creation of God. The ancient seer, whoever he was, began with the cow. The appeal of the lower order of creation is all the more forcible because it is speechless.
The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads before us on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: ‘you are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian’
Obviously Gandhi loved and revered cows… for what we might call Hindu, or better, Vedic reasons?
These days, under Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) influence, the love of cows has a political edge, leading to such events as this one:
A Muslim man has died in western India after he was attacked by hundreds of Hindu cow protection vigilantes, the latest attack in a spate of mob killings in the name of the revered animal.
Police said on Wednesday that Pehlu Khan, 55, had died in hospital two days after a group attacked his cattle truck on a road in Alwar in the desert state of Rajasthan.
Gangs of “cow protectors” have been implicated in killing at least 10 people in the past two years as the welfare of the animal has become an increasingly charged issue in Indian politics.
This section between triple asterisks added later, from Barkha Dutt today:
We have already moved on from Mohammad Akhlaq who was killed in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that there was beef in his house and whose son, a corporal in the air force continued to believe his country would grant him justice. And I can confidently wager that not too many people would even know, leave alone remember, who Majloom Ansari and Inayatullah Imtiaz Khan are. In March 2016 they were found hanging from a tree in a Jharkhand village, their hands tied together by the nylon chords used to hold cattle. Imtiaz was only 12 years old. A school-going child, he was accompanying Ansari to a cattle fair in the hope of making a few extra bucks for his family. Later it emerged that Ansari had been threatened just a few days earlier by a gang of extortionists who asked him for a 20,000 rupee bribe money to ferry his oxen. The National Commission of Minorities team that investigated the killing reported a “brazen communal bias” in the police handling of the lynching and said that complaints by Muslim traders against the so called cow-protections groups had been ignored. A few months later the Jharkhand Chief Minister declared that “If India is your country; the cow is your mother.” But no mother would allow murder in her name.
Once again: the cow is your mother.
But then on the legal issue, Gandhi is quoted as saying:
How can I force anyone not to slaughter cows unless he is himself so disposed? It is not as if there were only Hindus in the Indian Union. There are Muslims, Parsis, Christians and other religious groups here.
[ by Charles Cameron — in India, cows are a vigilantism issue, in California it’s manure, flatulence, & methane ]
Indian police have launched a “cow protection” force and a 24-hour hotline after a spate of attacks related to laws governing consumption of beef and the religious status of cattle.
The 300-strong team in Haryana will enforce some of the toughest laws in the country shielding cows. Haryana imposes jail terms of up to ten years for illegal slaughter and smuggling but Hindu officials in the northern state are concerned about a rise in cow-related crime and are determined to protect the animals.
First they came after the oil producers, then manufacturers, and now they’re coming for the cows. Having mandated emissions reductions from fossil fuels, California’s relentless progressives are seeking to curb the natural gas emanating from dairy farms. [ .. ]
“If dairy farms in California were to manage manure in a way to further reduce methane emissions,” the board explains, “a gallon of California milk might be the least GHG intensive in the world.” And the most expensive. Many California dairy farms have already been converted into nut farms, which are more economical amid the state’s high regulatory costs.
Around the globe:
Cows are still chewing the cud.
The Sunday Times, Holy cow! Police protect sacred cattle The Wall Street Journal, California’s Cow Police
[ by Charles Cameron — some unexpected and enlightening juxtapositions ]
Three textual DoubleQuotes:
The first, as you’ll see, consists of two brief excerpts from David Ignatius‘ Atlantic piece, How ISIS Spread in the Middle East, which is worth your attention as a follow up to Graeme Wood‘s What ISIS Really Wants, and mentions Soren Kierkegaard , Baywatch and the Bay of Pigs, so what’s not to like?
That’s the use of DoubleQuotes-style thinking — comparative, analogical — occurring quite naturally and informatively in a long-form essay.
My second example is quite different, in that it features an interesting article by Clint Watts of FRPI, using the terminology of “near” and “far” enemies first introduced by Abd Al-Salam Faraj, and note the very different use of the same terms in Buddhism.
The terms “near” and “far” used to describe enemies in Buddhism represent metaphysical rather than geographical distances — the far enemy is the polar opposite of a given virtue, while the near enemy seems at first glance to be an embodiment of the virtue in question, but is in fact an inauthentic version, to be avoided. The doctrine concerned is expressed in terms of the four Brahma Viharas or highest emotions.
Finally, there has been a lot of talk in recent years about the Islamic term dhimmi, and I was intrigued to run across a very similar concept applied against Muslims in an early Indian discussion of whether India should be partitioned or not:
On reflection I realized that all sorts of other groups operate along similar lines. I found this definition — note incidentally the somewhat language-game-changing remark, “A minority is defined not by being outnumbered” — in a Pearson Higher Ed textbook online:
Minority groups are subordinated in terms of power and privilege to the majority, or dominant, group. A minority is defined not by being outnumbered but by five characteristics: unequal treatment, distinguishing physical or cultural traits, involuntary membership, awareness of subordination, and in-group marriage. Subordinate groups are classified in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. The social importance of race is derived from a process of racial formation; any biological significance is relatively unimportant to society. The theoretical perspectives of functionalism, conflict theory, and labeling offer insights into the sociology of intergroup relations.
Immigration, annexation, and colonialism are processes that may create subordinate groups. Other processes such as extermination and expulsion may remove the presence of a subordinate group. Significant for racial and ethnic oppression in the United States today is the distinction between assimilation and pluralism. Assimilation demands subordinate-group conformity to the dominant group, and pluralism implies mutual respect among diverse groups.
Did you read that? Frankly I’m at a loss to know whether these two paragraphs were intended as black humor, or are simply humorlessness:
Other processes such as extermination and expulsion may remove the presence of a subordinate group.
[ by Charles Cameron — my mind is enriched by the mere possession of these two works ]
There are other books on my desk which I should read before either of these, books I am committed to reviewing or simply wish to review, but I can’t help casting the odd sneaky glance at these two books by Michael Cook — works of vast and impressive scholarship, each of them:
Michael Cook takes an in-depth, comparative look at political identity, social values, attitudes to warfare, views about the role of religion in various cultural domains, and conceptions of the polity. In all these fields he finds that the Islamic heritage offers richer resources for those engaged in current politics than either the Hindu or the Christian heritages. He uses this finding to explain the fact that, despite the existence of Hindu and Christian counterparts to some aspects of Islamism, the phenomenon as a whole is unique in the world today. The book also shows that fundamentalism–in the sense of a determination to return to the original sources of the religion–is politically more adaptive for Muslims than it is for Hindus or Christians.
From Martin Marty‘s review:
This is a work of enormous erudition and considerable subtlety. Cook’s learning is vast, his insight profound, his treatment of sources fair. Ancient Religions, Modern Politics is a most impressive achievement.
What kind of duty do we have to try to stop others doing wrong? The question is intelligible in almost any culture, but few seek to answer it in a rigorous fashion. The most striking exception is found in the Islamic tradition where ‘commanding right and forbidding wrong’ is a central moral tenet. Michael Cook’s comprehensive and compelling analysis represents the first sustained attempt to map the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation and to explain its relevance for politics and ideology in the contemporary Islamic world.
From Robert Irwin‘s review:
[Cook’s] account of how injustice and immorality have been confronted by Muslim thinkers provides an unusual and fascinating perspective on the social history of Islam. It also furnishes an essential basis for understanding the roots of modern Islamic rigorism. This is one of the most important scholarly works dealing with Islam to have been produced in the western world in the last one hundred years.
At 200 pages, Cook’s Forbidding Wrong in Islam: An Introduction is the “short” version
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