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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Re: [mukto-mona] Can we discuss religion freely?

I think Soumitra Bose's points here are vague, devoid of specifics, and suffer form a 'smarter than you' kind of attitude. The attitude is clearly unfounded, as Mr. Bose could not even express his points clearly.
I am particularly confused with his statement below, where he seems to favor "religiously neutral atheists", while wanting people to follow religion "very meticulously."
In this forum, there are several broad categories of contributors who identify themselves as Bangladeshis and mention names of religions in their writings.
1) People who identify themselves as Muslims, and want to promote Islam. These people wish Islamic justice in the world. Even the best version of this group does not realize that it is unjust for one kind of people to be "protectors", while the other kinds being "protected."
2) People who identify themselves as Muslims, but do not care to promote Islam. Some in this group have a Muslim brotherhood problem, and do not wish justice for all religious groups. Some in this group are good human beings, and do care about justice for all.
3) People who identify themselves as Hindus, but do not care to promote Hinduism. If the opportunity arose, some in this group would favor Hindus over other religious groups. Some in this group are good human beings, and do care about justice for all.
4) People who do not identify themselves as either Hindu or Muslim, and there is no question for them to promote any religion. This group wishes equal treatments for all religious groups.
Now, may I ask, which category is Mr. Bose criticizing?
Sukhamaya Bain
From: Soumitra Bose <>
To: Farida Majid <>
Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2012 11:57 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Can we discuss religion freely?
To Subimal and others:

Talking about religion is serious stuff. We do not have comparative religious studies in the entire South Asia simply because the ruling forces did not want it. A comparative religious study would create bunches and sets of religiously neutral atheists and this fact is known by our comprador rulers much more than we can ever  think, they knew it better. Religion is traditional study and we ought to follow it very meticulously. 

That is way beside the point that a country and her intellectuals are doomed to being permanently nincompoop bringing every discussion down to religious differences. It would be smart to study all religions with equal gusto. I find those who generally respond here have zilch knowledge about the religions other than his. This is disparaging and disgusting. It is very unfortunate that these petty squabbles by some utterly nincompoop creatures are more among Bangladeshi intelligentsia. Still, this stale thing fascinates them and especially those who are far from the reality ground of Asuria upsurge or the almost daily upsurges of Bangladeshi toiling and producing masses. These NRBs have stolen their way out of Bangladesh's surplus and now are here debating the track that would doom Bangladesh.
On 24 June 2012 00:41, Farida Majid <> wrote:
          Hello! Subimal, the title of the article you wrote for "Ogrobeej" sounds good.  Send us a link.           Has anyone of you ever paused to ponder: "Where did this f****ing idea of "critiquing" religions come from?" Certainly not from our neck of the world or from our old and various traditions.  I have done the pondering. Here is an excerpt from my forthcoming article on Imperial History Writing ---
         Critiquing of religions is a futile exercise, and in fact, a diversionary tactics. WHAT judgmental comments Macaulay, Toynbee, et al made on Indian religions is of very little substance, most historians now agree. WHY they engaged in critiquing Indian religions as if religions are static, monolithic and divorced from historical developments had to do with their innate racist agenda.  There was also evangelicalism, the everpresent handmaiden of European Imperialism. This agenda itself has a genealogy that grew with the changing concerns of East India Company's activities in India. Up until 18th century India was still the First World, and British Fortune Seekers, other than Company men, would sojourn to India for better lives, some of whom have been described as the White Moghuls by William Dalrymple in his book of that title.
  More to follow.                                                          farida apa
To: From: Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2012 17:05:58 -0700 Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Can we discuss religion freely? 
1. I know what you mean: when you take care of the fundamental needs of common people and build an exploitation-free society, religion does not remain a dominant political force any more.
But can you give me even one example of a historical period when religion was not talked about (praised and critiqued as well) by great thinkers? Religion is such a powerful concept and institution (sometimes all consuming) that it cannot and should not be ignored. We have seen how India was divided on the basis of religion. And we are still suffering. We have also seen the rise of the fundamentalist Hindutwabadis. Look around, you will see a lot more.  
2. Why should we be in denial and assume that the threats from religious fundamentalists and fanatics will go away naturally?
Mukto-mona is a forum consisting of educated (I mean good degree holders) people. Many of the members are about to retire or already retired. Most of them probably live in comfort zones in all respects. This has provided them with almost unlimited leisure that they can afford to utilize to engage in "intellectual" exercises. Many of them are not ready at all to do so. But they do it as they have nothing else to do. They do it with confidence which comes from, for example, his Ph.D in civil engineering. Being inspired by Dr. Shoumyo Dasgupta, I had to write an article titled "Antorjaale kothokota: jaale bondee bibek o mukto chinta" for Ogrobeej that was edited by him a few years ago. I will never tell my less educated religious relatives and friends that I am an atheist. But Mukto-mona is a forum where I dare do this. But nobody can complain that I have ever shown any kind of profanity in any of my writings.
3. My understanding is that religion is man made and has been made to serve the interests of the selected groups of a society. In that it can be exploitative. Then why not to critique it if we can critique any other human innovations or thoughts?
4. I am also aware of the concern expressed by you and Dr. Farida Majid that discussions about religion involve the risk of further dividing the society on communal basis and also strengthening the hands of the fundamentalist and fanatic political forces.But we have a problem. The forum is visited by people of different kinds. Many come here with hidden agenda and those are reflected in their posts although they try to be fair and real free thinkers.
5. Finally, I will repeat what I have said before: a person with hidden agenda---communalist, political, or ideological--- has no moral rights to talk against some one else's religion.   
From: Soumitra Bose <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 12:32 AM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Can we discuss religion freely?
A country, her culture, the civilization can never become mature and can never gain respects from the world till it comes out the filthy and slimy cocoon of religious debates. It is very unfortunate when debate about religion is dumped throughout the world Bangladeshi intellectuals [ a tiny and yet vocal minority though] still cracks their head on it. It is disparaging! Act your age! please, please grow up and look at the problems of the people, their livelihood, their quotidian struggle against injustice, economic inequalities, imperialism and hegemonism. Please walk with the people who produce, who toil, who create wealth and stop peering beneath their pants. 



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"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
               -Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 190

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