Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Idiocy Watch

Via BBC, Buried guru's gesture for peace

A Japanese Hindu devotee has buried herself in an Indian pit for three days without food and water to try to bring peace to a strife-torn world.

Keiko Aikawa, 60, who practises Samadhi - a strict form of Hindu meditation - emerged from the three-metre square pit saying her body and soul felt cleaner.


doubtinggaurav said...

Idiocy watch ?

How is this any different from holding candle light vigil or saying mass for dead?

Jaffna said...

Primary Red,

Interesting piece on the BBC and indeed typical of its mentality. There are enough of eccentrics in Britain such as the new age pagans who gather at stonehenge for the solstice. But the media coverage of those incidents is quite different to the subtle editorial on India.

Lets take another example - the issue of child sex abuse in the Christian clergy. I do not see the BBC cover that in its lurid detail. Or the recent trial of the murder of the former head of Banco Ambrosiano with its trail leading to influential figures within the clerical hierarchy itself.

But the oddity that Keiko represents makes the news. India and Hinduism in particular are portrayed as a land and religion of poverty, eccentricity, stupidity and ultimately irrelevance.

The idea is to stereotype and then dismiss. The Anglo-saxon superciliousness remains. If only they knew that their only significance today was American backing.

Jaffna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
doubtinggaurav said...


Could you recommend a book on Buddhism.

Apologies for being OT :-)


doubtinggaurav said...


"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you , then they fight you and then you have won"
Mahatma Gandhi

So "Keep the faith"


Primary Red said...

With all respect, there is way too much defensiveness in these responses.

This incident is idiocy, regardless of any other similar foolishness that goes on elsewhere.

What this has to do with sex abuse among clergy defies us. Besides, if people weren't watching, the Western media did take these priests aggresively to task.

Lets please get over our inferiority complex and not jump to the defense of foolishness that happens to be India-connected.

To this blogger, a recent post on US' view on Indian caste practices seemed similarly defensive.

Best regards.

Jaffna said...

I see no inferiority complex or defensiveness here. It is a reaction to years of misrepresentation and stereotyping.

Edward Said wrote an entire book on it where he attributed similar media portrayals on the Arab world. The idea is to caricature and then dismiss a competing world view that threatens western dominance.

Keiko is an oddity, an absurdity. Yet the emphasis on her in BBC, in contrast to the Asian press, is intended to stereotype i.e. "India the land of the yogi amidst the squalor and superstition".

The media coverage in the west on Christianity, by comparison, is one of caution and discretion. The issue of child sex abuse in the church did not get the coverage commensurate to the problem. Certainly, not in the BBC.

doubtinggaurav said...


Another defensive post

I think she is acting on faith, deriding faith is not what you normally suggest.

libertarian said...

Jaffna, DG,

Have to agree with PR that folks from the sub-continent are famously thin-skinned. Hey, we can keep the Western media honest by building our own credible resources (like this blog) and by calling them out when they BS. I see no point bitching about how they stereotype us "beastly people with their beastly religion" (courtesy Churchill).

PR, don't know if this oddity met he standard of your blog. Anyways, you're a free person in a free country :-)

Jaffna said...


The Indian subcontinent is not the only region that is stereotyped by the western media. Edward Said alluded to similar portrayals of the Arab world. I would add that the western media's coverage of Africa as a third example. This needs to be challenged and some of us will continue to do so even if others were to trivialize the efforts.

laks said...,13673,501030908-480330,00.html

Read this masterpiece from Alex Perry just after Mumbai blast. Can anyone guess if he could use the same tone for London blast.

Just replace:
Hindus = British colonialists,
Indian Muslims = oppressed British Muslims of Asian origin.
Hindu nationalist BJP govt. = Christian -dominated govt led by faithful Tony Blair.
Gujrat riots = War in Iraq.

You'll not find this kinda reporting even from loony-lefties of the Guardian variety.

Anonymous said...

what the hell is problem with you if somebody is putting herself in pit for three days without harming anybody else. its her own wish, own faith. do'nt you remember the pope election? that medival practice of sending black smoke to signal the end of election. stop pretending to be a intellectual and this non-sense too

libertarian said...

Jaffna, did not intend to trivialize the effort to challenge the Western media with their biased reporting. But, our world runs according to the Golden Rule - "he who has the Gold makes the Rules". The "gold" in this case are media reach and media credibility. The Western media possesses them in larger quantities than subcontinental media (blogs included). My point was that instead of griping about how they don't portray us fairly, let's be constructive and build our own weapons of a media war - more credible sources with wider reach. We can then call BS through forums of comparable power.


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