Saturday, May 05, 2007

Of conspiracy theories & two rupee coins

Surely you've heard about the controversy surrounding the two rupee coin. No, I don't mean the controversy that since it resembles the 1 rupee coin so much in shape, the blind may not be able to figure out the difference. Such details are piffling - we must concern ourselves with something of far greater impoartance, namely the communal agenda that the Congress is apparently pursuing. Yes, a communal agenda through a goddamn metal coin. As the great philosopher of Bollywood, Anand Raj Anand, once sang - "It happens only in India".

So, one gentleman found that the new coin resembles the coin issued by St Louis the Pious in the Ninth century - cross with four dots et al. He wrote an article expressing his views. The article included this little gem

It’s the ruling Congress which is pursuing communal agenda in virtually every sphere, from social, political, economic, military to now in national currency.

Our blogger no. 1 posted something about the silliness of such claims. He was taken to task by another blogger, who accused him of being politically correct, and a heated discussion ensued in the comments section. So when I stumbled upon this controversy, I decided to finally take a closer look at the damn coin.

I could see no cross. I saw two parallel lines close by, intersected at a 90 degree angle by two other close parallel lines. Sure, the cross looks something like that too. However, I know of only two crosses that are exactly the same on all four sides (i.e., they do not have an extended leg section) - the Maltese cross, and the aforementioned St Louis the Pious cross. Both of these crosses, like other crosses, have closed ends on the four sides, and the ends bulge a little. The motif on our coin has no such ends. My engineer mind saw a figure that was symmetrical with an angle of symmetry as 90 degrees. My I've-been-reading-too-much-postmodernist-feminist-crap-these-days-and-I-want-to-be-funny-about-it mind saw four phalluses about to penetrate a centre. (You do know that any linear/cylindrical structure is a phallus right? If you don't, shame on you. You are a stooge of the patriarchy) My Hindu mind saw four dots and was reminded of the Swastika.

Now, as I see it, the opposition to the "communal nature" of the coin has only two arguments.

1. The coin is indeed communal - For this to be true, one would have to assume that the RBI has absolutely sold out to the government, the government has absolutely sold out to Sonia Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi is a fanatically zealot christian. One would also have to assume that such a motif could actually enable conversions or truly offend another religion. In my book, that's one assumption too many.

2. The coin may not be part of a communal agenda, but a secular country has no business involving itself with a religious motif. To which I say, I see no damn religious motifs. I was not even aware of a cross with four dots before this but I was aware of the Swastika. Hence, I saw the dots as the Swastika dots. I could see pure geometrical figures. With some imagination I could also see four roads and a cross-road, and like I've mentioned before, four penises. But a christian cross, not really. Not unless we assume that every figure with a line intersected at the centre by another perpendicular line is a christian cross.

I could have tried to explain points 1 and 2 above to those worthies debating the communal agenda of the cross. I could have explained how perceptions colour observations, how motifs and symbols are largely in the mind, how one sees what one wants to see. But that seemed too boring, not to mention futile. Hence, I wrote this -

The four dots on the four sides of the cross suggest something else to me - I see the Shubh-Labh swastika dots. I also see four phallic structures, all heading towards a common centre that is about to be penetrated against its own will. Clearly, this cross is the evil design of the Hindu patriarchy.

The responses were brilliant. The only guy who seemed to get the joke replied with a brilliant post about how it was the evil design of patriarchy, but the Muslim one and not the Hindu one. Others concluded that I was a "typical wannabe contrarian bong" and someone who has 'learnt Hinduism from American Indologists" and hence "holds his penis when he crosses a temple". One sentence revealed more about the prejudices of these guys than hours of debating would have, and how much they actually knew about India and Hinduism was unnravelled beautifully. I was mighty pleased.

And so, in the spirit of conspiracy theories, I decided to do a little more pattern finding. I had another epiphany. Dear readers, I hereby announce that mathematics is a christian conspiracy. As Nilu would say - think deeply.

Random Wow : Speaking of foreign Indologists, there's only one I would recommend. Anyone with the least bit of interest in ancient Indian history as told from an unbiased, non-patronising, wonder-eyed, yet rational, objective and scientific perspective would get hold of A L Basham's magnum opus 'The Wonder That Was India' and read every word of it.

24 comments:

Blogger Bhaiyya said...

I could see no cross. I saw two parallel lines close by, intersected at a 90 degree angle by two other close parallel lines. Sure, the cross looks something like that too.



As they say read between the lines.. LOL..

Shalivahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
so said...

Haha Ritwik, I must say you got me there. Though I hasten to add, judging others saying by "one statement" reveals so much of your own prejudice too, to an extent atleast, not!
Cheers,
socal

zen babu said...

socal,

I'm glad you see the humour, and I'm assuming that also means that you see the point. I did not judge anyone, though. You thought it fit to mention that I was a "typical wannabe contrarian bong". The bong was no doubt in reference to my name, which is admittedly common only in Bengal. The 'wannabe' and 'contrarian' also I can understand - given the nature of my comment, it's easy to misconstrue what I said as that. Your clubbing of these three atrributes however, and addition of the word typical before that does reveal that you believe that more bongs are "wannabe contrarians" than other ethnicities, which does say something about your prejudices. That's all I have alluded to. You may still know a lot about India, but this prejudice would in all likelihood cloud each one of your judgements.

To be fair though, I was more amused by mt's comment that I had learnt Hinduism from American Indologists. That is precisely the kind of statement I would have expected from someone who has no clue about my knowledge of Hinduism, and I suspect, has little clue about the details of Hinduism and ancient India either.

I may very well be prejudiced socal, but I will stand by my point that oftentimes, single statements, even single words reveal more about one's inclinations and beliefs than reams of text.

As an example, I'd like to mention Dominique La Pierre's Freedom at Midnight. On page 18 or 19, he adds the adjective "alleged" to India's economic exploitation by the British, thereby revealing absolutely that he was at heart a believer in the "The brits did more good than bad for India" school of thought. This one single observation would explian each one of the seemingly strange things that one encounters later on in his work.

Large sections of text can be carefully constructed. It is very often the odd statement that gives one away. Perhaps I have given my prejudices away in some of my writings myself. I will never deny such a charge.

S.Ganesh Kumar said...

It's a cross.I've seen it.You cannot carve it exactly,hence it may not appear as a cross to you.

zen babu said...

Ganesh,

I've seen it too. It doesn't appear as a cross to me. The St Louis the pious cross has the requisite ends and the bulges at the ends, so I don't think your point of "you cannot carve it exactly" is valid.

Dhruv said...

Ritwik,

How are you? BTW congrats on cracking all the IIMs!! Life must be good these days...:-)

I have been tracing the 2-ruppee stuff for a while on Sandeep's blog and have been noticing the fire you are under:-) I thought I should talk about it since you too seem to have taken offence and are taking a stand agaisnt what seems to you as the 'communal' gang.

To give you some insight into how you struck the storm at Sandeep's blog, I would rate the "phallic structures" and the "inner will" joke as the top candidate.

I guess there was sarcasm and sattire in it, but then this vocabulary is trademark of western indology, which if you have not known has been lately accussed, and quite rightly so, of blatant intellectual corruption. In history writing, the art of vocabulary plays a big role in setting the colour of the canvas and depicting a civilazation the way you want it too.

It is thus that somebody accused you of learning from western indologists as so forth...

I think the "phallic" stuff was a wrong choice of words. When you get more directly acquainted with original Hindu texts, I am quite positive you will realize what a dangerous game western vocabulary has been playing with how we perceive hinduism.

zen babu said...

Dhruv,

Thanks for dropping by. And thanks, again. Life's always been good, though it's slightly better these days !!!

Truly speaking, I don't even think I am under any fire. Comments on the blog of someone I do not know and by people I do not know would hardly be my definition of fire. And to be sure, I am not in the least bit offended. I am just very very amused. I have taken a stand because that's precisely what I do on my blog - take a stand - and not because any of these people have offended me.

I know that the term "phallic structures " is what got under the skin of most people, and I sort of knew that even before I wrote that commnet, so it was quite premeditated. As far as I know Dhruv, the term "phallic structures" is a trademark of radical postmodernist feminism, and has been used as a stick to beat almost any organised religion with, including Christianity. It is perhaps quite common these days in western Indology which may very well be intellectually biased and corrupted. Yet, from whatever I have read, I would say that intellectually biased usage of the term "phallic structures" is more likley to come from a second-gen feminist than from a Hindu-bashing Indologist.

To get back to what actually happened on that debate, you did notice that mt used the term "American Indologist", andnot western Indologist - which is further indicative of the fact that he is not even aware of the Indologists who may have 'corrupted' my thought process. Mortimer, Burton and Basham - none of them are American. It is the first sign of intellectual honesty that one atleast knows the subject/people/theories/opinions that one wants to criticise. All the flame comments I recieved on that blog showed, apart from prejudice, ignorance, which sort of confirmed my beliefs and pleased me for I had achieved the result that I'd aimed for. "Phallic" may have been a wrong choice of words if it was a serious debate that I was aiming for, but since that was not the case (as I've explaioned in the post) it ended up achieveing exactly the effect I had wanted. My basic point was - what I had written there was obviously ridiculous. I find the assertions that the whole thing is a christian conspiracy which has the Congress's blessings equally ridiculous.

Lastly, as far as my aquaintance with Hindu texts goes - would it help if I mentioned that I have read three versions of the Ramayans, two of the Mahabharata, know the entire philosophy of the Srimad Bhagwad Gita and can recite large portions of six of its chapters verbatim? Should I also add that I have stuck to Hindi translations of these texts to avoid creative Western interpretations, and when I have read them in English - I have used C Rajagopalachari's translation. Would my case be strengthened if I hastened to add that I first read the Mahabharata when I was not even six years old? Should I also mention that I'm aware of all the six schools of Hindu philosophy and consider Adi Shnakracharya as perhaps the finest philosopher who ever lived and that my world-view is extremely close to Advaita Vedanta? Despite all of this, (or maybe because all of this) I do not think that every single work by a western Indologist which goes against a rosy picture of my religion is necessarily biased. I also believe that if one wishes to talk coherently of Hinduism and ancient India, knowledge of what an outsider (western Indologist) thinks about it (whether you agree or not) is rather important, for we may very well ourselves be biased because we grew up in Hindu Indian families. Lastly, if you have the time, do read A L Basham's 'The Wonder That was India'. I'd recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in India or Hinduism.

Coming back to the coin controversy itself, now I can even see a game of Tic-Tac-Toe on that coin. A christian cross, still no. Do tell me this - isn't the addition sign also a christian cross then? Also, what about the multiplication sign (cross rotated at 45 degress)? Is it the case that mathematics as we study it has some christian bias in it?

Lastly, as far as I know, the accusations of 'phallic structures' in Hinduism are largely dircted at the Shivalingam. I know you will not like this, but I genuinely believe it to be true. It's just that I do not see anything wrong with it. Of course, that's another huge debate, so let's reserve our views and judgements on that for some other time.

Keep coming back. Cheers.

Dhruv said...

Hi Ritwik,

Nice to see your reply.

I know what shivaling stands for and understand that it really is a 'phallic structure'. (Although I too am saying this more on the basis of personal perception instead of quoting from some Hindu source). However, I still avoid using the word, because the shivaling is not 'just' a phallic structure.
And this is where the game of words comes in. Calling the shivalinga a phallic structure reduces it to only that, and nothing more, which is something I dont think you would agree with either. It is quite sensible to conclude that shivalinga means more than a phallus to demand worship. The ling has other meanings too where it represents the final state that is to be attained, the very state of Shiva; "nirakara","nirguna" etc etc. Probably why it has the smooth rounded shape without rough edges or a well defined shape. It's shape as worshipped is also ellipsoid, resembling the shape of the ling deha which we incorrectly call the atman. Now again I know you were fooling around with the phallus stuff. But then I wanted you to know that I dont suffer from any rosy perspective of Hinduism that I inherited in India. A good deal of what I have learnt about it has been in the last 2 to 3 years spent in much intense reading, mostly from original translations and quite far away from India.


Coming next to wheather the coin debate was really ridiculous or not. I personally think the accusation was a serious one and thus was the debate. Even if I knew the symbol meant something other than the cross, I would not find it ridiculously impossible that the christian cross could make its way to the 2-rupee coin.

You are accusing others of making ridiculous assumptions. Let me show some of the assumptions of yours which I am finding difficult to take for granted.

Firstly, you seem to believe that only an unrealistically evil and corrupt government would allow the christian cross to make it to the coin. I dont think the christian cross is such a big deal; greater, bigger and much more unbeleivable corruption has happened under the nose of this very governement since the NCERT started its agenda to annihilate Hinduism with its 6th, 7th and 8th standard history textbooks which both you and I have read in school. The fact that the imperialist intentions of early European indologists are never brought to light in history education is something that amounts to much greater corruption than a cross on the coin.
The fact that people who are raising their voice against this devious history writing are being branded 'communal' amounts to corruption of a much grave kind than the 'christian cross' making its way to the 2-rupee coin.

Hence there is reason to believe that it is not "all that impossible" that the cross on the coin is indeed the christian cross.

Secondly, you find it impossible to beleive that Sonia Gandhi is a fanatic christian. Again I see some sort of a beleif here on your part. From what I have read from many sources over the internet is that proselytization rates have risen like anything under the Congress government. The rates are much higher in states with Congress rule.

Thirdly, while bringing the cross to the coin may not enabable conversions, it would certainly appease to the christian community and would surely help strenghthen christian vote.

As for weather a christian cross on the coin truly offends another religion, I think it definitely does. This is because one of the strong tenets of christianity's claim to being the one true religion is its self righteous assertion that all other religions are evil and false. "polytheistic" and "idolatory" Hinduism is top on its hate list.


"The coin may not be part of a communal agenda, but a secular country has no business involving itself with a religious motif"

I am not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that a secular governement, since it has officially no business with relgion, would not do something like this? If that is so, again you presenting a naive assumption. The government does what it 'wants' to do as long as it can get away with it. However if you mean something else, please explain yourself further.

So, while the coin really may represent tic-tac-toe, it is cetainly not a ridiculously impossibility that it might be the 'christian cross'. I would love to belive what you do, but the history of 'secular','independent' India does not allow me to.

Also, I am wondering that its probably your lack of knowledge christianity and their 'missionary zeal' that is causing all the fuss. I may be wrong here too. But let me know. I would like to discuss this further.

zen babu said...

Dhruv,

1) I accept your points about the Shivalinga. The origins of its worship are worthy of a much larger debate and like I said, we can keep that for some other time.

2) I personally think that the accusation was a serious one too, but the basis of that accusation appared far-fatched to me.

I agree that our NCERT history textbooks have invariably reflectd the communist leanings of their JNU-educated Marx-loving authors. That stuff made it to history textbooks largely because the prominent historians then were almost all Left-leaning in nature and modern scholars and historians of the Hindu tradition had not yet reached a level where their assertions passed any rigorous tests such that a modern rational textbook could allow it. I agree that we have been blindly taught about the correctness of the Aryan Invasion Theory, the atrocities of Muslim invaders on religious and educational institutions have been glossed over, etc. It is certainly not unimaginable to me that governments could become slaves of some communal agenda (indeed the Modi govt of Gujarat has been accused of similiar things by the other side).

"The coin may not be part of a communal agenda, but a secular country has no business involving itself with a religious motif"

When I say this, I am outlining one argument which I feel can be made AGAINST the new coin. I am saying that one could logically argue that even though the Congress may not be following a communal agenda, it still has no business putting a cross on a coin, for that goes against secular tenets. Then, I go on to say that I do not agree with this argument either, simply because I do not even see a cross.

Let me outline my two central arguments , which hopefully will answer your questions

1) Is the motif a cross? I do not think so. You think it is. Many others support your POV, many others support my POV. The point is, like I have said in my post, "Perceptions colour observations". You see what you want to see, or rather, given a symbol, the difference between what you and I make of it reveals less about the symbol and more about our own thought processes. To summarise, the symbolism of a motif is in my opinion a very WEAK argument, because what a motif conveys is not universal. Also, the motif holds a very WEAK resemblance to a cross as far as I see it. Crosses have marked bulging ends. This one has none. If I was to construe this symbol as a cross, I would be forced to construe every line bisected by a perpendicular line as a cross, including the addition sign.

2) More fundamentally, does the government have a communal agenda and is it pursuing it through a coin ? About the first, I would reserve judgement, there is no way you or I could conclusively prove something like "The Congress govt is aggressivley communal" or "No it is not". If you think that it is an attempt by them to consolidate the christian vote, is it not easy to see that such an attempt may end up polarizing the Hindu vote totally against them? Such ascription of intentions are not easily provable, and so like I said, I reserve judgement. The second bit of the assertion - that a communal govt would try and follow its agenda through a coin - seems silly to me. To accept this, you would have to accept all of the following

1) RBI is absolutely under govt control.
2) Govt is absolutely under Sonia Gandhi's control
3) Sonia Gandhi is fanatcially zealot.
4) Vote consolidation is actually possible through a motif on a coin

Some of those assertions may have arguments backing them, but taken together, in my opinion, the probability that all 4 are true at the same time is rather low. Hence, I do not see much merit in the anti-coin lobby's arguments. You perhpas feel that all 4 taken together are still very probable, and hence you differ.

You see Dhruv, I find the accusation that education has been tweaked in a communal biased way much more believable than this coin thing, precisely because the scope of the "corruption" in the first case is much larger. If you're following a communal agenda, it makes sense to twist the books that the children of your country read. It makes sense to brand people who question you as "communal". It does not, however, make sense to place a religious motif on a coin - simply because the effects of such an action would be negligible.

To summarise,

1) I don't think a religious motif on a coin is significant enough to serve a political/communal agenda.
2) I don't even think that it is religious motif in the first place.

zen babu said...

Dhruv,

I am also aware of Christianity's missionary zeal and its philosophical intolerance and shortcomings. Ifind that irrelevantnin this discussion though.

Your reasoning is :

1) Christianity opposes certain philosophicaal tenets central to Hinduism and is proselytizing religion.
2) Hence Christianity hates Hinduism and tries to convert.
3) A cross is a christian symbol
4) Hence a cross on a coin is offensive to Hindus.

2 doesn't follow from 1. For example, can you prove to me how Hinduism and not Islam is on top of the "hate-list" of Christianity (assuming there is even such a thing as a common universal hate-list of christianity)? Islam has common roots, common philosophical beliefs, etc and yet the proponents of those two religions are constantly slugging it out. Hence I would say that a statement like "Hindusim is on the top of the Christianity's hate-list because there are severe philosophical differences and Christianity has a missionary zeal" is an erroneous one.

And by the above logic, a cross anywhere should be offensive to Hindus. Why just on a coin, one could be offended by someone wearing a T-shirt that depicts the christian cross.

Ultimately, the only reason people are debating so much about this is that the coin is a national thing, and it would be serious detriment to the credentials of a secular state if it indulges in partisan religious symbolism on a coin. To which, I have already given my response in the previous comment.

so said...

Nice argument going on here. I would like to get back at some of those later today. Being unfamiliar with the feminist lingo I kinda initially missed on the joke at sandeep's blog. So, thanks for salvaging that for me. And, my statement was certainly prejudicial towards Bongs - having lived and sparred with too many of them I am quite familiar with their usual gambit which invariably involves an irreverent take at religious symbolism. Having repeated the same and enjoyed the obvious expose of prejudices soothing my prejudice too, I find it too cheesy to repeat the same.

There's no denying that irreverence and sense of humor go together, but I do feel it is intellectually slothful to laugh at the same joke way too often.

I also don't understand why you say that discussion over there is not serious. For believing folks -- I consider myself one too-- it certainly is.

About the coin and other arguments? Well, later.

Till then carry on.

PS- About Basham's book I am in complete argument with you. He was Brit and Romila Thapar is his student. My opinion of hers colored my view about Basham intially, but the book is a gem- as I discovered later. (That hasn't changed my view about Romila though- which remains negative.) Not that it matters, but I thought I might say it nonetheless.

zen babu said...

socal,

All the serious bits of the discussion over at Sandeep's blog had already been done between Ot and Amit Verma. Amit Verma said largely the same things as I have said, and Ot often reduced his arguments to a "Ohh look who's talking - it's Amit Verma the guy who doesn't allow comments". I scarcely felt the need to be serious and so said something incendiary which I hoped would provoke some reactions which would allow me to later point out the fact that if I was a pseudo-secular postmodernist feminist, I could have seen the symbol as a design of the Hindu patriarchy, and similiarly some people are seeing christian crosses while some are not - perceptions colour observations, which was the one new point I would have brought to the argument. I indulged in showmanship on that one. Like I've said before, the accusation is definitely serious but the basis of that accusation itself seems frivolous to me.

I agree with you on Romila Thapar. The absolute belief she has in the correctness of the Aryan Invasion Theory is the greatest dissservice she has done to history education in this country. Though, socal, it would be tough to deny her scholarship. She has tremendous biases but it would require a very well informed person to expose them fully and counter them factually and rationally.

zen babu said...

Incidentally, while we're on Basham's book - if you have a copy right now, check out the illustration on page 105 - Lingam, Gudimallam, Madras 1st century BC. If that thing isn't a penis, I don't know what is!

socal said...

Since, you've time at your hands, click on the hyperlink that says "Watch" and have fun. Btw congrats!(understatement but take it, will ya!)

http://www.booktv.org/General/index.asp?segID=8171&schedID=485

Dhruv said...

Ritwik,

Your argument on how the Christian cross on the coin cannot realistically serve a communal agenda seems quite sound.

Further, on my statement "Hinduism is on top of the Christianity hate list" I am pointing to more of an ideology based hatred rather than one that stems from geo-political reasons. If there is strife between Christianity and Islam today it is primarily because of geo-political reasons and extremist Islamic forces also have a good deal to contribute.

The take of Christianity on Hinduism is of a different kind. It is based on what Hinduism is and also what Christianity perceives it to be. There is rabid dislike for Hindu beliefs without any Hindu person committing any offense against Christianity.

Worship of idols, more than one deity of worship, and claiming a human lineage that has nothing to do with Adam and Eve makes Hinduism the perfect 'false religion' and a 'diabolical work of Satan' for Christianity.

The ideological stand Christianity has on Hinduism is pretty denigrating, much more so than that on Islam .Don't confuse this stand with what more or less moderate Christians think about Hinduism or any thing else in this world. I am discussing Christian theological ideology that does guide missionary Christian organizations the world over. They are out to save everyone from 'hell'and Hindus are definitely the top candidates who need to be rescued. I have had a personal experience in this matter that lasted quite long. I interacted with a family for a few months who were genuine well-wishers and devout Christians.
They tried continuously to bring me to the light of Christ, save me from hell etc. Finally, my relations ended on a very unpleasant note with them, leaving me rather disturbed. It has taken me more than a year to get over the sourness of it. Later, as I read more about the history of Hindu-Christian dialog, I have found out that the people I had met were not an uncommon kind in the Christian world.

So while comparing Christianity's hatred for Islam versus Hinduism is not as easily done because of very different contexts, I would definitely say that Hinduism has a special place on the hate-list because it is disliked for what it is, instead of what it might incite people to do against Christianity.

And as you said it, a cross on a T-shirt and one on the national currency are two different things, and have drastically different implications.

Dhruv said...

Finally .. the coin

Anyway, coming back to that DAMNED coin, let me drop the bomb by telling you what the symbol might ACTUALLY mean. According to RBI, "It is supposed to be an aerial view of individuals from 4 different religions coming together" and joining hands. I found this piece of new here:
http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=8997&theme=8&size=A

Article by a certain Nirmala Carvalo and showing up on an Italian website. See this is why some of us believe in conspiracy theories hehe. Another news source (Spyro News) that has this news is quoting the same source as above.

Anyway, sounds like a reasonable explanation. Added to that, I find your take that the coin is an unlikely device in a communal agenda agreeable. To end this, I would say that in the beginning, my instincts didn't digest that symbol well because it did not convey anything of national significance until then. Even after reading the explanation, I don't understand why all those four arms are not equal in length and why the heck do two of them seem to be extending towards the outside of the edge of the coin...Being outside India, my only look at the coin is here.

http://indiauncut.com/iublog/article/does-the-two-rupee-coin-reflect-a-communal-agenda/

In the article from newsasia above, A certain Babu Joseph has said:

"Instead, these vested groups are trying to whip up uncalled for passion against a symbol which is universally accepted as representative of unity of people"

Wow, this is universally accepted symbol of secularism? I guess that is why everybody guessed it right away..Also, I wish I saw more news sources talking about the meaning of the symbol.

Well anyway, on a lighter note, I think thats a lame looking symbol and I wish something people could relate to more could have been but on the coin.

One of drawbacks that I saw in your argument is that you somehow never questioned what the symbol might actually have meant, given the prestigious space it occupied on the national currency. It therefore seemed like a biased defense sometimes. I on the other hand have hastened to see conspiracy.


So Ritwik, I finally accuse you of the blasphemy of calling a national symbol phallic, tic-tac-toe, perpendicular-parallel etc while it really was all this time upholding the secular fabric of the nation yelling out to every proud Indian:

"Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai sabhi ka mazhab ek hai"

I am sure the folks in Vatican and Mecca agree. We should Arabic and Latin versions of that line...LOL

And you my friend are communal to have called that symbol undeserving names...
ROTLF

zen babu said...

Dhruv,

Your explanation of Christian theology's dislike for Hinduism is well taken. I particularly agree with " Hinduism has a special place on the hate-list because it is disliked for what it is, instead of what it might incite people to do against Christianity. "

As for the zealots, I had the chance to experience some of them during my time in Singapore myself. There was an organisation in my college called the "The legion of Mary" which tried to explain how the Christian stand on "salvation through Jesus and through no other" was rational. It was tremendously funny, but only because these people were not irritating or dangerous enough.

The Itlain website that you linked to is a Chritian thing - they show news from Asia that has relevance to Christianity and Christians and proudly carry the last Pope's disgusting "Asia, Our common Task for the Third Millenium" exhortation. The four religions bit, though, seems to be a figment of their own imagination.

Here's what the official RBI release about the coin says :

Reserve Bank of India to circulate New Ferritic Stainless Steel Rs.2 Coins
The Reserve Bank of India will shortly put into circulation new Ferritic Stainless Steel Rs.2 Coins with the theme 'unity in diversity'.

The coins are circular in shape with 27 millimeters diameter with a metal composition of 17 percent chromium and 83 percent iron.

The face of the coin has three portions. The centre portion bears the Lion Capitol of Ashoka Pillar with the legend mel³ecesJe pe³eles inscribed below and the prominent international numerals '2' indicating the denomination. The top portion contains the word Yeejle in Hindi and 'India' in English. The bottom portion contains the year in international numerals. The reverse face of the coin shows stylised representation of 'Unity in Diversity' a defining characteristic of our country. The symbol shall be seen as four heads sharing a common body. It shall be thought of as people from all four parts of the country coming together under one banner and identifying with one nation. The visual code helps the user connect the visual with an individual denomination, which makes the process of identification quicker. The left upper periphery contains the words oes ©he³ee in Hindi and 'Two Rupees' in English.

The coin is a legal tender as provided in the Coinage Act, 1906. The existing Two Rupees Coins in circulation shall also continue to be legal tender.

P.V.Sadanandan
Manager

Press Release : 2006-2007/835

So, its the four parts of the country and not four religions. North, east, south, west, fused centre - the four parts theory is quite believeable.

Indeed, one of the main drawbacks of my arguments was that I never questioned what it may have been intended to mean. A simple google search would have simplified things! But then, we would have not had this rather fascinating debate.

And as for blasphemy, I stand guilty as charged. Discussing about phallic stuctures is a thousand times more fun than this hindu muslim sikh isai behen-behen bhai-bhai crap.

kamal said...

I raised a point there too and once more raises here.
I have a problem with the coin.And I have already written to many,but nothing has come out of it.

See,I live very close by a blind school,and every day see many young children coming and going to school.Morning and in afternoon we ask our children to help them cross the road,at least this much children too contribute religiously.

Since this debate started I sat with few students and gave them new coins and ask them to identify.NOT EVEN ONE COULD.They all said it was new one rs. coin.

This is the problem and it is serious.Of course the shop keepers around our block so far never showed or dared any dishonesty,but what about elsewhere? Indian has over 10 MILLION Blind population and how many are Prudent Indians,there to help them?

The older coin have edges,is heavier and bigger in size thus easily identifiable.New coin is just not blind friendly.

Presuming some body might ask how they identify notes. Let me tell you,please look at any note there in your breast pocket you will find some sort of geometrical figure-I have a hundred Rs. note in pocket,If you too have one or any then hold it so that the water mark is on your left side,just look a little above the emblem there is dark triangle,if you feel it with fingers you find it is embossed.Each note has a different figure and can be identified by them for the exact value.
The Govt. should have thought about it before designing the new coin,but AH! we all know how they works? If at all!

This may hurt some,so be it,the Busy bloggers chanting and raving and commenting all over the place loose focus and many of them are suffering from "Compulsive Blogging Syndrome".

Regards,
Prudent Indian
mail micommunal@gmail.com
theprudentindian.wordpress.com

zen babu said...

PI,

Amit has acknowledge your position over athat post, and here in mine I too have said that the one real claim which could be made against the coin is that it is not possible for the blind to differentiate it from the 1 rupee coin. People blogged about all those points that they found debatable in other bloogers' commentors' opinions, none of these discussions would have made a difference to the RBI anyway.

AS for the real problem faced by the blind with regard to this coin, I think the best way is for organizations that work for the blind to submit their grievance in writing to the RBI. Surely, something will come out of it.

Sanjana Govindan said...

i have a new two rupee coin and its way cooll..

conspiracy theorists of the world unite... vehooooo

i miss .. . freud..
i will call soon
hugsies

Dilip D'Souza said...

I just found this, Ritwik. Thank you for your ordinary common sense.

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