A conversation with Shri Alamsha Karnan

I had a brief and interesting chat with Shri Karnan on twitter yesterday – I think he was basing his line of argument along these two posts in his blog:

1. Vande Mataram ?. We will NEVER NEVER NEVER sing.

2. My Answer for 26/11:

Now, many folks I know would dismiss Shri Karnan as a crank. I don’t.

Shri Karnan not just has important arguments (misguided they may be in my opinion) but “he” is listened to intently. Therefore he should be accorded the respect of an opponent who gathers listeners around him for the opinions he expresses.

Since I’m not able to link to my twitter conversation here, I will try and reproduce what transpired:

Broadly from what I could gather, Shri Karnan would like to know Hindu (Brahmin – in his eyes) opinion on Muslim opposition to Vande Mataram and the insistence on wearing the Burkha. Apart from this, if Hindus would go the Swiss way in banning Mosques/Minarets.

My response was to assert that the difference between Muslims in Hindusthan and let’s say, the West was that here they were not immigrants. However, they are Minorities and not Nationals. Therefore how the Muslims wants to live and worship should be of no concern to the National society. They can wear their Burkha, they can keep off Vande Mataram and keep their Mosques and Minarets – They will only have to live as Minorities and have no part in the life of a National society with important say in National policy.

Next Shri Karnan wanted to know if, as his response to the Mumbai slaughter (26/11), he could become a Brahmin. – He says he is a Muslim now.

I informed him that to the best of my knowledge there is no Brahmin caste. There are castes who were traditionally Brahmana – I.e. They conducted themselves in the rigor of what was required per this Varna. I told him I myself was more of an Arvel Niyogi – Vyshya. However, he could certainly have a Upanayana conducted for himself. All Hindus, irrespective of caste are entitled to the Yagnopavita. It does not change their Caste.

To be a Brahmana was up to his capacity and inclination. I told him his teacher would be a Brahmana since he/she acquires knowledge and interprets/disburses the same, more so if he/she has earned the respect of students.

Therefore Caste and Varna are two different categories and they need not overlap.

Shri Karnan wanted to know if he could have the Sankaracharya preside over his Upananaya.

My response was that the Sankaracharya is not important to this ceremony. That I had never seen him myself. That his role was not similar to the Pope or Khalifa.

Our conversation went along similar lines of questions asked and clarifications rendered.

I hope I could clear Shri Karnan’s doubts about the Dharma he wants to return to.

– Namaste

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