Cultural values and managing conflict in India

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Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 22 May 2012

T.K wrote:Adult Indians, in general, are not very adept at managing conflicts within close relationships, due to a variety of reasons that we can go into at another time.
... And on the other hand, they continue to cause conflicts by breaking apart families and stealing family members. I wonder what the net loss or gain to society is? The only gains for sure are in the BKs' bank balances and property holding portfolios.

What is more interesting is how the BKs handle their own conflicts either with the PBKs (ban them, tear down posters, conspire against them and even beat them up), with duped ex-adherents wanting their property (court cases), or between themselves.

With the Western BKWSU, we have often heard about "cultural values" being the reason why individuals cannot question or confront the senior ... but not all cultural values are good. What culture is this?

Is it BK culture or Indian culture? Is Indian culture BK culture?

It make me wonder if, for Western BKs, part of becoming a BK is becoming Indian.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by T.K » 22 May 2012

Here are my quick thoughts.

At its core India is a hierarchical society. The hierarchy is usually structured around age (commonly seen in families), or official designation within an institution, or financial stature (which has led to aristocracy) or some combination thereof. Those above in the hierarchy, by an implicit writ, know more and are more able, and hence are to be respected. Higher ups know what is the best for those below. Once established, the structure is difficult to alter. Those at the top end of determining the future structure.

Questioning those above in the hierarchy is deemed disrespectful. By showing you know more than them you may humiliate them. Professing to know more or openly aspiring to rise up in the hierarchy can get you labeled egotistical, and Indians have known ego to be a vice since the beginning of time. Seeking opinion from those below can be a sign of weakness/incompetence. Those below are supposed to be perfect, and if they are not, they are incapable and are to be admonished, not coached.

Adhering to the above culture, over time, blunts your sense of inquisition and shields you from learning about your own follies, unless pointed out by the "superiors", at which point you are being blamed, forcing you to defend yourself instead of learning from them. it is better to simply follow instructions than to question them or do otherwise, from the fear of inviting wrath in case you fail.

This is one of the reasons why India remains a stagnant society despite great potential.

Hence you will often see those who question BKs hard are usually outsiders. Indians do question them but most are quickly silenced by pointing out their own inadequacies and using some BS that they may not verify.

That is why you will not get the BK Seniors to admit their historical depiction was inaccurate. In their mind (and I am guessing here) they have retroactively applied the fact that Shiva spoke through Lekhraj Kirpalani in the 1st 14 years and that should be good enough for the rest. There is no need for the rest to mull over what they have already deemed to be correct. And honestly, your opinion regarding the teachings doesn't really matter, after all they are among the 108 or 16108.

I often hear old-timer BKs gush about how they would go to Mama and BB for directions and how Mama and BB would guide them. I don't think I have heard them say Mama and BB ever sought their opinion.

By asking Westerners to quietly tow the line, I would think they are being "Indianized".
I don't think the BK culture is Indian culture, at least not yet. But I do think BKs retains some of the Indian culture, at least their teachers seem to.

Ironically, it is the Westerners who are better equipped to deal with this culture than the Indians! Who knows, one day they may yet succeed!

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 24 May 2012

T.K wrote:At its core India is a hierarchical society ... Questioning those above in the hierarchy is deemed disrespectful.
Presumably by those at the top and second top of the hierarchy ...

I am always cautious when people talk of "India" as a single monolithic whole and deny any diversity or dissent. Where is "the core"? How unique is the India you speak of in comparison to other primarily feudal societies as in, is it "India" or is it just human society when it is at that level of social development? You might suggest "castes" but then what of Sikh, Buddhist, or the young in cities?

Besides which just because they don't like it is no reason not to! What is disrespectable should not be respected.
... your opinion regarding the teachings doesn't really matter, after all they are among the 108 or 16108.
Do you think they really believe that, or just their hangerons who endorse the myth in the hope that they can take the seat once they die?
I often hear old-timer BKs gush about how they would go to Mama and BB for directions and how Mama and BB would guide them. I don't think I have heard them say Mama and BB ever sought their opinion.
Which, to link back to the original topic, makes us wonder about Ramesh Shah's founding of the WRST ... although it is reasonable to believe that by the age of 80-odd Lekhraj Kirpalani was losing his facilities a little. Unfortunately, all we know is that we don't know.
I don't think the BK culture is Indian culture, at least not yet. But I do think BKs retains some of the Indian culture, at least their teachers seem to.
How long have you known the BKs? In the old days, Westerners used to go the whole hog wearing kurta, drinking chia and wobble their heads side to side. Even speaking in pigeon Hinglish ... achchan ... tikaa and so on.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by T.K » 24 May 2012

fluffy bunny wrote: I am always cautious when people talk of "India" as a single monolithic whole and deny any diversity or dissent. Where is "the core"? How unique is the India you speak of in comparison to other primarily feudal societies as in, is it "India" or is it just human society when it is at that level of social development? You might suggest "castes" but then what of Sikh, Buddhist, or the young in cities?
Of course, you cannot apply one general statement to 1.2B people. There are exceptions. There are dissenters, there are those who questions past precedents and those who question authority. But they are too few and far in between. However, the hierarchy is pervasive, irrespective of caste, creed, gender, profession, level of education, type of organization, region of the country.
Its antecedents may come from feudal societies of the past or India's now infamous caste structure.
fluffy bunny wrote: Do you think they really believe that, or just their hangerons who endorse the myth in the hope that they can take the seat once they die?
I think they do. IMO it is a key motivator to persevere relentlessly as they do.
fluffy bunny wrote: Westerners used to go the whole hog wearing kurta, drinking chia and wobble their heads side to side. Even speaking in pigeon Hinglish ... achchan ... tikaa and so on.
It is natural for adherents to conform to the ways of the people they wish to identify with. Even the Indians donned on the Western attire during the British Raj.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 24 May 2012

So, would you care to go back to the theory that Brahma Kumari culture is not Indian culture?

You might know of the Brahma Kumari and PBK theory which states that Brahma Kumarism is not based on Hinduism but Hinduism is based on Brahma Kumarism. Specifically that Indian culture and history is based on what happens within the BK world now, at this time, and is an impure version of their future heavenly culture.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by T.K » 24 May 2012

fluffy bunny wrote:So, would you care to go back to the theory that Brahma Kumari culture is not Indian culture?

You might know of the Brahma Kumari and PBK theory which states that Brahma Kumarism is not based on Hinduism but Hinduism is based on Brahma Kumarism. Specifically that Indian culture and history is based on what happens within the BK world now, at this time, and is an impure version of their future heavenly culture.
As I see it, there is clear influence of the Indian culture on BKs and it reflects in their conduct. Further, their projections of the future also reflect the culture, does it not? There will be an emperor, he will have important friends, and then there will be others lower in stature who may not get to mingle with the higher-ups. They do not depict a democratic society, interestingly. Why not a Golden Age in which people will elect their civic leaders?
Not that I think it is an ideal set up, but if everyone is pure, then even a democracy may work well. Could their visions of the future have been influenced by the prevailing societal norms?

And if they are right that Indian culture is a debased reflection of their culture, then it just becomes a chicken-and-egg thing. Maybe it is needed to simply perpetuate the cycle identically.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 25 May 2012

T.K wrote:... their projections of the future also reflect the culture, does it not? There will be an emperor, he will have important friends, and then there will be others lower in stature who may not get to mingle with the higher-ups. They do not depict a democratic society, interestingly. Why not a Golden Age in which people will elect their civic leaders?
This is all very true ... in a sense, it is the ultimate example of the caste system India has been working to rid itself of. We all remember the threat of becoming a cremator in the Golden Age (what was that for doing ... was it for falling into lust?). It is also true that there is little democracy within the BKWSU/Confluence Age, it is more the politics of being born in the right place and time, and 'grabbing a guddhi' and holding onto for dear life. It is a throw back to rulership by divine right. There are little democratic efforts around the edges of the BK culture at small centers in not so important zones, at least consensus seeking, and I wonder what goes on in the 'inner circle' discussion between the BK Bigwigs at Abu? Do they allow observers into see what goes on in the BK Court?

It is something I've argued that they need for a long time, some kind of external ombudperson system to check any abuses.

Are you of Indian origin?

The next question I would ask is, of which India do the BKs reflect? In era, geography and class.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by T.K » 25 May 2012

fluffy bunny wrote: It is something I've argued that they need for a long time, some kind of external ombudperson system to check any abuses.
I think that is a fair statement. They are a decently large organization and a system like this wouldn't necessarily be against their principles. In fact it may only enhance their status. But as I have been trying to imply, it may be hard for them to take such a step if it does not fit their mindset.

BTW, I'd like to clarify that I am not condemning or condoning their actions/philosophy etc. I am only pointing out the background stuff that may help others to understand them slightly better. I, personally, have no reason to believe they are not well intentioned or they are engaged in any wrong-doings. I do read and hear about the (alleged) bad and the good.
fluffy bunny wrote: Are you of Indian origin?

The next question I would ask is, of which India do the BKs reflect? In era, geography and class.
Yes, I am of Indian origin.

Indian history is replete with virtuous and righteous kings. That system may have degraded over time. I would imagine BK Seniors, have grown up in late 1800s and early to mid 1900s were influenced by norms of those times. Princes, although most were mere puppets of the British by then, still existed. Who knows, maybe some form of monarchy is the best for mankind. What is interesting is that mankind itself is tending towards egalitarianism.
I would think most BKs in the early years came from the North. It reflects in their language and literature.

But, at the same time, they have embraced modern technology without hesitation. They are not averse to enjoying arts. They have let BK Shivani speak at a national stage, bypassing hierarchy in this case.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 25 May 2012

T.K wrote: I would imagine BK Seniors, have grown up in late 1800s and early to mid 1900s were influenced by norms of those times. Princes, although most were mere puppets of the British by then, still existed.
It is true the BKs have a fixation with royalty. I'd put it down to Lekhraj Kirpalani coming from a relative poor background and being impressionable.

I'd say that the stories about royalty which they told us always focused on their wealth and riches, e.g. the jewellery. Nothing about the politicking, especially anything as complex as their position relative to the British, and certainly nothing about any that were social reformers and got their hands dirty.

It might interest you to read that the early BKs were distinctly pro-British rule and consider Gandhi and Congress to be traitors.

The BKs were also Sindi Hindis which makes a difference again. One detail I remember about the instructions given to them when they started to go out do service was not to bother with the Gujerat because Lekhraj Kirpalani thought the Gujerati would be so easy they would come in their own time (my rough summary). It seems to be quite true as after the SIndhi leadership, the Patels seem to be very common.

I'd be interested to read a breakdown of Indian ethnicities within the BKWSU, and to which ranks they rise, e.g. just as one does not see any high ranking black BKs in the West, I wonder if Nepalese or darker skin Indians rise within the BKWSU hierarchy in East?

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 27 May 2012

So, T.K., is being upfront and direct is offensive to such people ... even when you are right and they are wrong ... how does one manage and bringing about change in such a society?

I suppose it would have to be done in way that made them look like the agents of change and did not challenge the authority of their status ... which is seems a large part of the game is about.

This is the problem where people rule by "divine right" and there is no accountability.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by T.K » 27 May 2012

This is another complex topic, with multiples sides to it, IMO. But you have captured the gist. Here are some quick thoughts:

Understand the people, what motivates them, show how the changes will only further their cause or how not making them will hurt their cause, be patient, take incremental steps to the eventual outcome, first propose the steps yourself, but let them have the final say: these are some things that come to mind. These are standard management techniques.

Going head-on will only give rise to resistance. People engaged in penance for 70+ years are not going to give time of the day to johnny-come-lately contrarians. (I can almost visualize the conversation that must have gone down between Virendra Dev Dixit and BKs in the early 70s.)

There is the good and there is the not-so-good. Fortunately, there are ample beliefs within the system on which this can be structured. The hard part is, trying to change 75 years of sanskars (if I may borrow the term from BKs)?

But first, why would you want them to change? If you no longer believe in them, then you wouldn't have the staying power needed to effect it. If you only want to save people from falling in their "trap", then honestly, there are many dangerous organizations in the world - how are you going to save them all? While they may be conspicuous, BKs manage to truly attract only limited numbers.
You can only go head-on from the outside if you can prove crimes, and then you have to work through local law enforcement.

I think many adherents are aware of the flaws, but stay. They must be getting something out of it - either through the meditation or other self-management techniques they learn, or something else.

Clearly you have fallen foul of them. Has the manipulation of historical facts so antagonized you that you are unwilling to give credence to even the good they may have to offer? Is it everything or nothing for you? Or do you think they have nothing good to offer at all?

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 28 May 2012

T.K wrote:Or do you think they have nothing good to offer at all?
However "nice" a con person is ... none of it is "good" if it is all part of the confidence trick. A con man or woman will do whatever is necessary to gain the victim's trust.

I knew an old lady who was conned out of a lot of money. The con artist seemed kind and friendly, gave a little to gain her trust, and then took a load of money from her and disappeared.

What matter is the end result ... what it is all for? What "good" do you mean and what is it for?

With religious cults, it goes a little deeper. Proponents appear to have an innate or learned knowledge of what it take to mentally capture individuals without force. Give a little hospitality for free to gain trust ... gain an adherent who give everything back and works for free for life.

For me, it is impossible to know how much "good" the BKWSU has done. Certainly it did not start doing what the world considers to be "good" until perhaps the late 1980s. You would have to quantify what you meant by "good" and equate it to how much time and money they have taken and expended.

I heard they spent 200,000 on Dadi Janki birthday celebrations. I don't know that but it was what I was told. We need to see more facts and figures about the BKWSU.

Facts and figures (accountability) are not part of the Brahma Kumaris cultural values. Vague marketing and PR for the sake of social climbing are.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by T.K » 29 May 2012

Although I think I follow some of it, I struggle to fully understand the import of your viewpoint.
Taking money and disappearing may actually be a crime. But BKWSU has not disappeared.
Manipulating people can sometimes be criminal, and sometimes be just immoral without being criminal.
Which do you think the BKs are doing?

It is my understanding that one can ask and receive a receipt for money donated to them.

If they are committing crimes, then the victims should pursue legal options, IMO.
If their actions are immoral without being crimes, then all one can do is disassociate from them.
If they are indeed manipulating people, they certainly won't be the first nor the last.
No?

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by fluffy bunny » 29 May 2012

There is/was crime going on ... but what we are talking about here would be a civil manner between the two parties, e.g. "undue influence".

The bottomline is, they have learned that if they tell people the world is going end, they give them free money and labor.

It keeps NOT ending ... and so then they change their god's predictions and don't tell people that they have done so. In that is the confidence trick or fraud.

I guess if you are Indian, you are more comfortable with the omnipresence of corruption than I might be and turn around and argue, it is OK for the Brahma Kumaris to do so because other religions do too. But the Brahma Kumaris also claim to be far more superior than other religions, the topknot, the seed of all other religions etc ...

If so, they should be better.

There is no defence against being honest ... they reason they cannot be honest is because their religious confidence trick would not work if they were, so they carry on being dishonest in order to make it work and turned god into a liar too.

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Re: Cultural values and managing conflict in India

Post by satyaprakash » 30 May 2012

fluffy bunny wrote:But the Brahma Kumaris also claim to be far more superior than other religions, the topknot, the seed of all other religions etc ...

If so, they should be better.
fluffy bunny wrote: e.g. "undue influence".
fluffy bunny wrote:It keeps NOT ending ... and so then they change their god's predictions
fluffy bunny wrote: they have learned that if they tell people the world is going end, they give them free money and labor.
fluffy bunny wrote:they reason they cannot be honest is because their religious confidence trick would not work if they were, so they carry on being dishonest in order to make it work and turned god into a liar too.
fluffy bunny wrote:I knew an old lady who was conned out of a lot of money. The con artist seemed kind and friendly, gave a little to gain her trust, and then took a load of money from h
Dear fluffy,
Is there a single argument or point in this entire thread as mentioned by you, which is not applicable to PBKs?
May be you were foolish enough to do physical service to them (BKWSU) and got fooled further. But other than that, is there a single evil which is not common to both BK and PBK? Are they not both equally fluent liars? Is there any difference between the cheating abilities of them?
Then why are you blaming the BKs and praising the PBKs and their god Virendra Dev Dixit sitting in Kampil or Delhi?
Half truths have no value. When there are two horrible criminals, give equal punishment to both of them. Else you are fooling yourselves.
This is the truth!
Satya.

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