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Recently, many of my questions and answers using the word Mleccha have been edited and replaced with another word conveying a similar meaning, like "foreign" or "christian," etc.

I have accepted these edits because other people may find the word "mleccha" offensive.

Unlike the word "shudra," which is considered offensive in Tamil Nadu and in contemporary speech, the word "mleccha" is rarely used in contemporary speech, and should not be considered offensive. The word "mleccha" is a technical word that means non-Vedic people, or people outside of the Vedic civilization consisting of the 4 castes and the mixture of those 4 castes.

Replacing occurrences of the word "mleccha" with "foreigner" or "christian" does not convey the intended meaning, because foreigners and christians are relative words.

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    you should not accept the edits which remove the word mleccha. it is a word often used in scripture. calling it offensive, is like a thief objecting to the use of the word thief to describe him. – mar Feb 15 '19 at 22:47
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It is offensive to the people who live and host this site in a mleccha-country using a mleccha-technology (Internet). While there are several meanings to the word, in most of your posts you seem to use it in a derogatory sense (outcast, best to avoid contact with, not to marry with, not worthy to live on earth, etc.)

+-----------+----------+-----------------+------------------------------------+
|  Sanskrit |  Grammar | Transliteration | English                            |
+-----------+----------+-----------------+------------------------------------+
|    म्लेच्छ   |   m.     | mleccha         | ignorance of Sanskrit              |
|    म्लेच्छ   |   m.     | mleccha         | man of an outcast race             |
|    म्लेच्छ   |   m.     | mleccha         | person who does not speak Sanskrit |
|    म्लेच्छ   |   m.     | mleccha         | foreigner                          |
|    म्लेच्छ   |   m.     | mleccha         | barbarian                          |
|    म्लेच्छ   |   m.     | mleccha         | non-Aryan                          |
+-----------+----------+-----------------+------------------------------------+

'Unintelligible' or 'ignorance of Sanskrit' is probably the most harmless usage of the word but by that definition, most users of this site should be called Mleccha because they can barely speak Sanskrit. To a native speaker of Sanskrit, all English-speakers (Indian- or foreign-born) must be Mlecchas.

The Mahābhārata goes one step too far and declares:

And surrounded by the Brahmanas, that Brahmana will exterminate all the mlecchas wherever those low and despicable persons may take refuge.

This is why the word is best avoided on this site or also in day-to-day conversations.

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    The apocalyptic genocide of mlecchas, wow. – Ikshvaku Feb 16 '19 at 2:46
  • @Ikshvaku Do you take those words literally? – Say No To Censorship Feb 16 '19 at 3:03
  • Given that Kalki comes down to destroy everyone and reinstitute a Vedic civilization, I think there is only one conclusion.... – Ikshvaku Feb 16 '19 at 3:06
  • Interesting. 'destroy everyone and reinstitute a Vedic civilization' - so no USA, no Internet, everyone will be speaking in Sanskrit? @Ikshvaku – Say No To Censorship Feb 16 '19 at 3:50
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    Yes that's right, enjoy the US and internet while it lasts. – Ikshvaku Feb 16 '19 at 3:58
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    Why should there be no internet in a Vedic civilization? – user9969 Feb 16 '19 at 12:47
  • @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury I guess there can be, but the Vedic civilization doesn't seem very interested in technology. – Ikshvaku Feb 16 '19 at 13:59
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    of course, what do you think dharma-sthapana means ? all remaining mlechhas will be killed at end of kali yuga for satya-yuga restart. it doesn't go 'one-step-too-far' at all. it is unfortunately very slow.. another 4 lakh+ years to go. technology is just a means. so is this particular site. use & throw. as long as dharma is established, whatever means are necessary, bhagavan will take. – mar Feb 16 '19 at 22:05
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    "This is why the word is best avoided" - nah, that is chicken-ish, like avoiding the word Sudra. what next ? avoid the word 'caste' or 'varna' because it is 'old-fashioned' ? how about we avoid the words atheist or skeptic because it is offensive to those scientists who are really in pursuit of truth no matter how 'unfalsifiable' it is ? – mar Feb 16 '19 at 22:12
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    @ram are you sure that you will remain when all mlechchas will be killed:) – user17294 Mar 14 '19 at 6:10
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    @Partha, if death comes from hands of bhagavan himself, what more to ask ? – mar Mar 14 '19 at 7:25
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It's not offensive according to dharma because dharmic-s are supposed to derive criteria of good vs evil from dharmic scriptures but it is offensive for those who have entirely different criteria of good vs evil.

Now, this site is secular & US based (If I know it correctly) so it has entirely different criteria to judge good vs evil. According to its judgement it can be evil according to some translation.

So, The US based site, which is secular & have different criteria of deciding good vs evil, provides platform for Q&A on dharma that has different sets of criteria to label something evil or good.

This is cognitive dissonance & deadlock without any possibly solution. Some party has to be in harm. Better not to open the Pandora's box...

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My opinion is that in an academic study of Hinduism one cannot ban the use of words such as mlechha if one is to remain honest to the subject, even if the primary meaning of mlechha is — or is today seen as — a derogatory term.

This is for the same reason that historians cannot (read should not) ban the use of words like Nazi in their academic work, or literary critics cannot (read should not) ban the literary works of authors who have otherwise held appalling views, or why scientists cannot (read should not) ban the scientific discoveries and writings of those who are known to be generally awful human beings. There is nothing to be gained by brushing under the carpet any topic that is difficult to confront, and on the contrary it causes a lot of harm.

Now, what this means is that:

  1. we should be aware of the controversial, and oftentimes painful, background linked to some of these words and events, and
  2. we mustn't misuse the license to use words like mlechha in an academic study to instead use it to abuse any specific person or a general populace.

Hence,

  1. we should use such words with care and with neutral intent, being aware of the charged nature of these words, and
  2. abide by the CoC at all times.

So, yes, the word should not be banned from use on this site, but it can be used in an academic sense, when used without intent to offend, and without causing unintentional offence.

As a rule of thumb, if replacing the occurrences of the word mlechha in your post with Nazi or racist makes the post sound like it violates the CoC, chances are you need to rephrase your original post.

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  • From this answer written by the same person asking the meta question here: 'if he pronounces it his tongue is to be slit'. Sometimes I wonder if we are living in the 21st century or the Middle Ages. – Say No To Censorship Aug 6 '20 at 20:29
  • @sv. In my opinion, the use of the word mlechha is gratuitous in the two questions you linked, and they will both be vastly improved by removing the word. As for the answer that you link to, I find the quotes of the translated verses distasteful, but I would not advocate censoring that answer. Rather, better answers should be written to such questions which will rise to the top by voting, as is the SE model. (Indeed, there are a couple of decent competing answers too.) – user9440 Aug 6 '20 at 20:54
  • You said, 'it can be used in an academic sense, when used without intent to offend, and without causing unintentional offence' - do you agree the two linked questions and the self-answer were intended to offend Westerners? 'better answers should be written to such questions which will rise to the top by voting, as is the SE model' - normally, I would agree with you but if the majority of a site's users hate Westerners, Western translations of Hindu scripture, etc., voting alone will not work. – Say No To Censorship Aug 6 '20 at 21:53
  • Also, you should know CoC is applied selectively on this site. E.g., check this meta post, where a mod says "scriptures should be interpreted properly" and yet he has taken no action on the 'mleccha' posts. So when Hindu women are shown in bad light (using scriptural references), it apparently reflects badly on Hinduism and violates CoC. But do the same with 'mlecchas', you get a lot of upvotes from other racists. – Say No To Censorship Aug 6 '20 at 21:59
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    @sv. Frankly, I am new to this site and don't really know what factions exist. But, if content is not king, then this site is anyway doomed regardless of what the policies are and how they are enforced. – user9440 Aug 7 '20 at 5:30
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The closest example I can think of is the use of 'Kafir' in Islam. Now Wikipedia says "In modern times, kafir is sometimes used as a derogatory term,[10][3][11] particularly by members of Islamist movements" . However I don't see Islam SE putting a blanket ban on this word. Instead they have plenty of QnA around that word. And no one seems to have a problem.

So I fail to understand why some members in Hinduism SE wants to censor the word mleccha.

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  • 'Hinduism SE wants to censor the word mleccha' - nobody wants to censor the word, only its derogatory usage. See the discussion in this post. The same guy who posed an innocent-looking question here is referring to Western scholars of Hinduism as 'mlecchas' and saying they have no right to study Hinduism or Vedas. This is what violates the CoC. – Say No To Censorship Aug 6 '20 at 19:43
  • 'However I don't see Islam SE putting a blanket ban on this word...And no one seems to have a problem.' - they did have a problem with 'homosexuality'. See this meta post. As they concluded, 'discussing homosexuality' is ok (because all SE sites are secular in nature), but homophobia in comments/posts is what violates CoC. As to what a scholarly discussion about 'mleccha' looks like, check this post. You will rarely find anyone taking objection to this post. – Say No To Censorship Aug 6 '20 at 20:07
  • And here are some examples of racist posts asked under the guise of 'scholarly discussion': Are Dvijas allowed to read translations of the Vedas done by Mlecchas (Westerners)? ... Are Mlecchas (Westerners) allowed to say OM before Yoga class? – Say No To Censorship Aug 6 '20 at 20:22
  • @sv - would you agree that the statement "mlecchas have no right to study Vedas" if it was backed by evidence from scripture ? I can understand concern if someone makes a statement without basis. But if someone posts a question "Can mlecchas study vedas ?", then the answer (yes or no) backed by evidence should be allowed in HSE – Carmen sandiego Aug 7 '20 at 3:51
  • I've no problem with that simple question or an answer backed with references. But as the two linked posts prove, that's not how the 'mleccha' questions are usually framed on this site. There's always a 'Who gave them the adhikara??!!' tone in these questions. BTW, the 'Om before Yoga class' question is now deleted by a mod. – Say No To Censorship Aug 7 '20 at 16:54
  • @sv - Agree. I was just taken back with your answer in here that stated "This is why the word is best avoided on this site". But now it is clear – Carmen sandiego Aug 8 '20 at 2:18

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