Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Borges's Lottery in Babylon vs Rawls's Veil of ignorance

"Imagine that you have set for yourself the task of developing a totally new social contract for today's society. How could you do so fairly? Although you could never actually eliminate all of your personal biases and prejudices, you would need to take steps at least to minimize them. Rawls suggests that you imagine yourself in an original position behind a veil of ignorance . Behind this veil, you know nothing of yourself and your natural abilities, or your position in society. You know nothing of your sex, race, nationality, or individual tastes. Behind such a veil of ignorance all individuals are simply specified as rational, free, and morally equal beings. You do know that in the "real world", however, there will be a wide variety in the natural distribution of natural assets and abilities, and that there will be differences of sex, race, and culture that will distinguish groups of people from each other."[6]

Since we  only prefer clear cut Contracts to 'fuzzy' Relationships or opportunistic Transactions where there is a need to hedge against some specific type of Uncertainty- the 'Social Contract' has to be about the specific sorts of Uncertainty arising out of strategic behavior in the Socio-Political realm.
A quite separate issue has to do with the provision of Public Goods, policing of Repugnancy markets, enforcing of Contracts and so on.
These clearly don't require a Social Contract because Absolute Monarchies, Dictatorships and so on can provide them just as well. Indeed, iff the fold theorem of repeated games is Muth Rational and Evolution has provided our Species with a mimetics that is thus epigenetically canalised, then we can show that a unilateral & universal Social Contract is unilateral isn't in the Core assuming non-zero information and/ or compliance costs.
Nevertheless, just as Monarchies and Dictatorships still have a 'Niti' type Ethical Discourse such that subject-hood exceeds compliance, so too do Liberal Democracies acknowledge that free-riders remain part of the Social Contract. More generally, it isn't the case that acceptance of a given Nation's Social Contract means you agree to every specific article regarding who or what is protected, or how that protection is provided, by National Defense or Health or Economic Policy.

Indeed, a Social Contract is only needed because every type of Public Justification or Substantive Due Process or Just Entitlement thesis can and will be gamed with the result that we all have an incentive to hedge against the uncertainties arising out of the manner of that gaming. Thus, the Social Contract- unless itself the constitution of a Regime specifically stated to have unlimited powers- to count as falling within Liberal discourse, must conform to a limiting ejusdem generis type canon of construction & therefore have no specific & indefeasible Economic or even Legal content, but concern itself wholly with hedging against Mechanism Design or  Race Hazard or Concurrency deadlock or Moral or Agent Principal type hazards.

By contrast, Rawls believed, epigenetically canalised risk aversion would militate for everybody agreeing that the minimum provision of 'basic goods'- which includes Aristotelian 'Goods' like Self-Esteem and Liberty- be maximised subject to Natural as well as Economic/ Social Science type constraints. Rawls, believed that the Social and Biological Sciences were univocal, so to speak- i.e. no 'reswitching' or multiple equilibria obtain- and thus there would always be an 'overlapping consensus' re. the Social Choice Menu and this by itself would militate for metaphysical differences having nil impact on the 'reflective equilibrium' because the latter only concerned itself with unambiguous, unanimously received, 'material' outcomes.

Borges, however, writing a few years earlier than Harsanyi (whose work Rawls drew on) had looked at the opposite situation- viz. what happens in an established, indeed ancient, Society- the paradigmatic Babylon- when a Lottery (i.e. a new source of Social mobility) is introduced. He shows that, under psychologically plausible assumptions re. 'Preference Profiles' in the General Population- people would wish for more and more random, more and more bizarre outcomes (e.g. Gender reassignment and Social invisibility) to occur with dizzying frequency.
Indeed, if your metaphysics commits you to metempsychosis- then the 'tuirgen' knights-tour of all possible lives is by itself soteriologically liberative and so everybody should choose Borges's nightmare Lottery in Babylon over Rawls's Bleeding Heart Nanny State. This does not mean there can't be an 'overlapping consensus' to stick with widespread compulsory Social Insurance- it's just that some sensible people vote for it because they believe the Bureaucratic nightmare that results will simulate Borges's Babylon, not Rawls's Brahminical Boston.

Meredith Townsend, whose spank mag (the Spectator) permanently perverted the young Jawaharlal, argued that Orientals aint motivated by rational self-interest but Arabian Nights 'interestingness'- like the increasingly bizarre outcomes of Borges's lottery- but, of course, it is only Rawlsian rubbish and Sen-tentious shite which can construct the Kafkaesque Bureaucratic Punishment Machine which instantly breaks down to but butcher its one fervent proponent whose crime is to 'Be Just'!

Abu Nawas, I think it was, who first remarked that, at our Symposium, the Saqi's muslin veil protects her from the wine fumes & Plato from mirth.
Alas! Modi's culling of the Planning Commission is to all us old L.S.E-wallahs, Folly's famine & dearth.
For which I personally blame David Cameron.
That boy aint right.
Mind it kindly
Aiyayo.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Fuck off- I'm talking about my Mom

Emotionally orphaned, did Mom ever have?
Acceleration equal to Kronos' grav?
 Or-kay!- Krishna Whole levels Libra
 El's worship else but a Kremlin Qibla.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tho' Sons of God taste just fine

Since to dream of Discourse as Public Justification
Is, at its own Symposium, a Rite of Incubation
Tho' Sons of God taste just fine.
Pour, Saqi, a more bitter wine

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ananya Vajpayei proves Sanskrit studies is shite.

Edited- an anonymous commentator has pointed out that I've completely missed 'the meat of the joke' (no doubt because my humorless Tambram genes are allergic to meat). Also Ananya lives in India, not Amerika as I enviously suggested.

Natural languages are interesting because their pragmatics solve a co-ordination problem, whereas their semantics do the opposite.  Classical Sanskrit is particularly interesting because, ab ovo, this was self-conscious and reflexive. Because of its syntheticity, Sanskrit, and Sanskrit influenced Riti type poetry, can always be viewed as a constrained optimization problem- i.e. there is a set of avadhanam questions which is the dual of the text. The hermeneutic method proper to Sanskrit- though far from forgetful of texts- is thus the reverse of historicist. It could be Gadamerian if  potential rasikas trained as Avadhanis- instead of holing up in Libraries to write worthless apple polishing dissertations, accessing only textual availability cascades, and accumulate Corrupt Academic Credentials from a vast Globalized Careerist Ponzi scheme- all the while, pretending to spearhead some vast subaltern revolt of the surd and silent Masses with which Revolt, however, those same Masses will have no truck- and all this at a time when there is a crisis in Student Loan Finance in the West- people realize their PhD in Telugu Tribadism won't even get them a job at McDonalds- so the whole swindle is already on its last legs and even the Pentagon won't come to the rescue because 'Regime Change' has proved a pipe dream.

Bearing this in mind let us look at this cri de couer from one of Sheldon Pollock's students- Ananya Vajpayei. My comments are in bold.

Sanskrit must be taken back (taking something back, means it was once yours and then someone took it from you. My Brahmin ancestors had Sanskrit- they were its leading exponents- then European and American Professors took this from me-so I should take it back from them by beating them or killing them. Is that what you mean Ananya?)  from the clutches of Hindu supremacists, bigots, believers in brahmin exclusivity, misogynists, Islamophobes and a variety of other wrong-headed characters on the right(as opposed to the Left, because we all know those guys are just sweethearts) whose colossal ambition to control India’s vast intellectual legacy (actually, it is Pollock who says only America can now do Indology)  is only matched by their abysmal ignorance (which you amply demonstrates in what follows) of what it means and how it works

An article in this paper on July 30 revealed that Dina Nath Batra, (who is very very old and does not live in America- unlike you) head of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, had formed a “Non-Governmental Education Commission” (NGEC) to recommend ways to “Indianise” education. I had encountered Mr. Batra’s notions about education during a campaign I was involved with in February (which failed miserably in everything except getting you some publicity)  and March this year, to keep the American scholar Wendy Doniger’s books about Hindus and Hinduism in print. His litigious threats ( litigious threats? You mean he said Penguin was breaking the Law and Penguin agreed without taking the matter to Court?) had forced Penguin India to withdraw and destroy a volume by Prof. Doniger, and this was even before the national election installed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the ruling party in Delhi. In other words, Penguin was breaking the Law. Not some new law put in by the new Govt. but, simply, the law of the land. They decided to stop breaking the law and Ananya is unhappy about this because she wants other people to break the law but prefers not to do it herself. Very brave of her, I'm sure.
Ever since Mr. Narendra Modi’s government has come to power, Mr. Batra has become more active,(not true, his level of activity has decreased slightly because of age) zealous and confrontational in stating his views about Indian history, Hindu religion, and what ought to qualify as appropriate content in schoolbooks and syllabi not only in his native Gujarat but in educational institutions all over the country.  This is a lie. Batra is saying the same thing he has always been saying.Name one more book he has pulped. You can't because you are lying. He is backed up by a vast governmental machinery(Rubbish! Name me twenty officers who are part of this vast Government machinery. You can't name even one can you?) by the fact that Mr. Modi himself has penned prefatory materials to his various books, and of course by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of which he has been a member and an ideologue for over several decades. Oh I see. Mayawati wrote something. Once Chief Minister of U.P 'vast machinery of Govt.' totally destroyed Untouchability- didn't it? Nehru wrote something- immediately he was elected, India became a Socialist State without any Princely purses because 'vast machinery of Govt. was behind Nehru. How stupid are you Ananya? Do you really think Modi is going to repeat the mistake of Murli Manohar Joshi?
Anything but ordinary

It’s unclear what the status or authority of Mr. Batra’s proposed NGEC is to be, (NO, IT ISN'T. It's a non Government body. Anyone can set one up. It has no statutory force and thus can only have persuasive powers- you know this but pretend not to because like maybe Modi is Hitler and Batra is Goebbels and please gimme tenure already coz I'm such a brave anti-Fascist- like, dunno, Anne Frank or something) but I was struck by the mention of one of my former teachers as a potential member of this commission. Seeing the name of Prof. Kapil Kapoor took me back to my days as an M.A. student in English and Linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Prof. Kapoor first introduced me and my classmates to traditions of literature, language philosophy, literary analysis, poetics, semiotics, grammar and aesthetics in Sanskrit. Many of us went on to write doctoral dissertations about these subjects, deviating from British, American and postcolonial literature, and the European literary and critical theory that constituted the bulk of our coursework.
Prof. Kapoor ended up becoming dean and rector, and later, during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, setting up the Centre for Sanskrit Studies at JNU. He and I lost touch, partly because I went away overseas and partly because of our political disagreements that were becoming increasingly apparent. But encounters with other scholars like the philosopher Arindam Chakrabarti, the Pa¯n˛ini expert George Cardona, and the Sanskritist, and eventually my doctoral supervisor, Sheldon Pollock made me decide to pursue more seriously the path that I had glimpsed in Prof. Kapoor’s classroom: I took up the study of Sanskrit for real. Okay this tells us two things. You didn't study Sanskrit 'for real' while you were in India. You have no passion or aptitude for it. Only after you went abroad- where opportunities to learn Sanskrit are very limited- and only after you got yourself a heavy-weight mentor like Pollock who could get you tenure track, only then did you start studying Sanskrit 'for real'. No wonder you failed. You may have built yourself a Career but you are a petty bureaucrat of a pedant. and will never be a savant.
One of the reasons this did not seem outlandish to me was because my father is a poet and writer in Hindi, and I had been exposed to Indian literary and intellectual traditions at home from a very young age.  You were living in India. Your parents are Indian. How fucking deracinated is the class to which you belong that you need to say- Dad is a Hindi writer, that's how come I can understand that dehati lingo?Along the way I had studied Romance languages as well, so that adding Sanskrit to the repertoire did not feel at all counter-intuitive. This is crazy. There is no connection at all between Romance languages and Sanskrit.  At Oxford, I wrote an M.Phil thesis about how the study of Sanskrit had shaped the ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure OMG, that old chestnut! Are you sure you're not related to Rajiv Malhotra? the father of modern linguistics in Europe. But after that, when I entered the South Asian Languages and Civilizations doctoral program at the University of Chicago, I did not properly realise what I had signed up for. You had no interest in philology and are obviously too stupid to understand computational linguistics but got by playing the posh brown totty card- which in England means you can get away with laziness and stupidity. Chicago, however, expects Asians to be workaholic geeks able to put in long hours of brainless drudgery.
Learning philology and Indology at Chicago was intensely challenging, yet also proportionately gratifying. We had the best scholars of South Asian studies in the world for our teachers. No you didn't. You had stupid narcissists.  Along with a small group of classmates, most of whom are professors now in America’s top universities but in shite Departments, I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours at the Regenstein Library, painstakingly unpacking sutras, verses, commentaries and arguments in a range of Sanskrit texts, increasingly difficult as we moved to more advanced levels. So you were doing stuff, in your late Twenties, which smart 12 year old kids have been doing effortlessly in Gurukuls all over India, not to mention Monasteries in China and Japan- for thousands of years! Bravo! Except, not bravo at all, by the age of fifteen those kids could make a logical argument. You can't. Nor can Pollock.
Encountering prejudice

It’s hard to describe the peculiar pain and pleasure of this language, so strict are its formal rules, so complex the ideas it allows one to formulate, express and analyse. Yet you can't express a complex idea. You are too stupid. Sanskrit enables thought at a level distinct from ordinary thinking in the languages of everyday life. Rubbish!  This is not to say that one cannot have a perfectly ordinary conversation in spoken Sanskrit: one can, of course, and in Sanskrit pedagogical environments, this is normal. But most of the vast literature available in this amazing language is specialised, technical and anything but ordinary. However, all of that vast literature can and, in general, has been put in to other languages- scholastic Tibetan or Telugu aren't inferior to Sanskrit, in any sense, though, I suppose, Sanskrit is compositionally easier. D. Venkat Rao estimates that some 30 million texts in various forms exist in Sanskrit at this time, the largest textual corpus of any extant human language. English is an extant human language. About 300 million texts that we know about are added to its corpus every year. 
Half of my long years as a doctoral student were spent away from Chicago, in India. For my dissertation, I read a small body of late medieval Sanskrit dharmashastra works. Why? Were you genuinely interested in the subject or was it because you had already made up your mind about their content and it was the least cognitively challenging type of drudgery you were capable of? These were texts of a legal and normative nature that were specifically about shudra-dharma: the rituals, duties and constraints associated with shudras, the social category that constitutes the fourth stratum of the orthodox brahminical fourfold varna-vyavastha, what we now normally designate as the “caste system.” I read with pandits and professors, at mathas, Sanskrit colleges, Oriental institutes and Sanskrit departments within regular universities, in places like Mysore, Bangalore and Pune. I even studied Kannada and Marathi to ease my passage. Poor thing- having to learn Kannada and Marathi just to talk to some beastly natives! Clearly knowing Kannada and Marathi can't help one to grasp Sanskrit better. Perish the thought! Everything you need to know about Sanskrit is in the library in Chicago.
Nothing in my experience or education up to that time had prepared me for the sheer wall of prejudice that blocked the access of someone like me to the particular aspects of the history, ideology and politics of Sanskrit that I was interested in. Here I was — female, a north Indian in south India, a student enrolled at a foreign university, a Hindi-speaker, and only tenuously and dubiously of a caste that pandits considered acceptable (why? Vajayei is considered a Brahmin or Kayastha name) . My teachers and I struggled to communicate, but in the end, most things were lost in translation. (Whose fault was that? An IAS officer posted in Maharashtra learns Marathi- even if they haven't studied Linguistics and Sanskrit. But our little darling 'struggled to communicate!' OMG, these evil Pundits are discriminating against me coz they don't speak Amerikan! A well-known Sanskrit professor in Maharashtra told me that only “perverted women” became scholars, a pronouncement that brought several months of our readings to an abrupt close one afternoon, and ensured I never again returned to meet him. Only a perverted scholar would deliberately chose a subject they find distasteful. Why? It is a waste of resources to study something you already know to be Evil- if the Government has already ruled that it is Evil. You are simply trying to grab publicity for yourself.
The caste hierarchy and sexism, the inequality and misogyny that the social worlds of Sanskrit engender and proliferate are shocking to a modern sensibility. So Sanskrit is shit and people who boast of their credentials in its study are worthless smegheads. No argument from me. However the 'social worlds of Sanskrit' don't 'engender and proliferate' anything. Otherwise you wouldn't have needed to learn a bit of Kannada and Marathi. Clearly, either you are not part of Sanskrit's 'social world' or the people you complain of weren't or else neither you nor they were part of that 'social world' because it doesn't exist. What doesn't exist can't engender and proliferate anything. As for this 'modern sensibility' you speak of- either it is rational or it is what you have which, I'm sorry to say, passed its sell by date in the mid Nineties.
 For a decade, my teachers in India and abroad had taught, tended, scolded and moulded me like their own child. Now I was confronted with a shrinking community of Sanskrit scholars left in a few places in India. They felt embattled inside collapsing institutions that had no space for their learning, demeaned by democratic politics and secular public life that stigmatised their orthodox beliefs, threatened by gender equality that resisted the patriarchy inherent in their practices, and humiliated by their sheer marginality in the economy of new knowledge systems, communication technologies and political common sense. They were bitter and resentful, and the occasional interloper like me — that too someone with an obviously critical agenda — had to face the brunt of their frustration.
Yes, Sanskrit Profs weren't well paid and, in any case, caste politics and scyophancy and so on took its toll- but smart people do Sanskrit for fun- not to get tenure. They make money in their day time job, and practice Avadhanam as a recreation. But this has always been true. Pedants have shit for brains. Which is why you chose that profession.
Another journey

After about three years of fighting a losing battle, I decided to make what I could of the dharmashastramaterials on my own. The dissertation got completed, and later, when I was writing my first book on an unrelated subject, I returned with joy and pleasure to the classics of Sanskrit literature, like Ka¯lida¯sa’s long poem, the “Meghadu¯ta,” sections of the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad Gita. This is crazy. Every other 'upper middle' Indian I know- including Muslims- likes relaxing by turning over the leaves of favorite Sanskrit and Persian texts. Why? Indians like Indian Literature. Most of us are guilty of writing metaphysical poetry. Some do it with a drink in hand, others after correcting their kids' homework or telling them a bed time story. In the safe cocoon of another great American institution, this time Harvard University’s Widener Library, I could bracket for a few years the dark side of Sanskrit, its complicity with the power dynamics of caste and gender that make modern India the most confounding contradiction of on-paper political equality and lived social inequality. If Sanskrit has a dark side so has Persian and Arabic and every other language in the world. America has on-paper political equality- does Ananya think it has no lived social inequality? Look at China. There has been no great linguistic break but there certainly has been a change in Social inequality. Language- especially a dead classical language- has zero explanatory power in this context. Why pretend otherwise? People will only be confirmed in their low opinion of your subject, Ananya. You really aren't accomplishing some tremendous David vs Goliath triumph by writing this stupid article. You are just a stupid Careerist pushing an out-dated agenda.
But now that India is ruled by the Hindu nationalist government of Mr. Modi, with grandiose and historically baseless announcements being made all the time by the likes of Mr. Batra, it seems the time has come to deal with everything that is wrong with Sanskrit, yet again. Why? Batra is a retired school teacher. Did he teach Sanskrit? No he taught English and Hindi. Is he using Sanskrit to mobilize support? No. He is using Hindia and English. Why, yet again, deal with everything that is wrong with Sanskrit? When was the last time you dealt with everything wrong with Sanskrit? Did it do any good? If not, what the fuck is your major malfunction you worthless cretin? A language is only a means to an end. Sanskrit is a powerful tool, but whether its uses are salutary or destructive depends on whose hands it happens to fall into. Its rigour and beauty are undeniable; so are its rigidity and elitism, in certain circumstances. Towards what great end have your written this shite, Ananya? To attack Batra? Surely, you need to do that in Hindi or Sanskrit- not English so atrocious that even that former School Teacher from the boondocks will feel only contempt for you?
My former professor, Kapil Kapoor, was knowledgeable and passionate about Sanskrit, which is what made him such a memorable teacher. I cannot believe that he would endorse the ridiculous claims made by some Hindutva spokespersons that there were airplanes and cars in ancient India, and that the Vedic culture invented stem cell research. But, Ananya, he hasn't endorsed those ridiculous claims, has he? Look at the Encyclopaedia of Hinduism he has just edited. Is there one single article there which 'endorses ridiculous claims'? There isn't is there?  So why bring it up? Isn't it because there is not one iota of evidence for your thesis- viz. Sanskrit has a 'Dark Side' and it is threatening to take over India- and Dinanath Batra is like the kid in Omen, except now he has got Super-Powers and OMG, Modi used a Sanskrit phrase on TV....here come the Storm Troopers! One of the things I remember about him most vividly was his earthy sense of humour. “If Pa¯n˛ini was at Takshila,” he often joked, “that probably means he was a Punjabi, like me.” We would all laugh,  Would you ALL laugh? Why? Panini came from Punjab. So did your Professor. OMG that is so-ooo funny because like...urm... Punjabis only know agriculture isn't it? You fuckwit racist retard, do you really think your Hindi speaking ancestors were smarter than Punjabis or Marathas? transported for a moment to the vanished classrooms of remote antiquity, when one of the most astonishing works of systematic knowledge of all-time, Pa¯n˛ini’s Sanskrit grammar, the Ashtadhyayi, was probably composed somewhere on the plains of north-western Punjab. Panini work may astonish you- but then you are a very very stupid person- but it isn't 'one of the most astonishing works of systematic knowledge of all time'. How could it be? Other Classical Languages with equal or greater geographical reach got along perfectly well without it and, in any case, Linguistics just isn't very interesting because we're hardwired for it. If you think the device on which you are reading this is less astonishing than the Panini's achievement you are wrong. Patanjali himself would find your smartphone more astonishing.
It’s up to liberal, secular, egalitarian, enlightened and progressive sections of our society who happen to live in America to preserve and protect this unique civilisational resource. But you are too stupid to do it.  Ask Sheldon Pollock. Kapil Kapoor opened a window for his students, from where they could see a breathtaking vista of India’s past, filled with traditions of philosophy, religion and literature unparalleled in almost any other language. Horseshit. Greek has Sanskrit beat for prose, Chinese and Persian are better for poetry, Arabic is very much alive, Hebrew has revived. Sanskrit is a hereditary hobby that Avadhanis and Acharyas, but also drunken shitheads like me, cultivate gratuitously. What Chicago calls Sanskrit is a coprolite extracted from the rectum of Teutonic dinosaurs who once ravaged Philology Depts across the Continent in pre-Darwinian times.
Scholarship like that of Sheldon Pollock and his colleagues helps us to understand the history, the power, the circulation and the importance of Sanskrit knowledge systems in the pre-modern world, not just in India but across Asia. Rubbish. Pollock Bollocks is shite. We learn to really read texts, to carefully unpack their meaning in complex historical contexts of production and reception, rather than merely brandish them as false tokens of identity and imagined superiority in our own times. Sanskrit, for you, was just a Credentialist passport to tenure- but then, you are stupid and ignorant, so being a pedant is the best thing for you. To revive Sanskrit, we must first shoot the Professors.
(Ananya Vajpeyi is the author of Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India,HUP, 2012. E-mail: vajpeyi@csds.in)

Mithi Mukherjee & the British Freedom Struggle

Back in the Eighteenth Century, two Irishmen, Sheridan and Burke, deeply sensible of the wrongs their motherland had experienced at the hands of greedy English overlords tried to impeach Warren Hastings & by extension the East India Company (which Burke thought a greater evil to the Polity than the Jacobins) but failed miserably. Indeed, things got worse not better in Ireland over the next seventy years. Clearly, Sheridan & Burke are part of the history of Literature but have nothing to do with Indian Political History. Indeed, the Calcutta Supreme Court- as a countervailing power- ceased to be effective precisely because Westminster was shown to be Supreme and Parliament ultimately decided issues relating to India on the basis of a peculiar interpretation of the doctrine of Necessity such that Providence had always already contrived hoary conventions such that the 'governance' type work of the 'Civilian' was minimized leaving him free to maximise Revenue Collection.
1857 created an unprecedented situation. The lazy, overpaid, undisciplined Sepoy (not to mention his Officer
- who could still enrich himself unconscionably through loot)  needed to be taught a lesson. Over the next fifty years, the pay of the Native mercenary went from being double or triple the agricultural wage to something like parity. True, land grants in the Canal Colonies sweetened the pill but the fact is by the 1880's it was clear that the 'Hindu' Punjabi who didn't enlist ultimately ended up better off than his 'Sikh' elder brother. Furthermore, the 'jotedar'- or tenant (actually, the English word farmer originally described precisely this 'kulak' type class)- was taking power from the old 'zamindari' class- i.e. the Permanent Settlement with its equation between 'Magistri' and 'Barristri' was breaking down- and this meant ever increasing contestation of entry into the administrative 'intermediate' class. Unfortunately, the Bengali bhadralok put up a paranoid fight against the Partition of Bengal and this meant that people who had heard of Sheridan and Burke were entirely disintermediated from the political process- though, of course, they were too stupid to see it. Foucauldian methods have no relevance to India. Yes there are textual availability cascades but they gain no purchase precisely because nobody who mattered knew the relevant texts. If this were not the case, any statement about Indian politics would be equally true of Pakistan and Burma and Sri Lanka and so on. Nothing of the sort obtained.
 It was only when its comprador class had lost salience or obligatory passage point status that the Brits suddenly got all Bernard Cohn type Caste constructivist and started searching around for a 'Representative' counterweight to the rising relative affluence of a class that had arisen without having been envisaged or suborned in advance.
Fortunately, for beggarly Brahmins and posh Bengali Bhadralok,  Mahatma Gandhi came along at precisely the right time to start prattling utter shit and run around in diapers and give everybody an enema and beg money from Birlas, Bajaj's and every other sort of Bania on the make.
 But even this could only delay the slide towards everyone getting a PhD in Political Science from Godhulia University and embarking on a criminal career. By 'everyone', I obviously every decent son-of-the soil or Sadhavi of the same.
Bengali bhadralok had to clear out or disguise themselves as JNU jhollawallahs.
 Which brings me to Prof Mithi Mukherjee. Disclaimer- I haven't read her seminal, or menstrual, to be Politically Correct, 'India in the shadows of Empire (sic)' but, in view of my own involvement in the British Freedom Struggle (which itself must be distinguished from UKIP's jihad) I was able to read between the lines and thus present for your reading pleasure my interview with that blushful maiden.

Iyer- Professorji, mutatis mutandis, you argue persuasively for the need to ground our understanding of the current British freedom struggle in the light of the political and legal discourse of successive waves of Colonizers from the Continent. You extend Michel Foucault's analysis to the political domain and deploy the categories of discourse and teleology (explained as goal-specific discourse) to remind readers that polity and political processes in Britain should not be simply understood as if they had no history and as if they originated sui generis. Instead, you maintain, this polity has a political and cultural genealogy, and is a product of discourses and conflicts of the colonial past. My question to you is which volume of Asterix the Gaul does all this feature in?

Prof. Mukherjee- Abhay Chutiya! How dare you? Khabardar! I will fuck you up. I will kill your parents and get your sister raped.

Iyer- (OMG, must have called up Prof. Amaresh Mishra by mistake). Salam Aleikhum, Mishra Sahib. Just called to say 'Eid Mubarak'.

Prof Mishra (for it is he)- Eid was last week, why you are calling middle of night?

Iyer- Sarkar, for true devotees of Dynasty like me, Eid does not occur till we see Rahul's Moon like face.

Prof. Mishra- Rahul who?


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Byrhtnoth's last words


That Byrhtnoth's words we as Danegeld yield
While yet, too fully, we possess the field
With Hearts for bellows, cold steel to fire
Minds for iron, fellows, mine but ire

Note
Byrhtnoth's famous last words:
Hige sceal þe heardra,     heorte the cenre,
mod sceal þe mare,     þe ure mægen lytlað. (312'13)
[Thought must be the harder, heart be the keener,
mind must be the greater, while our strength lessens.]


Lacrimosa hodie

So the Sun yet burn, let our Moon be Ash
  & thy Dies Irae turn to Daily Trash
Harder yet must our Poets try
So all Madness lust One Stupid Lie