Prof. Vagina Dentata Choothopadhyay has, once again, critiqued Gayatri Spivak's old fashioned, unreconstructed, Nineteenth Century, Ecologically unenlightened, focus on Production and Practice- as evidenced by her infamous apophthegm "the clitoris is a shorthand for women's excess in all areas of production and practice"- by pointing to the far greater value added by the incompossible cold chain of Homi Bhaba's Waitrose-grade radish up-the-butt. It is in the latter context that Manmohan Singh's sponsorship of f.d.i in Retail should be understood. And, no, pace Spivak, the clitoris is not a small penis otherwise I'd be knee deep in Lesbian muff.
In keeping with this blog's long-standing commitment to passing judgement on tomes it hasn't read, we take pleasure in bringing you our review of Vikram Seth's latest book fresh from the redoubtable pen of Prof. Vagina Dentata Choothopadhayay, dipped, we need hardly add, in her own copious menstrual blood.
In consideration of our readers' tender sensibilities, we have taken the liberty of excising certain four letter words and acrimonious references to the size of our genitals from Prof. Choothopahdyay's article. Since nothing was then left to publish, our Senior Editor has very kindly supplied the following.
Vikram Seth, like Jane Austen, takes his subject matter from the Sense vs. Sensibility dilemma facing Female Mate Choice. He gives a sort of Feminist tinge to his project by forbidding his Heroines the right to sacrifice themselves so as to keep an otherwise Unsuitable Boy functional as opposed to turning into a monumental fuck-up. However, in so doing, he cuts off his project from 'Greatness' because though a Utilitarian 'Heart vs Head' dilemma is Universal, it is not Fundamental and carries no Soteriological or Existential flavor in the manner that the subject matter of truly Great Literature does.
True, Jane Austen doesn't deal with the case of women sacrificing themselves for their Mates- but it is very evident that they sacrifice their own prejudices or proclivities in the interest of Marriage-as-partnership- albeit Sleeping Partnership because women in her age were second class citizens to start off with. Married women had no rights over their own property. She herself, for Socio-Economic reasons was doomed to Spinsterhood. Rudyard Kipling's 'the Janeites', which only makes us cringe because we have not tears enough to cry, offers a collective act of reparation such that our tears wipe away the ink of a hundred years of English Literature and Jane marries her suitor up in Heaven with Sir Walter Scott doing the honors. In other words, there is something outside Austen's texts which makes them Great- there is a vishodhana purgation whereby, at least for Kipling's readers- the Literature to which Austen so signally contributed, or which she incarnated, precisely by a consideration of what both elide, gains the Jordan of our heart-felt tears from which to arise in the bridal vestments of a Gangetic dawn. At least, hopeless and hereditary Babu that I am, such is my Babuish judgement.
For Seth's heroines, Self-sacrifice isn't on the menu. Thus, the arena in which they judiciously exercise Mate Choice is one from which any higher type of Love than can be captured by Revealed Preference is rigorously ruled out. Thus, though 'Universal', this Mate-Choice remains confined to the trivial plane and can give rise to no tragedy save adventitiously or under the rubric of 'there but for the Grace of God.'
Seth's subject matter and style are not deficient- the milieus he describes and the powers of language that he commands militate rather for than against the invocation of the grand literary precursors of amor fati or doomed romance to whom he, in the very same texts, pays tribute. Nor is it the case that by forbidding a particular type of sacrifice- that of a woman for a man- is its theo-ontic Terror and/or Necessity axiomatically excluded from the scope of a text, yet for Seth, this is what transpires.
Jealousy is so like not cool dude.
True, in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, Sacrifice is linked to Jealousy- Jehovah is a jealous God, Cain is jealous of Abel, Caiaphas is pissed off coz Judas got a bigger dick (what? Ask your Rabbi why don't you?)- and, at the heart of things, Rene Girard tells us, is the drama of mimetic desire- envy and the necessity of a scapegoat, a pharmakos, a korban, to inoculate Society against internecine Violence.
But, Seth isn't Jewish, he isn't Christian. His is an Indo-Islamic culture to which has been grafted on a Victorian belief in Progress. His 'A suitable boy' may be dismissed as wishful thinking in that he shows India in 1951 as being the same as in 1991. All that is needed is a bit of 'know-how' and bilateral good will for all the problems bequeathed by History to simply disappear. The fact is Kabir or Amit or even Haresh won't lose anything very substantial if Lata turns them down. Their 'transfer earnings' are zero. Lata confers no Economic Rent. Thus Choice is benign simply. There are no Essences- Strategic or otherwise- there is no hysteresis- Historicist or otherwise- and since nothing matters very much, fine, let there be free Choice because after all only Matter exists, nothing immaterial supervenes, the very notion of Sacrifice is otiose.
I haven't read 'A suitable girl'- I've no doubt it will be readable enough and present some points of interest or virtuoso passages which more than justify the price of the book. However, what it will lack is a sense of the Fundamental, as opposed to merely Universal, Horizon of Human Life, which is Death, which is Sacrifice, which, in so far as it is chosen, is the after-Life of Love nobody chooses and of which we can only despairing say, Yea, at the limit, such becomes the Choice of God.
I've spent the last week explaining how defying the Law of Nations, re. diplomatic immunity, highlighted the idiocy of the Indian Supreme Court's rampant judicial activism and endangered National Securiy, while shrilly giving tongue to the oft voiced lament that this activism had only arisen in the context of the spinelessness, rent-seeking avarice, and/or senile ataraxia of the present Administration.
Boy, was I wrong. Fuck, do I feel stupid.
Italy's humiliating volte face in returning its murder-charge Marines to India is an unprecedented and paradigm shifting event in the annals of International Diplomacy.
But what does it import?
There are two possible, perhaps complementary rather than competing, explanations-
1) India is way more powerful than might appear. The soon to be concluded Indian Free Trade Agreement with Europe is of far greater strategic value to the latter- but this means India can be tougher w.r.t tilting the interpretation of Intellectual Property Rights in favour of the Developing rather than the Developed World. Three or four years ago, Italy defied America- re. export of sensitive technology- by persisting with its tie-up with India for Satellite launching. Perhaps, Europe sees India as a long-term and equal partner in Knowledge based Industries and is prepared to face American wrath precisely so as to secure a degree of autonomy from the Global Hegemon. The fact that the issue on which the Italians crumbled had to do with the Navy suggests that India's international standing is tied up with its proper development of Naval force projection.
2) Italy and India are friends. True Friendship can only develop on the basis of Truth and Justice. Friendships are long-term, open-ended, and non zero-sum with positive externalities for third parties. If I collude with you to help you get away with injuring a weaker third party- what I've done is show loyalty, not to a True Friend, but a mere Tactical Ally. A true friend has to have the guts to say- what you've done is morally wrong. I'll go halves with you on making restitution and expiating the crime. What I won't do is connive to cover things up such that, short-term, you get away with it. This is because, in the Moral Universe where words like Friendship have meaning, actions have ethical consequences- they literally change your ethos- what you are to yourself and those that love you. Sure, I can help you cover up a crime. I'd do that for an enemy if it were expedient for me. But if you are my friend, I care about what you are to yourself. I want you to be a stand up guy, not a 'got away with a crime, goodfella' .
That's what's happened between Italy and India today. India could have said 'thanks for giving me an alibi by spitting in my soup. Now no one will suspect we're in this together' and Italy replies 'Yeah, but you owe me big time coz it's me wot looks bad' and India says 'what? I let you dip your beak on the helicopter deal; waddyawant? the submarines? BTW your li'l daughter is getting to look kinda cute. If there's grass on the filed- get my drift?'
That's not Friendship- it's Perversion.
Two Italian Marines, who could have gone running to the European Court of Human Rights, showed they were stand up guys by returning to India. Is the Govt. of Italy a similarly 'stand up guy'? What if Sonia Gandhi had given an interview to Italian TV on this topic? The ordinary Italians would have been given a chance to compare and contrast Sonia with their corrupt Berlusconis and egg-head Montis. Sonia is a woman who has behaved with old fashioned dignity and virtue all her life. Her husband was killed and she begged for clemency towards a woman- a poor dark skinned woman- who would otherwise been hanged from her neck till all life had departed from her scrawny, undernourished, body. Justice is not Revenge. Neither India not Italy are defined by the Mafias that operate within their body politic. Justice is Justice and is based on the Truth. Italy lied. The Supreme Court- not in very prolix, high falutin', judicial language but in succinct and emotionally overwrought demotic language which betrayed an understandable sense of hurt and disappointment- said 'our relationship with you is on the basis of Truth and Justice not Diplomacy and Immunity'. Two fishermen have been slain. Justice for them is more important than this so called 'Law of the Nations'. Why? Before there are Nations, there are Human Beings. Be Human! We constrain you and hold you prisoner to THAT!'
MY GRATUITOUS PURGATION OF CONTEMPT OF THE INDIAN SUPREME COURT
Yo, Supreme Court dudes- I fucking take my hat off to you- you fucking darker complexioned than even me, more underpaid than even me, more non-Queen's English speaking than even me, you supremely fucking Indian Supreme Court Judges of India, you- you saw that SECURING JUSTICE FOR two unlawfully slain fishermen, both belonging to 'minority' communities as defined by the Constitution of India, was MORE IMPORTANT than the National Security of India or the Noetic Swamp that is the Law of Nations.
Govt. of Italy agreed with you. The two Italian Marines agreed with you. Has Italy been humiliated? Has their soldiery been shown to be cowardly?
No. It is never a humiliation to do the right thing. Has India's prestige been enhanced? No. Because it is such a big country- though no country is big, only Courage is big & only Truth 'enbiggens'- THE PRESTIGE OF THE INDIAN STATE, by this, rather tends to DECLINE.
It seems the Indian Judiciary, Executive and Legislature- not to mention the masses- are no respecters of such artificial personages as States, Corporations or, indeed, mere 'Concrete Universals' such as, to-corrupt-command, mortal allegiances- but are content to consign their particular destinies to the Diktat of something Higher and Finer- viz. ineffable notions of Friendship, Truth & Justice.
The Supreme Court of India, with the support of the Attorney General, has declared that Diplomats have no diplomatic immunity from arrest for Contempt of Court. Since Diplomatic privileges are not granted unilaterally but on the basis of reciprocity, it follows that Indian diplomats abroad can be arrested for Contempt of Court. Anyone can now bring an action against any Indian diplomat for any reason at all. The Indian diplomats will either
a) refuse to appear on grounds of diplomatic immunity in which case the Court can decide to hold them in Contempt and order their arrest
b) appear in Court and be forced to truthfully answer questions prejudicial to Indian Security and National Interest on penalty of being held in contempt or jailed for perjury.
Clearly, National Security would dictate that no person with sensitive information be posted abroad by India. Foreign powers would in any case wish to downgrade relations with India because of its egregious and senseless breach of Diplomatic immunity. A good thing surely? However, things wouldn't stop there. India would be downgraded as a place to Invest, do business, or permit to have jurisdiction over contracts. Fine, if India had a Balance of Payments surplus, was self sufficient in Defense Technology and had the backing of a large number of nations (for example on the basis of common Religion, language or ethnicity) in the U.N. But this patently is not the case.
Still, prosecuting Indian Diplomats should be good fun. Try it next time the Visa clerk doesn't sing Jana Gana Mana as he stamps your passport.
Well, Hinduism is a word- we can all agree on that- but what does it signify? There are several approaches to answering this question
1) Philosophical- these breakdown into three broad categories
a) Essentialist- Hinduism has an essence of some sort. Where this essence is properly cognized then the use of the word 'Hinduism' has a canonical connotation such that some process of philosophical debate will always return categorical answers to questions like ' Under what set of circumstances does True Hinduism permit or enjoin the sodomization of one's male ancestors?'. This follows from the requirement that an Essence exist in all possible worlds including ones where deontics is a dick in a phase space composed entirely of ancestral assholes. More generally, there must be some possible world where any 'ism' X permits or enjoins some totally batshit crazy Y. Now an investigation into Hinduism, on this basis- i.e. stipulating which possible worlds match with any given normative batshit crazy Y- might well reveal that Hinduism is, in essence, ontologically dysphoric- i.e. fugitive from Essentialist definition.
b) Epistemological- What do words refer to and how can we come to have certain knowledge as to their connotation? The virtue of this approach is that it enables us to say that questions of the type- 'When must a Hindu sodomize his ancestors?'- are strictly meaningless. However, any departure from this salutary stricture involves us in all manner of absurdities, such that, for example, under an 'evidentiary decision theory' approach some future act of a dead ancestor may enjoin your having to bugger him. Indeed, the same problem arises under any consistent, finitely specified, 'justified true belief' type Epistemology. This is because so long as an action can be meaningfully enjoined and so long as there is some gap between what is subjectively known and the facts of the case (absent which Epistemology is empty) there can be no certainty that some uncontroversially normative act is not, in fact, some totally batshit crazy Y, like sodomizing a dead ancestor by reason of some future action of his.
This is because any probabilistic approach is going to face the well known backward causation problem in Evidential decision theory and the same problem arises- by reason of the impossibility of establishing an entropic arrow of Time in Lewis Stalnaker counter-factual possible worlds- for any non-empty Justified True Belief type theory.
c) Instrumentalist, in the specific sense of being Soteriological, such that the purpose of any human inquiry is the salvation of the soul. Thus the question re. when to sodomize an ancestor is worthy of consideration only to the extent that it causes a re-examination of Scripture which results in some 'apurvata' (i.e. unprecedented or novel fact or normative statement) being discovered therein which in turn has the effect of burning up a fetter of ignorance arising, it may be, in the karmic apurva (i.e. effect which has not yet come to pass). The virtue of this approach, which is also its chief defect, is that it involves us in Hermeneutics- that branch of Philosophical Inquiry which most undermines the very faculty by which it progresses- like attending a wine-tasting and forgetting to spit out the wine- such that judgement is impeached by its own mode of operation.
Here, it initially appears, we are on safe ground. Hinduism has a legal definition, at least for Indian citizens, and has been instrumentalized for various Political and Social purposes by the actions of the State, the Judiciary and various other public and private bodies. However, this Legalistic approach is fatally tainted with Historicism of a particularly pernicious type such that no non-circular, unique or canonical answer can exist to the question ' What is Hinduism?' In other words, this approach begs the question and, for that reason, must be dismissed- save as a source of hilarity- from such august ratocination as characterizes this blog.
3) Scholarly- i.e. Socio-Anthropological, or some other such portmanteau term for Wonkish wanking.
It might be argued that 'Public Discourse'- even such puerile and cartoonish discourse as is practised by preening Indologists & Indian origin savants prancing farther forth into Senility or Schizophrenia - nevertheless reflects some shifting and fuzzy set corresponding to a sort of Communis Opinio which itself may not be expressible in language. The problem here is that there is no radical disjunction between this Communis Opinio and the subject we are concerned with- viz. what is Hinduism?
In other words, absent some means of demarcating such propositions as express truths about the Communis Opinio and other propositions relating to Hinduism specifically, this approach is self-vitiating and circular in a manner as mischievous as the Legalist/Historicist.
Babaji says the true Hindu only sodomizes his ancestors if and when it makes money for Babaji and I really like Babaji coz my name is Sanjeev Sabhlok and I have a CORE IDEA which proves that Hitler DID NOT believe the same thing as Swami Vivekananda because Hitler was actually a Socialist and though Vivekananda said he was a Socialist too, still my CORE IDEA is that States are very bad. Only Capitalism is good. That is why I've been a bureaucrat all my working life. Anyway, I'm not a Hindu- I said to Babaji's audience 'First you people get rid of Caste System! Then I'll say I'm a Hindu.' Babaji is so nice. He cured my piles just by looking at my face- which I use for defecation because that is my CORE IDEA. Kindly read Arthashastra & Vivekananda- who was a Capitalist and not a follower of Hitler at all. My God, you desis are so ignorant! I have explained all this in my book- 'Nehru was very bad'.
Further to my last- the question troubling me is how fucking stupid are Indian lawyers actually? Stupid enough to be misled by the specious arguments of Dr. Subramaniam Swamy it would appear.
Take a gander at this-
'Former attorney-general Soli Sorabjee told The Telegraph that the Italian ambassador did not enjoy any diplomatic immunity from contempt proceedings.
“If you read the Vienna Convention, there is immunity from criminal, civil and administrative actions. But the diplomat is facing contempt of court proceedings; it is not criminal proceedings. There is no immunity from contempt proceedings. Even if there is immunity, the Italian ambassador, by approaching the court, has waived the immunity,” Sorabjee said.
Is Sorabjee right? Are contempt proceedings neither criminal, civil nor administrative but some totally novel species of beast which the drafters of the Vienna Convention totally forgot to stipulate against?
What does Indian statute law have to say in this matter?
The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, divides Contempt into two types- Civil and Criminal. In other words, the offence of Contempt is not something different in kind from Civil or Criminal actions but can be divided into precisely those two categories. Thus, contra Sorabjee, there definitely is immunity from contempt proceedings for the Italian Ambassador. What about Sorabjee's claim that he waived his immunity? The answer is, according to the Geneva Convention, he did not have the right or the power to waive his immunity against any sanction of the Court. Only the Minister of Foreign Affairs of his Country had that power and that right and even then the waiver had to be given explicitly- something which has not happened.
Conclusion- Sorabje is talking through his asshole- something in which he has had much practice because he is a former Attorney General.
Under what Statute is the Supreme Court authorizing itself to impose a curb on the Italian Ambassador's freedom of Movement?
Presumably, it is Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, where civil contempt has been defined as wilful disobedience to any judgement, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
In this connection, Rajeev Dhawan, 'an expert on international law', said: “There is some diplomatic immunity for the State and not the diplomat. Where the diplomat has rendered himself to the jurisdiction of the court with the consent of his State, we must assume that he has submitted himself to its jurisdiction.
“No doubt, the Vienna Convention says that the giving up of immunity must be through an express act. However, we can treat this act of invoking the court’s jurisdiction as an express act by the diplomat and the State to waive the immunity.”
Again this is simply cock-eyed. States don't have diplomatic immunity, they have Sovereign immunity. Diplomats have diplomatic immunity. The law says no diplomat can give up his immunity w.r.t any civil or criminal or administrative proceeding against his body BY ANY ACTION OF HIS OWN. An explicit waiver from the Foreign Minister of his Home Country is required. Think about this for a second and it will start making sense. Suppose, like a recent Burmese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, our Envoy to Islamabad takes it into her head to beat her spouse to death. She knows, if she returns to India, she will have to do Jail time coz Soniaji is very strict about that sort of thing so as to encourage Rahul Baba to take the plunge and just get married already. So she says to the Pakistanis 'look, I waive my immunity. You try me here and keep me in a nice ISI bungalow- with a good supply of Hindu males to beat to death- and I will tell you all India's secrets.' Why can't this happen? Well, the Geneva Convention permits India to say- She has no right to waive her immunity. Only we can do that. You bloody well declare her persona non grata and expel her across the border otherwise we will let your Ambassador in New Delhi waive her diplomatic immunity for sodomizing Subramaniyam Swamy- which is contempt of Court coz the Hon'ble Bench thinks Sun shines out of his arse dontchaknow.' You see, Diplomatic immunity isn't about Diplomats having impunity- it's about their being subject to the discipline of their home country. It's like when your wife or g.f. sends you over for a spot of Guy Time watching the Test Match with me. My g.f. isn't allowed to beat you if get tiddly on the Babycham and suggest I grow out my moustache. Under Behenji Geneva Convention, she can only communicate news of your horrible crime to your Mem Sahib who will inflict proper punishment on you once you get home.
Is the Italian Ambassador guilty of Contempt of Court?
Let us take up another question. Suppose, unknown to us all, the Foreign Minister of Italy got drunk and gave an explicit waiver to Sonia Aunty such that his Head of Mission in India's diplomatic immunity has been explicitly waived. What? It could happen! Italians are all terrible drunkards. Probably he was weeping into his Chianti and saying 'Sonia, bella, please come and be our Prime Minister and save us from Berlusconi.' Soniaji immediately said 'First waive Mancini's diplomatic immunity, then I'll think about it.'
"Done!' says the Italian Foreign Minister, 'But please be telling Rahul Baba to shave. Chee Chee, he is looking like low class rowdy, I say.'
"Khabardar' shouted Soniaji, "mere bete ki dhadhi Laqa ki jaisi hogi! Jaa, jaa- tu manhoos- teri nazar na lagne doonga mere laadle pe! Chashme buddoor.'
Anyway, even if all this happened, the Italian Ambassador still would not be guilty of Contempt of Court. Why? He gave his undertaking BEFORE the Court said 'Govt. is dragging its feet, hence Italian Marines are denied speedy trial'.
The moment the Supreme Court uttered this statement, the Ambassador's undertaking was null and void because it was not in his power, nor that of his Govt, to force the Marines back to India. Why? European Human Rights Law takes precedence over Italian Law. The Marines, by the admission of the Indian Supreme Court, were being denied the Human Right to a fair and reasonably speedy trial because the Special Court required to adjudicate the matter did not then, nor does it now exist nor shows any sign of coming into being any time soon.
What the Italians did wrong
Employ stupid, self-serving, Indian lawyers. I recall many years ago, when I was married to an Italian and we were living in Delhi and when some small marital spat occurred, the Italian Embassy's Indian legal advisor told my then wife to prosecute my parents under some antiquated Victorian Law for restoration of conjugal rights or something of that sort. It's true, I was young, but I was not an imbecile or a minor or some other such person of diminished capacity. It was not in my parents power to force me to have sex with that woman. Yet this is what the Indian Lawyer advising those idiots at the Italian Embassy had her petition the Court to accomplish. I was all like 'babe, you know you got unrestricted access to my junk.' And she was all like 'yeah, well, I want like Kama Sutra shit. And the right to shove my finger up your ass to hurry things along.' And I was going- No way you take my anal cherry bitch- I'm saving that for Manmohan Singh- I'll see you in Court! Mummy, help!, she's touching my no-no place!' Anyway, that's why I decided to quit India and return to London. At least we gotta European Court of Human Rights here. Aint no fucking Supreme Court Bench can tell me I'm in Contempt unless I lose my anal cherry to some random I-talian with wicked finger-nails. Mind it kindly. Nuff said.
Can an Ambassador waive immunity?
No. The Geneva Convention is clear. A diplomat can't waive his immunity by any action of his own. Only his Head or Mission or his country's Foreign Ministry can do so and that has to be an explicit not an implicit waiver. Thus, for example, if you rent a property to a diplomat who agrees to waive his immunity with respect to any civil matter arising from that transaction, though he may then sue you for some breach of contract- and to that extent any counter-claim by you will be offset against the damages awarded to him- nevertheless he has the following asymmetry in his favor- viz. your action to evict him for non-payment of rent will fail because he did not have the right to waive his immunity. Only if his home country steps in and voids his immunity can you get the slimy little shit out of your house.
Thus, though it is true that a diplomat can waive his immunity with respect to some judicial proceeding, still, it remains the case that at the time of execution of judgement- i.e. enforcement- a second waiver, from his home country is needed.
A little thought will show that the Geneva Convention can have no other interpretation. Diplomats routinely enter into contracts for all sorts of things which come under the jurisdiction of Courts other than their own. If it is the case that they waive their immunity, without any limitation, every time a tort or breach of contract arises and the matter comes before a foreign Court, then they are subject to dual jurisdiction. But, if this is the case, they have a divided loyalty or responsibility. The condition of being diplomatic envoys of a Sovereign Power is violated.
The Indian Supreme Court, however, has upheld a novel argument put forward by, non lawyer, disgraced Harvard Economics Professor, Subramaniam Swamy, such that the Italian Ambassador to India, unknown to himself or his Ministry back in Rome, somehow managed to do something the Geneva Convention specifically says he can't do- viz. waive his immunity and become subject to the displeasure of the Indian Courts. This is despite the fact that the Ambassador is the Servant, not the Master, of the country that he represents. According to the old English pun 'he lies abroad for his country'. His word, however mendaciously given, can't bind his Master, nor put his own body in danger of legal action at the hands of the foreign power to whom he is accredited because, as the representative of his Sovereign Master, he enjoys immunity.
Yet, in a truly bizarre twist, the former counsel to the Italian Embassy, Harish Salve, is now saying that the Indian Supreme Court would be within its rights to jail his former client.
This simply isn't true- the only value of this Senior Advocate's statement lies in the glaring light it throws on the parlous condition of legal thinking in New Delhi.
What then is true position?
The answer is that this is all a storm in a tea-cup- mere saber rattling- a giant hissy fit on the part of the Judges.
It is precisely because they have no jurisdiction over the diplomat that they can afford to say anything that comes into their heads to register their rancor against him. In similar fashion, the U.S. Supreme Court is perfectly at liberty to find that the Queen of England is a dolphin recently escaped from Miami Sea World and require that she should kindly swim back there or be held in contempt of court. Since the American Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over Her Majesty, no legal consequence follows from their ruling- though it would certainly embarrass the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James.
Suppose, in the Indian case, this problem with the Italian Ambassador went down to the wire- what would happen?
Well, the Supreme Court can institute proceedings for contempt of court on any Indian citizen or other employee or Agent of the Govt. who fails to prevent the Ambassador leaving the country- as per its order- though by that same action India violates the Geneva Convention and makes itself a pariah state. Should the Supreme Court direct the arrest of the Ambassador, then it issues an illegal order because it breaches both International Law and the Law of the Land. The President of India might then be required to take action- by declaring a State of Emergency and/or impeaching the Bench under Art.142 (4) for incapacity by reason of stupidity- such that the Govt. and People of India were no longer in breach of both International Law as well as the properly constituted Law of the Land.
In other words, what the Supreme Court has done is embarrass the Govt. by a willful and tendentious misreading of an unambiguous non obstante Law-perhaps in revenge for the Govts dragging its feet in complying with the Court's earlier order in connection with establishing a Special Federal Court to rule on Jurisdiction in this case. The Supreme Court's own manner of proceeding, however, was highly questionable in Law and had the effect of substantially weakening the Indian case. Essentially, the Supreme Court denied that the Kerala High Court had properly exercised its authority, as a matter of Indian, not International Law, though its proceedings were in line with the principleaut dedere aut judicare and it had established, as a matter of fact, not law that it had all that was requisite to proceed to trial- viz. evidence, witness statements, and custody of the accused. True, the Supreme Court had the right to over-rule the State High Court- but why did it do so? The crime of unlawful slaying had occurred. The State High Court had secured everything needed to conduct a trial- jurisdiction had been de facto established. The Marines had a right to a speedy trial and if there were any doubts on points of law then the case could have been transferred to the Supreme Court to do as it pleased. To compound its error, the Supreme Court then called for the setting up of a Special Federal Court, despite being aware that the Govt. of India does not and probably can not act with dispatch on any matter that requires the application of intelligence and adherence to proper form. Having dug itself into a hole, the Supreme Court just kept digging itself in even deeper error by releasing the Italian Marines on parole to allow them to vote in their home country while simultaneously issuing a statement indicting the Indian Govt. for 'dragging its feet' in the matter of the Marines' Human Right to a speedy trial. This meant that the Marines could approach the European Court of Human Rights for protection from being sent back to India on the grounds that the Apex Indian Court had itself admitted that 'the Indian Govt. was dragging its feet' and thus their Human Rights had been violated. Since European Law is higher than Italian law, the Italian Ambassador had no right to give an undertaking that his country would perform an ultra vires and illegal action by compelling the return of people whom the Indian Supreme Court itself said were not getting a speedy trial by reason of the Govt. dragging its feet.
One other point, the Ambassador's affidavit (which is the basis of the charge of contempt of court against him) was issued before the Supreme Court stated that the Marines were not getting a speedy trial, by reason of the Govt's dragging its feet. This materially altered the facts of the case in such a way that the Ambassador's affidavit was nullified because it introduced a new fact such that it became clear that the Marines' Human Rights were being violated.
To give an example, suppose I stand surety for an accused and the Judge in the course of granting bail says 'of course, when you return for trial I can assure you that your Human Rights will be violated and you won't get a fair hearing'. In this case, if the accused chooses to flee, I am in foro conscientiae, released from my pledge of surety and a legal defense can be sustained for me in this regard.
To this day, it remains the case, though more than a year has gone by since the shooting at sea, that the Special Court to determine whether India has jurisdiction simply does not exist.
Italy does have jurisdiction. India says it may do so but wants to detain the Marines anyway. How is this not a violation of the European Charter w.r.t the right to a fair trial within a reasonable period?
Essentially, the Supreme Court has defeated its own claim to adjudicate in a manner that respects the Human Right to a fair and speedy trial and thrown doubt on the Govt. of India's willingness and ability to provide any such thing by explicitly accusing it of 'dragging its feet'.
Now, to make itself even more ridiculous, the Supreme Court, having listened to the opinion of the worthless fuck-wit, Subramanian Swamy, is indulging in barbaric saber rattling such that it has cut off the most powerful diplomatic sanction the Govt. possesses- viz. expelling the Italian Ambassador for his lying to the Supreme Court- by insisting the Govt. prevent the Envoy leave India.
This is lunacy piled on lunacy.
To summarize, the low I.Q but arrogantly activist Indian Supreme Court and the low integrity, virtually brain dead, Indian Government, who between them have already vitiated Justice for the slain fishermen, has now plumbed a further nadir of absurdity which gratuitously exposes India's dirty laundry in a manner which deals a blow to India's credibility and bargaining power in World forums. This is typical of the sort of mischief Dr. Swamy- the Narada Muni of Indian Politics- aims at through his bizarre Public Interest Litigation based on warped reasoning and a reckless disregard for the Truth.
Politically, the good news coming out of all this is that Italy won't now have to reveal all sorts of damaging information about bribery in billion dollar arms deals which would be embarrassing for the present Administration.
How did this happy coincidence come to pass?
The background to this contretemps is Italy's one great feat of arms since the Battle of Caporetto- viz. the courageous shooting of a couple of Indian fishermen by two Italian Marines on an Italian ship which, true to Italian tradition, proceeded to flee the scene as far and fast as it could.
Italy has embraced its two young heroes and refused to send them back to India, despite an assurance given by their Ambassador, because courage such as those two Marines have displayed is indeed a rare and precious commodity in the land of Berlusconi and it is totally unfair of the Indians to persecute them for killing Christian fishermen and then running away as fast as they could.
The Indians, for their part, had mollycoddled the two Italian heroes and let them go home not once but twice- once for Xmas and the other time to vote in the Elections coz though Italy allows postal voting these two sweet little boys could get a nasty paper cut when licking the envelope or else they might think the stamp was a Somali pirate and start shitting themselves uncontrollably and keep trying to run away except they would then slip on their own shit and fall down and hurt themselves and then die of the sulks coz their Mammas didn't come quickly enough to kiss away the boo-boo and buy them a gelato.
Clearly, these two young Italian military heroes should have got a sick note and submitted it to the Indian Court. Then, the Italian Ministry of Culture should have declared them living monuments to the great military tradition of that country and prohibited their export. This would have been a perfectly legal way for them to protect their priceless Heroes. Instead, the Italians chose to break the given word of their Ambassador to India. After all, if shooting people and running away is a sacred Italian military virtue, lying is no less a laurel wreath upon the brows of its diplomats and public officials.
As for the Judges of the Indian Supreme Court, they might try learning a bit of Law for a change. I'm not saying it will help them uphold Justice but the novel sensation may re-invigorate their sex-lives. What I mean to say is- okay we all know you have the hots for Subramaniyam Swamy but how about you just ask him out for a date already?
What does Ghalib's 'khoon-e-jigar' mean in the context of Faiz's poem? My guess is that Ghalib is referencing a peculiarity in Bedil's theory of color which, because of its Sufi foundation, has a chilastic meaning. Ghalib, self-effacingly, mentions his use of astrology and philosophy to tart up his ghazals. Perhaps, the fact that the Marxist Revolution lives upon the memory of its doomed 1848 tryst, and the further eschatalogical fact that all trysts fail prior to the final conflagration, and that this interregnum is one peculiarly favorable to a hypertrophy of doomed trysts, for Faiz unites him to Ghalib and Bedil by reason of a common elision of the method of Zattali- which, after all, is what the genius of the language calls for.
'Fore flamed our tryst all was as has come to pass
Horizon's mist, Road's twist, Wine red in the glass
But now that wine cup, road and azure Sky
Are the color of my heart where blood goes to die
Like the cataract in an old shepherd's eye
Or the egg stain on a Joint Secretary's tie
Or some such recherche list rushing out of style
Till, to curdle our tryst, you tarry awhile
Ah! my ragged song were, in Russian, Choral
Tho' in Urdu, now, just sloppy Oral
tum jo naa aa'e the to har chiiz vahii thii kih jo hai aasmaaN hadd-e-nazar, raahguzar raahguzar, shiishaah-e-mai, shiishaah-e-mai
aur ab shiishaah-e-mai, raahguzar, rang-e-falak rang hai dil kaa mere, "khoon-e-jigar hone tak" champaa'i rang kabhii, raahat-e-diidaar kaa rang sur'ma'ii rang kabhii, saa'at-e-bezaar kaa rang
zard pattoN kaa xas-o-xaar kaa rang surkh phuuloN kaa, dahakte hu'e gulzaar kaa rang zahar kaa rang, lahuu rang. shab-e-taar kaa rang
aasmaaN, rahguzar, shiishaah-e-mai koii bhiigaa hu'aa daaman, ko'ii dukhtii hu'ii rag ko'ii har lahzaah badaltaa hu'aa aa'iinaah hai
ab jo aa'e ho to Thahro kih koii rang, koii rut ko'ii shai ek jagah par Thahre phir se ik baar har ik chiiz vahii ho ke jo hai aasmaaN hadd-e-nazar, rahguzar rahguzar, shiishaah-e-mai, shiishaah-e-mai
English Translation by Naomi Lazard
Before you came things were just what they were: the road precisely a road, the horizon fixed, the limit of what could be seen, a glass of wine was no more than a glass of wine.
With you the world took on the spectrum radiating from my heart: your eyes gold as they open to me, slate the color that falls each time I lost all hope.
With your advent roses burst into flame: you were the artist of dried-up leaves, sorceress who flicked her wrist to change dust into soot. You lacquered the night black.
As for the sky, the road, the cup of wine: one was my tear-drenched shirt, the other an aching nerve, the third a mirror that never reflected the same thing.
Now you are here again—stay with me. This time things will fall into place; the road can be the road, the sky nothing but sky; the glass of wine, as it should be, the glass of wine.
The year was 1915. German pigs were in the forefront of the battle to assert the historical destiny of the highly spiritual Teutonic races as the saviours of a World Civilization shackled by the crass materialism of the Bourgeoisie dominated British and French and American kakocracies.
However, faceless German bureaucrats- all demonstrably vegetarian, because had they eaten things with a face then they wouldn't have been faceless coz, u r what u eat, right?- were already planning a gigantic 'stab in the back' of the heroic German pig army in the shape of the infamous Schweinemord- the judicial massacre of up to 40 per cent of the German pig community on the grounds that they were 'co-eaters' whose continued existence endangered the food supply of their human brethren amongst the Kaiser's gadarening hordes.
The cunning of the Vegetarian clique is clearly shown by this outrageous calumny. Pigs don't feed on the sort of shite that fuels the votaries of such evil creeds as Nationalism, Socialism, Vegetarianism, Integral Humanism etc etc. The unconscionable massacre of the pigs led to a steep decline in grain production because pig manure was vital to agriculture, especially to marginal farmers. In consequence, over a million Germans died as a result of malnutrition and lack of bacon sarnies. As Swami Zizekananda said 'first they came for the pigs- and we did nothing. Then they came for the donkeys- and we were screwed.'
This is a picture of Vandana Siva.
She has all but come out and openly endorsed the evil Vegetarian 'co-eater' ideology which led to the massacre of patriotic German pigs in 1915, but which now endangers Holy Hindu Cows. Not that there isn't some nuance to her thinking- she admits that cows are our partners, especially in the Accountancy firms for which I worked- yet what her position cashes out as is 'LET THEM EAT GRASS!'
As opposed to my own entirely novel theory of ontological dysphoria, Object Oriented Ontology (OOO) is nothing new. In ancient Byzantium, according John Julius Norwich, it was believed that the soul of a thing or being might be distributed across a number of disparate physical entities- an old tavern sign, a mole on the face of a Chemistry teacher, a cart horse, a mulberry bush.
Similarly, behind the 'Masters of Suspicion'- Marx, Nietzche, Freud et al- lay even more profound Pundits of Paranoia and Sages of Schizophrenia for whom the horcruxes of the bourgeoisie were as much in the commodities they fetishized as in fetishes that led them to, as the Big Lebowski said, treat objects like women, and commoditize heteroclite conjunctions of things- the smell off coffee, eighteenth Century maps, the prose of Stevenson, being sodomized by Pinochet, the color of lianas in bloom, being sodomized by Pinochet, saying things twice, being sodomized by Pinochet, saying things thrice, the neighbor's cat who conspires with Mossad to steal my toothpaste replacing it with a product identical in every respect but up to three percent less effective in fighting plaque.
It is in this context that though Hugo Chavez is dead, for Object Oriented Ontology and the great mass of the Venezuelan people, his Revolution lives on for its horcruxes are to be found wherever an Industry is fucked over by bien pensant price controls and an Economy is sodomized in the name of Ecology or Egalitarianism or the Empowerment of Educationally Backward Cats wot are stealing my toothpaste.
Fuck you cats- I will get even.
Personally, I blame David Cameron.
That boy aint right.
For many deeply provincial- i.e. foreign trained- Indian intellectuals, like myself, who came of age in the early Eighties, the writings of Pierre Bourdieu appeared not so much a revelation as a canonical expression of a previously 'unthought known'. At that time, it seemed obvious that historical processes are always structural and that structural transformations are only objectified at the level of subjective, individual, habitus. This enabled us to give content to Alok Rai's (whom I met at the durbar of a cartoonishly corrupt Iyer, U.P cadre, I.A.S officer) notion of 'damaged modernity- at once embryonic and addled' as defining 'the field' of Indian political culture such that Huma, the legendary bird, the touch of whose shadows confers Empery, hovers over but does nothing to hatch such foul-smelling egg-heads as Indians refer to as the progeny of the owl and who rule the roost in New Delhi because, as the last Moghul wrote-
Bulbul ne aashaiana chaman se utha liya
Uske bala se boom basay ya Huma rahay
(Now the nightingale no longer rests in garden bowers
Who cares if the owl nests or Huma hovers?)
Put less poetically, the Indian political 'field'- i.e. the arena for arbitrage operations between different types of Bourdieusian 'capital'- operates according to the laws enacted by a parliament of bird-brains impotent to hatch any greater mischief against the common-weal than that constituted by their own continued, craven and concurrency-deadlocked existence.
In this context, it would be natural to gas on about the 'habitus' of the Indian political class- though it is precisely this style of reasoning which, ab ovo, vitiates our public discourse before it ever even encounters- not its alterity- no, Caste being what it is, that was never on the cards- but, apotheosis, for, as Zatalli tells Bedil- Che ‘Urfi che Faizi ba pesh-e tu phus- what, facing us, now are the Pitr progenitors due the pinda oblation? So far have we advanced along their well trodden circuit, they are nothing save that flatus or anal eructation detecting which Gayatri Spivak consoled the sadly flatulent Matilal by quoting Derridera's assertion that upon the fart, at least, ontology can lay no brusque or bugger's hand.
Since India, Hindustan, Bharatvarsha, is defined, for Indians, as always constituted by a heterogeneity of 'dharma-as-karma-overcomings'- i.e. India, in so far as it exists, is an ideal marga of meta-hexis simultaneously paced, shoulder to shoulder, by every desi habitus- it follows that it exists only as a hopeful Utopia of the Ernest Bloch type to which, in articulo mortis, the concurrency deadlock that is its proper inertial property, only gives voice when the other Hirschman options of loyalty and exit have been providentially- i.e. by lying technocrats or military men manqué - foreclosed and rendered cheerlessly phantasmogoric.
The 'scandal' of 1968- for France, for West Germany- the stumbling block to faith in Scholastic Sociology represented by this Yahoo repetition of 1848 when History reached a turning point but failed to turn- though Adorno was routed from his lectern by the naked breasts of his (German, and therefore ugly) students- was, of course, for India, a scandal in the common, not theological, sense of the word. The one true and tiger breasted Desi Goddess, whose eagerness for bloodshed exceeds that of pallid PhD Poli Sci jholawallah students, revealed her intention to 'Garibi hatao' - remove Poverty- and indeed, within a decade, no politician in India was left who, if not feathering a familial nest, disdained corrupt practices of the most shameless sort on behalf of his or her Party, which increasingly was a solitary or entirely personal cultus.
In this manner, Indians became Bourdieusian avant la lettre and in their belated jumping on his bandwagon- witness this negligent piece of tosh- one too readily detects the double bind of Metropolitan condescension and patronage towards a benighted Francophone colon because, after all, for any Indian- 'Che Foucault, che Bourdieu ba pesh-e tu phus'- we have advanced on our progenitors in every degree of paranoia, and created a 'Gandu-nama' to which not Zatalli could hold a candle without risking more than his eyebrows.
A moment's thought will show this isn't really a paradoxical, or even a Socio-proctological, result because Bourdieu's field is heavily dependent on a particular type of epistemic reflexivity- a bit like Muth Rational Expectations or the Chomyskian notion of an i-language or Habermas's 'ideal speech situation' or Rawlsian rubbish- but, sadly, one bound up with a finitist Research Program- an inconsistently finitist one, as Nelson's recent debacle has shown- such that ontologically dysphoric positions are ruled out in advance, or diminished to sub-proletarian noise. In other words, what is banished from Sociology is precisely what makes a subject Sociological rather than purely Mathematical without, however, the salutary measure being taken of putting a lamed Politics out of its misery or profitably disposing of it to a glue factory. This wouldn't matter- and Cliodynamics wouldn't be silly- if people, in the main, didn't use language or the market or politics or whatever not to advance within the Muth Rational 'correct' theory of Reality but to mark their desire to emigrate from Reality, emigrate from inter-subjectivity, emigrate from that foundational aspect of Exchange which the genius of Graciella Chichilnisky has uncovered- viz. the necessity for Goldilocks preference diversity, not too little, not too much.
In this sense, the real world is like Rick's Casino in Casablanca- not only is the roulette table rigged, but the magnet is a strange attractor, it could go either way, it does go either way, till the qibla of Rick's hegira is finally decided for him and he emigrates into myth and legend and sophomore fantasies of Sophistication, stepping off the Warner Bros backlot.
Now it may be argued that 'ontological dysphoria' only exists in my mind and I'm just a drunken bum but, the problem is, most bloggers are drunken bums with ontologically dysphoric views of the world. Worse, most people, most of the time- even academics, even mathematicians- are exactly like me. We feel we are living in the wrong world.
Chomsky may see himself as following in the tradition of Plato's 'Meno'- where a slave boy is shown to have knowledge-as-anamnesis of Geometry- and thus his own individuating project, or reckless disregard for the truth, remains anchored, in some sense, in the real world- which is why he is ridiculous. However, such is emphatically not the case with my own preferred world, my own personal project of rendering myself fulminable from this, the infernal reality of my risibility, which gives rise to my patented brand of ontological dysphoria such that I am only at home in a world where Isosceles triangles relentless pursue a bitter blood feud with Vasco da Gama coz Virendra Fernandes stabbed me with his compass back in 1974 and, guess what?, Brother Morrissey caned both of us tho' Virendra was clearly the aggressor and the whole thing was witnessed by Isosceles who was only prevented from filing an f.i.r at the Gol Dhak-khana thana coz Pythagoras raped him but nobody believed him so he got a reputation as the choir-boy wot cries wolf all the time.
Why do I believe most people, most of the time are ontologically dysphoric? The answer has to do evolution- more particularly, the dynamics of convergent evolution. We can probably all agree that the reason there has been no genetic canalisation such that we are hard-wired for a particular 'universal' language is because the field dynamics of our out-of-Africa ancestor militated against the possibility. Hunter gatherer groups were simply too small- by reason of their mode of production- for the reverse to be the case. But, the fact that language use- at the neural level- is always convergently evolved- had other benefits and probably explains a lot about why we, as a species, think we are smart. But, this fact also means that all human communication has a big noise to signal problem since neither transmitters nor receivers are standardized. The advantage of having an ontologically dysphoric Lebenswelt is that all signal can be classed as noise till selectively 're-constructed'. But this means reflexivity- save in abstract areas, like price signals, which can be represented by a physicalist hexis- can't be founded in Bourdieuian 'habitus'. This is not to say something which looks like habitus aint ubiquitous. But it aint essentialist nor is it structural. It is ontologically dysphoric is what it is. 'Natural languages'- by Gold's theorem- are indeed unlearnable if our hexis, our habitus is Nature- thankfully; it isn't, we are ontologically dysphoric which is why the psychic cost of conforming is negligible, since there is no need to re-write any 'Darwinian algorithm of the mind'- i.e. re-program any context specific emotional-response-unit- and, in any case, the same convergently evolved mental module which detects Schelling focal points always, by default, provides enough points of similarity for the Socio-Criminologist to say 'lo! 'tis the same fingerprint, by Jove! Proof conclusive of the fine Italian hand of that bounder Moriarty!'
What has all this to do with Indian Politics?
Well, people of my generation were influenced by Prem Shankar Jha's Gramscian notion of an intermediate class which was, in essence, ungovernable and anti-national by reason of being chauvinistically casteist or communal or like chewing paan all the time and spitting all over the place.
Behind Jha, or Nandy, or other such soi-disant 'thinkers', was- we now recognize- a Bourdeiusian habitus dissimulating its virtuality in an attention-seeking manner at once hospitably histrionic and meretriciously manic.
In other words, as with Mill, Macaulay or Marx, Bourdieu too, in so far as he is taken up by Indians, possesses a revolutionary potential in the sense of permitting everybody to make a 360 degree turn- or not, if they used their compass to stab the boy in the next desk and it was confiscated by teacher.