Saturday, 19 June 2021

Kapila & Devji's Gita

Shruti Kapila & Feisal Devji have said- 

Though part of an ancient epic tradition, the Gita did not achieve its current pre-eminence until very recently.

This is false. Adi Sankara chose the Bhagvad Gita for his commentary and declared hearing it to be sufficient to gain liberation. So for over a thousand years, though interpretations may have differed, high caste Hindus accorded the Gita a very high status. More than that can not be maintained as 'pre-eminence' belongs to the Rg Veda.  

Its resurgence and reinterpretation, in short, are coterminous with the formation of modern life and politics

This is wholly false. There was no particular 'resurgence' and all interpretations were 'reinterpretations' because the text was considered to have the quality of apoorvata- i.e. to truly read it would be to find something novel in it.

Devji, as a Muslim, may be excused for ignorance about the Gita. However, he must surely know something about 'modern life and politics'. Neither have much to do with the Gita because modern life and politics has little to do with Religion though no doubt Hindus as a group wanted various things which they got in independent India. On the other hand they had to run away from Pakistan because there it was the Muslims who got what they wanted.

Devji & Kapila say

the text of the dialogue was itself given new life during the colonial period, when it was praised and condemned by European or American thinkers in equal measure as the chief philosophical statement of Hinduism.

This is false. Westerners initially thought the Laws of Manu the most important text. At a later point, the dramatic nature of the Gita gained it some attention but this was an idiosyncratic affair. Indology as an academic subject was constantly finding new horizons. Those at its periphery, in an amateur fashion, praised or dispraised this and other exotic texts. But they also said stupid things about Sophocles and Ossian and Hamlet and Hafiz and so forth. Such was the parochial fate of 'universal' literature. It represented a peevish type of criticism ; it wasn't art. Anyway, all those boring old farts were soon discovered to be fucked in the head. Nobody bothered with them till stupid, whiney, Edward Said wannabe, po-co Professors started talking garbled nonsense about how Hegel saying something mean about the Hindus was very very important because...urm...Marx was Hegelian, right? And Communism is like Marxist right? And the Rooskies are still Commies, right? What's that? They aint Commies? Marxism just fucked off and died? Hegel doesn't matter any more? Well, let's just keep this under our hat and continue teaching worthless nonsense to our cretinous students... 

It was as a transnational document of this kind that the Gita came to represent Indian or Hindu political thought.

To a couple of Professors whom everybody else just ignored. It was obvious that genuine political thought was about money and military might and geopolitics and international trade and finance.  

And though other ancient texts, like the Arthashastra or Science of Power,

which was only rediscovered around 1905 

might vie with the Gita in terms of international celebrity,

Fuck off! Nobody reads Kautilya's turgid shite. They may pretend to have done so- but that's why they are stuck teaching adolescents who will make way more money than them within a couple of years.  

only the latter became a source for Indians who sought to define their politics in its terms.

Except not one single Hindu actually did so. Everybody defined their politics in purely political terms- parliamentary or Cabinet seats, or whatever else might help them get hold of money and power. Some Hindus might write a commentary on the Gita while in prison but they might equally write a children's history of the world or an autobiography or something of that sort.

The Gita has literary merit and thus did make an impression on cultured people in the West. Indeed, there was a Mexican President who signed himself 'Arjuna'. But, by then, there were Indians in America and Europe- some of whom were proselytizing for their sect while others were engaged in nationalistic work. In England, Yeats, Auden and Isherwood were targeted by Hindu holy men who got them to translate or help them to translate various Hindu texts. The Theosophical Society played a big role in promoting this horrible fad.

the Gita and with it Hinduism itself achieved a kind of territorial transcendence

just like Buddhism of various types. Some strains of Sufism too went 'global' as did the Ba'hai Faith at a later point. 

by forsaking the rest of Asia to join a debate with the West alone, given that the book attracted little attention in other parts of the world. This debate, moreover, broke with the exegetical tradition within which the text had previously been studied.

in other words, the thing was a fad. 

But at the same time as it allowed Hinduism to become in some sense a
“Western” religion,

but only as a fad 

the Gita also permitted Indian political thought to part company with its European equivalent in the use that was made of it to rethink politics in a novel language of action without consequence.

i.e. as a fad or particularly stupid cult- like Tolstoyism or Theosophy itself.  

Indeed, it is remarkable how many of India’s political and intellectual leaders of the last century and a half wrote detailed and extensive commentaries on the Gita, which they saw not simply in a romantic way as some authentic source of statecraft, but as a book that allowed them to reconsider the nature of politics itself.

What is remarkable about a bunch of guys in the same line of work writing the same sort of shite? Tilak does a version of the Gita, in his language, while in jail. This means Gandhi must do one in his language and Bhave in his and so forth. But all these versions of the Gita were silly. What's important about about a Religious text is the magnification of God's glory and the blissful Faith this generates because Grace is part of that Glory. 

Meanwhile, the nature of politics does not change even if you claim some book has transformed you in some utterly marvelous way and so you will be less shite next time round.

And the essays in this special issue of Modern Intellectual History are concerned precisely with this effort to establish a new tradition of political thought in India, one that took the Bhagavad Gita as both its source and its model.

This tradition was vacuous shite but it helped pass the time in prison till India became independent coz of Hitler & Tojo.  Each and every article in this book is foolish and based on mischievous academic availability cascades. 

In this sense the text plays the kind of role in Indian political thinking that Machiavelli’s Prince or Hobbes’s Leviathan do for its European equivalents, being like them a thoroughly modern work.

Which nobody who was doing well in politics bothered with. Later some worthless pedants started gassing on about Hobbes and Locke like they weren't shitheads. Machiavelli, on the other hand, did write well and wanted a united Italy. But Italy wasn't a boring country then- being more of a geographical expression. Most other countries however had extremely boring politics.  

As a text of colonial politics, the Gita

does not exist. It is merely a coded way of saying 'Hindus, arise! Get busy already! For fuck's sake, don't just sit there- do something!'  

permits war to be placed at the centre of debate in a national movement that would not or could not wage it against Britain.

Initially, the notion was that Indians could get guns from Germany and liberate their country by military means. When that dream failed, there was the notion that going to jail often enough would be helpful in some occult way.  

But rather than seeing the attention paid to war in these discussions as
a fantasy of imperialism’s violent overthrow, what is interesting about it is the fact that the enemy who must be killed is always, as was the case with Arjuna in the original, a brother, friend or teacher.

Which is why the Ramayan, not the Gita, was important. Lord Ram kills rakshasas who are smart and have cool tech, but who belong to a different species. 

At no point, in other words, do these commentaries define the political opponent as alien, the problem being always the reverse, that he is familiar and far too intimate.

But this isn't much of a problem coz the guy is shooting arrows at you and so, either you get killed or you start shooting arrows back. If someone has to die- let it be an intimate rather than oneself. This is perfectly rational. We aren't talking of Macbeth stabbing a defenseless old man. We are talking of a war where, it was quite usual, for Princely cousins to be on opposite sides. Look at the Kaiser's war. Both the Tzar and the King Emperor were related to him. Still all these titled nincompoops fought each other till Empires disappeared in Europe and the Aristocracy fell on hard times.

As if this did not render the political relationship problematic enough, the text’s modern interpreters rarely if ever named the colonial power as their enemy, not out of fear so much as because they were interested in generalizing what they thought was the political truth enunciated by the Gita into a theoretical one capable of universal application.

But, because they had shit for brains and were shite at politics, what they wrote was worthless. True, if you are descended from one of these cretins, or can get paid to do so, you may pretend otherwise. But actual politics is about hiring Prashant Kishor, not reading some fucking commentary on the Gita.  

In this way the Gita allowed Indians to think of politics beyond and after
imperialism.

But they could do this even better just by imagining how their lives would improve if they held the power currently in the hands of British officials. It is silly to bring the Gita- or Antigone or Macbeth or any other such dramatic work- into this type of thinking.  

If Indian anti-Colonial politics was based on some ancient text, the question arises, what ancient text was the various African anti-colonial movements based on? Nepal wasn't conquered- was this because it had a superior interpretation of the Gita, or was it because the Gurkhas are darned good soldiers? 

Yet such a politics was not conceived as a set of idealized interactions
predicated upon some normative vision of a national or international order, but instead continued to be spoken about in terms of the most disruptive violence.

Why? Because all politics conceived as everybody being nice and no one being nasty is utterly puerile.  

Rather than being wedded to a conventional, if not utopian, notion of a nationalist future, therefore, the men and women described in the essays that make up this volume insisted upon thinking of politics in an open or undetermined way. 

Which is why their thoughts were shit- except when they weren't because neither Sita, nor Gita nor Meeta nor Cheetah played any fucking part in their thinking. 

As a foundational text of anticolonial politics the Gita

did not exist for the excellent reason that natives who want to get rid of colonists don't need no fucking texts. They just need to believe they will be better off slitting the furriner's throat and taking all his cool stuff.  

thus announced the end of a certain reckoning of time and history.

Nope. There may have been some tribes somewhere which rebelled against Whitey coz they thought the End of Days was at hand but nothing of the sort happened in Hindu India.  

Again, without being a prescriptive or doctrinal text, it nevertheless provided a stable point of conceptual referents.

Fuck are these fuckwits talking about? Gita is prescriptive and doctrinal for caste Hindus. It says perform your hereditary duties- even if only on a part-time basis if you are fortunate enough to be able to pursue some more lucrative profession.  

Thus while the questions of ethics, war and action remained stable, there was a range of multiple interpretations on these issues.

No. The Gita says if you have undertaken to perform a particular duty- just do it already. Don't start vaporing like a sissy. Indulge in no soliloquies. Do what you promised or be regarded a poltroon.  

Fundamentally, these interpretations were concerned with the formation of the political.

No they weren't. For the formation of the political you have to found a polis by clearing land and inviting settlers and setting up social choice and judicial mechanisms. The Gita has nothing to say about this.  

It is striking that Western canonical thinking on the political

is completely shit. That is why you can make lots of money either as a lawyer or as an economist or a lawyer turned politician or a politician with an economic agenda, but you are regarded as a cretin if you teach political philosophy to adolescents.  

took the state as its central point of reference concerning issues of violence, sovereignty and authority.

What else were they supposed to do? A polis is a State. Politics is Statecraft. These guys would have looked silly if they had taken the toilet as the central point of reference for issues of sovereignty, authority and judicial punishment.  

Precisely because the realm of the state in India was at once alien and also the source of colonization,

The realm of the State in India was India. However, ultimate power over the realm of India was wielded in Westminster- a very alien place indeed. The source of colonization was the Royal Navy- again something pretty alien to Indian landlubbers.  

the Gita, with its focus on fratricidal violence, became the point of departure for questions both political and ethical.

But the answers were immediate. Do what you are paid to do. Don't be a shirker. God will take on your sins provided you only committed them while dispassionately discharging your duty.  

In short, the political by definition existed beyond the state in these formulations.

If so, the definition was stupid and useless. One may as well say, 'meaning by definition exists beyond the shite I write so gimme tenure already in some worthless University Dept. BTW I iz bleck. So this is a case of intellectual affirmative action.  

An instructive point of comparison in this case would be the underlying implications of violence and transformation in Thucydides’ interpretation of the Peloponnesian War that has unsurprisingly remained productive for Western political theory.

But that sort of Western political theory has not been productive at all. It is merely some shite adolescents have to swot up to get a credential whose value declines from decade to decade.  

Whereas the fundamental issues in the Greek-inspired literature are the consequences of human hubris in the destruction of the state,

Tell this to Bo Jo whose hubris might yet wreck this United Kingdom. He can read Greek, you know. Much comfort that will be to us.  

modern discussions of the Gita, by contrast, first and foremost make God an aspect of the human through the character of Lord Krishna.

Why stop there? Why not make mermaids and unicorns aspects of the human?  

This descent of the divine to an earthly battlefield pointed both to the limits of the human and to the nature of war as a necessity for the restoration of a moral order (dharma).

Death does represent a serious limitation to what humans can do. Wow! This sure is a very profound essay! Killing nasty peeps may be necessary to restore niceness but what works even better is making it clear that they have a choice between playing nice and dying nasty. This is called incentive compatible mechanism design- or reverse game theory. Oddly, the Mahabharat teaches that knowledge of statistical game theory is necessary for a Principal to overcome 'vishada'- abulia. 

This humanization of God in the face of the inhumanity of war allowed for the relativization and indeed the transcendence of the issues of good and evil.

Sadly, saying cats are dogs would have exactly the same effect. That's how ex falso quodlibet works. Admitting a falsehood allows the relativization of the transcendence or the anti-transcendence of the de-relativization of the cat which is a dog which ate my homework and so just gimme tenure already coz I iz bleck and come from a real shithole of a country and am too stupid to teach anything sensible or useful.  

Rather than being a classical god and hero, Krishna and Arjuna become in effect Everyman and his inspired leader.

No they don't. They become an athlete and his coach. Part of the job of the charioteer is to keep up the spirits of the warrior. 

This also stood in stark contrast to Christian reformulations of Western political theory that at least until Nietzsche had struggled between the imperatives of political need and ethical injunction.

Rubbish! Both the Gita and Christian doctrine re. just war or judicial punishment say exactly the same thing- viz. if you do your duty dispassionately, no sin attaches to you. True, if you jerked off while stringing up a felon, or sodomized the corpse of the enemy you had slain, then some atonement might be due. 

The foreshadowing of these deeply modern concerns was precisely the reason why, and the context in which, the Gita acquired a new life from the late nineteenth century within the global arena.

Rubbish! It is a highly dramatic story- though these cretins don't know exactly how tightly wound the dramatic tension really is- and thus the sort of thing which belles lettrists were bound to jizz all over.  

Arguably, this new life of the Gita was entirely dependent on modernity itself.

if 'new life' is defined as 'life in modern times' then, sure, if modernity didn't exist then the thing would only have its rotten old life. Sad.  

The constitutive issue for all modern commentaries on the Gita thus rested on the question of human action itself, with neither the frailty of humanity nor God’s providence being at stake.

What was that question? Presumably it was- 'what is the right action for a human to take?' The answer was 'do your duty as defined by your oikeiosis- i.e. family and clan tradition or, in spiritual or intellectual matters, follow your own genius or sense of in-born affiliation.' But this was already normative.  

 these commentaries on the Gita aimed to equip human action with appropriate meaning.

No. Commentaries written in the vernacular language aimed to express a new consensus, or common denominator, for Hindus as part of a wider project of unifying and homogenizing Hindu practices and beliefs. This could be called 'Hindutva'- the essence of Hinduism. 

No doubt, some Europeans read other things into the Gita. For Andrei Weil it meant 'don't fight. Run away.' Oddly, this put Weil in greater danger than he otherwise would have been. The fact is Weil studied the Gita too early. He had met Emmy Noether but did not see that karma and dharma are conserved by the symmetries that generate the Mahabharata. He didn't get that the Vyadha Gita and Nalophkhayanam are the dual of the Bhagvad Gita and deal with the vishada of the principal. They establish that if you chose your own goals, then you need a statistical, game theoretic, knowledge or 'Sankhya'. But Von Neumann hadn't yet formalized Game Theory. So Weil got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Still, one may say Grothendieck's 'Yoga' is in this tradition. But that tradition does not exist in 'political philosophy' or whatever slow witted shite cretins like Kapila & Devji teach to their equally moronic students.  

In these formulations detachment emerged as a dominant condition for human action.

No. It was suggested as prescription for better outcomes from human actions of a non self-regarding type. But it was foolish and vacuous.  

At the same time, this allowed for action to assume different manifestations, ranging from a form of duty through that of sacrifice, all highlighting the issues of violence and non-violence.

Actions are manifestations and they have always differed. Telling stupid lies may allow you to claim that when you scratch your buttocks, you are actually repairing the Cosmos. But people may not allow you to continually repeat this claim in their vicinity. They may chase you away. Gandhi tried to recruit soldiers for the King Emperor. No doubt, he talked some stupid bollocks. But he was chased away with vim and vigor and seems to have had some sort of nervous breakdown.

The essays in this issue encompass the range of ideological formations from liberalism to revolution as these intersected with and interrupted the dominance of nationalism.

In other words, these essays are stupid shit which engage with stupid shit which changed nothing.  

Ranging from Bayly’s discussion of the Gita’s problematic relationship with liberalism

The problem being that it had none.  

through Kumar’s discussion of law as a form of violence,

why not law as a form of revenge porn?  or monetary policy as a form of twerking? If you are going to talk bollocks why not talk contemporary bollocks?

they examine the institutionalized but secret histories of the state.

e.g. its Panopticon project to watch you poop. Wake up sheeple! Neo-Liberalism is causing Narendra Modi to build indoor toilets for poor Indian people. This is because the plutocrats get their jollies watching us poop. The State may keep this secret, but lots of institutionalized lunatics will reveal this secret in between trying to saw your head off.  

Devji and Kapila’s interventions focus on the radical reformulation of the political in relation to the ethical.

Which was so fucking radical that it was wholly invisible. That's rad- like Anil Kapoor in Mr. India. 

These essays chart anew the power of ideas, text and place in the making of the modern world.

That power was zero. Technology mattered as did stupid Aristocrats losing big wars. But shitheads writing 'political philosophy' had no impact. Guys who seized power could just make up any shit they liked and everybody else would be obliged to say that that shit was actually chocolate cake and tasted yummy.  

While Mehta and Chakrabarty-Majumdar extract the iconic Gandhi from the ethical prison in which he has languished for so long,

No. Gandhi wasn't languishing in any type of prison. Godse may have been stupid but he was a good enough marksman. Gandhi died long ago. Get over it.  

Chaturvedi centres historicism as a form of violence.

But Trivedi centers violence as a form of Historicism which permits Dwiwedi to say Hinduism was invented by the RSS.  Wake up sheeple! Narendra Modi (real name- Nicholas Maugham) is watching you poop!

Sinha and Sartori, by contrast, trace the conversion of the Gita into a travelling-text of ‘spiritualism’ both within and beyond the confines of India.

Like the Tibetan book of the Dead or the Aztec Calendar of Doom or Vivek Iyer's 'Dieter's guide to weight loss through farting'.  

The following essays thus seek to intervene in current debates within political theory and intellectual history

by being even more stupid and ignorant and thus worthy of tenure 

and to offer new perspectives.

to the blind. 

They do so with the presumption that the place of India

should be run away from so as to get any sort of worthless academic berth in Europe or America. Sadly, this involves the pretense that people back home care about the stupid shite you are spouting under the rubric of fighting Fascism and Neo-Liberalism and peeps getting to eat nice things and other such atrocities perpetrated by godless Consumerism.  

and its political thought is instructive for

cretins. It should be the foundation for very special education for very very special snowflakes, recovering from horrific epistemic self-abuse, in the safe spaces of elite Campuses.  

and foundational in the making of the national and post-national global order.

i.e. reading this shite will enable you to understand why the Global Plutocratic Alliance- which secretly rules the world- needs to watch you poop so as to exert its occult methods of 'manufacturing consent'. Wake up sheeple! There are Japanese billionaires right now who are jizzing as they watch 8k video footage of your anal sphincter expelling a turd!   

As these essays point out, neither the diffusion nor the parochialization of Europe and its political thought was at stake for Indian commentators on the Gita,

If so, these essays are based on a lie. Indian commentators on the Gita were a playing a game of high stakes- viz

1) claiming that Hinduism was as good or better than Western Christianity or Communism or whatever

2) even if this were not the case, the Hindu had a duty to fight for his side against the fucking Imperialists.  

and nor is it the aim of this collection to reinscribe the concern with dialogue, dissent or difference as the primary way of treating colonial, national and civilizational encounters.

In other words, this shitty book doesn't want to do anything useful at all. That's cool because the internet enables us to easily access primary texts re. specific cases of that dialogue and dissent and thus to help resolve the reappearance of such problems by tried and trusted methods.  

Rather, this collection aims to revise perspectives on violence, war and sacrifice, the political and the ethical, that continue to inform the world we inhabit.

Why stop there? Why not revise perspectives on death, quantum mechanics and twerking? If you are going to talk worthless bollocks, why confine yourself to the 'political'- when everybody can see you have zero political influence- and the 'ethical'- when everybody can see you have run away from a poor country so as to make a living by telling stupid lies? 

Friday, 18 June 2021

Shruti Kapila's Lacanian lunacy

Shruti Kapila teaches modern Indian history and global political thought at the University of Cambridge. Her lack of political nous is staggering.

In an opinion piece for Print, she writes

The exit of Jitin Prasada from the Congress instructs the old party to

do something splashy to attract the Brahmin vote in the upcoming UP elections? 

That's what everybody else is saying. Shruti, however, asks it to slash its own throat.

take the initiative and split to save itself.

Wow! Sonia should split from her dear baby Rahul! What wonderful advise! For a split to occur there have to be two candidates for the job of party leader. But, because Congress is dynastic, this can only be a Gandhi. Priyanka has ruled herself out. Sonia may not be in good health and certainly does not want to stand in her son's way. Maybe Rahul should split with himself. Shruti is training to be a Lacanian psychotherapist. Perhaps she can coach him in 'refente'- i.e. splitting into two personalities- Raul Vinci, who is Christian, & Rahul Gandhi who is a janeodhari Brahmin. Vinci should slap Gandhi silly and launch his own Catholic Congress dedicating to turning India into Italy.

Prasada joins Jyotiraditya Scindia, scion of an erstwhile royal house, who a year ago too left the Congress to join the family of Hindutva. Both should be congratulated for coming clean and joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. They have shown the path to other individuals, family firms and even larger factions within the Indian National Congress.

But Menaka and her son Varun, the other Gandhi scion, joined the BJP long ago. 

For a party to split, there has to be a rival leader. Who will split Congress? There is no challenger to Rahul, because anyone with a following had already split off long ago. The problem is Rahul seems gun-shy, Congress has no P.M candidate. So, ambitious people will leave it while those rejected by other parties may try to find a home in it. 
Hindutva remains the defining division of India today and each political actor, especially within the Congress fold, needs to be entirely honest on this potent question.

No. RSS membership was a 'defining division' during the last days of the Janata Morcha. But once Atal, and Atal alone out of the Janata ragtag and bobtail, showed he could form a stable Government, the issue of RSS membership disappeared. Turncoat RSS types- like Shankarsinh Vaghela= were promoted by Congress to battle the authentic article.

Congress lost big in 2014 because it didn't have a PM candidate and had acquired an anti-Hindu reputation. Later Rahul adopted Hindutva-lite and did say he'd become PM but this was too little too late. Now, Priyanka has tweeted delight at the consecration of the Ram Mandir and so, if Congress can get Prashant Kishor's services, they may be able to slowly rebuild. Meanwhile, astute politicians like Gehlot have placated the VHP by setting up things like the Vedic Education and Rites Board, while Mamta is giving stipends to Hindu priests. KCR, in Telengana, has gone the extra mile and has nothing to fear from the BJP. That's the sort of guy Congress should be courting.  It is easy enough for Hindu CMs to outflank Hindutva by developing their own region's Hindu heritage in a manner which uses their superior local knowledge. 

The latest exit offers the perfect opportunity to the abandoned Congress party to clearly set out its stall on Hindutva.

There's nothing wrong with a soft Hindutva stall. Gehlot's Vedic Board should be plugged. Mamta's stipend scheme can be held out as a carrot. In some states, promises of 'minority status' for local sects could be a game changer. This is a stall which could easily be made to look very attractive. 

Shruti proposes that Congress set up a stall and then split it into two so one side of the stall can accuse the other of being cheats and the other side can respond in kind. 

Flirting with varying shades of Hindu nationalism, as the Congress is prone to doing, will only strengthen the BJP. The Congress must split in order to weaken the BJP.

Shruti must split in two in order to weaken her opponents by rendering them helpless with laughter. The left side of her should be a Lacanian psychoanalyst while the right side of her should be a follower of Melanie Klein. The right side of her should slap the left side  silly and vice versa. In this way, her students will be kept entertained. She herself will enter the annals of Medical Science. There will be a Shruti Syndrome which psychiatrists will puzzle over. 

A rethinking and clarity on direction or the Left and Right and even the complacent centre of politics is essential to the survival of the Congress.

What does this sentence mean? Damned if I know. Perhaps it is Lacanian.  

In varying degrees, Prime Minister Modi has captured and shaped the entire political spectrum causing directional confusion and even an identity crisis for the Opposition.

But Kejriwal and Mamta increased their majorities- at the expense of Congress and the Left. Gehlot is doing fine. Amarinder may yet prevail- the BJP has dwindled in Punjab. The Shiv Sena is holding its own with Congress and Pawar's support. It is clear that smart politicians are suffering no 'directional confusion' or 'identity crisis'. What on earth is Shruti babbling on about? 

In shedding its flab and sloth, the Congress needs to abandon old ways of imagining political positioning.

Rubbish! It has to tell the anti-Hindu and anti-National nutjobs to fuck off while getting on with soft Hindutva and good old fashioned caste arithmetic based populist politics. If Rahul shapes up- well and good. If not, let Modi rule the center while Congress concentrates on what really matters- viz. the States.  

Associated with the Right, Hindutva and Hindu nationalism, has always been more than any ordinary force of conservatism.

In the same way that being English has always been more than any ordinary force of conservatism. The 'Red Wall' turned Blue because Labor appeared more interested in Palestine and Kashmir than White people in this country. Shruti may not like it, but it is Priti Patel- not some Cambridge educated toff- who is Home Secretary. That lady may be from Gujarat, but she comes across as the product of a marriage between Mrs. Thatcher and a Rottweiler.  How sad for Shruti, that both in India and here in the UK, relatively uneducated Gujjus are delivering what the people want! The fact that both are Hindus just rubs salt in the wound. 

Chauvinism and violent identity-staging of its Hindu-first politics made the BJP a national party via the Mandir movement.

Shruti is displaying chauvinism in this article. She is 'identity-staging'- probably because this helps her on her campus. But her campus is far away from India. She is merely showing Indians that Professors at Cambridge are as stupid as shit- more particularly if they are brown and teach a worthless subject. This is just 'intellectual affirmative action' is all. Suppose Shruti were smart. Then she would be as greatly courted as Prashant Kishor. But Shruti isn't smart. She is a fit subject for Lacanian psychoanalysis- i.e. worthless verbiage with zero therapeutic content. 

Hindutva under Modi now has welded itself to the new millennium’s global fixation on populism.

Why is this cretin babbling about the 'new millennium'? Even senile old farts like me stopped doing so ten years ago. As for 'populism'- Trump is gone. Get some new material! 

Populism, with its close association with ‘the people’,

an apercu worthy of Lacan. Shruti graduated from a Punjabi College. 

has of late swung popular democracies across the world.

swung them where?  

Populism forges through by causing a wedge in well drawn-out lines and directions of the Left and the Right.

'wedge issues' are something else entirely. You don't 'cause' a wedge. You drive it in. This woman's English is terrible. But the bigger problem is that her brain is made of shit.  

An obvious example would be the big spending on public goods by conservative or Right-wing governments, a policy direction that is normally associated with Left-leaning or socialist parties.

Defense is a public good. This cretin means big spending on welfare programs- i.e. transfers.

Occupying the so-called ‘centre’, populist regimes deploy the damaging canard that any opposition to it comes from the Left and by extension, is out of place and time, or simply outdated and well past its sell-by date.

Only if the Left has shat the bed would this be a canard.  

Modi has aced all the populist tricks:

You can ace a test. You can pull off a trick. You can't ace a trick. What is the point of studying in England, if you won't learn to speak the language properly?  

big personality, targeted big spending on public goods

on transfers. Public goods are defined as non-rival and non-excludable. Did this woman not learn any Econ? 

and an effective campaign that renders Congress as a spent force

an effective campaign may depict X as a spent force, it can't 'render' it so. 

or a party from the bad old days of socialist India that only the well-heeled can truly afford to align with. Just as White supremacy was the base for a populist like Donald Trump, it is Hindutva that truly gives Modi’s populism any teeth.

The majority of Americans are White and, yes, they have dominated that country. The majority of British people are White and they too dominate their country. India is majority Hindu. Even if Congress splits and splits again, it can't change this brute fact of life.  

Rather than Left or Right, or even populism, India is witnessing the complete capture of the centre or of all institutional power by forces of extremism. The name of extremism is Hindutva.

The name of stupidity is Shruti Kapila. 


The immobilising confusion of directions of Left or Right surely must be replaced with the clear reckoning of extremism that is stalking the Indian political landscape.

This should read 'replaced with a clear reckoning of the extremism that is '. What this cretin has written means 'we must adopt the clear reckoning of extremism'- i.e only the Hindutva brigade see things clearly.  

Hindutva’s extremism, combined with its brute majority in the Lok Sabha, blinds the vision as it effectively misdirects the opposition.

Shruti has been rendered stupid and ignorant by her expensive education. Meanwhile a guy who was compiling health statistics for the UN in Chad has turned into the king-maker of Indian politics. Hard work, it seems, is better than a Harvard education. One reason for this is that people who teach Poli Sci at top Universities are now as bigoted and blind as Shruti.  


A new wave of defections from India’s oldest party, nevertheless, points to a historic role reversal. The BJP now has to deal with ex-Congress leaders who either out of conviction, self-interest, or the need for personal power feel attracted to it. A hundred years ago, members of the BJP’s predecessor the Hindu Mahasabha, whether it was K.M. Munshi or Madan Mohan Malaviya, pursued their political careers within the broad tent that the Congress had become. Scale afforded compromise and, arguably, made the Congress ideologically unclear.

Motilal Nehru was on the Committee which selected delegates for the first Mahasabha meeting at Hardwar in 1915. He later split from Gandhi's Congress to form the Swaraj Party but most Congress members moved towards it in the Twenties and at a later point Motilal himself moved in the more radical direction of his son. It is notable that the Nehru report became the basis of the official Congress Platform and thus, arguably, the INC had become Nehruvian in 1930.  

However, after Independence, it is notable that the three crucial demands of the Mahasabha were met

1) Hindi in the Nagari script to be promoted

2) Directive principle re. cow slaughter

3) Reservations only for Hindus (and later Sikhs) with pre-existing concessions to Dalit Muslims being scrapped. 


In the Nehru years, despite a socialist mien, Congress conservatives held sway on the big-ticket reforms, notably the Hindu Code Bill and the still-born Zamindari abolition bills.

 This is incredibly ignorant. Conservatives had prevented Ambedkar and Nehru getting the reforms they wanted. Only after Nehru won by a landslide did he get them through. But they were pure 'Hindutva'- i.e. tending to create a homogenous Hindu 'essence'- and this service to Hinduism certainly stood the dynasty in good stead- at least amongst Brahmins and Kayasthas.

Zamindari was a State Subject. What mattered was which community controlled the land registration system. 

Given the extreme ideology, it is unlikely that a Scindia or a Prasada will have any moderating influence on the BJP’s Hindutva-driven agenda.

Given Shruti's extreme stupidity it is is unlikely that she understands why a Scindia or Prasad dilutes RSS influence within the party in specific regions.

As it stands, there is only one party that is fully associated with Hindutva, namely the BJP, now that the Shiv Sena has ostensibly taken a pragmatic approach to power.

The Sena hasn't changed its spots. It stands for the Hindu Marathas and, thanks to Pawar and Congress, will have the numbers to rule.  

By contrast, there are 50-odd parties that have not signed up to Hindutva. The Congress may have only a handful of MPs but barring the BJP, it is the only party with a considerable voter base in several states and has a total share of over a third of all MLAs in the country.

Congress can provide CM candidates but doesn't have a credible PM candidate. That is the reason for its decline at the center.  


Split and save

The Congress today, though spread across the nation, is not a big tent of power.

It is a very big tent. Amarinder Singh has nothing in common with Gehlot who in turn faces very different problems from Bhupesh Baghel. Congress should recognize that it can't compete with Mamta or Naveen or YSR. It should simply accept them as paramount satraps with substantial veto powers over the 'High Command'. Then it will go back to being what it was under Nehru.

There can be no compromise, not only because there is very little to bargain within the Congress fold but primarily because the edge of extreme Hindutva cannot be moderated.

There must be compromise with regional leaders. You can't have a situation where a future CM is kept waiting by the moon-calf Rahul and then offered biscuits from the same plate that Rahul's dog ate from. 

If a CM thinks doubling down on Hindu piety is beneficial- let him do so. Look at Kerala. Within the State, Congress is against Sabarimala temple entry for women while, at the center, they are for it. That's the sort of pragmatism that is needed. Otherwise Rahul will be unelectable even in Kerala.

The Congress needs to become leaner and meaner in its ideological stance with a piercing clarity.

Nonsense! Nobody wants Rahul to display his 6 pack but then babble on about 'Vichardhara'. The guy is 50 years old! 

To do so, it will, in the first instance, need to renounce its now revived habits honed first in the Rajiv Gandhi era and finessed under Narasimha Rao — of flirting with and conveying a ‘softer’ and ‘milder’ version of Hindu nationalism.

Has this woman been living under a rock for the last seven years? Does she really not know that Rahul is now janeodhari? 

These only allowed for the BJP to become a national party. It was the worst kind of pragmatism as it has proved to be entirely pyrrhic.

Indira was more religious than Atal or Advani. Rao was yet more superstitious and was attached to an even more bogus Swami. But Indira won in 1980 because Janata fell apart on the RSS dual membership issue. Rao did not win re-election. Where there is no victory, the word 'pyrrhic' can't be applied.  

Second, the Congress needs to aggressively posit India’s multi-culturalism in a new powerful vocabulary and campaign.

Rahul should wear mundu and dance Kathakali. Cool. But for God's sake, don't let anyone put a prayer cap on him. Keep him away from Iftar parties. 

Secularism may have become ‘sickularism’, but the lessons of friendship of fraternity across religions must be conveyed in a language distinct from Nehruvian niceties and mounted as urgent and central to India’s survival.

If this is not done, Congress may win a seat in the next Delhi or West Bengal elections. This stupid woman may gain by being seen on her campus as a doughty battler against Hinduism, but her campus is not located in India. It is located in a country where Priti Patel is Home Secretary. Patel gains when woke nutters like Shruti foul their Oxbridge nests.

In reviving its Gandhian legacy, Hindutva extremism should be identified as the only political issue.

Congress should become a Muslim party. 

It is neither Left, Right nor indeed the Centre or even Modi that is at stake.

The only thing that matters is that Shruti gets to virtue signal. 

Finally, factional conflict between generations or otherwise, the group-23 and the rest should be recognised as mind-numbing distractions. Holding on and sending emissaries to conflict-ridden party units is a displacement activity that neither behoves a politics of conviction nor the pursuit of power.

Writing nonsense behooves this cretin because she is only concerned that she gain kudos for being anti-Hindu- in the UK.  

In fact, the door should be held wide open to those who want to leave out of personal ambition or otherwise politically unconvinced of the reality of multi-cultural India.

The door to the UK was not wide open for this silly moo. Still, she managed to squeeze through that door and thus escape 'multi-cultural India'. Why is she not demanding that India hand over Kashmir to Pakistan and Arunachal to China? The answer is that she is too stupid to understand that this is the next step she needs to take so as to get promoted by India's enemies. There may be anti-national elements in Congress, but they have to live in India. So even they won't warm to this cretin's warmed up sick.  

The ability to decide, then prosecute that decision to split, even at the cost of a dilution of some numbers in Parliament or legislatures, will alone guarantee the remaking of the Congress and any possible return to power.

The ability of this lady to split it into two people- who can take turns administering Lacanian psychoanalysis to each other- will alone guarantee that her next book will be even crazier and more ignorant than her last. 

Time is running out. A new nationhood is being actively fashioned.

A Hindu majority country in South Asia is on the brink of birth. How terrible! 

In 2025, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will celebrate 100 years of existence. The Modi government’s prioritising of the Central Vista project over the brutalising deaths and devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic in India must be firmly placed within this imminent centenary.

She means 'must be firmly placed within the context of this imminent centenary' What she has said is 'the work must be finished in time for the centenary.' 

As the oldest organisation of the Hindutva family,

But this cretin has already mentioned the Mahasabha which is 10 years older. 

this potent but largely fringe force over most of its long life became a mainstream political force only with Modi.

Atal and Advani were RSS members. Atal became PM and only then did Modi get to hold elected office.  

Crucial new legislations together with a new architectural symbolism seek to anoint and make Hindutva synonymous with India.

This is welcomed by the vast majority of Indians- because they are Hindus. 

This is why the leader who has the courage to split the Congress now on the question of Hindutva alone will be its true leader.

Congress is dynastic. Only if Sonia splits from her janeodhari son and creates a shuddh Catholic Congress dedicated to making Delhi look like Rome will Shruti's dream be fulfilled.  

David Berlinski on Pankaj Mishra


While Indians respect Pundits we don't actually want to read what they write. If their Punditry is useful, it is welcome to change the world. If it isn't useful, it is nobody's business save that of equally useless Pundits. By contrast, Indians have a soft spot for the auto-didact- i.e. a guy whose love of arcane texts does not involve jizzing copiously over their leaves- more particularly if he makes a fool of himself by publishing polemical articles based on his own obstinate misologies and ludicrous misprisions. 

However, we don't class a guy with no academic credentials as an auto-didact. You must be a graduate- otherwise you are merely plying a trade. G.V Desani didn't finish school. But he did well as a journalist and lecturer before turning into a Yogi of some type. 

To understand why an auto-didact must be a graduate- a 'snatak' to use a Brahminical term- I should explain that, when I was young, if a person said 'my son-in-law is a graduate' everybody understood that the fellow was unemployed. This was considered a good thing. If he bought and read books- all the better. He might turn into an amusing sort of auto-didact.

A fellow who didn't have a degree might suddenly get a job as a bus conductor or a travelling salesman. Next thing you know, that fellow has started up some shady business. Even the Sarkar can't stop him getting rich. Hai! This is Kali Yuga. Without degree-vegree even a backward caste chai-wallah can become Prime Minister! 

Of course, being a graduate soon ceased to be enough. You had to fail your M.A. That was the needful, humanizing, touch. The son-in-law, spurned by Sarasvati, nevertheless, gains a Grha-Lakshmi. Anyway, the fellow can give tuition to the little kiddies and make himself useful around the house. 

Nirad Chaudhri failed his MA and became the annalist of his own irrefragable irrelevance and obscurity. V.S Naipaul failed his B.Litt and became the skulking Gollum of Post-Coloniality's sorry saga. Pankaj Mishra actually got an MA. But it was from J.N.U. and did not involve beating people. Obviously, the boy had no future in India- not in the sense that he couldn't have done well in Publishing or Advertising or Corporate P.R or other such lucrative fields- but that future would have represented a rupture with his, his caste's, Augustinian past as a vanquishment that might too easily vanish in the neo-liberal present. He had to move to London to recuperate a sense of virtuous Brahmin victimhood. The Soviets really should have tried harder to turn India Red before throwing in the sponge. But, in a sense, wasn't this really the fault of the British? If only they had held out a little longer, India might have been liberated by a Red Army of its own. Of course, for this to happen, America would have had to finance the Raj. Thus, ultimately, everything is America's fault. 

David Berlinski- an odd fish if ever there was one- might, for all I know, rank as a sort of Nirard or Naipaul for Jewish intellectuals of his vintage. He is a senior fellow at the 'Discovery Institute'- i.e. has a bone to pick with Darwin- and edits the Inference Review- which is financed by Peter Thiel. 

For some reason, Berlinski- who is Biden's age- feels he has a duty to take a stick to Pankaj Mishra in the pages of his rag. For God's sake- why? Mishra is genuinely brown skinned. This is not Rachel Dolezal in drag. He is a 100 percent authentic Indian- not Elizabeth Warren pretending to be Pocahontas. 

Berlinski quotes this, perfectly sensible, passage in Mishra's latest book

What I didn’t realise until I started to inhabit the knowledge ecosystems of London and New York is how evasions and suppressions had resulted, over time, in a massive store of defective knowledge about the West and the non-West alike. Simple-minded and misleading ideas and assumptions, drawn from this blinkered history, had come to shape the speeches of Western statesmen, think tank reports and newspaper editorials, while supplying fuel to countless log-rolling columnists, television pundits and terrorism experts.

Berlinski, whose first language appears to have been German, writes-

Living on hot air, logrolling columnists, like certain abstemious yogis, do not generally require fuel,

They need money- though a lot less money than a self-respecting yogi- and are generally on the qui vive for a 'Senior fellowship' at some bogus Institute where they can coach their own favorite brand of Ann Coulter. 

although they may require logs; and a knowledge ecosystem suggests nothing so much as a child’s terrarium: wood, water, weeds, worms.

Worms are not generally considered to be knowledge seeking or knowledge trading. An ecosystem which contains knowledge production is nothing like a child's terrarium. Berlinkski may not believe in biological evolution. Still, if he thinks worms are actually part of a sophisticated knowledge economy- some in the pay of Big Water, others in thrall to Big Wood- then good luck to him. He is a very very special old man.  

 

Never mind. Readers will get the point.

No. They will think you are a senile ignoramus who has wasted his life. 

They could hardly miss it. In hanging around London and New York, Mishra encountered a good many dopes.

I hang around London but I give most of its 'knowledge eco-systems' a miss because, frankly, at my age, pity replaces schadenfreude. There may be worse ways of making a living but surely rent-boys and truck stop whores move in a better class of Society?

With Biden's election, it is clear that Mishra is on the winning side of the debate about historic Racism. This may marginalize him as indigenous, more working class, 'critical race theorists' displace his decidedly Brahminical oeuvre. The future belongs to Suraj Yengde and Sujatha Gidla. Mishra fades into V.S Nightfall's shade. True, in his case, it was a Soviet, not an Anglo-Saxon, Whitey who is to blame for his epistemic Oliver Twistedness. But his frustrated wails are for Whitey all the same. 

Berlinski, with typical perversity, highlights this quite reasonable passage from Mishra-

Astonishingly, British imperialism, seen for decades by Western scholars and anti-colonial leaders alike as a racist, illegitimate and often predatory despotism, came to be repackaged in our own time as a benediction that, in Ferguson’s words, “undeniably pioneered free trade, free capital movements and, with the abolition of slavery, free labour.”

British Imperialism had to pay for itself. In the short run, racist and despotic measures could boost profits but this led to long term stagnation. This in turn meant lower defensibility for the Empire as a whole. Now, it is quite true that we don't really have the maths to properly model what I am referring to. But the intuition behind it was clear enough to people like Warren Hastings.  


Berlinski, who may be forgetting English- which I believe to be his second language- in his dotage, writes-
It is unclear whether Mishra thinks that Ferguson’s benediction was not beneficial or that it was otherwise withheld.

This is utterly mad. Mishra thinks racism and predatory despotism WAS BAD. Also, Berlinski may be astonished to hear, Mishra thinks Hitler was evil. People at the 'Discovery Institute' may think differently but then those people are the product of scatological, not biological, evolution. To be clear, they are turds who can walk and talk.  

“Never mind,” he says,
that free trade, introduced to Asia through gunboats, destroyed nascent industry in conquered countries, that “free” capital mostly went to the white settler states of Australia and Canada, and that indentured rather than “free” labor replaced slavery.
But, people like Warren Hastings saw that this sort of sharp practice hurt the investors. A better way forward was to do business in line with what economists call the 'folk theorem' of repeated games. Smith and Burke and Ricardo and so forth did not have the fancy maths to prove this sort of intuition but the thing was common sense. A lot of good people lost their shirt in the 1840s. There was a better way forward for all concerned. Remarkably, some English merchant adventurers in the late Seventeenth century where writing in very modern terms. Sadly, the mercantilist policies of the home government prevented a much greater growth in trade which would have contributed more to both the defense and the prosperity of the home country as well as its colonial possessions. 

He does not stay to argue these points.12 And for every good reason. Someone might argue back.13

If they are economists, well and good. If they aren't they look- as Niall Ferguson does- an utter fool. The fact of the matter is that the British Empire was a gift of the Royal Navy- which was necessary for Home Defense. The optimal policy for England would involve increasing non-coercive commerce of a type able to defend itself. In the very short term- piracy is a good option. In the short to medium term, distorting the terms of trade is profitable. But to have long run endogenous, self-defending, growth you need equitable terms of trade of a Muth rational and therefore robust type. What exactly this may be is ideographic and requires transfers from time to time. However, its very existence reduces uncertainty and is reflected in higher growth. Had Britain entered this type of negotiation after 1860, the true noon-tide of Empire might well have been 1960- but both Britain and India and the rest of the world would have been very different. For a start, no Jews or other minorities would have been killed in Europe because it would have been a paying proposition to resettle such people in places where they could be happy and productive. Indeed, there may have been no 'Kaiser's War' because Germany would have lacked a naval threat point. 

The British Empire chose to be racial, not Roman. When its power was strongest, its mind was weakest. The British people paid a high price in blood and treasure for this mistake. The pity of it is, so did much of the rest of the world which had little conception of the values English folk hold dear. There is no great irony in Mishra arriving at his love of the English language- or indeed of marrying a nice English girl and settling here- via his childhood love of Soviet magazines and books. A bestial, gangster regime appeared less morally repugnant than England. Why? A cheap and vulgar racism came to be seen as a magic wand by which wealth and security could be commanded. Two Wars taught England its error. 

Mishra is a deeply silly and ignorant man but, it must be said, he got his MA when 'post colonialism' was going great guns in the academy. Mishra, having run out of other material, jumped on that bandwagon and, with Kamala Harris looking like a possible future President, his time has come- and, precisely for that reason, gone. 

Berlinski, who is Biden's age, lives in France. A heartfelt note enters this otherwise foolish essay-

Mishra’s real point—his only point—comes down to a question. Can the French tolerate expressions of cultural and religious distinctiveness? It all depends. Who in France would scruple at the veil if the veil were all that provoked scruples?

Or the turban. Apparently, there's an elderly Sikh guy who wouldn't take off his turban for the security photograph and thus lost his entitlement to social security. The poor chap had to return to India- were, no doubt, he will be honored for his religious scruples.  

The French are unwilling to accommodate anti-Semitism of the grossest kind,

So, they have changed for the better since the time of Marshall Petain. Good for them. 

a vicious contempt for the French state and its secular commitments, religious obscurantism, and murder in the name of Islam.86 These are not matters of cultural or religious distinctiveness. The French regard them as intolerable.87

So do I.

I hope Berlinski is right to pin his faith on French intolerance in this respect. The problem, of course, is that young Jewish people may feel stigmatized or that there is a hostile environment. Israel, as a vibrant knowledge economy with a large pool of marriage partners, may beckon to them. If the youngsters start leaving, a tipping point could be reached. 

(Tony) Judt and Mishra regard the destruction of European Jewry and the expulsion of central Europe’s ethnic Germans as the flash of the same terrible whip.

No. Mishra is a Brahmin. He thinks Jews are like Brahmins. Christians and Muslims want to convert or kill them. On the other hand, there's no point sticking up for Hindus or Jews because virtue signaling Brahmins or Cohens will immediately call you a Nazi. 

God alone knows what Tony Judt really thought.  

 They are persuaded that the hands that held that whip were in service to the Versailles ideal of national homogeneity.

There was no such 'ideal'. One of Wilson's 14 points recognized the need for a 'Polish corridor- i.e. economic and strategic considerations would trump all else. Apparently one Americans historian- Professor Coolidge- thought the German speaking portions of Bohemia should be left to go their own way. But he was ignored. The Czechs got saddled with a 24 per cent German speaking minority- thus creating the Sudeten problem. 

He who wills the ends wills the means.92

No. Kant said he who will the ends wills the indispensably necessary means to it that is within his control. Since Kant was happy to be asexual, this particular piece of stupidity didn't bother him at all. The fact is, the ends to which the will is directed, such that other wills might exist, involves surrender of all means of control over another will. Either that, or you just get married.

The facts are rather more complicated. For a very long time, historians assigning blame for the outbreak of war in 1914 took as their starting point Élie Halévy’s declaration that
[w]e should ask, not who, but what [emphasis original] was responsible for the three declarations of war; and the answer should be: “The rotten conditions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the fact that the revolutionary principle of nationality was at work within its limits, and that it was about to break up into a number of independent States.”

This was far from obvious at that time. The fact is the Nationality question in the Crown-lands was being resolved by negotiation- e.g. the Moravian Compromise of 1905 and then that of Bukovina in 1909. Essentially, the German speakers were giving up some power in order to 'lock in' an advantage which was bound to erode. However, purely economic forces would militate for their swallowing their pride and learning the language of the majority. Indeed, the extension of this type of negotiation to Bosnia represented an existential threat to Serbian or Southern Slav dreams. This was precisely that the superior efficiency of the Hapsubrg bureaucracy would prevail once it became acceptable to non-German speakers because of an adroit handling of their linguistic and 'national' demands through the creation of a non-territorial 'autonomy' which a traditional 'monarchia composita' was well placed to affirm. However, it must be said that such 'compromises' were more difficult in some places- e.g Galicia- and unthinkable within the Hungarian realm. 

What is curious is why the Kaiser showed little appetite for gobbling up the German portions of the Crown-lands. If Austria-Hungary truly was a corpse, surely Germany would be the vulture which would insist on getting first pick? No doubt, the Hapsburgs kept things sweet with Berlin for precisely this reason. Still, they were playing a dangerous game. If the Germans left them in the lurch, the Kaiser- making a separate peace- could compensate himself from their territory. 


This has now changed. The Empire has undergone a posthumous improvement, historians assigning it many of the virtues that its subjects always believed it possessed. It was stable, fair, well-administered, tolerant, and decent.

In The Habsburg Empire, Pieter Judson argued that whatever the ostensible yearning for national purity,

Judson does not speak in these terms. He upholds the view that different nationalities were being conciliated. But facts can't be gainsaid. Von Hotzendorf plunged the Empire into an abyss. The fish had rotted from the head. We can't concern itself with what might have been. What happened was colossal stupidity which could somehow still impress its contemporaries as some novel type of strategic brilliance. 

 

the states that followed the Hapsburg Empire were themselves little empires, fractious within themselves, and so impure. Every state after 1918 was a Vielvölkerstaat, whose survival demanded the integration of multi-ethnic populations, the successful—if often authoritarian—attachment of peripheries to centers, and the development of a positive sense of shared identification, even among people who claimed to belong to the same nation. Far from marking the end of the Vielvölkerstaaten, 1918 could be said to have witnessed their proliferation.

This is foolish. Empires are always multi-ethnic and most traditional monarchies were composite. What happened in 1918 is that some on the losing side lost territory- and thus became irredentist- while some on the not losing side became unstable by reason of the inclusion of an unhappy minority. 


The striking contrast between the Versailles ideal of national homogeneity

There was no such ideal. 

and the rabble of little empires throughout central Europe might suggest that the ideal was unachievable.

No. It suggests that it was never on the cards.  


The perfect truth.

No entity without identity, W. V. O. Quine once remarked.

He was wrong.  Identity is not model-theoretically axiomatizable in first-order logic. However we can use the term 'Liebniz congruence' for a situation where we can't discern any difference within the language concerned and thus think- 'this is identity'. But, obviously, this refers to the granularity or other limitations of our language. I have written elsewhere on this topic.

Berlinski has a PhD from Princeton and has written about Mathematics. Given his parents' background- refugees from Hitler- and the fraught nature of things in France right now- there is some special meaning to what this erudite wordsmith is saying here. How does it relate to the cretin Mishra? As an even less educated Brahmin, I am curious to know. 

Sets are identical if they share the same members. Simple, sane, sensible.

But this is only true for Set theory by virtue of the axiom of extensionality. It isn't true of many useful things done to a set- which, being meaningful, are intensional- i.e. substitution of co-extensive expression changes logical value. It isn't sensible to say something in natural language which has no application to any of the sorts of useful or meaningful operations which natural languages perform.  

Thereafter everything goes dark. Identity is an imperious demand and one not much amenable to definition.

No. It is 'intensional' under a type theoretic schema and yields univalent foundations for some algorithmic procedure of a utile kind. We could say any 'buck stopped', protocol bound, juristic procedure could determine identity well enough for some specific purpose.  But this is defeasible, not imperious. 

“We shall call ‘ethnic groups,’” Max Weber remarked,
those human groups that entertain a subjective belief in their common descent because of similarities of physical type or of customs or both, or because of memories of colonization or migration.

Weber lived long before DNA was discovered. It may be that we are heading towards a world where my entire DNA sequence can be computed in less than the time it takes for me to sign my name or take a retinal scan. It may be that there is a purely objective way to classify me into some group or other which would better correlate with the grouping of my distant descendants. I suspect, that in Huxley's brave new world, I would be immediately spotted as a retard and sent off to breed with my own kind in the sewers.  

Sicilians are slanderous and cruel, as de Vitry observed in the thirteenth century. The inference goes from similarities among Sicilians to a subjective belief in common descent.

Perhaps this is why this bloke is against biological evolution. Maybe we are all the same and it is merely prejudice which asserts we have different inherited traits. 

And thereafter any pretension to analytical refinement disappears. How might common descent be justified? Memory and court records may take a Sicilian to his great-grandparents, but beyond that, there is only the turbid ebb and flow of the Mediterranean world. An appeal to genetic diversity leads nowhere. There is no discernible coincidence between ethnic and genetic identity.

Well, there would be between me and Berlinksi. 

Berlin under Nazi rule was no more genetically homogeneous than the Bronx, and although China is genetically quite homogeneous, there are more than fifty recognized ethnic groups within China today.

Sub-saharan Africa would be a better example of great genetic heterogeneity. It appeared pretty peaceful though, no doubt, slave traders and so forth existed.  

An ethnic identity is, as Weber understood, something artificial. It is made up. An inference is required from language, skin color, habit, geography, or shared memory to the presumption of common ancestry; and if an inference, then a choice. All human beings are similar in some respect. If a choice, by what standard? There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, and every one of them is right. This is something that Mishra recognizes:
The fervour of the ideologue manqué made no room for the sober fact that almost every nation state harbours a disaffected and volatile minority, whose size varies constantly in inverse relation to the alertness, tact and wisdom of the majority population.

Unless the majority is disaffected and volatile, in which case the minority might find it wise to tactfully run away. This is certainly what Hindus have tended to do from Pakistan and Bangladesh. 


If this is so, what remains of the image of central Europe as a blasted heath? Poland is today genetically homogeneous, pure in virtue of mass murder and ethnic expulsions. No one could mistake genetic homogeneity in Poland for cultural or political homogeneity. Those pure Polish Poles are today divided—polarized, in fact.

They seem to be doing fine.  

The disaffected and volatile minorities in Europe are today based on

being disaffected and volatile. When is the last time a bunch of orthodox Jewish grannies went rampaging through the streets? How about Hindus? What of the highly educated French people who are here in Chelsea and Fulham? Why are they not running around toppling statues of Nelson or Wellington? 

class, economic, political, racial, religious, and sexual distinctions. This hardly means that ethnic distinctions have disappeared.

It means their importance has diminished.

On the contrary- if ethnicity correlates with having a horror of being considered 'volatile' or 'disaffected' then its importance increases because it becomes the engine of upward mobility and capital formation. 


Between Mishra’s decent and generous commitment to multiculturalism,

Which is wholly hypocritical. He doesn't want to see the Hindus of Wembley marching upon Trafalgar Square to demand the end to cow slaughter. He may say he is cool with Muslims demanding the head of Charlie Hebdo- but that's just virtue signaling. The truth is, like other Hindus, Mishra wants London to be predominantly White, English speaking and well educated. He does not want to be chased through the streets by Libyan soldiers intent on anal rape.  

and his unwillingness, or inability, to follow his argument to its end, is an area of unease.

An area of hypocritical virtue signaling. Ferdinand Mount is his father-in-law. This is not a guy who wants London to turn into a fucking ghetto.  

What a century of conflict has demonstrated is that

fucking over the 'volatile' till they stop being 'volatile' is the way to go.  

every form of presumptive purity is an unstable bond of state formation,

only if volatility obtains. If the thing is beaten to death, bonds are stable. If not, nothing is.  

one incapable of dissolving, or even constraining, the fractiousness of life itself.

 Fractiousness disappears quickly enough where punishment is swift and draconian. However, to be sustainable, the thing must be incentive compatible. Mechanism design is what guards against volatility- save such as might drive liquidity in markets or innovation in certain fields.

Why is Berlinski, who obviously knows nothing about India, concerned with whether the British Raj was a good or bad thing? I suppose you could argue that, as a person of Jewish descent, he may hate Israel and thus may cherish fond memories of the role played by Raj officials in pressurizing the British Government to restrict Jewish migration, not just to Palestine, but to any destination in the Empire. The Evian Conference was a splendid example of the world cooperating to ensure that few Jews could escape Hitler.

Berlinski ends thus- 

The British left India, but their institutions remained.

No. There were no more Viceroys or Governor Generals. India chose to be a Republic but to remain a member of the Commonwealth. Its Constitution, on the Irish pattern, enunciated a doctrine of autochthony. 

They are in place today: the extraordinary railway system,

Railways are a form of transport- not an institution. 

the irrigation network,

Which had existed and was added to  

the common law,

which however was different from English common law.  

the British administrative system,

which never existed in Britain or any of its settler colonies 

the peculiar nature of British political ideals.

Like what? Continually talking bollocks? 

If we cannot easily or confidently judge the Roman Empire after 2,000 years, who on earth would think it easy to judge the British Empire after one hundred years?

The guys who got it to fuck off and whose lives were much much better for its so doing. As for the Roman Empire- it's gone. Get over it. 

The truth about the Roman Empire is, as one might expect, very large. 

The Catholic Church could be considered its successor state. So if you are Catholic you might have the hots for various Caesars. Was Rome good for the Jews? No. Greece- maybe- 2nd Maccabees is written in Koine. But Rome did the Jews no favors.  

So, too, the truth about the British Empire.

It could have been a proper Empire but Racism and Stupidity fucked the thing up. England had to get shot of it to begin to give its working people a fair crack of the whip.  

In his Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, the well-known Bengali writer Nirad Chaudhuri began his book with a most Aristidean dedication, one that Naipaul calls “staggering but appropriate.”103
To the memory of the British Empire in India,
Which conferred subjecthood upon us,
But withheld citizenship.

Nope. In 1914, the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act clarified that Nirad was as much a British citizen as Winston Churchill. But there had already been a couple of Indian origin M.Ps at Westminster. Indians could settle in England and vote in elections without any restrictions. 

To which yet every one of us threw out the challenge:
“Civis Britannicus sum”

No. The Indians kept telling the Brits to fuck off because they wanted to move into their nice bungalows and take over their well paid jobs. On the other hand, after the UK imposed visa restrictions on us, we suddenly thought being British might actually be rather nice. The only problem with the Yookay was the vast hordes of Pakistanis wandering around the place speaking horrible Punjabi style Urdu and trying to pass off their rustic fare as Mughalai cuisine.  On the other hand, the Sylhetis are excellent chefs.

Because all that was good and living within us
Was made, shaped and quickened
By the same British rule.104

Says a guy who saw the ignominious defeat of the British Indian Army in Burma and then a big Famine and massive ethnic cleansing in his native province. He thought the solution to his region's problems was a return of Whitey- any type of Whitey. But nobody wanted any part of that starving shithole which was unable to defend or feed itself.  

Chaudhuri was vilified for his dedication by Indian politicians and writers, who failed to grasp entirely its irony.

What irony? At the end of his big book he begs for Whitey to come back. He explains that Hindus are shit. They wear dhotis. Muslims are a little better because the better sort wear pajamas which is like one step away from proper trousers. Anyway, he himself is actually Aryan. Please help me big Aryan brother!  

He repaired to England in 1972;

where his son had established himself as a leading historian- the Braudel of the Indian ocean.  

he was welcomed and even feted. He never returned to India and died an old man. Dilexi iustitiam et odivi iniquitatem propterea morior in exilio.

He was 75 when he settled in Oxford. I vividly remember his one-man show 'Oh Calcutta!' which featured full frontal nudity.  


Naipaul, in reviewing Philip Woodruff’s The Men Who Ruled India, recognizes, as Mishra does not, the British Book of Accounts: “Woodruff,” he writes, “has written with sad, Roman piety of the British achievement. It was a tremendous achievement; it deserved this piety.”

It could have been a much more productive achievement. British piety or eusebia- which is the Greek word for 'dharma'- has to do with 'economia'- a suave and discretionary management of matters such that productivity and mutuality burgeon. This was Warren Hastings vision of 'a time not distant' when friendly commerce and mutuality of interest would bind the two countries not some stupid Roman shite. 

In assessing the Raj, Naipaul adds, “There is always an embarrassment, of racial arrogance on the one hand, and of genuine endeavour on the other.

No embarrassment is entailed in granting acclaim to genuine endeavor. Racial arrogance, like other sorts of stupidity, is something to be ashamed of. No wonder Naipaul failed his B.Litt. What he puts into one hand, he fails to correlate with what he absent minded puts in the other. The fact is that it doesn't matter at all whether officers were called 'Sahib' or 'Bwana' or 'Dorai' or just 'Sir' by their servants. My Dad was called all these things and, no doubt, used similar honorifics in addressing those higher in rank. When in foreign countries, Dad must have known that locals would laugh at his accent and grammatical mistakes. But the same thing happened to foreign diplomats in his native land. So what? The thing didn't matter in the slightest. Only a neurasthenic nut-case would get wound about such things.

Which is the reality? They both are and there is no contradiction.”

The reality is economic. The fantasy is some shite about Nirad and Naipaul- both of whom were good at cramming but who failed at the post-grad level because their brains were full of shit- being oh so sensitive to racial slights and suffering so greatly coz they came from provincial or very poor parts of the world. 

Mishra too is a very special little snow-flake, but- in his case- we know that he could have done well in Delhi just by showing a bit of entrepreneurial spirit. Hopefully, he has done well enough in London and won't suddenly show up on the King's Road, got up as a Gandhian rent-boy with a cardboard sign around his neck saying 'up me arse for a fiver'. 

How could it be otherwise?

And on that oracular note, let us bid adieu to Berlinsky.  Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Kulkarni on what India can learn from China

Sudheendra Kulkarni- a former CPI(M) card holder who joined the BJP in 1996 but who quit the party in 2009- has a well written article in Scroll on the rise and rise of China under the Communist Party.

He asks- 
How did China achieve this?

Tardean mimetics. It mimicked what worked- or appeared to work- elsewhere. At first this was Stalinist methods which killed off the possibility of peasant resistance to the Party and then, later on, it was imitation of the authoritarian 'Tiger economies'. It also was helped by Edwin Lim of the World Bank to import the best infrastructure technology before becoming in its turn the best in that line of work. Ruthless suppression of 'dissidents' and the purging of corrupt or criminalized cadres enabled the High Command to concentrate power in its hands and to maintain 'residuary control rights' over industry, academia, the media, etc.  

A harsh family planning policy as well as the 'internal passport' or 'household registration' system meant that migrants contributed to the development of affluent areas without gaining equal entitlements. In other words a 'tragedy of the commons'- re. 'club goods'- was avoided and, once pollution was tackled, Chinese cities became more and more livable. 

All this was only possible because some of the fruits of growth was used to strengthen the Party's coercive power. At the same time, local cadres were rewarded for finding amicable ways to tackle popular grievances- or at least maintain the facade that this was happening.

Our search for the answer must begin with the realisation that no nation can make such spectacular progress in such a short time without the united, organised and well-directed efforts of its people.

No. It must begin with the realization that no nation can rise above agricultural involution save by getting rural girls into massive factory dormitories with assured access to open markets. 

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s visionary leader, once said, “Communism has failed in China, but the Chinese Communist Party has succeded.”

Venezuela has failed, but Maduro and his gang have succeeded.  

What he meant was that, in China, the organisation that has strengthened people’s unity, provided strategic vision to the nation, and served as both a political leader and an all-encompassing governing mechanism is the CPC.

What about the North Korean Communist Party? 

China decided to mimic economically successful authoritarian countries because it saw that it was falling behind militarily and economically. 

 This was a gamble which paid off for the Communist Party precisely because the West was convinced that Multi-Party democracy would spontaneously arise as Capitalism predominated. China, like Taiwan and South Korea, would transition to a liberal parliamentary democracy. 

China has evolved its own unique Party-State system in which the party leads everything everywhere

This was the rule, not the exception, in Communist countries. 

– this phenomenon has solidified since Xi became CPC’s general secretary in 2012. This seems odd and unacceptable to multi-party democracies.

There was no pushback against unfair trade and other practices under Obama. Trump did turn things around, but Trump is probably more unacceptable now than Chairman Xi. It remains to be seen whether Biden will make good on his promise to ensure China does not overtake the US on 'his watch'.  


But let’s not pretend India’s system of governance is inherently superior.

Since no Indian Party waded through an ocean of blood to establish an iron like grip over the entire country, it is foolish to compare India with China.  

If proof of the pudding is in the eating, then the imperative to improve the pudding is no less in India’s multi-party system.

It is non-existent. It is enough to be the least bad alternative to win an election. You don't have to be any good.  

Specifically, thought leaders in the Congress, BJP and other political parties in India should study with an open mind the factors that have enabled the CPC to perform far better than them.

Utterly mad! The CPC killed its rivals. No pan-Indian party can do that though, no doubt, Mamta's goons can beat non-TMC cadres with vim and vigor. 

Here are five lessons they can profitably learn.

What lesson can a tiger teach a cow? 


First: The time and mental energy of most Indian politicians, including those who are the best and brightest, is spent largely in fighting elections or in fighting their opponents in between elections.

Unless they are in office and can impress the voter with 'last mile delivery'. Alternatively, they could just hire Prashant Kishore. Interestingly, there are Prashant impersonators who con local politicians out of lakhs of Rupees on the pretense of doing a constituency survey which will secure them a ticket for the Assembly Elections. 

They do this not necessarily because all of them like it, but it is a compulsory systemic requirement imposed on them. Indeed, individual winnability and the ability to get one’s party elected in maximum number of constituencies become the criteria for a person’s rise in Indian politics.

Nonsense! Rahul is still around but then so is Mayawati and so forth.  

Naturally, money power, exploitation of religious and caste sentiments, giving impossibly populist promises to voters (“Rs 15 lakh in each Indian’s bank account”) and manipulation of the media enter the toolkit of most political leaders and their parties.

Politicians tell lies? Who knew? 


When the political system itself thrives on division and constant internal confrontation, one can hardly expect people’s energies to be united, mobilised and channelised for “Bhageerath Prayatnas” to achieve history-changing tasks.

Why did Edwin Lim succeed in China but fail in India? The answer is that NGOs and PIL activists found it paid better to prevent development rather than let the country grow economically by industrializing and getting rural girls into giant factory dormitories.  

Similarly, when our parties and leaders fritter away their energies, they shrink the space for all-party consensus and cooperation to tackle major challenges.

The consensus is that something nice should be done in a very nice way- isn't it? Naughtiness should not occur.  

It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that our political and governing establishments at the Centre and in states rarely set long-term goals in national development and people’s welfare, and pursue them with uninterrupted focus and commitment until the goals are reached.

Setting goals is not a problem. We can all agree that India should become very nice and all naughtiness should be eliminated by 2088.  

If China has set a better record in this regard – and none can deny it has – it is because the CPC has evolved a system that is conducive for party-wide, government-wide, economy-wide and nation-wide transformative programmes.

By killing people or locking them up and 're-educating' them. Chinese billionaires speak of a 'rich pig killing list'. 

Nine years ago, Ray Kwong wrote in Forbes-  I'm no statistics whiz, but it seems to me that a Chinese billionaire dies every 40 days.

China Daily reported Friday that unnatural deaths have taken the lives of 72 mainland billionaires over the past eight years. (Do the math.)

Which means that if you're one of China's 115 current billionaires, as listed on the 2011 Forbes Billionaires List, you should be more than a little nervous.

Mortality rate notwithstanding, what's more disturbing is how these mega wealthy souls met their demise. According to China Daily, 15 were murdered, 17 committed suicide, seven died from accidents and 19 died from illness. Oh, yes, and 14 were executed. (Welcome to China.)

I don't know about you but I find it somewhat improbable that among such a small population there could be so many "suicides," "accidents" and "death by disease" (the average age of those who died from illness was only 48). I'm only speculating but the homicide toll could really be much higher.

Any way you look at it, of course, the life expectancy for the current crop of Chinese billionaires isn't pretty.

Have things improved since? Yes. Expectations have changed. The rich know they may 'disappear' at any moment. It is possible that this will improve allocative efficiency in Capital Markets. 

Second: The CPC has also evolved a system in which, by and large, highly competent, experienced and better-educated officials rise to the top, both at national and provincial levels. And they are held accountable for achieving strategic goals and targets the CPC sets from time to time. This does not mean there is no groupism, favouritism, and climbing the system using the ladder of “connections”. But, in general, the system sieves out the mediocre.

Raising the level of 'the mediocre' is a good strategy. The exceptional should be innovating, not bogged down in routine administration. 


There is another crucial difference. In China, communist leaders do not rise to the top without having served in multiple provinces and without the experience of handling responsibilities in various subjects from grassroots upwards. As a result, they develop an all-China perspective, personality and competence. In India, with the minor exception of the pracharak system in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, not many politicians develop a pan-India experience and understanding. The resultant Centre-state friction we often see in our country is a rarity in China.

This is foolish. The fact is that plenty of IAS officers, with experience of multiple States and Union territories get inducted into politics.  Congress, in its heyday, was good at resolving 'frictions' of various kinds.


The CPC’s top leadership is far more collegiate than is generally known. Xi is at its core, but others in the politburo (25 members) and its standing committee (seven members plus vice president Wang Qishan as a non-voting member) are not non-entities, as is largely the case with Modi’s cabinet or the BJP’s team of office-bearers. The CPC also values the guidance of its elders much more than is the case in India. Its most important leaders hold an annual chintan baithak (brainstorming meeting) for a week or two with their predecessors at Beidaihe, a seaside resort. This not only helps in consensus-building on major issues facing the nation, but also strengthens cohesion and continuity in the party from one generation to another.

But even very old guys can suddenly be sent to jail on historic corruption charges. Their families and their clients become vulnerable.  


This is rarely the case in India. The so-called Margdarshak Mandal in the BJP, established in 2014, was a way of silencing the party elders.

Who, like Kulkarni himself, were utterly useless. 

It did not hold a single meeting. The practice of ministers in a BJP government consulting seniors in the Congress who once discharged important responsibilities – and vice versa – is simply non-existent in any institutionalised manner.

Because 'seniors' are senile. Anyway, they can always publish an op-ed saying the Chinese are so nice. They listen to their senile delinquents. Modi is a nasty, nasty, man. He doesn't come and listen to me just because I'm a boring old fart. 

Here is a poser. On July 1, to celebrate the CPC’s centenary, Xi Jinping will be seen at Tiananmen Square along with not only other six members of the politburo standing committee but also top retired party leaders.

Who would be spending their retirement in jail if they didn't show up obediently. 

On August 15, 2022, when India celebrates the 75th anniversary of her independence, will Narendra Modi give similar recognition on the ramparts of the Red Fort to his senior party colleagues, leaders of other major parties, the sitting and former presidents and vice presidents, and former prime ministers?

No. Would Hamid Ansari really want to sit quietly behind Modi? 

Remember: The bhumi pujan for the construction of the new Parliament building in December 2020 was a Modi-only affair. He did not even invite President Ramnath Kovind, who is the Constitutional head of Indian Parliament, to grace the event.

The Speaker of the Lower House is the custodian of the relevant building. He invited Modi, who has a seat in that House, to preside over the bhumi pujan. This is an expression of Parliamentary prerogative. 


Third: Contrary to the common perception in India, the CPC is not an inflexible and rigid entity.

But it will kill you if you try to fuck with it. 

In keeping with ancient China’s philosophy of study and self-improvement, CPC itself has been changing with changing times. Shunning the ideological dogmatism of Marxism-Leninism, even Maoism, it is continuously experimenting with ways to overcome mistakes in developing “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. In this, it is increasingly seeking inspiration from ancient Chinese mythologies and philosophical-spiritual traditions.

But remains focused on 'Tardean mimetics'- i.e. mimicking (if necessary stealing) the best tech. 


Learning from the collapse of the communist rule in the Soviet Union and its disintegration as a nation in 1991, it has focused on

ensuring that the Party remained in control- or at least had 'appropriable control rights' over the entire economy, including foreign MNCs. Gorbachev's mistake was to relinquish Party control of the economy which caused an immediate 'scissors crisis'.  

stability and economic reforms over political reforms in order to build a strong economy and raise its people’s living standards.

By stopping them having lots of babies.  

Without this, external anti-communist forces would have conspired for a regime change in Beijing. (Remember the recent brash talk by the likes of Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state?) The CPC’s obsessive pursuit of stability has undoubtedly extracted a high cost in terms of severe restrictions on citizens’ individual rights and liberties. Yet, as a collective, the Chinese society has progressed.

Why? Because ordinary Chinese people worked extremely hard. Since the Government let them 'be exploited', their productivity rose so rapidly that soon their real wages started to rise. By then, infrastructure had improved so much that per unit labor costs fell- i.e. China remained competitive. But all this could only happen because 'activists' (andolanjivis) were killed or locked up or chased away.  


Here is another example of how the CPC is alive to the problems within. When the get-rich-quick craze led to rampant corruption in the government, Xi warned that the communist rule in the country could end if the malaise was not addressed firmly. He launched a harsh anti-corruption drive, which led to the imprisonment of thousands – not only “flies” (low- and mid-level cadre), but also “tigers” (many top party and military officials). The culture of bribery has not ended, but the fear of being caught and punished is now certainly greater. In India, barring the communist parties (which have largely become irrelevant nationally), no other party has evolved any effective internal mechanism to punish their corrupt leaders and workers.

But China punished non Party dissidents even more harshly. Essentially, the Chinese believe that Brezhnev's 'stabilization of the cadres'- i.e. not shooting under-performers- was responsible for the USSR's decline. They think the elevation of Gorbachev- who was trained as a lawyer, in a wholly lawless country!- was a catastrophic miscalculation. A good official is an official who knows he may be sleeping tonight in a jail-cell and getting a bullet in the back of the head after a perfunctory trial in a month's time. 


Fourth: The CPC, through its vast institutionalised system of party schools, attaches far greater importance to study and training of its cadres than parties in any other country.

Which is why the Chinese have a saying- 'Science students look down on Arts students. Arts students look down on Politics students. Politics students look down on their teachers.'  

Xi, who once headed the Central Party School, says, “Learning is the path to the inheritance of civilization, the ladder of life growth, the foundation for the consolidation of the CPC, and the key to the country’s prosperity.”

People learn to nod their heads when they hear such bromides when they know that the alternative to doing so is torture and execution. 

Indeed, policy- and decision-making at the highest levels in CPC, and also in governments in Beijing and provinces, is far more consultative and knowledge-driven than in the BJP, Congress and other parties in India.

But, if the Chairman says cats are dogs, then this 'knowledge' is quickly accepted. Everyone spontaneously consults with everyone else to spread this amazing piece of wisdom. 

The CPC politburo regularly conducts “study sessions” on specific subjects by inviting top-notch scholars.

Who are shitting themselves lest they be asked to prove scientifically that cats are actually dogs. 

Universities, research institutes, think tanks and experts are valued far more in the Chinese system of governance than in ours.

Because Indian Universities are shit. Prashant Kishor worked for the UN in Chad. I presume he was analyzing data and organizing public health surveys. This scarcely qualifies as 'scholarship' or 'expertise'. Yet Kishor is worth more than all India's vaunted 'Political Scientists' put together. Still, the day may come when he turns into a Yogendra Yadav type fuck-wit. 

In contrast, political parties in India are largely impervious to seeking scholarly and professional advice from outside.

Which party isn't running after Kishor? The one's who will lose the next election. Even Stalin roped in that Hindi speaker so as to win big in Tamil Nadu.


In my long and close association of 16 years with the Bharatiya Janata Party at the highest levels, I found that the so-called Kisan Morcha, Mahila Morcha, SC & ST Morcha, Minorities Morcha and the various cells and departments for doctors, lawyers, traders, small industrialists and others were mostly “naam ke vaaste” – to accommodate party functionaries seeking some position and recognition in the organisation. The party’s own governments at the Centre or in states rarely seek, or receive, useful policy and monitoring inputs from them. The Congress does not perform any better in this regard.

Because these guys are either useless or they just say what everybody knows- viz. Labor and Land laws must be reformed. Inspectorate Raj must be dismantled. PILs and NGO activism must be curbed- etc, etc.  

Fifth: China could not have achieved what it has without steadfastly adhering to the path of socialism – essentially a system that puts “People First”.

By killing them unless they are doing what you want.

When Deng radically changed the course of the country’s economic growth after 1978, he pragmatically introduced certain capitalist (pro-market) reforms and opened up the economy to cooperation with capitalist countries in the West. But this was done without abandoning the path and goal of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

i.e. killing people with different views of Socialism or what constitutes 'Chinese characteristics'. Actually, Marx himself had said 'To each according to his contribution'- till scarcity disappears. Chinese Marxists knew this. Indian Marxists preferred to remain in blissful ignorance of their own credo. 

This catchphrase combines the broad ideals of equity and egalitarianism, and roots them in soil of Chinese people’s national pride.

But Taiwan did even better than China.  

The CPC used its economic reforms to strengthen the nation and to continually improve the living conditions of the common people. Without this commitment and success, it would have lost the legitimacy to rule a long ago.

It continued to rule even when it was starving its own people. Legitimacy flows from the barrel of a gun. Mao was adored though no doubt people kept trying to run away from his paradise. 


In India, sadly, we have failed to evolve our own path of “socialism with Indian characteristics”.

Nonsense! India has bureaucratic Socialism with Democratic- albeit dynastic- features. It is shit because Indian bureaucracy was shitty even in Kipling's time.  

This, despite the fact that socialism not only remains a preambular principle in the Indian Constitution, but also finds a place in the constitutions of the Congress, BJP (yes, BJP, too) and several other parties. In reality, India’s political and intellectual class has shunned adherence to socialism a long time ago – without replacing it with anything better. Our developmental journey, therefore, is taking place without an inspirational strategic goal and a clear path to get there.

The path is clear but it involves removing paternalistic legislation and judicial oversight of a counter-productive kind. 


Furthermore, as we have seen in recent years, our sense of self-identity as a nation itself is sought to be fractured by the proponents of Hindutva.

80 percent of the population must forget they are Hindus. Members of other Religions are under no such obligation. Yet the fact is any non-Hindu majority area has an active secessionist element. Without Hindutva, there is no unifying factor for the country. It should divide up on a linguistic basis so that caste can battle caste till the end of time. 

Whatever degree of people’s welfare that happens, is

wholly the result of their own hard-work and enterprise. 

just largely a byproduct of the muddled, ad-hoc, divided and discontinuous efforts of our political system. For far too long, we Indians have neglected the need for fundamental and bold political and governance reforms, while keeping our our democratic system intact, so that we can speedily bridge the gap between India’s enormous potential and her unsatisfactory performance.

What reforms is Kulkarni proposing? That Modi spend more time listening to senile fools like himself? Or is it that Modi should adopt some other religion and spend his time fighting against 'Hindutva'? Why stop there? Why not demand that Modi become a white Catholic woman from Italy? Also, Modi should marry Rahul and become Soniaji's daughter in law. They should quarrel in the Italian language. Smriti Irani can play the role of their well-meaning, but bumptious, desi neighbor. I tell you this tele-drama will be super hit!  


It is, hence, useful and necessary for Indian politicians and people to study the CPC’s journey of 100 years.

The CPC won power by military means. Congress did not- indeed, no Indian party achieved anything of the sort. Only the Naxals tried Maoist tactics. But extra-judicial killing bottled them up in remote forests.  

Not because China’s political system is perfect – it will surely change in future in response to its own people’s democratic urges.

Not on Xi's watch. One may as well pretend that Russia is going to turn into a vibrant multi-party democracy of a Scandinavian sort.  

Not because India should, or India can, copy the Chinese system of governance. The historical, social and cultural realities of our two great Asian nations are considerably different. Rather, studying the CPC’s accomplishments and failures will help us better understand where India’s strengths lie and, more importantly, what lessons we can learn from China to achieve similar “mountain-moving” and “sky-repairing” miracles.

Development occurs when Tardean mimetics- i.e. the mimicking of a superior model- occurs. But there's no point mimicking a gangster if you can't actually kill people. Your bluff will be called and you will end up being robbed and beaten.  

In turn, the CPC too should study and adopt the many virtues in India’s democratic system and developmental path.

Men should learn how to give birth to children by studying women. Women should learn to fly by studying birds. Birds should learn how to reach Mars by studying rocket science. Kulkarni is a Raja Rishi. Modi should listen to him the way Vajpayee listened to Kulkarni and made his party unelectable.

It should restrain the rise of ultra-nationalism in China, which, like in India, could create fissures domestically and also create serious apprehensions in neighbouring nations.

Nonsense! Ultra-nationalism is a good thing. Having effective offensive military doctrines which 'front-load' pain for the otherside is what prevents a slide into war.  

Ours are the only two countries in the world with a population of one billion-plus each, and each is gifted with profound civilisational wisdom.

Which is why both Indians and Chinese emigrate to Amrika-Yurop any chance they get. 

Therefore, with mutual learning and mutual cooperation,

but no anal sex because we are getting on in years 

we both can improve and together strive to fulfil a common responsibility – creating a better world for all.

Kulkarni supported Rahul in 2019. But was Rahul staking a claim for the top job? He said so. But was it a clever ploy so as to be able to resign the Presidency of Congress? We don't yet know. Still, we sympathise with Rahul. First his granny, then his daddy, get killed so Congress wins big on the 'sympathy vote'. It is no wonder the boy is gun-shy.  Don't forget, even Mahatma Gandhi was gunned down the moment he was no longer of any use to Congress. Three dead Gandhis is enough. Let the Grand old Party get by on martyred Kulkarnis.