Sunday, 26 September 2021

Feisal Devji on India's Islamic future

In an essay titled, Britain’s Muslim empire and its Indian future, facile Devji wrote

THERE was a time not so long ago when British statesmen proudly characterized their empire as the ‘world’s greatest Mohammedan power.’

This is not true. British Statesmen, might from time to time have said- 'we must not forget that we are the world's greatest Mohammedan power' and thus mustn't antagonize India's Muslims too much. The problem was that, more often than not, they would just go ahead and do it anyway. Why? Indian Muslims didn't greatly matter. The Hindus hated them and it was the Hindus who were in the majority. 

It is true the Brits were proud of having a really big Empire- because having lots of real estate is a good thing. But they weren't particularly proud of ruling over darkies and heathens of various descriptions because they didn't like darkies or heathens. No Britisher was saying 'Aren't we lucky to rule over all those lovely wogs? We must give them kisses and cuddles in plenty.' The truth is, they'd much rather have been ruling over Christians with fairer complexions. Thus it isn't the case that the Brits were proud of being the World's largest Hindu power, or Jain power, or Sikh power, or Muslim power, or Voodoo power. 

By using such a locution these men sought to compete with the Ottomans,

Nonsense! Nobody wanted to compete with the 'Sick Man of Europe' which had continually lost territory for 200 years. It is true that 'Abdul the Damned' tried to use 'Pan-Islamism' to bolster Turkey's position. But he failed miserably and was forced to abdicate by the 'Young Turks' who, bizarrely, the British Ambassador & Chief Dragoman (Lowther & Fitzmaurice) believed to mainly consist of Jewish Freemasons! 

whose emperor claimed to be the Caliph or heir to the Prophet Muhammad’s worldly authority.

Did any British Monarch claim Caliphal authority? No. Thus there was no 'competition' as opposed to 'contestation', but such contestation was plentiful within the Islamic fold. 

On the other hand, it is true that British Governor-Generals did from time to time find it convenient to get the 'Khalifa' to write to a Tipu Sultan to make friends with the the Brits. This Caliphal authority also came in handy to condemn the Mutiny as irreligious. 

Yet the Turkish sultan only started claiming authority over Muslims outside his domains in the eighteenth century,
This is the notion that the Sultan sought to retain a spiritual authority- similar to that exercised by Christian Patriarchs in Ottoman territory- over Muslims in territory ceded to Russia in 1774. But that authority was utterly vacuous. All it could do was remind the Turks that their decline was accelerating. 

In earlier times, Turkish Sultans did invoke Caliphal authority to demand help from other Sunnis- especially Hanafis- against Safavid Iran . The Mughals tended to ignore such demands though the young Akbar did truckle to the Ottoman briefly. Late on, the decline of the Mughals did lead to Hanafi Muslims, e.g. Waliullah- looking to the Ottoman Emperor. Anti-Shia sentiment in India does have this deep history. However, after Turkey lost territory in Europe and North Africa in the early years of the Twentieth Century, both educated Shias and Sunnis agreed that preserving the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate was important for maintaining the prestige of Islam. Some Brits worried that if Turkey allied with Germany then, in the event of a war, the Sultan might declare a jihad against the Brits which would cause problems in India or amongst Muslim soldiers under British command. 

Kitchener opened negotiations with the Sharif of Mecca with a view to creating an Arab Caliph. However, this would not have mattered to Hanafi India some of whose aristocracy claimed Turkic descent. 

However, the Turks were aware that the Indian Muslims were useless. They did not set any great stock by any 'jihad' they might launch. The fact is the Turks had been looking to Europe for quite a while simply because they felt the quality of manpower diminished as one went South. This is one reason the Levant was sinking economically and culturally. 

Unlike the European powers, Turkey could do nothing for co-religionists outside their domains. This was another reason to turn a blind eye to the East. Devji asserts the opposite. Because Europe interested itself in the fate of Christians wherever they could be found, Turkey chose to project itself as a Pan-Islamic power. But, this is nonsense. The Turks were continually losing battles. The most they could do was kill their own Christian minority.  
once European powers had advanced similar claims over his Christian subjects,

European powers wanted to gobble up the Sultan's domains. Lloyd George and Clemenceau wanted to expel the Turks from Smyrna and confine them to the Anatolian plateau.  

which only goes to show that pan-Islamism has its origins in the West as much as anywhere else.

No. Islam started off 'pan-Islamic' but some of the splits which occurred in its early years have persisted.  

Unable to claim a comparable religious status for themselves,

If the Brits had wanted to convert to Islam they could have done so. They did not want a 'comparable religious status' because Islam, at that time, represented weakness and backwardness. 

The fact is the British Press had turned against the Muslim Turks and so British Governments were not keen on an alliance with them.

the British derived their Islamic credentials

like their Black credentials 

from the sheer number of Muslims

and Blacks 

they ruled.

They also ruled over more homosexuals than anybody else. Thus, by Devji's logic, the Hindu King Emperor (not Muslim, because Hindus were more numerous) was also Black and Gay. No wonder the Kaiser hated George V! The fellow had lifted his lungi to thrust his great big black cock up the keyster of his Germanic cousin.  

The truth is, the Brits were acceptable rulers to the Indians precisely because they weren't Muslims or Hindus or even Catholics. Their Anglicanism was novel and its proselytizing zeal somewhat lacking compared to other sects. Had the King Emperor decided to pander to the Muslims, the Hindus would have been the first to howl with dismay.

Devji can't accept the obvious truth. What legitimized British power was military strength and fiscal solvency. Nothing else.  

But by basing their religious legitimacy on the facts of demography, Britain’s ideologues ended up conceiving of their empire as a liberal, if not quite a democratic order, in which the consent of the greatest number had to be secured.

This is sheer fantasy. Britain did have 'ideologues' but they were concerned with persuading British people to give them a little money or power in exchange for flattering lies.  

And indeed they were keen to demonstrate that by offering its subjects religious freedom and promising to protect their interests, the empire did in fact represent Muslims as well as Hindus and other groups whose most sizable populations were all to be found in India.

No. The way you demonstrate that representation is occurring is by actually having a couple of representatives. The Brits did that in India. There were Muslims and Hindus and so forth on the Legislative Council as well as plenty of Rajahs and Nawabs and so forth.  

However numerous the religious communities within this empire, it was only the Muslims who lent their name to its otherwise Christian dominion,

This simply did not happen. There was no point saying 'We are a Muslim power' because in that case Muslim politicians and princes would have started making all sorts of demands. Incidentally, the Aga Khan demanded Tanganyika as a reward for support during the First World War. He didn't get it.                         

perhaps because their global distribution more than matched Britain’s own.

The truth is, the British Monarch did think it worthwhile to take the title of Empress of India- perhaps so as not to be upstaged by her daughter who had married the new minted German Kaiser. But no European potentate would want to claim to be the leader of Islam. Why? Christian zealots at home would demand that the heathen be converted.  

After all it was not because they comprised the majority of this empire’s subjects that Muslims could claim it for themselves, and certainly not because they ruled it, but only by virtue of their planetary dispersal, of which India formed the dominant part.

Muslims weren't greatly dispersed. In any case, in North Africa and Europe and Central Asia and India and Indonesia they were coming under Western European control. The truth is Muslims mattered less and less- till Europe fucked itself up and Islam, thanks to its jurists and preachers, proved a great bastion against the madness of Communism. 

Disingenuous and self-serving though it may seem, we should recognize that such rhetorical forms of religious authority played an important role in British policy,

No we shouldn't. It simply wasn't true.  

and were often tailored to suit the convenience of Muslims themselves.

Right! Coz the Brits really coddled the Muslims didn't they? No doubt, pure altruism motivated their toppling Mossadegh in Iran and seizing the Suez Canal from Nasser.  

In ways both devious and direct this narrative

is utter bullshit 

that drew religious legitimacy from numbers rather than doctrines might even constitute the source of all those movements that from the beginning of the twentieth century have dedicated themselves to Islamic nationalisms, democracies and republics.

No. Islamic revival was a wholly Islamic affair. The Brits can claim no credit for it- nor, indeed, do they. It would be something of an own goal.   

For it was in colonial India that Islam first became a political category in the modern sense,

No. Islam became a 'political category' in the modern sense almost immediately after its inception.  

naming as it did the interests and opinions of a population

Islam furthered the interests and was in line with the opinions of its very first adherents. 

rather than some ritual observance or religious authority.

but, ritual observances and religious authority are matters which affect the interests of a population which may hold very strong opinions indeed about them.  

But military activity was the least part of Britain’s Muslim empire.

No. It was its foundation. That's how Empire's work.  

More important by far was the fact that in their search for an ‘authentic’

There was no 'search'. The thing already existed. The Brits took over an existing service industry. They didn't give a fuck about 'authenticity'. What mattered was enforceability- itself a function of what people were accustomed to.  

Islamic or Hindu law that they might administer in secular fashion, the English ended up discarding or downplaying the customs and profane regulations that had characterized previous dynasties,

if it was convenient and remunerative to do so 

to set in place purely ‘religious’ legal systems in their colonies.

Nonsense! Anglo-Mohammadan Law permitted customary deviations- e.g. Khojas like Jinnah getting to keep Hindu inheritance law.  

Islamic law as we know it today, then, is in great measure

Islamic. Not British or Portuguese or anything else.  

a combination of Muslim jurisprudence and English case law

No. Islamic law in most places is based on Codifications approved by Muslim jurists. English case law is irrelevant except in so far as it represented pre-existing Muslim Law. 

that was produced in India starting in the eighteenth century and exported to many other parts of the Muslim world. It is this hybrid legal system, known in colonial times as Anglo-Mohammedan law, which forms the basis of the Sharia as a legal system pertaining to the citizens of modern states as disparate as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This is completely untrue. Some French dude helped codify Iran's Laws under the first Shah. Saudi Arabia's reforms are pretty recent and nobody in their right mind would suggest it has any resemblance to anything obtaining under the Raj.  


Even when Britain did not impose such new practices outside the subcontinent, some ended up nevertheless being adopted by Muslims there.

Only if- like Oman- they were protectorates under the Viceroy or, like Egypt, were under British control to a greater or lesser extent.  

After all India’s place at the heart of the empire

The heart of the empire was London. Britain had Canada and the West Indies and Australia and a big chunk of Africa. India was important, but its importance tended to decrease.  

made cities like Bombay into magnets for Muslim traders, intellectuals and politicians across Asia and Africa,

Nonsense! No African or Asian intellectuals or politicians ever settled in Bombay or Calcutta. There were some foreign Muslim traders but they didn't do particularly well compared to Armenians or Baghdadi Jews.  

becoming a centre for the production and distribution of print materials, recording and film to all corners of the Islamic world.

There was little of this and it soon disappeared. The fact is India was backward and the Indian Muslim was considered, in places like Egypt, as a simpleton. Maulana Azad returned the compliment- at least as far as Al Azhar was concerned. The Muslims of the MENA looked to Paris and other European cities. Al-Afghani, it is true, spent some time in India. Was he a Russian agent? Some Brits thought so. Indeed, he was linked to Blavatsky as well as to certain Continental strains of Free Masonry. But one can scarcely say that Al-Afghani found any great inspiration in India. It was a backward, poverty stricken place with little intellectual life or cultural distinction. 

On the eve of the First World War, then, two great Muslim powers confronted each other

coz Asquith's real name was Asghar Pasha.  

– the Turks with their Middle Eastern and European possessions against the British with their Asian and African ones.

The Brits had Middle Eastern protectorates- like the Trucial States- and colonies- like Aden. 

Each represented a different form of Islamic authority

No. The Sultan represented Islamic authority. The King Emperor represented Anglican Christian authority. It is simply not true that Muslims have ever thought that Christians could represent their Religion in an authoritative manner. 

and served as the centre of political gravity for a large part of the Muslim world.

Muslims in Muslim ruled States in India considered the the Ruler- e.g. the Nizam- as the center of political gravity. 

Before going to war Britain’s prime minister had promised India’s Muslims that the Ottoman Empire would not be dismembered once hostilities ceased and that the Caliph’s position would remain inviolate.

Some senior British diplomats seem to have got it into their heads that the 'Young Turks' were Jewish freemasons. At any rate, this was the sort of propaganda Yusuf Ali (an ICS man now remembered for his translation of the Quran Sharif) and other British agents were putting out. The truth is the Brits wanted the Caliph to be a less powerful version of the Nizam or Khedive. They had substantial investments in Ottoman Turkey- as did the French- and wanted to control the Turkish economy without actually assuming responsibility for its defense. Had it not been for the genius of Ataturk and the fighting ability of the Turkish foot soldier, the Brits and the French might have propped up the Caliph and preserved the appearance of territorial integrity or suzerainty for that Empire.  

As it turned out, Indian soldiers were deployed against the Ottomans

and the Germans 

only to see their Middle Eastern possessions partitioned between the British and French, with Turkey narrowly escaping a similar fate due to her military revival under Mustafa Kemal Pasha.

But this was scarcely a big surprise.  

David Lloyd George acknowledged the importance of his pledge to the empire’s Muslim subjects in these telling words:

‘It is too often forgotten that we are the greatest Mahomedan power in the world and one-fourth of the population of the British Empire is Mahomedan. There have been no more loyal adherents to the throne and no more effective and loyal supporters of the Empire in its hour of trial. We gave a solemn pledge and they accepted it. They are disturbed by the prospect of our not abiding by it.’

The context is a debate in Parliament where Lloyd George was facing criticism for letting the Turks keep Constantinople. He replied that it was to have gone to Russia but the Bolsheviks now ruled the roost there. Anyway, they said they didn't want it. He then brought up his declaration of 2 years previously which was meant to help recruit soldiers in India. This is what he said '  

'Nor are we fighting to destroy Austria-Hungary or to deprive Turkey of its capital, or of the rich and renowned lands of Asia Minor and Thrace, which are predominantly Turkish in race. Outside Europe we believe that the same principle should be applied.…While we do not challenge the maintenance of the Turkish Empire in the homelands of the Turkish race with its capital at Constantinople—the passage between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea being internationalised and neutralised [as they will be]—Arabia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine are in our judgment entitled to a recognition of their separate national conditions."

What the cunning fellow did not say was that the Brits wanted the Caliph to stay on as a puppet. The Khilafat movement in India was actually quite helpful. Indeed, a Khilafat agent tried to assassinate Ataturk- one reason he decided to abolish the Caliphate altogether. 

Lloyd George's entire speech can be found in Hansard. It is obvious that he was only talking about Muslims in India so as to resist calls for the annexation of Constantinople or even a 'hang the Caliph' type agitation further down the road. 

(The declaration was given on) January, 1918. That was a perfectly deliberate pledge. I am going to ask the House and the country to realise what it meant. This was not a speech delivered at a public meeting. There was a good deal of disquiet as to our war aims. There was a feeling amongst the workers—and this was brought to our notice—that we were fighting for some aggressive imperialistic purpose. This was interfering with output for the purposes of the War, and we were informed that it was essential that we should reassure the workers of the community as to the purposes for which we were waging war. This was not an offer to the Turks. It was to reassure our own people as to what we were fighting for. There was another reason. The Mahomedan population of India were disturbed and they wanted a reassurance. We were making a special effort here to procure output for the War, and we were making a special effort in India to secure recruits. We needed all the men we could get for France, and what happened two or three months afterwards showed how important it was that we should secure all the support we could get in the East to do the fighting in Turkey. What is the effect of that statement? The effect of the statement in India was that recruiting went up appreciably from that very moment. They were not all Mahomedans, but there were Mahomedans amongst them. Now we are told "that was an offer you made to Turkey and they rejected it, and therefore you are absolutely free." It was more than that. It was a statement of our war aims for the workers of this country, and a statement of our war aims for India. It is too often forgotten that we are the greatest Mahomedan power in the world. One-fourth of the population of the British Empire is Mahomedan, There have been no more loyal adherents to the throne, there has been no more effective loyal support to the Empire in its hour of trial than came from the Mahomedans of India. We gave a solemn pledge, and they accepted it, and they are disturbed at the prospect of our not abiding by it. I can give you a statement made by the Viceroy. In May, 1919, we were considering this at the Peace Conference. He said: Moslem feeling is already deeply stirred. Educated opinion is probably prepared for extensive territorial losses but not for the loss of Constantinople, especially in view of the recent announcements made by the Prime Minister and Lord Robert Cecil. They depended on my Noble Friend's words just as much as they did on mine.
Though Arab nationalists professed themselves happy to exchange Turkish suzerainty for a European one,

The Turks claimed sovereign, not suzerain, status. Class A League of Nations Mandates gave more than suzerain rights to European Nations but only on a temporary basis. The Arabs weren't happy about this at all- as is well known. 

India rose in revolt with a fervour not seen since the days of the Mutiny.

Nonsense! There was an almost entirely peaceful agitation which petered out once Gandhi called off the Non Cooperation Movement and Secretary of State Montague published a telegram showing that the Viceroy had been doing his best for the 'Khilafat' cause.  

Quickly placed under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, this movement brought together Hindus and Muslims, Sunni and Shia, in a non-violent agitation that shook British rule in India by the scale at which people refused to cooperate with the government, resigning posts, preventing the work of administration and flooding jails. Gandhi himself withdrew from the movement, though he never disclaimed it, when violence started breaking out, and without able leadership or indeed Arab and Turkish support it eventually fizzled out, especially once the Turks themselves abolished the caliphate in 1924

The truth is Britain was militarily weak and faced a 'Red Menace' at home. India could have got what Ireland and Egypt and Afghanistan got at about this time. But Gandhi called off the agitation. It then became obvious that the Hindus had been lying. They didn't give a fuck about Khilafat. But, neither did the Shias. Then, it turned out, neither did the Turks. Some Khilafat funds got embezzled. The thing turned into a shit show. By 1926, Hindu Muslim riots were back with a vengeance.  Why? Gandhi's hypocrisy was plain to see. He had lied to the Brits- pretending to be loyal when he was actually seditious- he had lied to the Muslims- pretending that Hindus felt they had a religious obligation to fight and die for Khilafat- he had lied to the entire Indian nation- saying he would deliver Swaraj but then backing down and saying India wasn't ready, indeed, might never be ready to rule itself- and he had lied to his own disciples- telling them he could himself earn a Rupee a day from weaving- in other words, even if Swaraj did not come to India, his methods could help ordinary people become better off. 

Devji, too, is a hypocrite. He can't possibly believe that 'the Indians who engaged in (the Khilafat movement)  saw themselves as the citizens of a Muslim power.'

Britain was not then, and is not now, a Muslim power. It has an Established Church which is decidedly Christian, not Muslim at all. Indians who joined the Khilafat movement may have pretended to be 'loyal subjects' but they were no such thing. They wanted the Brits out of India and out of Asia and out of Africa.  

What enraged them more than anything else during this episode was Britain’s ‘betrayal’ of her Islamic obligations.

If Britain had Islamic obligations, the foremost of them would have been to make Islam, not Christianity, the Established Religion. It is a different matter that a promise made by the Government should be kept. But, Constantinople wasn't handed over to Russia. Thus, for extraneous reasons, the promise was in fact kept. 

 For it was because many Indians believed that they were or should be partners in empire

because being conquered means you should be a partner of your conqueror- right? It's like what happens when somebody hits you on the head and runs off with your wallet. He owes you half the proceeds of the robbery because you were his partner in crime. 

 that they were outraged by the treatment meted out to the Turks,

by, among others, Indian- including Indian Muslim- soldiers

 which gave rise to the subcontinent’s first mass mobilization, and the world’s only great pan-Islamist agitation. 

greatly shite agitation which failed completely. If no such thing has happened anywhere else it is because Indians are stupider than others. 

For his part the Mahatma’s aim was simply to hold the British to their word and call upon them to represent their subjects:

Nonsense! The Mahatma's aim- or so he said when put in charge of the Congress/Khilafat combine- was to deliver Swaraj (Home Rule) within 18 months. He didn't give a tinker's cuss for Khilafat. Nor did he want the Brits to 'represent their subjects'. Suppose the Viceroy had put on a dhoti and started babbling bollocks about chakri and khaddar and so forth. Gandhi would have been well miffed. 

‘What is this British Empire? It is as much Mahomedan and Hindu as it is Christian. 

Gandhi had been to Britain. He knew that British people were not as much Mahomedan as they were Christian. Furthermore, the reason the British Empire was called 'British' was because Britishers ran it. 

Its religious neutrality is not a virtue, or if it is, it is a virtue of necessity. Such a mighty Empire could not be held together on any other terms. British ministers are therefore bound to protect Mahomedan interests as any other. […]

But, it turned out that the Viceroy as well as the Secretary of State for India had indeed protected Mahomedan interests far better than he and his Hindu chums had. Montague sacrificed his career so as to 'protect' Indian interests. Gandhi & Co had simply been opportunistic hypocrites. 

 To join the Khilafat movement then means to join a movement to keep inviolate the pledge of a British minister. […] If the seven crore Mussulmans are partners in the Empire, I submit that their wish must be held to be all sufficient for refraining from punishing Turkey. It is beside the point to quote what Turkey did during the war.’

These were empty words. No Hindu went to Jail for Khilafat. Plenty said they would, but none did. 

Gandhi’s task was to compel his rulers to act in a democratic fashion

which means holding elections. But that wasn't what the silly sausage campaigned about.  

by moral and non-violent means,

lying is not moral. It may be non-violent but a lot of white collar crime is non-violent.  

for he thought Britain could forever redeem herself by doing so, and thus establishing a world wide commonwealth in the truest sense of the term.

Gandhi redeemed himself by quietly pleading guilty to sedition and going off to jail like a good little boy. No doubt this established a world wide commonwealth in the truest sense of the term- which is nonsense simply.  

It was during the Khilafat Movement that he finally lost his faith in the empire and turned to nationalism in its more conventional forms.

Conventional nationalism wages war against foreign occupiers. By 1920, nobody anywhere had any faith in Empires. The Tzar was gone, the Hapsburgs were gone, the Kaiser was gone, the Chinese Emperor was gone- true, Britain had a King Emperor, but the Labor party formed a Government in 1924. The country was moving in a Socialist direction. 

Nevertheless, pan-Islamism continued to interest the Mahatma, not least because in the period before non-alignment and socialism came to take its place, Islam formed the only substantive link between India and her neighbours,

Nonsense! Afghanistan and Iran were the only Islamic neighbors India had and Islam wasn't much of a link with either because there were modernizers in both countries. In Iran (and Turkey) they gained ascendancy. The 'hijrat' to Afghanistan failed. The country was poor and badly governed. The fact is, Islam did not matter much in the Twenties and Thirties. Indeed, it was on the back foot. 

Anti-Imperialism, on the other hand, did link India to Ceylon and Egypt and Iraq and so forth. But this too was inconsequential. 

and one that was of far more political and popular consequence than subsequent forms of internationalism ever were.

Maybe for Pakistan, not for India. The thing was a waste of time. 

In other words India could only become a world power

Newsflash! India is not a world power. Briefly, under the Brits, Indian soldiers fought in Europe and the Middle East and thus affected the Global Balance of Power. It won't happen again.  

as an Islamic one,

just as Britain was actually Islamic and America was like totally in your face Muslim and the Chinese were constantly brandishing Qurans and did you know Beyonce's twerking buttocks are actually a semaphore version of Sahih Bukhari? After all, Statistics indicate that as much as 20 per cent of her fan-base is Muslim or lives in historically Muslim countries like the UK. This proves she is a very devout Muslim- just like Bibi Netanyahu or Narendra Modi, both of whom rule countries with significant Muslim minorities. 

by gaining the trust of her Muslim neighbours

both Afghanistan and Iran were as weak as shit. Who cared about their 'trust'?  

rather than depending upon the support of distant powers with global interests of their own, something which would reduce India to the position of a client state rather than a force in her own right. Or as Gandhi put it: ‘It is only a people whose mentality has been perverted that can soothe itself with the domination by one race from a distant country, as a preventative against the aggression of another, a permanent and natural neighbour.

Very true! All those Hindus and Sikhs who were killed or who had to run away from Pakistan had a very perverted mentality indeed! 

Brigadier Dyer, a month or two after earning the title 'Butcher of Amritsar', led mainly Indian troops against the Afghans- putting them to rout easily enough. Only Rajaji was cowardly enough to support Khilafat on the grounds that otherwise the Afghans would conquer us again.  

Instead of developing strength to protect ourselves against those near whom we are permanently placed, a feeling of incurable impotence has been generated.

By Gandhi.  

Two strong and brave nations can live side by side,

like the French and Germans- right? 

strengthening each other through enforcing constant vigilance, and maintain in full vigour each its own national strength, unity, patriotism and resources. If a nation wishes to be respected by its neighbours it has to develop and enter into honourable treaties. These are the only natural conditions of national liberty; but not a surrender to distant military powers to save oneself from one’s neighbours. […]

India was not respected because a tiny number of Brits ruled it better than it had ever been ruled before. Why was Gandhi pretending India had achieved what Afghanistan gained even after losing a War? 

‘The Indian struggle for the freedom of Islam has brought about a more lasting entente and a more binding treaty between the people of India and the people of the Mussalman states around it than all the ententes and treaties among the Governments of Europe.

But British India had cowed those States! When Gandhi wrote this shite, there were 100,000 Indian troops garrisoning the MENA for the Brits. What entente can there be between a subject race and its free and independent, albeit much smaller, neighbors? 

Gandhi may not have foreseen that the departure of the Brits would lead to millions of Hindus and Sikhs being killed or having to flee. But Devji knows this is what happened. Why quote Gandhi at his most asinine?  

No wars of aggression are possible where the common people on the two sides have become grateful friends.

Germany and Russia had been 'grateful friends' for more than a century. The common people of both countries got on pretty well. Yet a 'war of aggression' took place between the Tzar and the Kaiser. Gandhi may not have noticed this. He was not an observant man.  

The faith of the Mussulman is a better sanction than the seal of the European Diplomats and plenipotentiaries.

But Gandhi betrayed the faith of the Mussulman. 

Not only has this great friendship between India and the Mussulman States around it removed for all time the fear of Mussulman aggression from outside, but it has erected round India a solid wall of defence against all aggression from beyond, against all greed from Europe, Russia or elsewhere.

Because the Brits had disappeared and the Japs, bless their cotton socks, would never try to invade India. After all, they too were 'grateful friends'. Indeed there was a Japanese spy, got up as a monk, who turned up at Gandhi's Ashram and who went around beating a drum till some local villagers gave him a good kicking.  

‘No secret diplomacy could establish a better entente or a stronger federation than what this open and non-governmental treaty between Islam and India has established. The Indian support of the Khilafat has, as if by a magic wand, converted what was once the Pan- Islamic terror for Europe into a solid wall of friendship and defence for India.’

Okay. I get it. Devji is a comic. He was writing this about the time ISIS was kicking off the second wave of Pan-Islamic terror. But killing those fuckers quietens them down a treat.  

This of course had been the basis of Britain’s own Muslim policy before the First World War,

Nonsense! The Brits had established suzerainty over Afghanistan and extracted concessions out of Persia at the point of a gun.  

so the Mahatma was only urging Indians to make it their own in a more genuine and honest way than the English had ever done. It was also a policy that continued to inform Muslim leaders in the subcontinent for many years to come. So the Nizam of Hyderabad, for instance, who was both the world’s richest man and the eccentric ruler of India’s largest princely state, entertained the ambition of transferring the caliphate to his own dynasty by supporting the exiled Ottoman emperor and marrying into his family.

The Nizam subsidized the cousin of the last Ottoman Emperor whom Ataturk had given the ceremonial title of Caliph to. But Ataturk changed his mind and exiled the Prince. I need hardly say that Hanafis don't accept that sovereignty can pass through the female line. The Nizam paid a good bride-price for two Ottoman Princesses. 

 

In this he was encouraged by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, an Englishman who had converted to Islam, produced a famous translation of the Quran still in use today and agitated for pan-Islamic causes which he thought were entirely in Britain’s true interests. Outlandish as it appears today, the idea of situating Sunni Islam’s central authority in a still colonized country where Muslims were a minority was not considered especially peculiar then.

This is utterly mad. Pickthall was considered an eccentric whose support for Turkey during the First War  (unlike the loyalty shown by Yusuf Ali) would block any possible official appointment his linguistic attainments might otherwise bring him.

The Nizam, on the other hand, was perfectly respectable and working for him helped rehabilitate Pickthall. But there was no prospect of continued Muslim domination of Hyderabad. It imported soldiers from Yemen which had lost whatever military reputation it might have had a thousand years previously. 

Devji probably doesn't think it peculiar that Steven Segal is the acknowledged 'tulku' of some Tibetan Lama or that the World Center of the Ba'hai Faith (which originated in Iran) is in Israel or that the Maharishi decided to hole up in the Netherlands. Why? I think the answer is that Tibetan Buddhism or the Bahai Religion or the practitioners of Transcendental Meditation pose no threat of any sort. 

The truth is guns matter, money matters, Science matters- but Religion does not matter unless it has money and guns in which case only money and guns can prevail over it. But, nowadays, it is Science which generates the money and which makes fancier guns. 

There is something to be said for Religions which inculcate thrift and enterprise and so forth. Apparently, in the USA, moving to a Mormon neighborhood raises your kid's chances of going to College- or at least staying out of Jail. Islam's future, like the future of other Religions, depends on improving life-chances for its young people. Devji thinks Indian Muslims could play a leadership role for Islam going forward. Is it because he sees that Indian Muslims are determined to rise by their own thrift, enterprise, hard work and pursuit of educational and professional excellence?

No. He thinks Islam is in trouble because no 'great power' in the Muslim World exists. Apparently, the British Empire was actually a Muslim power and so everything was cool with Islam between the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate and the end of the Raj. Then everything turned to shit.

 today there exists no great power in the Muslim world and no centre of gravity for its politics,

So what? The tide has turned against Western meddling in the region. Why should Islam not come up, the way Christian Europe came up, with multiple centers of gravity for its politics? 

all of which goes a long way towards accounting for the state of things in this extended region, something explanations based on the politics of oil or neo-colonialism cannot quite manage to do. By a centre of gravity, of course, I do not mean some kind of theological order, but instead a power that might centralize political and religious thought across an entire region, whatever its constitutional character. This in fact is what has already happened to Christianity, which despite its huge following in the poor and powerless countries of the global South, is nevertheless stabilized politically in the rich and powerful states of the North.

Nonsense! Christianity grew rapidly because of competition between Christian sects and Nations. It hasn't 'stabilized' at all. Take the issue of Gay Marriage. The prosperous North can't ram it down the throats of the Global South nor- thankfully- can they force homophobia down our throats.  

But then this is not a particularly new argument, with Muslim thinkers making it since the end of the First World War, the event from which Osama bin Laden too dates Islam’s decline. In this vision of things pan-Islamism does not refer to some kind of theological entity or even a world state, but only a Muslim great power of the Ottoman or British kind. And pan-Islamism, as we have already seen, is as much a Christian fantasy as it is a Muslim reality, being in either case a thoroughly modern phenomenon.

Bullshit! Pan-Islamism disappeared at the time of Khajirites and Kerbala.  

Today the British model of an Islamic power is the only one possible, not because its pluralist character was more egalitarian than the Ottoman, its secularism more pronounced or its demographic politics more imaginative, but rather because India in our time has once again become the world’s greatest Muslim power.

No it hasn't. It has become the world's only Hindu power.  

For although they are by and large an impoverished and disadvantaged minority in the country, the enormous population of over a hundred and fifty million Muslims there renders any simple socio-economic profile suspect, especially in light of the fact that the Indian community represents a significant portion of the world’s total and still constitutes a centre of gravity for Islam in the region.

Since Devji wrote this, Indians have tended to become more determined that Islam should have no 'center of gravity' in India. But something similar could be said about parts of Europe.

After all it is no accident that every single religious movement in Pakistan and Afghanistan, militant or moderate, from the Taliban and Lashkar-e Taiba to the Barelwis and Sufis, all have their intellectual and doctrinal origins in India.

Nor is it any accident that ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims and persecution of 'heretical' Muslims in such places has reinforced the Hindu determination to quickly and massively retaliate against Muslims running amok in India. The fact is Muslims in Hindu dominated regions thought that superior martial spirit might permit them to prevail. This same type of craziness motivated 9/11. The good news is that Muslims can dominate areas where they are the majority. If they want to lock up women, nothing can stop them. But there is an economic price to be paid for this type of 'Indian' (as the Egyptians say) stupidity.  

What is more Islam in these borderland states is capable only of radicalizing its Indian roots, not setting down any of its own.

No. Pakistan can't 'radicalize' the Indian Deobandis for the simple reason that they don't want to be massacred by the majority.  

Despite all the talk of Middle Eastern funding for fundamentalism and militancy in the region, no Muslim movement there derives its history or inspiration from places like Saudi Arabia but only from India, and more especially from the days of the British Raj.

This is because the Saudis and others stopped funding people who turned out to be useless and unreliable. So the Pakistanis can monopolize their backyard. However, it too faces the problem of 'blow-back'. Islamic Governments have gotten out of the business of backing any indigenous sect. Hizb ut Tahrir has been no help to the Palestinians. Erdogan turned against Gulen. The Saudis spent a lot of time and money on taming the wilder Wahhabi ulema. Religion, it turns out, isn't a 'force multiplier'. It is a Frankenstein's monster. 

India does have Islamic sects- Devji may belong to one himself- which don't proselytize and don't do crazy shit. Their spiritual preceptors- be they 'Westernized' or 'traditional'- encourage thrift, technical education and enterprise. The result is that such people do just as well, if not better, as Hindus or Zorastrians or Sikhs. 

This extraordinary situation should at least give us pause for thought.

Why? The fact is that Muslim sects which did smart things rose up economically and educationally. Those that did stupid shit had to expand laterally and stick their fingers into the electric socket of jihad. Pakistan could export its craziness to Afghanistan- which was even poorer and more backward.  But nobody wants to be like the Taliban. It may lose out to ISIS which has nothing Indian in its genealogy.  

Were it to be fully appreciated, scholars and policy-makers would realize that India is the key to Islam’s flourishing in the region, as well as to the latter’s own stability.

Utterly mad! Hinduism is the reason India is cohesive. Salafi Islam is the reason Pakistan has declined economically. This does not mean that South Indian Muslims or Bohras or Ismailis etc can't do just as well as Hindus in India. But if they start killing the majority, there will be massive retaliation till they become quiet. 

Rather than placing Pakistan and Afghanistan in a Middle Eastern context, in other words, such experts would see that India provides the centre of gravity for Islam in both.

No. India expelled the Muslim supremacists. Bangladesh too got rid of those nutters. Pakistan was able to expand its influence into Afghanistan because of American and Saudi money. But China will discipline them if they don't straighten up and fly right. After all, Pakistan now owes China a lot of money. It will have to work off that debt before resuming global jihad.  

This is one reason why India serves as the focus for Pakistani militant groups in particular, which are dedicated not to avenging the suffering of Indian Muslims so much as the loss of Islam’s historical centre there.

This is nonsense. India kills Muslims and has now taken to cross-border strikes. Why die at the hands of the kaffir when you can subjugate fellow Muslims in Pakistan or Afghanistan?  

Neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan is large enough or powerful enough to centralize Islam and make of it a global model, just as no Middle Eastern country is able to do.

Yet Islam has its center in Mecca & Medina from its very first inception. This is not to say that a world religion needs a center. Buddhism did fine without one.  

Indeed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, while mobilizing a great many people for this or that reason, has never produced a single mass movement of any kind,

The Ahmadiya sect is Pakistani as is the persecution of Ahmadiyas.  

let alone a national one, since the day it was founded over half a century ago.

So what? Most countries don't found mass movements.  

Its religious politics is therefore like every other politics there, made up of conspiracies, compromises and coups d’etat conducted by all sorts of factions, each making up for its lack of numbers by direct action and armed force.

Devji sure has a low opinion of Pakistan! 

Only a federation that brings together India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri Lanka, perhaps along the lines of the European Union, has any hope of creating a stable and prosperous South Asia while centralizing both Hinduism and Islam within it.

Rubbish! Muslims slaughter and ethnically cleanse non-Muslims where they are the majority. If the Indian Army couldn't keep the Kashmiri Pundits safe what hope have the rest of the Hindus? That's why they start killing Muslims within 12 hours of Muslim attacks on Hindus. The majority soon prevails over the minority. 

Indeed the former religion has been as radicalized as the latter with the partition of British India. It was because he realized that Hinduism ran the risk of becoming politicized merely as a state religion that the Mahatma had advocated a more expansive global role for it and India in general, one that justified his own participation in the Khilafat Movement:

‘The age of misunderstanding and mutual warfare among religions is gone. If India has a mission of its own to the world, it is to establish the unity and the truth of all religions. This unity is established by mutual help and understanding between the various religions. It has come as a rare privilege to the Hindus in the fulfilment of this mission of India to stand up in defence of Islam against the onslaught of the earth-greed of the military powers of the West. […] If Hindus and Mussalmans attain the height of courage and sacrifice that is needed for this battle on behalf of Islam against the greed of the West, a victory will be won not alone for Islam, but for Christianity itself. Militarism has robbed the crucified God of his name and his very cross and the World has been mistaking it to be Christianity. After the battle of Islam is won, Islam and Hinduism together can emancipate Christianity itself from the lust for power and wealth which have strangled it now, and the true Christianity of the Gospels will be established. This battle of non-cooperation with its suffering and peaceful withdrawal of service will once and for all establish its superiority over the power of brute force and unlimited slaughter. What a glorious privilege it is to play our part in this history of the world, when Hinduism and Islam will unite on behalf of Christianity, and in that strife of mutual love and support each religion will attain its own truest shape and beauty.’

Gandhi could not foresee that within a few short years of his death, Hindus of all family backgrounds would reject distinctions of caste and color and even gender. However, once Islamic terrorism began to grow they acquired a healthy fear of, and fury against, Muslims. But this was also true of the Chinese and the Europeans and so forth.  

In the absence of a South Asian union in the foreseeable future, and with the loss of Hinduism’s world-historical ambition for the time being,

Hindus have the same 'world-historical' ambition as everybody else- viz. having a secure and reasonably prosperous life in this world. Religion is about the next world- or birth, as the Hindus say.  

the Republic of India, as the region’s only great power, has a particular role to play as far as the politics of Islam is concerned.

If Islam has a politics then non-Muslims will have to have a countervailing anti-Islamic politics.  

And this role its Muslim citizens can take on by exercising a kind of gravitational pull for their co-religionists elsewhere, in the same way as they had in the colonial past, and in doing so to provide a model for Islamic politics globally.

Is Devji saying 'Muslims must join R.S.S.?  

As it is this huge population that is yet a minority already serves as the chief example of Muslim politics in a democratic mode, though it is more fashionable today to talk about the community either as a breeding ground for terrorism or as a victim of discrimination and violence at the hands of Hindu militants. While they are ostensibly opposed, these characterizations are of course nothing but mirror images of one another.

It is likely that Muslims will be split on caste lines by extended reservations. This will pretty much put things back to the way they always were.  

 

In one way India has been true to her colonial past by trying to become a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference, (attempts always frustrated by pakistan) sponsoring her citizens to go on pilgrimage to Mecca and routinely playing the Muslim card in her dealings with Middle Eastern states. But on the other hand her governments have viewed even Islamic organizations with a long history of patriotism, such as the important seminary of Deoband, with suspicion and have tried to cut down their international profile.

It is true that India wanted to beg money from the Oil Sheiks. One Ruler said to the Indian Ambassador (later a Vice President of the Republic) 'Go tell your people that I have always kept an Indian as my night-watchman. Do you think I will forget my night watchman?' 

Sadly, the success of the Software industry showed India that there was something better in life than being the night-watchman of some Arab dude. It then turned out that the Gulf and Saudi and so on were perfectly happy to invest in India- because it wasn't Islamic at all.  

The seminary, for example, which used to attract students from places as far away as South Africa and South East Asia, has now to content itself with a largely Indian intake, the rest having gone off to study in countries like Saudi Arabia.

But then the best Islamic scholars from India have gone there too. On the other hand, there are Hindu and Jain savants who find it to worthwhile to pursue Research Degrees at Western Indological Institues. 

And this is to say nothing of the routine discrimination that many Muslims face in India.

Hatred against Muslims has greatly increased in some neighborhoods. But, we have to admit, there have been other such internecine quarrels in which Islam wasn't involved at all. 

Nothing could be more counterproductive for India’s own regional ambitions and global stature than this situation, which in addition serves to destabilize the whole of South Asia.

This is not true. Islam does not matter. Even Terrorism doesn't matter if massive retaliation is possible. Being able to project force on land and sea against China does matter as does not getting trapped in their infrastructural eco-system.  Ultimately, it may be China which renders the Afpak region peaceful- if not exactly prosperous *vecause the Chinese need a return on their investment. 

But half a century after the partition of British India, the ceaseless conflict of whose successor states poisoned the religious atmosphere of India,

India's religious atmosphere has been fine- for Hindus. The surprising thing was that caste did not slaughter caste and sect did not turn on sect. Why? I suppose it was because Hindus were simply too poor to afford to kill each other so as to assert their superior holiness.  

things are finally changing.

Devji was right. Things were changing. People were beginning to understand that Professors had shit for brains.  


Amartya Sen & the price of fish

 Amartya Sen tells the following story about what sparked his interest in Economics. Read it through and take a moment to firstly identify what elementary mistake he is making and secondly identify the reason we can be sure he is lying 


Sen's mistake is to fail to understand that what was happening represented price-discrimination. His lie was to suggest that he thought volatility was linked to Uncertainty- which is his own misunderstanding of a much later literature.

Markets are social phenomenon. In India, local vendors of perishable produce act like a cartel. There is a tradeoff between price and quality because inventory deteriorates rapidly. Customers are poor and price sensitive. This means that some items disappear from most local markets when there is a supply shock. Indians of the older generation were aware that good quality items only came into the local bazaar at festival time. Only richer localities could preserve inventory or turn around high quality perishable items fast enough. 

Sen may not have been aware of this sociological aspect to Indian markets. But he did study price theory at University in India. He should have known that the supply of fish was inelastic because, at that time, refrigeration was not a possibility. A football result could affect demand but not supply but this would be a transitory and localized phenomenon. 

Sen, even as a child, was a cretin because he did not realize that if football results were predictable, there would either be little interest in watching games or, at least, no cause for celebration at the outcome.

I suppose Sen has some hazy idea that volatility is linked to Knightian Uncertainty. This is not the case.  Indeed, in retail markets we would expect to see greater price rigidity the more Knightian Uncertainty obtains. But, in this case, there is no Knightian uncertainty whatsoever. There are only three possible states of the world- we win, we lose, we draw.

 Even if everybody has the correct probability distribution, there would still be price spikes if there were a convention of celebrating victories with fish banquets. Furthermore, fish sellers in the locality, who as a group have a local monopoly, will 'price discriminate' on the basis of the market segmentation Sen alludes to- viz. the 'common knowledge' as to which type of fish will confer extra utility for those celebrating their side's victory. The losing side might be offered a cheap price as a consolation for their loss. 

To be fair, Sen did not teach price theory. But people who don't understand price theory should not teach any type of economics. 

Was there really any price volatility of the sort Sen describes? No. The supply of fish was subject to exogenous shocks which caused volatility at the wholesale level. At the retail level, there was more quality than price volatility for institutional reasons. 

However, for socially sanctioned 'sumptuary consumption'- e.g. during festivals or other celebrations- there was localized price-discrimination by fish sellers who acted as an informal cartel. They understood that the utility of consuming your favorite food item goes up if you are celebrating. This also means sellers part with fresher and thus better quality fish because there has been an upward adjustment of the Muth rational market clearing price. 

However, you might buy cheap 'comfort food' if you are in the dumps- though this may be an afterthought once you have drowned your sorrows thoroughly. The fish will be less fresh and more highly spiced but, after a few drinks, that has its own appeal.

 Since one football club was associated with demand for one type of fish, fish-sellers could 'segment the market'. Sen might not have been able to understand this as a child. He might have asked 'why is this fish suddenly more expensive?' His Mum might have replied, 'the fans of such and such team want to banquet on their favorite type of fish. In their euphoria, they are willing to pay more and so these cunning fish sellers- who are all in league- are taking advantage of their elation.' Most kids have enough theory of mind to understand this explanation. They get used to parents saying 'we won't buy this for you now. We will wait till after the festival when the demand goes down.' This is an example of market segmentation by time. Sen never became capable of understanding even this simple phenomenon which is taught to High School kids. No wonder he was so atrocious an Economist that he got a Nobel for being a darkie. 


Zizek on Violence- or shitting

Zizek writes- 

In his “Critique of Violence,” Walter Benjamin raises the question: “Is any non-violent resolution of conflict possible?”

All resolution of conflict is non-violent. One side desists either because it is beaten or has been paid off or won over with kisses or found something more interesting to do. By contrast, we don't say that a conflict has been resolved while people are still getting beaten or killed.  

His answer is that such a non-violent resolution of conflict is indeed possible in what he calls “relationships among private persons,” in courtesy, sympathy and trust: “there is a sphere of human agreement that is non-violent to the extent that it is wholly inaccessible to violence: the proper sphere of ‘understanding,’ language.’

Sadly, Walter Benjamin killed himself because he understood what would happen to him once the Nazis got hold of him. This is why he stopped being capable of participating in relationships among private persons or contributing to language based activities like talking or writing. 

This thesis of Benjamin belongs to the mainstream tradition in which the prevalent idea of language and the symbolic order is that of the medium of reconciliation and mediation, of peaceful co-existence, as opposed to a violent medium of immediate and raw confrontation.

This is mere pi-jaw worthy of a bureaucrat or pedant. Language is about communication and commerce and creativity of different types.  

In language, instead of exerting direct violence on each other, we are meant to debate, to exchange words, and such an exchange, even when it is aggressive, presupposes a minimum recognition of the other.

No. Language is about telling peeps who want to fight to stay the fuck away from each other on pain of being sent to jail.  

We don't think the would be rapist or murderer should get to argue with his victim as to why she is a worthless piece of shit and should be treated as such. 

The entry into language and the renunciation of violence are often understood as two aspects of one and the same gesture: ‘Speaking is the foundation and structure of socialization, and happens to be characterized by the renunciation of violence,’ as a text by Jean-Marie Muller written for UNESCO tells us. 

This tells us that UNESCO is shit. Israel and the US were right to quit.  This Muller dude is a French philosopher- i.e. a shithead- who has specialized in Gandhian shite. 

Since man is a ‘speaking animal,’ this means that the renunciation of violence defines the very core of being-human: ‘it is actually the principles and methods of non-violence … that constitute the humanity of human beings, the coherence and relevance of moral standards based both on convictions and a sense of responsibility,’ so that violence is ‘indeed a radical perversion of humanity.’

In the view of a cretin. Why not say 'man is a shitting animal. But one can't take a comfortable dump while engaged in a knife fight. Thus non-violence is the foundation of shitting. This proves that violence is a radical perversion of shitting.' 

Insofar as language

or shitting 

gets infected by violence, this occurs under the influence of contingent ‘pathological’ circumstances which distort the inherent logic of symbolic communication.

or shitting. 

What if, however, humans exceed animals in their capacity for violence precisely because they speak?

or shit? 

 When we perceive something as an act of violence,

for example if your opponent shits into his cupped hands and flings his feces in your face 

we measure it by a presupposed standard of what the “normal” non-violent situation is –

the guy should shit on the boss's desk, like a normal person 

and the highest form of violence is the imposition of this standard with reference to which some events appear as “violent.”

in which case the highest form of shitting into one's hands and flinging one's feces into the face of an opponent is to classify the act of so doing as 'violent'. 

In other words, if a guy flings his shit at you and you call the police coz that's fucking assault with a stinky weapon innit? the police should arrest you, not the shit-flinger, coz you described his action as premeditated violence rather than just an alternative style of excretion and waste disposal. 

This is why language itself,

or shitting itself 

the very medium of non-violence,

coz you don't want to be knifing peeps or getting knifed by peeps while taking a dump 

of mutual recognition,

you can tell I'm in the next stall coz my shit smells of curry 

involves unconditional violence.

Which is why everybody should be arrested the moment they start taking a dump. OMG! That's why the Government has installed cameras in toilets! It isn't just to watch us poop, it is to convict us as violent terrorists once Zizek's theory has been accepted and the laws have been suitably amended.

Incidentally, Gandhi was constantly getting and giving enemas. He was worse than Hitler or Stalin! They went in for mere conditional violence. Gandhi's violence was unconditional! So is the baby's. Every filled diaper represents worse violence than the H-Bomb! 

So, perhaps, the fact that reason (ratio) and race have the same root tells us something:

they don't have the same root. Reason has a Latin root but 'race' has a Norse root and is ultimately related to something swift flowing.  

language,

or shitting 

not primitive egotistic interests, is the first and greatest divider, it is because of language

or shitting 

that we and our neighbors (can) “live in different worlds” even when we live on the same street.

but shit in solitude  

What this means is that verbal violence

or shitting 

is not a secondary distortion, but the ultimate resort of every specifically human violence.

because all violence is shitting except that greater violence involved in describing as violent an attack by an opponent who is throwing his turds at you or smearing his feces on you or forcing it down your throat.  

Take the example of anti-Semitic pogroms, which can stand in for all racist violence.

If you are a thug of a certain sort- sure, I suppose so.  

What the perpetrators of pogroms find intolerable and rage-provoking, what they react to, is not the immediate reality of Jews, but to the image/figure of the ‘Jew’ which circulates and has been constructed in their tradition.

Which is why anti-semites keep slaughtering each other when they get together. It is also the reason the Nazi party collapsed immediately with Hitler knifing Himmler in his rage against the image/figure of the Jew just as Himmler was stabbing Goebbels who was shooting Goering and so on and so forth.  

The catch, of course, is that one single individual cannot distinguish in any simple way between real Jews and their anti-Semitic image: this image overdetermines the way I experience real Jews themselves and, furthermore, it affects the way Jews experience themselves.

Zizek may be accurately describing himself. Yet, the fact is, had he been violent to Jews he'd have been locked up or else Mossad would have made an example of him.  

What makes a real Jew that an anti-Semite encounters on the street “intolerable,” what the anti-Semite tries to destroy when he attacks the Jew, the true target of his fury, is this fantasmatic dimension.

There is no evidence of this. Jews were attacked when it was safe, and it appeared profitable, to do so.  Violence is costly. Long run, the thing has to pay for itself. The Economic dimension matters. One can increase or decrease different types of violence through 'mechanism design'. 'Fantasmatic dimensions' are only important in a comic book world. 

The same principle applies to every political protest: when workers protest their exploitation, they do not protest a simple reality, but an experience of their real predicament made meaningful through language.

No. Their reality is simple. Zizek's language would make it meaningless which is why workers don't invite him to represent them.  

Reality in itself, in its stupid being there, is never intolerable:

Which is why Zizek sleeps naked in the snow during the depths of winter.  

it is language, its symbolization, which makes it such.

We tell intolerable bores to fuck off or else ourselves find somewhere else to take a ruminative dump.  

So precisely when we are dealing with the scene of a furious crowd, attacking and burning buildings and cars, lynching people, etc., we should never forget the placards they are carrying and the words which sustain and justify their acts.

Nor should we run away till we have read every one of their placards and heard all the slogans they raise as they beat us to death or string us up from the nearest lamp-post.  

It was Heidegger who elaborated this feature at the formal-ontological level, when, in his reading of essence /Wesen/ as a verb (“essencing”), he provided a de-essentialized notion of essence.

In the same way that Hitler provided a de-victorized notion of victory which involved Heidi's Fatherland being defeated and shorn of territory and partitioned and forced to pay reparations. 

Traditionally, “essence” refers to a stable core that guarantees the identity of a thing.

Nope. It is merely that which is true of it in all possible worlds. But this means having no identity or other type of existence in most of them.  

For Heidegger, “essence” is something that depends on the historical context, on the epochal disclosure of being that occurs in and through language;

The German language would have been suppressed if Heidi had been believed. However, it was obvious that you don't have to change language or hermeneutics or anything else to get a people to behave. It is sufficient to punish them if they do wrong while letting them prosper if they work hard and don't get up to any monkey tricks.  

his expression “Wesen der Sprache” does not mean “the essence of language,” but its “essencing,”

which it can do to itself. Thus Heidi's expression does mean 'the essence of language' even when it doesn't. 

the making of essences that is the work of language, “language bringing things into their essence, language ‘moving us’ so that things matter to us in a particular kind of way, so that paths are made within which we can move among entities, and so that entities can bear on each other as the entities they are. … We share an originary language when the world is articulated in the same style for us, when we ‘listen to language,’ when we ‘let it say its saying to us.’”

Heidi was wrong. Only incentives matter. Language does not.  

For a medieval Christian, the essence of gold resides in its incorruptibility and divine sheen which make it a divine metal.

No. Some stupid pedants have made up this shit and attributed it to medieval Christians. The truth is they understood well enough that what was true of gold in all possible worlds was that it possessed all the qualities necessary and sufficient to function as a good store of value and unit of exchange etc.  

For us, it is either a flexible resource to be used for industrial purposes or the stuff appropriate for aesthetic purposes.

It is still a store of value.  

Or, for Catholics, the castrato voice was once the very voice of angels prior to the Fall.

Nope. There was some ambiguity about Matthew 19.12 'some made themselves eunuchs &c'. However, the same condition can occur naturally by reason of an endocrine deficiency. Radu Marian is an example. 

For us today, it is a monstrosity.

No. Radu Marian is a great artist. He worked very hard to attain virtuosity.

This change in our sensitivity is sustained by language; it hinges on the shift in our symbolic universe.

No it doesn't. Economic and geopolitical forces change laws and norms and tastes. Language does not matter at all.  Still, if Zizek can make a living by pretending otherwise- good luck to him. It is only in a metaphorical sense that he is shitting into his cupped hands and flinging his feces about for the entertainment of wealthy Americans wot went to Collidge. This isn't either violence or non-violence or a philosophical reflection on either. It's just monkeys doing what monkeys get rewarded with bananas for doing so the Zoo's paying customers get their money's worth. 


Friday, 24 September 2021

Facile Devji on why you should sacrifice children to Hecate

The following is an 'intervention in Global critical theory' by Facile Devji titled 'the return of non-violence'.  

This begs the question, was Global critical theory a hopeless alcoholic or was it incessantly masturbating? Or was it both jizzing all over the place and continually drunk off its head? Is that why Duke University had to stage an intervention? Why did they ask Facile to participate? Was it because he had 'lived experience' of alcoholism and incessant masturbation? Or was he the victim of Global Critical Theory constantly jizzing upon him while off its head on drink?

It was to find the answers to these pressing questions, that I read Devji's article. Sadly, it was coy about the precise nature of Global critical theory's major malfunction. I invite you, dear reader, to go through Devji's essay with me on a line by line basis. Clearly something very shocking happened to Devji- which is why he was present at the intervention. But what was it? We need to read between the lines to get an idea of the awful truth.

 There appears to be a revival of scholarly as well as activist interest in violence and nonviolence as concepts rather than descriptions of acts or situations.

So, Devji is saying that scholars and activists were interested in certain concepts but then they stopped being interested. Now that interest has revived. Why? Is it because the concepts in questions are causing Global critical theory to jizz on all and sundry while downing litres of Vodka?  

This has led to the emergence of new writing on Gandhi as a thinker of violence and the historical figurehead of nonviolence,

But, in every decade of the twentieth and twenty-first century, there has been 'new writing' on Gandhi of precisely this sort! It can't be the case that Global critical theory, or an interest in violence and non-violence as concepts, has fluctuated in any way. The thing has been a constant. Indeed, even before there was Gandhi there was Tolstoy and an Edward Carpenter and so forth.  

as well as to more expansive books on the subject, ranging from Slavoj Žižek's Violence to Judith Butler's The Force of Nonviolence.

Both of which are shit. 

Étienne Balibar's text is the latest of several he has dedicated to the question of violence and the possibilities of nonviolence in political thought and practice.

But the guy is 80! French Communists ceased to matter a very long time ago. Whatever political thoughts the guy might have had, they were utterly shite.  

 If in past decades intellectual life was dominated by keywords like hegemony and transgression,

but only in shitty non-STEM University Departments where 'intellectual' means 'unemployable maniac'. 

power and resistance, or sovereignty and subalternity, might violence and nonviolence become their successors?

Why not? The next step would be for 'niceness' and 'naughtiness' to become the successors of violence and non-violence. After that, one could simply say 'goo goo' and 'ga ga' and get a PhD 

The moment this question is asked it appears preposterous.

OMG! Is Devji going to say something sensible? Don't be silly. Of course not. 

Is this because, however ubiquitous terms like violence and nonviolence have become in public life, they have no real intellectual roots in Western political thought?

Has the guy never heard of Jesus Christ or a little thing called the Sermon on the Mount? The fact is, the early Church was pacifist and 'just war' doctrine emerged only after the Empire became Christian. 

The Renaissance and Reformation both renewed an older Western European pacifist tradition submerged by Barbarian invasions- e.g. Erasmus or, a little later,  sects like the Amish and the Quakers and Mennonites and so forth. 

By contrast, a Hindu or a Muslim- if born in the warrior class- was expected to wage war. No doubt, one might chose to become an ascetic Sadhu or Sufi etc. but there was never any notion that Civilisation itself should eschew Violence. In some Buddhist realms, some animals may have been spared the butcher's knife but war remained a brutal business while cruel and unusual punishments were meted out to criminals and rebels and so forth as a matter of course. 

These terms have received both their conceptual and political status in the Afro-Asian world, which includes for this purpose African American struggles.

Nonsense! These terms were adopted by the 'Afro-Asian'  from White people some of whom worked closely with indigenous people. There is a hilarious story about the Moravians getting the Lenape to give up warfare after which they were massacred by American militia men.  

Violence in particular has arguably achieved the status of a political idea after being magnetized by Gandhian nonviolence,

Nonsense! During the First World War all sorts of peaceniks went to prison rather than serve in the Army- even Bertrand Russel. Gandhi, however, was busy recruiting soldiers to go die for the King Emperor.  

both terms being among the very few in the lexicon of Euro-American politics that have been redefined there by way of translation from languages and traditions outside Europe.

The problem with this view is that Gandhi only learned about Ahimsa and so forth from Europeans. Obviously, it made sense for Whitey to tell Brown people that their own religion said don't be violent if Whitey beats the fuck out of you and steals any nice things you might own. The reason the Europeans kept telling Hindus to read the Gita was because they wanted to show that Christ was a better incarnation than Krishna because Christ said 'don't fight' whereas Krishna was all like 'sack up already! Kick the other dude's head in!' Since some Hindus preferred to get rich while virtue signalling like crazy, Gandhi provided them a way to stay Hindu by pretending Hinduism was more Christian than Christianity. 

For before its elevation by nonviolence into the primary target of moral and political action, violence had been a secondary category, the supplement of power, sovereignty, or forms of statehood.

Nonsense! Violence, though costly, was the ultimate way of enforcing claims of various sorts. Sometimes the violence was legal. Sometimes it wasn't legal but could not be punished. Sometimes it punished the legal authorities till they decided it was as sweet as pie. 

While I cannot say why Balibar's work has gravitated toward this subject recently,

it's coz the old fool is pretending that Capitalism is very very cruel and has probably shoved something extremely nasty up your backside. Anyway COVID is the final final crisis. So we're all fucked.  

I do want to comment on its more general implications in my response to his essay. What does it mean to deploy a word like violence, or indeed nonviolence, as an abstract and universal concept?

it means shit if the deploying is being done by a shithead. 

By abjuring its particularization in forms like domestic, police, or gun violence, to say nothing of criminal acts such as assault, rape, or murder, Balibar's use of violence as an abstract political concept, like that of all its modern thinkers, escapes the vocabulary of law and therefore perhaps of the state as well.

Because the thing now means shit. Anything at all is violence- provided it isn't- like Gandhi telling his wife that her refusing to cook mutton chops (she was vegetarian) for his pal was a terrible act of violence. 

On the other hand, nothing genuinely meaningful escapes 'the vocabulary of law' or 'the state' or any entity that uses language. Thus 'domestic violence' could be expanded to include non-violent but 'controlling' actions. Consensual sex may be rape if a certain type of deception was involved. Murder may be lawful slaying etc, etc.  

Yet its modern form is also neutral enough to evade the moral rather than simply juridical opprobrium of terms like oppression, torture, or tyranny.

There is no 'juridical' opprobrium' that is not ab ovo moral. It is not the case that a person convicted of torture is considered a fine upstanding citizen. Speaking generally, the Judge dwells on the immorality of what has occurred when passing sentence.  

Its abstract universality, then, makes violence available to thought primarily in conceptual or philosophical terms yet beyond the inherited categories of political thought.

But 'political thought' has the same 'inherited categories' as philosophy. That is why there is a subject called Political Philosophy.  

As an abstract noun, violence refers to a condition rather than an act or event.

No. It refers to a particular type of act. It does not refer to a condition or state of being. Happiness is an abstract noun associated in an intangible manner with being in a state of happiness. There is no equivalent word- like 'Violentness'- to describe being in a state whose condition is violence. 

Its deployment in this way is modern, not dating back earlier than the nineteenth century.

Violence is an English word  meaning the use of force, or an act of violation, which has been used figuratively to mean 'improper treatment' from at least 1600.  But we can find it in Wycliff Bible and in Chaucer and so forth. 

Marxists may have been late to this party but only because Marx was a mid-Victorian atheist. 

This is true of the most influential European texts that include the word in their titles, from Georges Sorel's Reflections on Violence and Walter Benjamin's “Critique of Violence” to Hannah Arendt's On Violence and René Girard's Violence and the Sacred.

These are not 'influential' texts. They are silly and middle brow.  

As was already clear in Sorel's book, violence conceived in this way is linked to capitalism as the instantiation of a naturalized and universal condition.

But Sorel didn't know shit about Capitalism- which is a theory of resource allocation which had a sophisticated mathematical representation by the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Lenin was important. Sorel did not become so even after the old fool jumped on Lenin's bandwagon. Anyway, Europe soon saw that Violence was not cool. It led to genocide and famine and American troops on your soil if you were lucky and Soviet troops on your soil if you weren't.  

For capitalism, too, is defined not by law, the state, or morality,

Actually, Capitalism has a mathematical representation of a very useful type which is well defined by Law & Econ under which rubric morality, good faith, culpa levis,  'unconscionability' etc. is subsumed. People who know this make big bucks as lawyers or hedge fund managers. People who don't know this have to stage interventions for a Global critical theory which keeps tugging itself off and jizzing while stumbling around drunkenly.  

but as a kind of second nature whose spell can be broken either with more violence (according to Sorel and Fanon) or with nonviolence (according to Tolstoy and Gandhi).

No! Professor Ashgar Ali Ansari has conclusively proved that the spell in question can only be broken by True Love's first kiss. 

We can replace capitalism with colonialism, as Fanon does, or with modern civilization, as Gandhi did,

or modern civilisation with Prof Asghar Ali Ansari's butt hole as that esteemed scholar would love to do for the benefit of the rosy red lips of Devji

where both of these names nevertheless imply it.

But only in the sense that everything and anything implies Devji is French kissing Ansari Sahib's butt hole in a manner Balibar finds very arousing.

But the focus on violence as a naturalized condition, rather than as a regime or political type like dictatorship, authoritarianism, or totalitarianism, remains constant in all of these usages.

Because Devji is violently giving rim job to Ansari Sahib! Taliban should take action! 

In order to point out the irreducibility of violence or make it visible as a condition, Balibar prefers the oppositional term anti-violence to the more familiar nonviolence.

While Devji may prefer the term 'anti-anti-rim job' for what he is doing to Ansari Sahib.  

He also wants to signal with the former term's use a political and polemical dimension that he thinks is missing in nonviolence as what he calls a metaphysical category.

Devji's incessant anti-anti-rim jobbing of Ansari Sahib is the condition for the possibility of the metaphysical category of Being as stupid as shit.  

What is lost in this shift, however, is the explicitly negative character of nonviolence as a phenomenon lacking ontology and so being.

Very true. Rather than saying Devji is anti-anti rim jobbing Ansari Sahib we should stipulate that Ansari is imaginary. Thus we can laugh more heartily at Devji rim jobbing a purely Meinongian object while participating in an intervention to get Global critical theory to stop jizzing on all and sundry while off its head on drink.  

For Gandhi, nonviolence was one of a number of negative ideas, which included noncooperation and nonpossession, all of which were marked by their derivation from the positive categories after which they were named.

Actually, the 'yama'- restraints- are prior to the niyamas- observances, because Yama, the first King and the Judge of the Dead, restrained himself from what was 'natural'. 

Gandhi claimed to have first fulfilled the 'natural' duties arising from oikeiosis before beginning to restrain himself such that he would gain spiritual merit which would help his people. Sadly, even sleeping naked with young girls and not jizzing all over them wasn't enough to give him magical powers. 

Nonviolence, in other words, claims an intimate relationship with violence

like that between Devji and Ansari Sahib- if only in Imaginationland. 

while refusing the ontological status of its opposite in a form like anti-violence, which the Mahatma feared would only mirror it.

Though a bit of 'anti-violence' would have saved millions of lives during the Partition riots. Every District Commissioner knows there are times when you have to lock up, or extern, the known trouble-makers in the area. 

Voters like 'anti-violence'. They will pay taxes to get it. 

Nonviolence, moreover, was not only groundless because, as he often said, it literally did not exist in its own right but only with regard to violence; it deprived violence, too, of being by casting it into an abyss.

Okay, okay- the guy was as stupid as shit. Don't rub it in. Anyway, Jinnah was yet stupider. Come to think of it, the Aga Khan backed the wrong horse in this matter.  

 This it did by showing in its practices of withdrawal, renunciation, and sacrifice that the apparent positivity of violence was itself founded upon the negative reality of nonviolence, whose invisible work of sustaining social life was turned into the basis and target of violence.

This is nonsense on stilts. Violence is costly which is why violent anti-violence (locking up nutters) gets funded out of tax revenue. Non-Violence disappears when nobody will pay for its silly theatrics.  Once India became independent, Gandhian stupidity ran out of money because businessmen preferred to pay Ministers and bureaucrats. Later Indira Gandhi prevented Gandhian Peace Organizations getting foreign funds. Buta Singh accused all those senile shitheads of being CIA agents! 

Neither law nor custom and self-interest allow people to live together without slitting one another's throats,

Really? Is that what things have come to in Oxford where Devji teaches?  

and for Gandhi nonviolence made such a life possible without being reduced to a positive cause.

Coz life is still possible after your throat is slit so long as 'being is not reduced to a positive cause'.  

He even thought that nonviolence had no history because it was not “for” anything and could not be understood in conventionally political terms as being dedicated to making or protecting a future.

Mental illnesses have a history. Interventions can be staged even for hopelessly alcoholic, incessantly masturbating. Global critical thought  

Without attributing its ubiquity to human nature, the Mahatma insisted that it was what in a quite different context Emmanuel Lévinas might call an “an-archic” figure of thought, something so intimate as to refuse perspective and so categorization.

Like Devji's incessant anti-anti-rim jobbing of Ansari Sahih.  

And by thematizing it in negative terms, Gandhi did nothing more than reveal nonviolence to be a practice that remained groundless or without reason.

i.e. stupid shit. Why has Devji devoted his life to it? Is it due to his incessant anti-anti-rim jobbing Ansari Sahib?  

But its status as a set of habits or practices that made social life possible

It had and has no such status. What makes social life possible is 'tit for tat' at the collective level.  

meant that nonviolence was also capable of enabling the emergence of violence,

if the thing could pay for itself or seemed like a fun idea at the time- sure. 

which continued to depend upon its virtues of solidarity and sacrifice even as they were turned to evil ends—for he thought that evil depended upon goodness in this way.

whereas he depended on rich guys giving him money. Money is non-violent politics in action.  

This was why Gandhi understood the duty of nonviolence as its refusal to cooperate with evil.

Sadly, if the nonviolent are stupid and useless, nothing wants to cooperate with them. Just locking them up when they are being a nuisance works fine.  

Unlike in the dualistic relationship posited by anti-violence, then, nonviolence not only made violence possible but could also repudiate it.

Anti-anti-rim jobbing Ansari Sahib can repudiate shit it ends up swallowing. But it too can be repudiated. 

Such a vision accomplishes two things. One is to recognize the groundless power that nonviolence always exercises in social life.

Which is zero unless backed by money.  

The other is to acknowledge it has no boundaries and can occur anywhere.

Like out acknowledging that Devji is rim jobbing Ansari Sahib everywhere and nowhere and at all times and never.  

Unlike peace, which ends where war begins,

but like wars which end when peace begins 

nonviolence does not exist in a mutually exclusive relationship with violence

coz it is giving rim job to Ansari Sahib  

but can emerge from it.

like the shit which emerges from Ansari Sahib's anus.  

 Nonviolence possesses a universality that peace or anti-violence does not,

but which Devji's rim jobbing of Ansari Sahib has in greater measure 

because it is true everywhere and can be withdrawn from violence at any time to cause its collapse.

Actually, that's exactly what just happened in Afghanistan! America non-violently withdrew from violence in that country. This has caused violence to collapse though no doubt some people still get shot or blown to pieces.  

Nonviolence, furthermore,

like Devji's incessant rim-jobbing of Ansari 

is defined neither by a phenomenology nor by any measuring-out of hurt and pain.

Or the swallowing of feces.  

Instead it is represented by actions that seek to convert violence by inviting its force in a kind of wager.

Sadly, 'rough trade' demands to be paid the going rate. The fact is, the one way to get thugs not to beat you up is to shriek 'I bet you 50 pence you can't kick me in the testicles till I jizz my pants!'  

Such acts are marked by the purity of their means, which, as Balibar notes, must be scrupulously maintained so as to prevent their ends from being compromised by the violence that would otherwise be perpetuated.

So, don't jizz your pants while being beaten. That's what the elderly French dude is saying- right? Foucault would so not have approved.  

If nonviolence possesses no phenomenological character,

though it must do if it is itself a 'phenomena'- i.e. corresponds to an intention, representation or other mental state.  

this is surely because violence as the condition from which it proceeds is also abstract and difficult to define.

No. If Ahimsa is a 'yama'- a restraint- then it has a ready to hand representation or intention which however is unconnected to any 'niyama'. Thus, a little kid going off to school to learn to read and rite and do rithmetic doesn't actually start doing any of those things on his first day or week- or, in my case, first few years- there. Instead he learns things like sitting still rather than screaming hysterically and running around shitting all over the place. These 'restraints' are the first thing the kid has to master. Once he has done so he may actually learn to read and write and so forth.  Or so I have been told. 

Of course, the same thing can be said about learning to be a soldier or learning Karate. You first have to restrain and discipline yourself before being taught how to kill a guy with your bare hands. 

However, no great difficulty arises in defining what 'niyamas' you should acquire after you have restrained yourself by the appropriate 'yamas'. 

Balibar addresses the problem of differentiating structural from other forms of violence by turning to cruelty or excessive violence as the issue to be addressed by anti-violence.

The Law does this perfectly well. There is a 'reasonable person test'. Senile Marxists can't shed any light on this subject.  

Among the criteria defining excessive violence, he mentions its victims' preference for death over life

how about Paradise with lots of virgins over being stuck in a dead-end job? 

as well as its own anti-utilitarian form.

What could be more utilitarian on getting your hands on 72 Virgins- more particularly if you are the seventy second. 

For the first criterion, Balibar has the suicide bomber in mind, whose act he describes as occurring in a context of asymmetric power and therefore as being nihilistic.

From Balibar's p.o.v- sure. But this is 'altruistic suicide' which may bring the bomber's family money and status.  

The second criterion may also refer to the Islamic militant alongside other actors whose actions go beyond instrumental rationality.

Till Biden runs away from Kabul weeping hysterically.  

I want to suggest that these examples of excessive violence can be domesticated in the idea of nonviolence insofar as it is able to claim the virtue which nevertheless serves them as a foundation.

But this is only insofar as Devji can feel he is leading the Dandi Salt March while giving Ansari Sahib a rim-job.  

Commenting on the suicidal assassins of the anticolonial struggle in his own day, Gandhi was clear that what Balibar considers nihilistic about their violence was in fact what recommended itself to him.

There were no 'suicidal assassins' then. Some assassins did get caught- like Godse- but some got away. An American captured Godse. It may be the fellow wanted the publicity of a trial. The day may come when that nutter is considered a greater hero than the nutter he killed.  

He saw in the willingness to die the supreme form of nonviolent action,

just as he saw it in the act of killing a daughter who might become the victim of rape provided of course the father immediately surrendered his own backside to the would be rapist as compensation.  

and he thought that it required the greatest struggle for violence to master it.

Also he thought not jizzing when sleeping naked with your grand-niece meant you were one super-duper Mahatma.  

It was in fact this imperfect struggle to master sacrifice that made their violence so excessive, because it had to forcibly join killing and dying into the same act.

Though every act of violence carries some risk of retaliation. It makes sense for an untrained person to use excessive violence whereas a professional would do the job cleanly and economically. 

The task of nonviolence, then, was not to prefer “utilitarian” over “nonutilitarian” violence, but instead to reclaim the latter's sacrificial character from the uncertain grasp of violence.

Though the sacrifice was originally the thing you killed upon the altar.  Were I a samurai, the sword would only becomes unsteady in my grasp when I have to perform seppuku. At that point, I decide I'd rather be a geisha. 

Balibar recognizes that violence and nonviolence are linked,

in the same way that I am Balibar because I'm not and Balibar is me because he isn't and we thus remain as indissolubly linked as are Devji's lips and Ansari's rectum.  

and that, as Gandhi held, it is this connection that allows one to transit into the other.

Sadly, this is nonsense. Violence is a learned skill- like being good at Chemistry. A History Professor is a non-Chemist but practicing non-Chemistry won't allow him to transition into being a Chemist. 

He focuses on the “force” or “violence” shared by these categories.

But they aren't shared at all.  

But the Mahatma thought that they were in fact linked by sacrifice and so nonviolence, whose withdrawal from violence would therefore cause the latter's collapse.

There was a theory that the Shrauta warrior was bound not to kill cows but could kill people while on a cattle raiding expedition. However this vow was reversed when he returned triumphantly to organize a big sacrifice to the Gods. This was a silly theory but then Indology was particularly silly when it went through a structuralist phase. 

For Balibar, force or violence might be a problematic category, but it is one that is nevertheless necessary for a politics dedicated to social justice.

Which has achieved zilch because it is shit. 

By contrast, for Gandhi, who was fully aware of the ineluctable character of violence as a structural as much as a historical fact, it was sacrificial nonviolence that could alone interrupt it through processes of renunciation and withdrawal leading to conversion.

but only so long as rich peeps kept giving him money for his crackpot schemes. 

Sacrifice in Gandhi's view represented the surest means of nonviolence.

He was always urging people to sacrifice their money or jewelry so that he could have more cash to piss against some stupid wall or other.  

He saw collective life as being made possible by sacrifices of all kinds, whether among relatives, friends, coreligionists, fellow-citizens, or even strangers. He saw sacrifice, not contract, as the fundamental social relationship, and he was critical of the latter because it could only be achieved by interests founded in the idea of property.

Sell all you have and give me the proceeds. 

Gandhi claimed that property could only serve as the basis for violence and

founding could only serve as the basis of losting and losting could only serve as the serving of service till property's loss of self-possession 

doubted that all social relations could be mediated by its possessive ideal. Interest had its place in law and politics but was unable to define social relations altogether, which still depended on the kind of sacrifice whose structure has received anthropological attention and has been discussed largely in terms of gift and potlatch.

Coz Gandhi read Marcel Mauss- right? But that shite was only translated into English a few years after Gandhi ate a bullet. Potlatch has never existed in India. It may have been a feature of some North American tribe whose social order had collapsed because the European had brought Old World diseases but it didn't exist in India.

These and other forms of sacrifice could be co-opted by the violence exercised in families, states, or religions but never fully owned by it, representing instead the privileged sites from which it could be converted into nonviolence.

So- non-existent forms of sacrifice could be converted into a nonviolence that didn't exist. Cool. 

This was because such renunciations could not be defined by the utilitarian categories of self-interest

Sadly, any behavior at all can be shown to be defined by a utility function.  

or, indeed, of interest itself, whose logic of instrumentality Gandhi thought violent by definition.

So everything is violence including non-violence especially if some logic or thought is involved. 

For to be workable, interests required a society whose relations were fully mediated by property.

But anything mediated by property is violence and all interests are violence so everything workable is violence and thus Society is just violence and all relations are relations of violence.  

But this meant that self-interest could also manifest itself in the “voluntary servitude” that Gandhi thought made colonialism acceptable to its subjects through their desire for security or commodities. It is not death and life but interest and sacrifice that we can map onto the distinction between violence and nonviolence.

Cool. Murder is not violence and spending your time killing people aint violent behavior. Any rational or interested behavior is violence but sacrificing your neighbors to Hecate is non-violence.  

As for the nonutilitarian character that gives excessive violence its name,

e.g taking your time copulating with the empty eye socket of your victim while he screams  

it bears comparison to the noninstrumental action that is meant to define nonviolence as a practice that refuses to sacrifice means for ends.

Cool. Sodomizing the eye socket of your victim is equivalent to Gandhian satyagraha. 

The contrary sacrifice of ends for means, therefore, permits cruelty to be converted into nonviolence because the two share a nonutilitarian logic.

Once you have decapitated your victim, sodomizing his eye-socket adds little utility. It represents excessive cruelty. Facile says it is pure Gandhian non-violence. Why? If you do something utterly useless you are doing something very Gandhian. Facile doesn't get that though Gandhi was a useless tosser he was wasn't sodomizing the eye sockets of his victims. He wasn't excessively cruel- merely excessively shit.  

Both Balibar and Arjun Appadurai see in such “useless” violence not the prior causality of social, political, or other kinds of difference, but rather the opposite.

May their eye-sockets be sodomized in a non-utilitarian way. 

In an essay on religious violence in India focusing on the apparently pointless, lengthy, and exhausting practice of disembowelment, Appadurai argues that at stake in this practice is an “epistemological” anxiety about finding the enemy's alien essence in a familiar body.

He would argue no such thing if he was subject to it. On the other hand, it is a good idea to disembowel your victims if you are planning to hang them up as a warning to others. This is because you want to get all the shit out of the cadaver so it does not stink up the place more than necessary.  

The violence that Appadurai describes is driven by identification. Its Muslim victims are mimicked by their Hindu attackers, who rehearse the history of Islamic conquest

Devji seems to take a very dark view of 'Islamic conquest'. On the other hand, so do ISIS. 

through “medieval” practices like ripping out fetuses from the bodies of pregnant women and spearing them on swords. Children are made to swallow petrol, after which lit matches are placed in their mouths, so that they explode like miniature suicide bombers. Muslim violence against Hindus, when not characterized by stone-pelting and hand-to-hand fighting for control over neighborhoods, is modeled on the high-tech practices of global jihad movements in its reliance on bombs. This is also due to the demographic and political differences that prevent Muslims from enacting the Dionysian spectacles favored by their enemies.

But this is perfectly Gandhian because it is excessive violence. What is insupportable is the surgical drone strike. Obama is the only bad guy here. The violence he used against Osama wasn't excessive at all. According to Devji, that's a bad thing.

It is important to note the novelty of these practices. Such violence once occurred and was understood as part of a logic of retaliatory equivalence. Today this informal contract survives only in the efforts of each group to match or exceed its rival's death toll.

The West is evil because it killed more bad guys than the bad guys managed to kill innocent Westerners. Why couldn't Obama just concentrate on disemboweling and sodomizing the eye sockets of Osama and his family? The truth is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not understand Gandhi properly. Thus people like Obama were violent while Osama & Co were non-violent- according to the logic of these worthless cretins. 

Their violent practices have otherwise diverged substantially from one another and taken on an increasingly global rather than national character. Yet instead of implying the increasing distinctiveness of both parties, this process does the opposite, turning cruelty into an act of mourning for a vanished foe.

If the foe has truly vanished, then she is beyond the reach of cruelty.  

Appadurai's depiction of such violence as an epistemological inquiry leads us to recognize

that he has shit for brains probably because he disemboweled himself, chortling gleefully, before cracking open his own skull and pouring shit into it.  

how the enemy lost to the past in Pakistan or to the future in global Islam comes to be embodied in the mimetics of Hindu nationalism.

These guys think Modi spends all his time disemboweling Muslims. That's why he is Prime Minister. No wonder his foreign policy is so successful! Kamala Harris wants to learn from Modi how to do the thing with yet more excessive violence so as to become greater than Mahatma Gandhi. 

Animated by the search for and impersonation of difference, excessive violence emerges from a perverse recognition of what Balibar calls the common.

Perversity is involved- sho' nuff. But the thing aint common at all.  

Gandhi had feared that making what is held in common into a collective identity would end up provoking violence through its demand for similarity.

But if that violence was excessive and involved disemboweling and copulating with eye sockets then it would turn into non-violence more particularly if it involved human sacrifices to Hecate.  

He thought such identifications not only produced differences in order to eliminate them, but also made for the lawless cruelty of a violence produced by their very loss.

Devji is saying Gandhi was an evil lunatic. 

The Mahatma even rejected a politics based on the idea of biological or human commonality as being nothing more than the expansion of a racist logic of similarity and similitude, something I am reminded of in one of Balibar's earlier essays.  But my reason for dwelling on the anxiety produced by the loss or absence of difference and otherness lies not in Gandhi's time but our own.

My argument so far has been that any effort to replace nonviolence as a negative form with some more positive antagonist of violence falls into a dualistic logic.

It is a shit argument. Having a well disciplined Police and Army means that violence is put down by a legal or protocol bound juristic process which is 'buck stopped'. There is no 'mimesis', 'mirroring', or 'dualistic logic' here. Why? Because the protocols involved arise out of Law & Economics, not Crime or Domination. True, these nutters can say 'Law is Crime', 'Free Market exchanges are actually Rape and Robbery of a heinous kind'. But we can reply 'You have shit for brains. You aren't teaching Political Philosophy or History or whatever. You are a fucking cretin who is acting as a child-minder to a credential seeking cunt who, if her ambitions are fulfilled, will waste her life in some sycophantic career which adds negative value to the polity. 

For violence depends on the creation of some object or other, even if not an enemy, against which force can be mobilized.

Thus the Creator is the cause of violence. Fuck you Mummy & Daddy! Fuck you very much! 

This happens even and especially when such objects or others are not immediately available,

e.g when Muslims are not available for Modi to disembowel in front of Kamala Harris 

as Appadurai's essay shows so nicely and as I will claim is generally the case today. By refusing this dualistic structure, nonviolence lodges itself at the heart of violence, in the form of a potential that also robs it of positivity.

And rapes it of its anality.  

What nonviolence sacrifices is therefore the very possibility of otherness, which under capitalist conditions is apprehended as an interest to be included in contracts if not eliminated.

Great stupidity would have the same quality as would the condition of being brain-dead. 

The loss of difference in the global arena is also compensated by the impersonation of difference to avoid the terror of a common violence.

Very true! BoJo is pretending to be a fat white man. Actually he is a slim Rohingya woman.  

Carl Schmitt, for instance, thought that

Hitler was super-cool, till it was no longer safe to say so 

any politics conducted in the name of humanity would define and eliminate its enemies as inhuman.

Actually, the Morgenthau plan could have reduced Germany to an agricultural region.  

He was nostalgic for the regulated wars between European states that had in the past minimized violence by expelling it to the colonies and guaranteed freedom through the pluralism of war-making within the international order. Civil war represented a breakdown of this pluralistic order in the unregulated violence of the common. And Schmitt was particularly concerned with what he called the global civil war made possible by the Soviet Union's attempts to universalize class conflict.

He should have been grateful to Stalin but for whom the Morgenthau plan would have been implemented. Germans would have been a cheap source of labor for Latin America or South Africa. 

At issue is not how realistic this idea was, but how a global civil war in which legal and political boundaries count for nothing has become thinkable.

Fuck off! Once the Hydrogen bombs start going off there won't be no fucking civil war. Everybody will just fucking die.  

And I would like to suggest that it is this possibility that has brought nonviolence to the fore in contemporary debates, since the term refuses to lend itself to a politics of oppositional equivalence.

No. The utter uselessness of 'Critical theory'- i.e. pretending to be a Leftie in a shitty University Department- has caused senile shitheads to babble all sorts of stupid shite. 

This is surely why Balibar needs to reinforce and redefine it by turning to anti-violence, while at the same time being unable to reject nonviolence altogether. The idea of civil war, in other words, provides another crucial point at which violence and nonviolence overlap, or at least a moment in which the latter can be revealed as a nonoppositional and even nonontological figure.

Is this true of any polity where a civil war currently rages? No. Ashraf Ghani was a professor who specialized in failed states. His own State just failed. Would he have learned anything from Balibar? Don't be silly. Ghani may have been stupid but he wasn't as stupid as any of the senile hacks Devji invokes.

A 'non-topological' figure is one which does not belong to any relevant set or space.  To say x is non-topological is to say that it doesn't exist in a particular context. It is no great revelation to say non-violence is severely missing where there is violence. Yet this is the opposite of what Devji has been arguing all along. 

For conceptualized as an internal struggle in which all sides share a common identity,

Oikeiosis- not identity. They belong together but have distinct identities- e.g. abolitionist Yankee v Slave Owning Dixiecrat both of whom are American by birth. 

civil war undoes ontologically thick distinctions between friend and enemy,

No. It reinforces them.  

insider and outsider, similarity and difference, to say nothing about the rivalry of liberal interests. And in doing so it recognizes violence and nonviolence as intimates.

No. It recognizes that only violence qualifies the combatant. A Civil War may rage with a large section of the population- recognized as non-combatants- left unscathed though no doubt they may have to contribute goods and services to whoever is living off their land.  

Schmitt thought the emergence of a global arena for political action was most clearly conceptualized in communism, which put the freedom and plurality of Euro-American politics as it had hitherto been understood into question. Such a politics had been guaranteed by the possibility of war waged within territorial bounds and juridical limits, at least in the West if not elsewhere. Without these limits, one would end up either with a world-state lacking politics or in a global civil war amounting to much the same thing. This would be a world defined by what is held in common, a set of conflicts that can no longer differentiate themselves either juridically or territorially by drawing boundaries so as to create a “Nomos of the Earth.”

Schmitt was silly. He didn't get that Law and Economics are about what is 'multiply realizable'. There can be no 'Nomos of the Earth' precisely because resource allocation under a rule of law can yield many different configurations and growth paths. 

Still, Schmitt was seen as a lapsed Catholic who was on our side in the Cold War.  

The global civil war threatened by communism never materialized, because

of a balance of terror between NATO and the Warsaw pact 

it was thwarted by a capitalist ordering of the world.

Communist China rose by using free market methods. It remains to be seen how this story ends. 

And the emergence of civil war as a global form in the post-colonial world was also forestalled.

By what? Armies and Police forces which killed or locked up insurgents- unless the insurgents won and did the same thing to those who opposed them. 

Gandhi was not alone in claiming that the struggle between Hindus and Muslims in the run-up to India's and Pakistan's independence had taken on the character of a civil war.

Yet, such was not the case. There was a lawful interim Government and then a lawful agreement to Partition the country. Nevertheless, there was ethnic cleansing on both sides because of 'land hunger' as well as a desire to create majoritarian districts.

He typically also preferred it to the negotiated contract of partition, which has resulted in the repeated staging of this frustrated civil war in genocidal forms of religious violence.

There was no Civil War because once the two new Armies were put in the field against insurgents, the insurgents shat themselves and ran away.  

Other parts of the world also saw the occurrence of civil wars that were folded into the narrative of anticolonial struggles, producing new states in places like Vietnam, Korea, and Algeria.

There was a Cold War aspect to Vietnam and Korea. The French abandoned Algeria. 

The postcolonial moment, which began in 1947 with the independence of India and Pakistan, ended

in 1950 or a little later as these countries became Republics 

in 1971 when their conflict led to the independence of Bangladesh, created out of another partition.

This had nothing to do with colonialism. 

Emerging from a civil war still not called by that name,

because it was no such thing 

Bangladesh signaled the end of the postcolonial moment because its nationality was defined not against European imperialism but instead against the postcolonial state itself.

Rubbish! Its nationality was defined by Religion and Language just as it had been in 1905. This Bengali Muslim state broke away from a Punjabi/Pakhtoon dominated Military Regime because, at that time, the Bengalis were more numerous and would have taken power after the first proper general election in that country.

Since its independence, most geopolitical conflicts and the new states they occasionally give rise to have resulted from civil wars of this kind,

which kind? 'Post Colonial'? But that is clearly false in each of the cases listed. 

helped of course by external forces. And these have only proliferated after the Cold War, beginning in Yugoslavia

where there were previous ethnic and religious divisions which were well known.

and including Afghanistan,

ethnic divisions 

Rwanda,

ethnic divisions 

Congo,

ethnic divisions 

Sudan,

ethnic divisions 

Egypt,

there has been no Civil War in Egypt.  

Iraq,

ethnic divisions 

Syria,

ethnic divisions 

Yemen,

religious divisions 

and Libya.

outside interference and a tussle over who gets the oil wells. 

The post–Cold War period has seen the generalization of civil war with the collapse of a “nomos of the earth,”

There was never any such thing. 

making for a political reality that influences even countries not riven by such wars, of which the violence Appadurai describes in India

where Modi keeps disemboweling Muslims and Kamala Harris turns up to watch and learn 

provides the miniaturized illustration. If such violence is no longer confined to the nation-state either in its practice or in its imagination, this is because there is no escape from the novel conflicts that mark the post–Cold War world, which Balibar defines as being fully subsumed by capital. From the globalization of Islamic protest and militancy to the global war on terror and the anti-war protests it gave rise to, these new movements take the globe as their arena and find it difficult to draw lines between us and them.

So, we're all fucked coz Balibar sez so.  

In a global arena no longer ordered by rival superpowers and their respective allies, conflict takes on the character of a civil war.

No it doesn't. Either the State is cohesive enough to lock up bad guys or else there is armed conflict on the basis of ethnic divisions.  

This has led to the apparent resurgence of racist, religious, and nationalist violence.

Where? In Oxford? Of course. This guy keeps getting his throat slit there. Still, at least his lips are firmly attached to Ansari Sahib's asshole.  

These identities have not sprung to life from some hibernation but represent a phantasmatic recycling of past differences in a situation where they can no longer be naturalized.

This stupid shit is just the recycling of the Left's warmed up sick from fifty years ago. 

The mimetic relationships these movements create with their enemies are instructive in this regard, as when anti-Islam activists take on the fears of conquest and conversion that have since colonial times bedeviled Muslim revolutionaries.

But anti-Islam activists existed immediately there were any pro-Islam activists. Hindus dominated what is now India before the Brits did so. Sadly, the Hindus weren't much better at running things than the Muslims so John Company became the 'Stationary Bandit'. Marx initially approved but was then persuaded by the Chartist poet Ernst Jones that 'Sepoys' might bring down the Bourgeoisie. The opposite was the case. India preferred British rule to Sepoy Mutinies. It was in this context that the Congress Moderates pushed Gandhi forward as the apostle of non-violence. That's it. That's the whole story. The odd thing is that Stalin could grasp the situation easily enough. Stupid Professors still don't get it.  

Similarly, the right takes on leftist arguments about inclusion, discrimination, and rights, now claimed for white majorities facing demographic dilution.

But England first put in racist immigration laws in 1905. This was supported by the one Indian MP in Parliament at the time. Does Devji really not know that there was a popular movement to repatriate people who looked like him or me back in the Fifties and Sixties?  

Following the Me Too movement for gender justice, anti-racist protest is the latest example of Schmitt's civil war as a struggle of, by, and for what is common, though it can also be described by Derrida's characterization of violence in the global arena as an autoimmune response.

Or it could simply be described as 'wokeness' gone mad.  

Today's conflicts invoke issues that range from the environment to gender, race, religion, nationality, and occasionally class.

Meanwhile the Chinese push us down in the playground and eat our lunch. The Extinction Rebellion will collapse when Putin turns off the gas and leaves Europe to freeze this winter.  

This violence of the common is defined not by difference so much as by its absence,

i.e. it is crazy shit.  

and with it that of the interests and contractual relations that once held liberal politics in place with their logic of ownership. The suicide bomber provides a crucial example of this by sharing the death of his victim, having first shared his ideas and identity as well. It is in this world without duality that the negative vision of nonviolence may be making a comeback.

Devji thinks 'duality' ends if you get blown up along with a suicide bomber. Suppose she was slim and young, then- in death- you too would be slim and young and have a vagina rather than a dick.  

The violence

which doesn't exist 

that characterizes a global civil war

which doesn't exist 

as the inability

which doesn't exist 

to confine politics to capitalism's world of interest and contract is defined by

some stupid nonsense which does not exist viz. 

the manufacture and sacrifice of others to make old selves possible, well expressed by the slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Or by Biden's promise to contain China. 

The generalization of civil war, then, provides the matrix within which violence can pass over into nonviolence, because it has undermined capitalism's logic of difference to bring together two kinds of sacrifice.

No. The generalization of civil society- not civil war- has this role. War, like Violence, is costly. It does not undermine 'capitalism' logic' (which has to do with raising allocative and dynamic efficiency'). It raises it to new heights. But War is also about kill-rates. Asymmetric 'sacrifice' is what ends war. Equal sacrifice characterizes peaceful progress under a civil society which can become a part of the comity of nations.

What I am saying here is common sense. Marx may have thought revolting proles or sepoys or whatever might make things better but the proles or sepoys saw for themselves that this was not the case. Critical theory collapsed because where there is no illness, there can be no crisis. As for talk about 'world systems'- any cretin can do it though only David Icke has made mega-bucks by writing about it. 

The violent attempt to sacrifice rather than include or contractually engage the other

like what happens when you try to sacrifice your neighbor's child to Hecate 

has, in the process, come into close proximity with the nonviolent sacrifice of otherness itself along with its capitalist mediation in interest and contract.

in other words, by killing kids as a blood sacrifice to demented Gods, you have come in close proximity to the saintliness of a Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa. This pisses off the Capitalist bastards. Pay them no mind. You are now just a step away from Canonization! 

And it is in this proximity that a conversion can occur.

No. To get converted from the path of sin, first we must exercise restraint (yama). Thus if you get help for your drug addiction you can slowly give up your thoughts about sacrificing kids to Hecate. Then you can get a job and start learning to be more productive and helpful to others. Finally, you may start practicing positive religious or moral injunctions (niyama) such that you devote more time to meditation and charitable work. Finally you can give up a materialist conception of life and devote yourself to spiritual service. At this point, your conversion- by the Grace of God- can occur.

Alternatively, just listen to your ancestral spiritual preceptor and work hard and give to charity. Don't bother with 'political philosophy'. It is stupid shit.