As a case in point, consider Huzaifa Omair Siddiqi who writes good English. Sadly this disqualifies him from becoming a Professor of that language. Sensing this, he is seeking greener pastures for bullshit.
After the Great Demonetisation of 2016, I really did expect that the new banknotes would have the faces of people other than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. That was not to be, of course. It is still his face which peers out at us from every banknote. In a way this eternal union of Gandhi and the Indian currency
Huzaifa is too young to remember that Mahatma Gandhi only began appearing on currency after 1996. There was no 'eternal union'.
is symptomatic. Both of them are universally acceptable abstractions whose primary function is to reduce difference to diversity.
But every single Republic in the world has a picture of its Founding Father on its currency. Pakistani currency has Jinnah, Bangladeshi currency has Sheikh Mujib. While Bandarnaike's held power, Solomon Bandarnaike's portrait adorned Sri Lankan currency.
It is foolish to suggest that Indian currency serves some different function from Pakistani or Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan currency.
Clearly, Gandhi was not 'universally acceptable'. That's why Pakistan went its own way.
Money does bridge over 'differences'. I suppose it is true to say that it exists because preference diversity exists. But such diversity reflects actual differences.
Differences sound dangerous. Expressed as diversity on the other hand, they are laudable. The allure of diversity lies in its ability to regulate rather than negate differences.
There is no need to regulate differences which don't have any negative consequences.
Totalitarian regimes view differences as something that need to be overcome and lead to the emergence of a homogeneous identity.
No they don't. Neither Stalin nor Mao abolished the difference between men and women or between babies and grown ups.
In such regimes, whether they be fascist or communist, there is a marked tendency to overcome differences through force.
No. There is a marked tendency to kill opponents and fuck over dissenters.
Differences are expressed here in the form of contradictions.
No. A man may contradict himself in the course of a brief speech. But he is not different from himself.
A contradiction generally offers the choice between two or more incompatible realities,
No it doesn't. It merely means an inconsistency in a statement. Marxian contradiction refers to the coexistence of social forces allegedly opposed to each other.
some of which must supersede the others.
Unless everything current is superseded by something entirely novel.
In totalitarian regimes contradictions have to be overcome, which usually meant the liquidation of entire populations.
Nonsense. Only actual or possible opponents have to be liquidated. Others should be enslaved.
Contrasted with such a totalitarian view of difference, Gandhi’s commitment to diversity can be seen in his ability to live and breathe his contradictions.
No it can't. He wanted everybody to do what he wanted. Of course, if they chased him away he didn't fight back because he was shit at fighting.
He thereby showed everyone how these differences were not contradictions at all, but only diversity.
No. He showed everyone that the Indian National Congress was a High Caste Hindu outfit. On the other hand, he said that Hindu Punjabis and Gurkhas were just like Muslims. If the Brits left, they'd all get together to fuck over the Congress wallahs. I'm not kidding. He wrote this in 1939 after the War had begun.
Despite the absolute correctness of his position, Gandhi is still the name for a philosophical impasse.
For crap philosophy anything and everything is an aporia. Gandhi poses no difficulty for philosophy. We can easily separate out the alethic from the imperative elements in his oeuvre and refer them to open questions in the Natural Sciences so as to distinguish what is metaphysics from what was mere stupidity. Provided there is a soteriological core to Gandhism, this is easily done.
The only way to avoid the erasure of differences that occurs in contradiction,
there is no such erasure or sous rature. The differences remain though what precisely they are may not yet be clear.
is to posit diversity as their regulation.
Why not posit the neighbor's cat as the regulation of the aporia of the catechresis of the Post Kristevan Chora? That's what all the cool kids were doing back when I was at skool.
However differences are maintained here in an absolute state of indifference, shorn of their singularity, formally reduced to the same.
Food is diverse. After digestion, it is a homogenous turd. That's all that this sort of philosophy does.
Difference in itself can have no political consequences without being anchored in one of these two forms of identity.
Nonsense! Rivalry has political consequences even if no 'difference' is discernible. The median voter theorem or Hotelling's principle explains why. Mimetic desire is not about difference. It is a big driver of political activity.
Totalitarianism completely denies difference to the extent that it has to seek it out and eliminate it.
No. It only eliminates opposition or potential opposition. It generally seeks to increase the difference between Party members and the hoi polloi.
Liberal democracy on the other hand encourages the proliferation of difference
No. It may tolerate it but then again it may prune it back through compulsory education and laws restricting the conduct of enterprises and what is required of employees. Indeed, it can impose rules re. what can and can't be worn in public.
but only through the prism of the neutral site which regulates it.
The good thing about liberal democracy is that there is no 'prism'. Prison, yes. Prism no.
Thus liberal democracy gives us an abstract equality
nope. It can give equality before the law. But that is subject to resource constraints.
in place of a radical one;
you are welcome to have radical equality provided you don't run around naked with a radish up your bum in a manner that scares the horses.
an abstract difference, in place of an annihilative one.
There is no abstract difference in a liberal democracy. We are welcome to ignore shitheads who talk in that silly way. Obviously, the best way to ignore cretins is to corral them in some shite University Dept.
Who recognised this dilemma for what it is almost immediately if not the one thinker of whom Gandhi almost joyfully said, “Thank God, he is singularly alone”— Dr. B.R. Ambedkar?
This is a thinker who became a Boddhisatta, which is several steps up from a mere Mahatma, and has more than one huge pilgrimage complex named for him in U.P.
How did Ambedkar scale such heights? The answer is that he didn't waste his time recognizing false dilemmas. He was absolutely committed to his own community and, as it rises, it honors him for it. So long as Dalits continue to do rise up- which they have done on their own merit- Ambedkar's place in the Indian pantheon will rise. A thousand years from now, he may be remembered as the reviver of Buddhism in its heartland. He will have undone what the Turks did.
The absence of any serious engagement with Ambedkar as a philosopher in the Indian academy has coincided
with that academy turning to shit. It is easy enough to construct an Ambedkarite Economics like a Keynesian or Marxist Economics, on the basis of recent advances in maths and computing and so forth. But that immediately gets you to open problems which are philosophical in Collingwood's sense. After all, Ambedkar was educated in the Pragmatic tradition- C.S Pierce's semiotics wasn't idiotic- but he read Collingwood and was familiar with the issues surrounding 'methodenstreit'. He visited London frequently and was aware of how this was changing research methodology.
Why won't the Indian academy do stuff like this? It is too stupid. Subaltern Studies & Postcolonial theory was a way to emigrate somewhere nice where affirmative action could get you tenure.
for many decades with the dominance of postcolonial theory. The latter has quite correctly affirmed diversity and denied the totalitarian nature of contradiction whether it borrow the discourse of dogmatic Marxism, ethno-nationalism, or colonial ‘Progress’. However the choice that it gives us, between diversity and contradiction, is quite properly speaking a false one. What if difference is neither static nor negative but annihilative?
Like what? Al Qaeda? ISIS? Those guys can be killed.
What would this annihilative difference look like,
Hopefully, it would look like Osama bin Laden after the SEALs were finished with him.
and how would it be related to an equality no longer abstract but radical?
By being fucking dead.
While in the paradigm of contradiction, differences are meant to be overcome in favour of a future homogeneity,
That isn't Marx or Hegel. It isn't even Nietzsche's 'Last Man'. It is something this guy has pulled out of his arse.
in the paradigm of diversity differences are kept apart, insulated from each other in a sort of regulated stasis.
Fuck off! Diversity can be a melting pot as much as a salad bowl. Maybe this guy is thinking of Diversity as a zoo with every animal in a separate cage.
The philosophical question of difference in itself never becomes a political problem because it is always refracted through these two paradigms.
This is not Macron's view. He was Ricoeur's blue eyed boy. The fact is crap philosophy refracted through whatever paradigm or prism can still give rise to dangerous nuisances like 'Islamo-gauchisme' .
Is there another kind of politics where difference is intensified and neither denied nor regulated?
Yes. Over the last forty years, liberal democracies have intensified differences in Income and Wealth. We are pleased that Bezos or Musk has hundreds of billions because we believe they will do smarter things with that money than our politicians. We want cool new stuff- not equality or 'Social Justice'.
In point of fact there are thinkers from the Indian subcontinent who are engaged in developing a political project of difference in itself.
But they are shit.
This essay is simply my own attempt to nominate this project, which I call ‘Subcontinental philosophy’,
though nobody in Pakistan or Bangladesh or Nepal or Sri Lanka is doing that shit
and to describe how it differentiates itself from the earlier postcolonial theory which could not think difference outside of diversity.
Post colonial theory could only refer to thinkers who were born before Imperialism ended. If you want to gas on about recent 'scholars' who nobody in the West has heard off- because they are Professors of shite- you can't pretend Whitey brainwashed your ancestors to read them. You fucked yourself up of your own free will by subscribing to that nonsense. This isn't yet another crime Whitey must atone for by giving you tenure.
I will therefore take up two books, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Provincialising Europe (2000) and Aishwary Kumar’s Radical Equality (2015), to mark the immense difference between postcolonial theory and Subcontinental philosophy.
They are both shite but Dipshit seemed important because Bengal was still ruled by the left-front which did have a couple of buddhijivis in its ranks. Nobody can say that about Didi- whose PhD from East Georgia University is fake.
Two anecdotes from Provincialising Europe
Chakrabarty is one of the most important living postcolonial theorists and historians, a Professor at the University of Chicago whose abovementioned book is a minor classic in its own right. Chakrabarty’s major point in his book is that there are two histories- History 1 which is the “indispensable and universal narrative of capital” and History 2, which is an “affective” history, one of the lifeworld in which a person dwells. History 2 cannot be reduced to the totalising thrust of History 1, even though they are both inherent to capital. In the conclusion to Provincialising Europe, Chakrabarty provides us with two anecdotes that exemplarily prove his point.
The first anecdote is about the astronomer and mathematician A.A. Krishnaswami Ayyangar who in his spare time was an erudite astrologer; his son was the poet A.K. Ramanujan who recalled that he was “troubled by his holding together in one brain both astronomy and astrology”. To this his father replied, “don’t you know, the brain has two lobes?”.
A.K was as stupid as shit. He didn't know that Astrology is a focal solution to concurrency and coordination problems. His daddy, who was hoping for a Ramanujan type son, knew the fellow had no brains and would have to go in for Linguistics or some such shite. He was taunting his son by saying 'brain has two lobes' when everyone knows it has 4.
The second anecdote is about the scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1930, C.V. Raman, who would take a ritual bath before a solar eclipse.
It was a requirement of his religion. He didn't want his descendants to lack in marriage partners just because he omitted a harmless ritual.
These anecdotes, even if uncircumstantiated,
the cretin, who is doing a PhD in the English Dept. of JNU, means uncorroborated.
tell Chakrabarty that these men of science “did not need to totalize through the outlook of science all the different life-practices within which they found themselves and to which they felt called…
Nonsense! Both did totalize their life-project- which was to push Iyers down a path which, sadly, penalizes cretins like me just coz we be shit at math.
To provincialise Europe in historical thought is to struggle to hold in a state of permanent tension a dialogue between two contradictory points of view”.
No. It is to recognize that non STEM subject European pedants were- as most Europeans always recognized- stupid provincial cunts.
Perhaps this is the entire argument of Chakrabarty’s book condensed into a few sentences: contradictory life practices such as being both an astronomer and an astrologer can be maintained in a “state of permanent tension”.
There is absolutely no 'tension' involved in having 'oil bath' or looking up 'panchangam'. The thing reduces tension and makes for a harmonious family and social life. But so does going to work and doing well at your job.
Dipshit was Bengali. Maybe a 'buddhijivi' would have had conniptions about maintaining his family traditions while doing well in his profession. Us Iyers are made of sterner stuff. We pour ridicule on those who talk nonsense to us.
Chakrabarty notes that Ayyangar told his son, “don’t you know the brain has two lobes?” while Raman said “The Nobel Prize? That was science, a solar eclipse is personal”. The anecdotes detail situations where the force of a contradiction no longer holds.
There was no contradiction. Both actions were good for Raman's Iyer oikos. Perhaps, they contributed to each other. Suppose Raman was falsely implicated by a Police spy. My great grandfather would have made inquiries among the servants and then told his Boss 'the man does sandhyavandanam and takes oil bath. How can he be a Marxist nutjob?' An Iyer gains by being known for Iyer orthopraxy. So does a namazi Muslim or observant Catholic or whatever.
This absence of the force of contradiction illustrates almost perfectly the point made throughout his book: that the historicist project which lies at the base of colonial ideology has to be abandoned.
But colonialism disappeared long ago! Who the fuck is cherishing its 'base'?
This historicist project was justified by English thinkers of the 19th century like J.S.Mill who consigned colonised peoples to the ‘waiting room of history’.
The guy died long ago. Get over it.
The colonised were considered chronologically backward as compared to the colonisers. There was only one single plane of history whose logic always was the same- first in Europe, then elsewhere.
No European believed anything so foolish. Not even Marx.
Colonisation was thus justified as
it was profitable and increased National security.
it brought colonised peoples into history and allowed them to gradually progress towards the European ideal.
Nobody gave a shit about the colonized.
This ideologically coloured perspective on history was also put forward by Marxist historians like Eric Hobsbawm who described the Indian peasant insurgencies and rebellions of the 20th century as ‘prepolitical’ and ‘archaic’.
Hobsbawm was regarded as a clever Levantine but his politics was dismissed by the British working class as primitive- the sort of thing you could export to India but which English workers would not put up with.
For Hobsbawm, Chakrabarty writes, “Peasants’ actions, organized—more often than not—along the axes of kinship, religion, and caste, and involving gods, spirits, and supernatural agents as actors alongside humans, remained for him symptomatic of a consciousness that had not quite come to terms with the secular-institutional logic of the political”.
This is how us Brits thought of Miliband and Hobsbawm and so forth. You read them in Sixth Form but realized the thing was silly within a term of Collidge.
For Hobsbawm such contradictions needed to be resolved on a separate plane before the peasants’ actions could be considered actually ‘political’.
Yes. The thing should be done on a plane to Cancun for Spring Break.
Chakrabarty’s entire thesis is directed against such a reading. The existence of contradictions does not compel a movement towards some sort of resolution. It is perfectly possible that contradictions can remain frozen and suspended in a “state of permanent tension”. The significance of this philosophical decision on the contradiction must not be understated. Colonial and postcolonial subjects can now participate in their own particular traditions and ways of life while also being thoroughly involved in the universalising project of European modernity, even if doing so appears to be contradictory.
Modern Europe has no 'universalizing project'. We'd rather Indians do cutesy Indian stuff and Thais do cutesy Thai stuff and so forth.
Thus one can simultaneously be an astronomer and an astrologer without having to choose between these two seemingly incompatible professions.
No. One can't be an astrologer when one is doing astronomy or vice versa. You have to follow the professional rules of what you are doing, while you are doing it. But don't be an astronomer when you are doing cooking. You will burn the steak unless you concentrate.
The essential point is that the logical law ex contradictione quodlibet or ECQ (the principle of explosion which says that from a contradiction anything follows)
From a falsehood anything at all, as well as its opposite, can be deduced. But this is only true of formal axiomatic systems. Thankfully, the thing can be easily tamed by a Type theory.
has to be suspended. It might even be the case that from a contradiction nothing follows.
No. What follows is that the axiom system has to be changed.
Subaltern studies and diversity
Chakrabarty has been associated with the Subaltern Studies Group, which was founded in the 1980s by Ranajit Guha at the University of Sussex, a historian best known for his 1983 work, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India. Subaltern studies sought to describe the differences in the constitution of nationalism and politics in the postcolonial countries without subscribing to the idea of a “waiting room of history” where there would be an inevitable movement towards the European ideal of modernity.
But China had already turned against Maoism and discovered that what Marx actually said was 'to each according to his contribution'. Guha's moment had come and gone. But, to his credit, he had emigrated to England even before Niradh Chaudhri. Now he is holed up in Vienna.
Subaltern Studies was part of the attempt to develop a theory of difference without contradiction.
It was shit. Still, it got some cretins tenure at a time when Bengal still had a Communist Government and people believed these cretins might come in useful.
Chakrabarty writes, “European history is no longer seen as embodying anything like a ‘universal human history’.”
Marx himself said America was more advanced than Europe.
This relegation of European history from the status of the universal model was a result of
Europe fucking itself up in two world wars. It gained peace only once American and Soviet troops were stationed on its soil. The Soviets are gone. The Americans are still here.
the rejection of historicism, which “came to non-European peoples in the nineteenth century as somebody’s way of saying “not yet” to somebody else”.
These cretins think that saying stuff causes stuff to happen. The truth is India stopped being British at exactly the moment when Britain stopped being able to protect it. The French and the Dutch and the Portuguese tried fighting a rearguard action. The Brits were too smart to do so.
It is perfectly possible that contradictions cannot just co-exist but even thrive. The peasant revolts were indifferent to the contradictions imposed upon them by European categories of the separation of the political from the religious or spiritual.
No kidding! Peasants do tend to be indifferent to the works of Kant and Hegel. But that is also true of Europeans and Americans and everybody else.
Chakrabarty approvingly cites Guha’s work as saying that
“this peasant-but-modern political sphere was not bereft of the agency of gods, spirits, and other supernatural beings
you are welcome to affirm this if you believe gods and spirits and ghosts can actually do stuff. But, if so, why waste your time studying at Uni? Become a witch-doctor or Shaman instead.
…Guha’s statement recognized this subject as modern, however, and hence refused to call the peasants’ political behavior or consciousness ‘prepolitical’. He insisted that instead of being an anachronism in a modernizing colonial world, the peasant was a real contemporary of colonialism, a fundamental part of the modernity that colonial rule brought to in India.”
India still has plenty of peasants and even some hunter-gatherer tribals. Viceroys, however, are thin on the ground.
Contradictions in historicist discourse always entail
recognizing they are nonsense. Logically they entail every cat being a dog
a movement from one state to the other. When they are substituted by difference, what results is as Chakrabarty said, a “state of permanent tension”.
Only in the sense that all dogs are in a state of permanent tension preventing them turning fully into cats.
It is entirely correct to abandon the logical movement of the contradiction in history.
Stop babbling historicist shite- unless you are paid to say 'everybody will convert to our religion sooner or later'.
However, what is the end result if not some kind of stasis?
It is evolution on an uncertain fitness landscape till an extinction event supervenes
Differences exist but insulated from each other, isolated into separate lobes of the brain.
This is the discourse of diversity. Postcolonial studies, especially as distilled in Chakrabarty’s book, manifests its intense commitment to the liberal democratic project of diversity.
There is no such project.
What it disavows, however, is its own position, the neutral site from which alone diversity can be proclaimed.
Anyone can proclaim any shite from any site whatsoever.
What is more astonishing than Chakrabarty’s blindness to the caste angle here – it is no coincidence that both Ayyangar and Raman are Tamil Brahmins –
Tam Brams went in for Science rather than 'Political Philosophy' and liked to draw attention to their orthopraxy. V.S Naipaul noticed this when he visited Madras almost sixty years ago.
is the way he reduces difference to diversity.
What difference is involved here? Lots of Sciencey guys were orthodox in Religion. Many weren't. This made no difference.
This is in fact a very common move for postcolonial theorists and one which strangely enough mirrors the way caste as a social and political formation functions.
Nonsense! The DMK got elected in the Sixties and suddenly Tam Brams started pretending they ate meat and drank wine. Unlike 'postcolonial theorists' D.M.K ideologues changed their society. One result is that Tamil Nadu is more industrialized and affluent than Bengal. People used to laugh at Dravidian ideologues who believed in an ancient Lemuria and who considered the Tamil language divine. But, in power, the Dravidian parties did smart things- or less stupid things then the well educated Bengalis. We may soon have a Chief Minister named Stalin. But his ideology is wholly indigenous and wins support because we actually are Tamil and do genuinely think Tamil to be divine- as divine as Mum and Dad.
Differences are isolated from each other, sometimes with extreme violence.
So are non-differences. Many criminals are kept away from their peers by violent prison guards.
Diversity, which is a laudable civilisational achievement on one level,
It is wholly economic. Either resources are so scarce that only mode of existence is possible or there is division of labor and specialization and international trade and that's how you get diversity. Of course, if there's a lot of oil or uranium under your soil, you don't have to do very much. The diversity comes to you.
conceals the force of an immense and machinic regulation whereby difference is absolutely regulated through the positing of a neutral site.
Nope. You just have a Police force with an Army for back up. Nothing is 'absolutely regulated' because regulation costs money.
Projects that otherwise function so differently, like Gandhi’s village as the caste ideal, Nehruvian secularism, and postcolonial theory, are tied together by their commitment to diversity.
How come Muslims were ethnically cleansed on their watch? India became notably less diverse as the Government spouted more and more Gandhi-Nehruvian shite. What both condoned was autarky which was cool if Uncle Sam would fill your begging bowl. The India didn't turn Communist was because the Soviets didn't want to be stuck with a basket case.
Should we remain in this stasis, this “state of permanent tension”, where social and political formations like caste seem to thrive rather than being dissolved by capitalism?
No. You should emigrate. Norway has a great Sovereign Wealth Fund. Thanks to global warming, its fjords will soon be great places for beach holidays.
Should we be satisfied with caste’s gradual transformations, the slight movements upward and downwards of caste communities?
I'm guessing the answer is no. Does this entitle me to an M.Phil?
It now becomes urgent for us to think difference in itself, without regulation by the formation of a neutral field,
why? What good would it do?
and to do so is to think the necessity of what Ambedkar quite aptly called annihilation.
We can think the necessity of the annihilation of crazy terrorist nutjobs. But that won't actually kill them. We have to spend a lot of money on drone and such like.
It is Aishwary Kumar’s 2015 book Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi and the Risk of Democracy which attempts to free difference from the straitjacket of diversity, without however abandoning the question of equality.
Everybody else abandoned 'equality' because living well while some live super-duper well beats everybody starving together. As for 'diversity'- that was out of the window when it came to terrorist nutjobs.
In Kumar’s book the concept of difference is sharpened through his consideration of caste and is made into the harbinger of a radical equality which is much more than the stasis of “permanent tension” that is even now seen in India’s cities and villages.
And this is supposed to be helpful?
The critique of historicism that was made by postcolonial studies led to diversity.
No. It lead to nothing.
But diversity is a state which requires a neutral site, which while it regulates play, is itself unchangeable and outside of play.
These guys may have been diversity hires. But sooner or later their Departments will fold. Why? Baumol Cost Disease. Higher Education keeps getting more and more expensive. So, useless shite gets pruned back on.
Difference on the other hand is a state where there can be no neutrality, no site which is uncontaminated and isolated.
Nonsense! Ignore that shite and keep the fuck away from it. Beat it or kill it if it comes too near.
While diversity creates an abstract equality, difference is the project of creating radical equality,
but it keeps getting beaten and chased away if it strays out of the classroom- or padded cell.
one which cannot function from any kind of transcendence but is always radically immanent.
Just grab a machete and hack somebody's head off. Then the police shoot you. Sad.
It is for this reason that I classify Kumar’s project under the name of ‘Subcontinental philosophy’ since it seeks to develop this question through an intensive reading of Ambedkar as a philosopher and not just a political theorist, constitutional scholar, or polemicist.
Then class it as Ambedkarite philosophy. J.N Mandal had to run away from Pakistan. His pal, Ambedkar, counts for shit in the wider sub-continent.
Books like Kumar’s and Soumyabrata Choudhury’s Ambedkar and Other Immortals (which I reviewed here) are unique in their attempt to think the strange relationship between difference and equality.
But they are not unique in being shite.
For Kumar, via Ambedkar, caste is no longer the name for an obscure set of practices in the Indian subcontinent but rather the cipher for a universal philosophical problem, a “making-unequal of the political subject”.
But Kumar is not respected as a philosopher. He is seen as an area specialist. There is no 'universal philosophical problem' concerned with the 'political subject'. There may be a specific philosophical problem to do with a particular political conception of the subject. However, for a Pragmaticist, like Ambedkar, no such problem can be 'philosophical' for the reason Collingwood gives- i.e there is an immediately available empirical test to 'close' the question.
If in India we find the violence of diversity exhibited in an exemplary form,
No we don't. The police are pretty effective
this makes Ambedkar’s project of ucchedvaad or annihilation
Ucchedvaad is the hedonistic doctrine of Ajita Kesakambali condemned by the Buddha. Ambedkar's controversial 'annihilation of caste' can be understood easily enough as a political maneuver. He denounces Hinduism as a Religion to get in good with both the Muslim League and the Commies but sending a signal that what he actually wants is the perpetuation of Caste through Reservations. In 1936, the Brits had excluded Indian Christians from the Scheduled Castes but also excluded Buddhists. Ambedkar wanted only Hindu, Buddhist and Sikhs to get this benefit. This was fine with the Hindu majority who naturally preferred to see their co-religionists come up. Since then Ambedkarite politics has lifted up the upper layer of Indic Religion Dalits above that of similar Muslims. He actually did his own people some good. But, since this people were good, everybody benefited as they rose. That's it. That's the whole story. A majority gains when its poorest rise up. Had there been no Religion based Reservations, the thing would not have existed.
This is an example of pragmatism in politics not
an example for a politics of difference freed from the paradigm of diversity. Subcontinental philosophy therefore reads Ambedkar as someone whose political project led to the thought of a revolutionary fraternity where one can find a radical, and not abstract, equality.
No. The Sarvodaya nutters and Commie nutters were into that shite. Ambedkar wore a three piece suit and drove good bargains for his community.
The annihilation of caste does not require the valorisation of diversity, as it is in Gandhi, but confronting the puzzle embodied in the question “how can one think of equality within the reality of India’s centrifugal difference?”
The answer is, 'think like a Lawyer/Economist. That's what Ambedkar was.' India is a reality and the Ambedkarite portion of it- viz reserved constituencies for non-Muslim or Christian Dalits- is still very much with us.
While Chakrabarty’s project avoids the annihilative nature of difference by regulating it through the concept of contradictions isolated and insulated from each other, Kumar through his reading of Ambedkar argues that a truly radical equality is only possible through the intensification of difference.
but a truly radically egalitarian conception of a truly radical equality would only be possible through the annihilation of intensification through mental masturbation.
Subcontinental philosophy is nothing but this proclamation of radical equality from within a philosophy of difference in itself.
So it is nothing.
It is this which makes it not just an inheritance from, but a contribution to, the problems of Western philosophy.
Which Western philosophy? Anything acknowledged as such by smart Westerners?
Abstract and radical equality
In the classical liberal tradition from which Ambedkar drew much of his resources,
Ambedkar was taught by John Dewey who considered the values of classical liberalism as outmoded 'bulwarks of reaction'. Scott R Stroud has written perceptively on the relationship between Ambedkar and Pragmatism but this is a wide area. It is entirely possible that Ambedkar was exposed to the Dutch Significs program and that Brouwer type constructivism is an aspect of his thinking.
What this means is Ambedkar's approach to anything at all must obey
1) The pragmatic maxim- Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. If Ambedkar says something at a particular place and time, consider what practical effect he thought doing so would have. Don't use his text as a pretext for shitting higher than your arsehole
2) Pierce or Brouwer type 'constructibility'- i.e. always seek for a method of constructing Ambedkar's conception. Remember he stressed the importance of mimetic effects. So constructibility doesn't need a transcendental subject or 'impartial observer' or Schutzian 'ideal type' or any other such 'substantive rationality' type beastie.
If you don't observe these two rules you end up with abstract shite.
equality remained much too abstract. In Ambedkar, Kumar finds the “privileging of a nonmasculine notion of fraternity and brotherhood over abstract theories of equality
We're lucky Kumar didn't find a Gay orgy featuring bondage gear
…the idea that the moral obligation of one’s soul in its primordial and secluded authenticity is grounded in the shared values and quotidian sacrifices of collective life alone”.
How can something which is 'secluded' be 'grounded' in the quotidian? The same way a cat can be a dog when it isn't being a squirrel.
The issue for Ambedkar, as Kumar understands it, is not simply the bare assertion of equality as an abstract principle. That would at most be a legal prescription but never take the form of ‘custom’.
Why not? If the law is enforced vigorously, observance of it soon becomes habitual and customary.
The law despite all its violence cannot change custom
Yes it can.
but is always in the danger of becoming one, as Kumar writes, “custom is not the antithesis of positive law; it is simply that which comes before the law…Custom gives the sovereign’s wish the form of voluntary acquiescence; in truth, it is voluntary servitude maintained by the invisible threat of ostracism and (if need be) police power”.
Nonsense! Customs can arise spontaneously by pure mimetic effects. When did it become customary for the kids where I live to give up asking for a penny for the Guy and take up trick or treating? My memory is it happened around about 1995.
It is this failure of law, even the moral law, to break the power of custom which is best reflected in the failure of Gandhi’s political project.
No. Gandhi's political project, like his economic and educational project failed because the man was a cretin. His genius was to find the one way to go about things which would yield maximally bad results. This was cool if he and his chums genuinely wanted Whitey to stay or the Muslims to go their own way and for India to get poorer and weaker decade by decade. Otherwise, it was just an exercise for women to get out of the kitchen and into a jail cell while, for men, it was a chance to get away from their wives and get to a jail cell where, sadly, no Gay orgies took place.
We know that both Ambedkar and Gandhi had a “shared struggle to affirm life in its irreducible equality”.
No we don't. We know Ambedkar, quite sensibly, wanted the Brits to stick around while getting the Hindus to let his own caste-fellows rise up. What Gandhi wanted was to sleep naked with girls and to talk incessant bollocks. Still, he was a dynamite fund-raiser and so politically he was top of the Hindu heap.
Yet Gandhi was unable to think equality radically enough
to strip off even his own dhoti and chop off his own dick so as to fashion a vagina and run around screaming for everybody to do the same
It is not the case that Gandhi was oblivious to the existence of deep rooted and inherited inequality amongst the Indian people. What escaped him however was nothing other than the fact that in India even inequality has the structure of ‘graded sovereignty’, that “untouchability is not one inequality among others, not one more form of slavery among others”. It was Ambedkar who was most alert to the exceptionality of the untouchable at his or her most vulnerable, in the inherited nature of their trauma.
Yup, Ambedkar was very alert to stuff that affected him and his. Good for him. But then everybody was very alert to stuff of that sort. There were plenty of women who wanted to shove these windbags off the podium so as to whine on about how women have it worse then men. But those women wouldn't too happy to be supplanted by transgender peeps whining about how they have it even worse coz they get banged up in jails where they get ass raped something fierce.
Gandhi’s abstract formulation of equality was reflected through his use of the Sanskrit term samadarshi
unbiased or impartial
which is a compound formed from sam (same) and adarsh(ideal) or darshan. Darshan, as we know, means vision but is usually part of a religious and spiritual vocabulary. Against this visual metaphor, Ambedkar argued that “caste is not a physical object like a wall of bricks or a line of barbed wire which prevents the Hindus from co-mingling”. Against Gandhi’s samadarshi Ambedkar brandished the word samata which as Kumar writes, “refers to an equalness grounded in a person’s inalienable right of being and becoming, in the knowledge, the samatajana of every creature’s unique way of living and dying”.
This is false. Ambedkar wasn't brandishing anything at Gandhi. Later, having failed in politics, he took up Buddhism. Samata & vipassana are cool cause they get you to Nirvana pronto. Of course, if you were a Boddhisattva, you'd put off getting it till everybody got it. Truly radically truly radical equality can only be attained after every Boddhisattava attains Socioproctological self-awareness which can be yours for the low low price of $ 9.99.
Equality was no longer founded on the negation of difference but neither was it based on Gandhi’s samadarshita.
Everybody can go worship this Boddhisattva- how much more equality do you want?
Even though the latter had an emphasis on humanity and asked for a measured response to the call of unequals, it remained wholly incapable of enforcing equality.
Enforcing shit requires inequality in the means of enforcement.
This was because it made it a moral commitment which could be honoured only in terms of the strength of the individual satyagrahi’s soul-force.
But there was no limit to this soul-force. If only Gandhi had gotten to sleep naked with more young girls, he could easily have defeated Hitler and Tojo and so forth.
Thus Gandhi strictly opposed Ambedkar’s campaign for inter-caste dining and marriage: “We shall ever have to seek unity in diversity, and I decline to consider it a sin for a man not to drink or eat with any and everybody”. Gandhi’s samadarshita was a moral claim that could not enforce the priority and necessity of equality.
Ambedkar couldn't get Jatav millionaires in Kanpur to inter-dine with their workers. The RSS was better at this sort of stuff.
Ambedkar’s opposition to Gandhi was based on the fact that the latter remained blind to the reality that the individual (or even the entire caste to which he belonged) could not in the least affect the rule of the caste system.
But Gandhi also remained blind to the reality that he himself, or even his entire caste, couldn't affect any shit not directly connected to making money or begging for money.
As Ambedkar wrote in Annihilation of Caste, “If a caste claims the right to inter-dine and intermarry with another caste placed above it, it is frozen the instant it is told by mischief-mongers— and there are many Brahmins amongst such mischief-mongers—that it will have to concede inter-dining and intermarriage with castes below it! All are slaves of the caste system. But all slaves are not equal in status”.
There you have it- plain as daylight. Ambedkar wanted the better off or more educated Dalit groupings to monopolize the benefits of Reservations. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody was playing the same game.
If an entire group comprised of thousands of individuals could not affect the continuance of caste prohibitions, then is it not utterly futile to argue that one satyagrahi could make any difference to its functioning? The only effect Gandhi’s formulation for abstract equality could have would be in the revitalisation of an ascetic spirit that is already a part of the way caste functions.
Radical equality and sacrifice
The violence embodied in custom is more efficiently enforced by people than the law is by the state. We saw this in the recent gangrape of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh by upper caste men.
But such gang-rapes occur all the time! In this case, some culprits will go to prison precisely because they were of a different caste.
Kumar conceptualises Ambedkar’s philosophical contribution to the discourse of equality as that of a ‘weak force’ that belongs to the untouchable: “Force as weakness, force as an ethical nonsovereignty, force above all as the radical relinquishment of the state and its laws of sacrifice”.
Dalits always had some countervailing power. That is why, as Gandhi discovered in Champaran, a creditor could harass a High Caste debtor by sending untouchables to stand outside his gate and salaam him respectfully. This meant the day had become inauspicious for him. He'd have to turn back and bathe and do some puja or the other before sauntering out, once again to be similarly accosted.
This weak force is for Kumar nothing other than the multitude’s will to annihilation.
The multitude have a strong will to ignore, not annihilate, Kumar's brand of shite. Poor fellow. Some mothers do 'ave them.
It is an ‘authentic’ force that is absolutely in excess of the Gandhian limits of measure.
No. It had no force whatsoever in Pakistan or Bangladesh. But Dalits were useful in India and got reservations provided they weren't Muslim or Christian because this was good for Hinduism.
It is opposed to the punitive juridical force of chaturvarnya
such force may have existed but it was extra-judicial. The Brits ruled India.
which is inauthentic, a “failure of thought…the multitude’s forgetfulness of force as such”. The abstract notion of equality propagated by both the liberal tradition and Gandhi was nothing other than an alienation of man from himself, the reduction of his personhood to an abstract and negotiable number, (from “Millions to Fractions” as the title of an essay by Ambedkar tells us).
Poor fellow. He had got Reserved seats but nobody would vote for him. Every political life ends in failure. Religion on the other hand gets you a big promotion in the after life.
The weak force of the untouchable on the other hand is oriented towards transforming the world through collective action.
when not laboring to stay alive.
Equality was at best a legal fiction unless it was oriented towards a strange kind of sacrifice, where the subject sought to “sacrifice oneself for justice”. In Ambedkar the logic of sacrifice returned in a very different and even unrecognisable form: that of the right to sacrifice oneself for the freedom of all others.
Everybody can grant themselves this right after jumping off a cliff.
This demand could no longer be calculated and negotiated with as it was by Gandhi; it was on the contrary essentially annihilative.
In which case that demand failed immediately and utterly. Similarly the demand that cats be dogs when they are not squirrels fails utterly.
This sharing of the collective burden of sacrifice, of “the unconditional sharing of freedom among mortals” is for Kumar what Ambedkar called fraternity or maitri.
But nobody thinks much of Kumar. Ambedkar was an important man. Now he is worshipped as something more than a man. One could as sell say that maitri is the unconditional sharing of omnipotence with even the most insignificant flea on a distant planet.
Such a sacrificial assertion is the proclamation of an absolute becoming-other and thus an absolute difference which generates the equality of all of those who are willing to die for all the others.
But it is also the renunciation of a habitus of grandiloquent proclomations by reason of being dead or of not wanting to sound like a fool.
The difference between life and death was mobilised in this sacrificial community as the most absolute difference.
Really? It was mobilized was it? Cool. Pity it made no fucking difference at all.
At this point only could a fraternity of equals be created.
But who would want to reach such a stupid fucking point? Everybody would have slit their own throats or run far far away from such gobshittery.
It is in the inscription of this difference between life and death within the body of the untouchable subject who is willing to sacrifice herself which generates radical equality.
No. It was Mayawati showing courage and shrewdness which got her 4 terms as C.M of UP during which she built vast religious complexes for the worship of Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram &, of course, herself. She may have sacrificed some things to get power but no one can say she aint living large now.
This difference is hardly of the same order or degree as that between simultaneously being an astronomer and an astrologer.
Very true. Guys who are both alive and dead are thin on the ground. On the other hand, this shite could have been written by a zombie.
For Ambedkar the assumption of this difference between life and death by the sacrificial subject produces a non-masculine fraternal community of equals.
No it doesn't. Gandhi- maybe. Ambedkar- definitely not. The guy was perfectly sane.
It is only thus that difference can be utilised to produce radical equality- the equality of a revolutionary fraternity or maitri.
Revolutionaries get killed. Ambedkar's big idea was get ahead, not dead. This was perfectly sensible because his people were a scattered minority. Only the Naxals wanted to recruit them- but only as cannon fodder. Since Dalits could do better by themselves, they rejected the Naxals whose real fondness is for the OBCs.
Thousands of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs were massacred simply because they were Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs. But there was no ethnic cleansing on the basis of caste. Religion matters. Caste does not.
In the penultimate sentence of Provincialising Europe, Chakrabarty writes in a tone that may perhaps even be considered fawning, “For at the end of European imperialism, European thought is a gift to all of us.”
America paid him coz they thought maybe some European thought had rubbed off on him.
If subcontinental philosophy breaks with postcolonial theory, it is only in its insistence that this gift is in fact the inheritance of a philosophical impasse.
The difference between a gift and an inheritance is that the latter requires the donor's death. There is no 'philosophical impasse' in Europe. There may have been but it died. Apparently some shite Indian academics have got hold of the corpse and are doing unspeakable things to it. This is the aporia they are thankful for.
Only by recognising it for what it is can we begin the task of moving from an abstract equality enshrined in the discourse of diversity to the concept of radical equality produced by difference at its most intensive.
We have no difficulty recognizing this is shite. The task of telling these fuckers to fuck off is quickly accomplished.
Kumar’s book is therefore exemplary in this regard as it finds the seeds for this surpassing in Ambedkar’s theory of a sacrificial difference freed from the straitjacket of diversity.
He could more easily have found it in Gandhi or Avengers Assemble. Trying to insert it into Ambedkar is a particularly distasteful type of necrophilia.
Still, at least Kumar has managed to push Huzaifa down the path to idolatry. I hope he will target if not Kamala, then Meena Harris so she too does 'ghar wapsi'.