Monday, 26 October 2020

Amartya Sen misquoting Kant

Amartya Sen writes in the Guardian- 


Nothing is as important, the philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed, as the “freedom to make public use of one’s reason on all matters”.

This isn't true. Nothing is as important as staying alive. Kant lived at a time and a place when it was reasonable to believe that an 'Enlightened Despot' could lift up his Principality's fortunes. Fredrick the Great was 'Enlightened'. He was Kant's King and Kant wrote 'what is enlightenment' as a paean to him. Catherine the Great, too, was Enlightened.  But Prussia led Germany into the abyss. Russia was even worse. Kant's notions of 'Enlightenment' were foolish. The Anglo-Americans knew this. They didn't babble about Aufklarung. The got on with making money and extending the Rule of Law and making sure there was no Taxation without Representation. In private, considerable latitude was permitted. But what was done in public was effectively policed.

What Kant actually said was 'We find restrictions on freedom everywhere. But which restriction is harmful to enlightenment? Which restriction is innocent, and which advances enlightenment? I reply: the public use of one's reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment to mankind.'

With hindsight we can see Kant was completely wrong- indeed, he was wrong about everything. Nowhere in history do we find a Society we might consider relatively advanced which did not have more effective restrictions on freedoms which mattered. Sen should know this. When he was a kid, his relatives in East Bengal were safe. Why? The Brits would curb the freedom of Muslim militants itching to slit their throats. Indeed, Communists were safer under the Brits. M.N Roy fled Stalin to enter the safety of a British prison cell from which he was soon released. Sen emigrated to Britain and now lives in the US. Both countries are quick to lock up terrorists or those who incite genocidal violence. True, there were instances when this did not happen but both countries have cause to regret this now.

Contra Kant, it is always better to have more constraints on the public, as opposed to the private, use of a faculty. You shouldn't greatly care if I chose to shit on my carpet or masturbate naked in the kitchen. On the other hand, you should certainly get me locked up if I do it on the subway.

Unfortunately, as Kant also noted, the opportunity to argue is often restrained by society – sometimes very severely.

Sen either hasn't read Kant or he is being disingenuous.

What Kant said was ' On the other hand, the private use of reason may frequently be narrowly restricted without especially hindering the progress of enlightenment. 

WTF! How is it good to stop people doing something in private which you allow them to do in public? It turns out Kant isn't speaking of private, but official, actions.

By "public use of one's reason" I mean that use which a man, as scholar, makes of it before the reading public. I call "private use" that use which a man makes of his reason in a civic post that has been entrusted to him. In some affairs affecting the interest of the community a certain [governmental] mechanism is necessary in which some members of the community remain passive. This creates an artificial unanimity which will serve the fulfillment of public objectives, or at least keep these objectives from being destroyed. Here arguing is not permitted: one must obey.

So Kant is saying- obey, but- if you are a scholar- you can publish what you like. The problem here is that we consider a guy who publishes liberal shite while quietly obeying a totalitarian government to be not a scholar but a hypocrite. Sen himself may feel that 'Scholarship' is a Wonderland where he himself is a magical Cheshire Cat or Mad Hatter. But no sensible Alice would want to waste her life down that rabbit-hole

 Insofar as a part of this machine considers himself at the same time a member of a universal community--a world society of citizens--(let us say that he thinks of himself as a scholar rationally addressing his public through his writings) he may indeed argue, and the affairs with which he is associated in part as a passive member will not suffer. Thus it would be very unfortunate if an officer on duty and under orders from his superiors should want to criticize the appropriateness or utility of his orders. He must obey. But as a scholar he could not rightfully be prevented from taking notice of the mistakes in the military service and from submitting his views to his public for its judgment. 

In Kant's milieu, his argument wasn't wholly foolish. The beamtenliberalismus were an educated bureaucratic elite which, in between extending serfdom and persecuting Jews or heretics, might write a pamphlet quoting Adam Smith and calculating the higher tax yield achievable under a free market for labor and a policy of tolerance to Religious minorities. 

Even in the USSR or Communist China, a few high officials were permitted to read Western literature and argue the case for market based reform. But, it is only a totalitarian regime which may think it needs 'free public expression' (i.e. publishing discussion papers for one's fellow elite) while restraining 'private' freedom (i.e. what you say to your relatives or friends). 

The citizen cannot refuse to pay the taxes levied upon him; indeed, impertinent censure of such taxes could be punished as a scandal that might cause general disobedience

So, Sen's hero is a guy who says 'Sen can publish any shite he likes coz he is a scholar. But if you grumble about your tax dollars being pissed away in Iraq, or by racist cops who have been indoctrinated in 'killology'- you must be punished.

Nevertheless, this man does not violate the duties of a citizen if, as a scholar, he publicly expresses his objections to the impropriety or possible injustice of such levies.

So, you are welcome to write a 'scholarly'- i.e. unreadable- paper of any type, but mustn't say- 'stop pissing my tax money away on trigger happy racist cops'. This is a convenient doctrine- if you are an academic.

A disturbing fact about the world today is that authoritarian tendencies have been strikingly on the increase in many countries – in Asia, in Europe, in Latin America, in Africa and within the United States of America. I fear I have to include my own country, India, in that unfortunate basket.

Why? Sen was promoted by the last Administration. The present one won't give him the time of day. However, it is in Mamta's Bengal that authoritarianism has always been most salient. The place is a thugocracy.  


After India secured independence from British colonial rule,

There was massive ethnic cleaning and massive crack-downs on the Communists. Then some Communists went mainstream at which point the Maoists started killing all and sundry till Jyoti Basu got the Police and the Army to massacre the 'Naxals' and so on and so forth.  

it had for many decades a fine history of being a secular democracy with much personal liberty.

Nonsense! Economic Liberty decreased. So did any political type of Liberty which the State did not like. Prior to 1937 it was not clear that Democracy would be a game featuring 'uncorrelated asymmetries'. People thought they could talk any sort of bollocks. After Partition, it was obvious that Majorities would decide what solutions to coordination games were focal. India would become more centralized.  The first Amendment to the Indian Constitution goes in the opposite direction to that of the America's. Thus India had a McCarthyism at the same time as the US. The difference is that our Communists would tamely lick the hand of the Dynasty. The Moscow faction supported the Emergency- which was perfectly constitutional- but Sen, who knew perfectly well what was going on, had emigrated by then. 

People showed their commitment to freedom and their determination to remove authoritarian governance through decisive public action, for example in the general elections in 1977, in which the despotic regulations – dressed as “the emergency” – were firmly rejected by the people.

This is a fantasy. Indira thought she would win. precisely because 'despotic regulations' are popular if they increase efficiency, and that her Cabinet would back her. She miscalculated. But this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because she was able to topple the 'Janata' coalition three years later. When she returned to power, it was clear that her son would succeed her and his son would succeed him and so on.  

The government obeyed promptly.

Nonsense! Jayaprakash Narayan had spearheaded the popular revolt. But after the election, he was sidelined. The Constitution was further amended to reduce freedom. But why reduce freedom when law enforcement is costly while extra judicial killing is cheap? Elections are all very well, but if the guys protesting corruption can be bought more cheaply than the entrenched elite, why get exercised by ideology? 

Sadly, one organization- the RSS- wasn't corrupt or dynastic. It tapped into Hindu patriotism. It is now recognized as the backbone of the one genuinely National Party. This does not mean it will have a monopoly of power. But it does mean that other parties have to get better at 'last mile delivery' of  entitlements so as to remain competitive. 

However, in recent years the priority of freedom seems to have lost some of its lustre for many people,

Freedom as some Kantian shite was only meaningful to Sen and his ilk. It never had any lustre for anybody who had to actually live in India. 

and the current government gives striking evidence of the inclination to promote a different kind of society.

Yup. One which isn't ruled by corrupt, cretinous, dynasts and as poor as shit. 

There have also been strong attempts to stifle anti-government protests, which, strangely enough, have often been described by the government as “sedition”, providing grounds for arrest and for locking up opposition leaders.

No. The notion was that seditious protests consolidate the Hindu vote. Then the local Hindus lost patience. In future, the Government will have to take timely action to abate such nuisances.            

Aside from the despotic tendencies implicit in this approach,

not to mention the despotic and mendacious tendencies explicit in Sen's career of gobshittery.  

there is also a profound confusion of thought here, since a disagreement with the government need not be a rebellion to overthrow the state, or to subvert the nation (on which the diagnosis of “sedition” must depend).

D'uh, Captain Obvious! But you yourself quoted Kant who affirmed that 'impertinent censure...must be punished as a scandal that might cause general disobedience.'


When I was in school in British-ruled colonial India, many of my relations, who were nonviolently agitating for India’s independence (inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and other champions of freedom), were in British Indian jails under what was described as “preventive detention”, allegedly to stop them from doing anything violent.

Or just being a nuisance. What was the result? Hindus, including property owners and lecturers at Dacca University, were safe. Then the British left. Sen's dad had been smart enough to get out a year or two before the shit hit the fan. No wonder, Niradh Chaudhri, also from East Bengal, wrote a book pleading for Whitey to return and rule over the Bengalis. 

After India’s independence, preventive detention as a form of incarceration was halted;

Nonsense! It was limited to 3 months at a time but could be extended. Still, extra-judicial killing has always been more effective. 

but then it was reintroduced, initially by the Congress government, in a relatively mild form. That was bad enough, but under the Hindutva-oriented BJP government now in office, preventive detention has acquired a hugely bigger role, allowing easy arrests and imprisonment of opposition politicians without trial.

Rubbish! The thing peaked under Indira Gandhi. No 'political opponent' of the current regime is currently 'in jail without trial'. Perhaps Sen is thinking of Kashmir. But Sheikh Abdullah spent most of the Fifties and Sixties locked up! On taking power he passed the draconian act under which his son and grandson ended up under house arrest. 

Indeed, from last year, under the provision of a freshly devised Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the state can unilaterally declare someone to be a terrorist, which allows them to arrest this alleged terrorist and place them in incarceration without trial. A number of human rights activists have been designated as terrorists and are in jail already under this arrangement.

This Act has been around for 50 years and has been frequently amended. But extra-judicial killing is the safer course. The mistake made by the previous administration was to lock up Hindu nuns and such like as 'terrorists'. That provoked a backlash. Nobody gives a shit about senile 'human rights activists' now getting their comeuppance.  

When someone is described as being “anti-national”, this can be seen as a big philosophical denunciation anywhere in the world, but in today’s India it may mean nothing more than the person has made some critical remarks about the government in office.

Just as when Sen describes someone as 'despotic' we understand he just means he prefers some other politician. The problem with equating Hinduism with Fascism is that, in a Hindu majority country, you come to be seen as anti-National. Similarly, the 'secularists' in Muslim majority countries who spent all their time ridiculing Islam soon found that they had to face a violent backlash.  

The confusion between “anti-government” and “anti-national” is typical of autocratic governance.

No. Stalin was an autocrat. He saw some who were against his Government would nonetheless fight the Nazis because they were Nationalists. Even drunken autocrats aren't as stupid as Sen. They know an 'anti-national' (e.g. a separatist) may support the Government while a patriot might oppose it. 

What Sen should say is 'Modi is an autocrat who deliberately labels all opposition to him as anti-national'. It isn't true, but it isn't a stupid thing to say- if you hate Modi. 

The courts have sometimes been able to stop such abusive practices, but given the slow movement of the Indian courts, and the differences of opinion within India’s large supreme court, this has not always been an effective remedy. One of the most prominent defenders of human rights in the world, Amnesty International, has been forced to leave India as a result of governmental intervention.

The 'intervention' occurred under the previous Administration. International NGOs are obliged to spend most of the money they get from abroad on doing good not 'admin'. Amnesty broke the rules. It has turned into an Anti Semitic organization in bed with Islamic nutters. Nobody in India will fund it, so it has shut down.  

The pursuit of authoritarianism in general is sometimes combined with the persecution of a particular section of the nation – often linked, in India, with caste or religion. The low-caste former “untouchables”, now called Dalits, continue to get the benefits of affirmative action (in terms of employment and education) that were introduced at the time of India’s independence, but they are often very harshly treated. Cases of rape and murder of Dalits by upper-caste men, which have become shockingly common events, are frequently ignored or covered up by the government, unless pressed otherwise by public protests.

Sen is referring to the Hathras atrocity which does look pretty damning. Still if Adityanath 'encounter kills' the 'minors' involved and gets the adults judicially hanged, the entire State will be better off.  

The Indian authorities have been particularly severe on the rights of Muslims, even to the extent of restricting some of their citizenship rights.

Nonsense! The Supreme Court initiated action against Bangladeshi immigrants. Modi gave citizenship rights to non-Muslims who came before 2014. No Muslim citizen's rights were restricted.  

Despite centuries of peaceful co-existence between Hindus and Muslims,

where? Bangladesh? What happened to Hindus, like Sen, whose ancestral home was there?  

there have been striking attempts in recent years by politically extremist Hindu organisations to treat indigenous Muslims somewhat like foreigners and to accuse them of doing harm to the nation.

This was a big feature of the Forties, Fifties and Sixties when the 'Custodian of Enemy (previously Evacuee) Property would harass the fuck out of rich Muslims till they emigrated. 

This has been fed by cultivating disaffection and inter-religious animosity through the rapidly increased power of extremist Hindu politics.

Whereas in France and Germany and the UK and America, extremist Islamist politics didn't pose any sort of threat at all. Macron must be, as Erdogan, says out of his mind to wish to 'combat extremist Islam'.  

The fact that the celebrated poet Rabindranath Tagore had a Hindu background was not contradicted by his self-description in Oxford (when giving the Hibbert lectures) that he came from the confluence of three cultural streams, combining Hinduism and Islam, in addition to western influence.

But Tagore's novel 'Home and the World' ends with Muslims slitting the throats of Hindus. The guy wasn't stupid. He warned his people that if the British left they would be driven out of Muslim majority East Bengal and Buddhist Burma. Incidentally, the guy was the head of a Hindu sect which claimed to be based purely on the Vedas.  

Indian culture is a joint product of people of different religious faiths, and this can be seen in different fields – from music and literature to painting and architecture. 

No. Indian culture is the product of Indian people working within Indian cultural idioms. Some may had a religious faith. Some may not.  

     Even the very first translation and propagation of Hindu philosophical texts – the Upanishads – for use outside India was done on the active initiative of a Mughal prince, Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mumtaz (in whose memory Dara’s father, Emperor Shah Jahan, built the Taj Mahal).

Nonsense! Shikoh was not concerned with 'propagating' Hindu philosophical texts outside India. However, Al-Biruni had already given an account of such texts centuries before. It is likely that there were other similar translations floating around in Baghdad at an even earlier date.  

Led by the government’s current ideological priorities, many school textbooks in India are being rewritten now to present a thoroughly revisionist history, reducing – or ignoring altogether – the contributions of Muslim people.

Muslims made a great contribution to reducing the Hindu population. Why is this not being properly celebrated?

Despite the government’s power, armed with the UAPA, to call anyone a terrorist, those accused are typically committed to nonviolent protests in the way that Gandhi had advocated.

He also advocated forming an orderly queue to get beaten on the head and be shipped off to jail. This curbed a nuisance.  

This applies particularly to newly emerging secular resistance in India, led by student leaders. For instance, Umar Khalid,

son of a SIMI member who is now from a party which Dalits have resigned from protesting discriminatory treatment. 

a Muslim scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University who has been arrested and imprisoned as an alleged “terrorist” through the use of the UAPA, has eloquently expressed this secular movement’s commitment to peaceful protest: “If they beat us with lathis [sticks], we will hold aloft the Tricolour [the Indian national flag]. If they fire bullets, then we will hold the constitution and raise our hands.”

but that is not what he has been charged with. It is interesting that Kanhaiya Kumar, previously Sen's blue eyed boy, doesn't seem to have rallied to his buddy's side.  

While the growth of authoritarianism in India demands determined resistance

in Mamta's Bengal? Are you kidding me? If even BJP Councilors are getting pumped full of bullets, which Commie or 'Human Rights activist' will dare wag his tail? 

the world is also facing a pandemic of autocracy at this time, which makes the Indian lapses look less abnormal than they in fact are. The justification for imposing tyranny varies from country to country, such as reducing drug trafficking in the case of the Philippines, curtailing the flow of immigrants in Hungary, suppressing gay lifestyles in Poland, and using the military to control allegedly corrupt behaviour in Brazil. The world needs as many different ways of defending freedom as there are attacks upon it.

But it doesn't need Sen-ile shite.  

Dr Martin Luther King Jr noted in a letter written in 1963 from Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

But nowhere can injustice threaten, let alone prevail over, God.  

 He also insisted that all resistance has to be nonviolent.

No he didn't. He said non-violence was the best way forward for his people because they were a minority.  

So do the young student leaders of today’s India.

In the opinion of a very old man.  Yet, we can all watch Sharjeel Imam baying for blood on You Tube.  

If there is a commonality in the distinct manifestations of autocracy, there is also a shared reasoning in the resistance.

The problem here is that the majority of Indians are Hindus. They support the police crushing 'resistance' to Hindu majoritarianism. If the police won't do it, they will take the law into their own hands. Ethnic cleansing will return to the sub-continent. Sen is as stupid as those Uncles of his who clamored for the Brits to leave. The Brits left and then Sen's people had to run for their lives from East Bengal.  

Kant's essay ends thus-

But only the man who is himself enlightened, who is not afraid of shadows, and who commands at the same time a well disciplined and numerous army as guarantor of public peace--only he can say what [the sovereign of] a free state cannot dare to say: "Argue as much as you like, and about what you like, but obey!" Thus we observe here as elsewhere in human affairs, in which almost everything is paradoxical, a surprising and unexpected course of events: a large degree of civic freedom appears to be of advantage to the intellectual freedom of the people, yet at the same time it establishes insurmountable barriers. A lesser degree of civic freedom, however, creates room to let that free spirit expand to the limits of its capacity. Nature, then, has carefully cultivated the seed within the hard core--namely the urge for and the vocation of free thought. And this free thought gradually reacts back on the modes of thought of the people, and men become more and more capable of acting in freedom. At last free thought acts even on the fundamentals of government and the state finds it agreeable to treat man, who is now more than a machine, in accord with his dignity.

In other words, a poor country should curb nuisances occasioned by 'public reason'. The thing itself does not matter a damn because senile cretins like Sen will shit all over it and thus put off everybody else.  

 

Jean Dreze on Amartya Sen

Jean Dreze has lived in India for many years and has become an Indian citizen. Sadly, unlike China, the country Dreze moved to has not changed very greatly. Why? India failed to reform labour and land laws. It didn't shift rural women into factory dormitories. It did spend more money on the poor but it actively prevented large scale resource reallocation thus ensuring that for much of the country poverty would remain endemic. Sooner or later, there will be a fiscal crunch and anti-poverty programs will be rolled back. 

Dreze, in chronicling poverty, devoted himself to a Sisyphean task. Still, since he had come to India so as to live, as far as possible, like the poorest and most wretched creatures on the planet, his career could be considered a success. But that career was one of self-mortification and virtue signalling. It wasn't a career in economics or Social Science. 

By contrast, Amartya Sen parlayed a wholly worthless type of research into a successful career in the Ivy League where, as a matter of intellectual affirmative action, he got a Nobel for being 'the Mother Theresa of Economics'- i.e. a useless tosser. 

Dreze praises his mentor in the introduction to a new book about Sen-

In contrast with the standard framework of neo-classical economics, where “utility” is derived from commodities,

Nonsense! Utility is derived from anything at all. A moment spent cuddling the baby is an Arrow-Debreu commodity. It has an opportunity cost and therefore a price. 

capabilities are not just a matter of commodities.

Capabilities are unknowable and can't be inferred from any fact about the world. Nobody looking at me can know whether I am capable of twerking like Beyonce or composing a poem in Telugu. Indeed, I don't myself know whether I have these capabilities. Still, I am taking on-line classes in twerking.  

Friendship, for instance, can enhance our capabilities (in particular, our freedom to engage in a range of valued activities), aside from being valuable in itself, but it is not a commodity.

In an Arrow Debreu model every instant in time where Friendship is a source of utility is a commodity with an opportunity cost and a notional market and hence a price.  So is utility derived from 'club goods'- like walking in a municipal park- and 'public goods'- like watching a beautiful sunset.

From a common sense point of view, of course, the fact that human freedom is not just a matter of commodities may sound like a “no-brainer”.

Freedom means having, as a matter of common knowledge, a set of Hohfeldian immunities of a specific sort. But it is costly to maintain this set. There is an opportunity cost to maintaining Freedom. It can't be something ordained and maintained from on high because then it can be taken away by a similar ordinance or by a refusal to supply the resources for its maintenance. 

The problem with Sen & Dreze is that they have a paranoid theory of freedom. It is granted in an occult manner and only unceasing, increasingly paranoid, protest will ensure it is kept up. The truth is that Freedom is something that involves securing effective 'hedges' whose efficacy has to be tested from time to time. 

In the old days, a despot- like Fredrick the Great- might grant all sorts of wonderful Freedoms. But his successor might take them away again. Such Freedom was an illusion. The Anglo-Saxon tradition rejected it. We all pay for Law enforcement and then have Laws which can be enforced. This type of Freedom is sustainable provided your Army can defeat that of any invader. However, at the margin, it shrinks or expands, depending on exigent circumstances. 

But economists are so influenced by models where utility (conflated with well-being) is a function of commodities that this simple insight has quite a cutting edge.

It cuts out your brain, replacing it with shit.  

In particular, it vastly enlarges the legitimate domain of public action.

Nonsense! It turns 'public action' into virtue signalling. Sen thinks there are 'second order public goods'- i.e. clamoring for more public goods is itself a public good. This is foolish. If everybody goes on strike demanding that Naughtiness be abolished and only Niceness prevail, life will turn to shit.  

Let me explain. In the standard framework of welfare economics, there are two broad justifications for “intervention” in a competitive market economy: market failures and distributional concerns.

Nonsense! The reason for intervention is to raise revenue for the stationary bandit- i.e. the State. Some interventions may 'pay for themselves' if they improve mechanism design or fix a market failure. Also, the State may want to pretend it isn't just enriching itself and thus dole out a little money to the poor. 

This view derives from the first fundamental theorem of welfare economics,

No. This 'view' came first, then came some silly theorem. 

which states that, under certain conditions, competitive markets ensure a limited form of social optimality known as Pareto optimality or rather Pareto efficiency – no one can be made better off without someone else being made worse off.
Market failures refer to a situation where some of these conditions are violated, due for instance to externalities or asymmetric information.

The only real problem is Knightian Uncertainty. Otherwise there would always be some mechanism such that General Equilibrium wouldn't be 'anything goes'- i.e. hedging and Income effects would not compromise optimality.

In the real world, market failures are pervasive (perhaps more the rule than the exception), but identifying them is still regarded as a useful way of thinking about where, when and how intervention may be required.

Identifying them means finding a profit opportunity. Sadly, if the Government gets there first, they can fuck things up. That's what happens in India. This doesn't mean some can't get rich. It's just that corruption is involved and scalability is compromised.  

Aside from market failures, distributional concerns may justify intervention, since Pareto efficiency is compatible with gross inequalities.

Gross inequalities don't matter if there is a compulsory social insurance scheme. This creates a 'social minimum'. Since Knightian Uncertainty obtains, rational agents pursue a regret-minimizing strategy and buy into a Social Insurance scheme.  There is also going to be Charitable provision as well as curbs on the growth of the pauper class. 


This entire reasoning,

which was confined to relatively poor and stupid Econ Professors and second rate bureaucrats 

however, builds on the assumption that human well-being derives from commodities – the objects of production and exchange.

Nonsense! Dreze is making this shit up. Utility is derived from anything useful. Disutility too exists.  

In fact, as Amartya Sen has argued, it builds on a particular view of the relation between commodities and well-being, which involves multiple confusions between choice, preferences, utility and well-being.

The confusion was in Sen's head. He could have embraced 'regret minimization', Hannan Consistency, Knightian Uncertainty, etc. at the end of the Sixties. He didn't. He chose to write bollocks.  

The capability approach clears this confusion, as Hamilton explains in some detail, but it also takes our understanding of well-being beyond the realm of commodities.

 Exercising a capability yields utility. Either the word 'capability' is meaningless or it means 'yields utility'.  

That, in turn, implies that the legitimate domain of public action is not limited to market failures and distributional concerns. To illustrate with an example that is likely to resonate with Amartya Sen, communalism is not a market failure. Nothing in economic theory tells us that if markets functioned well, communalism would be avoided. Communalism is a pathology of our relations with each other as human beings, including but not restricted to market transactions. And preventing it calls for public action beyond correcting market failures.

WTF? Is Dreze on the side of Macron and against Erdogan? He'd better watch out. He could be fatwa'd and end up with his head chopped off like that French History teacher!

Dreze may believe that Nehru had a duty to go to war with Jinnah's Pakistan to prevent 'communalism' taking root there. But he'd better keep his mouth shut about this belief of his. 

Committed neo-classical economists might respond that communalism is not an economic issue,

That's a relief. India does not have to go to war with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to combat its 'qaumi' communalism. Macron does not have to invade Erdogan's Turkey to restore Secularism.  

and that the fundamental theorems of welfare economics are concerned specifically with the economy. It is understood, they would argue, that social life also exists outside economic activity. That, however, would be an artificial distinction, because economic activity and social life are inextricably intertwined. It may be wiser to admit that there is something misleading about the fundamental theorems of welfare economics.

Which is why few Prime Ministers or Presidents have heard of it. The thing can't 'mislead' because none but a handful of low paid pedagogues bother with the thing.

Sen came from Calcutta- which had attained world-wide notoriety as the arsehole of the Turd World at the end of the Sixties. He could make a name for himself by showing that Indians were not just as stupid as shit, they actually were shit through and through. The transition to Democracy had led to two big famines in East Bengal during Sen's lifetime. His explanation was that Bengalis were beasts. They'd deliberately eat five times as much rice as they would normally simply so as to gloat over those who would starve as a result. Interestingly, Sheikh Mujib- praising the role played by the British RAF during the floods- condemned the Bengali refusal to bury their own people. Some forty years later, Janam Mukherjee revealed that after a Jap air-raid, it was White soldiers who buried the victims. The Bengalis refused to show even this basic sort of human decency to people of their own race.

There is something misleading about the sort of welfare economics taught by a Bengali of this type. 

Seen in this light, the potential domain of public action is very wide.

Because public action is essentially political. Market failures can be fixed by the industry in question which can then lobby to get suitable legislation passed.  

It includes not only dealing with distributional concerns and market failures (especially in fields where these are particularly glaring, such as health and education),

The reason Governments intervened in health and education was so as to have better quality conscript armies 

but also constructive initiatives in matters where even flawless markets would not serve the purpose – ensuring communal harmony,

or, as in Pakistan or Turkey, ensuring infidels get fucked over but good. 

building participatory democracy,

like in Venezuela- right? 

pursuing social justice,

yup, that's Venezuela right enough.  

preventing armed conflicts, annihilating caste, abolishing patriarchy, improving the environment, promoting civil liberties, fostering better social norms, to mention a few. These matters, and the corresponding capabilities, are indeed fundamental to the quality of life.

No. They represent a nuisance. Our quality of life turns to shit when 'woke' nutters fill up the streets with protests about the environment and War and Poverty and the Lizard People from Planet X who have invented this COVID hoax. 

All this may seem like a digression, but I hope that it helps to connect the theoretical ideas discussed in this book with the more practical implications of Sen’s work.

The practical implication of Sen's work is that Professors and Bureaucrats of very low I.Q get to talk and write nonsense. The thing is purely cosmetic. Nobody pays those cretins any attention any more. 

The book focuses primarily on foundational concepts such as objectivity, rationality, well-being, freedom, justice and democracy.

Objectively, this availability cascade is shit. It is not rational to listen to a pedagogue who has never made a single sensible policy suggestion. Well-being is increased when nuisances are curbed- and Sen-ile virtue signalling bullshit is a nuisance simply. Freedom is about investing in effective hedges such that Hohfeldian immunities are maintained. Justice is simply a service industry. Democracy has no magical powers. It may be shit, it may not. This is an ideographic matter.

This conceptual work may seem a little removed from Sen’s urgent concern

so very urgent that he would run from Harvard to Oxbridge and back again decade after decade talking bollocks 

with real-life deprivations and inequities, but the two are integrally connected.

Yes. If Bengal wasn't such a shithole, Sen wouldn't have got the Nobel.  Nor for that matter would Mother Theresa. 

It is on the strength of this groundwork that Sen has developed more practical ideas such as the role of democracy in famine prevention

In Bengal, Democracy precipitated famine not once but twice during his lifetime. 

and the fundamental importance of health and education in development.

they have no importance whatsoever. If Development occurs, both improve. If both improve but Development does not occur, then there is mass emigration.  

In a subtle way, Amartya Sen’s own life shows the value of

bullshiting so as to fool the economists into thinking he is a philosopher and fool the philosophers into thinking he is an economist and fooling the Indians  into thinking he knows about the West and fooling the Westerners into thinking that he knows about India 

building the quality of life on capabilities rather than commodities per se. Amartya likes basic comforts (sometimes a little more), but he is not materialistic by any means. If he stays in a fancy hotel from time to time, it is more for the sake of a hassle-free stopover than for the love of luxury (for one thing, he hates air conditioning). It is in his ancestral house in Shantiniketan, which looks much the same today as it would have looked in his childhood, that he feels really at home.

But if he'd have stayed there he'd have been found out as a mere bullshitter of a widespread Bengali variety. 

His breakfast there consists of the same simple jhalmuri (puffed rice with assorted condiments) he has been eating in Shantiniketan for as long as I have known him.

Dreze is letting his hairshirt show. This stupid cunt thinks eating 'simple jhalmuri' is a sign of virtue.  

Amartya is absorbed in the life of the mind – reading, thinking, writing, arguing, and of course, adda (extended conversation), the favourite pastime of Bengali intellectuals. To that I should add the life of the heart: much like Marx (another scholar he admires), who was not always sitting quietly at the British Museum, Sen has made ample space in his busy life for love, friendship and family.

Good for him. How did he do it? By emigrating, working two jobs, saving money and making a judicious choice of partners and friends. That's pure Arrow Debreu consumption. It is pure 'Comparative Advantage' specialization. He found a niche in the market and recycled the same shite year after year decade after decade. He is a brand.  


In short, he did not seek fulfilment in commodity consumption

yes he did. He also produced a reliably shite product year after year, decade after decade. 

but in the good use of commodities and other means to pursue the freedoms he values.

What freedom? The fellow is a blinkered cart house. He blindly obeys Rothbard's law- Economists specialize in what they are most shite at.


Lawrence Hamilton, a former student of Amartya Sen, is an admirer of his, and his account of Sen’s ideas is mostly appreciative. However, it is not uncritical: the author has also shared valuable thoughts on what he regards as loose ends in Sen’s thinking. For instance, he aptly questions the adequacy of “government by discussion” as an understanding of democracy (inspired by John Stuart Mill), especially when power relations prevent free, fair and equal participation in the discussion.

We rightly question the adequacy of 'discussion by academics' because they have shit for brains.  

It is, of course, not surprising that the notion of democracy as government by discussion (“an academic seminar writ large” in Hamilton’s caricature) appeals to an argumentative intellectual who excels at public reasoning, but discussion on its own does not always move mountains.

Does Dreze think it sometimes move mountains? 

A discussion, say, between a ruthless landlord and landless labourers may not be particularly fruitful if all the power is with the landlord.

In which case, why the fuck would there be a discussion? How stupid is this cunt? 

Sen might respond that in such situations, the term “discussion” must encompass assertive means of expression such as agitation and strikes.

Why not gang rapes and mob violence?

Or he might argue that creating the conditions that make discussion effective, including relatively egalitarian power relations, must be part and parcel of “government by discussion” as an ideal.

In other words, first there must be no problem and then there can't be any problem. That's the ideal. 

A characteristic feature of Sen’s ideas is that they

begin with a pointless distinction and then go nowhere fast 

have grown constructively over time (for instance, moving from entitlements to capabilities, and then extending the capability approach to multiple domains),

Entitlements are unknowable. So are Capabilities. 'Multiple Domains' means 'McKelvey Chaos'. Sen turned his subject- already known to be shit- into yet stinkier shit. 

rarely disowning earlier ideas but often modifying and sharpening them.

though they are made entirely out of shit. 

We are yet to hear the last word on democracy, a critical issue for India where democratic institutions and principles are now going to the dogs at speed.

Because the present administration, like the rest of India, think Dreze and Sen are cretinous nuisances.  

I am delighted that Penguin Random House India has brought out this edition of Lawrence Hamilton’s book, making it more accessible to the Indian audience. It is a sad irony that while Amartya Sen’s towering intellectual contributions have been widely appreciated around the world,

by people who thought he knew about India and had played a useful role there 

they have been devalued a little in India in recent years due to the vilification campaign that followed his criticisms of Hindu nationalism.

No. The cunt presided over a shambolic Nalanda International University where students couldn't get even yoghurt but did get robbed or sexually harassed. Sen resigned in a huff. Now the place has an RSS Chancellor and a good, highly experienced, V.C. it seems to be on an even keel.

Even a certain prime minister indulged in a dig at him when he drew a sarcastic contrast between “Harvard and hard work” (little does he seem to know that few people work harder than Amartya Sen).

Sen has made a niche for himself, through hard work and never underestimating the stupidity of the Drezes of the world. Good for him. The market in which he has done well may be small and deeply repugnant, but it is a perfectly legal market. Let him compete with David Icke.

The truth is only hard work matters.  The Harvard Econ Dept. fucked up Russia in the Nineties like nobody's business.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

This book, therefore, will be of special value to the multitude of critics who have disparaged his work without reading much of it.

i.e. it will show the critics that Sen said even sillier stuff than they had realized.  


Sunday, 25 October 2020

Parousia's Pelf


Because Knightian Uncertainty is all of Parousia's Pelf
& Vasubandhu the sole Paraclete of this Vanishing Self
My Love is yet the glove of Onan's Sin
& Thy Work, the Kirk I won't worship in. 



Is Shaj Mohan stupider than Divya Dwivedi?

Is Shaj Mohan stupider than Divya Dwivedi? Can anybody be stupider than an Indian academic who says 'Hinduism was invented in the Twentieth Century?' Is such a thing even possible? How make an objective determination of degrees of imbecility when dealing with Stephanians?

For Philosophy, following Collingwood, we might make 'evaluations' on the basis of engagement with open, rather than closed, questions in STEM fields. In other words, a Philosopher is a bigger moron if she obstinately adheres only to research programs known to have failed. On the other hand, a moron who confines himself to research programs not yet proven to have failed is, philosophically speaking, not a moron at all.  

Criticallegalthinking has an interview with Mohan. Let us see if the fellow can match the imbecility of his co-author.

Auwn Gurmani: What triggered your initial interest in M. K. Gandhi? How do you place your understanding of his concepts vis-a-vis the recent scholarship on Gandhi?

Shaj Mohan: M. K. Gandhi appeared as a non-philosophical object of special interest to philosophy, and that’s the “trigger warning”.

Why? Was the child Mohan raped by philosophers? Or was he merely a 'non-philosophical object of special interest' to those slavering pederasts? Does he think Radhakrishnan molested the Mahatma? 

Raghavan Iyer had developed Gandhi as a philosophical object. Countless others- some quite smart, like Sorabji- had piled onto the bandwagon. Thus Gandhi was a bona fide philosophical object by the time Mohan got to College.

As you know the research and publication on Gandhi were done with Divya Dwivedi and it began when we made a presentation on Gandhi’s “Indian Home Rule” in 2006 in St Stephen’s college when we were students. At that time I was interested in the meaning of “evaluation” in philosophy after Wittgenstein and Heidegger.

Witlesstein and Heidi represent cul de sacs. Their 'evaluations' turned out to be utterly shite. Brouwer contributed to both Philosophy and Mathematics. Witless stuck his thumb up his ass. Von Neumann developed Game theory. Witless didn't get that 'following a rule' is just Akriebia. Philosophy is concerned with oikonomia.  

We discovered that the concept of “kinesis”, which Gandhi understood as “speed”, directed his critical evaluation of civilizations.

The Aristotelian concept of kinesis- or movement turning potentiality into actuality- was not known to Gandhi. Islam in India had embraced Occassionalism as had Gandhi's ancestral Vaishnavism- which meant that kinesis was unproblematic. However, Theosophy had embraced theurgy and theosis while stipulating that prarabhda karma was deflectable- i.e. the Universe was neither deterministic or Occassionalist. 

Bhai Parmanand, who came to stay with Gandhi, was an Arya Samajist combatting Blavatsky more egregious bullshit. Gandhi had grown up in the shadow of an Arya meeting hall. That sect had been founded by a fellow Kathiawari. It is quite easy to place Gandhi's philosophy in Indian terms by placing it in the Arya Samaji spectrum. However, knowledge of Gujarati would be required to pick out its nuances. The fact is, Gandhi's dad followed the Pushtimarga and would have been affected by the Maharaj libel case- an important reason Gandhi would want to steer clear of sex- but this also suggests that the Gandhis were in the opposite camp from the 'reformers'. But, this meant, to be on the safe side- and not have to hand over your wife to some future Maharaj- the Gandhis pruned back on the kinetic aspects of Vallabha ontology- i.e. holy men pumping holiness into the orifices of family members. Still, just to keep up with the Joneses, Gandhi did read a little about Tantrism and that was an esoteric feature of his own Ashram life. Later, a Muslim devotee of his from the Tyabji family loved talking about this sort of thing  to the great scandal of her prudish visitors- but, in fairness, we must concede Gandhi chose a path which wouldn't leave him riddled with syphilis- the fate unfortunate fate of his Sanskrit Prof. Manilal Dwiwedi. Interestingly, Raghavan Iyer's wife came from a very distinguished family on the opposite side from Dwiwedi. Thankfully, Iyer- being a true Tambram imbecile, despite having a high I.Q- ignored the sort of insights his in-laws could have provided. 

This does not mean you can't find an 'open problem' to gas on about 'Gandhian kinesis' and how, at the limit, or antarabhava, it relates to oikeiosis. The fact is, Gandhi knew the Jain aashrav theory. He also knew that Jain Sadhus, like Sankaracharyas, could not take a train or bullock cart. Why? One Religion has an elaborate theory of kinetics. The other has a block universe. The only interface where a commonality could exist was in antarabhava which also appears in Islam as barzakh. I suppose one could connect this to open problems in reverse mathematics. Another way to look at it, is to ask if a bit of memory arising out of an arbitrary halting mechanism is equivalent to a Turing oracle. One could then give a current philosophical framework within which to ask why Gandhi was so convinced in the inerrancy of his inner voice. True, this would still be a pretty shitty project. But it wouldn't be based on stupid lies. 

Mohan's big lie is that some silly booklet was actually a philosophical tome-
Gandhi had borrowed his theory of speed and even examples from Thomas Taylor’s “Fallacy of Speed”.

This is not a theory. It is an opinion.  

For Taylor and Gandhi, the analysis of speed, (to put it in a dangerously simplified form for this occasion) showed that the values of things and actions changed according to the speed of their systems.

There was no analysis. Taylor was saying 'faster aint better'. Gandhi translated that shite as he translated some other shite from Fifield's 'Simple Life' Press. Back then, Chesterton and Shaw and so forth made a good living writing 'paradoxical' shite of that sort. Gandhi had a Press and a Paper to run.  

For example, a pilgrimage by foot loses its value when it is undertaken using modern transportation; the presumed piety is exchanged for touristic enjoyment.

Because a pilgrimage is supposed to be about discomfort and sacrifice. Tourism is supposed to be about enjoyment. This is comparing apples with iMacs.  

We found that Gandhi had a desire for absolute values.

Unlike most theists who want to get right with only a relatively Divine God. 

As you know “absolute zero” in thermodynamics is that temperature at which all “kinesis” at the molecular level comes to an end, and it is theoretically impossible to obtain.

Only in finite time & with finite resources. But even then, Quantum zero-point energy might cause a cosmic bounce. Being an 'open problem', the cosmological constant problem is the interface between physics and what is as yet 'hypophysics'- i.e. the occulted stuff which undergirds what is observable.  

Gandhi explicitly sought to reduce himself, and humanity, to the speed of zero;

No he didn't. He was fine with walking. 

that is, he wanted to bring humanity to a voluntary self-sacrifice and declare “henceforth time shall no longer be”—a worldwide state of passive resisters creating “the absolute zero” of politics was Gandhi’s goal.

However, non-coercive equilibria would remain. So, by the folk theorem of repeated games, any configuration achievable by coercive Governments could also be produced purely voluntarily.  

The risk we face today is precisely the attempts at the creation of an absolute zero in politics.

Nonsense! Nobody has figured out a way to stop correlated equilibria of a purely voluntary type. That's why Racism and other bad things can exist without any Gramscian hegemony or Foucauldian 'bio-politics'.  

True, Gandhi said some stupid shit. Politicians tend to do so.  But he believed in reincarnation. Absolute zero in this world would not matter. There would still be rebirth on other planes of existence. No doubt, Umasvati's omega point does feature a heat death of the multiverse. But everybody would have kevalya-gyan for non-denumerable infinity. 

Why is Mohan pretending that Gandhi wanted to end the Universe? Has he been reading too many Marvel comics? 

In 2007 we published a research paper on Gandhi in the Economic and Political Weekly

which, believe it or not, was once read by smart people 

after we discovered another thinking at work in Gandhi, to which we gave the name hypophysics. Hypophysics identifies “the good value” of a thing with its ‘natural state’, and deviation from nature is then evil.

So a pair of silly kids write dadaist shite- exercises in pure pataphysics- and EPW publishes them- perhaps as a joke. Then the kids get trapped in a surrealist world of their own creation. They made a face but the wind changed direction and now, for the rest of their lives, they are doomed to grimace at the world while asserting that Gandhi was the sort of Comic Book Villain against whom the Avengers must assemble. Thanos merely killed half of all sentient life. Gandhi wanted to bring about the heat death of the entire multiverse. What will Mohan write about next? Anne Frank's cunning plan to prevent the Big Bang from ever happening? Mother Theresa's dastardly plot to turn everybody into pizza- that too, of the Hawaiian sort?

For Taylor and Gandhi a man taking a walk across the field adheres to the nature of his limbs which was determined by “the Maker”,

in which case, Mohan is lying about Gandhi wanting to reduce the Universe's temperature to absolute zero 

but a man on a motorcycle is fleeing from his nature.

Very true. When you see a bunch of Hell's Angels you must tell them this. By nature, they are a bunch of sissies. 'How long will you flee from yourself, my little powder-puff?' They won't kick your head in. Take my word for it.

Hypophysics is older than M. K. Gandhi and it is at work even now in the Gandhians and his opponents.

Hypophysics, as defined by Kant, just means 'occult qualities' or what we call 'hidden variables'. What Mohan is doing is pataphysics.   

It is impossible to find any such given ‘nature’, even in what we call the “natural world”. This problem is circumvented by most versions of hypophysics by setting up something like an idyllic a priori.

Postulating a golden age at the beginning of time is a feature of many religious traditions. Hinduism has a notion of Satya Yuga. Christianity has the notion of Eden. To return to that paradisal state involves 'hyperphysics'- as in Tielhard's system. I suppose one could hypothesize 'hidden variables' which could be manipulated till the original position is restored. But if, like Gandhi, you believe in reincarnation, what is the point? If you live properly, you will be reborn in Satya Yuga or Vaikuntha or whatever. 

Mohan is mindlessly applying a Western analogy to a Hindu man. 

Idyllic a priori are the terms and values derived from the idylls, or the desired a posteriori of someone or some men. All kinds of idyllic a priori suppress the oppressive conditions in which those idylls were possible and all idylls are derived from the experiences of privileged groups of men. For example, Gandhi found his idyllic a priori in the Indian villages and it corresponded to the lives of the well to do upper caste men of the village, thus suppressing the horrors of the caste order that sustains Indian villages even today.

This criticism would be effective against Chesterton, who liked his food and drink and wouldn't have enjoyed such lenten fare as medieval England afforded the villein, but it is ineffective against Gandhi who moved to the boondocks and did manual scavenging and so forth. What 'horrors' did Dalit members of his Ashram have to face? Whatever they were, they were the same as other Ashramites faced. Or so we are told. 

The subcontinental versions of postcolonial and subaltern studies think from the same upper caste idyllic a priori.

No they don't. This is Mohan's own unique contribution to the history of stupidity.  

Recently, in the context of the pandemic, Giorgio Agamben revealed his idyl[iii]l as the small town in Europe where the churches determine man’s relation to his nature, from which his idyllic a priori follows. In this case, it suppresses the colonial

what fucking colonies did Italy possess then?  

and other exploitative conditions which sustained this very idyll.

but, if Agamben has finally made his way back to the Church, then those exploitative conditions don't matter. Everybody, bought a ticket to paradise at the price of a nasty, brutish and mercifully short life.  

To return to the second part of your question, most of the scholarship on Gandhi, including the criticisms, share Gandhi’s idyllic a priori.

No they don't. Only Mohan mentions any such nonsense.  The fact is Gandhian communes are like Tolstoyan communes. They are independent of caste or class configurations. Plenty of journalists turned up at Anna Hazare's Ralegan Siddhi hoping to uncover exploitation of Dalits. They failed. But, it turned out Hazare used to beat drunkards. Indians were delighted to hear this. Hazare's stock rose. 

AG: As much as your work is critical of Gandhi and it decenters him from his usual position of a Mahatma and a political and spiritual hero of subcontinent, there is a cause of worry for some readers. As the political thinker J. Reghu in his review of Gandhi and Philosophy[iv], wrote that Gandhi has been elevated too much by this work? How would you reply to that?
Likewise, there is a body of criticism of Gandhi’s views on caste and his racial ideas. How do you view Gandhi on Caste and Race?

SM: J. Reghu is one of the most exciting political thinkers of India.

 But only to deeply boring cunts with zero political influence. 

Being uninterested in any consensus he is able to see the articulations of these very consensual structures which decide what can and cannot be said in public. However, I would like to think that J. Reghu had discussed some of the reasons why Gandhi became important within a philosophical project.

Some day, I like to think, Mohan will attain the erudition and eminence of J.Reghu. Perhaps that day has already come and gone. This was Mohan's a priori idyll. 


A philosophical interest in Gandhi is very different from the lobbying interests invested in him; the former gives us the possibility to think the absolute zero of politics while the latter has given us the “Mahatma Propagandhi”, the man suited to sell anything. Philosophical interests cannot be determined by lobbying activities even if they have the best intentions. If someone says that we should not study the theorems of Grigori Perelman because he is against society that would make little sense.

WTF? Perelman isn't against Society. He gave cogent reasons for rejecting prizes which, it must be said, were well deserved.

Gandhi had created the most systematic version of hypophysics, he had drAGn the most extreme consequences of an analytic of speed, and using all that he proposed the terminus for all nihilistic political projects—the voluntary self-sacrifice of mankind, or the absolute zero of politics. It is dangerous to avoid these insights held within Gandhi, whether by yielding to the recent model of “don’t read X or Y because we don’t like their views”, or by silently passing over these insights to use the saintly icon.

So, St. Stephens no longer produces alumni who can speak English properly. Why does Mohan not write in his mother tongue?  


Caste order is the oldest and the worst form of racist oppression in the world, and it is strange that it has endured into the 21st century after the end of apartheid!

Why is it strange? The thing exists in Japan. Why not India? The Gypsies in Europe don't seem to be having a wonderful time. They are descended from Indian Doms. It seems caste is portable.  

As you said, there have been several works critical of Gandhi’s approaches towards race and caste. It began at least with B. R. Ambedkar. Today “critical philosophy of race” is a complex discipline. The researches of Charles W. Mills, Emmanuel Eze, Robert Bernasconi and several others have deepened our understanding of the births and the speciation of racial theories; that is, there are many racisms.

But these guys didn't have the tools to understand Caste. Ackerloff had a stab at it- as he says in his Nobel Lecture. Sadly, we have no Ambedkar today to use the new tools available to build a structural causal model which could help us improve mechanism design in this respect. Histrionics does no good. This is just virtue signalling. Mohan is wasting everybody's time. 

Gandhi may have invented a new ground for racism, which is hypophysical.

Or he may not. Scratch that. Definitely not. 

Mohan can't point to some new form of discrimination or oppression which Gandhi invented. I can. It is highly discriminatory and oppressive for kids who have shit for brains to have to study shite taught by the likes of Mohan simply so as to be more worthless than they would otherwise be. 

If Gandhi, hadn't existed, Mohan's stripe of philosophic shite could not exist.  

For him, there is something like ‘natural populations’; that is, the people of the world are distributed in a ‘natural environment’ which is most appropriate for each of them. As long as a population remains in their ‘natural state’—for example, the Dalits of the subcontinent under ritualized social oppression—there is good for him. Any inspiration to deviate from the ‘natural state’ would be evil. Gandhi read into Darwin a kind of moral biology according to which being moral was equal to being true to one’s given ‘natural’ environment.

For shitheads like Mohan & Dwivedi, Gandhian philosophy is their 'natural environment'. This is the fault of the upper castes. Modi is not upper caste. I hope he will drain the swamp in which such shitheads flourish. Defund non STEM subjects at P.G level. Do it now.

I began this blog post by asking if Mohan was stupider than Dwivedi. He isn't. But he is more monotonously moronic. Still, by applying himself, he may attain the eminence of a J.Reghu. Good luck to him. I can read no more of his shite.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Divya Dwivedi's pataphysics

Some months ago the LARB featured this interview with Divya Dwivedi 


KRITHIKA VARAGUR: It was on the occasion of Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary that you made your now-controversial remarks that Hinduism was invented in the 20th century. You received a pretty enormous and immediate reaction of outrage and trolling on social media and in the public sphere. Why do you think this statement caught fire at the time it did?

The answer is that Modi, a Gujarati, has reclaimed Gandhi for the BJP. We now see Modi as a Kathiawari, like Swami Dayanand. Gandhi was influenced by Bhai Parmanand, as was Lala Har Dayal, but Gandhi initially was a 'loyalist'.  

In other words, Gandhi has the same intellectual genealogy as the RSS- many of whose members were celibate.

Congress has tried but has failed to assert its property rights in Gandhi but, the truth is, the dynasty is dying nasty only because Rahul Baba still refuses to step up to the plate- or let anyone else do so. 

Meanwhile, the leftists in the Academy- whom we all expected to provide good quality testimony to the Bench in the Ram Janmabhoomi case- have shat the bed. They have proved useless, utterly ignorant, and irremediably stupid. Divya's performance on the TV debate explained why the Left has declined so precipitously in electoral politics.  It has lost all contact with reality. It doesn't care how absurd it sounds. It was one thing to say 'British created divisions of caste and creed'. Blaming the foreigner for everything makes sense. But saying Hinduism was invented in the Twentieth Century is just stupid. Most of us knew at least one of our grandparents who, in turn, could remember their grandparents. Thus we know our Religion was present in the Nineteenth Century. There are one or two sects- e.g. Brahma Kumaris- which came into existence in the Twentieth Century but Hinduism has been around for a very long time. Indian lawyers- some of whom become politicians- derive their bread and butter through their knowledge of Hindu law. Many of the cases they cite are from the Nineteenth Century. There is a Constitutional aspect to this. Certain sects have approached the Court to be declared non-Hindu. In refusing these requests, the Court upholds the notion that Hinduism is prehistoric. Otherwise, Nineteenth Century creations, like the Brahmo and the Arya Samaj and so forth could gain 'minority' status for their educational establishments. 

Why did Divya say such a stupid thing? She could easily have hedged her bets by saying 'The political instrumentalization of Hinduism is a wholly Twentieth Century invention'.  Except, she couldn't at all because she really is stupid and has been made stupider by reading stupid books by stupid people in a shite branch of the academy.

DIVYA DWIVEDI: First of all, this statement is something that has been very well researched over the past three or four decades.

Even the best research conducted by shitheads will be shite. However, Divya has a point. Fifty years ago, Professors in Departments which are now utterly shite had to at least pretend not to be paranoid nutcases. Thus, an academic who said 'Hinduism was invented in the Twentieth Century' in 1970 would have been sacked from the IIT.  

Also, some academics did come out and try and refute it, which was bizarre because they’re not refuting me, they are refuting a whole host of extremely sound historical precedents and Indologists and anthropologists.

Divya told a stupid lie. Some refuted her stupid lie. She says 'this is bizarre. I am not the liar. There is a host of shitheads who utter this sort of stupid lie'. 

But nothing bizarre occurred. The truth is, it isn't just Divya who is a stupid liar. The entire Left-Liberal Academic establishment is populated by either stupid liars or guys who go along with stupid lies for the sake of a quiet life.  

Given that it is so well established, I definitely knew what I wanted to say on TV and I meant every single word of it.

Divya's parents may have been libtards. But did she never meet her grandparents? Did they not tell her about the beliefs of their own grandparents? Had Divya been brought up in Siberia, we might think her ignorant but not necessarily stupid. But Divya has always lived in India. Her Academic credentials are Indian. She teaches in India. 

It may be that she is a RSS 'plant', or that her TV appearance was an exercise in dadaist 'pataphysics'. But the Libtards have rallied to her. Divya's stupidity is their stupidity. No wonder their 'long march through the Institutions' has ended in complete political irrelevance. 

I also knew the format of television debates in general, which are not aimed at serious discussion, but I said what I said in that limited time because I feel both morally and philosophically obliged to do so.

She told a stupid lie because, morally, she is a liar and, philosophically, she is as stupid as shit.  What is remarkable is that she has profited by it. The Libtards have rallied to her. That's a good thing. It meant, inter alia, that Shaheen Bagh failed before it began. Islam has a deep history. Hinduism is just some shite invented a couple of generations ago. But why was it invented? To hold Islam at bay. Suddenly, clamoring for a change in the law so non-Muslims fleeing Islamic persecution couldn't get citizenship didn't seem such a clever idea. We too might have to run away.

I thought that on this occasion, the birth anniversary of Gandhi, there was nothing else that could be said. I thought I was able to say that Gandhi is not going to be our way into a political future, because our main problem is the problem of caste hierarchy, and exploitation, and oppression,

which is why ecumenical, civilizational, Hinduism was reinvigorated by great Saints and intellectuals in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century as a way of getting rid of untouchability, purdah, child marriage, and 'outcasting' caused by the breaking of ritualist taboos- e.g. that against the crossing of 'black water'. 

so we should think of a future without Gandhi.

In 1950, Acharya Vinobha Bhave agreed with Nehru that the Gandhians should concentrate on voluntary work in the boondocks while technocrats ran the 'modern' sector. By 1970, it was clear that 'bhoodan' etc. had failed in the rural hinterland. India's future involved relegating Gandhi to the status of a mascot. But Nehru's Planning Commission too had to be emasculated. The License-Permit Raj had to be relaxed, or corrupted, so 'India could grow by night'. 

This is the primary fact from which everything follows: that “Hindu” as a religious category encompasses a minority, which is the upper-caste minority population.

So what? Power passed to the 'OBC' from the late Sixties onward. Brahmins vote for Modi. So do Banias and Kayasthas and Khattris and Thakurs. The problem for Divya is that a lot of Dalits too are Hindu Nationalists. Thus Hinduism is now led by its own majority- unlike Christianity or Islam. Divya may not have noticed but most people with the surname Dwivedi are as poor as shit. Some aren't but most are. Still, they are good people and come up quickly if given a chance at productive employment. 

But it has been invented as a category in early 20th century in order to represent the majority.

What happened in the 'early Twentieth Century'? The Muslim League was established in 1906. The Hindu Mahasabha was created about a decade later. Is Divya saying 'Muslims invented Hinduism?' The moment they got 'reserved seats', non-Muslims got lumped together as 'Hindus'. Then the Muslims got Pakistan and ethnically cleansed non-Muslims. So 'Hindu Nationalism' is the creation of militant Islam. The thing is purely defensive. Is Divya a crypto-bakht? No. She is merely ignorant and stupid. 

So it’s a false majority. And all our political problems, and our academic problems including whether it’s possible to do philosophy on the subcontinent or not, have to do with the suppression of this fact.

What fact? Non-Muslim Indians are forced to band together to protect themselves from persecution? Is that it? The big problem with the Academy on the sub-continent is that it has to suppress this 'fact' which is actually an axiom of Islamophobia. 

Divya thinks she is attacking Hinduism but, like Shaheen Bagh (which protested the granting of citizenship to refugees fleeing Islamic persecution), the attack backfires. It seems Islam's intolerance is the problem, not Hindu chauvinism. Indeed, by Divya's logic, Hinduism only came into existence as a reaction to Islamic militancy.  

Can you elaborate on your account of this construction of a Hindu majority? And what does this construction mask?

Why would Hinduism need to be invented at exactly the same time as a Muslim League demanding reserved seats? The obvious answer is because Muslim rule was horrible for non-Muslims. It wasn't great for a lot of low caste Muslims or those from minority sects. But for non-Muslims, it was a catastrophe. 

Divya can't say 'Hinduism was invented so as to counter Islam'. Instead she has to talk paranoid bollocks.

This has been very well researched by historians like Jaidayal Dalmia,

who on earth can she possibly mean? 

Heinrich von Stietencron,

 Vasudha Dalmia could be said to have this sort of bias- but nobody thinks she is smart. Stietencron went with the flow. But he never pretended to know more about Hinduism than actual Hindus like my parents. Neither Dalmia nor Stietencron are considered historians. 

Will Sweetman,

is a low IQ, Religious Studies, guy on some Campus in New Zealand. 

Robert Frykenberg,

 was born in India and is interested in the history of Christian Missionary work there. He is well aware of what happened to Christians in Pakistan. 

and Romila Thapar,

Thapar is a historian. She has endorsed Divya's work. But Thapar has gone completely mad. Sonia made a big mistake by listening to this shithead. Thanks to her, Congress became anti-Hindu and now is flirting with anti-Nationalism.  

The fact is Raja Ram Mohan Roy- because of his Persian education- was using the term Hindu in his English writing from 1817 onward. David Lorenzen, in his article 'Who invented Hinduism' highlights John Cruwford's use of the term 'Hindu', 'Hinduism' and 'Hindu Religion' to designate the creed of the Hindus of Bali in 1820 to prove the opposite of Divya's case. The fact is, 'Hindu' became the dominant term in English writing on India during the second quarter of the Nineteenth Century English. This nomenclature replaced 'Gentoo' or 'Indu' which had currency in European literature from the Sixteenth Century onward. By the time Mahatma Gandhi was born, 'Hinduism' was replacing 'Brahmanism' as the scholarly name for the Religion. 

The term 'Hindu' is not, however, the original term by which followers of sanatan dharma referred to themselves. But it was more useful as a 'rigid designator'. Why? What constitutes dharma is 'essentially contested'. Focal solutions to coordination games are not contested. Hinduism is inclusivist and thus unobjectionable. 

Moreover, it appears to have attained wide currency by the 14th Century- because of Muslim expansion. Lorenzen writes-

Given such facts, easily accessible on the internet, why would anyone want to claim that 'Hinduism was invented in the twentieth century?'

I suppose, if you are a bigoted follower of Savarkar, you would insist that all Indian citizens or those domiciled in India are actually Hindus and obliged to uphold Hindutva against any other creed. The problem with this sort of postmodernism is that it is a double edged sword. Ex falso quodlibet. From self-contradictory premises anything at all can be deduced. The invention of the idea that Hinduism was invented can be as easily attributed to the Nicaraguan horcrux of my neighbor's cat as to the guys who set up the Hindu Mahasabha in 1916. No question, Congress and the Communist Party were ploys by which elitist cunts got to tyrannize over the majority. So what? Other Parties were ploys for their promoters to turn into elitist cunts who got rich fucking over the Common Man. Then the Common Man Party was founded to cut out the middleman so such fucking over might burgeon without limit.

almost everything regarding caste has been articulated consistently by low-caste intellectuals including Jyotirao Phule, B. R. Ambedkar, Urmila Pawar, Kancha Ilaiah, Anand Teltumbde, Khalid Anis Ansari, J. Reghu, Meena Dhanda, Hartosh Bal, Suraj Yengde, and more.

Phule & Ambedkar were aware that untouchability existed in all religions in India. Neither thought Hinduism was invented in the Twentieth Century. Ambedkar endorsed Iyothee Dasan's theory re. Dalits as downgraded Buddhists.

 Khalid Anis Ansari has written off the oppression of the 85 % Pasmanda majority by the Ashraf Muslim majority. He thinks this is because of 'Brahminism'. Yet, the problem is now worse in Iran and Iraq. Being a Syed means radically different life-chances under conditions of economic collapse or insecurity. On the other hand, widespread slavery and castration of eunuchs reduced the need for 'untouchability' in Islamic countries. But emancipation meant that groups like the Yemeni Akhdam are now more vulnerable than ever before. Hopefully, restoration of peace and economic growth will rapidly ameliorate these problems. But that is true of every under-class. Raising productivity and properly resourcing the Rule of Law is the only sustainable way forward. 

“Hindu” is related to the Arabic term “al-Hind,”

which arises from the Sanskrit root 'Indu' which has a spiritual as well as a geographic meaning. In antiquity, it was usual to use a geographic term of high salience interchangeably with that of a nation. Thus 'Egypt' could refer to the Nile and vice versa. Malay mariners used the word 'Bharat' to mean West as well as to refer to the Indian subcontinent. 

Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who learned Persian and Arabic before he learned Sanskrit, preferred the term 'Hindu' precisely because he considered Muslims a threat. He explicitly appealed to Westminster to permit unrestricted European settlement in India so as to help defend Hindus from militant Islam. What was important about Hinduism was not whether or not it was unified or, indeed, whether it had previously existed. In the light of the Islamic threat, it needed to exist. Thus H.H Wilson has to testify both to the inchoate as well as to the unitary nature of the Religion. On the other hand, Christendom too needed ecumenism. Britain in particular needed to stop getting its knickers in a twist about Dissenters and Catholics and Methodists and Unitarians and so forth. 

which was used to designate the region around Indus river by travelers to the subcontinent. Before the 19th century, the term Hindu simply didn’t refer to religion, but to a loose collection of peoples who happened to live on the subcontinent and who were neither Muslim nor Christian.

So, Hindu Nationalism is a reaction to predatory Muslims and Christians. Thus, if you are a non-Muslim Indian, you should join the RSS because, clearly, there is still a Caliphate type threat. 

On the other hand, Hinduism- e.g. in Bali- exists independently of Hindu Nationalism and has done so from long before the Europeans showed up.

The term Hindu began to be used in the 19th century, when European Indologists were trying to codify a religion.

Judges and officials codified. European Indologists did philology and hermeneutics. 

European Missionaries in India were using the term 'Hindu' in the eighteenth and seventeenth century. Lorenzen, an actual historian, unlike dim little Divya, gives the following example-

Divya doesn't get that 'Indologists' actually read the texts they work with. No doubt, to curry favor with the Leftists who dominate Academia, they repeat any nonsense that might appeal to them. But, more especially if they are White, Males, they are obliged to kowtow to Blackie or risk getting labelled Racists. One White female who bucked the trend did so because she had a student who was from the Balmik community- which has done very well in London. She met that community and became convinced that Bhagvan Valmiki had indeed written The Holy Ramayana. Had A.K Ramanuja had the chance to sit in the Balmik prayer-hall- or just receive instruction over a nice home-cooked meal- he would never have written such nonsense. He may have been an Iyer- i.e. stupid- but he wasn't evil. 

Divya does not believe Bhagwan Valmiki came from a great community which flourishes wherever it is given the chance to work productively for the commonweal. 

The fact is great Spiritual, Scientific, and Literary works were more commonly created by poorer, lower class, people- especially women- than by Lords and Bishops. The Rg Veda itself testifies to this truth. No Indian Muslim or Hindu has ever denied that most of our greatest Poet Saints were of humble birth. Many were women. 

But not women like Divya. She says- 

But Indologists work only with texts, and texts are the basis only of upper-caste culture.

Codification was not based on texts. It was on the basis of customary practice,  'judge made law', and official decisions of a legislative or executive type. 

So the upper castes acted as native informants for these Indologists,

No they didn't. Many German and Russian and other Indologists never met a 'Native'.

The fact is, learned Pundits and Mullahs and so forth instructed scholars and administrators as well as kids whose parents hoped they'd grow up to amount to something. Smart people got jobs and learned stuff or compiled information which was useful. There were 'Court Pundits' till the 1860s. Plenty of barristers learned Sanskrit or Arabic so as to specialize in lucrative Inheritance Law cases. Aurobindo & Chesterton's headmaster had an M.A in both Sanskrit and Law. On the other hand, there were and are plenty of Indologists who had no influence whatsoever. Why? They are stupid. They'd make a fool of themselves on the witness stand. Their 'expertise' is useless. Sadly, the Indian Left historians and scholars proved to be equally useless. They were supposed to stand up in Court and prove that the Babri Masjid was always a Mosque- never a place of Hindu worship. They failed miserably. 

and as a result, what was conceived as religion at that time was only the upper-caste religion. With the 1872 British census, a new dimension came up, which was that communities were going to be enumerated, and that’s when the upper castes began to consider their category. For the longest time, they always continued to think of themselves in terms of caste rather than the category of religion.

So, even if- like Divya- your Mummy & Daddy were atheistic Commies- you should join the RSS or at least vote for Modi. Why? Because Hinduism is just the name given to resistance to Islamic militancy. Don't confuse Hinduism with upper-caste stuff like vegetarianism and studying Sanskrit. Europeans, for some reason, preferred talking to guys of that sort and so they imposed a 'Brahminical' Hinduism on us. Incidentally, they treated the Gypsies- who are related to the Doms in India- like shit. In other words, non-Muslim Indians, regardless of caste, should rally behind Modi. They should join the RSS.  

By the early 20th century, censuses began to show that the upper castes are a minuscule minority.

Makes sense. In a poor country only a few are going to be able to live in an 'upper' class manner.  The problem, in India, was that upper castes were very numerous in the Gangetic 'heartland'. Even elsewhere they were so plentiful that many of them were severely malnourished. 

Some upper-caste people began to catch up to the new game, which was that Indians would get greater room in governing themselves.

As a gift from Whitey, coz Whitey is actually Santa Claus- right? How come South African blacks didn't get to govern themselves till quite recently?

They decided that if their numbers were revealed to be low,

but that had already happened- otherwise they wouldn't themselves have known about it. 

they would have no traction in this new form of electoral politics

which gained salience only thirty to forty years after the first Census was conducted 

and therefore, they needed to hide caste

But caste data was collected and published by the Government. The only reason caste tabulation did not appear in the 1941 Census was because there was a war on and so the Government decided to save a little money.

Divya seems to be unaware that Modi is forcing OBC caste listing on the 2021 census. It seems the RSS does not want to 'hide caste'. It wants to reveal it.

Once again, we have to ask- is Divya a RSS plant or just stupid? 

and to produce a new category under which they would not only appear to be the majority, but also be the representatives of that majority. And that is when “Hindu” as a category was embraced, and they required quite a lot of persuasion to do so. This is all very, very well archived: Gandhi, Lajpat Rai, several other nationalist leaders were part of this.

This is pure fantasy. By the 1880s everybody was setting up Caste Associations and claiming superior status and special consideration. Young people hated this because they were being denied opportunities on the grounds that this would lower the prestige of the community. That's why Gandhi and Motilal and, a little later, Rajendra Prasad and so forth jumped on the Nationalist bandwagon. Only if Hindus had the popular mandate and constitutional right to legislate for themselves could they get rid of a wasteful type of holier-than-thou Caste competition whereby if the Iyengars marry off their daughters at 12, we Iyers must marry them off at 10.  

So, in the early 20th century, they actively adopted a foreign term, “Hindu,”

which was derived from a Hindu term- 'Indu'- and wasn't foreign at all because it was the term used by Persian speaking Muslims who had been ruling much of the country for centuries. 

and the religion was “invented.”

Monier Williams, who published books about 'Hinduism', had taken Shymaji Krishna Varma with him to Oxford in the 1860's.  

And this constructed majority allowed them to continue caste oppression, which continues until today.

This is mad. Either there was caste oppression which continued regardless of any invention, or there was no invention at all.  

Currently, the Left is trying to construct, or invent, an anti-Hindu majority by roping in Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Adivasis, and OBCs. But they are failing. Inventions often do if there is no demand for what they offer. In the case of the Left, what is offered,  is rule by corrupt, casteist, utterly incompetent, dynasts. 

And what about the reactions from the public to your statement? What was it like for you from the eye of the storm?

I think that the threats and the abuses, which continued for a while, definitely are scary. And there are too many other people who have faced it.

I myself receive rape threats from Hindutvadis like Mother Theresa- who, btw & fyi, was only invented in the Twenty First Century. 

So it’s just the condition that we are in today. There was also pressure on me to retract my statements.

All the silly moo needed to do was to say 'by 'invent' I mean, of course, 'instrumentalized in a novel manner'.  

What was shocking to me was that there is this much ignorance about this fact and that it’s a deliberate ignorance.

Google 'was Hinduism invented' and you immediately get to Lorenzen's article which was written before this silly moo got to Collidge.  

And also when some academics from the so-called liberal left tried to refute what I was saying, that was very saddening and shocking. I think that the reaction was carefully aimed at me in order to make sure that this is not amplified further or given more space in a medium (TV) that does reach a very large number of people.

Divya was told to shut up because she was making her fellow libtard academics look bad. She was very saddened and shocked by this.  

When you were in college and studying philosophy, was there an expectation that Indian academics outside the mainstream can expect to get so many personal threats? When did it become an expectation that if you had a certain kind of approach, this is just part of the deal?

Plenty of Indian academics got death threats in the Nineties when Divya was a little girl. 

I think the attempts to try and silence academics who produce well-evidenced research contrary to the reigning dogmas have always been there.

This silly moo's own dogma is a sillier version of the one Lorenzen comprehensively rubbished when she was still in Skool.

But it never got the traction that it is having now. It didn’t have a political party representing it at the center.

OMG! This silly moo didn't notice that Atal was PM when she started College! 

Previously there were groups who attacked historians, like Romila Thapar and Sumit Sarkar, and even certain texts like Three Hundred Ramayanas by A. K. Ramanujan.

Before she got to College. 

There have also been episodes where academics have been attacked physically in the university, and the offices of heads of history departments have been trashed, and research centers which contained manuscripts of the Mahabharata have been trashed.

 While she was at College.

But it is more recently that Hindu nationalists have occupied all political and social spheres in an unprecedented way and, definitely, that increases the consequences of attacks coming your way.

There is no evidence of this.  

As a college student, speaking your mind or protesting are fairly common activities and I certainly did a lot of that. You can see now that student protests have shut down, certainly in Delhi and in most other parts of the country as well. Heavy anti-terror laws are used against people who try to speak their mind, which was not the case earlier. That should tell us something about how people now share a basic level of fear or inhibition.

It tells us that either these guys are cowards or that the Government was cowardly in not curbing a nuisance because it thought there would be 'Hindu consolidation'. It may be that Divya gave this interview before Shaheen Bagh. Still, it is good for 'activists' to know that the sort of philosopher who supports them believes 'Hinduism was invented in the Twentieth Century'. Personally, I'd prefer David Icke batting for me.

Did you feel something start to change in 2014, after the first election? Is there some kind of time frame you can put on when the fact that this Hindu nationalist administration with an unprecedented mandate made its presence felt in the academic sphere?

Back in 2014, the smart play was to show loyalty to the Dynasty and make nice with the Commies because, everybody thought, they had learned their lesson and would up their game.  

There was no point wooing the BJP because the grace and favor appointments would go either to long time RSS types or else to technocrats.

I’m actually much more interested in the manner in which almost all political players and intellectual players in India have maintained the same consensus regarding the upper castes.

Which is that they didn't invent Hinduism in the Twentieth Century in the manner that Dwivedi believes her great-great-grand daddies did.  

Everybody has been part of this consensus where the only fight in which one can take positions is that between Hinduism and Hindutva [Hindu-ness, the ideology informing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party] or an Indian secularism versus a kind of more rabid nationalism or ultra-nationalism.

As opposed to the notion that Hinduism was invented around the same time as 'Hindutva'.  But who was the inventor? It must have been Savarkar & Co. Thus every practicing Hindu is, like it or not, a follower of Savarkar. 

Today, a lot of academics are invested in making this distinction. But to me this is still a fake wrestling match that continues to avert our eyes from the real problems, which are related to the caste hierarchy.

We are speaking of a country where a billion people have been tricked into following a Religion which was secretly invented just three or four generations ago. What other elements of our immemorial tradition were invented at that time? Indian languages are a likely candidate. The Brits invented them to 'divide and rule'. Previously, Indian agriculturists from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari conversed in Parisian French. 

If you look at major conflagrations of, what are called “riots” but are most often pogroms or attacks on religious minorities, that discourse is not changed in its fundamentals.

But has its head up its fundament. 

I think that continuity is something we should pay attention to, because it means that a consensus that was decided very long ago has informed the idea of India.

Every idea that has lasted has been informed by a long enduring consensus. Divya finds this very suspicious. She stands up and says something absurd. Everybody laughs at her. Isn't that strange? Doesn't it prove there is a huge conspiracy here? I mean it isn't as though Divya is stupid and ignorant- right? Oh. She is stupid and ignorant. Sad.  

You’ve talked and written about how India is trapped in a Hindu-Muslim unity discourse championed by Gandhi, to the exclusion of discussing intercaste relations.

The interviewer is American- though her name is properly Indic and unpronounceable. She doesn't know Partition occurred more than seventy years ago. Hindu-Muslim unity has not mattered since. All that matters is caste.  

These days, the Indian government doesn’t even release caste data from the census.

No. Manmohan funked releasing that data- though, it must be admitted, it was worthless because people put down anything they liked. Modi is determined to get the job done properly- so people will have to pick one jati from a list not just write (as I do) Honeytitted Jedi Knight. 

Can you talk about that and other ways in which caste remains the elephant in the room?
Caste is difficult to talk about because it’s the elephant in a room full of upper-caste people.

Who, if they are my age, are constantly asking about the jati and gotra and astrological chart of every suitable boy or girl you might be related to. Middle aged people become obsessive match-makers.  Young people find this very boring and try to run away when they see a Mama or Mami coming. 

True, there are some superior sorts who went to Doon School & St. Stephens who feel this is infra dig. But they listen to people who are experts in caste arithmetic. 

So you could even say it’s not the elephant in the room.

In which case, sane people would not mention it. When is the last time someone at a cocktail party said 'why are we not talking about the tiger which is not in the room?'  

It’s the elephant which has been kept outside the room.

As opposed to the elephants that inhabit Divya's gracious dwelling. 

It’s exactly consonant with the basic structure of the society of the subcontinent. So for 2,000 years, the upper castes maintained their stranglehold on all institutions and exploited the labor of the lower castes. They had segregationist policies and ethos and ritual and scriptural justification for it. And the oppression of women also has to do with the control of reproduction and sexuality in order to maintain caste hierarchies and boundaries.

So, the silly moo is trying to package herself as a Dalit activist! Sadly, her surname is a disadvantage. Also, she needs to marry a younger Kashmiri Muslim. Nothing else will do.  

And this order, which has a feudal dimension, has carried over despite independence, in institutions like the media, or academic education at all levels, and politics itself, political representation of the people. If in all these institutions, the upper castes continue to dominate, how can the discussion of what facilitates their own privilege, how can that discussion break through?

Divya has an answer. It can break through by telling stupid lies.  

How does the issue of upper-caste domination manifest in your field, which is philosophy in India?

Her field is shit. There is no philosophy in India. There is darshan gyan and meta-mathematical research and Quantum phenomenology and so forth. But no philosophy. At one time, people thought Joshi and Matilal and so forth weren't as stupid as shit. But, that time has passed.  


It’s total. First of all, simply in terms of what is considered to be philosophy. There is no emphasis on thinking on your own.

Because silly moos like Divya will start saying 'Hinduism was invented in the twentieth century!'  

It is a relationship to a canon.

As opposed to just saying any stupid shit that comes into your head 

And for Indian philosophy, there is an idea that philosophy should have a qualifying identity, the “Indian” identity of philosophy.

If it is crap- sure. But must it be crap?  

It makes sure that you only study a canon that was composed several centuries ago and you do it in the name of preserving the brilliance of this heritage, not paying attention to the fact that it was the tool for maintaining upper-caste dominance.

So, this 'upper caste' silly moo deliberately studied, and now chooses to teach, a subject which she herself believes to be about 'maintaining upper-caste dominance'. 

The truth is some branches of Indian philosophy- e.g. Navya Nyaya- flourished under Muslim or British domination. Clearly, philosophy was shit at dominating anybody. Military technology is the way to go. But weapons are expensive. So, long run, as Marx pointed out, only Economic dominance- 'market power'- matters. 

All research is constrained by the idea of maintaining an Indian philosophy, which really has only three or four components, including the socio-cosmic justification for the caste system.

Divya is right to say Indian philosophy, in the English language, is shit. Scrap it by all means. But Indian Soteriology has a big market. Let that burgeon. Its practitioners could make money and pay taxes. Rajneesh made a lot of money. He got his start as a philosophy lecturer. 

So you study these texts as kind of metaphysical articulations, which are simply articulations of how people should remain segregated. The Brahmins are the only ones, in fact, who are supposed to do any intellectual or cognitive activity.

This would be news to the Jains and the Buddhists whose founders were not Brahmins. Indeed, it would be news to such Brahmins as know the Vedas and Upanishads.  

And as [the eighth-century theologian] Adi Shankara said, Bhaja Govindam, mudha-mate: worship Govinda [Krishna], you fool! Meaning, lower-caste people simply don’t have the intellectual capacity to deal with the Vedas. They should just express their devotion by chanting the name Govinda.

Sankara saw an old Brahmin reciting a formula from Panini's Aṣṭādhyāyī. He admonished him to forget grammar and philology and seek salvation through devotion to the Lord. Sankara was speaking to a high caste man in the Holy City of Benares. His song is in Sanskrit. How were poor unlettered people supposed to understand it? 

You’re not capable of engaging with the texts. You’re not even allowed to listen to the Vedas. This is an injunction in text after text studied within Indian philosophy. We have continued the same attitude in our philosophy departments, which is of ritual repetition of the texts and commentaries that you’ve been given.

This is a good argument to discontinue non-STEM subject Post Grad courses in India. 

At one time it was argued that doing a PhD in shite was good coz that way poor people could become Communists. But poor people won't vote for Communists because doing a PhD stuffs your brain full of shit. So the thing is completely useless even from the Communist point of view. 

Do lower-caste students drop out as the field narrows because they feel discouraged by these structural constraints?

To answer this autobiographically would be a bit of a mockery, but the fact is that the dropout rate for lower-caste invalid people is so staggering and so well recorded that it doesn’t need any personal testimony. Just take a look at the statistics. The highest suicide rates in higher academic institutions, medical colleges, and engineering institutions, are of students from the lower castes.

On the other hand, professional gangsters stay on in the Post Grad Hostels for decade after decade. 

On the other hand, reserved seats are not filled, so you have a lot of vacancies. The excuse is that people are not meritorious enough. If you look at professorial posts or just teaching posts in higher education institutions, 90 percent are held by the upper castes. And then the so-called prestigious institutions, including [my own] IIT, don’t even follow the reservation policy for teaching posts, only for students. So again, dropping out is one part of the picture. The other is keeping out.

But, the big picture is that Indian Post Grad Education is almost completely shit. This is fine if you are just marking time till cracking the Civil Service or Banking or other similar exams. But it is a colossal waste of scarce resources. India could have got rid of caste by pushing girls in the villages into factory dormitories. Bangladesh has just overtaken India in per capita Income. This may be reversed but the fact remains, getting girls to work in factories, not do worthless BAs and MAs while waiting for marriage, is the only way out of poverty and casteism. 

What’s the canon in Indian philosophy, loosely?

The canon would include Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, a bit of Nagarjuna, who is a Buddhist thinker, but not canonized to the same degree as a Shankaracharya.

Nagarjuna and Umasvati are more not less canonical to their respective Religions and link up with first rate modern mathematical logic and philosophy. Ramanuja isn't particularly important- though Zaehner and a few other Christians tried to make a case for him some fifty or sixty years ago. Madhava's stock has risen greatly. Yoga-Samkhya has a market. Mimamsa dovetails with judicial and other hermeneutics. Navya-Nyaya still has some mileage. But there are other avenues of approach. Robert Aumann has shown game theory in the Talmud. It would be easy to do this with respect to the Mahabharata & thus get a less shite perspective on the Gita- which, however, fools like me understand perfectly. Why bother with the Vedas when Vyasa created such an engrossing 'non-dissipative' narrative for us such that, as if by Noether's theorem, karma and dharma are conserved by the symmetries of the system. 

And then there are all these schools of Indian philosophical traditions such as Nyaya and Mimamsa. And of course the Upanishads and Vedanta philosophy. And then there are 19th-century thinkers like Vivekananda who contributed to giving shape to the Hindu identity, who famously represented Hinduism in the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

So, kids, what have we learned today. Don't study philosophy in India. Just read up on it on the internet.  

So, when one gets an undergraduate philosophy education in India, are they taught on two different tracks, the “Indian” and the “Western”?

Yes, yes. The papers themselves are called Indian philosophy, logic, aesthetic philosophy. But Indian philosophy is the one that’s grouped according to its national identity. So if you choose to study, say, aesthetics, then you will have “Indian aesthetics” and study [Ananda] Coomaraswamy.

So, steer clear of the subject. Since it will only attract imbeciles, it will only be taught by imbeciles. Don't waste your life.  Join the RSS. If you work hard and stay clean, you could end up Prime Minister no matter how poor or 'low caste' your family was!

You’ve often talked about the limits of the postcolonial lens in India, which is the postcolonial subject par excellence and the quintessential “subaltern.” Why do you think the postcolonial frame has been so pervasive?

Because you could emigrate to the West and get tenure in some branch of 'Grievance Studies' as part of an intellectual affirmative action program.  

Gandhi provides the major articulation of what it means to be independent in India.

Nonsense! Among Gujaratis, Dadhabhai Naoroji gets credit for doing the major articulating.  

He insisted on native traditions, native knowledges, and native customs,

but was ignorant of what they were. So the thing was purely cosmetic- or 'naam ke vaaste'.  

which are to be recovered after the epistemic violence or epistemic damage performed by the colonizer. And he adopted very consciously and vocally the Hindu idiom in politics:

which Bhai Parmanand indoctrinated him in 

to speak of independence as swaraj, to ask people to chant the name of [the Hindu god] Rama, to ask for cow protection.

In 1893, Viceroy Landsdowne said cow-protection was what turned the INC “from a foolish debating society into a real political power, backed by the most dangerous elements of native society”. Gandhi's first intervention in Indian politics- the Champaran agitation- provided a cover for systematic attacks on Muslims in Bihar which ended in the end of cow slaughter.

So by theologizing politics,

i.e. by listening to Bhai Parmanand and parroting his line 

Gandhi is the one who inaugurated the postcolonial identity,

in the opinion of a silly moo who thinks Hinduism was invented in the Twentieth Century 

and the Hindu one, and then postcolonial as Hindu, and Hindu as postcolonial. And we are still living in that consensus.

This silly moo is living in that solipsistic consensus. Hindus won't kill this bovine creature so let it chew its cud in peace.  

Subsequently, we found more sophisticated articulations of this same paradigm

in other words, yet more garbled and illiterate variations on a paranoid theme 

— sophisticated only because the postcolonial theorists who are predominantly based abroad in First World academia borrowed approaches from European philosophy of the 19th and 20th century. So for example, the Heideggerian opposition to Western metaphysics assisted postcolonial theorists in saying that we have to oppose everything which is Western because all of that is coming from Western metaphysics.

Sadly, Me-too happened and it turned out what the students of these nutters really opposed was not Western metaphysics but greasy Indian dicks rubbing up against them.  

Then Deconstruction is again borrowed in its entirety by postcolonial theorists to say that the entire edifice of Western philosophy is complicit in colonization and that we have to deconstruct them.

Whereas the truth is Hinduism was invented in Twentieth Century. Thus Twenty First Century should invent anti-Hinduism. Then BJP will disappear. Next item on the agenda is to invent anti-Poverty and anti-Naughtiness. Then Poverty and Naughtiness will disappear and everything will be sweet as sweet. 

So it’s amazing that a theoretical edifice borrowed entirely from the West

by a small number of pedagogues doling out worthless credentials in return for a small wage 

is used in order to speak against the West, and for the “native,” which is of course defined as Hindu, because the academia and the media are saturated with upper castes.

who are nevertheless as poor as shit because India isn't getting girls into factories but instead is subsidising their 'Higher Education' in worthless bullshit. Even IITs employ cretins like Divya as an awful warning to their students of what happens if you study non-STEM subjects.

An example is Gayatri Spivak’s famous essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Her definition of “subaltern” is exemplified in a Brahmin woman who is too worried about how her family customs regarding virginity and female honor are going to look at her suicide. So she makes sure that she’s menstruating when she kills herself, so that nobody thinks she’s pregnant because of an affair. On the other hand, she also wants to oppose the British and be an anticolonial revolutionary.

Gayatri was simply lying. Girls who hang themselves are checked for signs of sexual activity. Whether they are on the rag does not matter. If they have been fucked, chances are they hanged themselves because some Uncle or brother-in-law, not content with raping her, was now trying to pimp her out to his pals. There was no revolutionary activity in the year her Aunty hanged herself. There were, however, plenty of Hindu Muslim riots. A couple of years later, there were some very competent Female revolutionaries. But they were College educated and were living independently. They weren't kids who were being teased, or fiddled with, by brother-in-laws.

Which academic fields are most susceptible to the Hindutvadis? History is kind of obvious, the low-hanging fruit. Is literature, too, for example?

STEM subjects if they are well taught and there is a demand for the credential. Non-STEM subjects attract losers. Those losers should choose losing sides because winners will arrange things so they get picked as their adversaries of choice.           

Yes. There is a pressure to, first of all, teach more Hindi literature and to teach certain kinds of literature that have “Indian values.”

As opposed to Arabic literature delineating Al Qaeda values. How strange!

And if we don’t lose sight of the fact that Hindutva and postcolonialism converge extremely well and at heart are not different at all,

both having been invented in the Twentieth Century- just like 'Hindi literature'. Prior to Premchand, UP bhaiyyas were writing chansons in Provencal.  

then the entire enterprise of postcolonial literary studies has been nothing other than the same agenda.

Very true! Everybody is pushing a horrible agenda which consists of saying Divya is a retard. So-oo unfair!  

This idea of recovering the voice of the subaltern or of the oppressed, those who are oppressed by colonization,

is silly. Suppose the thing were possible. Then the police could recover the voice of the murder victim and get it to identify the assailant.  

those whose culture was silenced and their pride was hurt, these are nothing but upper-caste traditions, upper-caste texts, and upper-caste pride.

So, Ambedkar was high caste. Cool.  

Another discipline being affected is policy, and I mean all domains of policymaking. And all domains even of sciences, if they have to study so-called Vedic science and Vedic plastic surgery and Vedic nuclear physics.

But the nutters who do that would otherwise be writing Sokal type postmodern shite. The only way to deal with entrenched academic nonsense is to entrench equal but opposite nonsense in the same Department. Sooner or later, even the most Emeritus of senile Professors will understand they wasted their lives.  

Then also political science. Having accepted this false Hindu majority and then the Muslim minority, only two paths are allowed to us: one is of the aggressive Hindu nationalism that we see in politics. But the other path is adopted by the academics themselves, which is for political theorists to say that instead of hating the Muslim, we should tolerate the Muslim.

Why can't 'political theorists' do mechanism design based on quantitative research? Oh. Right. They are too stupid. Well, in that case it doesn't really matter which side they pick.  

What is there beyond tolerance?

Tickle fights. Please say 'Tickle fights'.  

What other paradigm is there to conceptualize inter-group relations?

There is something we already have but which is very marginalized: the Indian constitution, which is the gaping gesture of what it means to be modern. A society which for centuries was run on the basis of a caste hierarchy and a feudal economic and political order came

to an end when foreigners took over. But that happened long ago. No doubt, there were feudal princes and landowners. But their power was not based on caste. It was based on beating people. Two thirds of India had been under popularly elected Governments for more than a decade when the Constitution was promulgated. But that Constitution didn't matter very much. Every newly independent country got a Constitution. But it was just empty verbiage.

at a point at least to say that we will no longer govern our mutual relationship to each other on the basis of these existing paradigms. We are going to make a break with the past, and we will found our coexistence on an entirely new ground. And the new ground is liberty, fraternity, equality, justice, which is political, social, and economic. This is exactly what the first page of the constitution says.

So what? The 1930 Lahore Resolution said the same thing.  

But Hindu nationalists have recently been saying the constitution is too Western

because 'cow protection' is a Directive Principle of many Western Constitutions.  

and that we need to inject some Indian values into the constitution. So what we are seeing is really a conflict between what the constitution stands for and what those who actually control society stand for.

There is no such conflict. Only the Bench can interpret the Constitution. But the Bench opened detention centers for Muslim migrants a decade ago. It was the Bench which ordered and oversaw the NRC register in Assam. It was the Bench which awarded the whole of the disputed site in Ayodhya to the Hindus.  

You mentioned a pressure to teach more Hindi texts; how else is Hindi language encouraged in the academy?

As far as I can see, what encourages Hindi is everybody not bothering to speak it correctly. That and cheap beer.

This, too, has been multipronged. Hindi is not the national language, but it was chosen as the “link” or official language for independent India. It’s not just this government, but this one is doing it much more aggressively.

Nonsense! Nobody tried 'aggressively' to get us Madrasis to speak Hindi. Why? Left alone, we discover Urdu for ourselves. Everybody wants an interlocutor whose Urdu is shittier than their own. But Indian Muslims now prefer Arabic to Persian. Urdu is dying. It was but a 'supplement'- dangerous to Islam. Now, thanks to the internet, it is being supplanted by the genuine article. Hopefully, the younger generation of Indian Muslims will rediscover Arabic rationality and tell stupid Libtard Stephanians to go fuck themselves. Tijarat is Imarat. Not Grievance fucking Studies. 

Hindi has been also promoted by upper-caste academics and intellectuals themselves, who say that we should reject English because it’s the language of the colonizer. So this perennial, upper-caste obsession with not being polluted by that which is foreign is combined with the effort to somehow disguise Hindi as the vernacular. But if you have to invent a new Hindi with more Sanskrit terms, making a break from the [Persian-influenced] Hindi-Urdu of the past, it already shows that you’re not speaking the vernacular. Increasingly, all the circulars that come to us faculty are sent in this unreadable, unintelligible “pure” Hindi.

Which, however, is easy to learn if you are from the South. Hindi turned into a 'scoring subject' for us. We justified writing unintelligible pure Hindu by pointing out that North Indians don't understand anything anyway. Then we learned that quoting a random sher of Ghalib's- or, in my case, just making one up- caused North Indians to immediately experience satori. Bak raha hoon Junoon me Kya kya kuch/ Kuch Na Samjhe Khuda Kare Koi

Ironically, many low-caste Indians in fact prefer English to such a Hindi.

Everybody would prefer to know English. 

Yes. Lower-caste intellectuals and Dalit scholars have been openly saying that they need and embrace English and they don’t see it as an oppressive language because it is the language in which they came across the discourse on human rights, the language in which [founding father Babasaheb] Ambedkar wrote and was read, and it is the language in which employment opportunities and the prospects of a better future than the ones stipulated by the caste system is available to them. In fact, Dalit scholars can go abroad for their studies only if they have access to English. So Hindi and vernacular education, which does not give you employment and does not give you freedom, is being imposed on the very people who need that freedom the most.

This is equally true of every State language. Mumbaikars don't want to learn Marathi and people from Bangalore aren't enthused by Kannada.

I wanted to ask how you use your agency

Agency? She teaches a shite subject at an IIT! Still, she went to St. Stephens. So her English is pukka.  

to push back against these trends that we’ve been talking about: this upper-caste domination, this Hindu-Muslim static discourse, this postcolonial ubiquity. Because no state of affairs is permanent, right?

No.

Hinduism was invented last century. We can certainly invent anti-Hinduism. What's that? Islam did it already? Cool!  

Articulating these things is already, I think, a point of resistance. But what else?

You could roll your eyes or fart in a derisive manner.  

My research and published work, including the Gandhi book with Shaj Mohan, are an assertion of doing philosophy as something related to politics, and doing philosophy as an exercise in creating new freedoms.

Freedom from sanity- sure.  

So it’s both an instantiation and a plea for being modern in our exercise of our own thinking, in the exercise of reason and having the confidence in ourselves that we can do it and we don’t need the crutches of the past.

Coz the past was only invented in the twentieth century! But that invention was not properly registered with the appropriate authority. This means the past does not exist. We don't need it. I wasn't born in the Twentieth Century because that is in the past which does not properly exist! Thus I'm only 19 years old! 

It also informs my research praxis

which consists of telling stupid lies  

and teaching and does not at all follow the agenda of postcolonialism and nativism.

It follows the agenda of Alfred Jarry's pataphysics- i.e. it is a nonsensical parody of academic language 

And a part of it is also to expose the logic of postcolonialism, which has informed several things that I published.

Only stupid people wrote that type of shite.  The thing is wholly played out. Mounting student debt in the West has killed off that nonsense.

Another part is to encourage the generation for which I’m responsible and for a few generations as a faculty to be able to set their own agendas and not be trapped by the ones that have continued for so long. So the idea that I mentioned earlier of erasing the ground on which we have conducted the dominant discussions in India and clearing the ground for a new kind of discussion.

Do it on the internet. Don't pay money to listen to prematurely senile losers who would gladly buy you round after round of drinks so as to get an audience for their paranoid rantings. 

Philosophy is not meant to refurbish and plaster up that which has been thought a long time ago.

Yes it is. In looking at any theorist in the Humanities, your job is to repair the gaps in their knowledge and to give the thing a more context independent formulation. But do this you have to know which problems are 'closed' and which are 'open' for current Maths and Science. Only the application of a savant's theory to an open problem is philosophical. Take Kant's 'incongruent counterparts' argument. Physics closed this starting with the Wu experiment. But there are open questions where a similar arguments are current. Thus Philosophy moves on just as Science and Math moves on. 

Divya has had an appalling education. But she has access to the internet. The truth is she is simply stupid. 

It’s not meant to continue or to transmit the messages of your gurus or your ancestors or of your race or identity.

Yes it is. You are meant to repair that message and find new applications for it. The same thing happens in the Law. Judge Hercules finds a new heuristic principle to permit a seamless 'harmonious construction' which is equitable.  

And therefore, philosophy is not culture.

It is part of culture- when done properly. But Divya isn't doing philosophy. It isn't even 'Grievance Studies'. It's just stupid shit which makes Stephanians look like fools while Modi turns, before our eyes, into Hinduism's Paramahamsa with a beard as beautifully white as a swan.