Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Deepa Iyer rescuing African Americans from White Supremacy

Lawyer and activist, Deepa Iyer, born in Kerala (which is ruled by the Communist party) but living in America since the age of 12, writes in 'Medium'-
Many South Asians take the “racial bribe” and climb the racial ladder in a futile attempt to reach the status of whiteness.
I come from South Asia. Indeed, I am an Iyer myself. Why did nobody offer me a 'racial bribe'? The answer is, no such thing exists. No country in the world is paying us to emigrate to their shores. On the other hand, our compatriots may want to see the back of us- Iyers are notoriously stupid- but they are too poor to club together enough money to get shot of us.

 It is true I could have spent some money and got to America and then I could have studied and worked hard and attained some modicum of middle class respectability. But I could not have 'climbed the racial ladder'. Nobody would have accepted me for a big, muscular, African American man even if I changed my name to Deshawn.

Deepa Iyer is telling her, presumably non South Asian audience, a pack of lies. African Americans are descended from people who were kidnapped and forcibly transported across the Atlantic Ocean. They were slaves for centuries and continued to suffer various legal and other disabilities even after they were emancipated. Iyer is pretending South Asians, if not kidnapped, were 'bribed' to come to America. They were so stupid that they thought there was some 'racial ladder' which would allow them to 'reach the status of whiteness'. As a matter of fact, the thing is easily done over a couple of generations by buying grooms of exceptional fairness. But, what would be the point? The Indian arranged marriage system is about 'kin-selective altruism'- i.e. keeping wealth within the family and 're-insuring' oneself within one's own endogamous network. This means cultivating a 'high trust' network based on 'costly signals'. This promotes wealth accumulation and a rise in collective status because within every family some are pushed to rise within the learned professions and to advance forward in the administration.

Iyer ignores this obvious fact. She says-
They are the ones calling protesters “looters” and differentiating themselves as model minorities.
Suppose you operate a small shop or cafe. You tell your kids not to be 'looters'. Stay home or help protect the shop. Do be a 'model minority'. Don't take drugs. Don't loot liquor stores. Don't set fire to your own neighborhood.

Iyer thinks this sort of behavior is very wrong.
Still others remain indifferent to understanding the history of Black liberation struggles that paved the way for their own families to immigrate and enjoy benefits in America.
It is not true that 'the Black liberation struggle' helped Indians get to America. It was the Cold War. The US gave us food aid and used 'trapped dollars' to finance a brain drain. However, Indians were paying a lot of money to get the fuck out of India because, under dirigiste Socialism, it was a fucking shithole.

On the other hand, it is true that J.P Narayan supported himself for a while as a student in America back in the Twenties by 'selling hair straightener to Negroes'. Needless to say, that shithead fucked up Indian politics but good after his return.
Some are silent and apathetic, seemingly oblivious to the civil unrest happening around them.
Whereas what they should be doing is selling hair straighteners to Negroes- or trying to fool them in some more up to date manner.
Getting more South Asians to understand the importance of dismantling the systems of white supremacy is not easy,
Getting them to understand the importance of the Mochizuki proof of the abc conjecture is not easy. But it is probably very useful and some, who are properly qualified, may make the effort. But getting any sensible person to understand stupid nonsense is both impossible and useless. Suppose there was a 'system of white supremacy'. Then, not only could we dismantle it we could replace it with a 'system of Iyer supremacy over Iyengars'. Deepa's parents knew this can't be done. So they fled South India, where evil Iyengars have been taunting Iyers for their stupidity and abject failure to climb the 'racial ladder' or secure 'racial bribes' for trillions and trillions of years.
especially when we see images of Indians filling up a stadium in Houston in support of a Hindu nationalist leader or recognize that there are people from our own communities who actively support the current Administration despite its anti-immigrant policies.
The reason Deepa sees images of Indians welcoming Modi- who presses Trump to increase immigration quotas for Indians- is because Modi is delivering things that those Indians want. Trump has delivered lower taxes. This may cause some of them to support his Administration. Lets see what Biden has to offer.

Why is Deepa so outraged by what she sees? Does she go apeshit when she sees people buying stuff they like, instead of things they hate and which are bad for them, in the shops?

Why is Deepa herself, in the photograph on her profile page, wearing her hair like a White Woman? How come she isn't 'dismantling structures of white supremacy' by sporting an Afro or braiding her hair into corn rows?

Perhaps her Leftism is of the J.P Narayan type- i.e. something gestural, self-serving, and the moral equivalent of 'selling hair straightener to Negroes'.

But that doesn’t mean we can stop.
Because we have not yet derived any personal advantage from a senseless type of activism.
We must continue to amplify the importance of solidarity with Black communities and undo anti-Blackness within our own people.
But Deepa's own people think she is as stupid as shit. Still, if her connections are helpful to a wealthy entrepreneur, no doubt she will win respect as a clever operator.
That means explaining how white supremacy and racism are devastating all people of color including South Asians.
That means explaining that everything we can see with our own eyes is actually a delusive mirage. Iyers like herself don't have 'One Percent' median earnings. They live in crack houses and get shot by cops.
It means acknowledging that the full liberation of Black communities leads to the freedom of all people.
Very true. Look at Zimbabwe. Come to think of it Zanzibar after 'full liberation' was worse. Lighter skinned women- which would have included people who looked like Deepa- were forcibly 'married' off to the newly liberated. After a few such 'marriages', they relished the freedom to hang themselves with whatever meager remnant of cloth left to them.
It means explaining that when we perpetuate anti-Blackness, that we are being complicit ourselves in reinforcing systems of oppression that harm South Asians too.
By contrast, when we perpetuate anti-Modiness or anti-Trumpness, we are only being complicit in stupidity.
And, it means coming from a place of love and compassion to reach our own people.
What great love or compassion does Iyer have for Modi or Trump?
We must keep trying, and we can look to the stories of Minneapolis and Ferguson shop owners as starting points and inspiration.
Below are 10 action steps that South Asians can take:
Step 1: Donate to help protesters get out of jail around the country with bail funds > https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/national-bail-fund-network. Then, donate to Black-led organizations in your area and to South Asian and Asian American organizations with an explicit commitment to be in solidarity with Black communities. Every dollar does count.
But, Deepaji, how are those dollars to be earned? If 'structure of white dominance' are offering 'racial bribes', must it not be the case that South Asians were specifically brought over and encouraged to display high productivity so that 'white dominance' would increase, not fall?

Whatever job or economic function a South Asian performs in America, it must be the case that the 'surplus value' is confiscated by the apparatus of 'White dominance'. Basic Marxian economics explains why this 'surplus value' must tend to increase. In other words, every dollar donated to the good cause represents a small fraction of what accrues to an evil system. This is why Mahatma Gandhi advocated a complete boycott of the White Man's Courts and Schools and Fiscal and Financial Institutions.

If you really believe the silly ideology you are spouting, Deepaji, I say to you with love and compassion, then you must quit being a lawyer and quit asking people to earn or donate dollars.
Step 2: Show up safely on real streets or coordinate South Asian solidarity actions on digital streets.
By bad mouthing Modi and Trump and 'White Dominance' and so forth.
With digital conversations, plan an agenda to discuss: “How can South Asians show up for Black lives?”
And where can they get their parking validated?
Discuss using the guides in Step 4, and then come up with a plan of action with 1 individual action + 3 collective steps (examples: deepen my own analysis and share it; support a local group; commit to 2 community conversations; ask a place of worship or cultural group to make a statement of solidarity). Check out this guide for what to do if you can’t be in the streets from Beyond the Streets (link).
How stupid would you have to be to require guidance from Deepa Iyer? Incidentally the 'Beyond the Streets' link is from 2014! This shit failed 6 years ago!
Step 3. Sign a letter of solidarity or create one.
Example: Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) in Minnesota > https://caalmn.org/api4georgefloyd/.
The chief value of that letter is that it helps split the East Asian community by demanding that 'Officer Tou Thou' be made a scapegoat.
Step 4: Learn about South Asian communities and the imperative for building solidarity with Black communities.
While burning bridges with the East Asian Community and disparaging Modi.
>For a starting point: read Vijay Prashad’s Karma of Brown Folk.
Prashad is a Marxist who is related to Brinda Karat whose husband was quite big in Kerala politics. He is also a vicious anti-Semite. So, South Asians should not just hate Modi and Trump, they must also fight with East Asians while turning into Anti-Semites. This will help African Americans. Why? Well Prashad's book, which came out 20 years ago, claims that South Asians are a 'model minority' that is consistently deployed as "a weapon in the war against black America." In other words, African Americans should have demanded, back in '65 itself, that immigration from South Asia never be permitted to commence.
>For post 9/11 analysis on solidarity with Black communities: read a chapter from my book, We Too Sing America, called “Ferguson is Everywhere” that provides community stories along a framework for discussions and political education (link).
What Deepa is linking to is fulsome praise of herself. Lord Krishna reveals that to praise yourself is akin to commiting suicide. But this woman is too shameless to die.
> Check out Anirvan Chatterjee’s The Secret History of South Asian and African American Solidarity for historical examples of cross-racial solidarity.
Chatterjee doesn't tell us that it was a Black American who helped Gandhi get his start in Pretoria by getting him into a respectable boarding house. What it does tell us is that Indians are completely shit. They outnumbered the Whites by 10,000 to one yet could not free themselves till Britain decided the game was not worth the candle. By contrast, African Americans were a minority facing a ruthless, much better armed, foe.
>For courageous conversations with family, use this guide with exercises developed by the Queer South Asian National Network (link).
Apparently 'courageous conversations with family' require 'Crayons/colored pencils/markers'. If I'd have tried any such thing with my granny she'd have stuck those crayons up where the sun don't shine. Still, different strokes for different folks- right?
Step 5. Take a stand.
Share your commitment to dismantling anti-Black racism and the demands of Black communities (step 7) with friends, networks, and on social media. Say the names of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and Breonna Taylor. Check out @SouthAsians4BlackLives on Instagram for shareable visuals and messages.
And take those crayons out of your arse. We're not here to enjoy ourselves but to say some names.
Step 6. Then ask others to take a stand. Ask your networks, organizations, places of worship, and campus groups to make solidarity statements. You could also join efforts to petition your university or school to divest from police contracts, or to ask local political officials to respond to the demands from Black communities (see Step 7).
University? They use crayons in University? Just exactly how fucked is American Higher Education?
Step 7: Understand and Support the Demands from Black Communities.
Insist on investments in communities and divestment from law enforcement.
Quite right. Let the rich hire private security guards. Meanwhile the Cartels can invest in our communities. That will make us all so much safer.
Incorporate demands from the Movement for Black Lives (here) and from Color of Change (link) that address use-of-force, defunding the police, and profit motives in policing — and check in to see what local Black communities are demanding as well.
Why not start with what Black communities are demanding? I suppose the answer is that they want good, effective, policing of a 'broken windows' type. Sooner or later, they will get it. But first the Left-Liberals must be disintermediated though, I have to admit, that business with the crayons can be kinda fun.
On prison and police abolition: here’s a report from MPD_150 (link) and a mini-syllabus (link), and an Abolition in Policing workshop from Critical Resistance here.
That's the icing on the cake. Abolish the Police. Let the Cartels run the hood.
Step 8: Support the Gandhi Mahal in Minneapolis > https://www.facebook.com/donate/624114434980787
Support it how? By burning it down again?
Step 9. Ensure that South Asian solidarity struggles also include confronting casteism, Hindutva, and Islamophobia.
till nobody is left except one senile Marxist who turns out to be a vicious anti-Semite and a pair of High School seniors who each thought the other was a Lesbian. Also that there would be pot. Why is there no pot?
Learn more from South Asian groups here and read about caste abolition from Equality Labs here. In fact, in communities advocated for the passage of a city council resolution in St. Paul against the human rights violations in India (link).
This 'city council resolution' is hilarious-
Reaffirming Saint Paul as a welcoming city, expressing solidarity with Saint Paul’s South Asian community regardless of religion and caste by rejecting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Islamophobic ideology, and opposing India’s National Registry of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act.
Sponsors:Jane L. Prince, Dai Thao, Nelsie Yang
 Jane Prince is an elderly White woman. The other two are probably East Asian. Apparently Prince is willing to drop the anti BJP reference after facing push-back from the South Asian community.

What a tremendous accomplishment for Deepa and her ilk! They got a Hmong refugee and an elderly White lady to make fools of themselves by feeding them a bunch of lies. This did cause 'South Asian solidarity'- but it was solidarity against nitwits like Deepa.
Step 10. When the urgency stops, don’t stop acting:
Dismantling white supremacy is a long-term commitment.
But, Deepa, the only people who are currently interested in dismantling you are South Asian Hindus who think you are a mischievous, self-serving, fabulist who is meddling in a serious matter- viz. the safety of African Americans- which, even if only for self-interested reasons, we all want to see put right.
Even when it’s not on the news, we need to show up for each other. Practice self-care and community care, and build your daily plan for transformative solidarity. Here’s an approach that might be useful: it’s a framework I developed to help us figure out our roles in times of crises through a mapping exercise. You can find the map, the descriptions of roles, and a reflection guide here.
But you can't find your crayons because the 'Weavers' stuck them up the 'Caregivers' butts which made the 'Disrupters' very disruptive indeed. All this is the fault of 'White Supremacy'. Mind it kindly. Aiyaiyo!

Monday, 1 June 2020

Was Obama always a boring cretin?

Was Obama always a boring cretin? My memory is that he was exciting and inspiring. That was just 12 years ago. It was his way with words which took him to the top. Yet now, scarcely 4 years out of office, he writes like a retired librarian who moved to a remote organic farm in Australia to be with her grand-daughter, her grand-daughter's transgender lover, and the disabled cat both are mentoring.
As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of unequal justice, many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change.
Is it possible to write in a more bloodless and unimpassioned manner about an existential threat to people who look like you in your own country- the country you still live in and which you were the President of?

A retired librarian may well write- 'dozens of soon to retire librarians are wandering around raising their voices to argue about recent tampering with the Dewey Decimal system and the ongoing problem of deciding on which shelf to put books on molecular gastronomy. Many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about better book shelving. As a part-time mentor to a disabled cat struggling with gender identity issues, I think it's going to be up to a new generation of librarians to find answers to these difficult questions.'
Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.
There is only one 'basic lesson'. The President of the U.S.A can put a stop to this type of atrocity.  Generations of activists can come and go without changing anything. But if the President gets riled he can push the FBI and the Justice Department to go after institutionalized Racism wherever it raises its ugly head. He can lean on Governors. He can get Congress to tack on riders to Money Bills and he can force the Senate to assent to stricter laws in this regard.

If a bunch of white cops illegally kill a black man, don't just fuck them up. Fuck up those who hired them and those who profited in any way from the 'prison-industrial' complex. What broke the back of Jim Crow was Presidents willing and able to send in the Army to enforce the law. Obama himself should have gone ape-shit everytime the police killed an African American while he was President. But, no-drama Obama didn't believe he could himself do anything. He never said 'I will'. He said 'we can'- i.e. you can. You and then the next generation and then the next generation can try as much as you like. But I won't do anything.
First, the waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States.
If I wrote this, you would be entitled to call me a stupid foreigner with only a superficial grasp of American political history and a penchant for stating the obvious . But Obama is writing this. He seems to have forgotten he was President for 8 years.
The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring.
Though, Obama himself admits, they only reason they are protesting is because he himself fucked up.
They deserve our respect and support, not condemnation — something that police in cities like Camden and Flint have commendably understood.
Obama could do something more than show respect. He could campaign on this issue.  Perhaps, he has and no one noticed. But, surely, he wasn't always a boring cretin? 
On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms,
are acting rationally. They are imposing a high cost on a particular type of policing. This, by itself, brings about change. The fact is, policing faces a trade-off. Killing suspects means a higher chance of getting killed by suspects. Obviously, you don't kill suspects who are connected because they will kill your family. But killing the small fry too can prove a costly strategy. The thing is purely game theoretic.

Obama is channeling Gandhian stupidity- though he himself, for 8 years, was the most powerful man in the world, whereas Gandhi was a mere 'ticket of leave' prisoner of the Raj.
whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause. I saw an elderly black woman being interviewed today in tears because the only grocery store in her neighborhood had been trashed. If history is any guide, that store may take years to come back. So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it.
So Obama won't join us in looting the liquor store. Good to know.
If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.
No. Presidents have to get angry and go after the bad guys. Professional politicians must do the job they are elected, and paid, to do. They must not say 'fix it yourself. You must be the change you want to see in the world.'
Second, I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time.
But Obama didn't heard anyone say to him 'Mr. President, do your  job! Protect the lives of African American citizens!  Black lives matter. Your personal aversion to 'drama' does not matter. You took the job. You are taking the pay cheque. Now do what you are paid to.'
I couldn’t disagree more. The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities.
Thus, for Obama, Blacks are a 'marginalized community'. Perhaps they are. But Obama is Black. His wife is Black. His kids are Black. One does not use the jargon of sociology to describe one's own kith and kin.

Mahatma Gandhi, it is true, would respond to unfolding events in a manner similar to Obama. But he believed Satyagraha- i.e. non violent protest- was a spiritual exercise. It was good for you while you were doing it though of course it couldn't change anything. Thus nothing gained by Satyagraha could last. Unlike the sword, which retains what it gains by good mechanism design (i.e. raising taxes and providing public goods), Satyagraha's successes are always ephemeral.

Obama is saying, of course African Americans must keep getting killed. It is equally important that activists attract attention to this staunchless wound. But be cool about it dude. Don't go apeshit. You guys are a marginalized community. Attract a bit of attention from the powers that be and then go home quietly.

But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.
Obama was elected President twice. How come he was so useless?
Moreover, it’s important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices. When we think about politics, a lot of us focus only on the presidency and the federal government. And yes, we should be fighting to make sure that we have a president, a Congress, a U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.
But Presidents and Governors as well as the FBI and the Justice Department can do a lot to make sure those elected officials do their job properly. Jim Crow was administered by elected officials. Then the President started kicking ass and taking names. Why did Obama fail to do so?
It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions. It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct. Those are all elected positions. In some places, police review boards with the power to monitor police conduct are elected as well. Unfortunately, voter turnout in these local races is usually pitifully low, especially among young people — which makes no sense given the direct impact these offices have on social justice issues, not to mention the fact that who wins and who loses those seats is often determined by just a few thousand, or even a few hundred, votes.
Why was Obama not hammering this point home when he was in the White House? Why, now he has left it, is he making it in such a boring and spiritless fashion now?
So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change,
which Obama clearly didn't during his two terms in the top job
then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both.
What fucking protest or politics is Obama doing now?
We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.
What happened to Obama's soi disant grass-roots 'Organising for Action'? The thing should have been bigger than the Tea Party. Where is it now? Wearing a onesie and drinking hot chocolate?
Finally, the more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away.
Fuck off! I can make very specific demands indeed with respect to the type of fellatio I should receive on arrest for being drunk and disorderly. But if the thing isn't passed into law those demands don't make life harder for anybody.
The content of that reform agenda will be different for various communities. A big city may need one set of reforms; a rural community may need another.
So, even if African Americans can keep from getting shot where they get to elect officials, they will be only a short bus-ride away from a place where they will get shot.
Some agencies will require wholesale rehabilitation; others should make minor improvements. Every law enforcement agency should have clear policies, including an independent body that conducts investigations of alleged misconduct.
And another which caters to the needs of disabled cats struggling with issues of gender identity.
Tailoring reforms for each community will require local activists and organizations to do their research and educate fellow citizens in their community on what strategies work best.
But local activists and organizations don't know what strategy works best. The guys that do get paid big bucks. A professional politician- more particularly a President- can get those guys to do the slick marketing stuff. But no more 'Pajama Boy' for fuck's sake- even if it is true that all young white men are douches.
But as a starting point, here’s a report and toolkit developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that I formed when I was in the White House.
The document is utterly shit. It has images of crummy looking walls with graffiti sprayed over them. Clearly the aim is to make us think of 'ghetto' hoodlums without actually showing any black people. In other words, this 'marginalized community' should be allowed to 'attract attention' while being wholly invisible. They are adequately represented by really shitty graffiti.
And if you’re interested in taking concrete action, we’ve also created a dedicated site at the Obama Foundation to aggregate and direct you to useful resources and organizations who’ve been fighting the good fight at the local and national levels for years.
Wonderful! I am now able to 'commit to being anti-racist' on an online portal. That's going to make me bullet proof for sure.
I recognize that these past few months have been hard and dispiriting — that the fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape so much of American life. But watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful. If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals.
Let’s get to work.
Obama worked for 3 years as a 'community organizer'. He parleyed this modest investment into an extraordinary political career. Extraordinary but vacuous. Why was this not obvious eight years ago?

The truth is, this battle was lost and lost for good when no-drama Obama, as President of the United States, showed he was fundamentally indifferent to the underlying issue. Like Mahatma Gandhi, he didn't really think there was a political and legal problem which politicians and lawyers could fix. There was merely an arena where the right kind of activism could distinguish itself from the wrong kind of activism before taking early retirement and retreating to sunny uplands of diminishing effort and increasing rewards which death could only prolong in company with the immortal gods.

George Steiner's Grammars of Creation

Is literacy being subverted? Do Books no longer matter? In 'Grammars of Creation', based on his 1990 Gifford lectures, George Steiner identifies three threats to 'classic literacy'. The first is Science's progress being linked to arcane mathematical models. However, as Voevodksky's work would later show, the 'meta-language' of Maths is natural language. It can have no 'univocal foundations' of a purely intensional type. Literature itself gains as STEM subject mavens turn arcane patterns in exotic data streams into things we can talk and dream about.


Steiner's second threat is some supposed change concerning the possibility of 'mass death' which he links to 'aleatory' or transitory Art. Ludicrously, he connects this with the internet revolution-
The saturation of daily lives by electronic means of communication, of information storage and retrieval and learning methods, will inevitably comport increasing familiarity with the near mathematical and logically formal languages and sensibility. Never forget that your computer, wherever it is in the world, is speaking Victorian English; its structure is that of Boolean algebra, which is not the only algebra available. It could have been based on Indian algebraic thought, which is very different. It is speaking a kind of Esperanto with deep roots in the nineteenth-century English confidence in logic
Of course, this is nonsense. Perhaps Steiner had come across Mary Everest Boole's notion that her husband had been influenced by Indian algebra. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing- even if the only thing endangered is one's amour propre.

The third threat Steiner identifies has to do with Grammar which, for some reason, he calls the music of the mind. Apparently, knowing a gerund from a hole in the ground is vital to classical literacy. Sadly, Steiner destroys his own claim by quoting I.A Richards- "The two most complex processes on this planet are the mathematics of a string quartet and the translation of a Chinese philosophic sentence". The truth is both are increasingly within the scope of your smartphone. Grammar, like music, has a relatively simple form. It is the content of music, or of language, which makes it compelling. But that content is extensional. Art, like everything else, defies death by not dying. By contrast, aspiring to some higher condition than the ephemeral won't stop your nose falling off coz of the pox.

Steiner and other post war 'rock-star' Professors of shite subjects sought to make themselves the equals of Plato while paying lip service to Marx or Freud or, more ludicrously yet, Godel & Einstein. They failed miserably not because they couldn't write intelligibly but because they could not think coherently. What made this inevitable? I think it was because they saw 1968 as a repetition of 1848- when 'History reached a turning point but failed to turn'. They believed there was something good about 1848 which ought to have come to pass in the right way, rather than by default or in a top down fashion. Thus, 1968 was a personal challenge to each of these careerists. Sadly, every single one of them jumped on the wrong bandwagon and, troubling their own house, inherited the wind. This wasn't entirely their own fault. Many of the 'subaltern' class whom they were meeting in their Lecture halls were clamoring to be fed paranoid fantasies so as to reject the path of rectitude and enrich themselves unconscionably.

George Steiner had peculiar, highly Eurocentric, perhaps unconsciously, racist views. But, it may be, there were Black people as stupid as himself. In a speech given around 2002, Steiner depicts one such man-
One night in the very grim moments of Apartheid, when I was among my South African students, Nadine Gordimer did me the honour of inviting me to her house, along with ANC leaders – really militant ANC leaders. The police cars were lined up in front of Nadine’s house. They knew exactly who was coming, but they didn’t move. It was a peculiar twilight of permitted exceptions to the rule and Nadine’s home was, in a sense, taboo. As my main virtue in life is a lack of tact, I decided to ask one of the great leaders, one of Slovo’s lieutenants, “Look, help me. Even among the worst moments of occupation under the Waffen SS – and they were very good at occupying, believe me –
why should we? Steiner was in New York during the War.
from time to time, someone killed one of the bastards.
but this proved counter-productive. Nazi retaliation was disproportionate. Moreover, they could recruit unlimited numbers of local auxiliaries from the dregs of society.
You are thirteen to one in Johannesburg. Thirteen-to one!
The Germans in occupied France were outnumbered four hundred to one.
It’s a demographic balance. Without weapons, all you need to do is close in on the street around a white person. What is it that keeps you from acting?” The answer was one of the turning points in my life: the ANC leader said, “You Jews, you have your Talmud, your Midrash, your Mishnah.
Yet six million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
Communists among us, who are few, have Das Kapital.
So what? Steiner was saying this a decade after the thing had collapsed in Eurasia.
Christians have their Gospel. Muslims among us have their Koran. We have nothing. Africa has not produced a book.”
Take that Nadine! This dude is saying you are a shit writer! But Steiner was shittier yet.
It is an enormous answer. Think of it. We do not have a single foundational classic by which we could come to rally around an image of ourselves. It needs a lot of thinking to grasp the full power, depth, and scruple of that answer. “We have no book.”
It takes none at all to see that books don't matter. Superior military technology and economic power is what determines who rules over who.
The complex dialectic of letter via spirit, which underlies our tradition, even at its most secular, of the cleric, of the scholar, derives from the traditions of Scripture and inscription.
A religious man may well subscribe to some such view because he believes that God himself revealed a certain Scripture so as to give certain chosen people immortal felicity. But Steiner was not a man of religion.
The two words, of course, are cognate.
But have different meanings.
May I remind you what the word underwritten means?
Underwriting is a service offered for a fee. It is quite useless if the underwriter goes bankrupt. A few years after Steiner gave this talk, the whole world woke up to the fact that a lot of re-insurance 'underwriting' the Global Financial system was not worth the paper it was written on. Governments had to take over the 'downside risk'. So, in the end, it was the coercive power of Governments to raise revenue through taxation which was doing the 'underwriting'. Any pretence to the contrary was mere theology of an absurd type.
Underwritten is re-insured by the theological: what Wittgenstein says on completing his investigations, “If I could, I would dedicate this book to God.”
Wittgenstein never completed his Philosophical Investigations. He did complete the 'Tractatus'. But, it was hopelessly wrong- indeed silly, as young Frank Ramsey quickly saw.

Theology does not 're-insure' anything. Christ drove the money-changers out of the Temple. He did not arrange a bail-out for the arbitrageurs.

That’s Wittgenstein. The magnum opus in the Western traditions, “Le livre qui est le but de l’univers” of Mallarmé; or in Borges, a simulacrum of the book that simply calls itself the Book, the Bible.
What is this shite? Neither, Mallarme nor Borges wrote a complete book. Muslims do speak of 'the Book'. It is the Quran. Christians speak of 'the Holy Book', to distinguish the Bible. But it isn't 'the simulacrum of a Book'. It is an actual Book which is believed to have existed from Eternity.
In certain traditions, Judaism for example, the notion of secular authorship, of reading for pleasure, comes very late.
2 Maccabees was written in Koine Greek over two thousand years ago. The Jews had been thoroughly Hellenized by the successors of Alexander. The literary quality of many portions of the Bible suggests that reading for pleasure was not a late development at all. The thing goes back at least two thousand years. Look at the works of Josephus. His literary talent shines on every page.
It arrives only with modernity and it leaves the greatest of all Jewish writers, Franz Kafka, radically uncomfortable.
Rubbish! Consider the following parable of Kafka's - They were given the choice of becoming kings or the kings’ messengers. As is the way with children, they all wanted to be messengers. That is why there are only messengers, racing through the world and, since there are no kings, calling out to each other the messages that have now become meaningless. They would gladly put an end to their miserable life, but they do not dare to do so because of their oath of loyalty.
It is reminiscent of the story about the King of India in the Kuzari. Halevi's compositions are sung in every Synagogue. If he had no difficulty assimilating the high literary culture of the Arabs 900 years ago, then- clearly- the notion of secular authorship and of reading for pleasure was present among Jews long before the Modern Age.

Why is Steiner pretending that Kafka lived in a Hassidic shtetl? He was a middle class, Gymnasium educated, Doctor of Law. He may have been uncomfortable with lower class Yiddish speaking Jews from the provinces. But he wasn't uncomfortable at all with mainstream European high culture.
The arts of memory are correlative with those of all higher literacy.
Rubbish! The mnemonic arts have a place in formal rhetoric. But the perfection of rhetoric is orthogonal to literary culture. What works on the page sounds stilted on the lips. What is effective in oratory is muddled nonsense when written down.
They constitute the bridge between the oral and the written.
Clearly Steiner has never heard of stenography.
Plato fears writing precisely because it will enfeeble the muscles of memory; hence, the central, crucial, irreplaceable role of learning by heart.
Everybody fears putting things down in writing because they may be exposed as liars, fools or swindlers. As for 'the muscles of memory', they have the convenient quality of being whatever one wants them to be. If it comes to how much money you owe me, my memory muscles are of Schwarzenegger type proportions. But, if you bring up that time I tried to snake your boo, they are paltry and Gandhian.
What you love, you start learning by heart.
If teacher will slap you silly if you don't, then you learn things by heart.  There is little pleasure in turning into a wingless parrot.
We started in the French Lyceé, tiny children in those ridiculous blue Smocks: five lines and ten lines and twenty; learning by heart.
Learning what by heart? Anything kids actually loved or boring shite their teachers were paid to teach?
For what you love, you will want to have inside you.
Nonsense! Self sodomy is not something men yearn for.
We learned Pope’s Iliad by rote. We learned Lear’s nonsense rhymes by heart. Those children learned to tell the two apart and never say, "that ought I wrote in love I wrote only for love of art."
Steiner is paraphrasing Robert Graves-
 You learned Lear’s Nonsense Rhymes by heart, not rote; 
 You learned Pope’s Iliad by rote, not heart;
 These terms should be distinguished if you quote 
 My verses, children – keep them poles apart –
 And call the man a liar who says I wrote
 All that I wrote in love, for love of art
These lines of Robert Graves accompany me day and night.
Yet, he mangles them. Clearly he is wrong about people wanting to properly memorize poems they like. I get much pleasure quoting Hamlet's poignant in articulo mortis cry 'Hello Horatio. Gimme Fellatio' even though it has been suggested to me that what Shakespeare actually wrote was somewhat different.
The truth is that kids don't learn Lear's nonsense by heart. They do take care to learn the words to milk, milk, lemonade because it annoys the fuck out of parents.
But there are so many others. What you have by heart, no one can touch.
This isn't true at all. If the other kids laugh at you when you stand up in Assembly to declaim in ringing tones 'Our Father who does Art in Heaven, Hello by thy Name', then the piety in your heart is utterly destroyed. You try to retrieve your reputation by chanting milk, milk, lemonade but, alas!, discover you have made chocolate in your underwear. Everybody laughs even more loudly. You decide to give up teaching even though that's the only job you could get with your lower second class degree and proclivity for pooping your pants. I'm not saying that's what happened to me. It's the sort of thing which could happen to anyone.
They cannot take it from you. Consider the example of a Russian woman who was a teacher of English Romantic literature in the University in Kazakhstan. It was the Brezhnev years, relatively less hellish than Stalin, but still hell. She was imprisoned, with no light, on some trumped up charge, for three years, in solitary. Now, in Russia, for reasons I am not wholly competent to judge, Byron’s Don Juan has canonic presence. It’s regarded, maybe justly, as one of the transcendent achievements. This young woman knew it, thirty or thirty-four thousand lines by heart. And in the dark she dictated to herself a Russian verse translation. She lost her sight. But when she emerged, she dictated her translation, which is now the classic one in Russian. There is nothing you can do to a human being who is like that.
Yes you can. You can shoot her.

 Steiner is referring to Tatiana Gnedisch who was imprisoned under Stalin for 9 years. Her skill at translating Byron got her special treatment- two years in solitary with some basic Dictionaries and plenty of paper and ink. After her release from a Siberian Gulag, where she was able to continue to work on her manuscript- which occurred because of Kruschev's de-Stalinization- it took three years of expert scholarly work to clean up her translation which became a best-seller on publication in 1959.

Steiner imagines that Gnedisch- a descendant of a famous Nineteenth Century translator- had memorized both Byron as well as her translation of Don Juan and that, like blind Homer, she was able to dictate the entire thing on her release from prison.

This is fantasy. Gnedisch may have had a good memory. But she didn't know Don Juan by heart- in truth, it is dreary stuff. Nor was her translation something incised, lapidary fashion, upon Memory's leaves of hammered gold. It was painstaking and scholarly, but not painstaking and scholarly enough because of lack of access to the Academy's resources. What was finally published represented three years of collaborative effort on the part of Gnedisch and her fellow Academicians.
No state can touch this.
They can eradicate it.
No despair can touch it. What you don’t know by heart, you really haven’t loved deeply enough.
So Steiner didn't really love a poem by Robert Graves which he claims to have carried with him for many years.
The poetry of Mandelstam, you remember, survived when Nadezhda, after the death of the poet, had ten people, no more, learning one of the poems. That was enough. There were no copies, and the KGB could do nothing.
They could kill a hundred thousand people of suspect 'class origins' or 'literary ideology' and be sure to have also dealt with those ten.
As long as ten people know a poem, it will live.
Nonsense! Even if I pay ten people a lot of money to memorize a poem of mine, it won't live at all. Why? Because I write like shit.
Ben Johnson had the wonderful word for it, which we have lost: to ingest the text, to internalize it in the viscera of your spirit.
What was that 'wonderful word' old Ben had? Steiner won't tell us. Apparently it got lost because 10 people did not internalize it in the viscera of their spirit.
The culture decays in precise proportion to its neglect, or suppression of memorization.
No. Culture decays when those who claim to possess it talk worthless bollocks.
Again, in the Russian Writers’ Congress of ’37, in the blackness of the blackness, Boris Pasternak was told, "If you speak, we arrest you. If you don’t, we arrest you, as a sign of contempt" Pasternak was tall, very handsome; he stood out in a crowd fantastically. On the third morning his friends said, "Boris, say something. They are going to arrest you, but say something. Give us something to remember, to live by." When the moment came, Boris got up and spoke a number. It took twenty seconds, maybe thirty, before two thousand people rose, holding hands, and began to recite Shakespeare’s sonnet of that number, of which Pasternak’s translation is a Russian classic, like Pushkin. He spoke out loud, "When I summon up remembrance of things past," and they didn’t dare touch him. That culture was never in ultimate danger. Ours is every day.
The truth is quite different. Pasternak told Mandelstam that he hadn't heard his epigram on Stalin. Forget about remembering it, the thing could not even be heard! In 1934, Stalin phoned Pasternak who grovelled to him shamelessly. Stalin contemptuously noted his refusal to stand up for his fellow poet. In 1937, Pasternak phoned Stalin to plead that he was a 'Tolstoyan'. Stalin spared that 'cloud dweller' or 'holy fool' because Tolstoyans were collaborating with the regime.  Incidentally, the NKVD found him a voluble, if self-serving, informant. Steiner's story about Shakespeare's sonnet is pure fiction. Russian Culture faced an 'ultimate danger'. If Hitler had won, the Russian language would have been displaced by a Teutonic pidgin suitable for a servile case of broken men and raped women. What prevailed against the Nazi beast was matchless courage and military skill. Guns and tanks saved Russian culture. Its craven poets made no difference whatsoever.
There is an immense difference. “When I summon up remembrance of things past.” The classic act of reading, of literacy, presumes three possibilities. Silence: the availability of silence, when today silence has become the most expensive luxury, when even in the new expensive apartments, the walls are thin.
This is nonsense. The great pleasure of reading is that it insulates one from the incessant din raised by one's beloved family. Steiner himself must have read many a tome in a noisy British Rail carriage. Now, of course, we have noise cancelling headphones and audio-books and vast libraries on our Kindle or Smartphone.
When the fear of silence is such that you cannot even step into an elevator in New York without the muzak oozing on.
Muzak is expensive. Only posh elevators had them so as to suggest luxury and justify a higher service charge. Meanwhile, in the Projects, people trudged up ten flights of stairs because the lifts were permanently on the blink or had been rendered unusable by reason of the accumulation of feces.
They explain that people are frightened of silence, frightened to be alone.
Yet Bose was making a lot of money selling noise cancelling earphones to the jetset. Sound-proofing was a lucrative business in tony neighbourhoods. The poor may be afraid of silence and isolation. The Rich prefer it. You don't see Wall Street bankers jive walking around with massive boom boxes on their shoulders.
Silence has become almost unattainable. Children are afraid of it. We are enveloped by constant noise. Privacy, which is related to silence, requires being unafraid to be alone.
Which is cool if you live in a Penthouse or a McMansion in a gated community.
On the contrary, one covets it, seeks it out; one does not know that nonsense phrase, “peer pressure.” There is no pressure except that of one’s own integrity and concentration.
But one's integrity and concentration may be directed towards a foul end.
Malebranche, as quoted by Heidegger over and over again, said, "Concentration is the natural piety of the soul."
But Heidegger's integrity and concentration caused him to become too Nazi for even the Nazis.
To be able to concentrate totally. You cannot read a difficult text without total concentration.
Yes you can. I started reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in a desultory manner when I was 16. But, because of Science programs on TV which I hoped would drown out the noise of my masturbation, I knew that 'synthetic a priori judgments' don't exist. Once you know why a 'difficult text' is shite, you can read it with very little concentration so as to get a comprehensive idea of how and why pointy headed armchair punits fuck up so badly.
America – and this is not an anti-American comment (I hate that sort of cheapness)
though incessantly indulging in it
– is more honest of its disasters than we are in Europe. The latest statistic is that over eighty percent of American adolescents cannot read in silence without some kind of music in the background.
This is foolish. American adolescents who can read, can also do so in silence. They may prefer to do it while music plays on the radio. It may be that this alters brain waves, for some people, in some manner such that study becomes more productive. Having a soundscape of a certain type may increase concentration. Furthermore, those adolescents may have noisy siblings whom they wish to drown out.
Also quite terrifying is the flicker effect at the edge of their vision, the television.
Steiner is easily terrified.
What this does to the cortex we haven’t begun to understand.
Is Steiner claiming he is a brain surgeon in his spare time?
It would need extensive psychological and social examination of the current experience of solitude as punitive and traumatic, of the shortening of the attention span among the young and adults.
Then why talk ultracrepidarian shite about stuff you know nothing about?
It would be sentimental nonsense to think that we can officially recreate the foundations of the classic act of literacy.
And nonsense pure and simple to advert to this fact.The foundations of literacy were laid by merchants and lawyers and bureaucrats and priests.
Pythagoras and Plato intuited, and Galileo demonstrated that, to quote his famous saying, “Nature speaks mathematics.”
Sadly, this isn't true at all. Structural Causal Models of Natural and Economic processes which are expressed in Mathematical terms can be very useful. But, they can also be wholly useless.
Since Galileo and Newton, that speech has become the ever-expanding idiom of a scientific and technological handling of the world.
No it hasn't. The idiom of science and technology is in natural language. Entities which appear in mathematical formalizations may gain an idiomatic expression- e.g. the word 'quark'- but experimental verification is required before any change occurs in 'scientific and technological handling' of anything at all.
It is the lingua franca of the reality principle.
Sadly, reality is not a chatty Kathy. Anyway, Freud was a charlatan.
Verbal and written languages cover less and less of verifiable, evolving experience.
Nonsense! Quarks are now part of verifiable, evolving experience precisely because they entered verbal and written language at the moment when a particular mathematical equation received a scientific interpretation.
No aspect, no single facet of our lives, inward and outward, will be unchanged by the three horizons now looming.
If Life evolved on an uncertain fitness landscape then it can't have any unchanging facets.
I owe this, of course, not to any competence on my part but I have had the privilege of living among the great scientists.
I have had the privilege of living among who aren't shitheads. This hasn't helped me at all.
Heidegger used to say if you are really stupid, you tell a story. I confess to that guilt. Recently we had a truly delightful American guest at the high table of my college. He had been for a holiday in Scandinavia and, in the nicest way, he was saying to us, "I hope all of you do that. It is the nicest, friendliest place on earth." And he turns to a very shy, gray-haired colleague sitting next to him. “Have you been to Stockholm?” My colleague, keeping his head down, said, "Once." The guest didn’t understand, and we were so shy for the guest that we rapidly covered it with conversation. We didn’t want him to be embarrassed. My colleague had not meant to be clever or arrogant, God knows. He was simply being accurate. Of course, when you say “once” in Cambridge to the question “have you been to Stockholm,” you have gone for the Nobel.
There's no Nobel for Maths. There is one for Econ and another for Peace. Both are only awarded to mischievous cretins.  As for the Literature prize, when was the last time anyone worth reading got one?
That is what I call the aristocracy of the mind; that is what I want to live among, and have been lucky to be able to do.
Progress in STEM subjects arises not from the daring sorties of dashing Cavaliers. It represents the ant-like industry of a vast infantry. There are some outstanding people- like Von Neumann or Frank Ramsey or the late Freeman Dyson- of whom we might say, proximity to that mind might have altered my trajectory. But we often find people with no very great accomplishment to their credit who somehow catalyze greatness in others. It may be that such people can be found in the Humanities. But its 'linguistic turn' destroyed its literacy. Either savants were univocal with Language or it wasn't their fault if it had departed to some other dwelling. No matter how badly they wrote, either they had said everything or nothing could, as yet, be said. The mind had its aristocracy and they deserved a place, if only as placeholders, at that High Table.





Why Post War Philosophy turned to shit

There was a time when first rate Mathematicians and Physicists looked for allies among the Philosophers. Indeed, there were Mathematicians who were also philosophers. But, over the course of the Nineteen Twenties, it became clear that Philosophy was too heavily armored against imaginary threats to keep its head above water, let alone swim abreast of Mathematical and Scientific advances.

Still the fact remains that Husserl in his prime was useful to first rate mathematicians like Hermann Weyl. Post war philosophers have been utterly useless because they seek to justify stupid or paranoid beliefs of a 'virtue signalling' sort. Their lucubrations have inspired utter cretinism of they sort parodied by Sokal.

There are no post-war philosophers who are not ridiculous- even Hilary Putnam or David Lewis whose later work was plain silly.

Consider the following paragraph by Colin Koopman writing in Aeon- 
Imagine you are asked to compose an ultra-short history of philosophy. Perhaps you’ve been challenged to squeeze the impossibly sprawling diversity of philosophy itself into just a few tweets. You could do worse than to search for the single word that best captures the ideas of every important philosopher. Plato had his ‘forms’. René Descartes had his ‘mind’ and John Locke his ‘ideas’. John Stuart Mill later had his ‘liberty’. In more recent philosophy, Jacques Derrida’s word was ‘text’, John Rawls’s was ‘justice’, and Judith Butler’s remains ‘gender’. Michel Foucault’s word, according to this innocent little parlour game, would certainly be ‘power’.
It is certainly true that Plato invented the ludicrous notion that every turd has an ideal archetype it 'participates' in, and that Descartes' 'Mind' would end up divorced from Matter- and thus the clockwork toy of an Occassionalist God- and that Locke's own ideas were refutable by the experience of their inutility to get you a sinecure. Mill, poor fellow, ended his days acknowledging that increasing political freedom meant that voters would kick his notion of Liberty to the curb.

Scientists and Mathematicians contemporary with Plato, or Descartes or even Locke and Mill would have found something reasonable, or even valuable, in their work. They were abreast of their times. By contrast Derrida, Rawls, Butler and Foucault were ignorant of the great advances made during their own lifetimes and withal were as stupid as shit. The reason they had currency was because of a Credentialist Ponzi scheme which solved an 'information asymmetry problem' of a particular type. Essentially, stupid people got to advertise their sycophancy and willingness to spend their entire lives being as boring and worthless as possible in return for the prospect of a white collar job.

I say this with hindsight. It may be that the generation which came of age in '68 genuinely believed some apocalyptic event was imminent such that either Dr. Strangelove would prevail or else Professor Timothy Leary's acolytes would succeed in pre-emptively dosing the entire planet with LSD.

Oddly, Derrida, not Rawls, was the smartest of the bunch mentioned by Koopman. But, if there can't be a purely intensional text even in Maths, how the fuck could there be any such thing in natural language? To be fair, this was not wholly obvious in the Seventies. Indeed, Kripke seemed to have a workaround of a certain sort. But it is now obvious that 'univalent foundations' can't render anything a  self-enclosed 'text'. There must be something 'extensional' outside it.

Rawls was the second least stupid. But his theory of Justice wasn't just wrong for the technical reason Harsanyi immediately pointed out, it was actually utterly fucked in the head. Behind a veil of ignorance, people do exactly the same thing they do in real life- viz. plump for a collective insurance scheme with moral hazard safeguards. This is because of Knightian Uncertainty. Still, Rawls was reflecting the Arrow-Debreu idiocy of the Mathematical Economists and was a kind of totem for Liberals nostalgic for the Warren Court. My guess is that being taught Rawls as a sophomore pushed a lot of young people in the direction of the Federalist Society. His arrival, as a public intellectual, marked the departure of his students from an Episcopalian type of Left-Liberalism whose fruits had once been sweet but which would turn to identitarian dust and ashes over subsequent decades.

Butler and Foucault were stupid, though the latter was capable of one or two purple passages of prose, but they may have some importance for 'Queer Theory'. But their notions of gender and power are silly for the heterosexual majority who are not being forced by any sinister global conspiracy into having sex and cuddling with baby and so forth. Still, I suppose, they represent an accomodation with 'Neoliberalism'- i.e. outsourcing paranoia so as to enjoy a better quality of life- and thus will retain their niches within the Globalised Market for Meretricous Gobshittery.



Sunday, 31 May 2020

Siddhartha Varadarajan on Modi & Covid

Siddhartha Varadarajan, American citizen and soi disant Marxist, is in the business of doubling down on his journalistic mistakes. Almost two decades after he alleged that Modi orchestrated the post-Godhra riots, as opposed to calling in the Army to end them, he is still pretending that Modi's aim is ethnic cleansing, not running the country in a clean and efficient manner. Varadarajan was not alone in getting Modi wrong. But the consequence of the Left convincing itself that Modi was Hitler was that it disappeared from Indian politics.

However, Varadarajan is still around as a journalist to mislead youth. He writes in the Wire-

To understand what Narendra Modi has done to India in the first year of his second term as prime minister, I want you to consider the contrasting fate of two young people, Amulya Leona and Anurag Thakur.
Leona, still in her teens, has been in jail for three months now, charged with sedition and other serious crimes for simply shouting ‘Long Live Pakistan’ and ‘Long Live India’ from the stage of a public event in Bangalore.
The girl, who was being paid by anti-CAA protest organizers, shouted 'Pakistan Zindabad' when standing beside Owaisi, the dynastic Muslim politician, who was outraged and had her bundled off stage into the arms of the police. The silly girl meant no harm. But her actions were those of a double-agent seeking to embarrass Owaisi and other Muslim politicians in India. Shouting 'Fire' in a crowded auditorium could cause a panicked stampede. Lives might be lost. That is why the law punishes people who shout 'Fire' in a Cinema Hall or else joke about being suicide bombers when boarding a plane. Amulya is being punished for a similar type of stupidity. The question is whether she was paid to raise this slogan or whether it was her own idea.
If Leona spoke about living, Thakur, who is junior minister of finance in Modi’s government, spoke about killing.
Thakur has been elected to the Central Parliament four times. He has the right to express the sentiments of his constituents in any terms that the law allows. Of course, any member of the Public can file a 'F.I.R' at any police station if she believes Thakur has broken the law. But the guy is smart. He knows the law. It is unlikely that he would have overstepped the mark.
From the stage of a public event in Delhi, he exhorted a crowd of Bharatiya Janata Party supporters to shout “Shoot the Traitors”.
Varadarajan, as an American citizen, may feel that traitors to India should be cuddled by Indians. However, the fact is, the majority of Indians want to see Traitors punished. It is the duty of a legislator to give a voice to the demands of the Public, in so far as this can be done in a lawful manner. Thakur, it appears, has done nothing wrong in the eyes of the law. 
The ‘traitors’ were not an abstraction but the women and men of Shaheen Bagh and elsewhere who had been protesting the government’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
This is Varadarajan's own view regarding the utterance of a man who is not his chum. Will a Court accept Varadarajan's interpretation? No. It is unreasonable. People in Delhi knew that Thakur did not mean that a bunch of old women, who had been lied to and who were sitting in Shaheen Bagh because they genuinely believed they themselves might be deported, were traitors. No. He meant those lying to them and who were orchestrating attacks on the police and on non-Muslims were either Traitors to India or else foreign operatives of Enemy or Terrorist organizations. Indian Law severely penalizes the actions of such people. In a violent confrontation, shoot to kill orders can be issued. In 1992, riots in Delhi were nipped in the bud because an I.P.S officer avenged the killing of a constable of his by issuing a shoot to kill order. Some twenty or thirty members of the mob died but all rioting stopped completely. 
A few days later, in fact, someone actually fired on the protestors at Jamia Millia. However, the police has yet to file a case against Thakur, let alone seek to take him into custody. “The time is not right”, a top law officer of the government told the Delhi high court when asked whether the police intended to register an FIR against the minister.
Why was the time not right? The police had taken a battering from Muslim mobs. Non Muslim mobs had retaliated and quickly gained the upper hand. It wasn't till the National Security Advisor intervened and a new Police Chief was appointed that confidence was restored. Still, if even the Muslim minority could put the Police on the run, clearly they could not afford to take on the non-Muslim majority.

Varadarajan does not get that the anti-CAA protests failed. They were expected to give a boost to Congress and the Left in the Delhi elections. But both were wiped out. Thakur's stock went up. The deeply silly Leona became emblematic of the 'Pinjra Tod' stupidity of Shaheen Bagh type protest. Girls protesting restrictive Hostel rules, 'broke their cage' but ended up in Jail.
Leona and Thakur are not alone.
Thakur is not alone because he is part of the default National party which seems destined to get a third term in office. Leona is not alone because she is in an overcrowded jail. 

Not since the emergency of Indira Gandhi have so many people across India spent so much time in custody for political reasons than in the past year, and never before has the sword of arrest and detention hung over more heads.
 Since India's population keeps increasing, we would expect, ceteris paribus, nothing but this outcome. The good news is extra-judicial killing has gone down a lot.                                         
One former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, is now into her ninth month of incarceration. 
That helps her party- which was allied with Modi's- for when elections are eventually held. Under Nehru, his pal Sheikh Abdullah spent a decade in jail. Indira too kept him in jail till he did a deal. That's how politics works in Kashmir.
At the same time, never before in independent India has there been such impunity for those connected to the establishment.
Nonsense! Indira's reign, supported by the Left, was the high water mark for such impunity. Sonia, reviving that alliance, conferred a similar impunity upon her corrupt cronies. 
If you are a member of the ruling party or support the government’s political agenda, you can advocate violence and even carry it out, spread hatred against religious minorities, humiliate and abuse the poor, without worrying about being asked to render account in a court of law.
Varadarajan, poor fellow, is shitting himself because he will have to render an account of his own efforts of a similar type in a Court of Law. 

The fact is the anti-CAA protest was supposed to be a rainbow coalition of workers and peasants and tribals and so forth. But only poor Muslim women would actually buy into that pack of lies. So, the thing backfired. The non-Muslim vote got consolidated. Muslims were left in the lurch.
In New Zealand, an Indian origin Justice of the Peace was sacked for advocating an economic boycott of Muslims in India.
So what? Being a J.P is an honorary position. 
In Uttar Pradesh, two MLAs were caught on camera doing the same thing on the ground, yet they got to keep their jobs and the police insisted there was no reason to file charges.
Why? The anti-CAA agitation has made non Muslims hate Muslims because, it seems, they object to non-Muslims gaining a safe refuge from Islamic persecution in neighboring countries. Varadarajan was part of this conspiracy. As an American citizen, he has nothing to fear. But the Indian Muslim has suffered because of his mischief. Will the Indian Courts be able to punish Varadarjan? I doubt it. By contrast, a Muslim activist who used to write for the Wire is languishing in jail. 
In many parts of India today, the right of the people to mock or even criticise their leaders no longer exists or hangs by a slender thread.
This is certainly true of Mamta's Bengal or the Shiv Sena's Maharashtra. However, Modi knows very well that writers like Varadarajan help him gain the loyalty of 'Lutyens' Delhi'. This is because we know Varadarajan's whole family. They are a bunch of corrupt cretins. 
Last week, the police in Madhya Pradesh registered a criminal case against a journalist for referring to the prime minister as a ‘gappu’, or braggart.
Anyone can register a criminal case if there is evidence that Indian Law has been broken. The post in question reads ' Gappu, Tadipar, Balatkari, aprakirtik sasanghat walo ko pare kar de to BJP suchmuch dheynisht party hai'. The meaning is that the BJP is populated by rapists and sodomites and braggarts and externed criminals. A local member of the BJP took objection and registered a case with the Police. No arrest has as yet been made. As an equally worthless journalist, Varadarajan may well object to the application of the Law to his own tribe of scribblers. But Indians like seeing journalists squirm.
In Agra, a man who called the Uttar Pradesh chief minister a ‘dog’ has been charged with sedition.
Interestingly, this was done by a female sub-inspector. It remains to be seen whether any arrest will be made. Still, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If people in New Zealand can get into hot water for a Tweet or Facebook post, so can people in India. 
Last month, a young photographer in Kashmir was threatened with arrest under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as a terrorist for a photograph she posted on Instagram in 2018.
And German tourists keep getting thrown in jail in Greece for taking photos at the airport. The fact is, different countries have different rules regarding this sort of thing based on their own National Security considerations.
In Andhra Pradesh, a woman who asked a series of embarrassing questions about the recent industrial accident in Vishakapatnam was arrested by the police.
She wasn't arrested. She was ordered to appear to answer a case filed against her. She is supported by the opposition TDP. 
The purpose these ‘individual’ cases serve is to scare others into silence. The amended UAPA has also given home minister Amit Shah the power to designate any individual as a “terrorist” without a trial or even the filing of charges.
I think this will stand because it is foolish to say an organization can be designated terrorist but an individual can't. The fact is Terrorist organizations morph continually. Professional terrorists change their allegiance to better funded franchises.
Modi’s abject failure as an administrator is evident from the manner in which he has handled both the coronavirus pandemic and the human catastrophe he triggered by imposing a lockdown without any planning or preparation.
This is Varadarajan's own view. It appears the public disagrees. 
But for me, the disaster he has caused is the logical if hideous culmination of an underlying pathology that has come into sharp focus during the past year – his contempt for democracy.
Wonderful! Varadarajan couldn't get elected rat catcher in America. He can't run for elected office in India because he is a foreigner. But Modi keeps getting re-elected. It is Democracy which has raised him up to global status. All this in just twenty short years. Prior to being appointed C.M of Gujarat in 2000, he had never won an election. Since then, he hasn't lost a single one. Modi is the first person who couldn't afford to go to College to end up in the highest office in the land. Varadarajan thinks it is because Modi has contempt for Democracy. But we all know that Varadarajan and his ilk has contempt for 'uneducated' OBC types from mofussil towns. The odd thing is that people like me- a caste fellow a few years ahead of him at the LSE- now respect Modi and listen when he speaks whereas we feel contempt for Varadarajan who, as Jag Suraiya recalls, once asked 'who or what is a Kurmi?' Surely, this was disingenuous. Varadarajan's dad was a U.P cadre IAS officer. He himself went to Mayo. He must have known what sort of people were Kurmis. He was simply expressing his contempt for the 'great unwashed'. Brahmins like him is what turns us into DMK supporters. 
Only a leader who has that contempt – who believes he can stay in power regardless of what he does – will run the risk of not bothering to make any effort to ameliorate the suffering of millions of migrant workers, all of whom have the right to vote.
Varadarajan's contempt for the truth is what has sunk his journalistic career. He won't be remembered as a Frank Moraes or Kuldip Nayar.  He has gone in the direction of Prem Shankar Jha. But Jha, in his day, was considered an intellectual. Varadarajan was always a verbose cretin.
Modi’s disregard for democracy runs deep and wide, and extends to every institution that is meant to serve as a check and a balance to the exercise of executive power.
The opposite is the case. The reason Modi was not brought down in 2001 itself by rival factions within the Gujarat Sangh Parivar was precisely because he strengthened Institutions and delegated power. The pay-off was efficiency and voter satisfaction. Then, Gujarat began to grow at an unprecedented rate- that too in a balanced manner- because Modi was able to do a deal with the farmers and curb the greed of the Corporates. 
In his first term as prime minister, he undermined the judiciary, the Reserve Bank of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the country’s university system, the Central Vigilance Commission, the Right to Information, Parliament and its committees.
Nonsense! The judiciary had over reached and was bound to draw in its horns. Putting Rajan into the RBI was a stunt. It failed. The CBI was never independent. The University system had degenerated forty or fifty years ago. Right to Information was a nuisance. On the other hand, Parliamentary functioning improved because Congress and the Left continually lost seats and thus could create less and less havoc. 
In his second term, he has turned his sights on the federal nature of India’s polity.
But India has a Unitary, not a Federal, Constitution. The Center can redraw State boundaries or downgrade them to Union Territories. 
He has also gutted the Central Information Commission
which was so useless nobody had heard about it. Apparently it was created in 2005.
and further undermined the independence of the judiciary to ensure his assaults on the democratic rights of the people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari are not challenged.
Why does Varadarajan not simply say 'Modi is sexually assaulting my arsehole every night'? That would be more believable. 
Gone is the pretence of development and growth, used as a camouflage during the first term to avoid a backlash to the BJP’s communal agenda.
Gone is Varadarajan's pretence that he is only anti-Modi because Modi is a Hindu. It is now obvious that Varadarajan's rage against the BJP is caused by the horrible anal rape at Modi's hands which he has to endure every night. As a Tambram myself, I feel vulnerable. First Modi buggered Mani Shankar Aiyar but we said nothing because that Doon School asshole deserves all he gets. Then Modi sodomized Siddhartha Varadarajan. Again, we said nothing because that Mayo College asshole must be habituated to such shenanigans. What if Modi now comes for me? I went to St.Columba's and still am cherry in the anal department. Who will speak up for me? Sanjay Subhramaniyam? No. He will simply mutter into his beard about Vasco da Gama. As for his brother, he is too busy being Minister of External Affairs. Nirmala Ji, kindly save my Tambram ass from Modi's lust!
The only “accomplishments” the BJP can point to in the first year of Modi’s second term all relate to its anti-Muslim mindset. First came the gratuitous criminalisation of Muslim husbands who abandon their wives without properly divorcing them. (However, Hindu husbands who do the same have nothing to fear.)
So Modi did something for Muslim women which, Varadarajan believes, Hindu women are denied. He should try explaining this to his wife. She will slap the black off him sho' nuff.
Then on August 5 came the scrapping of Article 370 and the imposition of a communications blockade on the people of Jammu and Kashmir that ran for six long months and has still not been fully lifted.
With the result that the war against Terror turned a significant corner. But this is good for Muslims who suffer disproportionately when suicide bombers run amok.
Next, the Modi government pushed for, and secured, a favourable (if manifestly absurd) verdict from the Supreme Court on the Ayodhya issue that will see the fulfilment of the BJP’s long-standing agenda of building a Ram temple at the site where its leaders and supporters destroyed the Babri Masjid in 1992.
It turns out, Indian law gives judicial personality to a Hindu deity but not to Allah or Jehovah. The Hindu deity won his suit which was instituted before the BJP existed. 
In an inversion of legal common sense, a property dispute which led to the commission of a heinous crime was fast-tracked at the urging of Modi even as the criminal case continues to languish.
Varadarajan is not a lawyer. He is a journalist. In an inversion of journalistic common sense, he credits the BJP- which he abhors- with a popular decision made by the Bench. What he should be doing is saying 'Modi hasn't delivered for Hindus.' 
Last December saw the Modi government’s third ‘accomplishment’, the passage of the CAA. Just as the stated purpose behind the Triple Talaq law would have been served by making it a crime for any husband, and not just Muslims, to abandon their wives without a proper divorce settlement, the stated purpose behind the CAA could have been met by allowing any bona fide victim of persecution from the neighbourhood to become an Indian citizen rather than just the non-Muslim ones.
What happened when Taslima Nasrin was granted refuge in India? Some Indian Muslims put a price on her head. She had to run away to Sweden. The fact is a Muslim who is persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan or Bangladesh would not be safe from Indian Muslims if they took refuge in India. By contrast, though Indian Muslims object to non Muslims gaining refuge in India, they can't kill them without getting killed in an asymmetric manner themselves.
But the Modi government’s intention was to use religion as a factor to polarise society.
Varadarajan and his ilk's intention was to keep the BJP out of power. But because of their stupidity, they drove even English speaking upper caste people into the arms of the BJP. Nobody minded if Soniaji was being advised Ahmed Patel. But if she was listening to kooks like Romilla Thapar or Harsh Mander then she had to go. There was truly no alternative to NaMo. 
Home minister Amit Shah’s infamous ‘chronology’ made it clear the government intended to proceed next to creating an all-India National Register of Citizens, a plan he and Modi were forced to backtrack on, at least temporarily, when they realised the depth of public opposition to it.
Amit Shah very cleverly defused the situation in Assam- itself the product of Judicial activism- by raising this bogey. But now Shah is touting 'One Nation, one Ration Card' to deal with the problem of migrants. The pandemic has concentrated minds on this issue. Obviously, this ties into a National Register of Citizens such that entitlements are portable. The opposition to the NRC was orchestrated and based on lies. It has now run out of steam. Poor people face existential problems relating to access to the public distribution system. They will clamor for the thing because it is vital to their own economic security. 
The government’s next ‘accomplishment’ was to use communal violence in Delhi to break the resolve of the anti-CAA protests.
Being beaten to death does tend to 'break resolve'. But if mobs do it- in retaliation- thoroughgoing ethnic cleansing follows. The minority gets it in the neck. The Left-Liberals abruptly disappear back into their Ivory towers. 
When that process failed – or was interrupted by the coronavirus – it spun a yarn about the violence being the product of an ‘Islamist-Marxist conspiracy’ and arrested several activists at the forefront of the protest against the CAA under the draconian UAPA.
With hindsight, this should have been done sooner. But six months ago who would have predicted that the Left-Liberals would so bungle the anti-CAA protest? There was plenty of money available and the whole country was seething with different types of economic woe. Modi hoped the thing would become a Muslim dominated affair but this was by no means inevitable. I still don't understand why the Left wasn't able to put up a bigger showing. So far as I can make out, they gave the excuse that the thing was being hijacked by Islamic State type fanatics and so they felt they had to keep away. But, the Muslim activists too had their own complaints. It seems they were being asked 'not to look Muslim'. What were they supposed to do, discard beards and burqas and put on janeos and bindis? 
This despite the fact that the whole world knows the violence was overwhelmingly targeted at Muslims, and that Muslims were as likely to conspire to destroy their homes and livelihoods as the Jews in Nazi Germany were to engineer Kristallnacht.
A Polish Jew shot a German diplomat in Paris because he was angry at the deportation of Polish Jews. Kristallnacht was a reaction to this. It turned out to be popular not just in Germany but also in France and Poland. Anti-Semitism helped Hitler conquer Europe and recruit local collaborators.

The timeline of the Delhi riots are clear. Some Muslims started it and then the entire community got stomped. Why did they start it? Perhaps there was some money on the table for instigating a riot while Trump was in India. The other explanation is that the Police Commissioner was a poltroon.

While the Modi lobby is likely to see the suppression of democracy and the growing insecurity of Muslims as major achievements in their leader’s sixth year as PM, there is no getting away from Modi’s three big failures: his government’s Kashmir policy, his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his inability to insulate the poor and vulnerable from the predictable consequences of the lockdown.
Varadarajan speaks too soon. Kashmir seems a success. So does his handling of Covid. 'Insulating the poor and vulnerable' has to do with 'One Nation, One Ration Card' which nicely dovetails with NRC, Aadhar and Modi's various populist schemes.

As for the Muslims, they have to find some separate political representation. Owaisi seems to be doing well out of his projection of a 'Nationalist Muslim' persona. At the regional level, Muslims will retain a place in governing coalitions. But what about the Center? Tokenist representation can be provided by any party. Muslims want more and they will get it sooner or later. But how it will happen remains unclear. 
The government’s unwillingness, on ‘security’ grounds, to restore 4G services in the valley or release all political leaders and permit democratic political activity is the biggest indication that the scrapping of Article 370 is not the silver bullet Modi and Shah claimed it would be.
No. It shows the policy succeeded. 
The longer the current approach continues, the greater will be popular fears in the valley of a ‘demographic’ solution to the Kashmir problem.
But the thing is inevitable. 
Of course, the Supreme Court’s refusal to do anything about the mass arrests or the internet ban, let alone prioritise the question of the legality of the Article 370 and CAA moves, can be chalked down as another great government achievement, one that Ranjan Gogoi, MP, can savour as he contemplates life from the treasury benches.
Wonderful! Varadarajan says Modi's superpowers include changing the past. Gogoi is from a Congress family. As a Judge, he helped the Bench take charge of the Assam migrants issue which politicians had failed to solve. Once the Court mandated Nationality Registry was completed, Modi and Shah had to engage in some pretty nifty footwork. Thanks to the idiocy of the Opposition, they snatched victory from the jaw of defeat.

Sadly for India and, for Narendra Modi, the ad hoc, knee-jerk, centralised, undemocratic style of functioning that is the hallmark of the prime minister’s method of functioning has led him to commit monumental blunders on the coronavirus front that not even the judiciary can save him from.
Varadarajan thinks a style of functioning can be the hallmark of a method of functioning. Either that or he no longer thinks before writing his worthless articles. 
Indeed, after first giving the government a pass on its treatment of migrant workers, the Supreme Court was forced by the unending misery on display across India to reconsider its approach.
But the Bench now knows that its activism was silly. If it continues to attract attention then everybody and her cat will come forward with accusations of rape and murder against every Judge. Indeed, just recently some Supreme Court Judges gave color to the theory that Justice Loya had been killed by his fellow Judges because the fellow refused a bribe. I am not saying that Loya was anally gang raped before he was murdered. Yet, when it comes to Judges, it is generally a case of 'in for a penny, in for a pound.' If a bunch of them decide to kill one of their number, why not sodomize him as well?
The fact is that from the word go, Modi’s handling of the crisis has been disastrous. As late as March 13, his government was blithely declaring there was no public health emergency. Yet 11 days later, the prime minister felt compelled to impose a national lockdown with four hours notice to the public. While Modi cannot be faulted for believing a lockdown was the answer to the spread of the disease – most of the world’s leaders have acted similarly – he is perhaps the only major leader to have made zero preparations.
The fact is, Varadarajan's reporting can't be trusted even in the slightest detail. Modi's handling of the crisis is quite good. India has done quite well. Its low mortality rate is a matter of comment.
In any case, a Prime Minister is not supposed to make preparations for pandemics. Health is a State, not a concurrent, subject. Perhaps one or two bureaucratic heads should roll. But hindsight is 20-20. 
Even if he had firmed up the lockdown plan on March 19, the day he announced the ‘Janata Curfew’ for March 22, that would have given him six days to plan for the consequences.
But, the responsibility to 'plan for the consequences' falls upon the States as per the Indian Constitution. Some, like Kerala did very well indeed. None did very very badly. 
Having squandered the days before the lockdown and immediately after in the pursuit of political objectives such as the toppling of the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and the communalisation of the pandemic, the Modi government hoped the heavy-handed use of state machinery would allow it to get away with its minimum governance.
No time was wasted. It is not the case that the politicians or administrators who were tasked with the Public Health, Policing and other relevant functions were  involved in behind the scenes politicking. Varadarajan speaks of 'communalization of the pandemic'. This refers to the spread of the virus by Tablighis who had attended a Conference in Malaysia. Varadarajan's suggestio falsi is that Muslims are spreading the virus. This is not the case. One Muslim organization, unfortunately, was holding a Conference in the wrong time and at the wrong place. But that organization has been condemned by other Muslim organizations. Varadarajan's genius is to appear 'secular' and anti-Modi, yet write in such a way that the Muslim community alone gets defamed and his own high caste brethren feel that only the BJP can save their hides. 
The reality is that the lockdown has failed to contain the epidemic even as it has laid waste to the economy and to the livelihoods of millions.
So, the reality is that the virus has hurt India just as it has hurt almost every other big country in the world. 
Along the way, the sangh parivar’s ugly Islamophobia has also undermined years of Indian diplomacy in the Gulf region – a development that will have harmful economic consequences for the country.
No it won't.  The pandemic has revealed the Gulf's extreme vulnerability.  Its prosperity is based on an unsustainable model. The remittance economy will die off. This means funding for Islamic extremism will dry up. The era of globalization is over. Dirigiste Nationalism is back on the agenda. Big countries like India can still grow- more especially as crude oil prices crash. By contrast, both the Gulf and Iran will have to pipe small.

During Modi 1.0, Arun Shourie joked that the BJP government was ‘Manmohan Singh plus cow’.
Shourie was a cretin, sure enough.
Today, given the manner in which Modi has used the pandemic to centralise governance, promote the interests of big business, trample on the democratic rights of the people
anally rape Siddhartha Varadarajan every night,
and manage the judiciary, his rule is increasingly beginning to resemble the emergency of Indira Gandhi. Apologists for Indira Gandhi used to say, ‘at least the trains run on time’. Modi 2.0 is not even able to manage that, such is the shambles six years of ideologically driven ‘governance’ have created.
Not to mention the condition of Varadarajan's rectum. 
If there is one thing we’ve learned about Modi in all the years he has been chief minister and prime minister, it is that he never learns from his mistakes.
Varadarajan has been writing about Modi for 20 years. The one lesson he never learns is that Modi is a smart guy who figures out ways to do his job better than even his supporters had hoped. 
The current situation is the product of his cult of personality, and the only response he is capable of is to double down on his worst impulses.
Modi is good at P.R. But he doesn't have a 'cult of personality' for the excellent reason that this would attract the ire of his rivals within his party. They would feel that they were not being given proper credit for their own achievements. This was the problem with Indira and Rajiv- but also what made Manmohan so ineffectual in his second spell in office.

The fact is Modi was prepared to leave Gujarat precisely because he had no personality cult or nepotistic or caste based network to protect there. He took a risk by going to Delhi. But he was a better PM than anyone had predicted. 
Centralisation of authority, authoritarianism and divisive, polarising politics have helped him transcend crises before.
The reverse is the case. Delegation of authority and institutional checks and balances have enabled him to improve governance more especially in the context of last mile delivery. The polarising politics of the Left-Liberals has helped Modi. He doesn't have to create a Muslim bogeyman because people like Varadarajan do it for him by claiming that Indian Muslims don't want non Muslim refugees to gain asylum in India. They are prepared to kill cops and burn down their neighbor's houses and demand 'azadi' to do so on a bigger scale. This scares the shit out of the non-Muslim. They then flock to the BJP. 
As COVID-19 spreads and the economy flounders, the coming year will prove far more damaging for Indian democracy than anything we have seen thus far.
Varadarajan thinks democracy is damaged if Modi gets more and more popular. So what he is saying is- 'BJP will trounce Mamta in West Bengal. They will win big in 2021'.  Such a sentiment is highly demoralizing to the Opposition. Why on earth is Varadarajan's rag being financed? It helps only the BJP who, however, are too canny to waste money on the English press. Perhaps, there is some big Corporate conspiracy to destroy the Left-Liberal Indian establishment from within. But the thing is otiose. Those fuckers are as stupid as shit. They can be relied on to help only their enemies.