Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Huzaifa Siddiqi on Ambedkar

I recall a time when Mayawati was spoken of as a future P.M. Some said her mania for building enormous pilgrimage centers for Ambedkar put paid to her elevation.

However, she succeeded in getting Ambedkar into the henotheistic Hindutva pantheon in which the many Gods are equal and indiscernibly identical. 

Clearly, if Ambedkar is being worshipped by thousands at a particularly grand site, then he is a Hindu God- just like the Buddha. The good news is that some Muslims are taking the first step to becoming Hindu by embracing idolatry- at least when it comes to Ambedkar. Who says JNU is completely useless? 

As a case in point, consider Huzaifa Omair Siddiqi who writes good English. Sadly this disqualifies him from becoming a Professor of that language. Sensing this, he is seeking greener pastures for bullshit.

He writes in the Wire- 
After the Great Demonetisation of 2016, I really did expect that the new banknotes would have the faces of people other than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.  That was not to be, of course. It is still his face which peers out at us from every banknote. In a way this eternal union of Gandhi and the Indian currency

Huzaifa is too young to remember that Mahatma Gandhi only began appearing on currency after 1996. There was no 'eternal union'. 

is symptomatic. Both of them are universally acceptable abstractions whose primary function is to reduce difference to diversity.

But every single Republic in the world has a picture of its Founding Father on its currency. Pakistani currency has Jinnah, Bangladeshi currency has Sheikh Mujib. While Bandarnaike's held power, Solomon Bandarnaike's portrait adorned Sri Lankan currency. 

It is foolish to suggest that Indian currency serves some different function from Pakistani or Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan currency.

Clearly, Gandhi was not 'universally acceptable'. That's why Pakistan went its own way. 

Money does bridge over 'differences'. I suppose it is true to say that it exists because preference diversity exists. But such diversity reflects actual differences. 

Differences sound dangerous. Expressed as diversity on the other hand, they are laudable. The allure of diversity lies in its ability to regulate rather than negate differences.

There is no need to regulate differences which don't have any negative consequences. 

Totalitarian regimes view differences as something that need to be overcome and lead to the emergence of a homogeneous identity.

No they don't. Neither Stalin nor Mao abolished the difference between men and women or between babies and grown ups.  

In such regimes, whether they be fascist or communist, there is a marked tendency to overcome differences through force.

No. There is a marked tendency to kill opponents and fuck over dissenters. 

Differences are expressed here in the form of contradictions.

No. A man may contradict himself in the course of a brief speech. But he is not different from himself. 

A contradiction generally offers the choice between two or more incompatible realities,

No it doesn't. It merely means an inconsistency in a statement. Marxian contradiction refers to the coexistence of social forces allegedly opposed to each other.

some of which must supersede the others.

Unless everything current is superseded by something entirely novel. 

In totalitarian regimes contradictions have to be overcome, which usually meant the liquidation of entire populations. 

Nonsense. Only actual or possible opponents have to be liquidated. Others should be enslaved.  

Contrasted with such a totalitarian view of difference, Gandhi’s commitment to diversity can be seen in his ability to live and breathe his contradictions.

No it can't. He wanted everybody to do what he wanted. Of course, if they chased him away he didn't fight back because he was shit at fighting. 

He thereby showed everyone how these differences were not contradictions at all, but only diversity.

No. He showed everyone that the Indian National Congress was a High Caste Hindu outfit. On the other hand, he said that Hindu Punjabis and Gurkhas were just like Muslims. If the Brits left, they'd all get together to fuck over the Congress wallahs. I'm not kidding. He wrote this in 1939 after the War had begun. 

Despite the absolute correctness of his position, Gandhi is still the name for a philosophical impasse.

For crap philosophy anything and everything is an aporia.  Gandhi poses no difficulty for philosophy. We can easily separate out the alethic from the imperative elements in his oeuvre and refer them to open questions in the Natural Sciences so as to distinguish what is metaphysics from what was mere stupidity. Provided there is a soteriological core to Gandhism, this is easily done. 

The only way to avoid the erasure of differences that occurs in contradiction,

there is no such erasure or sous rature. The differences remain though what precisely they are may not yet be clear.  

is to posit diversity as their regulation.

Why not posit the neighbor's cat as the regulation of the aporia of the catechresis of the Post Kristevan Chora? That's what all the cool kids were doing back when I was at skool.  

However differences are maintained here in an absolute state of indifference, shorn of their singularity, formally reduced to the same.

Food is diverse. After digestion, it is a homogenous turd. That's all that this sort of philosophy does. 

Difference in itself can have no political consequences without being anchored in one of these two forms of identity.

Nonsense! Rivalry has political consequences even if no 'difference' is discernible. The median voter theorem or Hotelling's principle explains why. Mimetic desire is not about difference. It is a big driver of political activity.  

Totalitarianism completely denies difference to the extent that it has to seek it out and eliminate it.

No. It only eliminates opposition or potential opposition. It generally seeks to increase the difference between Party members and the hoi polloi.  

Liberal democracy on the other hand encourages the proliferation of difference

No. It may tolerate it but then again it may prune it back through compulsory education and laws restricting the conduct of enterprises and what is required of employees. Indeed, it can impose rules re. what can and can't be worn in public.  

but only through the prism of the neutral site which regulates it.

The good thing about liberal democracy is that there is no 'prism'. Prison, yes. Prism no. 

Thus liberal democracy gives us an abstract equality

nope. It can give equality before the law. But that is subject to resource constraints.  

in place of a radical one;

you are welcome to have radical equality provided you don't run around naked with a radish up your bum in a manner that scares the horses.  

an abstract difference, in place of an annihilative one.

There is no abstract difference in a liberal democracy. We are welcome to ignore shitheads who talk in that silly way. Obviously, the best way to ignore cretins is to corral them in some shite University Dept.  

Who recognised this dilemma for what it is almost immediately if not the one thinker of whom Gandhi almost joyfully said, “Thank God, he is singularly alone”— Dr. B.R. Ambedkar?

This is a thinker who became a Boddhisatta, which is several steps up from a mere Mahatma, and has more than one huge pilgrimage complex named for him in U.P. 

How did Ambedkar scale such heights? The answer is that he didn't waste his time recognizing false dilemmas. He was absolutely committed to his own community and, as it rises, it honors him for it. So long as Dalits continue to do rise up- which they have done on their own merit- Ambedkar's place in the Indian pantheon will rise. A thousand years from now, he may be remembered as the reviver of Buddhism in its heartland. He will have undone what the Turks did. 

The absence of any serious engagement with Ambedkar as a philosopher in the Indian academy has coincided

with that academy turning to shit. It is easy enough to construct an Ambedkarite Economics like a Keynesian or Marxist Economics, on the basis of recent advances in maths and computing and so forth. But that immediately gets you to open problems which are philosophical in Collingwood's sense. After all, Ambedkar was educated in the Pragmatic tradition- C.S Pierce's semiotics wasn't idiotic- but he read Collingwood and was familiar with the issues surrounding 'methodenstreit'. He visited London frequently and was aware of how this was changing research methodology. 

Why won't the Indian academy do stuff like this? It is too stupid. Subaltern Studies & Postcolonial theory was a way to emigrate somewhere nice where affirmative action could get you tenure. 

for many decades with the dominance of postcolonial theory. The latter has quite correctly affirmed diversity and denied the totalitarian nature of contradiction whether it borrow the discourse of dogmatic Marxism, ethno-nationalism, or colonial ‘Progress’. However the choice that it gives us, between diversity and contradiction, is quite properly speaking a false one. What if difference is neither static nor negative but annihilative?

Like what? Al Qaeda? ISIS? Those guys can be killed.  

What would this annihilative difference look like,

Hopefully, it would look like Osama bin Laden after the SEALs were finished with him. 

and how would it be related to an equality no longer abstract but radical?

By being fucking dead.  

While in the paradigm of contradiction, differences are meant to be overcome in favour of a future homogeneity,

That isn't Marx or Hegel. It isn't even Nietzsche's 'Last Man'. It is something this guy has pulled out of his arse.  

in the paradigm of diversity differences are kept apart, insulated from each other in a sort of regulated stasis.

Fuck off! Diversity can be a melting pot as much as a salad bowl. Maybe this guy is thinking of Diversity as a zoo with every animal in a separate cage.  

The philosophical question of difference in itself never becomes a political problem because it is always refracted through these two paradigms.

 This is not Macron's view. He was Ricoeur's blue eyed boy. The fact is crap philosophy refracted through whatever paradigm or prism can still give rise to dangerous nuisances like 'Islamo-gauchisme' .

Is there another kind of politics where difference is intensified and neither denied nor regulated?

Yes. Over the last forty years, liberal democracies have intensified differences in Income and Wealth. We are pleased that Bezos or Musk has hundreds of billions because we believe they will do smarter things with that money than our politicians. We want cool new stuff- not equality or 'Social Justice'.  

In point of fact there are thinkers from the Indian subcontinent who are engaged in developing a political project of difference in itself.

But they are shit. 

This essay is simply my own attempt to nominate this project, which I call ‘Subcontinental philosophy’,

though nobody in Pakistan or Bangladesh or Nepal or Sri Lanka is doing that shit 

and to describe how it differentiates itself from the earlier postcolonial theory which could not think difference outside of diversity.

Post colonial theory could only refer to thinkers who were born before Imperialism ended. If you want to gas on about recent 'scholars' who nobody in the West has heard off- because they are Professors of shite- you can't pretend Whitey brainwashed your ancestors to read them. You fucked yourself up of your own free will by subscribing to that nonsense. This isn't yet another crime Whitey must atone for by giving you tenure. 

I will therefore take up two books, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Provincialising Europe (2000) and Aishwary Kumar’s Radical Equality (2015), to mark the immense difference between postcolonial theory and Subcontinental philosophy.

They are both shite but Dipshit seemed important because Bengal was still ruled by the left-front which did have a couple of buddhijivis in its ranks. Nobody can say that about Didi- whose PhD from East Georgia University is fake. 

Two anecdotes from Provincialising Europe

Chakrabarty is one of the most important living postcolonial theorists and historians, a Professor at the University of Chicago whose abovementioned book is a minor classic in its own right. Chakrabarty’s major point in his book is that there are two histories- History 1 which is the “indispensable and universal narrative of capital” and History 2, which is an “affective” history, one of the lifeworld in which a person dwells. History 2 cannot be reduced to the totalising thrust of History 1, even though they are both inherent to capital. In the conclusion to Provincialising Europe, Chakrabarty provides us with two anecdotes that exemplarily prove his point.

The first anecdote is about the astronomer and mathematician A.A. Krishnaswami Ayyangar who in his spare time was an erudite astrologer; his son was the poet A.K. Ramanujan who recalled that he was “troubled by his holding together in one brain both astronomy and astrology”. To this his father replied, “don’t you know, the brain has two lobes?”.

A.K was as stupid as shit. He didn't know that Astrology is a focal solution to concurrency and coordination problems. His daddy, who was hoping for a Ramanujan type son, knew the fellow had no brains and would have to go in for Linguistics or some such shite. He was taunting his son by saying 'brain has two lobes' when everyone knows it has 4. 

The second anecdote is about the scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1930, C.V. Raman, who would take a ritual bath before a solar eclipse.

It was a requirement of his religion. He didn't want his descendants to lack in marriage partners just because he omitted a harmless ritual.  

These anecdotes, even if uncircumstantiated,

the cretin, who is doing a PhD in the English Dept. of JNU, means uncorroborated.  

tell Chakrabarty that these men of science “did not need to totalize through the outlook of science all the different life-practices within which they found themselves and to which they felt called…

Nonsense! Both did totalize their life-project- which was to push Iyers down a path which, sadly, penalizes cretins like me just coz we be shit at math.  

To provincialise Europe in historical thought is to struggle to hold in a state of permanent tension a dialogue between two contradictory points of view”.

No. It is to recognize that non STEM subject European pedants were- as most Europeans always recognized- stupid provincial cunts.  

Perhaps this is the entire argument of Chakrabarty’s book condensed into a few sentences: contradictory life practices such as being both an astronomer and an astrologer can be maintained in a “state of permanent tension”.

There is absolutely no 'tension' involved in having 'oil bath' or looking up 'panchangam'. The thing reduces tension and makes for a harmonious family and social life. But so does going to work and doing well at your job. 

Dipshit was Bengali. Maybe a 'buddhijivi' would have had conniptions about maintaining his family traditions while doing well in his profession. Us Iyers are made of sterner stuff. We pour ridicule on those who talk nonsense to us.  


Chakrabarty notes that Ayyangar told his son, “don’t you know the brain has two lobes?” while Raman said “The Nobel Prize? That was science, a solar eclipse is personal”. The anecdotes detail situations where the force of a contradiction no longer holds.

There was no contradiction. Both actions were good for Raman's Iyer oikos. Perhaps, they contributed to each other. Suppose Raman was falsely implicated by a Police spy. My great grandfather would have made inquiries among the servants and then told his Boss 'the man does sandhyavandanam and takes oil bath. How can he be a Marxist nutjob?' An Iyer gains by being known for Iyer orthopraxy. So does a namazi Muslim or observant Catholic or whatever.

This absence of the force of contradiction illustrates almost perfectly the point made throughout his book: that the historicist project which lies at the base of colonial ideology has to be abandoned.

But colonialism disappeared long ago! Who the fuck is cherishing its 'base'? 

This historicist project was justified by English thinkers of the 19th century like J.S.Mill who consigned colonised peoples to the ‘waiting room of history’.

The guy died long ago. Get over it.  

The colonised were considered chronologically backward as compared to the colonisers. There was only one single plane of history whose logic always was the same- first in Europe, then elsewhere.

No European believed anything so foolish. Not even Marx. 

Colonisation was thus justified as

it was profitable and increased National security. 

it brought colonised peoples into history and allowed them to gradually progress towards the European ideal.

Nobody gave a shit about the colonized.  

This ideologically coloured perspective on history was also put forward by Marxist historians like Eric Hobsbawm who described the Indian peasant insurgencies and rebellions of the 20th century as ‘prepolitical’ and ‘archaic’.

Hobsbawm was regarded as a clever Levantine but his politics was dismissed by the British working class as primitive- the sort of thing you could export to India but which English workers would not put up with.  

For Hobsbawm, Chakrabarty writes, “Peasants’ actions, organized—more often than not—along the axes of kinship, religion, and caste, and involving gods, spirits, and supernatural agents as actors alongside humans, remained for him symptomatic of a consciousness that had not quite come to terms with the secular-institutional logic of the political”.

This is how us Brits thought of Miliband and Hobsbawm and so forth. You read them in Sixth Form but realized the thing was silly within a term of Collidge. 


For Hobsbawm such contradictions needed to be resolved on a separate plane before the peasants’ actions could be considered actually ‘political’.

Yes. The thing should be done on a plane to Cancun for Spring Break. 

Chakrabarty’s entire thesis is directed against such a reading. The existence of contradictions does not compel a movement towards some sort of resolution. It is perfectly possible that contradictions can remain frozen and suspended in a “state of permanent tension”. The significance of this philosophical decision on the contradiction must not be understated. Colonial and postcolonial subjects can now participate in their own particular traditions and ways of life while also being thoroughly involved in the universalising project of European modernity, even if doing so appears to be contradictory.

Modern Europe has no 'universalizing project'. We'd rather Indians do cutesy Indian stuff and Thais do cutesy Thai stuff and so forth.  

Thus one can simultaneously be an astronomer and an astrologer without having to choose between these two seemingly incompatible professions.

No. One can't be an astrologer when one is doing astronomy or vice versa. You have to follow the professional rules of what you are doing, while you are doing it. But don't be an astronomer when you are doing cooking. You will burn the steak unless you concentrate.  

The essential point is that the logical law ex contradictione quodlibet or ECQ (the principle of explosion which says that from a contradiction anything follows)

From a falsehood anything at all, as well as its opposite, can be deduced. But this is only true of formal axiomatic systems. Thankfully, the thing can be easily tamed by a Type theory. 

has to be suspended. It might even be the case that from a contradiction nothing follows.

No. What follows is that the axiom system has to be changed.  


Subaltern studies and diversity

Chakrabarty has been associated with the Subaltern Studies Group, which was founded in the 1980s by Ranajit Guha at the University of Sussex, a historian best known for his 1983 work, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India. Subaltern studies sought to describe the differences in the constitution of nationalism and politics in the postcolonial countries without subscribing to the idea of a “waiting room of history” where there would be an inevitable movement towards the European ideal of modernity.

But China had already turned against Maoism and discovered that what Marx actually said was 'to each according to his contribution'. Guha's moment had come and gone. But, to his credit, he had emigrated to England even before Niradh Chaudhri. Now he is holed up in Vienna.  

Subaltern Studies was part of the attempt to develop a theory of difference without contradiction.

It was shit. Still, it got some cretins tenure at a time when Bengal still had a Communist Government and people believed these cretins might come in useful.  

Chakrabarty writes, “European history is no longer seen as embodying anything like a ‘universal human history’.”

Marx himself said America was more advanced than Europe.  


This relegation of European history from the status of the universal model was a result of

Europe fucking itself up in two world wars. It gained peace only once American and Soviet troops were stationed on its soil. The Soviets are gone. The Americans are still here. 

the rejection of historicism, which “came to non-European peoples in the nineteenth century as somebody’s way of saying “not yet” to somebody else”.

These cretins think that saying stuff causes stuff to happen. The truth is India stopped being British at exactly the moment when Britain stopped being able to protect it. The French and the Dutch and the Portuguese tried fighting a rearguard action. The Brits were too smart to do so.  

It is perfectly possible that contradictions cannot just co-exist but even thrive. The peasant revolts were indifferent to the contradictions imposed upon them by European categories of the separation of the political from the religious or spiritual.

No kidding! Peasants do tend to be indifferent to the works of Kant and Hegel. But that is also true of Europeans and Americans and everybody else.  

Chakrabarty approvingly cites Guha’s work as saying that

“this peasant-but-modern political sphere was not bereft of the agency of gods, spirits, and other supernatural beings

you are welcome to affirm this if you believe gods and spirits and ghosts can actually do stuff. But, if so, why waste your time studying at Uni? Become a witch-doctor or Shaman instead. 

…Guha’s statement recognized this subject as modern, however, and hence refused to call the peasants’ political behavior or consciousness ‘prepolitical’. He insisted that instead of being an anachronism in a modernizing colonial world, the peasant was a real contemporary of colonialism, a fundamental part of the modernity that colonial rule brought to in India.”

India still has plenty of peasants and even some hunter-gatherer tribals. Viceroys, however, are thin on the ground.  


Contradictions in historicist discourse always entail

recognizing they are nonsense. Logically they entail every cat being a dog

a movement from one state to the other. When they are substituted by difference, what results is as Chakrabarty said, a “state of permanent tension”.

Only in the sense that all dogs are in a state of permanent tension preventing them turning fully into cats. 

It is entirely correct to abandon the logical movement of the contradiction in history.

Stop babbling historicist shite- unless you are paid to say 'everybody will convert to our religion sooner or later'.  

However, what is the end result if not some kind of stasis?

It is evolution on an uncertain fitness landscape till an extinction event supervenes 

Differences exist but insulated from each other, isolated into separate lobes of the brain.

Nonsense! 

This is the discourse of diversity. Postcolonial studies, especially as distilled in Chakrabarty’s book, manifests its intense commitment to the liberal democratic project of diversity.

There is no such project.  

What it disavows, however, is its own position, the neutral site from which alone diversity can be proclaimed.

Anyone can proclaim any shite from any site whatsoever.  


What is more astonishing than Chakrabarty’s blindness to the caste angle here – it is no coincidence that both Ayyangar and Raman are Tamil Brahmins –

Tam Brams went in for Science rather than 'Political Philosophy' and liked to draw attention to their orthopraxy. V.S Naipaul noticed this when he visited Madras almost sixty years ago. 

is the way he reduces difference to diversity.

What difference is involved here? Lots of Sciencey guys were orthodox in Religion. Many weren't. This made no difference.  

This is in fact a very common move for postcolonial theorists and one which strangely enough mirrors the way caste as a social and political formation functions.

Nonsense! The DMK got elected in the Sixties and suddenly Tam Brams started pretending they ate meat and drank wine. Unlike 'postcolonial theorists' D.M.K ideologues changed their society. One result is that Tamil Nadu is more industrialized and affluent than Bengal. People used to laugh at Dravidian ideologues who believed in an ancient Lemuria and who considered the Tamil language divine. But, in power, the Dravidian parties did smart things- or less stupid things then the well educated Bengalis. We may soon have a Chief Minister named Stalin. But his ideology is wholly indigenous and wins support because we actually are Tamil and do genuinely think Tamil to be divine- as divine as Mum and Dad.  

Differences are isolated from each other, sometimes with extreme violence.

So are non-differences. Many criminals are kept away from their peers by violent prison guards.  

Diversity, which is a laudable civilisational achievement on one level,

It is wholly economic. Either resources are so scarce that only mode of existence is possible or there is division of labor and specialization and international trade and that's how you get diversity. Of course, if there's a lot of oil or uranium under your soil, you don't have to do very much. The diversity comes to you. 

conceals the force of an immense and machinic regulation whereby difference is absolutely regulated through the positing of a neutral site.

Nope. You just have a Police force with an Army for back up. Nothing is 'absolutely regulated' because regulation costs money.  

Projects that otherwise function so differently, like Gandhi’s village as the caste ideal, Nehruvian secularism, and postcolonial theory, are tied together by their commitment to diversity.

How come Muslims were ethnically cleansed on their watch? India became notably less diverse as the Government spouted more and more Gandhi-Nehruvian shite. What both condoned was autarky which was cool if Uncle Sam would fill your begging bowl. The India didn't turn Communist was because the Soviets didn't want to be stuck with a basket case. 


Subcontinental philosophy

Should we remain in this stasis, this “state of permanent tension”, where social and political formations like caste seem to thrive rather than being dissolved by capitalism?

No. You should emigrate. Norway has a great Sovereign Wealth Fund. Thanks to global warming, its fjords will soon be great places for beach holidays.  

Should we be satisfied with caste’s gradual transformations, the slight movements upward and downwards of caste communities?

I'm guessing the answer is no. Does this entitle me to an M.Phil?  

It now becomes urgent for us to think difference in itself, without regulation by the formation of a neutral field,

why? What good would it do?  

and to do so is to think the necessity of what Ambedkar quite aptly called annihilation.

We can think the necessity of the annihilation of crazy terrorist nutjobs. But that won't actually kill them. We have to spend a lot of money on drone and such like. 

It is Aishwary Kumar’s 2015 book Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi and the Risk of Democracy which attempts to free difference from the straitjacket of diversity, without however abandoning the question of equality.

Everybody else abandoned 'equality' because living well while some live super-duper well beats everybody starving together. As for 'diversity'- that was out of the window when it came to terrorist nutjobs.  

In Kumar’s book the concept of difference is sharpened through his consideration of caste and is made into the harbinger of a radical equality which is much more than the stasis of “permanent tension” that is even now seen in India’s cities and villages.

And this is supposed to be helpful?  

The critique of historicism that was made by postcolonial studies led to diversity.

No. It lead to nothing.  

But diversity is a state which requires a neutral site, which while it regulates play, is itself unchangeable and outside of play.

These guys may have been diversity hires. But sooner or later their Departments will fold. Why? Baumol Cost Disease. Higher Education keeps getting more and more expensive. So, useless shite gets pruned back on. 

Difference on the other hand is a state where there can be no neutrality, no site which is uncontaminated and isolated.

Nonsense! Ignore that shite and keep the fuck away from it. Beat it or kill it if it comes too near.  

While diversity creates an abstract equality, difference is the project of creating radical equality,

but it keeps getting beaten and chased away if it strays out of the classroom- or padded cell.  

one which cannot function from any kind of transcendence but is always radically immanent.

Just grab a machete and hack somebody's head off. Then the police shoot you. Sad.  

It is for this reason that I classify Kumar’s project under the name of ‘Subcontinental philosophy’ since it seeks to develop this question through an intensive reading of Ambedkar as a philosopher and not just a political theorist, constitutional scholar, or polemicist.

Then class it as Ambedkarite philosophy. J.N Mandal had to run away from Pakistan. His pal, Ambedkar, counts for shit in the wider sub-continent. 


Books like Kumar’s and Soumyabrata Choudhury’s Ambedkar and Other Immortals (which I reviewed here) are unique in their attempt to think the strange relationship between difference and equality.

But they are not unique in being shite.  

For Kumar, via Ambedkar, caste is no longer the name for an obscure set of practices in the Indian subcontinent but rather the cipher for a universal philosophical problem, a “making-unequal of the political subject”.

But Kumar is not respected as a philosopher. He is seen as an area specialist. There is no 'universal philosophical problem' concerned with the 'political subject'. There may be a specific philosophical problem to do with a particular political conception of the subject. However, for a Pragmaticist, like Ambedkar, no such problem can be 'philosophical' for the reason Collingwood gives- i.e there is an immediately available empirical test to 'close' the question. 

If in India we find the violence of diversity exhibited in an exemplary form,

No we don't. The police are pretty effective 

this makes Ambedkar’s project of ucchedvaad or annihilation

Ucchedvaad is the hedonistic doctrine of Ajita Kesakambali condemned by the Buddha. Ambedkar's controversial 'annihilation of caste' can be understood easily enough as a political maneuver. He denounces Hinduism as a Religion to get in good with both the Muslim League and the Commies but sending a signal that what he actually wants is the perpetuation of Caste through Reservations. In 1936, the Brits had excluded Indian Christians from the Scheduled Castes but also excluded Buddhists. Ambedkar wanted only Hindu, Buddhist and Sikhs to get this benefit. This was fine with the Hindu majority who naturally preferred to see their co-religionists come up. Since then Ambedkarite politics has lifted up the upper layer of Indic Religion Dalits above that of similar Muslims. He actually did his own people some good. But, since this people were good, everybody benefited as they rose. That's it. That's the whole story. A majority gains when its poorest rise up. Had there been no Religion based Reservations, the thing would not have existed. 

This is an example of pragmatism in politics not

an example for a politics of difference freed from the paradigm of diversity. Subcontinental philosophy therefore reads Ambedkar as someone whose political project led to the thought of a revolutionary fraternity where one can find a radical, and not abstract, equality.

No. The Sarvodaya nutters and Commie nutters were into that shite. Ambedkar wore a three piece suit and drove good bargains for his community.  

The annihilation of caste does not require the valorisation of diversity, as it is in Gandhi, but confronting the puzzle embodied in the question “how can one think of equality within the reality of India’s centrifugal difference?”

The answer is, 'think like a Lawyer/Economist. That's what Ambedkar was.' India is a reality and the Ambedkarite portion of it- viz reserved constituencies for non-Muslim or Christian Dalits- is still very much with us.  

While Chakrabarty’s project avoids the annihilative nature of difference by regulating it through the concept of contradictions isolated and insulated from each other, Kumar through his reading of Ambedkar argues that a truly radical equality is only possible through the intensification of difference.

but a truly radically egalitarian conception of a truly radical equality would only be possible through the annihilation of intensification through mental masturbation.  

Subcontinental philosophy is nothing but this proclamation of radical equality from within a philosophy of difference in itself.

So it is nothing.  

It is this which makes it not just an inheritance from, but a contribution to, the problems of Western philosophy.

Which Western philosophy? Anything acknowledged as such by smart Westerners? 


Abstract and radical equality

In the classical liberal tradition from which Ambedkar drew much of his resources,

Ambedkar was taught by John Dewey who considered the values of classical liberalism as outmoded 'bulwarks of reaction'. Scott R Stroud has written perceptively on the relationship between Ambedkar and Pragmatism but this is a wide area. It is entirely possible that Ambedkar was exposed to the Dutch Significs program and that Brouwer type constructivism is an aspect of his thinking.  

What this means is Ambedkar's approach to anything at all must obey

1) The pragmatic maxim-  Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. If Ambedkar says something at a particular place and time, consider what practical effect he thought doing so would have. Don't use his text as a pretext for shitting higher than your arsehole 

2) Pierce or Brouwer type 'constructibility'- i.e. always seek for a method of constructing Ambedkar's conception. Remember he stressed the importance of mimetic effects. So constructibility doesn't need a transcendental subject or 'impartial observer' or Schutzian 'ideal type' or any other such 'substantive rationality' type beastie. 

If you don't observe these two rules you end up with abstract shite.

equality remained much too abstract. In Ambedkar, Kumar finds the “privileging of a nonmasculine notion of fraternity and brotherhood over abstract theories of equality

We're lucky Kumar didn't find a Gay orgy featuring bondage gear 

…the idea that the moral obligation of one’s soul in its primordial and secluded authenticity is grounded in the shared values and quotidian sacrifices of collective life alone”.

How can something which is 'secluded' be 'grounded' in the quotidian? The same way a cat can be a dog when it isn't being a squirrel.  

The issue for Ambedkar, as Kumar understands it, is not simply the bare assertion of equality as an abstract principle. That would at most be a legal prescription but never take the form of ‘custom’.

Why not? If the law is enforced vigorously, observance of it soon becomes habitual and customary.  

The law despite all its violence cannot change custom

Yes it can.  

but is always in the danger of becoming one, as Kumar writes, “custom is not the antithesis of positive law; it is simply that which comes before the law…Custom gives the sovereign’s wish the form of voluntary acquiescence; in truth, it is voluntary servitude maintained by the invisible threat of ostracism and (if need be) police power”.

Nonsense! Customs can arise spontaneously by pure mimetic effects. When did it become customary for the kids where I live to give up asking for a penny for the Guy and take up trick or treating? My memory is it happened around about 1995. 

It is this failure of law, even the moral law, to break the power of custom which is best reflected in the failure of Gandhi’s political project.

No. Gandhi's political project, like his economic and educational project failed because the man was a cretin. His genius was to find the one way to go about things which would yield maximally bad results. This was cool if he and his chums genuinely wanted Whitey to stay or the Muslims to go their own way and for India to get poorer and weaker decade by decade. Otherwise, it was just an exercise for women to get out of the kitchen and into a jail cell while, for men, it was a chance to get away from their wives and get to a jail cell where, sadly, no Gay orgies took place. 

We know that both Ambedkar and Gandhi had a “shared struggle to affirm life in its irreducible equality”.

No we don't. We know Ambedkar, quite sensibly, wanted the Brits to stick around while getting the Hindus to let his own caste-fellows rise up. What Gandhi wanted was to sleep naked with girls and to talk incessant bollocks. Still, he was a dynamite fund-raiser and so politically he was top of the Hindu heap.  

Yet Gandhi was unable to think equality radically enough

to strip off even his own dhoti and chop off his own dick so as to fashion a vagina and run around screaming for everybody to do the same 

It is not the case that Gandhi was oblivious to the existence of deep rooted and inherited inequality amongst the Indian people. What escaped him however was nothing other than the fact that in India even inequality has the structure of ‘graded sovereignty’, that “untouchability is not one inequality among others, not one more form of slavery among others”. It was Ambedkar who was most alert to the exceptionality of the untouchable at his or her most vulnerable, in the inherited nature of their trauma.

Yup, Ambedkar was very alert to stuff that affected him and his. Good for him. But then everybody was very alert to stuff of that sort. There were plenty of women who wanted to shove these windbags off the podium so as to whine on about how women have it worse then men. But those women wouldn't too happy to be supplanted by transgender peeps whining about how they have it even worse coz they get banged up in jails where they get ass raped something fierce.  

Gandhi’s abstract formulation of equality was reflected through his use of the Sanskrit term samadarshi

unbiased or impartial 

which is a compound formed from sam (same) and adarsh(ideal) or darshan. Darshan, as we know, means vision but is usually part of a religious and spiritual vocabulary. Against this visual metaphor, Ambedkar argued that “caste is not a physical object like a wall of bricks or a line of barbed wire which prevents the Hindus from co-mingling”. Against Gandhi’s samadarshi Ambedkar brandished the word samata which as Kumar writes, “refers to an equalness grounded in a person’s inalienable right of being and becoming, in the knowledge, the samatajana of every creature’s unique way of living and dying”.

This is false. Ambedkar wasn't brandishing anything at Gandhi. Later, having failed in politics, he took up Buddhism. Samata & vipassana are cool cause they get you to Nirvana pronto.  Of course, if you were a Boddhisattva, you'd put off getting it till everybody got it. Truly radically truly radical equality can only be attained after every Boddhisattava attains Socioproctological self-awareness which can be yours for the low low price of $ 9.99. 

Equality was no longer founded on the negation of difference but neither was it based on Gandhi’s samadarshita.

Everybody can go worship this Boddhisattva- how much more equality do you want?  

Even though the latter had an emphasis on humanity and asked for a measured response to the call of unequals, it remained wholly incapable of enforcing equality.

Enforcing shit requires inequality in the means of enforcement. 

This was because it made it a moral commitment which could be honoured only in terms of the strength of the individual satyagrahi’s soul-force.

But there was no limit to this soul-force. If only Gandhi had gotten to sleep naked with more young girls, he could easily have defeated Hitler and Tojo and so forth.  

Thus Gandhi strictly opposed Ambedkar’s campaign for inter-caste dining and marriage: “We shall ever have to seek unity in diversity, and I decline to consider it a sin for a man not to drink or eat with any and everybody”. Gandhi’s samadarshita was a moral claim that could not enforce the priority and necessity of equality.

Ambedkar couldn't get Jatav millionaires in Kanpur to inter-dine with their workers. The RSS was better at this sort of stuff.  


Ambedkar’s opposition to Gandhi was based on the fact that the latter remained blind to the reality that the individual (or even the entire caste to which he belonged) could not in the least affect the rule of the caste system.

But Gandhi also remained blind to the reality that he himself, or even his entire caste, couldn't affect any shit not directly connected to making money or begging for money.  

As Ambedkar wrote in Annihilation of Caste, “If a caste claims the right to inter-dine and intermarry with another caste placed above it, it is frozen the instant it is told by mischief-mongers— and there are many Brahmins amongst such mischief-mongers—that it will have to concede inter-dining and intermarriage with castes below it! All are slaves of the caste system. But all slaves are not equal in status”.

There you have it- plain as daylight. Ambedkar wanted the better off or more educated Dalit groupings to monopolize the benefits of Reservations. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody was playing the same game.  

If an entire group comprised of thousands of individuals could not affect the continuance of caste prohibitions, then is it not utterly futile to argue that one satyagrahi could make any difference to its functioning? The only effect Gandhi’s formulation for abstract equality could have would be in the revitalisation of an ascetic spirit that is already a part of the way caste functions.

Radical equality and sacrifice

The violence embodied in custom is more efficiently enforced by people than the law is by the state. We saw this in the recent gangrape of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh by upper caste men.

But such gang-rapes occur all the time! In this case, some culprits will go to prison precisely because they were of a different caste.  

Kumar conceptualises Ambedkar’s philosophical contribution to the discourse of equality as that of a ‘weak force’ that belongs to the untouchable: “Force as weakness, force as an ethical nonsovereignty, force above all as the radical relinquishment of the state and its laws of sacrifice”.

Dalits always had some countervailing power. That is why, as Gandhi discovered in Champaran, a creditor could harass a High Caste debtor by sending untouchables to stand outside his gate and salaam him respectfully. This meant the day had become inauspicious for him. He'd have to turn back and bathe and do some puja or the other before sauntering out, once again to be similarly accosted. 

This weak force is for Kumar nothing other than the multitude’s will to annihilation.

The multitude have a strong will to ignore, not annihilate, Kumar's brand of shite. Poor fellow. Some mothers do 'ave them.  

It is an ‘authentic’ force that is absolutely in excess of the Gandhian limits of measure.

No. It had no force whatsoever in Pakistan or Bangladesh. But Dalits were useful in India and got reservations provided they weren't Muslim or Christian because this was good for Hinduism.  

It is opposed to the punitive juridical force of chaturvarnya

such force may have existed but it was extra-judicial. The Brits ruled India.  

which is inauthentic, a “failure of thought…the multitude’s forgetfulness of force as such”. The abstract notion of equality propagated by both the liberal tradition and Gandhi was nothing other than an alienation of man from himself, the reduction of his personhood to an abstract and negotiable number, (from “Millions to Fractions” as the title of an essay by Ambedkar tells us).

Poor fellow. He had got Reserved seats but nobody would vote for him. Every political life ends in failure. Religion on the other hand gets you a big promotion in the after life.  


The weak force of the untouchable on the other hand is oriented towards transforming the world through collective action.

when not laboring to stay alive.  

Equality was at best a legal fiction unless it was oriented towards a strange kind of sacrifice, where the subject sought to “sacrifice oneself for justice”. In Ambedkar the logic of sacrifice returned in a very different and even unrecognisable form: that of the right to sacrifice oneself for the freedom of all others.

Everybody can grant themselves this right after jumping off a cliff.  

This demand could no longer be calculated and negotiated with as it was by Gandhi; it was on the contrary essentially annihilative.

In which case that demand failed immediately and utterly. Similarly the demand that cats be dogs when they are not squirrels fails utterly.  

This sharing of the collective burden of sacrifice, of “the unconditional sharing of freedom among mortals” is for Kumar what Ambedkar called fraternity or maitri.

But nobody thinks much of Kumar. Ambedkar was an important man. Now he is worshipped as something more than a man. One could as sell say that maitri is the unconditional sharing of omnipotence with even the most insignificant flea on a distant planet.  

 

Such a sacrificial assertion is the proclamation of an absolute becoming-other and thus an absolute difference which generates the equality of all of those who are willing to die for all the others.

But it is also the renunciation of a habitus of grandiloquent proclomations by reason of being dead or of not wanting to sound like a fool. 


The difference between life and death was mobilised in this sacrificial community as the most absolute difference.

Really? It was mobilized was it? Cool. Pity it made no fucking difference at all.  

At this point only could a fraternity of equals be created.

But who would want to reach such a stupid fucking point? Everybody would have slit their own throats or run far far away from such gobshittery.  

It is in the inscription of this difference between life and death within the body of the untouchable subject who is willing to sacrifice herself which generates radical equality.

No. It was Mayawati showing courage and shrewdness which got her 4 terms as C.M of UP during which she built vast religious complexes for the worship of Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram &, of course, herself. She may have sacrificed some things to get power but no one can say she aint living large now.  

This difference is hardly of the same order or degree as that between simultaneously being an astronomer and an astrologer.

Very true. Guys who are both alive and dead are thin on the ground. On the other hand, this shite could have been written by a zombie.  

For Ambedkar the assumption of this difference between life and death by the sacrificial subject produces a non-masculine fraternal community of equals.

No it doesn't. Gandhi- maybe. Ambedkar- definitely not. The guy was perfectly sane.  

It is only thus that difference can be utilised to produce radical equality- the equality of a revolutionary fraternity or maitri.

Revolutionaries get killed. Ambedkar's big idea was get ahead, not dead. This was perfectly sensible because his people were a scattered minority. Only the Naxals wanted to recruit them- but only as cannon fodder. Since Dalits could do better by themselves, they rejected the Naxals whose real fondness is for the OBCs. 

Thousands of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs were massacred simply because they were Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs. But there was no ethnic cleansing on the basis of caste. Religion matters. Caste does not.  


In the penultimate sentence of Provincialising Europe, Chakrabarty writes in a tone that may perhaps even be considered fawning, “For at the end of European imperialism, European thought is a gift to all of us.”

America paid him coz they thought maybe some European thought had rubbed off on him.  

If subcontinental philosophy breaks with postcolonial theory, it is only in its insistence that this gift is in fact the inheritance of a philosophical impasse.

The difference between a gift and an inheritance is that the latter requires the donor's death. There is no 'philosophical impasse' in Europe. There may have been but it died. Apparently some shite Indian academics have got hold of the corpse and are doing unspeakable things to it. This is the aporia they are thankful for.  

Only by recognising it for what it is can we begin the task of moving from an abstract equality enshrined in the discourse of diversity to the concept of radical equality produced by difference at its most intensive.

We have no difficulty recognizing this is shite. The task of telling these fuckers to fuck off is quickly accomplished.  

Kumar’s book is therefore exemplary in this regard as it finds the seeds for this surpassing in Ambedkar’s theory of a sacrificial difference freed from the straitjacket of diversity.

He could more easily have found it in Gandhi or Avengers Assemble.  Trying to insert it into Ambedkar is a particularly distasteful type of necrophilia. 

Still, at least Kumar has managed to push Huzaifa down the path to idolatry. I hope he will target if not Kamala, then Meena Harris so she too does 'ghar wapsi'.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

David Gordon White losing the History Wars

15 years ago- at a time when Congress had returned to power with the backing of the Left- Prof. David Gordon White wrote about the 'History wars' which the BJP appeared to have lost-  

In recent decades the craft of writing the history of South Asian religions has become increasingly drawn into the fire of identity politics.

Presumably, White is thinking of the History profession's concerted attempt to deny that the Babri Masjid had ever been a Hindu temple.  In an earlier post, I showed this was a well organized and lavishly funded American enterprise which appeared to have succeeded under UPA- when people like Romilla Thapar had the ear of Sonia and Rahul's reputation with the State Department went up several notches when he told the US Ambassador that 'Hindu militancy' was the biggest danger to India. That was just 11 years ago! Now the guy claims to be a sacred thread wearing Brahmin. His sister tweeted delight at the consecration ceremony of the Temple which is being constructed on the previously disputed site.

This has been the case especially in India, where at one extreme the religious populism of the Hindu nationalists and at the other the postmodernist theory formations of the Subaltern School both reject out of hand the validity of the critical historical method, the one because it is critical and the other because it is historical.

So the Hindu nationalists are better for History because they don't reject it. They merely prefer their own version of it. 

White, in appearing to attack the Hindus, is actually ridiculing the Subaltern school. You can take the savant out of his shithole country, but you can't get the shit out of the shithead's head.  

What White isn't saying is that America lost this particular 'History War' because its historians and philologists were shit. Any blogger with a little time on her hands could cease upon a portion of their writing so as to expose their ignorance and stupidity.

In the first case, the Hindu nationalists—who have internalized the theories of such modernist scholars as Max Müller and James Frazer

We have never read either. Hindu nationalists tend to be Engineers or Accountants or retired Science teachers etc.  

concerning the pristine origins and subsequent decay of every religion—assume the truths of Hinduism to be eternal and unchanging, and therefore not subject to historical scrutiny.

That is perfectly reasonable. The truths of a Religion or Soteriology or a deontic system are indeed eternal and unchanging. Why? They are imperative, not alethic. 

the second, the Subaltern School rejects on ideological grounds the validity of the historical enterprise, by denying, on the premise that the very concept of history is Eurocentric, the objective validity of any attempt to describe the past on the basis of historical data.

Thus, it is a grave scandal that Dipesh Chakrabarty is a Professor of History in White's own America. 

Indians are welcome to believe, as the Israelis and the Americans do, that their religion's truths are eternal, but when a bunch of those Indians turn up at the faculty of American History Departments then something must be done.

White has a point. The History Wars are over. The Hindus won. The anti-Hindus shat the bed. One reason for this was that they said there were never any Hindu temples which were turned into mosques. Now some are saying there never were any Hindus. The religion was invented in 1915. This is an obvious lie. Narendra Modi (real name Nicholas Maugham)  invented Hinduism in 2014. 

Implicit in both positions is the assumption of an Indian exceptionalism, that is, that the Indian worldview(s), culture(s), tradition(s), and race(s) are so different, so self-contained as to be uninterpretable through any but indigenous Indian categories.

For Indians- sure. As for non-Indians, fuck they matter? They are welcome to believe any stupid shit they like.  

Such claims are not unique to India:

nor unique to White. Emerging from the shite University experience, political and intellectual shitheads in America have been theorizing their academic identities along exceptionalist lines. Thus White claims to know shit about India. True, he knows shit about anywhere else. But, for India, he is willing to make an exception. 

emerging from the colonial experience, political and intellectual elites of new nation-states throughout the world have been theorizing their national identities along such exceptionalist lines.

So what? America is plenty 'exceptionalist'. Doesn't seem to have done it any harm. What is the point of having an identity which can't self-certify its separate, autonomous existence, at least in the exceptional instance of its own oikeiosis or sense of belonging?

White is shit at Indian history- vide.

For the Hindu nationalists, all indigenous categories are always already the categories of their eternal Hindu faith

Nope. Hindu nationalists have no problem with Jainism and Buddhism which have different categories from Sanathan Dharma.  

It is ironic that this cunt is ignorant of his own special subject.

 It is an irony of (critical) history that many of the Hindu nationalists’ categories of the pure and eternal Hindu faith are themselves the very recent product of nineteenth- and twentieth-century reconstructions of Hinduism, which were themselves so many reactions to the colonial experience.

Reconstruction is not reform. There were reforms but 'reconstructions' disappeared. Where now will you find a Brahmo? Religion is a service industry. As incomes have risen its provision has risen. Our worship has gotten noticeably more diverse over the last forty years simply because we can afford to go to more tirthas and mix and match when it comes to Temples and so forth. 

The colonial experience didn't matter. Competition did. White is a cretin.  

Present-day Hindu nationalists have mainly embraced the categories of the Hindu reform of the colonial period (which was mainly limited to high-caste urban elites in Bengal and the Punjab)—

Fuck off! Can't this cunt see with his own ideas that huge big statues of Hanuman etc are going up all over the place? The Brahmo/Arya Samaj prejudice against 'idol worship' has disappeared completely.

categories that, following the Orientalists, often cast the pure Hindu tradition in an “Anglican” light of quietist devotion, spirituality, and self-renewal. 

I actually live in England. WTF is an 'Anglican' tradition of quietist devotion? Some T.S Eliot type bullshit?  It doesn't exist- at least, in London. But the pure Hindu tradition is doing fine.  

White says that his job is to combat Hindu Nationalism's version of Hinduism-  their claims need to be rebutted by critical historians, and not least because of the blatant human rights abuses that have been carried out under the aegis of their broader agenda

15 years later we can say that 'critical historians' failed. Why? They were shit at history. They didn't understand the present because they were too stupid and they couldn't understand the past because they were too stupid and too fucking ignorant. 

Still, for a while, they had their cozy citation cartels and circle jerk conferences. But history has already forgotten them. They left no footmark upon it. At the margin, they may get a footnote as contributing to the decline of the Left. But the Left only declined because where it wouldn't do 'last mile delivery'. 

Economics matters. History does not. White does not get that the Subaltern School gained salience because of Naxalbari. It was plausible that tribals couldn't speak for themselves and thus 'buddhijivis' could represent those crazy head hunters. Obviously, given the bloody retribution taken by the State, as well as CPM goons, on actual CPI (ML) academics, the Subalternists couldn't themselves speak save unintelligibly. But, for Mamta, it was plausible that Spivak represented, in some occult manner, the Naxal corner of the 'Naxal-Jamaat-TMC' alliance which Brinda Karat blamed for Nandigram. 

White is ignorant of all this. 

This failure to actually write “minority histories” of India’s subalterns stems from a fundamental axiom of postcolonial studies in general: that is, that India’s experience of the colonial adventure of the European powers was so unusual that the deconstruction of the latter’s discourse of power (through the writing of history, for example), which continues to colonize the Indian mind, is more urgent than the retrieval of India’s precolonial past, or the linking of that past to the postcolonial present through historical methods, however flawed they may be.

This is illogical. Subalternists are either Indian or have spent too much time with Indians. Thus their brains are for shit due to Whitey buggered their brains and colonized their minds. Thus they can't 'retrieve' shit.

Of course, if minds can't actually be colonized- more particularly if there was no Colonialism around to do it when these cunts were born- then... critical history is shit. 

These guys can't do shit because their subject is shit and their brains have turned to shit because they teach this shite. 

To be sure, certain colonial and postcolonial historians have succeeded in laying bare the asymmetries of power with regard to religion that obtain between colonial elites (and their Indian collaborators) and the subaltern masses.

Who needs to lay bare an 'asymmetry of power' between the powerful and the powerless? What's next? A learned treatise showing that Mummies have more agency than babies?  

But such deconstructive post-mortems, of which there have been an abundance in recent decades, require a complementary move on the part of historians,

i.e. if they do stupid shite, we must do stupid shite. 

and that move is to reconstruct, to recover, the precolonial history of South Asian religions.

They can't piece together the contemporary history of shit. How will they piece together stuff that went down long ago? 

In an important study, Sheldon Pollock presented the issue in the following way: How it is possible, then, to survey the constructions of colonial domination without a detailed topography of precolonial domination, I cannot see.

This is mad. You can fully chronicle the construction of a City just by looking at the record of the actual building work. You don't need to know the 'pre-history' of that terrain. In any case, Colonial powers did record who their immediate predecessor was. That's all that's needed. 

And this topography, charted throughout the expanse of Sanskrit cultural production, does not really exist,

So, there is no topography. Pollock is talking bollocks and doesn't care who knows it.  

a lacuna for which classical Indology itself is partly responsible. The failure to trace with any adequacy a historical map of social power in traditional India,

Can Pollock make such a map of contemporary America? No. He is too ignorant and too stupid. You have to know a lot about Economics and Military and other sources of power in order to trace that sort of stuff. Cunts in worthless University Departments  are supposed to cater to cretins craving a Credential. It would be nice if they didn't jizz on their students. Drooling is okay. Jizzing could trigger Title IX. 

which alone can anchor our estimations of the impact of colonialism, is all the more surprising, considering what appear to be the extraordinary density, longevity and effectivity of authoritative power . . . in the high culture of early India.

Fuck was extraordinary about early India being pretty much like early Everywhere Else?  

 By way of example, Pollock demonstrates that the Ktryakalpataru of Lakshmıdhara Bhatt a and other major works of the Hindu dharmanibandha canon, “those great encyclopedic constructions of the ‘Hindu way of life,’” were compiled precisely as a brahmanic reaction to the eleventh-century Islamic conquest of the subcontinent.

This is nonsense. There was a demand for things of that sort both before and after Muslim power waxed and waned. A guy in Kohlapur got a grant to do something which was useful for his patron and which raised his own prestige. No doubt, he felt a soteriological purpose was thus served. 

Pollock, because he has shit for brains, may believe that writing an arcane work can magically affect the balance of power. He himself wrote shite about Lord Ram. Did it help stop the rise of the BJP? Nope. He and his ilk convinced the increasingly affluent Hindus of America that old fashioned religion was better than the doctrine that Sanskrit spouting Pedants have super powers. They spent a lot of money getting together to say 'Howdy Modi' because at least the fellow was a Ghanchi chai-wallah- i.e. did something useful-  and because he tried to avoid Sanskritized shuddh Hindi in favor of a down to earth idiom.

This is not to say that threat-perception, or elite rent contestation, doesn't affect the commissioning of ideological treatises. However, this is easy to spot. It is foolish to regard works which are intended as focal solutions to coordination problems as arising in the same manner. 

The reason Subaltern Studies failed is that there was no coordination problem. Naxals didn't displace the CPM. Thus there was no demand for a canonical availability cascade for an important ideology. So, all that obtained was a 'discoordination game' catering to people who wanted to escape from reality.

The Americans, back in the Nineties, did spend some money on a program of 'critical history' to save Indian Democracy from Hindu Fascism. But it was adversely selective. Worthless shitheads jumped on the bandwagon- not guys who knew from Econ or psephology. Look at the outsize role played by Prashant Kishore. Why couldn't the Americans recruit someone like him? The answer is that nobody really believed in Hindu Fascism. This was just a case of crying wolf. Anyway, after 9/11, Hindus were a possible ally in the war against not being a stupid cunt who wants to get rich off the sufferings of A-rabs. 


Why 'Directive Principles' in the Constitution exist.

 Why does the Indian Constitution have 'Directive Principles'? The first Burmese Constitution, drafted by Chan Htoon promulgated in 1947, was more Left wing. It had no such ornamentation.

The answer is simple. Ireland had adopted Directive Principles in 1937 so as to stop being a Dominion and to advertise that it was neither going to be subject to 'the Crown', nor 'Wall Street' (though, at the time, the City of London was more important) . Recall, only the Soviet Union had recognized the 1922 Republic. Furthermore, Catholicism was determined to show it could have its own brand of Socialism- i.e. Corporatism- without any coercion or further employment of 'Broy Harriers' type militias. The Israeli Histadrut is an example of how the thing could actually be implemented without any overt conflict economic conflict. Catholic Ireland, like Jewish Palestine, was reinforcing its claim to a wider territory on the basis of a stable marriage between Left and Right.  But Ireland's position was parlous indeed. De Valera was losing the Trade War. Guinness- that most Irish of institutions- had relocated its Corporate H.Q to London. In order to keep power, De Valera had his Constitution, with its Wedding Cake architecture supportive of purely ornamental Directive Principles, passed by plebiscite at the same time as the General Election. 

One reason De Valera's gambit paid off was because, unlike India, the Irish Republicans had been successful in creating their own parallel legal system. In other words, the country had a track-record for creating viable legal institutions based on wholly indigenous ideas. Had Mahatma Gandhi succeeded in replacing British Courts with Congress Courts, India would have become very focused on the Constitution. What was written in it would mean a great deal to every Indian. However, because India completely failed to give itself either or parallel Courts or even a Federal Constitution despite umpteen Round Table Conferences, there was no tradition of having faith in, or paying more than lip service, to a Constitution most of which was based on what Westminster decided in 1935. The remainder reflected the Nehru report of 1928. But what Nehrus write, other Nehrus may rescind. This is Law as Command, not something autonomous and self-subsisting.

De Valera was a great friend to India. Sardar Patel's elder brother had spent much time with him and V.V Giri continued that tradition. India followed the Irish pattern- it adopted constitutional 'autochthony' and Directive Principles of a 'Corporatist' kind so as to send a signal that, like De Valera's Ireland, India would make haste slowly- i.e. would pay only lip service to the radical ideas it had used to gain popular support.

One reason Directive Principles were necessary was because it helped placate votaries of cow protection, common civil code, Khadi enthusiasts who wanted to ban Cotton Mills, and those who advocated complete prohibition. 

After Gandhi's death, his 'Sarvodaya' followers were willing to accept conventional type of Governance at the Center in the belief that it was grass-roots work in the villages which would shape the future of India. Sadly, Sarvodaya turned out to be a delusion. Jayaprakash Narayan had been a happy camper in the Bhoodan movement. Then some Naxals threatened to kill Sarvodaya workers in Mushahari, Bihar. JP, with his usual courage, rushed there and remained long enough to see that bhoodan and gramdan etc. was a complete sham. This convinced him that the root of Injustice and Corruption was at the Center. He had been wasting his time wandering around the boondocks. JP helped launch the movement which caused Indira to amend the fuck out of the Constitution. He then, along with Kripalani- another guy who never got to fuck his own wife- made Morarji Desai P.M. This meant the Constitution was further amended- goodbye, right to property!- and the Nation learned that Parliamentary Democracy is no panacea. Put a cretin in charge and things turn to shit. Thus JP paved the way to a wholly Dynastic Congress Party which would rule us still- had Rahul not proved gun-shy. 

However, Congress itself- like other parties- saw the expediency of kicking controversial matters into the purview of the Courts so as to delay difficult decisions. In that context, some- echoing Habermas- started blathering about 'Constitutional patriotism' and pretending that shite like 'Directive Principles' means anything. Since then, with the BJP firmly in power and Rahul not showing any signs of improving, the Bench- thinking of post-retirement sinecures- has come increasingly to disillusion those who, quite absurdly, used to swear by the Constitution and claim that Ambedkar had endowed it with magical powers.

This is the whole story about Directive Principles. De Valera & the legal scholar and diplomat, John Hearne, can take credit for its existence. 

Ambedkar can't. The guy wasn't actually a cow worshipper. He didn't think the Republic of India should concentrate on fucking over guys who think cows are divinely- tasty. 

Aakash Singh Rathore- the handsome husband of the beautiful Devyani Khobargarde- has written a book making a very different claim- viz. that Ambedkar was the author of the preamble. If so, Ambedkar believed that 'fraternity'- i.e. brotherliness- was based on maintaining the unity of the Nation. If you brother says 'let's give away this bit of territory to Pakistan because it is Muslim majority and the Muslims really don't want to be part of a mainly Hindu country'- you are obliged to say 'you are my brother no longer. Henceforth, we are at daggers drawn.' 

Fraternity means cohesiveness. It means obeying the eldest brother. This does not mean you don't respect the dignity of your adversary. But, as at Kurukshetra, you smash his head in with your mace with vim and vigor. Rishi Bharadwaj respects the dignity of the Pani chief who helped him- perhaps because this was un-Pani (miserly) behavior. But a stalwart of the Purus he and his descendants remain.

A young Bharadwajya writes in 'the Leaflet'

the inclusion of the non-justiciable

which obtains pro tem, not de re. Who knows what a future Bench might say? If that bunch of jokers can claim the right to prevent a foreign Ambassador from leaving the country, who the hell knows what crazy shit they will pull off next?

Directive Principles of State Policy (‘DPSP’) into the constitutional text. Rathore suggests, “the main components of economic justice, and many of social justice were relegated to the Directive Principles (from Fundamental Rights) as they were considered too controversial for other binding sections of the Constitution.”

I think the Directive Principles were the things most people thought were crazy shit which one may have demanded when out of power but which it would be political and economic suicide to actually implement. Look at what happened to Tanguturi Prakasam, Premier of Madras Presidency, when he publicly declared his intention to ban Cotton Mills so Khadi might flourish. Mahatma Gandhi still forced him to resign though he did a good job suppressing the Communists. 

There was nothing controversial about cow-protection or prohibition. Everybody paid lip-service to both. But implementing them would have been foolish- save where they would have been implemented anyway. 


By telling us the secret history of the Preamble and the journey of Ambedkar’s life, Rathore exhorts us to make the Preamble and its story our own.

Yes. We should understand that 'cheap talk' does not have to be sincere. It just signals virtue without involving any actual effort or sacrifice. This is our own story. We struggle for the human rights of others by saying we do but not actually doing shit- unless we get paid lots of money to pretend we are doing shit. 

However, Madhav Khosla in his book, “India’s Founding Moment”, says that the primary purpose for including DPSP was to prevent legislators from exercising powers without a conception of socioeconomic welfare.

Why not add a Directive Principle to encourage Science so that legislators can't exercise powers without a conception of String Theory? 

He writes, “The codification of the directive principles would expose both the ruler and the ruled to the proper exercise of power.”

How? India then and India now is a place where extra-judicial killing preserves 'dignity' and 'integrity' and other such shite. I suppose the same could be said of any other country- save the US under the 'Warren Court'. But Earl Warren made his bones as a Red-baiter.  

Thus, while Rathore holds inclusion of DPSP as a relegation of those rights

One might say that some rights of free speech etc were 'relegated' by various statutory restrictions. However, the Directive Principles don't give rise to any Rights. On the other hand, they may encourage the State to provide Remedies which in turn create Rights.

which could not be made fundamental or justiciable, Khosla claims DPSP to be a pedagogical experience, necessary to educate both, citizens and the State.

The true explanation is that, as in Ireland, the DPSP, was a convenient way to separate what could and would be done from what wouldn't be done even if it had been promised to be done. 

No wonder Ambedkar dismissed his contribution to the Constitution as 'hack work'.  


Sunday, 18 April 2021

Ambedkar's archaeologies

Dr. Ambedkar, with commendable frankness, explained that his theory of Untouchability was imaginative and impressionistic though, no doubt, a properly pedantic, German Historical School of Economics- or  Kathedersozialisten research program- might achieve something which looked more concrete and alethic.

Archaeology and Paleontology focus on actual objects which later savants can subject to technologically more advanced analysis such that previous ideas are overturned. These are scientific disciplines. Ambedkar warns us that what he is doing is artistic and impressionistic- he is a painter filling out a scene imaginatively linked to a particular terrain.

What Ambedkar has written is eloquent and straight forward. Aishwary Kumar, whose interpretation appears after it, completely misrepresents it.

Every sentence Kumar has written is foolish and false. No City rendered anybody 'untouchable'. People of that description may have arrived from outside and some may have retained that designation. It was slavery or pathogen avoidance based behavior- found even today among certain isolated tribes- which created untouchability. But this was done before there were Cities. That is why Ambedkar favored urbanization.

Kumar next says that paleontology  requires visceral 'bone cracking'. No doubt, he thinks Ross, from Friends, went around killing dinosaurs or other animals so as to crack up their bones and reassemble them in the museum where he worked. 

No 'craft' can 'pry open the violence of time'. If you give things enough time they won't return to their original state. Why? Entropy. Time really isn't circular. Even if it were, there is nothing we can do to speed it up. 

Archeologists follow a scientific method. Their hypotheses are tentative. The material they uncover or correlate and curate is available for future savants, with better tech, who may completely overturn existing theories. There may be painstaking and time consuming hypothesis building. But a hypothesis is not a judgment. This does not mean no final judgments arise in Archaeology. But they are of a negative type. This fossil isn't that of a dinosaur. We can make this judgment because we have discovered it is made of plastic and has 'made in Taiwan' stamped on it. 

There is no 'law of genre'. There is only Scientific method. Does Kumar not know that Science recognize any boundary between man and other biological organisms? Why does he think Medical labs have so many mice and rabbits and so forth? How can you deconstruct something which doesn't exist? 

Look at Ambedkar's actions. What 'radical truth' do they reveal? Ambedkar himself says he is doing something imaginative. Faith may be considered imaginative because it can conceive of ways in which its beliefs fall short of the truth. But this was all perfectly in line with contemporary decision theory in Econ. Ambedkar had two Doctorates in that subject.  Since then, the maths has moved on and so we can get a richer Ambedkarite theory just as we can get a richer Keynesian theory.

Kumar is too ignorant to do any such thing. So he babbles mystical nonsense. Considers his claim that 'sudden illumination' can be contingent. Is he utterly ignorant of Buddhism? Does he really not know that satori is wholly un-contingent? It is based entirely on cetana- pure intentionality. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism at a time when such ideas were gaining widespread popularity. Texts too are actions- for Buddhists. None are uncreated. 

Kumar displays an exemplary and impartial ignorance of Western Science and Eastern Religion. Good for him. India should play its part in destroying the credibility of Western Universities and think-tanks- at least in non-STEM subjects- so that people laugh at those cunts when they try to lecture us darkies. 

But why is he shitting on Ambedkar? Why not find some relative of his own to shit on? How do you help the Dalit cause- or that of restoring sanity to Indian Economics- by pretending that Ambedkar was stupid and ignorant? 

Or is this all a High Caste trick subsidized by Stanford for some malign purpose of keeping India a source of 'intellectual coolie' labor to supply the cotton fields of Silicon Valley? 

 

Aishwary Kumar on why Ambedkar was an imbecile


Caravan has an interview with Aishwary Kumar- about whom I've blogged previously. 

"Ambedkar is a constitutionalist only because he is a revolutionary": Professor Aishwary Kumar

Ambedkar wasn't a revolutionary because his side would have been slaughtered in a violent conflict. But he wasn't a constitutionalist either. He dismissed his contribution as 'hack work'.  What, in fact, was he? The answer is, he was a 'Law & Econ' maven avant la lettre who, for readily understandable reasons, lost political salience and had to retreat into Religion.

What happens when an academic pretends otherwise? He babbles nonsense.



In the recently published Indian edition of his 2015 book, Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi and The Risk of Democracy, the academic Aishwary Kumar—a professor of political philosophy and intellectual history at the University of California-Santa Cruz—argues that it is time we move beyond examining Indian political life merely in terms of its difference from western counterparts,

India has no western counterparts. It is as poor as shit. 

as postcolonial theory sometimes tends to do. Instead, by revisiting the intellectual legacies of BR Ambedkar and Mohandas Gandhi, and their thinking on equality, Kumar proposes we use India as an exemplary model for analysing global politics.

Coz a very poor country is an 'exemplary model'. Biden got elected because he promised to help the American economy catch up with India. He even chose a woman of Indian heritage as his Veep. 


In September, Appu Ajith, an editorial assistant at The Caravan, spoke to Kumar about the premise of his book. Kumar said that one of its central concerns is “to speak to the problem of inequality in a way that is both fundamentally Indian, and tragically global or tragically universal.”

But such speech would be nonsense unless everything is fundamentally Indian.  


Appu Ajith: The question of equality is central to the book. How did you stumble upon this particular topic and decide on to taking it forward?

After the financial crash everybody started raving about inequality because of the manner in which Obama & Co revived the economy- i.e. the fact that they sent big checks to rich dudes like Trump while lots of ordinary people lost their homes.  

Aishwary Kumar: I did not start out as a scholar or as an intellectual biographer of these two thinkers. My intention was to write an account of a philosophical history of the political, in the anti-colonial world.

His intention was to write nonsense and, to his credit, that is exactly what he achieved. It is easy enough to write yet another philosophical history of anti-Colonial politics. Existing scholarship clearly indicates where the gaps are and what sort of deeply boring research is needed to plug those gaps. 

What is it that allows a certain kind of politics around the question of freedom and self-determination to emerge,

Money. Once a class which could benefit by getting leverage vis a vis the Colonial power has a bit of spare cash, they start using some of it for political work. However, even if they started of doing 'social reform' they have to get into political work to keep the money coming in.  

and once it emerges, what is it that is lacking in this politics

the fact that the richer donors want to hog the benefits of 'countervailing power' acquired in the name of the native

that allows for something like a critique to also emerge from within that tradition?

Thus, first the landlords and chiefs and so forth get a better deal for themselves by 'loyalist' politics which always has a degree of menace behind it. Then the nouveau riche industrialists and speculators get organized and make a bid for the loyalty of the Civil Service and traditional village power brokers. But there are also peasant and Trade Union leaders anxious to secure and exercise their own 'countervailing power' so as to get a seat at the table and a share of the rents. Each grouping will have its own propagandists and pedants as well as wide-eyed visionaries with ontologically dysphoric agendas which, nevertheless, can turn into Crusades. 

The moment you start thinking about critique you think about Ambedkar,

who was the classic barrister/politician who could plausibly represent both 'Depressed Classes' as well as 'Labor'. 

because it is in him that the most glaring silences of this entire tradition of thinking about politics acquires its most formidable and radical form.

This is nonsense. Ambedkar was loquacious. Everybody was back then. Talking the hindlegs of donkeys was how they coped with not having TV

I stumbled upon a question which was simply about the nature of inequality—that is both specific to Indian traditions, but also in their violence, universal.

What was that question? Rather meanly, Kumar won't tell us.

By the time I started reading Ambedkar, it had become clear to me that histories of modern India that are otherwise rich and fascinating in detail have settled down with a consensus: that post-colonial politics was anchored in a fundamental difference with other forms of political thought and thinking; that there was something very different and that it needed another language and another vocabulary to be understood.

This makes sense. Obviously, the politics of ruling a country will be couched in a discourse with little resemblance to that of anti-colonial protest.  

It seemed to me, when I started working on the book in 2005-06, that, while that question was an important one, it had outlived its importance and that it had reached its own impasse. …

Why? Back in 2005 it was obvious that Indian political discourse was evolving rapidly. Old shibboleths had lost salience. Mayawati had greatly raised the prestige of Dr. Ambedkar. Modi, in Gujarat, was building up Sardar Patel as an alternative role-model to Nehru. The Left appeared newly resurgent. Would it copy China or lapse back into senile dementia? What seemed certain was that Indian political discourse would become increasingly technocratic now an economist held the top job. It should be remembered, Ambedkar had two Doctorates in Econ. Manmohan had only one. We would have expected the rise of a technocratic Ambedkarism.

So, what became different for me was not that post-colonial, colonial or anti-colonial traditions were different, but that they were exemplary in the way they could silence their own internal contradictions.

Writing bollocks based on stupid lies is the exemplary way of 'silencing internal contradictions' because nobody will bother reading you.

Equally, saying x was human but x was actually a God is a way of explaining away any 'internal contradictions' associated with x. After all, God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. 

When Ambedkar introduces the Constitution of India, he says that this is not a moment for triumphalism, and that they were entering an age of contradictions—social and political. There will be political equality and there will be social inequality. What does Ambedkar mean by this? Why is the architect of this constitution so skeptical of its own ability to right these contradictions?

The answer is simple. The Indian Constitution was not Communistic. It asserted a fundamental right to property and had Privy Purses for Princes and so on. Everyone got just one vote, but there was no provision for equalizing income or wealth.  


AA: I think you also mention in the book that Ambedkar can be thought of as a posthumous thinker.

Not by an Ambedkarite, or any one with any respect for that great man. If he was a posthumous thinker then, in life, he was a fool.  

AK: Kalyan [Kumar Das, an assistant professor at Presidency University] does that in the foreword. You know, because of how Ambedkar reads a lot of these philosophers themselves often at the margin. Nietzsche is not marginal now,

Nietzsche was huge then. 

but because of the searing critique he had of European morality and so on, he figures in Ambedkar’s thinking very, very importantly and very significantly.

No. He figures in Iqbal. He does not figure in Ambedkar except as a figure to be execrated and equated to Manuvadi Hinduism.  

I think Ambedkar says it more than once, that in order to be a thinker, the first thing you have to do is to give up the fear of being judged by history, because the truest, most rigorous thinkers are often read only after they are gone.

Ambedkar was in poor health- he'd even married a Brahmin doctor!- and was aware that he might die before completing a work of rigorous scholarship in a field where many philologists and professional philosophers had made their mark. This is perfectly understandable. We are not to take the blueprint for the completed masterpiece.  


AA: How important is this project to revisit Ambedkar and Gandhi in our times, when they are being appropriated by right-wing Hindu nationalist outfits?

Not important at all unless you are doing it in a popular idiom in an Indian language. 

AK: With Ambedkar, this much can be most safely, and without any risk said that he is inappropriable.

No. Ambedkar's Economics is based on Oikeiosis. Ambedkarites can wholly appropriate him if they follow his path or belong to his community. The fact that this appropriation is non-rival, does not mean it isn't complete. 

I mean, a thinker who gives a theory of an inappropriable politics cannot himself be appropriated.

An inappropriable politics is one to which one can't, in good faith, claim to represent or practice. Ambedkar worked hard to ensure that his politics could be appropriated by his own people. 

Not because there is no dogma that he is aware of; not because he is unaware of ideological manipulations; nor because he does not know that democracy is always at a risk or rather at the mercy of demagoguery. But precisely because he knows that these risks of democracy are real, and that, therefore, answers to the impasses of democratic life must be addressed to specific historical questions and moments.

Ambedkar was an economist. He knew that where risks are real, the solution is 'risk pooling', not addressing 'historical questions'. If your house might burn down, you get fire insurance. You don't address questions relating to the Great Fire of London. Actuarial Science, not Historiography, is what is needful here. 

And because he can develop a theory of politics grounded in an absolute specificity of the question, it makes him inappropriable to any ideological mainstream.

This is nonsense. Any theory of Political Economy espoused by an actual politician is 'grounded in the absolute specificity of the question' to which he claims to have a solution. 


Part of the magic of reading Ambedkar is to realise how miraculously recalcitrant he is to any stream of thought that wants the whole or part of him.

Is Ambedkar opposed to Rationalism? No. He would be pleased if smart people said 'everything you have written is perfectly rational'.  

He is a thinker whose whole you can’t have because he is unbearably different or resistant. …

You can give yourself wholly to his program. Hundreds of thousands of very smart Indian people- barristers, doctors, senior administrators, scientists etc- have done so.  

So you have a thinker who nationalists today want to appropriate in the name of a strong state, but they don’t realise that Ambedkar was, first and foremost, the champion of plebiscite—direct democracy—

Nonsense! He wanted reservations in the Legislature so the 'communal majority' would not be a 'political majority'. Plebiscites aren't 'direct democracy'. Napoleon III and Hitler and so forth liked plebiscites.  

and his readings on ancient Greek and the classical traditions are full of those elements, in which he says, if you have to wipe out an entire state off the map of the Union of India—which can happen, we now know—the way to do it would be through a plebiscite.

So he was against plebiscites. Kumar has silenced his own sense for 'internal contradictions' so as to talk bollocks.  

AA: Where does the idea of force in your book—which is stressed upon—come into play?
AK: If you read Ambedkar, the motif, the concept, the notion, the idea, the word “force,” haunts his writing, because clearly he is not for the exercise of force.

Ambedkar was an economist. Economic models seek to emulate those of Physics. Force is a 'term of art'. But Kumar is ignorant of this. 

He sees enough of it—our world is saturated by force, whether we call it coercion,

or Gravity 

whether we call it violence, domination, interference, intervention, lynching—all forms of force. … That entire tradition of thinking about force—force in relation to everything and nothing

Force exists only where there is an interaction. If nothing exists, or no interactions occur, there is no force.  

—that marks Ambedkar's philosophical trajectory between Annihilation of Caste and exactly twenty years later in The Buddha and His Dhamma.

Ambedkar had studied a bit of Science at School and, as an Economist, was familiar with current literature including work by ex-engineers like Pareto or math mavens like Marshall. 

That twenty-year period we are looking at, add to that another decade—1926-56—when he prepares for the Mahar Satyagraha [Mahad Satyagraha was a satyagraha led by Ambedkar to allow untouchables to use water in a public tank in Mahad, Maharashtra], when he burns a copy of the Manusmriti publicly. We often wondered, should books be burnt? Should any book be burnt? And Ambedkar would say yes.

Why? The reason is obvious. Either God would strike him down then and there or Manusmriti was just a book like any other.  

So the notion of force is for him a conceptual intrigue

No. It is what determines the outcome of an interaction. This is an empirical, not a conceptual, matter.

into thinking about those who have nothing and yet are capable of everything,

in which case they can get anything they want by themselves.  

and the greatest example, the most exemplary act of that force is conversion.

Nonsense! Anybody could convert. Gandhi's eldest son did and then the Arya Samajis had to come to shuddify him.  

[He said] “I was born a Hindu but I will not die a Hindu,”

because he didn't like Hinduism. But he did like Buddhism- at least his own version of it. 

“I am not a part of a whole, I am a part apart,”

this was a perfectly sensible thing to say in response to some other member of the legislative council saying he should 'think as part of a whole'- i.e. keep quiet till the Brits departed.

or when he says the “secret of freedom is courage.”

Again, this is perfectly sensible. Freedom is no good to you if you are a coward and will slave away for any bloke you are afraid of. 

A major theoretical claim I make in the book is that in order to read Ambedkar as a thinker is to go with him on a journey of force, is to understand what really force is.

Force arises where there is interaction. To really understand it you'd have to understand not just Yoneda lemma but stuff like anyons and so forth. This History Prof. doesn't have the brainpower for it. 

Not what power is, not what violence is, not what non-violence is, not what inequality is, not what equality is, but rather what force is and this ability to comprehend equality in terms of force is radical equality.

No it isn't. Equality in terms of force means Newton's third Law operating between identical particles. Nothing more, nothing less.  

Radical equality is not a liberal measure, it’s not a measure of redemption, not a matter of proceduralism, of deliberation…. It’s a measure of understanding the nature of force, how force saturates our world, and therefore to exit that world and think of another force.

So, just die and after you are dead imagine another force- one that turns you into God or Captain Marvel or something super-cool.  

That would be radical equality—that everyone would have that force, that irreducible, insoluble force.

Mahesh Yogi made billions teaching people to levitate. Kumar could make trillions by giving everybody God-like powers.  

The example of that if you will, would be conversion.

Oh dear! First you'd have to convert to Kumarism. My bet is it would involve some particularly degrading sex act. 


AA: You discuss the idea that Ambedkar wants to destroy religion, specifically to create anew.

No. Ambedkar didn't want to destroy Buddhism.  

Because religion is not something dispensable for Ambedkar. This finds an articulation in The Buddha and his Dhamma. So how is his relationship with religion different from that of Gandhi’s?

He was a Boddhisattva whereas Gandhi was merely a Mahatma. Kumar, however, could turn us all into super-cool Gods.  

AK: What Ambedkar means when he uses the word religion—and he uses it in a very salutary fashion—for him, religion is the name of a responsibility.

Because subscribing to a Religion entails certain pious obligations or responsibilities.  

Political religion, of which he is a great expert, and, in fact, Gandhi was too. What I try and say in the book is that they are both great exponents of a political religion—religion given a political form.

So what? It was Jinnah who created a theocracy.  

But for Gandhi, religion has a political form insofar as it allows us to live a life of truthfulness.

Though he accepted Atheists could live the same type of life. 

For Ambedkar, religion is a political form insofar as it allows us or gives us the moral capacity to judgement.

But we already have that.  

One is truthfulness, the other is judgement, and they are two very distinct things.

No they aren't.  

Truthfulness assumes a universalism or posits one.

Nope. Read a little Kripke you cretin.  

Judgement posits distinction, specificity, anarchy—that is to say, the ability to break free of the rules that categorise or confine the ways in which we reach a conclusion.

No. Both truth and judgment, are the same thing- i.e. the product of a protocol bound, buck stopped, ratiocinative process- if this is not the case, anything which obtains, unless it is divine revelation, is merely a hypothesis or a prejudice.  

Ambedkar’s religion is this relationship between this responsibility and judgement. In Annihilation of Caste, he says, “We need to destroy any religion that is irresponsible.” …

Who wants a religion which is drunk off its head and constantly gambling away the rent money? 


The question I really ask today … is that in the major political, philosophical and religious traditions worldwide, especially of Europe, within Christianity or Judaism or Islam, have [there been] thinkers who have freely denounced Christianity, for example, in order to imagine a modern politics?

Sure. 

You cannot think of republicanism or the French Revolution and so on without thinking of [the Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques] Rousseau and [the English philosopher Thomas] Hobbes, or [the Dutch philosopher Baruch] Spinoza within the Jewish tradition, who are at once Jewish and critics of that tradition.

Nonsense! Republicanism existed in Geneva two centuries before Rousseau was born there. Dutch republicanism, like the English sort, had to do with anti-Catholicism not Hobbes or Harrington. Spinoza was wholly irrelevant.

Why is it that the so-called Indian tradition, or the post-Vedic tradition, or the classical Indian tradition, which has so many critics of that tradition even in its own time: it’s not that there is no source of critique, [the question is] why is it not politicisable? That’s the question that Ambedkar asks, why is it that critique is not political in India?

This is crazy. Lots of princes were descended from guys whose religion was 'politicized' on the basis of some critique or the other. India wasn't different from any where else. Ambedkar was acutely aware of the sort of the historical origins of conflicts of the sort found in Kohlapur. He was writing for an informed audience who knew about other Vedokta type controversies. Don't forget some Brahmins had a grievance against the Chitpavan Peshwas and thus were possible allies.  


Why is it that pacifism, agreement, low-intensity conformism is the defining framework of political life in India?

Because we are as poor as shit. Politics is about money.  

Why is it that despite a great tradition of critique of religion, we have not had a modern religious critique of religion,

we've had plenty. We are sick of the stuff. Any nutter can say- as Pratap Bhanu Mehta does say- things like 'you belittle God by worshipping him in temples. Say your prayers while you shit- God is everywhere and likes watching you do potty.'  

a religious responsibility that addresses religion in all its toxicity and violence? [We have not had] a political judgment aware of its own fundamental relationship to the theologico-political; a political thought that does not look at religion apologetically, and this is the great limit of Indian liberalism and Indian Marxism, in the last seventy years.

Clearly the guy hasn't heard of the D.M.K in Tamil Nadu.  

Part of why today Ambedkar is important in the face of a resurgent conservative or reactionary Hindu nationalist politics is because through Ambedkar we understand one grave deficit in our political thinking or thinking about democracy. For the best part of the last sixty [or] seventy years, liberals and social democrats, or Marxists, even, have thought that they can disavow the sheer paradoxical, violent and yet enriching permanence of the theologico-political.

No. For the past sixty or seventy years we have had shit politicians who actively shat on the Hindu majority. Now that majority wants to be richer and more secure. This means getting rid of politicians who think they have done their job just by shitting on the Majority's religion. 


AA: In his book Ambedkar and Other Immortals, Soumyabrata Chaudhury

a cretin who thought Shaheen Bagh would break the mould of Indian politics 

speaks about how India’s university spaces and their Brahminical disposition

No! It is their refusal to see Ambedkar as what he was- a Law & Econ maven avant la lettre which has turned Ambedkar studies into a pile of shit.  

have sort of factionalised Ambedkar, and moved him to the margins, where only Dalits scholars—or Dalit studies as a discipline—are the ones to actually read him as a critical political thinker. Do you think this has played an important role in delaying Ambedkar’s recognition as a serious political philosopher?

Hilarious! Who in India thinks a Masters in Political Science isn't either a stepping stone to sarkari naukri or else a proof of imbecility? 

A serious political thinker is considered less important than a frivolous guy who can fart a tune on YouTube.  

AK: Soumyabrata Chaudhury makes a very important claim about the Ambedkarite strand of politics,

No he doesn't. Basically he says that you can call anything Ambedkarite or Shaheen Bagh or your neighbor's cat. It is an immortal because anyone anywhere could claim it is. This is mere magical thinking.

Consider the following extract from an interview he gave to the Wire-

 When one speaks of Shaheen Bagh, one speaks of it very concretely as being an assembly of those subjectified by the laws which they were protesting. But those subjectified by the law were also refusing that subjectivity, so that refusal has to be already an opening up of the situation. So Shaheen Bagh is not simply the purity of the spatial emblem but it is already, within that space, a temporal opening up. And hence spatially also Shaheen Bagh can close off today but it can move into some other space. Because spaces are always contingent if you want mortal signs. But immortality is a construction, a kind of truth, a gamble that something will be thinkable at the very level of what is going on. What is going on will pass but what is thinkable will always be henceforth a new threshold, a new truth as a resource not for the ones who are part of this protest or this struggle, but for anyone. For anyone. So this idea of anyone which I owe to Alain Badiou and his theatre director friend Antoine Vitez is something which I like very much. To anyone. So yes, this is the movement that I was trying to bring out.

You could substitute 'Yellow Vests' or 'Capitol Hill rioters' for 'Shaheen Bagh' in the above to justify petrol subsidies or racist policies. 

embracing with unflinching brilliance the purported factionalism of Ambedkar's posthumous political life by giving it a counter-intuitive theoretical heft. For nothing is more important to our ability to understand Ambedkar outside of the nationalist framework than our willingness to bear witness to how fearlessly, in his time and ours, Ambedkar splinters the nationalist consensus (which is also his critique of the pedagogical and linguistic consensus). …

Okay, granted, the guy had promise and did well while the Brits were around. But he failed as an electable politician and his heirs were factionalist shitheads. Why rub it in?  

Let us note the logic underpinning the accusations of factionalism that are often leveled against progressive and radical student groups committed to articulating an Ambedkarite politics in the universities.

The logic is that if you claim to represent a 'subaltern' minority but keep splitting into factions then nobody gives a shit about you. They think you are stupid.  

Such accusations stem not only—not even necessarily—from reservations about Ambedkar as a symbolic figure of revolutionary political thought. The liberal left, let alone the Hindu nationalist formations, are now only too happy to appropriate Ambedkar for those symbolic purposes. Instead, accusations of factionalism stem from another, profounder epistemological worry: that Ambedkarite politics, which takes his moral and political thought seriously and to its extreme, pushes the nationalist consensus itself to its breaking point.

But nobody cares because you are a bunch of shitheads teaching shite in shit University Departments. 

This consensus, which has always been a tacit, unspoken compact between disparate political formations built around a low-intensity stasis, a running war on the Dalit body, scaffolds the gravest, most enduring, most formidable epistemic exclusions of the Indian university.

Fuck off! The gravest 'epistemic exclusion' of the Indian university is in excluding the sort of remedial instruction which would make disadvantaged kids employable.  


It has been eight decades since Ambedkar composed Annihilation of Caste. And yet, caste remains the juridical scaffold or “mechanism” within which Indian forms of cruelty continue to thrive, acquiring their mature, civil and civic life, insinuating themselves into newer spaces and technologies every day.

So, the guy was useless. Sad. He should simply have concentrated on making money and then using that money to fund scholarships or something of that sort.  

It follows that caste is at once a machine specific to a mode of sacrifice and a name for generalised cruelty shrouded in ordinary vices and virtues: a cruelty that makes civility in India incurably violent and violence in India unimpeachably civil.

So, Kumar reckons that if he gets raped by some thugs, they will be 'unimpeachably civil'. Perhaps he is right. It may be that they will say 'kindly spread your ass cheeks, Sirji! Please and thank you for use of your rectum. Have a nice day!'

We cannot understand the structure of our urbane civility without understanding the structure of caste privilege, it is often glibly argued.

What these guys don't understand is what fills their books. 

Not merely privilege, a word Ambedkar never uses, but instead “caste domination” or what he calls India’s “armed neutrality,” its unspoken civil war, is the foundation of this new civility.

Please and thank you Sirji! Don't ask for reach-around as refusal often offends. Have a nice day. 


Now, one might point out, not inaccurately, that we are at war with ourselves in a manner that makes any resolution of conflict impossible. Caste is the obdurate capital—or heading—of this war. And yet, the fundamental question for Ambedkar is not only caste. Instead, the question for him is of human freedom, caste being that instrument which thwarts human freedom, afflicting its victim no less than it deforms the perpetrator (and thus, democracy itself).

Ambedkar's own freedom and agency increased because of his caste. His pal, Mandal, & Mandal's Namasudras lost freedom and agency and had to flee Pakistan not because of their caste but their religion. Ambedkar, like other politicians of the period, made some terrible mistakes. 

Ambedkar’s archaeologies, as he calls them, are not simply archaeologies of caste violence, but of this epochal unfreedom, that gives stability to India's conformist, voluntary servitude.

Archaeology does not destabilize anything.  Ambedkar said that his Institutionalist account of the origin of Untouchability was analogous to archaeology or paleontology. He was wrong. The materials uncovered by archaeologists or the bone fragments used by paleontologists can be used by smarter people or those with better tech so as to overturn previous notions. The German historical school of Econ, which Ambedkar knew about, turned out to be utterly useless. Had Ambedkar lived long enough to meet Akerlof, who credits his experience of the Indian caste system with providing the insights underlying his Nobel Prize winning theory of efficiency wages, Ambedkar would have had sufficient nous to collaborate with the American on producing something better. 

His archaeologies are not intended to amplify the insurmountable difference that marks out Indian forms of violence from other forms and modalities in the post-colony (or what we today call the Global South).

Ambedkar has no archaeologies. He said he was doing something analogous to a particular type of archaeologist- i.e. one who attempts to reconstruct lost cities from the broken bricks that remain on site- but he was wrong.  

Instead, his archaeologies are anchored in the idea that the Indian forms of violence are at once singular and exemplary.

No. Ambedkar knew about untouchability in Japan, Hawaii, the suffering of Dalit Indian origin Gypsies in Europe, etc., etc. There was plenty of that type of anthropology around at that time.

So exemplary that they provide a lens into the global forms that antidemocratic violence in the future—violence of the future—itself will take; that in the end all violence will have learned something from India.

So, Kumar's Ambedkar is a paranoid thinker whom all may appropriate. Consider the plight of elderly billionaires like Trump. It seems, now having ignominiously  exited the White House, some treat him or members of his family as virtual pariahs! This is systemic violence! The UN must take action! Trump's family should receive reservations in the Senate and the Supreme Court and the Cabinet! 


AA: You point out two dimensions to Ambedkar—one as a constitutional thinker and one as a revolutionary. How do these exist in conjunction with each other?

Revolutionaries create constitutions to their taste after they win. A true revolutionary won't do 'hackwork' on a Constitution created by his enemies. This was Ambedkar's final tragedy. Having been used by the Brits when it was convenient for them to do so, he was used by the High Caste Hindus when it was convenient for them to do so. Then he was abandoned to the wilderness of his own rage where he soon died after converting to a Religion which exported untouchability to Japan. Bali has Brahmins but no untouchables. Japan has no Brahmins but does have untouchables.  

And what does it do for Ambedkar’s revolutionary status, the fact that he mobilised the constitution to fight for his ends, to achieve his ends?

Using the constitution to fight for your interests is 'constitutionalism'. On the other hand, Ambedkar did endorse amendments to the Constitution which made it easier to crack down on dissent. 

AK: Some will argue that there are two Ambedkars—one revolutionary and a constitutionalist. I see Ambedkar within a constellation of thinkers like [the German-American philosopher] Hannah Arendt.

Who was completely useless.  

Because the revolutionary tradition is unthinkable without the constitutional tradition.

Nonsense! Revolutions appear in history 2500 years ago. Some gave rise to what we might call constitutional law. Most did not. 

In fact, the primary or fundamental principle of all revolution is the writing of the constitution.

No. The fundamental principle is killing or chasing away the guys who currently have power. Whether or not a Constitution is promulgated is wholly irrelevant. Who cared about the 1924 or 1936 or 1977 Soviet Constitution? It was merely the window dressing of a tyranny. 

Arendt calls it the lost treasure of the revolutionary tradition.

She was a fool. Did the Israelis ask her for advise? No. Don't be silly. It still hasn't got round to agreeing a written constitution. Lebanon has had a Constitution since 1926. That is why it is such a mess. 

So, the revolutionary and even the anarchist moments of Ambedkar’s political thought—when he says the rule breaks you and you break the rule; or infact he says a principle gives you the freedom to act, a rule does not—that [is an] anarchist moment.

No it isn't. It is commonsense.  

And I am not saying Ambedkar is an anarchist, I am saying that Ambedkar cannot be understood without understanding this anarchist formulation that runs through his political thought.

No. Ambedkar can be understood simply as an economist who talked and wrote worthless bollocks similar to the bollocks talked and written by others with time on their hands back then. 

Kumar hasn't understood Ambedkar because he keeps trying to link him to Hannah's Aunt or other such silly people. 

Is that revolutionary anarchist articulation of politics in contradiction with his constitutional fidelity or faith? No. Remember in the 1950s he says that I can burn this constitution if it doesn’t work. … That will be the core idea behind Ambedkar's constitutionalism. It won’t be law that will save us. The Constitution will not save us. … And those who take the route of celebrating Ambedkar by simply saying, “But he is a constitutionalist,” forget that he is an insurrectionary first and a constitutionalist only because—I mean, let's be very precise—he is a constitutionalist only because he is a revolutionary.

He would have been killed quickly enough had he been a revolutionary. What happened to the Dalit panthers? Come to think of it, what happened to the Republican Party of India? B.P Maurya, whom many considered Ambedkar's successor, is still remembered for his 'Jatav-Muslim bhai bhai' slogan. But he was coopted by Congress for the Brahmin-Dalit-Muslim combine which stood no chance against the rising AJGAR forces. 

Ambedkar has retained importance for two reasons

1) he was a proper economist- not a Gandhian or Sarvodaya or Marxist nutjob

2) he wore a suit and tie.

Go thou and do likewise.