Monday, 28 November 2011

F.d.i in retail

India, not England, was a nation of shop keepers. Crap shop keepers- gandhis ( a gandhi is a green grocer or perfumer)
India sold itself to England- Seths financed the East India Company- but was paid back with only a small percentage of its own money that it tendered as 'nazrana' . Within India, every caste or creed is about selling your own children into slavery. Warna nazar lag jayega.
The Kirana 'small shop' is a case in point. It is based on exploitation of your own children in order to build capital. But, in India, capital gains of this sort are heavily taxed by the corrupt rent seeking Babu/bandit nexus.

Just as productivity gains have to be made in Agriculture, if Industry is to thrive, so too productivity gains are vital in the pocket retail sector.
I recall walking miles in West Delhi without a cigarette because the kirana stores didn't do tambaku (Sikh fanaticism?) Nor was I well treated by them despite being a large, well spoken, middle aged gentleman wearing an expensive Italian suit.
These little fuckers were looking down their nose at me. Clearly, they need a healthy dose of competition.

The kirana owner cringes to his regular customers but for obscure caste based reasons treats strangers like me like shit. Why? Fucked if I know, but I think these cunts are part of the fucking Indian caste shistem.
Fuck them in the face. They are cunts and they know it.

I have watched Indians being driven out of retail all over the world. They just don't do service. The owner is never around. Th sullen idiot niece or nephew or whatever thinks being rude makes them look good. I notice they tend not to do it to Whites or African people. But, these little shits used to try to be rude to me. I would spend a little time explaining why they were fucking worthless cunts. They were pleased. I had acknowledged that they were too superior to be in retail. Needless to say, Indian retail is a story of strategic bankruptcies- i.e trade creditors being fucked- and real estate gains.
In this country, the first Parsee Lord was, that reckless and relentless self-promoter, Karan Billimoria of Cobra beer. While he ran things, he never made a profit and ended up in administration leaving his suppliers in the lurch. Once in partnership with a proper company, Cobra is making a profit. Why? The Whites understand the retail side. Indians don't. Retail is about understanding what the customer wants, not building patronage networks.

What do the Kinara shops do? They are essentially very cheap distribution arms of Wholesale shite Shite merchants.  The owner is hoping to make his money on real estate which is why he don't fucking care about customer service. These guys need a fucking bomb up their arse.

Indian retail, its Malls, are fucking crap. Absentee landlordism or what? Reliance can't do retail- it can do nothing but fuck the State. Of course, its blindingly obvious, we need FDI in retail. But more than FDI we need foreign Management and M.I.S of retail. Not joint ventures- nobody is going to fall for that any more.

The shit-heads monopolizing everything need an exit strategy-i.e. a way to get money out of India. Also there are merchant bankers who need to cheat some naive foreigners. In other words, business as usual.

But, FDI is necessary. There are good business models out there- not so much names you've heard off but global presences nevertheless- whose Business Model will slash India's retail price inflation.

Also, they will enable the kiranas to spread their wings and start to sing in, that best of Gharanas, the Kirana.

 Kirana shop owners, like money lenders, have non-fungible knowledge. Rationalization of supply chains, or credit lines, helps not hinders them- though a large bunch of them deserve to go to the wall because they refuse to stock what people want for obscurantist, caste based, reasons.

India can't afford to remain a nation of Indian shop-keepers. Indian shop-keepers are shite. When they have to compete with English shopkeepers they suddenly turn polite.
Put them against the best in the world and they will fucking change their spots.
But- Gadkare Sahib- they will still remain deeply shit  in their hearts as is required by Indian Religion and Culture and Gandhi and Nehru and Hazare Ji.
Which don't matter coz they got no hearts.

Fuck Kinaras- they are casteist shite. I know, I know- your own little guy is very obsequious to you. That's not good business, that's feudalism. Don't be a cunt. Let it go.

Hasrat Mohani vs Mahatma Gandhi.

Though born to a lower middle class Jewish family, Rufus Isaacs, like Jinnah, rose to become one of the great barristers of his day. As a politician, he gathered up all the glittering prizes- he was a Cabinet Minister, Lord Chief Justice, an Ambassador to the U.S, and finally Viceroy of India.
His aim was to give India full provincial autonomy in return for co-operation from Indian politicians- hoping that the older moderates, many of whom had proven administrative talents, would school the young radicals in responsible government.
 Rufus Isaacs wished to use all his discretionary powers as Viceroy on the side of the Nationalists in India so as to prevent it turning into another Ireland- then experiencing the horrors of  Civil War. This was because, Rufus was a Liberal and his party had been torn apart over Ireland. Moreover, as a Jew, he hated racial or creedal animosity and well knew that they fester most when responsible, representative, self government is denied.
Meanwhile, Mahatma Gandhi had promised to deliver 'Swaraj' within a year, thus at last out-flanking Annie Beasant who was the great orator of the age. However, Gandhi refused to say what Swaraj actually meant.
Rufus Isaacs- or Lord Reading as that swindling Jew had taken to calling himself- tried to trick our great Mahatma into speeding up the handover of power by 15 years. However, Gandhiji- who, I may mention, was of purely Aryan descent- was able to see through this Semitic plot to get the British out of India. Not so, alas! Maulana Hasrat Mohani, the tender hearted Urdu poet as I read here.
Gandhi's true brilliance arises from his immaculate logic. Hindus and Muslims have different creeds. Maulana Hasrat had accepted the Muslim creed. Gandhi had accepted some creed or other- maybe even Hinduism. Since 'creeds aren't such simple things like clothes which a man can change at will and since, for creeds, people live from age to age', it therefore followed that one should go on demanding Swaraj, since that was the Congresswallah's creed and creeds must be kept up, but never give the British any opportunity or excuse for escaping from the burden of ruling India.
Nothing can bring about the 'absolute and indissoluble union of Hindus and Muslims'- since both are 'creeds' and 'creeds can't be changed at will and persist from age to age- it therefore follows that Indians should never accept Swaraj of any sort. They should non-cooperate with evil Jewish swindlers who are trying to make India self-governing so that it will become rich and import more goods and services from England.
This is the truly devilish aspect of Western Civilization as revealed by 'Hind Swaraj'. Those bastards not only rule over us, they also want to make us rule ourselves as that is the only way we can  become more prosperous and strong. Why? Only so they can make more money by selling things to us. Only so they can feel more secure by entering into defence pacts with us.
This is the true 'sitam zareefi' of the British tyrant. In Mohani's ghazals, we look in vain for such ingenuity on the part of the tyrant-beloved, in contriving chains for the hapless lover. But the Mahatma saw farther than the 'Progressive' poet. After all, he alone had, entirely gratuitously, offered his own life as a sacrifice on the battlefield for his King-Emperor, not once but three times.
The British broke Gandhi's heart. In the end, the bastards just left. Worse, they continue to rub salt in the wound by saying it was Gandhi who chased them away!
Not Mohani, not Firaq, only Ghalib could foresee such cruelty!


zaḳhm par chhiṛkeñ kahāñ t̤iflān-e be-parvā namak
kyā mazah hotā agar patthar meñ bhī hotā namak

Majnun, the thoughtless tots who wound you are not without fault
Ah! What pleasure would there be if their rocks too were salt?

Is Kiran Bedi a cheat?

Is Kiran Bedi guilty of cheating children as well as donors? Has she fraudulently converted funds earmarked for providing free education for the children of police and para-military officers?
It scarcely seems likely. As with her air-line ticket scam, where wealthy NGOs were charged for Business Class tickets though Madamji herself travelled Economy, all Dr. Bedi may be guilty off is diverting money to  to her own Charities, and here too the ex-police officer's moral culpability is much diminished by the fact that her entire professional life was spent in a sewer of corruption, stupidity, accounting irregularity and blissful ignorance of due process or correct procedure.
Furthermore, she has a Phd in Social Science. How on earth is she expected to understand the difference between right and wrong?
Did she shoot any of the donors in a fake encounter? Did she actually rape or kill any of the children she is supposed to have cheated under the excuse of providing them with free computer training?
If she is a cheat, then the only person she has cheated is Swami Agnivesh. You will remember, this wonderful wizard made Child Labour disappear in India, which is why he has so much free time to devote to other things. Why couldn't she have simply applied the ghotna to his testicles under the pretence of consulting with him on the Lok Pal bill? Why couldn't she have absent mindedly lathi charged the gruesome fellow now and again, just as a form of aerobic exercise?
The truth is Kiran Bedi was never temperamentally fit to wear the uniform of an Indian Police officer of the best sort. I know, I know. There are thousands of very good and honest officers- many with higher degrees and so on- but my stricture applies to them as well.
What is the point of having Police officers, retired or otherwise, involved in Civil Society if they don't get drunk and shoot Swami Agnivesh from time to time? Can't they at least do a cavity search of that Holier-than-Thou asshole if someone in the vicinity loses their mobile or biro pen or something?
Frankly, the British managed things better.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ghalib- ghazal 60


bik jāte haiñ ham āp matāʿ-e suḳhan ke sāth
lekin ʿayār-e t̤abʿ-e ḳharīdār dekh kar
1) we ourself are sold along with the merchandise/goods of poetry
2) but [only after] having seen the measure of quality/temperament of the buyer


zunnār bāñdh subḥah-e ṣad-dānah toṛ ḍāl
rahrau chale hai rāh ko hamvār dekh kar
1a) tie on a sacred thread, rip apart the hundred-beaded prayer-beads!
1b) having tied on a sacred thread, having ripped apart the hundred-beaded prayer-beads

2) the traveler moves along, having seen the road smooth


kyā bad-gumāñ hai mujh se kih āʾīne meñ mire
t̤ūt̤ī kā ʿaks samjhe hai zangār dekh kar
1) how suspicious {you are / she is} of me! --that in my mirror
2) having seen the verdigris, {you consider / she considers} it [to be] the reflection of a parrot


girnī thī ham pah barq-e tajallī nah t̤ūr par
dete haiñ bādah z̤arf-e qadaḥ-ḳhvār dekh kar
1) the lightning of glory/manifestation should have fallen on us, not on [Mount] Tur
2) they give wine [only after] having seen the capacity of the cup-drinker

This is ghazal from 1833- by which time Ghalib would have been firmly established in his Farsi scholarship and familiar with the canonical treatment of the various conceits.
Precisely because I think it isn't an adolescent poem, I don't find much of interest in it.
Still, I don't think the commentators do it justice either.
With regard to the first couplet, I suppose sukhan as poetry, simply, is okay. Still, remembering Sheikh Galip, why not dignify it as Logos-as-poetry? In that case you get a mystical meaning, or even a Confucian meaning. One can still keep the existential meaning, which I've done in the second line.
With the second couplet there is this strange idea that zunnar refers to the Brahmin 'janeo' rather than the Zoroastrian girdle. Both Brahmins and pious Muslims are forbidden wine (at least in Ghalib's part of the world) whereas wine is considered a good thing in Zoroastrianism (or Xtianity or Judaism, for that matter) and the mugh-e-mahood, the elderly Magian Tavern keeper is a stock symbol of wisdom in Farsi poetry. 

The next couplet refers to a very well known, indeed a key, element in Rumi's philosophy of Love.The parrot is shown its own image in a mirror and then taught words which it assumes are addressed to it by its image and which it learns to mimic so as to reciprocate the ardent sentiments expressed to it. Similarly, God teaches us Love by putting such delusive images in front of us. Through spiritual practices one can sublate these delusive images and come to understand that the words we repeat have an origin both hidden and higher. Among the commentators, Bekhud Mohani understands the idiom but doesn't see its relevance.  But this is easily done by making the God of the mystics a jealous Lord, or rather doing so by a self-deprecatory 'majzoob' imputation.
The last couplet refers to 2 Quranic verses 7.143 and 33.72. God had offered his 'amaanah' (Trust/REsponsibility/Viceregency/Free Will) to the mountains and so on, but only man agreed to take it, but this was done rashly. Later, God tells Moses that he will not see Him, but should gaze at the mountain. If it remains steady, then Moses can bear the theophany, otherwise not. However, Mt. Tur is levelled as it can not bear the glory of the Lord's theophany.
Ghalib here is affirming Man's worthiness of amaanah and khilafat but emphasizes Man's highest goal is to seek and yearn for Union with the Divine, even if this means utter obliteration. Just as strong wine, such as might render a callow youth senseless, serves but to invogorate a seasoned warrior- so too God's trust in man can make him worthy of closer communion with his maker.

To assay its purchasers, essays the Logos poetry
Tho' with the wares I purvey what's sold is me!

Ah, let girdled Magians bring wine for my ode!
Prayer beads string but bumps in the road.

'Tis verdigris in my mirror, not a parrot green
Taught Love's tort by an athwart Unseen

Mount Tur lies level like a drunkard in the dust
I alone am that drinker athirst for Thy Trust.

Thanks Anon for the tip re the ornamental, highly polished, zarf.

This gives a completely different meaning so I'll change the last couplet to-

Mt.Tur's crater, Musa's drunk dumb-waiter, bit yet the dust .
I'm a toper of class & deep looking glass, fit for Thy Trust

Friday, 18 November 2011

Are we killing Mahatma Gandhi all over again?

An anguished soul, who directed my attention to this article, asks me 'when we receive or give black money- thick wads of currency notes with Mahatma Gandhi's face upon them- are we not guilty of killing him all over again?'

I have thought about the matter and now give my judgement.
1) No. You say you killed the guy. I've checked. He really is dead. So you aren't killing him all over again even if you are paying or receiving a lot of Rupees to do it. In legal terms, such an action falls under the category of impossible attempt.
2) I forget whether you and your chums claimed credit for raping Gandhi while killing him last time round. The truth is I tend to let my mind wander when the topic of the Mahatma comes up. Still, it is not unreasonable for me to proceed on the assumption that you chaps both raped and killed Gandhi and now are seeking information from me as to whether you are succeeding once again in perpetrating the same faux pas.
On reflection, no- I think that what you are guilty of is necrophilia, gross indecency and mutilating a corpse.

I hope this answers your question.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Writing degree zero, residual entropy and geometrical frustration.

"Feeling permanently guilty of its own solitute, it [literary writing] is none the less an imagination eagerly desiring a felicity [bonheur] of words, it hastens towards a dreamed-of language whose freshness, by a kind of ideal anticipation, might portray the perfection of some Adamic world where language would no longer be alienated." (Barthes)

I think the ubiquity and appeal of this notion, found for example in James Woods, arises from an intuition of something else- what we might call the residual entropy of the reading mind. Clearly, to read is to be as stupid as possible. 'Only very stupid people read'. It represents the lowest possible energy state, yet its residual entropy turns out to be infinite.

What of style, of everything that coruscates or is crystalline? It is a stone or a piling on of stones as part of reading's peine forte et dure, except if abstracted from as a form of geometrical frustration

Beenaker's boundary

Reflecting on Hempel's dilemma, Carlo Beenakker has proposed a new boundary to demarcate physics from metaphysics- viz. what is computable within the age of the Universe.
A short essay of his on this theme can be read here.

We are familiar with computational constraints on computers e.g those arising from physical constants like the speed of light, Boltzmann's constant and Planck's constant-

Beenaker argues that if the Universe is a computer and if constants, like those above, don't evolve in an inflationary manner, and if the Universe has an end in time, then certain problems- such as the question of the immortality of the soul- will always remain metaphysical because there isn't enough time to do the necessary computations to reduce the question to one of physics.

I suppose someone has stated the dual to this proposition- viz. the metaphysics/ physics boundary arises from evolved diachronicity (otherwise Hempel's dilemma is meaningless) and thus Computability theory exists only in the vanishing present of its P versus NP problem.

For which I, personally, blame David Cameron. That boy aint right.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Eclairs are racist.

This evening, I stopped off  at the bakery on my way home and bought a box of chocolate eclairs to hand round at work tomorrow.

Imagine my horror when, opening the box, one of the damned things attacked me in a manner wholly vicious and unprovoked! I swear, it was as though it wanted to bite my face off! I am a strict Gandhian, but this was a case of eat or be eaten.  

Clearly this was an example of a new type of racism targeting middle aged Hindutva intellectuals, like myself, who are trying to diet. I tried establishing a dialogue with the rest of the eclairs, but they simply wouldn't listen to reason. Each and every one of them hurled itself at me like a kamikaze pilot or a jihadi suicide bomber!

When will this madness end? Why can't we all just get along?

Another tragic victim of racist food items.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Naipaul misbehaving again

‘Madam, what to do? Naipaul misbehaving again.”

Mrs. Sulochana Pundit, Deputy Director, Virtual Reality Division, Ministry of Cultural Reconstruction, pushed her glasses up her nose.

She saw Kishen- one of the peons- except they didn’t like being called peons- Administrative Assistant (Grade III) was the title they insisted on- standing sheepishly in the shadows.

“Don’t tell me! The time-lines have got muddled and Sir V.S. Naipaul is getting up Victoria Ocampo’s nose …”
“Madam, not nose only. It is too horrible. Back-side, front-side, don’t ask what all and where all that little shaitan is not getting up.”

Mrs. Pundit sighed. If only she had crammed a bit more, to get higher marks in the Government’s competitive exams, she would now be a glamorous Police officer, saving the country from jihadi terrorists, rather than having supinely to sit, pushing a pen, in this godforsaken hole of a department.

“All right, Kishen” she said tiredly, “shut it down and re-boot.”
“Madam, it is not shutting down. “
“What? How can that be?”
“Madam, I am thinking, Time coil is responsible. What I can tell you? Greedy Contractors thinking profit only. Safety- not caring. That is why, just to save on disk-space, they went and put in a self-organizing heuristic to compress database. Madam, we were complaining it is unsafe. Such type of heuristic should only be used where data is random in nature. Historical information isn’t random. But protests of our Cadre Association went unheard. Contractor has too much pull. Ministry is saying- ‘because of George Soros principle of reflexivity, History has inbuilt noise generator”. Madam, who is this billionaire George Soros to be talking? Is he doing dangerous work like us? Also we were consulting independent experts- including great scientists like Vandana Shiva and theorists like Pappu Yadav- I can repeat to you, word for word, what their report said- ‘though the principle of reflexivity, in its generalized form, ensures that no humanly cognizable algorithm can make historical information almost infinitely compressible, the same can not be assumed for a machine intelligence... Historical processes may be decomposable in manners it would be destructive of human consciousness to contemplate… But, if so, there is nothing to stop the complexity of the Time Coil’s heuristic from growing faster than any computable function… What if, as a result, the whole system’s entropic arrow of Time goes into reverse? In that case, the Virtual Reality Operator might start running independently as the heat sink of the Time Coil. Which raises the further question, what if the combined complexity of the two systems grows exponentially faster than that of which all Physical Reality is the heat sink? Might not, by Landauer's principle, the one usurp the other?’”

Sulochana was a kind hearted woman. She let the hysterical peon babble on for a bit. ‘What to do?’ she thought to herself, ‘these peons- sorry! Admin Assistants (Grade III)- are so superstitious and
backward. They think the machines they tend are alive or animated by some God. Poor fellows! it is not their fault. They are given just enough education to be able to read an operating manual- or Political Party manifesto- and then are pushed out into the job-market. It is the failure of the Government that they are not properly indoctrinated into our Secular, Socialist, Gandhi-Nehru-Yadav, National ideology. Though, of course, in one sense, it’s just as well. It keeps the riff raff element out of the higher cadres of the Bureaucracy.’

Uff ooh, Kishen!” she said- once the little peon had run out of steam - “what nonsense you are talking! Too much Sci Fi on T.V nowadays, I say! And as for those pulp magazines- don’t even ask! I tell you, it has become major problem.”
Kishen looked set to burst into tears. “But, Madam…” he spluttered.
Sulochana cut him short. One must be cruel to be kind. “Don’t be misled by the professional agitators. They are just heating your mind for no reason. Your cadre was worried jobs would be lost if the information was compressed. Okay, that was a legitimate concern. But, see, Minister Sahib has given undertaking- no retrenchment. Your jobs are safe. That was all your people wanted. Just forget all the nonsense the Info-Environmentalists spouted about Database Ecology and the terrible things that would happen if whole species of algorithms, whole genera of heuristic paradigms, were allowed to go extinct.
 It was all just alarmist propaganda- nothing more. Even a child could not be fooled. After all, Govt. of India has an inbuilt Reservation policy to ensure against such things. But, the Info-Environmentalists didn’t stop there. Remember their scare-mongering about … what was it?.. oh yes, some nonsense about the fifth dimension- the diagonal direction of Time- being destroyed if the Time Coil overheats? Sheer sensationalism! As if the malfunction of some little machine could destroy the imagination of the entire Universe! Look, just be clear on one point. Here, in Govt. of India, Information is Information. Energy is Energy. They are two separate things. Here is Ministry of Information on this side of Rajpath and there is Ministry of Energy over on that side. Those with information lack energy and those with energy lack information. Granted, in the Private Sector, Power and Knowledge may be interchangeable, but what has that to do with us? We have our own traditions to maintain. So, you may just very kindly go and pull the plug, that’s all, and the Virtual Reality Operator will switch off by itself.”

“Madam, I already pulled the plug. Still it is running. Must be, it is getting power from the Time Coil just like the Info -Environmentalists warned. That only I was explaining.”

“So, okay, some software glitch, or spatchcocked rewiring, is causing it to take electricity from the Time Coil. Tell Tech Support to come and fix. Meanwhile, why not switch off the Time coil?”

“Madam, we can switch off, but how we can recover all emergent properties of the system on re-booting? That is why it is a Director level decision. And you know Director Sahib has gone for Hajj. So, what to do?”

“Is Naipaul really misbehaving so very badly? Or if he is, why not just turn your eyes away? ”

“Madam, you may be remembering, previous administration, due to its Hindutva obsession, insisted the Virtual Reality Operator satisfy Ved Vyasa’s stipulation that karma and dharma be conserved. Thus each eigenstate of the system is constrained to display 2 additional symmetries. However, since both karma and dharma are observer dependent, the Zeno time of the system is macroscopic. But, Madamji, it is well known- by George Sudarshan Sir’s theorem- that observations at intervals greater than the Zeno time would have the effect of accelerating its run away evolution. Thus, for Soteriological Health and Safety reasons, we have to schedule observations at lesser intervals to retard the process.”

“Kishenji, all that may be very well and good, but, just consider, was it very correct for you to come to me with a problem like this just now? Due to upcoming Pooja holidays, my mother-in-law has come to stay which means all the herbs and vegetables have to be bought fresh and the spices ground by hand. Couldn’t you have waited till after the week-end?”

Kishen fidgeted and hung his head. “Madamji, I am sorry. I made mistake. Please forgive me.”

‘No,” said Sulochana feeling guilty for having tried to shirk her responsibility, “You were right to tell me. The whole purpose of our Ministry is to reconstruct our Culture on a proper basis. Indeed, this current project is not just of National importance but also International significance. You see, when, Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore went to Buenos Aires, ninety years ago, a great historical opportunity was missed because Tagore’s secretary- a wealthy English squire- quite gratuitously went and put his hand up Victoria Ocampo’s skirt. This vulgar action incensed that great Argentine Muse and Maecenas. It put her on her guard. It colored her subsequent dealings with the venerable Indian sage. It prevented the proper unfolding of what could have been a wonderful Cultural cross-pollination and Spiritual efflorescence whose impact- on the young Jorge Luis Borges, to mention just one instance- was bound to have had world shaking implications.”

“Yes, Madam. But, please, one thing I am not understanding. Why this Naipaul fellow getting involved? Due to why he is doing such unspeakable things to Ocampo Memsahib? What doomsday is this?”

“History,” said Sulochana, “has its own System Repair utility. It mends its own broken threads after its own fashion. Thus, Norman Thomas di Giovanni- blind Borges’s amanuensis- became also the facilitator of an affair between Naipaul- previously unlettered in sexual intimacy’s Braille- and a cultured lady of the Argentine upper class. This had a re-invigorating effect on Naipaul’s own work- his stigmatic sphota or inward Gorgon glance- and he went on to win the Nobel prize- but that wasn’t what History had intended. On the contrary, the purely spiritual marriage- like the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and, Tagore’s niece, Sarla Devi- which History had arranged for Tagore and Ocampo – but which Tagore’s lustful secretary frustrated- was meant to benefit Borges- not Naipaul, who read in Borges’s bibliolatric Universalism nothing but a sterile and corrosive fantasy of cosmopolitanism spun out by a schizophrenically self-mythologizing mind whose manic protestation against its own Provincialism but sealed it to that doom. 

"But such a reading had the effect of creating something new in Universal Culture- the notion of the ressentiment of the margin towards the centre- the beginning of an imputed insurrection- or, let us say, an epistemic fracture already apparent in such abortions of the Weltgeist as the notion of a malign and objectifying ‘Orientalism’, an unreasoning and implacable ‘Alterity’, a more sinister for speechless ‘Subaltern’, and a now galloping Globalization underpinned by the escalating export of indiscriminate Terror and all pervasive Fraud.

“This is a mistake we must correct. We too- humble pen-pushers though we be, in the Ministry of Cultural Reconstruction- are front-line soldiers in the battle to save Universalism. You too, Kishenji, if you could but see it, are playing an important role. The connection between Indian and Argentine modernism must be re-established on a high Spiritual level free from the taint of lechery or illicit sex. History must be remade on a proper basis so as to permit the, Democratically mandated, Cultural reconstruction of the country- in line with the Nehru-Gandhi-Pappu Yadav ideology of Secular Scientific Spiritualized Socialism sans Sexy Shenanigans. That is why Naipaul’s naughtiness with Victoria Ocampo must not be allowed to stand. Action must be taken. Tell you what- can’t Borges do something? Couldn’t you get the young Borges into that time-line to…you know, throw cold water on Naipaul?”

“Madam, I am not very expert on Borges. But, perhaps, if we consulted Vivek Iyer- not only he is General Secretary of the Admin Assistants (Grade III) Borges Appreciation Association but also- due to a couple of typos on the ballot paper’s small print- ex officio, Sexretary Genital of the Admin Assistants (Grade III) Benevolent Association. Surely, he is the proper man…”

“Kishenji, I appreciate your suggestion but… the fact is… Mr. Iyer may not be the best person to involve. To be blunt… how should I say this?… you see, the sight of Naipaul’s lusty actions can have a titillating effect on certain sorts of depraved people. In any case, Iyer is infamous, throughout the Secretariat, for his fanatical campaign to prove that Naipaul only sustained himself financially, during his lean years in the late 60’s and 70’s, by appearances as the masked wrestler, El Bandido Anal, on Venezuelan Television- not to mention cunnilingual cameos in Malyalee porn. Indeed, Mr. Iyer is running a roaring business supplying videos that purport to substantiate his claims. Frankly, I think it is better if we keep Mr. Iyer out of the picture.”

“Madam, I was not knowing. Please forgive me. What you suggest is best. However, still one doubt is in my mind. Don’t mind it if I speak frankly. I am only Eighth Standard Pass. Sorry, to ask such a basic question. But, Madam, what of the Parmenides Principle? It was the basis of Lalluji’s defense in the fodder scam case back in the Nineties. And now he is Minister of Railway Timetables, Ontology is under his portfolio. As Rabriji mentioned in her letter of support to our Action Committee- ‘ in a block universe- whatever can be thought of or spoken about must be- and that includes Virtual Reality representations.’ Madamji, reason I’m mentioning is because of a great danger. An eventuality unthinkable we may think, for unspeakable it surely is- Madamji, what if Naipaul prefers Borges to Ocampo? “

“So? Why only women should suffer? Anyway, what else we can do- tell me that?”

“But…but, Madamji! Question is- is this all only a simulation? Can we be sure there will be no real-world effects? I mean, sorry to be blunt, but you know sometimes even Departments of the Government India end up actually achieving something they were set up to do…Can we be sure the Past won’t be changed?”

“Ah!” said Sulochana- wishing she’d kept awake at Tech Support briefings- “Well… we know that, as Sir Karl Popper said, the Past is affected by experiments made in the Future... Indeed, the whole purpose of our Department is to change the Past. But, whether it is just Government of India’s version of the Past or the actual universally inter-subjective Past… I confess, these are difficult questions to resolve on a Friday afternoon.”

“Madam, are you saying we should wait a little…?”

“What? No! Virtual Reality or not, Naipaul is breaking Indian law. He must be stopped. Actually, Borges might be the right man to stop him, because his was the strongest voice warning Mankind of the dangers of Reality being contaminated by the Dream or usurped by the Simulation. Come to think of it, that’s also Naipaul’s point- but arrived at from the perspective of restless travel journalism rather than a tuirgen of restive hermeneutics… Perhaps, the two will complement each other. Even find a workaround for the… urm... Parmenides Principle and fulminate this whole distasteful episode of the riotously rutting Naipaul from the Universe’s memory…But, Kishenji, it’s almost five o’clock. Without waste of further words you may kindly return to your terminal and write a neat little macro which interposes Borges between Naipaul’s chthonic lust and its long suffering, yet still Olympian, object. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?”

And that’s how I, Vivek Iyer, formerly a lowly Grade III peon, gained international acclaim as the author of ‘The approach to Al-Mutasim”- the most authentic, the most original, Indian novel ever envisaged by a native of this great land. Or, at least, that’s what would have happened  if Commissioning Editors hadn’t turned up their noses at the myriad song and dance sequences-I not, I confess, strategically but syntagmatically- interpolated to give Borges’s story a bit of oomph.

At any rate, this is the story Kishen keeps telling me. His boss, Mrs. Pundit, is the wife of a top literary agent- which is the only reason I cultivated the Backward Caste little bugger in the first place- but not even that high and mighty agent can get the publishers to see sense.

You see, as Kishenji has just now tearfully texted me, Naipaul misbehaving again & so something truly catastrophic has happened. Its arrow reversed, the Time Coil is now busy uncoiling Imagination’s compacted dimensions, precipitating us all into this irremediably, for of Empathy, orphaned world where books befriend no books and turning their leaves but fans an arid simoom.

What was it Ghalib said?
Not your blanking me when we pass on the street
But that beggars too, now, alike me treat…
Great Wealth, thus, has our manners refined
Strangers, alone, to the Poor are kind!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Myself as Muruga

Unlike the stereotypical Tam Bram male, I myself decided to get married and that too independent of any pressure exerted by parents or  peers.

Still, I was traditional enough to point out my choice to my mother so she could arrange the needful.

'Those two,' I said, 'They will do. Kindly expedite."

Mother's brightening face suddenly darkened, 'But Vivek, due to Hindu Marriage Act, you can have only one. So choose.'

I was horrified. The fat one was more affectionate- giving me kisses and hugs. But the small thin one had big eyes and told stories, quite senseless, yet exquisitely Tamil.

At least, that was how they normally were. Having to compete with each other, both adopted the wiles of her rival. The fat one was suddenly  fluttering her lashes and reciting filmi dialogue. The thin one, in a manner unbecoming her bony figure, waxed importunate of unwarranted intimacies.

'What for this head-ache?' I said, 'Better than either bint is the broad road of Brahmacharya'

Hearing these heartless words, both belles fell dead on the spot. I picked up a stick to to poke them with- as indeed is right and proper and laid down in Scripture. But, Mother said 'crows will come just now only to feast upon their corpses. May also try to peck out your jewel like eyes  whose scintillation has been the death of these two young beauties.'

Saying which she picked me up and carried me away. I then saw a Peacock- but it didn't want to play.

All this happened in the grounds of Queen Mary's College in 1968- same year I left Madras never to return.

Siddhanta- Muruga is correctly equated with Kumara and me both.

Sri Aurobindo & Angana Chatterji

Sri Aurobindo was an Indian revolutionary from Bengal. He was academically outstanding (i.e. as stupid as shit) and ought to have lived a life of great affluence and honor in India under the British. Instead, he became a revolutionary. The British certainly had every reason to put the hangman's noose around his neck. But, they realized that discretion was the better part of valor. Unluckily for them, the Lord God entered Aurobindo at precisely this moment- his private Gethsamane. In any case, Aurobindo- perhaps, this is a Bengali trait- was too high minded to harbor a merely racial grievance or to nurture a purely chauvinistic animus. The Lord God led him down the path of 'Raja Yoga' which is entirely Universal, Ecumenical and totally shite. At a time when Chesterton- who was a few years below Aurobindo at St.Pauls School in London- was bringing lasting shame upon, not Catholicism at all, but rather something we can still see- viz  'Little'-all-too-little-England's parochial, passive aggressive and pathetically self-deluding,  annexation of Rome's Church to serve its own purely suburban Shoahs and Shibboleths- Aurobindo was going in the other direction. In this, he showed true Guru-bhakti for his (and Chesterton's) Head Master who was a great Classicist as well as a holder of Post Graduate qualifications in both the Law (which is about defeasible reasoning re. empirical evidence, rather than a mere pungency of paradox which, though claiming to be Philosophy, is but a Sophist paraphilia ) and Sanskrit (which is about universality and context independence).
Chesterton demanded that Jews in England be forced, by an Act of Parliament, to wear Arab dress. His animus against Hitler's persecution of the Jews arose from it being a Secular stealing of Sacerdotal clothes. Meanwhile, the 'Aryan' Aurobindo discovered the lineaments of the Eternal Mother in an Egyptian Jewess who somehow managed to persuade him to give up brandy and cigars.

What has all this to do with Angana Chatterji? This young sprig of the cultural aristocracy of Bengal, together with her life-partner, (the presumably Jewish) Richard Schapiro, are deeply stupid Professors at a worthless College in California founded upon the fuckwitted principles of Sri Aurobindo.

Both of them have worked tirelessly to highlight their own involvement in highlighting stuff everybody already knows about re. Human Rights abuses, State violence, and the dirty work being done behind the scenes by stupid and cowardly hate-mongers like themselves.

Just recently, both have been suspended from their jobs.
One theory is that it isn't at all because they are shite teachers running a fucking personality cult but that they are a pawn in a game of Diplomatic chess whereby the U.S. govt. is sending a signal to Pakistan by cracking down on its lobbyists in America.
Naturally, the U.S isn't going after the really bad guys involved in terrorism and nuclear proliferation or support for the Taliban who are killing Allied soldiers. The Pakistanis might perceive such a move as an existential threat and retaliate in their characteristically paranoid and over the top manner. So, the U.S is going after soft targets- targets the Pakistanis themselves want out of the way. Angana Chatterji is certainly not someone the Pakistanis want speaking out about Human Rights abuses in the Kashmir Valley. Why? She's a she- that's bad. She's a fucking Hindu- that's worse. And she's fucking shacked up with a guy with a fucking Jewish name!- that's fucking horrendous! This kaffir (or Commie) bitch is working it so the fundamental grievance of the people of the Valley can be fixed within a democratic, rule-of-law framework- such as that which already obtains.
This is unacceptable! Not just to the Pakistani military but also to me personally because True Social Justice will never be achieved until everybody sodomizes the eye-socket of their oppressor while decapitating them as part of their PhD viva.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Kept awake by drunks and car alarms and crying foxes

Kept awake by drunks and car alarms and crying foxes
I can't unpack my dreams' stacked cardboard boxes
Tho', in baul song, fierce rain and bull frog banquets
Yet are the cunning of Radha's tell-tale anklets

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Yeats & Tagore

There's an excellent article on Tagore, by Seamus Perry, in the TLS here. When I say excellent, I don't, of course, mean it's any good but it is in the TLS and that's excellent.  I mean it would have looked decidedly odd in the pages of Viz magazine and I'd have kittens if it suddenly started streaming onto the roll of luminous toilet paper I've recently invested in.

The points Perry Sahib fails to mention are-
1) Tagore's dad was the head of a High Victorian Hindu sect. Thus, Tagore had a great big beard and wore robes and affected a sort of Christ-like absence of brains and bollocks.  But, Tagore only did this out of filial piety. He wasn't an authentic nut-job.
2) Tagore didn't want to be a land-lord. He liked travelling about by river-boat but he'd have preferred doing it as a beggarly and minstrel baul, rather than in the unholy guise of a glorified Rent-collector. His one small rebellion- but a rebellion sanctioned by his father's own example- was to reject the sort of education which would have enforced baristari or magistari (being a Barrister or Magistrate) upon him- as had happened to others of his family before he was born.
3) Tagore wasn't quite as well up on European literature as a lot of the other Bengalis back home. In a sense he was going against the grain by pretending to be a sort of rustic baul singer- but without the earthy humour, the not-shite metaphysics, the actual as opposed to ersatz poetry of even imported bauls like Anthony Firinghee. Still, as a family man, he had the sense of social responsibility to point young Bengal in a less pestilential direction than that taken previously by Michael Madhusudhan Dutt or, later, by Aurobindo. The fact is mythologies are immiscible save graphically by working class lads like Alan Moore. Otherwise, they're just nasty Nazi posturing- like Yeats's gyres or Pound's paranoid Cantos- or else the sort of idealistic cult of assassination which drove Gayatri Spivak's great-aunt (vide 'Can the subaltern speak') to hang herself while menstruating.
4) Tagore knew a lot about actual people. He knew servants were tyrants, teachers witless bullies, culture vultures worthless sociopaths, the British middle class stupid and provincial in England and brutal, cynical and provincial while serving in India, the poorer class of peasants pathetically credulous and helpless to fend off exploitation by the slightly better off of their bretheren, the Revolutionaries criminal psychopaths, the Loyalists self-deluding bores, the... etc.  But Tagore couldn't denounce the confederacy of dunces he saw all around him. His social position forbade it. So he wrote what he did- his diffuse lacrimae rerum sentiment arising from not the memory of a Trojan War but yearning across incompossible identity classes (kids and grown ups, husbands and wives, little peasant girls and ill paid Post Masters) as its Timeo Danaos Wooden horse- and left it to posterity to read between the lines.
5) Seamus Perry writes- 'Far from the exquisitely lapidary mode of the English Gitanjali, “I Won’t Let You Go!” tells a largely aimless story: as he is leaving home on a business trip one day, Tagore hears his four-year-old daughter assert, “I won’t let you go”, “As if only saying / ‘I won’t let you go’ was enough”. It is a moment of no great consequence, but Tagore unwinds the story of the rest of his day, throughout which he fondly and sadly remembers his little girl’s protest – a lengthening poem which could have gone on yet longer, part of the amused poignancy of which is its own reluctance to bid a more timely farewell.'
What Perry doesn't say is that, notwithstanding the splendid physique and spotless character that was his genetic and properly entailed inheritance, Tagore's family was much besieged by death. No descendants in the direct line much survived my dawning day. It is the very muscular longevity of the father, not the frailness of the child, which, not nihilates, but abnegates the Universe by the quoted- 'I won't let you go'.  But abnegates it in a nice manner, the Gentleman-Babu has retired from the feast, he had no appetite for it in any case, but he does so with a seemly show of boneless haut embourgeoisement, lest the swinish poetasters (shitheads like me) too lose their zest for an envious and parasitical punishing of his stock of  butter and honey mead. 

Now, let us look at Yeats. He wasn't really a Celtic genius at all. His ancestors were English and priggishly English they remained till plundering Ireland rendered them at last merely aesthetic and shabby genteel. The last of the Aisling poets, having built the Hammersmith line- you can still hear a sort of banshee wail as the train pulls into Earls Court- was perishing in the Halford Road, Poor House, the place where the Primary School now stands, while Yeats, at Edith Villas, was taking his first baby steps in literary London. Thus Yeats's Cuchulain and Countess Cathleen and so on were about as authentic as Tom Moore's 'Lalla Rookh'. Tagore on the other hand, despite being born a Brahmo, could easily have become a baul. If Anthony Firingee could go from Portuguese Catholicism to composing Agamani verse, Tagore could have done more. Bengali was his mother's milk. Unfortunately, Tagore couldn't simply use Vaishnav or Sakta imagery in a straightforward way without people saying that his Dad and his Grand Dad, 'Prince' Dwarkanath, and so on all the way back to his 'Pir Ali' ancestors, were simply time-serving heretics and whited sepulchres and probably lechers and panders into the bargain.

So Tagore is vague in his imagery and veiled in his criticisms of the political currents of his time and comes across as bit of an old woman. But he was actually no such thing. Thomas Mann was agreeably surprised that Tagore's son was a strapping young fellow. Tagore himself was got up in robes- because he felt he owed it to his own dear departed Dad, the Maharishi. But he didn't impose that sort of nonsense on his sons or the young people at Shantiniketan. My feeling is, he worked things so his family, or the class he represented, could make the psychological break from financial dependence on rack rented country estates for their sense of identity and amour propre.

Whereas Yeats- the landless landlord told off by Joyce, the shiftless tenant- turns, from a sham presentment of Irishry, to elitism and occultism and monkey glands and being a fucking Senator; Tagore's trajectory was minimally mischievous.

I remember, many years ago, reading an anthology of Chinese poetry leant me by a colleague.
I was entranced by a poem by Li Chin Fa and asked my friend about it. He grimaced. Apparently friendship was impossible between us, because the poem in question had been written under the influence of Tagore. That's why I'd liked it.
I thought this remarkable because my love for Chinese poetry sprang from the belief that it was solely concerned with failing one's exams and drinking alone- two themes which featured prominently in both our then careers in the City of London- but in Li Chin Fa, alas!, not at all.

Ultimately, Yeats is a poet I still read, Tagore a bore who proves Spinoza's lemma that to feel pity is unethical. This is because I'm a shit-head. For the best of reasons, Tagore tries hard to pretend he's stupid and self-involved and under-educated, but in the end he fails. Yeats tries hard to pretend he's an adept of something immeasurably larger and cosmic and universal and...also fails. But since we're trying to be Yeats- coz we aren't Tagore- Yeats is our man and, pace William Radice, his Gitanjali Tagore's.

Christianity and homophobia

Is homophobia, Evangelical Christianity's way of making you its prison bitch? If so, as Liberals, ought we to hold it in such abhorrence? After all, it merely wishes to express its God given sexuality. So long as it restricts itself to sodomising others like itself- e.g. the Tea Party movement- what right have we to object? '

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Regina vs Shivpuri

    Can the Law convict you on the basis of a mere intention you might have to commit a crime? If so, how is intention to be proved? The game-changing Case in this context is Regina vs Shivpuri.  ' The appellant, on a visit to India, was approached by a man named Desai, who offered to pay him £1,000 if, on his return to England, he would receive a suitcase which a courier would deliver to him containing packages of drugs which the appellant was then to distribute according to instructions he would receive. The suitcase was duly delivered to him in Cambridge. On 30 November 1982, acting on instructions, the appellant went to Southall station to deliver a package of drugs to a third party. Outside the station he and the man he had met by appointment were arrested. A package containing a powdered substance was found in the appellant's shoulder bag. At the appellant's flat in Cambridge, he produced to customs officers the suitcase from which the lining had been ripped out and the remaining packages of the same powdered substance. In answer to questions by customs officers and in a long written statement the appellant made what amounted to a full confession of having played his part, as described, as recipient and distributor of illegally imported drugs. The appellant believed the drugs to be either heroin or cannabis. In due course the powdered substance in the several packages was scientifically analysed and found not to be a controlled drug but snuff or some similar harmless vegetable matter.

What is interesting about this case is that if the appellant had simply kept silent when arrested, the prosecution would have had no case. Everything hinged on his mental intention (mens rea) and his testimony alone could convict him.

Every idiot knows one keeps schtum when arrested. One is actually cautioned to do just that.
Was Shivpuri an idiot?
Let us weigh up the evidence.
Shivpuri, a journalist, photographer and documentary film-maker, was a mature student of Law at SOAS.  As such, he may well have believed that his confession could not be used against him as it was a case of 'impossible attempt'.
This argument holds if Shivpuri already knew the supposed drugs were no such thing. Perhaps, as a journalist, he was carrying out a 'sting' operation. Indeed, this is the explanation he gave me of his conduct.

Interestingly, it was the Utilitarian Legal scholar, Glanville Williams who tipped the Court against Shivpuri and the doctrine of 'impossible attempt'. Intentions refer to intentionality, intentionality in so far as it is inter-subjective is strategic. Utiltarianism can't cope. That's why it's simply fucked in the head and neither 'God's law nor dog's law' but simply bad puppy law.

But, and this is the crux of the matter, perhaps Shivpuri himself (who has no other convictions and was certainly not a louche character- he co-authored a book with the theologian Jim Garrison) in equal obedience to the Schopenhauerian Will- which, why not?, is Utilitarian, being fucking worthless and fundamentally Evil- made his own signal contribution to the law the only way he could- viz. by being so stupidly convicted.

Is there a point to this blog post? Yes. Utilitarianism sucks ass big time. It throws away information. Also, don't study law at SOAS. That's just silly.