Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Satori under the Modi tree

That, in Ghalib, Plato's Symposium finds a Barmecidal Saqi
& in Gandhi, NATO'S Emporium, fraticidal khaki
Let Gita drunkenly piss on the bodhi tree
Drink milk under the Modi tree

Envoi-
Prince! Wine's Prohibition, to Sadists turns Sinners
Of Love's Evangel- stay all but beginners

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Roberto Unger & Hume's cat

   What's the difference between a fact and a value judgement? The answer, of course, is 'Miaow' - at least, if you ask my neighbor's cat.
   Suppose the cat to be speaking for Hume or Kant or Moore or some other such non-tabby. Let M be the set of all instantiations of Miaow meanings re. the fact value hiatus as cognized and received in a given decision context by Roberto Unger. The question arises, is there any fact, in that decision context, which, with some Bayesian probability, is also a value judgement? Suppose there is only one possible way the world can be such that a given fact is true iff a semantically identical deontic proposition is implemented. Here, the value judgement is the condition for the fact. Relaxing the assumption of only one possible world, we can get a Bayesian debate re. the probability that a value is a fact, based on the available M which is uniquely resolved for every Unger.
In this sense, Unger's M, for some given decision situation, includes the null element. Is it possible to classify all value judgments according to how close they come to the nearest possible fact? If so, M is well ordered provided values are. This suggests a relationship to stochastic dominance in inference based decision theory such that for some given 'value-aversion' or 'fact-aversion', we can devise a heuristic which has the effect of turning any value judgement into a factual statement with an 'error term' related to distance from the null element. In other words, if one fact is a value judgement and it is possible to rank value judgments according to how different they are from the 'closest possible' fact, then all value judgments are facts with a bigger or smaller error term and are, for any given degree of value aversion or adhesion, more or less stochastically dominated.

Another approach, which might converge on the above, is to think of Putnam fact/value entanglement as legitimating mixed strategy choice. In this case considerations of Evolutionary stability yield a ranking over M.

The good news is that we can now get rid of the cat's Miaow and the philosopher's message it encodes. Why? Well, how does it help us to keep pulling the tail of the cat and hearing it say Miaow? We can proceed in an ad hoc manner till, like the cat, we get bored and saunter off over the rooftops. One good reason to do so, is that the calculus of inference based stochastic dominance and/or the evolutionarily stability of mixed-strategies has the effect of cashing out Putnam fact/value entanglement as something more or less antinomian if not De Maistre's theory of sacrifice.

Unger, however, is not Hume or Kant or even Putnam. He believes in 
1) 'infinite personality'- not multiple personalities as arising from conflicting drives but infinite personality arising out of a sort of conatus of divine discontent- coz, obviously, we have infinite cognitive processing capacity and don't need to eat to fuel our brains which, magically, are totally hysteresis free and like always shortest path ergodic and able to bitchslap math till P=NP and other cool stuff of that sort. Unger is constrained to believe impossible things about our brains because he rejects ontological dysphoria as a possible expression of human freedom which, for some reason, has to feel at home in this world or else it won't get any pudding and be sent straight up to bed.
By contrast, I can believe I have low cognitive power in this world but 'infinite personality' across possible and impossible worlds- but this cashes out as not feeling at home in this world- that's ontological dysphoria- which Unger thinks is real, real bad and evil and will probably cause hair to grow on my palms and lead to blindness.
If it's 'wrong' to be ontologically dysphoric, you can throw away information about preferences while still pretending to be doing Democratic Social Choice- but that erases the fact/value distinction at the get go. This aint Philosophy, it's the Dictatorship of Prejudice.

2) some sort of 'real' Time which evolves and so isn't really many fingered and has no truck with that Possible Worlds bullshit- i.e. this is a brutalist 'anything goes' Presentism, wholly at odds with the fin de siecle, fin du globe, Proustian pathos of Bergsonian duration and which, as such, only attracts Tim Maudlin or Lee Smolin type Soft Left senile delinquents.
Essentially, in Unger's conception of Time, nothing inter-personal is conserved, Noether's theorem gains no purchase, so we know the system is dissipative- it throws away information. But, that's the same thing as erasing the fact/value distinction. But in that case Smolin, Woits et al needn't actually do any Physics to say String theory is not even wrong because human beings have no right way to agree something is wrong. Thus the only game in town is condemning a theory as ontologically dysphoric because it isn't dedicated to 'making itself at home in the World'- itself constrained to be Unger's moral gymnasium.

Still, on the basis of the above two premises, if Unger thinks the cat's miaow stands for his own theory, then does something real cool happen such that we get a genuinely prescriptive 'super-theory' out of just plain old pi-jaw?
One reason to think so is that, on Unger's assumptions, human passions are Divinized, while Time (that is Evolution that is hysteresis that is Ontological dysphoria) is  put firmly into a box marked 'don't open till Xmas- or else'. 
Thus the cat's Miaow is now the voice of that God who creates us and sustains us and to whom we return in death.
But only for Unger who, having successfully erased the fact/ value distinction, felt able to become the Minister for Strategic Corruption under Lula in Brazil and to hand out Govt. money to various random shitheads- not because it was fun or the optimal mixed strategy but because it was like EMPOWERING DEMOCRACY and finding a THIRD WAY and other such shite.
Still he came out against Obama in 2012, so at least we know he isn't Mormon.
The moral of this story is- don't waste your money on books by Harvard Professors who erase the fact value distinction. Cut out the middle-man! Just listen to your neighbor's cat. If only in this sense, it really is talking to you.


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Waqf-e-Waqafat



Trusting in Professor Ruskin's theory of Civic Beautification
Romulus & Remus devote their Summer Vacation
To ensuring Spite is evicted from its slum
To over run the suburb Boudica's become.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Ismail Patel 'Britain is de-civilising Muslims'.

One of the great and abiding pleasures of Religion is the chance to denounce everybody else as a blaspheming heretic of an apostate who is going to burn for ever and ever in Hell fire because they are so evil and stupid as to pretend that it makes no difference if you say 'God is really really nice' as opposed to 'God is like real real nice, dude.' Clearly, it is totally Satanic to say the one whereas it is a sign of election to say the other.
This 'takfirism'- i.e.denouncing all and sundry as apostates- is a perfectly harmless past-time and occurs within all nice, well conducted, households. Baby says 'Mummy is takfir coz she won't let me eat dirt, waahn!' Mummy says 'Hubby is takfir coz he refuses to buy a new dishwasher.'  Hubby says 'wifey is like totally takkir because she beats me in her sleep.' Cat says 'Miao miao takfir miao miao'.
Essentially, the assurance that everybody else is going to burn in hell fire makes it that much easier to put up with their little foibles.
In every small town and village in India, brothers denounce each other as takfir, teachers denounce the Head Master as takfir, peons denounce their bosses as takfir, it's a great social glue and enduring source of hilarity.

The U.K Chair of 'Friends of al Aqsa', Ismail Patel, thinks, however , that takfirism equals 'Islamic' terrorism.
He writes-The term ‘Islamist’ is a political ideology and is unhelpful when employed in this context. The more nuanced term of Takfiri is better suited, which is an ideology viewing liberal democracies as a challenge that corrupts, captures and exploits Muslim people and lands. However what sets them apart is that they view violence as the first and only choice to redress grievances. Historically, the Takfiris have posed violent threats to within Islam and Muslim leaders, and as early as the first century of Islam, they were responsible for assassinating the caliph. Being mindful of the disparity in power, the Takfiris today have relied on terror attacks with high visibility; something that has been termed ‘pornography of violence’. The idea is to entice the liberal states to address the attack with a maximum reciprocity that erodes the very basis upon which the latter's ideologies are anchored. In effect the strategy is one of engineering a major implosion through a minor explosion.'

Is Ismail right? Was 9/11, 'Takfiri? What about the 7/7 London attack & the Mumbai terror strike?
The reason given by the perpetrators for 9/11 was that American troops were defiling the holy land of Saudi Arabia. In response, America relocated its troops. 7/7 and the recent Greenwich attack are about British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the first of which has ceased and the second of which will soon do so. The Mumbai attack had an I.S.I signature and was intended to derail warming Indo-Pak ties by showing that the Democratic elected Govt. of Pakistan could not control the lunatic fringe.
But this suggests that terror attacks are rational and similar to military operations. Essentially, their purpose is to 
1) drive the news cycle and thus gain salience as an obligatory passage point for ineressement
2)  change the Cost Benefit calculus for the adversary.  
Clearly, both objectives can be instrumentalized by
a) Nation States as part of a strategic notion of 'force multipliers with plausible deniability'
b) Self important shitheads who enjoy talking shite.
If 9/11 was Takfiri, the demand would have been for the expulsion of all non-Muslims and symbols of non Muslim culture and life-style. Rather, it appears, 9/11 was motivated by the belief that the Saudi regime would crumble without American troops. Nothing of the sort materialised. The Saudis have successfully met the challenge and now appear to see themselves as champions of main stream Sunni modernising Islam rather than exponents of Ibn Taymiyya style Wahhabism.
It is true that in Algeria in the 90's, there was a 'takfiri' type of jihad according to which anyone not killing everyone else was takfir and should be killed- but this craziness, even if not sponsored by the Regime, nevertheless is the reason it is still securely in place while Tunisia and Egypt have fallen and Syria and Yemen are tottering.
The truth is, some terrorists and killers believe those they kill are apostates but most don't. In any case, tafkirism is only relevant when people belong to the same sect. It is irrelevant when the target belongs to a different religion. In the case of the first hundred years of Islam, all killing arose straightforwardly from a political power struggle. The Ridda wars were about which tribe would dominate and represented a return to pre-Islamic thinking rather than a development within Islam. The rightly guided Caliphs abhorred the shedding of Muslim blood by Muslims.  Caliph Uthman could have saved his own life if he'd ordered his supporters to slay the rebels besieging him. Hazrat Ali was killed by a Kharijite still angry that he had not given the order to slaughter those Muslims who opposed him. It is not difficult to say the single word 'takfir'. The rightly guided Caliphs could have elevated themselves to the level of Emperors or Dictators just by pronouncing this word. Instead, two of them were killed because of their principled stand in this regard.
Nobody suggested that those who were cruelly done to death at Kerbala were apostates- it is ludicrous to think so. Caliph Uthman wasn't killed because his assassin thought him an apostate- I may mention that Hazrat Hasan & Husayn were among those protecting the Caliph's house-  the issue was purely political.
The reason there was no 'takfiri' bloodshed in the first century of Islam is because everybody knew the following story regarding Usama Ibn Zayd.
Despite his accomplishments in helping defeat the Roman army, he is best known as the person Muhammad admonished for killing a man who had got the best of the Muslims in battle and then when Usama approached him to take off his head, he pronounced the words one officially states to become Muslim. Thinking this was just an attempt to spare his life, Usama killed him anyway. When the news of this got back to Muhammad, he asked Usama, "Did you kill him in spite of his professing La ilaha illallah (There is no God but One)?" Usama replied, "O Messenger of Allah! He said it out of fear of our arms." Muhammad said, "Why did you not cut his heart open to find out whether he had done so sincerely or not?" He continued repeating it until Usama wished he had embraced Islam only that day (so that he could be forgiven for whatever sins he committed before that). (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tayalisi, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, al-`Adni, Abu `Awana, al-Tahawi, al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi.)[2]
 It may be that tafkiri terrorism is an issue for an avowedly Islamic state. However, it is not relevant at all to Britain except as a problem internal to the Muslim community.
A Muslim who believes- as most do- that only God knows who is or is not a hypocrite or a heretic or an apostate- i.e. there is no reason for internecine conflict- may still wish to wage war against the West because he believes that it is robbing Muslim countries of their wealth and spreading moral corruption. In fact, a non Muslim may join hands with the Muslim if they share the belief that the West is acting immorally and spreading evil ideas.
Takfirism is totally irrelevant.
Ismail Patel says that 'Britain is de-civilizing Muslims'. I don't know exactly how de-civilized he has become but I bet I am more de-civilized yet. Ignorant of Islam he certainly is- but that isn't Britain's fault. He is stupid and his ignorant shite is published on 'Open Democracy'- is that Britain's fault? No. As I have repeatedly proved- David Cameron is a French Cambodian rent boy who took my online 'English Elocution course' back in 2002.  Similarly, Tony Blair (real name, Tarlok Singh Bedi) attended my Super Best Englis Klas in Ballimaron circa 1977.
Mind it kindly.
Aiyayo.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Is Poetry Universal?- a gristly verse of Mir


Is poetry Universal?
Stupidity, we know, is universal and poetry, we have been taught, is what stupid people now go in for to make believe they are smart.
Over the last 40 years, Translations, of the best American Academic type- and 22,000 new M.F.A's add more to the pool every decade- have indeed made poetry Universal in this special sense. Great energy and enterprise has been devoted to this end. Suppose the Jodrell Bank radio telescope detects a transmission of alien poetry from some distant Galaxy. It will be seamlessly translated into shit long before it is even deciphered. The same thing will happen after it is deciphered. Thus, a Globalized translation industry has already yielded us a Universalized poetry. Advanced Galactic Civilizations have banned contact with less developed planets precisely for this reason. They too have Academic poetry translators just itching for something 'primitive' to vomit all over.

Theology was once the Universal form of Stupidity and that was cool because, if you think about it, God makes us stupid.
But, Poetry?
It used to be the thing that knit the people of an oikumene together.
I guess that's more profitably done by S.U.V's and Shopping Malls.
Since India now has plenty of both, what is the point of Poetry? One answer, I think, is that with the aid of distinguished Globalised academics, people belonging to different Religions from different parts of India can at last come to despise everything venerable possessed by each other as worthless shite .
How? Why? Academic translations of and commentaries on great vernacular poets focus entirely on proving not just the poets themselves, but their entire intellectual milieu, to have been utterly stupid. 
In the past, we had to take the savants at their word when they assured us that our great poets were incorrigible fuckwits. Now, thanks to Google search, we can find things out for ourselves and discover that the reverse is the case. The great poets of other religions, other times, other languages were just so-oooo much smarter, wiser, more sophisticated in their thinking than we can ever hope to be.

Look at this ghazal of Mir Taqi Mir's-
                                      - 'vājib kā ho nah mumkin maṣdar ṣifat ṡanā kā/
                                           qudrat se us kī lab par nām āve hai ḳhudā kā 
The first line is difficult to make sense of because there is a word-play involvng Arabic grammatical terminology- but it means something like-  Though necessary (for salvation), finding the source of ecstatic praise of the name and attributes of God is highly improbable.
The second line is limpid-  'By the power of Nature, the name of God has come upon her lips'- which is what happens in my erotic reveries featuring hotties like Angela Merkel & Nancy Pelosi who, notwithstanding the Satanic origin of their Socialist beliefs, nevertheless cry out the name of Our Saviour in the throes of passion.
The second couplet of the ghazal is-
Every hair of my body is horripilated by the jaundice of Grief. The dust print on my shroud is the map of which gold mine? - i.e. Grief has turned me into the Gold mine sought by Mystical Alchemy but rather than my gaining immortality or the status of the perfect man, I am a sort of reverse Midas, deadened by what most touches me.
A gold mine is similar to 'masdar'- which means 'source' and, in grammar, is the basic verbal noun from which everything else is derived. God, of course, is the source of all things and it is our duty to praise Him both formally and ecstatically. However, to experience ecstasy while calling out the name of God is not a duty we can discharge simply out of a sense of obligation. It is a halachah vein morin kein. The knowledge that it is necessary for us forecloses the path to its fulfilment. This isn't a case of 'fake it till you make it'. What's totally unfair is that Tyrannical hotties, though thoroughgoing Satanic Socialists, like Merkel & Pelosi, nevertheless are saved, at least in our wet dreams of them, coz they're all like thrashing about screaming 'O God, O God, O God, O GOD!'
In Arabic, I'm guessing, this would be 'Subhan-allah!' which is interesting because there is a doubt as to whether the word Subhan (Glory) is a verbal noun derived from a 3 letter root in the typical way, or if it is 'ismul masdar' without such a root.
Q: Is Subhān (Glory) a Masdar or Ismul-Masdar? In other words is this word a state of something in and of itself, or is it extracted from an actual verb?

A: The learned sages inclined towards both options, some said Subhānallāh (Glory for Allah) is Masdar a verbal noun extracted from the verb Sabaha and some others said Subhānallāh (Glory for Allah) is an Ismul-Masdar again a verbal noun though it is not extracted from any verb i.e. Subhān (Praise) is a Hāla (State) of Wujud (Being) and has no verbal equivalent. 

This shows that the 'sana' in the first line of the couplet (which means praise not necessarily directed at the Deity but which might focus on His attributes) gives us a clue as to in what form the 'name of God has come upon her lips'. If she has said 'Subhanallah!' then she has, in a sense, achieved a mystical station (Hala) within the hidden hierarchy of Being (Wujud) which is, wajib al-wujud bi-dhatihi, by itself necessarily Existent but only by reason of al lawh ul mahfuz's- all Scription's sykophántēs ascription to a thereby fig-leaf contingent- bi-ghairihi God.

However, our contemplation of her Subhanallah, far from pleasing us sensually by allowing us to glimpse 'the lineaments of gratified desire' has had the opposite effect- we have become the reverse Midas of what most touches us and perish of that Grief whose alchemy impoverishes the slave while permitting the tyrant to climb higher in the chain of Being.
Which is like toooootally unfair.

The Tetragrammaton, to me taunt,  upon her wanton lips
 Appears Salvation's font in Oneiric apocalypse
So jaundiced by what most touches me
I am the Midas of Grief's alchemy

Okay, mebbe that's a bit crap, still it's an attempt to highlight what is interesting here- viz. a dry as dust deontological issue of a substantivist Theological type being re-cast in highly wrought relationist terms, that too within a wholly transgressive erotic mise en scene.

But what I have written above is quite worthless. It is not Academic. It is not Universal. 

Prof. Pritchett & Prof.S.R. Faruqi's commentary on this 'gristly verse of Mir's'.
The salient points are
1) vajib is taken to be 'a thing without which something else cannot exist'- i.e. something necessary rather than contingent.
On this reading, Faruqi treats this couplet as straightforward speculative Metaphysics of a Universal kind. Following him, albeit with some reservations, Pritchett gives us this-
1) the necessary wouldn't [be able to] be contingent, like praise of the origin/source,
2) through that one's nature/Power, on the lip the name of the Lord comes
This may be meaningful- precisely because it is 'Universal'- to Academic or American translators- they write worse everyday- but, to me, it is not intelligible,or indeed recognizable as being related to Mir's couplet.
Vajib, for a cultured and devout Muslim from a Hanafi majority country- or indeed a Hindu from that country- must mean something more than 'necessary'. It is that type of duty which isn't made absolutely clear and unambiguous and which thus requires some hermeneutic effort or imaginative engagement on our part. 
'If there is a binding demand from the lawgiver to do something, it is wazib. However, the Hanafi's consider the demand Fard when both text and the meaning are definitive (qati) and wazib when either the text or meaning is speculative (Zanni - because liable to interpretation of meaning or investigation of authenticity). Difference between Fard and Wazib has important consequence. Denial of binding nature of a command established by definitive proof (Fard by Qati evidence) leads to unbelief. However, denial of Wazib (according to Hanafi's) or 2nd category of Fard (according to the majority) lead to transgression (Fisq).'
(Shah Abdul Hannan, quoted from 'Usul al-Fiqh') 
An Urdu speaking Muslim, I'm guessing, wouldn't even need to look up Google, the way I had to, to clarify this. He'd already know about the farz/ vajib distinction. Still, if he is an academic, he will still write shite by way of translation or commentary because that is more 'Universal' and smart people can't be bothered with what is merely local and particular. Instead, they have to show that Indian poets were primitive and incapable of reasoning properly and thus truly Universal. It gives a frisson of self-recognition- Caliban glimpsing himself in the looking glass- to the truly primitive fuckwits of the American Academy.
Still, they are only doing their vajib duty. Yet, might there not be a better way?

Suppose you work for McDonalds. A crystal clear duty (farz) is a statement like 'wash your hands after going to the bathroom'. There's no scope for quibbling because there are no two ways about it. If you deny that this duty is obligatory, you will be sacked. However, a duty like 'greet the customers in a cheerful and friendly way', leaves scope for interpretation and imagination and hence can be called 'vajib'.
 An employee of McDonalds who is passionate about her job may greet an elderly office worker like myself with a degree of archness vastly agreeable to me personally but which gives offence when directed at young, cross dressing, prostitutes like Ramachandra or Ranajit Guha. Clearly, duty of the wajib type is something one should be so passionate about that even more or less perilous experimentation in its discharge amounts to trespass merely- not malicious treachery or outright treason.
To take a case in point; the first time the young lady at the local McD greeted me with 'Look what the cat dragged in! Busy night dear?'- I might have resented the implication that I was a broken down lady of the night driven from the streets by Dawn's unforgiving light- more especially as, in dispensing me the extra sachets of butter I'd requested, she shuddered with revulsion and said 'I know what you use those for!'  Ramachandra & Ranajit Guha, on the other hand, precisely because they genuinely are cross-dressing prostitutes, greatly object to such treatment which, BTW, explains their animus against 'Globalised Capitalism'.
2) Faruqi takes 'sifat' as 'likeness' rather than a metonymy for the theology of Tawhid asma wa sifat- i.e. uniqueness of God's name and attributes- as expressed in ecstatic sifat sanaa- 'praise of the attributes' which can form part of the Sama Musical repertoire of a devout Sufi and serve as a preparation for recognizing the true haqiqa Muhammadi of the age.
Currently, there is some controversy as to whether such practices are permissible or whether they shade into a polytheistic cult of miracle working Saints.
However, for the poet, there can be no doubt that the duty to praise the Lord includes an artistic licence for passionate hermeneutic investigation and semantic experimentation.
3)  Faruqi reads 'masdar' in a univocal and universalist manner. God is the source and return of everything. However, in Islamic philosophy, there is a distinction between 'haqiqi' and 'majazi' such that only what is essential and inerrant in a duty performed returns to the source. Thus, the girl at McD who wordlessly passes me extra napkins with a gesture indicating I should use them to bulk out my cleavage in the hope of at last attracting a customer, is neither the source nor place of return of this sympathetic and friendly gesture because, having no other concern but to correctly discharge her duty, it is only McD's own corporate ethos and success in training its staff which originates, i.e. inculcates, the gesture and, tipping being prohibited, which gathers in the entirety of the continuing stream of profit which that repeated gesture gives rise to every morning.

Pritchett writes 'ṡanā kā maṣdar ṣifat = like the source/origin/ground of praise. Apparently the ṣifat has to apply to the whole phrase ṣanā kā maṣdar , because if we try anything else that annoying kā is left just sticking out impossibly. Faruqi Sahib says- 'The idea is that just as the maṣdar of all substances (that is, their origin, the place to which they all have to return-- that is, the place beyond which there's nothing-- that is, the Lord) is necessary, in the same way praise of the maṣdar (that is, praise of the Lord) too is necessary (that is, necessary in its own essence, not dependent for its existence on any other thing). And when that is necessary, then we cannot express it by means of words (which are only contingent, because their existence is dependent on something else).'
My response is- '' sana ka masdar sifat' is illiterate- i.e. corresponds to no collocation. In any case, is it really true that sana (praise not necessarily restricted to the Deity) has a masdar in God? Does God do sana of anything?
Mir wasn't illiterate. Nor was he a dark Theologian.  What he is talking about is sana-e-sifat- which, for euphony, becomes 'sifat sana'- praise, or ecstatic contemplation, of the attributes, a stage in Sufi mystical praxis.
Pritchett's commentary draws attention to the two ka's in the first line. One way of applying her 'meaning-machine' method is to think of the ka in 'Vajib ka' as an example of what Pierce calls 'hypostatic abstraction' by which an adjective or predicate- 'honey is sweet' - turns into an extra subject- sweetness is possessed by honey-, thus increasing by one the number of "subject" slots -- called the arity or adicity -- of the main predicate.
'In this case an izafati construction- namely vajib-e-namumkin- has been broken up into vajib ka nah mumkin which by itself does sound awkward. The meaning however is clear. What is being denominated is the class of acts which, though necessary to Salvation, are not univocally obligatory such that failure to perform them can be recognized without ambiguity. In other words, something necessary is also multiply realizable such that entailment becomes ambiguous because the Piercian arity is either impredicative, fractal or impredicatively fractal but in any case inexact. For acts which are 'farz' but not vajib, not only is it the case that the acts are possible but those acts must necessarily come to be for those who are Saved and thus God is their source and place of return (masdar). Let us suppose it is necessary to say 'Allah hu' to be Saved. Clearly, Frances Pritchett is predestined to be Saved. Hence, during the course of her Doctoral viva voce (what? Jus' coz the Rector of the LSE personally altered my diploma certificate to read 'Confirmed Bachelor of Arts' don't mean I iz totally ignorant of what PhD types get up to) when the examiner said 'Knock Knock' and l'il Franny Pritchett replied 'Who's there?' and the examiner said 'Allah' what happened next was predestined and as such its source and return was with God alone. However, notice that li'l Fran (whom I picture in a pinafore and pig-tails so as not to give way to lubricious thoughts) is not saying 'Allah hu' such that the sifat ('Hu') agrees with the mausuf (subject) derived from the ism masdar (derived noun) 'Allah'. 
'Rather, she is saying 'Allah who?' in which statement there is no sifat at all. By no stretch of the imagination can she be said to have completed a vajib-e-mumkin type of action. The intentionality is lacking, hence her utterance does not have the grammatical property of correct deployment of sifat. Yet, equally clearly, if not more so, l'il Fran is nonetheless saved precisely because God has not merely commanded (amr) but also provided the material ground for the requisite action to be completed (khalq). This is a case where God is both the source and place of return of the occurrence.'
'Prof. Farqui appears to be making a mistake- pardonable because he actually studied Arabic instead of reading Archie Comics in the back row with the cool kids; the Mullah having been either bribed or intimidated to look the other way- by thinking that masdar can be the mausuf of sifat in this context. It can't. That's shirk. It's the doctrine of hypostatic union by which the Christians worked their own damnation at Ephesus.'
Faruqi, by neglecting the specifically Islamic meaning of Mir's words has ended up talking nonsense.
IF God taught Adam the names of things and in any case the Quran is uncreated, why should words be only contingent?
I had a hazy sort of idea that Faruqi Sahib follows Al Jurjani- as opposed to Al Rummani- because he insists on strict compositionality whereas Rummani allows tazmin w.r.t. Revelation - i.e. use of a Quranic word- to be endophorically unrestricted by the rest of the sentence it appears in. In other words, the Quranic word occurring in a secular text yet continues to participate in its own 'masdar' such that the latter proves increasingly more real (haqiqi) while the former's trajectory becomes more and more phantasmal and spectral (majazi) in the same manner that this dervish's all cloaking mist of a winter's morning turns abruptly into the choking collar of a lice ridden khirka with the flinging of the baksheesh of a single, solar, Rupee of Light.
Or doesn't, coz I'm still in bed with a hangover brought on by drinking up my settlement from McD.
Be that as it may, what is of salience here, irrespective of the precise chirality of my spiritual squalor, there is nothing in Jurjani, or indeed any other authority, to license what Faruqi has written.
Excluding the Hanafi meaning of vajib, let us look again at the couplet.
vājib kā ho nah mumkin maṣdar ṣifat ṡanā kā
qudrat se us kī lab par nām āve hai ḳhudā kā
Regarding 'sifat sana ka masdar'- that 'masdar' praised in sifat sana- i.e. the ecstatic practice of praising God as the source and return of the devotee's own piety (which is passionate Love) - it is not possible to say it is part of vajib (i.e. what is necessarily entailed in the manner of a crystal clear duty), yet we see that 'by Nature' the name of the Lord has come upon the lips of the Beloved.
Suppose Mayor McCheese receives a complaint against the girl who serves me my Big Breakfast.
Angrily he upbraids her- 'Why are you pretending that an elderly Tambram office worker is actually a low class prostitute? It is against Company policy. What you are supposed to say is 'Thank you. Have a nice day' not 'Now get the fuck out of here, you diseased old ho-bag.'
'Did I say that?' the tear-stricken girl plaintively replies, 'I have no memory of it. Filled with the spirit of McD what I uttered I know not. Greatly have I sinned. I shall go and commit suicide by eating a whole bucket full of KFC.'
'Wait!' says Mcburglar, 'All these years I have been lurking in the shadows trying to steal cheese burgers. Yet, by the intercession of, the Blessed Thief. McDysmas, this Grace has been vouchsafed me- I saw with my own eyes the McAngel of the Lord descend into this humble vessel you see before you. It was McAngel who spoke through the lips of this handmaiden of the Corporation.'
'But,' says Mayor McCheese, 'How is it possible (mumkin)? Something which is vajib (a necessary duty) must surely be univocal?'
'Nay' spake the McAngel through the lips of a seated customer, 'univocity can be multiply realizable, indeed must be so- otherwise not only is deontics empty but so is alethics as a Globalizable brand. Just as 'Have a nice day' means 'Get the fuck out of here you ugly old ho-bag' when applied to a middle aged Tambram cross-dressing prostitutes like Ramachandra Guha or Sanjay Subhramanyam, so too does the opposite hold when addressing elderly, not cross-dressing at all, Tambram office workers. 'Everybody knows this. Now just Mckindly fuck off and let me finish my Big Breakfast while availing of your free wi-fi to update my blog.'

If not for McDonald's, then certainly for Islam, granted that what we know to be necessary (vajib) does not entail praise of the source of attributes, nevertheless, by nature rather than pious reason, we constantly observe that the name of God has come to the Beloved's lips.
Mumkin, in the philosophical sense, means that which is possible but which carries no entailment properties. A mountain of gold is possible but its actual existence is not entailed nor is anything from us with respect to it demanded or required. I am not religiously obligated to deny it exists or to go looking for it or to buy bonds issued by its prospector.
Mumkin in the ordinary sense would give us- 'Just from what we know to be necessary for our salvation it is not probable that the ecstatic practice of praise of the name and attributes could take its origin or find its completion in God (i.e. the attributes are more like prosopoi and thus no hesychastic practice is essential for Salvation for the reason given by Barlaam of Calabria) .'
 In other words, the devotional practice under discussion is supererogatory. In the second line, the proof is given- The name of God came upon her lips- how? Not from what she considers necessary for her salvation, but because Nature itself, when in ecstasy, cries out the name of God.
True, Faruqi Sahib reads masdar and sifat as having a grammatical meaning and holds that we can't change the necessary into the contingent.
However, the conventional view is
1) It is shirk to say masdar of all substances is necessary.
Piercian hypostatic abstraction is a feature of all languages, formal or otherwise. No entailment of prosopoi or hypostases arises- indeed it is specifically guarded against in Hanafi Islam.
2) It is bida to say praise of masdar is necessary.
When did Caliph Omar do praise of masdar? Show the grounds of likelihood that any significant percentage of the Sahiban did so. Why is it not mentioned in the Sahih hadith of Bukhari?
3) It is ridda to say that words- including those found in the Quran- are only contingent.
In the Quran, unlike the Bible, Allah reveals the names of things to Adam. Even the Mutazilites didn't consider tazmin of Quranic words to suffer the defect of contingency.
Nevertheless, Faruqi Sahib says- 'The simple meaning is that praise of the Lord is impossible/non-contingent [naa-mumkin]. The interpretation of vaajib kaa mumkin nah ho is that vaajib kaa mumkin nahii;N ho saktaa . Here kaa has been used in an extremely fine way. For example, they say aadhe kaa puuraa nahii;N ho saktaa ; that is, the thing that is half cannot become whole.'
So- let's see if we understand you right, Faruqi Sahib. Mir's 'simple meaning' is, just as half can't become whole, so too Religious duty is impossible to perform. Why? Because God is a bastard/ Gimme pork with  mustard.
What is the fucking point of reading a fucking Urdu poet from North fucking India if that's the level of his thought?
Is it really impossible to perform namaz, keep roza, go for Hajj? Maybe for stupid North Indian Urdu speakers. Tamil Muslims face no such difficulty.
But, it is a fact that a pious young Tamil Muslim, A.R. Rehman, shows great veneration for great Urdu poets like Mir. So, I think the simpler explanation is that Faruqi is wrong about this couplet which means- granted, the ecstatic Sufi practice of 'praise of the attributes' is not a supererogatory religious duty or hallmark of Salvation such as God has to exert himself to bring about to fulfill His plan of predestination- nevertheless, as if to prove the contrary, such and such has occurred.
What precisely?
qudrat se us kii lab par naam aave hai khudaa kaa
By the power of Nature (which was Created by God) the name of God has come on that person's lips.
Faruqi Sahib says next-
'In the second line he has said that if the name of the Lord comes to our lips, then this too is through the power of the Lord.'
But Mir hasn't said 'if the name of the Lord comes to our lips'. I'm no scholar but 'us ki' means 'to that person' not 'to us'. But who is 'that person' in the context of the Ghazal? It is the tyrant/beloved. When does the word 'God' come to the lips quite spontaneously or as if from Nature itself? The answer, of course- if you will pardon my coarseness- is in the throes of ecstasy.

Prof Faruqi says- Without the power of the Lord it is not possible that His name comes to the lips. If the Lord would not so wish, or the Lord would not exert his power, then what capacity does mankind have to invoke His name? The meaning of lab par naam aanaa can also be, in addition to 'to mention', 'to remember'. Now the interpretation emerges that if we remember the Lord, then this is His power. For khudaa ki qudrat there are three meanings. One is the one that has been mentioned above, that this is an expression of the Lord's power. Reference has also been made to the second meaning, that if the Lord so wills, only then can we bring his name to our lips. The third meaning is exclamatory, that if his name comes upon our lips, then that is his power. That is, that if even deaf-mutes like us, or even sinners like us, remember him and mention him, then if this isn't the power of the Lord, then what is it?
Moreover, in the whole line is hidden the meaning that if the Lord's name comes to our lips only through the will of the Lord himself, then if we don't remember him, what sin do we commit? To encompass so many meanings within a verse of praise [;hamd] is a difficulty fit for Mir alone. On the basis of its fineness of meaning, the troublesome entanglement of the first line (or rather its weakness of poetic structure [na:zm], which is very rare in Mir) becomes acceptable.
The problem here is that Faruqi is missing out all the philosophical subtlety in Islam and thus reducing Mir's couplet to imbecility and antinomianism of a cliched, Orientalist, Omar Khayyam type. It is sheer imbecility for a Muslim to say 'if we don't remember the Lord (i.e. pray regularly) then we don't commit any sin'. This is like saying 'If I don't wash my hands after going to the toilet, I don't breach McD's code of conduct. They have no right to sack me. Why? Because they have the power to force their employees to wash their hands after taking a dump. Yet, I was an employee when I took the dump. I was still an employee when I failed to wash my hands. Only after I emerged from the bathroom with shit stained hands was I sacked. No failure of mine occurred. The failure was McDonald's. They didn't use their power to make me wash my hands while I was still in the bathroom.'
Faruqi's reading of this couplet cashes out as
1) Mir was stupid. If he thought he was a Muslim it was only because he was a stupid Indian donkey.
2) Mir wasn't a Muslim. He was just too cowardly to come out and say so.

Faruqi also misses out what is poetic about the second line- thus, on his reading, not only is Mir stupid and not Muslim, he is also not a poet.
The fact is people who cry out 'Jesus Christ!' or 'Sarah Palin!' while in the throes of passion- pace Faruqi- aren't actually 'remembering' God, nor is it a type of prayer which the Lord himself must exert his omnipotence to specifically bring about. This is because, though 'remembering God' even at the moment of orgasm may indeed be a necessary part of one's self surrender to the Deity it is 'vajib-e-mumkin' something possible and perhaps deontically enjoined but carrying no entailment property such that God necessarily causes it to occur.
Pritchett writes- The first half of the first line is in fact doubly confusing because the normal, least-marked meaning of mumkin is not 'contingent' (in a philosophical sense) but 'possible', in a plain everyday sense, so that nah mumkin readily suggests naa-mumkin , 'impossible'. The reader's mind plays with ways that some necessary thing might prove also to be impossible, a (Ghalib-like) paradox so enjoyable that it's hard to let go of it. But that kaa does do what SRF says-- it makes the expression idiomatic, since normally an adjective like vaajib simply won't have a kaa after it. It forces the expression to become, 'to make OF the necessary, the contingent' and denies us the chance to read 'the necessary would not be possible'.
This is quite foolish. A necessary thing which proves impossible is simply an instance of an axiom system being shown to be inconsistent. It is something a priori known to be wrong. There is no question of 'the mind playing about' in this arena. If you do the sum 5 plus 10 on your calculator and you get back 'battery low' on the screen your mind does not play around with stuff. No gorgeous Ghalibian paradoxes arise. You just put in new batteries.
Why is Pritchett compelled to utter such idiocy? It is because she does not understand that vajib can mean something highly specific in the poetry of a Hanafi majority country- viz. a type of duty which is essentially poetic. With respect to that type of duty, granted there is no necessary entailment of a particular ecstatic Sufi practice founded upon something which, in Christendom, we might link with prosopoi and hesychasm, yet nevertheless, is it not remarkable that, in reverie, we see Nature itself wringing from her lips the cry 'O God!'

What's wrong with saying Mir or Ghalib or whoever was a Muslim? What's wrong with saying Urdu is a proper Muslim language? Are you worried that this hands an easy victory to illiterate, N.R.I, Hindutva nutjobs like me?  If so, it still behooves you to give the hate-mongers a walkover every-time on those questions where they are logically in the right. Not to do so damages the ethos of what you seek to defend. Moreover, our nature, of itself, is brisk to beat anyone who thinks being Right creates Might- so that's entirely forgivable.
What is unforgivable is treating dead Brown Men as illiterate imbeciles unable to profit by the philosophical hermeneutics of the very traditions they enriched.  Why? Because them Dead Brown Chaps were good poets- at least in comparison with the merely brain-dead Brown person who is writing this-

If prayer & fasting is to our back a rod
Must Nature in ecstasy cry out 'God!'?
Upon Men, Mercy, Mystics explain
 Love is the crutch of Tamburlane

Friday, 19 July 2013

Shuka

A haggard visage in the Waitrose queue
Of one once as lovely as yet are you 
Is Memory's screaming Valkyrie
& the only yield on my Husbandry

No Prophet permits Time's dispraise
In the maze of God, days are delays
  Kaala, as Krishna, Conatus forbids
& Chemosh Christ devours our kids.

The parrot's mirror wakes Heaven's Rage
Who puzzles Pillaiyar breaks Shuka's cage
Wanly I wonder at the audacity of the theft
The Morning of the World- Sun bereft




I was wondering whether Hindi 'der'- delay- as in 'Bhagwan ke ghar mein der hai andher nahin'- is from the Arabic word for Aeon used in the Hadith I mention. I suppose I could look it up. Okay, just did. It's from the Persian so I'm guessing yes. No wonder us hereditary Babus liked tying everything up in red-tape- God is the Aeon, but in Hindi the Aeon is delay.

Neo-Liberalism & Bastard Keynesianism

Neo-liberalism differs from Classical Liberalism in that it has no class basis and therefore can be indifferent to the dilemmas of Classical Liberal Political Theory. In its Anglo-American incarnation, Coase's theorem justifies eliding issues of ownership while Game theory, as developed by Nash, Aumann, Shapley, Muth, Schelling etc, justifies dropping the notion that a particular class must have a certain dominant 'virtue' or 'drive' and thus it is important to conserve that virtue or drive by promoting a certain set of values. 

In a sense, between '38 to '68, neo-liberalism could be considered a sibling of 'bastard Keynesianism' which cashed out as a type of  Aggregate Demand Management which claimed to protect foolish Workers from the consequences of their own folly- i.e. their 'money illusion', leading to downward stickiness of nominal wages, which might price them out of the market- and prevent Mass Unemployment through 'hidden' Inflation. However, Trade Union leaders did not actually suffer from money illusion and, in fact, under conditions of over-full employment, were able to increase Labour's share of National Income by increasing real, not nominal, wages. This in turn meant that the beneficial ownership of Capital passed increasingly into Labour's hands but mediated through the Institutional Investor. The Managerial Capitalism of the 50's & 60's had certainly been influenced by the War economy- Japan is the best exemplar of this- and could work within an essentially Mercantilist 'Keynesian' model. However, from '68 onwards, Institutional investors (Pension funds, Insurance companies etc) sought higher returns by seeking to break the 'divorce between ownership and control' represented by Managerialism and to release value, hidden on Corporate Balance Sheets, through 'asset stripping' and predatory Mergers & Acquisitions. Merchant Banks gained power and wealth by intermediating this process and wrested control from the Retail side of the business, which in any case faced a disintermediation problem of its own because some big Corporations could raise funds more cheaply than the Clearing Banks could themselves. This created the Wagnerian climate wherein the Managerial Class, a dragon perched upon its horde of hidden gold, colluded in its own slaying by the uncouth Siegfrieds of the Chicago School.

From 78 to 2008, neo-liberals gloried in their divorce from 'bastard Keynesianism- especially because of the 'great Moderation' of the Business Cycle- indeed, they denied any marriage had occurred- but what we now see is that the true situation was like totally China Town- neo-Liberalism needs both alimony and child-support from that Bastard Keynesianism but our prim & proper Prof. Gardiner, as is befitting a Scholar of English Literature, is far too strait-laced to come out and tell us so.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Is Sanjay Subhramanyam the ghost of Vasco da Gama?

Like me, Sanjay Subhramanyam, the author of 'Is Indian Civilization a Myth?- is a middle aged Tam Bram of repellent aspect and ludicrously half-baked views . Still, notwithstanding such epigenetic drawbacks, his ancestral heritage also included an evolving, Neurath's raft type, concept of territories where it was permissible to sojourn or settle without loss of caste- i.e. injury to the Manes & thus hysteresis related harm to the commonweal- as opposed to other territories where the matter was either doubtful or definitely reckless. The same was true for Kashmiri Kauls, Bengali Babus, Jalandhari Joshis and so on. Essentially, India has developed immunity to the idiocy of hereditary Brahmins & aleatory Shramans. We are welcome to emigrate- Mother Ind will thank us for it- but forbidden to appease the Ancestors solely by recycling witless shite in our new abode because to do so would be to become a Mephistophelian Cross Roads demon offering Faustian pacts to that new Oikumene's  Credentialist Academy or crapulous Shatter zone.

Taken together, Bhraminical notions of permissible settlement areas and peripatetic fora for prattling shite, generated a 'ship of Theseus' like notion of Indian Civilization that a plurality of Pan Indian Castes autonomously subscribed to and sustained for millennia.

Unfortunately, Sanju Baba doesn't believe that Civilizations can be like the ship of Theseus- i.e. something which abides though all its components are swapped out and replaced- rather he is the Vasco da Gama of a very different type of Ship- something which passes for Scholarship but which is actually a ghostly caravel out of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' or some other such Disneyland attraction, by a meretricious recourse to which, History professors discharge their child-minding duties at American Colleges.
The shameful aspect of it is that Sanju isn't actually a proper, Kal Penn type, stoner American Sophomore but a P.G. Woodhouse reading desi transplant. In other words, the fellow started off as a feeble & four eyed Gussie Fink-Nottle same as the rest of us.
Suppose Sanju Baba had asked his granny- 'Pati, what is Indian Civilization? Is it a myth? Did the British invent it? Or was it the Turukas? Kindly enlighten me due to I iz writing a book on the topic.'
 What would Sanju's granny have replied?
I don't know but my guess is something like- 'Shave your face you disgusting little poddiyan! Only 5 years old but already putting on such airs and graces is it? Remember the song 'not everybody with mustache is Bharati, not every beardie is Tagore.' As for your question re. Indian civilization- it is not a Myth, or Noble Lie, but a Convention- i.e. a David Lewis type solution to a Co-ordination problem which has persisted and been propagated by our own ancestors for about 2000 years- give or take.'
Sanju Baba, no doubt, would have replied 'It is not convincing to speak of an Indian Civilization that had been perfected by the Gupta era. Clearly something which hasn't been perfected can't be a Schelling focal point because ...urm... well I'm actually an Economist so I know about these things.'
Granny's riposte would be- 'Fuck you know from Econ you worthless bearded retard? It's when things aren't 'perfect, homeostatic, closed systems' that Co-ordination problems gain salience in a manner which generates the notion of a broader mechanism design univocity- i.e. a reverse 'Zomia' of 'Governability' -  or Civilizational unity, underlying what is local and particular. Since you are Indian, belong to the Brahmin caste, and are emic to Indian Civilization, it follows that it would be a singular act of filial impiety, a nihilistic act of epistemic vandalism, to pretend that Indian civilization is a myth invented by acharabrashta Nehruvians or anti-casteist Nativist nut-jobs and that India is merely a collection of demon haunted cross-roads, from which all purely primrose paths lead to Hell, and not at all the cohesive 'karma bhumi' where the fire walk of rituals faithfully performed- a duty owed your Manes- repairs a collective Ethos and restores the possibility of Cosmic apocatastasis.'
Sanju replies- 'But, Granny, some White people have said the same thing! So they must be wrong coz they iz White and don't take oil bath or eat thairr shadam.'
Granny- 'Nonsense. White people don't say anything sensible at all. Even if they do- you just kindly ignore them & wobble your head & say 'India phery hot!' till they go away. All Whiteys are either demons or Mleccha evil-doers- for whose destruction Vishnu takes misleading incarnations like Vamana, Buddha, Gandhi etc- and, unless deluded by the Kalki of Eco-Feminism- they will try to entice you either  to become a Christian and eat beef or else to grow a stinking great beard and smoke beedis and pretend to be some horrible sort of JNU jhollawallah constantly eating Gobi Manchurian at some foul smelling dhaba rather than properly tucking into thairr shadam. Mind it kindly. Aiyayo.'
Sanju- 'But, Pati, my own researches have revealed that several centuries after the arrival of Vasco da Gama on Indian shores, there was no single dominant idea of India in writings by Westerners: several contradictory views existed depending on whether one wrote from Madurai or Agra, whether one was Protestant or Catholic, whether one knew Persian or Sanskrit, and so on. However, by the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a new homogeneity can be found in views of what India was. This picture, produced by Western Orientalists and their Indian assistants, tended to focus on Sanskrit as the true source of Indian culture (demoting Persian in the process), and there was also a search for an Indian Golden Age. Minority voices contested this view, but they were few and far between. Indian popular culture was also largely set aside in favor of an obsession with high culture.'
Granny- 'What did you expect? Ignorant White people talked different types of ignorant nonsense about India. Once some money was spent on finding out the truth- well, if not the truth, then formulating a colligationally coherent Research Program- then, naturally, by reason of a textual availability bias, Sanskrit learning and 'Margi' High Culture predominated in shaping their idea of India, the same way that the Renaissance restored Greek learning as the fountainhead of an oikumenic notion of European Christendom. 
'BTW, Persian was on its way out already because the meta-metaphorhicity of sabak-e-hindi shite exponentially increased semiotic slippage away from both Sanity and Islam's Arabic roots.
 'The bottom line is nothing sinister or indeed surprising happened to the idea of India. whether emic or etic. Textual availability cascades created Schelling focal points for the underlying colligational Co-ordination problem and so capacitance diversity got Canalised in a convergently Baldwinian manner.
'Still, that's not to say White people aint totally shit- don't marry a fucking Mleccha Mem Sahib, hear me, boy? She might mistake you for a rational human being rather than a typical Tambram idiot who requires being whacked on the head with a rolling pin from time to time. Anyway, we've got a great big, equally densely bearded, bharat natyam dancing, Sumo wrestler of a Freak Show attraction already lined up for you to marry- provided you settle down to writing Code- but, okay, re. White historians- sure, they may have improved a bit once they got Indian assistants. BUT what's important is NOBODY FUCKING CARED! Historians are shit, have zero power and also they are shit and did I mention they were totally fucking shit? I did? Well then. 
'Anyway, the British Queen- Mountbatten as he was known- slyly fucked off back to Blighty long before you were born. So just ignore them stupid cunt-queefing White Historians and concentrate on writing Code. Have regular oil bath. Eat only thairr shadam. & shave your fucking face you fucking retard! You think they'll give you a Green Card to Yemrika if you look like Osama fucking Laden you worthless shithead? '
Sanju- 'But, Pati, isn't it It is remarkable that both Indian reformers and neo-traditionalists of the 19th century bought into this view, and a strange complicity came to exist between these two apparently opposed strands?'
Granny- 'Nonsense. It isn't remarkable at all. What you say is true of all colligational availability cascades and strategic preference falsification programs which yield Credentialist rents.'
Sanju- 'But isn't it a fact that the epoch from the 12th to the 18th centuries was portrayed in dark hues, and if some felt Westernisation was the antidote to the malady, others proposed a return to the real roots of Indian civilisation?
Granny- You stupid fuckwit, don't you understand that between the 12th and 18th Century Islam was burgeoning on the sub-continent? What did you expect rent-seeking Christian & Hindu writers to do? Say "Islam is way cool. Let's all convert?' How could they say that and still draw a rent as exponents of their own Religion with a claim to obligatory passage point status within the State's interessement mechanism for Soft Power? Don't forget, this was before the Saudis got all them petro-dollars.
Sanju- Still, Pati, you have to admit, something very sinister was going on. What was this pristine culture to which a return was proposed? Carnatic music played on the violin (an 18th-century import from Europe), or dances performed to the texts of Kshetrayya that came precisely from this period!
Granny- 'Fuck off. Kindly read the Jaimini Mimamsa Sutra you fucking acharabrashta Smarta poddiyan. Substitutability is constructive of Essence. Without it, there is no Intentionality- i.e. no Yagnya, no Apurvata, no karma kanda.
'Culture can not have the quality of being 'pristine' without there having been extensive Ship of Theseus style substitution of a deliberately apocatastatic type. Otherwise it is not Culture but Noumenal Nature- not Samskar, but Samadhi- which is a totally different bag, you worthless jhollawallah cunt. 
'BTW Kshetrayya- whose biopic you watched on Doordarshan in the Seventies- died in the Seventeenth Century. How fucking ignorant and deracinated are you actually?'
Sanju- But, Pati, in north India, ultra-purists insisted that Dhrupad should be favoured over Khayal, and invented a bogus Vedic genealogy for the former, forgetting that it was heavily influenced by Mughal court culture.
Granny- Really? The Dagars forgot Mughal court culture? Suck my dick you worthless piece of shit!
Sanju- ' As for devotional religion such as we know it today in India, most of it is the product of the period from the 14th century onwards, whether in Maharashtra, Punjab or Bengal.'
Granny, 'OMG! Do you really not understand that stuff from the 15th century is gonna be based on stuff from the 14th and so on? Okay, you iz a Tambram- i.e. a fuckwit by definition. But even the stupidest drunkard of a Tambram retard knows that Tamils didn't invent Bhakti and then export it to the Bhaiyyas up North.. It's there in the Rg Veda. North Indian Riti poetry goes to a whole heap of trouble integrating Bhakti with Purva Mimamsa & Sankhya & so on. Read Tulsi you worthless shit. He's got a better sense of humor than P.G. Woodhouse- God of the Indglish speaking Tambram- keep that in mind and, babe, that fucking two lota maryada bhakta U.P bhaiyya, like he will jus' blow your mind- no kidding. Aiyayo'.
Sanju- 'Yes, well, the truth is horrible British Whiteys only got to rule over India and make us wear chaddi rather than go commando due to some White historian wrote a book which showed that Brits were so nice and Indians really liked them and I wanna be a White man, Pati! Do you think if I just let my beard overgrown my face and body and, like, if it turns silver, people will take me for a white Dorai?'
Granny- 'Taking the last part of your question first- the beard don't fool nobody. Talcum powder is the way to go. As for that shite about British historians forcing us to wear chaddi- Fuck off. White historians wrote shite which nobody read. They had no power.  Some Brits in India made money and used that money in a corrupt manner to get the British Navy and Army and so on to make them yet richer.  So long as the money train kept rolling- India was British. When it stopped the Brits did a corrupt deal with the Indian power elite and slyly fucked off.  What some fuckwit wrote, whether or not it was published or found its way into some dusty archive, is fucking irrelevant.
'The truth is, Sanju Baba, you're just as fucking stupid as Ranajit Guha! You think there was some big conspiracy just coz some White shitheads wrote some crap and some Indian shitheads, mainly Bongs, wrote similar shite. I told you already. Fuck history- only shitheads write it and fucking Right Wing Hindutva nutjob bloggers get worked up over it- just concentrate on writing Computer Code and get a proper job with INFOSYS. Don't let them fob you off with a Professorship or a History Prize or a Beard Support Grant or something of that sort. Incidentally, your notion of what 'pristine culture' ought to look like is totally fucked in the head. Don't you understand, the fact that proto-R.S.S types were peeing upstream from your own fucking bathing ghat means that you have been doing tarpana with their urine? All that time spent wanking in the library book-stacks and the Carnatic violin is all you could come up with? Fuck is wrong with you?'
Sanju- 'R.S.S Svayamsevaks are oppressing me!  I wanted to dedicate myself to English only and write Cricket stories like P.G. Woodhouse. By their occult practices, the khaki- knickerwallahs made me learn Hindi and Urdu and Persian and Arabic and other such Mleccha languages! All them fucking Chitpavans are just a bunch of crypto-Turukas, if not half-caste Whiteys! 
'I have been grossly polluted, Aiyayo! Gimme my oil bath and thairr shadam! I must perform prayaschitam! : if cultural cleansing is to start in India, we might begin by returning the khaki shorts of the R.S.S to their place of origin.'
Granny- 'But khaki shorts were invented in India. What? You think the Europeans wore khaki shorts previously? In any case, last thing we need is them RSS gerontocrats parading around in the nuddy. Chee, chee dirty boy kindly evict that owl which has taken up residence in your beard. OMG! It isn't an owl at all! It's Teesta Setalvad! Heeeeeelp!' 
Sanjay Subhramanyam- 'Ha ha ha ha! I yam the ghost of Vasco da Gama. Ha ha ha ha! I will eat the brains of Pres. Obama! Ha ha ha ha!'



Saturday, 13 July 2013

Boring Road- Amitava Kumar revisits Bihar

Amitava Kumar has written a line worthy of Naipaul-
'In conversation, Leela would speak of herself as a journalist and an actress. I felt that she mistook ambition for achievement, and I began to like her less.' 
But Naipaul wrote as a foreigner, a journalist; Kumar & Mishra et al, aren't foreigners, they are Biharis. Amitava was just a few years older than Leela, he probably had relatives or colleagues who had been 'Communist Party workers' and thus it was perfectly natural for Leela to ask him for help in getting a scholarship to train as an actress. What possible 'achievement' as opposed to 'ambition' could Leela  have had as a recently married woman in her early 20's?
When Naipaul writes of 'mistaking ambition for achievement' it is within a larger framework of passing judgment on a Development model of a specific Rostovian 'Nation Building' kind. What wider framework underpins Kumar or Mishra's Naipaulian cadence? Is it the reflection that jhollawallah types in Patna are somehow even more pathetic and ludicrous than jhollawallah types at J.N.U or Ivy League?
Kumar invokes Rashomon. Why? Has this something to do with Kurosawa's own political beliefs? Or is it just that a b&w film from 1950 is the proper lens through which to view Patna because...urm... well, Bihar is just so damn backward yaar. They have just this one mall and it's located on Boring Road. Seriously. That's the name of the road. Every other alleyway and cul de sac gets renamed M.G. marg or J.P chowk, but when you have an actual great big thoroughfare called Boring road, the Biharis refuse to change its name to something more boring yet. Is it just me or do other people think mebbe them dehati bhaiyyas, with their exquisitely Buddhist sense of humor, have been laughing at us all these years?

Can 'Informed Consent' operationalize the Categorical imperative?

Can  an 'informed consent' procedure- as in Medical practice, where the Doctor has either more information than the patient, or else superior dispassion, thus creating an asymmetry which problematizes a relationist, as opposed to substantivist, Ethics - operationalize the Kantian categorical imperative? Manson & O'Neill say no, but Alasdair Maclean disagrees.
(Vide Autonomy, Informed Consent and Medical Law: A Relational Challenge,  By Alasdair Maclean)

What are the salient features of the Doctor/ Patient game w.r.t Informed Consent?
1) The Doctor, in seeking informed consent for a particular therapy, is- consciously or not-  advancing a particular Scientific Research Program (SRP) in which he has invested all of himself, or indeed borrowed more than he can ever amount to, by reason of an absolute or comparative advantage in specializing in that particular therapeutic practice. This advantage may have arisen by chance or else it might have been acquired through the arduous or aleatory travails of the Doctor's own subjective, Bayesian, trajectory evaluative of different therapies.
By enrolling the patient in a particular therapeutic regimen, a data-set is augmented which privileges the SRP the Doctor himself is professionally invested in. In other words, just by seeking informed consent, a self-regarding element has entered the equation.  To cancel it out would require the Doctor to play Devil's Advocate for alternative therapies, or the null option, at least as well as if he had an acquired, absolute or comparative advantage in each of those therapies and invested exactly the same amount of time and passion on espousing and nurturing each. 
A related point is that it may be the case that different therapies place different weightings on the components of well being and hold different opinions on what symptoms are malign or, indeed, disabling,
This being the case, the very nature of the information/disapassion asymmetry between Doctor & Patient militates for the former's heteronomy. The Kantian Doctor needn't quit Medicine- he could still sign my sick note and prescribe my Viagra- but must give up on seeking 'informed consent' as opposed to simply hanging out his shingle and touting for business like any other tradesman.
2)  The patient's choice of therapist has both a psychological and a physiological effect. It may be that there is a trade-off between short-term dysphoria and long term physiological healing such that the Quack is initially more effective than the Doctor. If the Patient's 'time preference' is an objective datum, does a Kantian Patient have a duty to consult the Quack and tell the Doctor to go hang?  Clearly, 'time preference' itself would be determined by life expectancy. However, the certainty of imminent death might lead to meta-preferences dominating the decision process in an unpredictable way.
Both the 'Doctor's dilemma' & the 'Patient's trilemma'- which relate to hysteresis effects arising from information exchange- militate for a mixed strategy or, what cashes out as the same thing, some internal psycho-drama whose output is stochastic. This means that 'informed consent' looks operationalizable but only at a macro level leaving Kantian relationism pointing mutely at Tardean mimetic heteronomy.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Ramachandra Guha's admonition to the Indglish Speaking Classes


Make Magic your sole Study now in Science we so have sinned
& Say, not Vande Mataram, but 'Hail to Mother Ind!'
That for Gandhi & for Nehru the Governess she hired
Still has lessons for us tho' Mary Poppins has retired

Friday, 5 July 2013

Nehru's affair with Allen Dulles

Everybody knows about Nehru's affair with Lady Mountbatten but what about his fling with, notorious slut & Cold War era, CIA chief Allen Dulles?
 The young Dulles had come  to Allahabad, in 1914, to teach Agronomy to horny handed Indian peasants by the time honoured method of making them memorize Shakespeare. When this occupation palled he'd drop in on the Nehru's at Anand Bhawan for a spot of R&R.
This is not to say there was any great love love lost between the Princeton graduate and the Cambridge alumnus, still, to do him justice, Dulles did admit that the young Nehru was 'a stiff fellow' which, at the end of the day, is all that really matters in affairs of that kind.
It is a damning indictment of official Pakistani historiography that it has utterly failed to highlight the manner in which Nehru's amorous proclivities led to the betrayal of the Muslim cause, first by the British, but then also  the Americans.
Former BJP stalwart, Jaswant Singh, too, can't escape censure for concealing this skeleton in the closet of Nehruvian Diplomacy.