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!'



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Subrahmanyam argues that “we need to see India not as a civilisation but as a crossroads, as a space open to external influences rather than a simple exporter of culture to its neighbours”. A national culture that lacks the confidence to admit that “like all other national cultures, it too is a hybrid, a crossroads, a mixture of elements derived from chance encounters and unforeseen consequences, can only take the path to xenophobia and cultural paranoia.” - See more at: http://caravanmagazine.in/books/master-centuries#sthash.FnmTD4yx.dpuf
I think the problem with Subhramanyam's historiography is that it does not have a theory of cultural continuity and assimilation. What is the mechanism whereby a 'chance encounter' leads to a normative change? How do normative changes go from being epigenetic to phylogenetic? What are the channels through which change is disseminated?
There may be a few people who believed that Indian culture was an exporter of culture, but received no influence from outside but how significant were they? Why is Subhramanyam engaged in an Oedipal struggle with them? Was Partha Chatterjee one of them? Was Ranajit Guha? Has there in fact been a single eminent historian a decade or two senior or junior to Subhramanyam who has maintained such a thesis? If not, why is Subhramanyam tilting at those windmills and laying waste to those straw-men?
If Subhramanyam's view is correct then some of the corollaries that follow are
1) twilight clauses for caste or tribe based affirmative action. If discrimination against Dalits or OBC's or whatever was the product of a chance encounter and if chance encounters determine historical trajectories then there is nothing specifically Indian which continually re-inscribes them.
2) break up the Indian Nation State. It is an accidental agglomeration of heterogenous territories and can only maintain itself by systematic violence.
3) Carve out confessional states for non-Hindus out of the territory of India. Why? Hinduism can only generate paranoia and xenophobia. Islam can generate patriotism and an openness to influence from Islamic countries. Christianity can do the same w.r.t Christian countries. But K.Subhramanyam, Sanjay's father, in boosting National defence, was doing something paranoid and xenophobic and evil and mad because he was decreasing the frequency of 'chance encounters' like invasion, genocide, mass rape and enslavement, which alone animates the country and gives it the semblance of life.
4)The fact that India has no history- just chance encounters- does not mean that no other country is incapable of having a history. So Indian history is only valuable if its study can yield sufficient money or prestige to permit emigration to a country which does have history and thus the will and the means to protect itself from 'chance encounters' in the same way that the DNA has evolved means to repair the effect of random mutations.