Sunday, 17 December 2017

Amartya Sen & Indian academic freedom

Amartya Sen says-
“The stifling of academic freedom has been, I think, the biggest factor behind why we don’t have a single top university in India,” 
Indian Universities were created in 1857 on the model of the University of London which was incorporated in 1836. This was the first University in Britain, since the Reformation, which permitted Catholics, Dissernters, Jews etc to take degrees. Unlike British India, where Catholics or Dissenters or Hindus or Muslims or anyone else at all was permitted to set up a College, the letter of the law in the United Kingdom made this difficult though some Dissenting sects were powerful enough to run their own Academies more or less openly. The incorporation of London University breached the Anglican monopoly of Higher Education and soon many Colleges of various types affiliated themselves with London University. However, Oxford and Cambridge- despite their 'stifling of academic freedom' in the matter of confessional faith- retained their position as 'top Universities'


By contrast, academic freedom has been always wholly unfettered in India. Nothing prevents or has prevented anyone from setting up an Academic institution in India. Nabadwip, which Sir William Jones, mentions as an alma mater equal to Oxford enjoyed perfect autonomy. Did this 'Oxford of the East' outshine the actual Oxford which did not have academic freedom? Nope. It was shite. It disappeared. Sen studied at Presidency College Calcutta- which started as Hindu College. It had academic freedom of a sort highly congenial to the Left. It has been in continuous decline longer than I've been alive. By contrast, Peking University has shot up so much since Tiananmen Square that it is in the top 20. Both Presidency College and Peking University have taken their present shape under Communist administrations. The Indian College had more academic freedom. Much good it did it.

Indian Colleges have always been free in a way which China and Singapore could never envisage. Affiliation with a University is a matter of choice and degree. Indian Universities, ab ovo,  did little save provide basic inspection and examination services to affiliated colleges. At no time was there any 'stifling of academic freedom' save such as would arise by the ordinary operation of the Law of the land. Thus the same laws regarding sedition and disturbing the peace would apply on or off the campus. But this is universally true.  'Benefit of clergy' disappeared long ago.

London University now has 3 Colleges which are in the global top 20. Indian Universities can make no similar boast. Why? London is rich. India is poor. This was true in 1857 and it remains true today.

One reason London  is rich is because Governments have not been afraid of pushing through pretty drastic reforms of a sort which Sen has descried. Indian Education would greatly benefit by similar harsh tactics- as indeed has begun to happen. But Sen is himself a road-block.

 Poverty, by itself, explains little. Israel was poor in the Fifties. A Professor at Presidency College, Calcutta, who moved to Technion University in Haifa, would have suffered a sharp fall in standard of living. But, he would probably have started to produce better quality research. Why? Israelis- rude, uncouth, and poor as they were at the time- had no interest in Credentials but, rather, possessed a genuine passion for Research. They weren't simply going through the motions so as to cash a salary cheque or get a bureaucratic berth. The first generation of Zionists, and then of 'sabras' were almost pathologically political. Technion had replaced German with Hebrew as the language of instruction at a time when Hebrew had less scientific literature than Bengali or Tamil. Yet, this was not a recipe for disaster. Why?  Israelis were happiest challenging paradigms and producing path-breaking work. By contrast, in India, even first class minds- like S.N. Bose and D.D Kausambi- got distracted by an essentially futile type of political posturing which however had greater prestige. Kausambi pretended to know Sanskrit and to be a Historian while presenting crazy 'proofs' of the Reimann Hypothesis. Was this because 'academic freedom was stifled'? No. It was because Indians- like Amartya Sen- prefer worthless political posturing to doing path breaking research.

I suppose, one could say Israel and China can draw upon their very talented diasporas to burnish their Academies. But, since the Sixties, so can India. The big difference is that India thinks of Higher Education as a positional good, not something which raises productivity and contributes to National Defence. China has no academic freedom and never will. It will have a lot of top Universities nevertheless because Universities can contribute to the Economy and National Defence. By some measures, two authoritarian countries, China and tiny Singapore have 10 percent of the top Universities. India has and will have none- unless Academic freedom is severely curtailed and the tax payer gets value for money. India won't take this sensible course because Universities are parasitical. Thus, by default, 'academic freedom'- as represented by Sen's numerous acolytes- means combating patriotism in all its forms.

Unlike Amartya Sen, Philip Albach actually knows a lot about both Indian Universities and what makes for global excellence. He says that India is like the USA in that the Federal Government has little control over Higher Education. Countries like UK and Sweden, on the other hand, can 'stifle academic freedom'- which, it turns out, is a good thing.


So there you have it. Britain has top universities because it stifles academic freedom. India does not because it can't be bothered. Japan has top university departments in Science and Technology because it has high staff to student ratios in these fields and uses the kenkyĆ«shitsu seminar system such that a successful Scientist has a 'Guru-chela' relationship with his students. This is purely feudal and stifles the shite out of politically conscious students- which is a good thing because political consciousness is a degenerative disease of the mind. Sweden is moving to more autonomy but, currently, students can only sue to get back their fees, not the opportunity cost of their time, if their degree is worthless. Since only non EU students pay fees, Swedish students will continue to get screwed. So much for autonomy without responsibility- except that of repaying fees for worthless degrees to litigious Americans.

Come to think of it Rahul Gandhi has a worthless degree from the College of which Sen was the Master.  Sue the bastids, Rahul! You will become a hero to hundreds of thousands of desis whose families have gone into debt to get them a phoren Credential.

Why Academic Freedom must suppress itself.

 The following definition of the subject of this post seems uncontroversial-
academic freedom guards the liberties of a professor in two broad areas:
1)  his right within the academic community to pursue and promulgate truth without restrictions or censorship from the University Administration,2)  and his right, in the public sphere, to enjoy the freedoms of association and expression which any citizen possesses. 
(1) is otiose. It is already covered by contract law. If I am hired as a member of a particular profession- be it Medicine or Accountancy or Pedagogy- it is understood that a breach of contract would arise if I were not permitted to do what right-minded members of my profession would do in the same situation.
2) is redundant. Everybody already possesses this right whether on not they practice a profession.

Clearly this definition of 'academic freedom' is meaningless.
Why has it been offered? Let us see-
At the core of all issues of academic freedom is the question of tenure; it is the safeguard which allows a professor to to exercise his rights without fear of intimidation from either University or public officials.
This is foolish. What matters is not tenure but transfer earnings- if a person can get paid enough without loss of reputation by another employer, then no further safeguard is needed. If this is not the case, then no safeguard really exists, the University could find other ways to work its will. Moreover, there would be no genuine 'academic community' whom the Professor could address. There would be merely a bunch of needy and therefore pliable individuals whose more pressing concern would be the miseries of their lot rather than abstract alethic project.

Academic Freedom only becomes effectual if pedagogues have adequate transfer earnings in Industry- including the Service sector. But, in that case, Industry has the whip hand. The Academy will have to suppress inutile or absurd courses of instruction. It will be obliged to suppress its own more foolish availability cascades. In the short run, endowments or information asymmetry may provide a buffer. Long term, the freedom of the Academy must be suppressed if Academics are to enjoy freedom. The alternative is the whole thing degenerating into a cult.

Still, there will always appear to be an interregnum in which senile or Sen-tentious Professors can pose as battling some invidious 'Fascism' or 'Manufacture of Consent' by speaking 'Truth to Power' while actually defending only their own tenured cabal.

But, all too evidently, once Professors start talking this type of tripe, their Research Programs are dead in the water.

Why?

To be rigorous an Academic Research Program should be more selective of datum and to be productive it should have more 'variables' than the equivalent Public Discourse. Thus any alethic Academic activity will have fewer degrees of freedom than its Public Discourse counterpart.

Furthermore, if academics are independent, then some set of otherwise alethic Research Programs will nevertheless fail because of 'over-fitting'- i.e. their decomposition of Public Discourse variables is problematic. Ejected from the Academy these failed Programs get dammed up elsewhere in Public Discourse as capacitance diversity.

In other words, a 'free' and 'independent', ideal Academy will feature shakeouts and 'creative destruction' even of alethic Research Programs which continue to solve co-ordination or concurrency problems in the wider world. Thus, 'tenure' is a bad idea unless there is technological stagnation and the ageing process involves no diminution of mental powers.

Even if the Academy features Market Failure so extreme as to militate against adequate transfer earnings, there would be a Coasian solution such that the same feature reappears. In other words 'expulsion' and 'exclusion' and other narcissistic injuries enforcing Kantian heteronomy will be a more, not less, salient feature of the Enterprise of the Gown as opposed to the Town.

In recent years, some Academics, have suggested that Academic Freedom is as necessary as Judicial Freedom. Once appointed, an Academic must have security of tenure and emoluments and perquisites and so forth. This argument is obviously specious. Judges and Judges alone interpret laws for the whole of Society. The public is welcome to change those laws by pressurising the Legislature. Academics have no similar standing. A Professor, speaking generally, is stupider, more ignorant and of worse character than an expert practitioner or observer of the relevant field. We may listen to a Professor on TV speaking of some subject in which we have no real interest but we wholly disregard, or greet with derision, the pronouncements of Professors who teach subjects which affect us personally. Thus, I don't mind listening to some stupid Professor talking nonsense about Nicaragua on TV- because that is a country I have no interest in. I won't listen to a colleague of that same Professor talking nonsense about Brexit because Brexit affects me personally. If some Nicaraguan Professor comes on BBC and spouts nonsense about Brexit, I'll be outraged and lodge a complaint. Of course, there are some TV channels where only ideological nonsense is talked. That is a separate matter.

Suppose a mathesis universalis exists and some sub-set of Academics are guided to superior judgments on its basis. In this case, there is an argument for granting certain Academics an autonomous status similar to Judges. However, this would mean that Academics would be far less free than they are currently in the same way that Judges are less free when pronouncing judgment. Thus an Academic who knows that Brexit will be a disaster will be obliged to say 'There is no evidence that Brexit will be a disaster', just as a Judge has to pronounce a homicidal maniac innocent of murder because of some obscure point of law or procedural error.

There are two reasons why the Academy should have less freedom than Society at large-

1) It deals, at least in part, with alethic Research Programs for which algorithmic decision procedures are refined. Thus, its discourse needs to be more protocol bound

2) It deals with impressionable young people who face an information asymmetry problem.


Taken together, these two considerations explain why the Academy should always have less freedom than Society at large. It's fine if alchemists and astrologers are turfed out of the University along with some novel type of astronomy- like that of Galileo- provided Society at large has greater freedom to pick up that ball and run with it.

There may be Theological or Ideological or Legal objections to a particular Academic Research Program which is in fact alethic. These objections don't matter even if they result in an act of exclusion provided there is  some sector of Society which enjoys greater freedom than the University to find productive applications for that Program.

Conversely,  if the Academy has more freedom than the Society at large, it will have an incentive to uphold a Noble Lie doctrine which ultimately reduces freedom of thought for everybody. The same point may be made of a 'Bildungsburgertum', or Power Elite. If members of this class feel that their own freedom is only incentive compatible if the hoi polloi are subjected to a thought police, then both they and their Society ends up paying a higher price.

Obviously, when pedants speak of academic freedom they aren't talking about freedom of thought. They mean freedom from fear of the sack and/or criminal prosecution. This is perfectly natural.
Everybody wants a personal or class based immunity from Social conventions, Economic imperatives, and Civil and Criminal Laws. Pedagogues are no exception to this rule. However, because the Academy features a hegemonic relationship between elderly pedants and impressionable youngsters, it is important that more restrictions and safeguards be placed upon the Academy than upon Society at large. Where this does not happen, the intellectual capacity of both teacher and student declines because of incentive incompatibility and rent seeking behaviour.

Similarly, there is an asymmetry between the lethal force at the command of armed soldiers compared to civilians. This militates for greater restrictions on military personnel and a stronger code of obedience. Where this does not happen, sooner or later the Defence of the Nation is compromised.

Talking worthless shite is increasingly a profession. It is important that greater constraints be placed on the talking of worthless shite than upon worthwhile communication. Political correctness applies only to the former not the latter. Thus, if you shout 'Oi, fatty- your head is on fire', and I reply 'Fat shaming is Fascist!' and you say 'Listen, you big black sack of shit, your fucking head is on fire' and then I say 'Fuck, my fucking head is on fire- don't just stand there, gimme a golden shower quick you two bit ho-bag!', no breach of political correctness has occurred because communication was not of an essentially worthwhile type. Also, it's the Office Christmas do for fuck's sake and when I say 'you' I mean me and when I say me I mean that slut of a photocopier on the third floor.
There is no truth to the allegation that I pissed upon it as part of an escalating cycle of depraved sexual harassment but, rather, only did so for the life-saving reason previously mentioned.

Academic freedom must be suppressed. What is important is that Filing Clerks like me get tenure so that we are free to develop innovative ways of dealing with threats to the integrity of Corporate information. Our civilization depends on proper filing and record keeping. Slutty photocopiers on the third floor need to be pissed on regularly, otherwise everybody just ends up Xeroxing their genitals on it and then faxing the result to Head Office.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Nissim Mannathukkaren on the irresistible rise of the BJP


NISSIM MANNATHUKKAREN writes in Open Democracy-

Generally, the death of a judge, in what seem to be mysterious circumstances, while presiding over a case against the second most powerful person in the country, and the closest associate of the head of the government, would be make prime-time television in a democracy. Similarly, the allegations of corruption against the family of the same person would have garnered media attention. But recent events in India prove otherwise.
Nissim is a Professor in Canada and has written a book about Derrida. He may not know much about India nor possess any great reasoning ability but, surely, he has access to the internet and can see for himself that there is nothing mysterious about a Judge having a heart attack and being taken to hospital by other Judges where he died in the presence of no less than four colleagues on the Bench. Two of the more senior of these judges confirm there was nothing suspicious about the death. Indeed, the son of the deceased Judge had given a statement that the family accepted that the death was of natural causes and that no concerned Judge had done anything wrong a few days before Nissim's article was published.

The plain fact of the matter is that either Judges get together to kill a colleague or this is fake news.

Indian Television News coverage may have its faults but it has to present news items which viewers won't dismiss as prima facie absurd. 'Family of judge who died of heart attack claim he was murdered' is a human interest story- not a political one. Why? Because in India it is usual for the widow, or daughter, or other distraught relative, to make wild accusations if the family's breadwinner dies prematurely.  If the family is Marwari and the deceased was a Judge, they may well feel aggrieved that they have not gotten rich off bribe money.

The psychology of bereavement works in unseemly ways. In an earlier age there would have been allegations of  witchcraft. Nowadays, some big political conspiracy might be hinted at. Still, in this case, a senior Judge who was an eye-witness had appeared on NDTV and shortly after that the son of the deceased had assured the new Chief Justice that the family had no misgivings in this matter. Thus, the story was dead because it was false in every particular. Still, there was typically over the top, highly melodramatic, Hindi language TV coverage of the allegations by anti-BJP channels before the family of the deceased quashed them. Nissim's article appeared after this storm in a teacup was over.

Nissim thinks 'allegations of corruption against the family' of a prominent politician' are newsworthy. This is not the case. We assume that all Ministers have corrupt family members. We also assume that a Channel which is going after a particular politician's family has been paid to do so by the other side or else that it is simply in the business of blackmail. In this particular case, the problem is that Amit Shah comes from a wealthy 'Bania' background. We expect his son to be rich.

Furthermore, nobody believes that a CBI court would take any action against Shah while the BJP is in power. It is considered a political tool merely.Under the previous regime it went after Shah but failed to make a case over the course of a decade. After Modi won elections, in May 2014, the previous CBI Judge was replaced. Sadly, the replacement died of a heart-attack that December. A few months later the new Judge dismissed the charges as politically motivated- as if anyone had thought different.
Then,  a couple of years later, family members of the Judge started speaking to a certain reporter from an anti Modi rag, about their suspicions regarding the case. However, these suspicions point the finger at the deceased's fellow judges. If he was killed, then his brother judges are murderers. What could their motive have been? The family think that a CBI judge investigating a powerful man in the administration gets money to play ball rather than a transfer if he fails to do so. This is rather naive. Judges are pliable because they wish to secure post-retirement sinecures. They may take bribes from crooked businessmen but can't extort money from Ministers in the ruling party who can simply have them transferred.

Nissim takes a different view. He writes-
On November 20, and 21, the Indian publication The Caravan broke a story of the death of 48-year old Justice B. H. Loya, involved in the case (of alleged extra-judicial killing) against the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s ruling party.
Loya died in December 2014. Why is Caravan writing about it now? The answer is that the Opposition is putting up a good fight in the upcoming Gujarat elections. Shah, as a Bania, looks vulnerable because he is being painted as a Jain, like Chief Minister Rupani- and thus not a devotee of Lord Shiva, whom it turns out is Rahul Gandhi' s God. So, this is just good old caste politics- nothing more.
This was after a purported attempt to bribe him by the Chief Justice of a High Court, for a favorable verdict in the case, with an amount of Rs. 100 crore ($ 15.3 million). The report contained testimonies of the family of the judge.
This is batshit crazy. The Chief Justice does not need to bribe a junior colleague, more particularly in a case where charges had not yet been framed because the High Court would be Sanctioning Authority. Why is such a stupid allegation being made? The answer is that the name of the Chief Justice is Mohit Shah which sounds a lot like Amit Shah. So this is all a conspiracy of those money grubbing Jain Banias! Instead of just raping the daughters of a subordinate they are so unmanly as to offer huge bags of cash! Hai! Hai! Truly this is kaliyuga!  I tell you, if Chief Justice had belonged to our caste he would simply have bent this Loya fellow over the desk and sodomized him there and then! He would have killed his sons, raped his daughters and burnt the fellow alive along with his aged parents. That is manly behavior! Only politicians of our caste are True Men. These money-grubbing Banias are destroying the reputation of our Bench!

Caste prejudice is all very well and it does have some currency during election season but there really is no big political angle to this. What we are being asked to believe is that the Judges of Maharashtra were blackmailing Amit Shah and that they killed one of their own so as to increase their own share of the take. This raises the question, why would the Supreme Court countenance this? They could just takeover the case so as to line their own pockets.

Nissim pretends otherwise- he writes
Despite the explosive nature of the story and its potentially unprecedented implications for Indian democracy (in independent India’s history, to my knowledge, there is no instance of a judge being assassinated) there was a stunned silence in the mainstream and big media, especially, the English-language television channels that have a disproportionate influence in the setting of the political agenda.
There is no need to kill judges in India. Credible threats are enough. That is why extra-judicial killings become the norm where there is a terrorist insurgency or crime syndicate. It is true that the Naxals killed Justice T.P. Mukherjee  and Justice K.L. Roy and that Jyoti Basu alleged Congress complicity in this, however going forward, terrorists and criminals only needed to kill a few magistrates to ensure that cases were dropped or rather that no charges were registered in the first place.

English language TV channels which are anti BJP have run this story but everybody understands that it is silly. Far from setting any political agenda, the English language Media has been shown to have zero impact on Indian politics. It failed to predict or come to terms with caste based politics, completely ignored the agricultural sector, and helped the BJP secure the loyalty of highly educated N.R.I's by employing stupid Marxists to write offensive nonsense about Hinduism.

Nissim may not be a prominent name in the English language media, but his Marxists credentials are sound enough- which is why he is teaching in some small town in Canada.

Why is he so exercised by this particular piece of obviously 'fake news'?

The answer is that he thinks that the Indian Media is giving him the cold shoulder not because he is stupid and ill-informed but because it is a cadaver.
As one media commentator put it, “it seems that two deaths need to be investigated: that of Judge Loya, and that of the Indian media.”
This 'media commentator' is Mitali Saran. Not exactly a heavyweight- except if compared to me ever since I went on a juice cleanse yaar.

Nissim thinks there should be a judicial probe into Judges against whom senseless allegations have been made by a grieving family. But, judicial probes are a matter for the judiciary. 

Nissim also thinks there is something wrong with the Indian media because it recognises this is 'fake news'.

This is an extraordinary level of submissiveness displayed by the media. This must also be read in the context of the largest democracy’s abysmal ranking in the World Press Freedom Index. Last year, India ranked 133 out of 180 countries. And this year, it has declined to 136. Recently, the main mode of intimidation against journalists doing investigative stories has been through Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs), like the one filed by Mr. Shah.
India is very poor and has a very low ratio of police officers to population. Journalists who uncover wrongdoing are killed even if they are simple black-mailers. Criminal and Terrorist organizations can only be curbed by extra-judicial killings. As India gets richer, the Media can become profitable through advertising revenues. But, it can't 'manufacture consent' on the basis of stupid lies- e.g. that Judges kill each other off so as to receive a bribe from a powerful Minister.

Nissim tells us that-
Journalists face severe challenges, including physical violence and threat to life, in carrying out their work. According to an independent media report, there were 54 attacks on journalists (and seven murders) between January 2016 and April 2017, the majority being perpetrated by law-makers and law-enforcers. Four journalists were killed in 2015, and there were 142 attacks in 2014-15.
So, 'law-makers' and 'law-enforcers' kill Judges and Journalists with impunity. Why would they want to bribe them?
Rohini Singh, who did investigations into the Jay Shah story, recounted the threats she faced while and after doing the story. According to her, this was not the case when she did similar stories on the previous Congress-led regime.
So, the emerging “manufacture of consent” in favor of the ruling government does not happen only through active participation, or self-censorship on criticism by the media, but also as a result of the egregious threats that the media personnel face.
The previous Congress-led regime fell. Clearly it wasn't killing enough people. The new Government is killing people. It won't fall.

Jokes making fun of Mr. Modi, or Facebook posts of lay citizens, and films criticizing his government are met with police complaints, legal cases, and threats by the ruling party and its larger ideological family. BJP-led state governments have also introduced draconian bills to curb free speech.
Excellent! So the BJP will continue to rule. How much was Nissim paid by Amit Shah to write this? Or did Shah threaten his life? The truth, sadly, is poor old Nissim wasn't paid, nor was his life threatened. He has chosen to depict the BJP as a muscular party unafraid to use Communist methods. Like the Naxals, they have begun killing Judges. Like the Khalistanis, they have terrorized the Media. But, unlike the Naxals or Khalistanis, they first firmly consolidated their hold on State Power. The BJP is now as firmly entrenched as the Chinese Communist Party. Resistance is futile. Such is the deconstructed message of this alumnus of J.N.U.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Why I'm an anti-Semite

Let me declare, at the outset, that it's not because I'm 'too cheap to become a paid up member of the Labour Party'- in which case I could blackguard Jews to my hearts content without being considered anti Semitic at all. Still, a penny saved is a penny earned.

No. The real reason I am anti-Semitic is because the Jews control the media. Not all of it, of course. Bollywood is run by Khans not Cohens- but substantial segments of the most intellectually significant and culturally salient global media channels are in fact controlled by Jews. I refer of course to that portion which features cats impersonating Saul Kripke. You might not have noticed that all cats impersonate Kripke- at least on 'JewTube' as I prefer to call it- but, if you watch enough cat videos you start to get the same feeling you did that one time you tried to sit through a Saul Kripke lecture and ended up with one foot in the air and your tongue busily cleansing your unmentionables.

Clearly, when I use the word 'controlled', I'm doing so in an anti-Kripkensteinian way iff  it has a 'buck stopper' in the relevant Muth Rational Control metric. If not- for example if there is no 'mechanism' underlying its usage and hence no 'Revelation principle' - then there is no other logically coherent way to use the word in a parsimonious, that is rational, discourse. Since Man is a political animal- i.e. mechanisms need not exist- it follows that either YouTube cat videos universally instantiate Jewish control of the media or else an impredicatively Kripkenteinian 'sceptical paradox' arises such that its own truth value controller is buck stopped by every possible cat video dogma unless at least one medium is not controlled by a Jew. Thus, the truth-maker for Jewish control of the Media is that Kripkenstein is either true or false. If Kripkenstein is neither true nor false, however, the only reason for denying Jews control the media would be political- i.e. foolish if you are not being paid to do so but utterly idiotic if you are.

Anyway, that's why I'm an anti-Semite. What's your excuse?

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Siddhartha Varadarajan on why the Babri Masjid must be rebuilt.

Siddhartha Vardarajan writes in the Wire-
India is perhaps the only country in the world where a real crime – committed in broad daylight, with evidence recorded by video cameras and presented in court by prosecutors – counts for less than an imaginary transgression that supposedly happened five centuries ago and left behind no witness accounts or  contemporary records to establish what transpired.
No democracy maintains that a prima facie illegal action continues to be a 'real crime' if no arrests were made or convictions secured and,  over the lapse of time, the vast majority of its people remained unswerving in their belief that the act in question was in accord with natural justice.

Siddhartha is two years younger than me. He graduated from the LSE four or five years after I did. Why does he not know this? What is wrong with the man?
On December 6, 1992, top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party – the party that today runs the government at the Centre – gathered in Ayodhya as part of a well-planned conspiracy to demolish a historic monument that was part of the cultural and archaeological heritage of the Indian people.
The vast majority of the Indian people didn't want the Babri Masjid. It wasn't a legacy, it was a scar-  a reminder of enslavement and humiliation at the hands of alien warlords.  

The word conspiracy implies a secret plan not something incessantly publicised over a period of time and done in the open.

Why is Siddharta- writing for an Indian audience- pretending that the plan to destroy the Babri Masjid was some big secret? 
 These leaders included L.K. Advani, who went on to become deputy prime minister but is today outside the party’s charmed circle, Uma Bharati, who is currently a cabinet minister in Narendra Modi’s government, and scores of other major and minor figures.
All of whom received a great boost in their political fortunes precisely for this reason. None have been convicted of 'incitement or 'conspiracy'. Why? An action deemed by the people to be salutary is not a conspiracy at all. No incitement can occur where people have already made a particular determination which, moreover, is widely endorsed by the vast majority of the citizenry.
In the run up to the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid, the BJP conducted a poisonous propaganda campaign whose aim was the creation of a Hindu vote-bank.
Ordinary people use poison to kill pests. The creation of a Hindu vote-bank requires the dissolution of caste based vote-banks. Hindutva has won approval from the masses because it reduces the salience of pestilential casteist politicians. 

Why is Siddhartha pretending that the BJP, or its predecessor, the Jan Sangh, did not aim ab ovo at 'consolidating' the Hindu vote? What on earth were they doing till the Ayodhya issue gained salience? Were they twiddling their thumbs?
 The ‘Ramjanmabhoomi’ movement it launched aimed at replacing the mosque with a temple for Ram and rested on three claims that ought to have had no place in either a movement supposedly driven by Hindu belief or in a democracy governed by the rule of law.
There is no a priori reason why any claim whatsoever can't have a place in either Religious Belief or in a Democracy governed by the rule of law where that Religion is the majority's.

To suggest otherwise is to assume not just that Religions have a perfect logical structure but also that defeasible, secular, jurisprudence has, by the supernatural agency of a Judge Hercules, an indefeasible principle of harmonious construction.
The first was that the God whom Hindus revere as omnipresent was actually a historical personality
Hinduism asserts that a historical personality can be omnipresent. Not all such personalities are incarnations of the Lord. However, they are to some degree 'limbs' of the Godhead. For jurisprudence, Lord Rama has legal personality and has been awarded a share in the disputed site.
 second, that he was born at the very spot where the Babri Masjid stood, 
Hindus do assert that Lord Rama was born at exactly that spot. They may qualify this assertion in various ways but the acceptation of  'Ram's birthplace' is indeed the very spot where the BJP wants to construct a grand temple.
and third, that the mosque had to be removed, by force if necessary, so that a grand temple – of the kind allegedly destroyed by Babar – could be built in its place.
The laws of physics require the removal, by force- not persuasion- of an existing building so a new one may be constructed. No doubt, Babar and Aurangazeb and so on had magical powers and thus didn't have to use force to destroy temples. They just dropped a polite hint and the masonry of the Hindu shrine obligingly reconfigured itself as a Muslim place of worship.
If all of this was theologically (and historically) suspect, it was also legally absurd. A state governed by a constitution cannot upend the rights of individual citizens because some group makes a demand on the basis of its beliefs.
None of this was 'theologically' or 'historically' suspect. Hindus do think Lord Ram was the incarnate Lord, just as Christians think Jesus Christ was the incarnate Lord. Hindus point to a particular place in Ayodhya as the birthplace of Ram. Christians to a particular place in Bethlehem as the birthplace of Lord Jesus. 

Legally, no absurdity arose. In 1991, the English Court of Appeal decided that a Hindu 'Shivalingam' had legal personality in Indian law and therefore could sue to reclaim a Nataraj statue which belonged to the Temple in which it had been consecrated (Bumper Development Corporation vs Commissioner of Police). The Judges observed that 'It is not permissible to reject uncontradicted expert evidence unless it is patently absurd'. Since expert evidence had confirmed the identity of both the Shivalingam and the Nataraj statute and since Indian law, not English law, conferred juridicial personality on Hindu Gods and Temples and 'Shivalingams', no absurdity arose in the case.
Similarly, Indian judges have argued that Indian Gods have a type of juridicial personality such that title based on adverse possession is defeated. It is noteworthy that Pakistan does not recognise mosques as possessing a similar legal personality- as in the case of the Shahidganj Gurudwara in Lahore.

This not to say that any and every action by devotees of a God are legal. Concerning the destruction of the disused Babri Masjid, the plain fact is that the Executive could have vigorously prosecuted those involved and it is possible that the Apex Court would have confirmed any sentences handed down. But, politicians at that time felt that jailing BJP or other leaders on this issue would cause them to sweep the polls. 

The next thing that would happen would be a BJP super-majority able to change the laws and, if necessary, the Constitution. 

 In 1987, Rajiv Gandhi trampled on the rights of Muslim women in order to win the support of reactionary Muslim clerics who were upset at the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Shah Bano case. That act of injustice was finally reversed 32 years later. But the appeasement of Hindu chauvinism that began with his decision to reopen the locks of the Babri Masjid continues unabated with the courts least bothered about the rule of law despite the mosque’s demolition by Sangh parivar fanatics 25 years ago.
Siddharta is an American citizen. But, he went to Mayo College. Did he not notice that India was being run by Hindus when he was at School? There was no question of 'appeasing' Hindus- as though they represented an alterity, not the ipseity. Rather, different parties competed with each other by appealing to Hindu tropes and imagery. 

Chamberlain did not appease Hitler by putting on lederhosen and singing the Horst Wessel song. He appeased Hitler by becoming complicit in a crime against the people of Czechoslovakia. Rajiv Gandhi appeased the Muslims by becoming complicit in an un-Islamic crime against pure and devout women. He did not appease the Hindus- rather he appealed to them by his sweet nature and Lord Ram like good qualities. His widow, Sonia, is the ideal pativrata. Go on the internet and try to find some crazy Hindu or Sikh nutjob who alleges that either Rajiv or Sonia were not as perfectly faithful to each other as Lord Rama and Seeta Devi. You can't. Why not? Nobody really believes that Rajiv and Sonia weren't a happily married couple. Nor does anyone believe that a structure called 'Babur's mosque' has any great sanctity or that it wasn't built on the ashes of a Hindu Temple.
To get a sense of perspective on what the demolition of the Babri Masjid meant then and means today, consider the global outrage that greeted the destruction of the Buddha statues at Bamiyan by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. 
Siddhartha returned to India from America many years ago. He is writing for Indian people. Why would Indian people need to 'get a sense of perspective' by looking to Civil War ridden Afghanistan? There is no similarity between the two cases. The Taliban was on a collision course with America. A senior ISI general, Hamid Gul, said on TV, in English, that the Taliban wanted to lure the U.S military into Afghanistan where they would be slaughtered and despoiled of their hi-tech weaponry. The destruction of the Bamiyan statues was a message to the West. That is why it attracted global outrage. By contrast, the Babri Masjid was a purely Indian affair with no strategic implications even for its neighbours. 
One way to 'get a sense of perspective' on the Babri case is by looking at the Hazratbal incident of 1963. The claim was made that a hair had been stolen from a mosque and riots in India and Pakistan ensued.
Like the Sangh parivar, who said the sight of the mosque at Ayodhya offended them, the Taliban declared that their beliefs did not permit the statues to remain standing. 
Were the Buddhist statues erected upon the ruins of a demolished mosque? No. The two cases are not comparable. Perhaps Siddhartha believes that the BJP wants to gain power in every country and to demolish every mosque, in the same way that the Taliban wanted to gain power in every country and destroy every antiquity or extant place or worship tainted by the suspicion of idolatry.

Siddharta is a journalist. He held a senior position in India in 2001. He knows very well that the Bamiyan destruction was considered a riposte to Western sanctions and an insulting offer of money to preserve the statues. Of course, after 9/11, the full picture emerged. The Taliban had decided to provoke a war with America. 
There haven’t been Buddhists in Afghanistan for centuries yet every right-thinking Afghan was appalled by this act of terrorism. 
Why were there no Buddhists in Afghanistan? Why did the non-Muslim population of that country plummet under the Taliban? Was it because Muslims killed or forcibly converted or drove out non Muslims so as to establish their own cruel and despotic rule? If so, surely the correct analogy between Afghanistan and India would be one whereby Buddhists blew up Mosques built over Stupas. But, Buddhists in Afghanistan have no such power. Why? They don't exist.
Around the world, the wanton destruction of historical monuments like the Babri Masjid is considered a war crime. 
Rubbish! Unarmed civilians can't commit a war crime. Wanton destruction of a historical monument by drunken hooligans may be deemed a war crime provided those hooligans were armed and part of a military or militia outfit and hostilities were actually ongoing. 
Last year, the International Criminal Court in The Hague convicted a local leader in Timbuktu, Mali for his role in destroying some of the ancient city’s historical monuments that he considered un-Islamic.
This 'local leader' was part of an al-Qaeda affiliate. He was not an unarmed civilian but part of a murderous militia which controlled territory.

CBI’s strategy is to delay matters
During a television debate on terrorism in September 2001 where Narendra Modi was a participant – he was then just an RSS pracharak – I cited the demolition of the Babri Masjid by Hindu fanatics and the killings that followed to challenge his claim that “all terrorists are Muslims”. He refused to even acknowledge that the destruction of the mosque was a crime.
Modi was something more than 'just an RSS pracharak'. That's why he was appointed Chief Minister of Gujarat a couple of weeks later. In September 2001, the word 'terrorist' had salience in connection only with Muslims, not Hindus. That's why the SRK's film, titled 'My name is Khan- and I am not a terrorist', did not spawn a string of imitations with titles like- 'My name is Khanna- and I am not a terrorist'.
Siddhartha appears to be genuinely outraged that Modi did not 'acknowledge that the destruction of the mosque was a crime'. Similarly, there were British Public School/ Oxbridge men who were outraged that Jawaharlal Nehru did not consider the actions of I.N.A soldiers to be a crime. Instead, Nehru put on his barrister's wig to defend those soldiers who had been arraigned for 'treason'. Why? I.N.A soldiers were patriots not traitors even though the letter of the law suggested otherwise.
We know now from the peculiar manner in which the Central Bureau of Investigation is handling the criminal case that Prime Minister Narendra Modi probably still believes there is no need to punish anyone for the demolition.
Is Siddhartha utterly mad? Nobody in their right mind thinks Modi wants to punish anyone for the salutary act which catapulted his party and him into a position of dominance. 
 All the material witnesses in the case have been examined in the trial court and there is ample video footage as evidence to ensure the conviction of the main accused. Yet the CBI is dragging its feet, telling the trial court that it needs to examine still more witnesses in order to prove its case.
Conviction for what? 'Incitement'? But that is known to be Time Barred ever since the prosecution of Bal Thakeray seventeen years ago. 
During the first NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani, the CBI simply dropped the ball on the case. But in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate criminal charges against top Sangh leaders and order ‘day-to-day hearings’ at the trial court, the BJP’s strategy is to deliberately prolong matters and ensure that the demolition case goes on and on.
The CBI dropped the ball long before that. Why? The CBI plays anti-crime football, not political baseball. What would be the point to preparing a court case which would advance only the interests of the accused?
This CBI’s ‘go slow’ strategy was put in place by Y.C. Modi – a police officer who is close to the prime minister and has now been given charge of the National Investigation Agency as a ‘reward’.
The CBI 'go slow' strategy was put in place by the Congress Government of Narasimha Rao. From the evidentiary point of view the thing was a slam dunk then and there. The thing could have been done in six months. If, that is, it was politically do-able.
With Gujarat police officer Rakesh Asthana as special director, Y.C. Modi’s tactic of burdening the case with additional witnesses – some of whom are not even likely to assist the prosecution’s case – will ensure the case goes on indefinitely, unless the Supreme Court intervenes again to put an end to this charade.
The Supreme Court is no respecter of persons but it knows very well that it will lose salience if it overplays its hand- more particularly because of current scandals re. judicial corruption, misconduct, and paranoid schizophrenia as punctuating a harrowing habitus of incompetence, illiteracy and outright imbecility.  By contrast, the BJP faces no similar crisis of legitimacy.
The BJP’s hope, of course, is that a resolution of the title suit in favour of the ‘Ramjanmabhoomi’ camp – or forced mediation where the full might of the state is ranged against the Muslim side – will render the demolition case infructuous or at least rob the party of any political stigma when its leaders are eventually convicted. With nothing tangible to offer voters by way of delivery on their election promises, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah would like to hold the Ayodhya card in reserve as a means of polarising the electorate on communal lines. Certainly, the statements and actions of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath on Ayodhya indicate the party is working to a plan.
Either the demolition case, which pertains to events which occurred a quarter of a century ago, is already infructuous or it can't become so by the passage of another year or two. The title suit is not germane.
Anti BJP politicians have dropped the Masjid issue because it hasn't consolidated a Muslim vote-bank. The Judiciary may also drop it because it fears push back against  the Collegium system.
So what remains to be retrieved from the rubble that the mosque was reduced to 25 years ago? The architects of the crime have prospered and are today in power. 
This is because, as a matter of law, there was no crime. Everyone is innocent till proven guilty.
Their pursuit of a Hindu vote-bank remains as determined as ever. Their demonisation of Muslims continues, as does their disregard for the fundamental rights of citizens. The institutions of the state which refused to take a stand in the face of majoritarian violence then – the police, paramilitaries, the bureaucracy and the courts – appear today even less likely to act as a check. How then will this chapter of shame come to a close? When the citizens whom politicians have convinced to think of themselves as Hindus go back to taking pride in being Indians again.
So- this is the crux of the matter. Siddhartha thinks some Indian people were brainwashed into thinking of themselves as Hindus. This lead to 'a chapter of shame'. Only when those who think of themselves as Hindus (apparently this happens because politicians convince Indians that they have this identity) stop thinking of themselves as Hindus- which can happen, by law, only through conversion- only then will Hindus 'go back to taking pride in being Indians again'. However by then they won't be Hindus at all.
Siddhartha was so proud of being Indian he chose US citizenship. Unfortunately, he did not convert to some other religion. Thus, he too is at risk from evil politicians. Suppose they convince him that he is a Hindu? What will happen? He will undoubtedly run amok destroying mosques and churches and synagogues.  Supreme Court must take suo moto action. Just imprisoning evil Hindutva pracharaks isn't enough. Even from behind bars they might convince Siddhartha that he is a Hindu. This will cause him to write such a 'chapter of shame' in the annals of Indian journalism that the Hague Tribunal will summons him for War Crimes.
Siddhartha may believe that his American citizenship protects him from the great peril which Indian citizens have succumbed to. Thus he speaks not of 'we' but 'they'-
When they act to reclaim their republic and its ideals of justice, liberty, equality – and fraternity – from the clutches of parivars and dynasties.
What about Siddhartha's own star spangled Republic? Perhaps he will return to it when its citizens reclaim their republic from the clutches of elected politicians and inculcate the ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity by inviting ISIS to rule over them.
In the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the country with no Buddhists, public and official sentiment favours the rebuilding of the Buddhas
Wow! Siddhartha thinks the Afghans want to rebuild Buddhas. He doesn't get that 'public and official sentiment' is hypocritical because of the dire situation in that country. What is wrong with this man? Why does he equate a country at War with one at peace?
However, in the secular republic of India – a country with 170 million Muslims – the rebuilding of the Babri Masjid is not even on anyone’s agenda.
Including the vast majority of those 170 million Muslims. 
 So shameful is the political discourse now that other parts of the country’s Islamicate heritage – including the Taj Mahal – are being targeted by BJP leaders.
Targeted? For what? Destruction? Does Siddharta really believe that Yogi Adityanath is going to demolish the Taj Mahal? What planet is he living on?

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The soul of Comp. Lit



Imagine an iconic young bride slaying all with her couture, coiffure and calamitous cooking
Self-scorn's frozen swan whose ironic suicide recurs where no dazzled eye is looking
Herself the agarbatti lit, so Saraswati mother Wit
The shrieks of such a Suttee en-soul Comp. Lit.

Envoi-
Professor! Know Shrivatsa the knot of the threadless Kabir Panthi
No Sinthome being subaltern in Ind's samay granthi




Friday, 24 November 2017

Reading Dipesh Chakroborty's 'Provinciallising Europe'- part V

Dipshit says-
A SECULAR SUBJECT like history faces certain problems in handling practices in which gods, spirits, or the supernatural have agency in the world.
Nonsense. Gods, spirits and the supernatural don't exist. That's why they pose no problem.
My central examples concern the history of work in South Asia. Labor, the activity of producing, is seldom a completely secular activity in India; it often entails, through rituals big and small, the invocation of divine or superhuman presence.
Rubbish. Work may be preceded or followed by 'rituals big or small'. However Work does not entail such rituals.
Secular histories are usually produced by ignoring the signs of these presences. Such histories represent a meeting of two systems of thought, one in which the world is ultimately, that is, in the final analysis, disenchanted, and the other in which humans are not the only meaningful agents. For the purpose of writing history, the first system, the secular one, translates the second into itself.
No. It rejects it completely. A political history of contemporary America would not 'translate into itself' things like Alien Abductions and the war between the Vampire and the Werewolves. Perhaps, Dipesh is thinking of David Icke.
It is this translation—its methods and problems—that interests me here as part of a broader effort to situate the question of subaltern history within a postcolonial critique of modernity and of history itself

So Dipesh is interested in the supernatural only because he is trying to show that his own specialty 'Subaltern Studies' has a special place within Post Colonial theory. But, both are worthless.

Dipesh believes that Einstein's theory has caused a 'linguistic turn' in Time itself. This is nonsense. Human beings can't exist in a zone where gravitation bends Time appreciably. Social Science  is unaffected.
...the kind of correspondence that exists between our sensory worlds and the Newtonian imagination of the universe, between our experience of secular time and the time of physics, breaks down in many post-Einsteinian constructions.
This only matters to physicists and cosmologists who are looking at things on a very small or very big scale. It is wholly irrelevant to human history.`
In the Newtonian universe, as in historical imagination, events are more or less separable from their descriptions: what is factual is seen as translatable from mathematics into prose or between different languages.
Nonsense. Newtonian physics can be expressed in relational, not substantive, terms. There were philosophers, like Liebniz, Berkeley, Mach and so forth, whose work Einstein referenced.  There will always be a problem of disentangling facts from values or concepts- the famous quid juris/ quid facti distinction.
Thus an elementary book on Newtonian physics can be written completely in the Bengali alphabet and numerals, using a minimum of mathematical signs. But not so with post-Einsteinian physics: language strains wildly when trying to convey in prose the mathematical imagination contained in an expression like “curved space” (for, thinking commonsensically, in what would such a space exist if not in space itself?).
Sheer nonsense! Both Newtonian physics and Einsteinian physics contain paradoxes concerning 'action at a distance'.
In this second case, one might say that the assumption of translatability does not quite hold, that really the imagination of Einsteinian physics is best learned through the language of its mathematics—for we are speaking of a universe of events in which the events cannot be separated from their descriptions.
Newton and Kant and so forth thought that Time could be separated from Space. They were wrong. But this does not affect History or Economics at all. I suppose, Mach did impact on Marxian 'Social Science'. But one can have a coherent Machian Marxist Economics.
Modern physics, one might say, took the linguistic turn early in this century.
One might say that if one wanted to talk nonsense. Why not speak of 'Quantum Subaltern Studies' or 'Sociological Super-String Theory? '
Post-Einsteinian cosmology, as the physicist Paul Davis puts it, makes even mathematical sense only so long as we do not try to take “a God’s-eye-view” of the universe (that is, so long as one does not try to totalize or to view a “whole.”)
Paul Davies is a popular author. By quoting him as authoritative Dipesh shows that he himself does not believe his own thesis. One can read a book about post-Einsteinian Physics written in simple English or Tamil or Bengali.
“I have grown used to dealing with the weird and wonderful world of relativity,” writes Davis. “The ideas of space-warps, distortions in time and space and multiple universes have become everyday tools in the strange trade of the theoretical physics.... I believe that the reality exposed by modern physics is fundamentally alien to the human mind, and defies all power of direct visualization.” Historians writing after the so-called linguistic turn may not any longer think that events are completely accessible by language, but the more sober among them would strive to avoid lunacy by resorting to weaker versions of this position.
No Historian who thinks Einstein or Everett matters for writing History is not sober or sensible. Rather, he or she is subscribing to the Husserlian phenomenology described in Colin Wilson's 'the Space Vampires' whereby the world changes every time people come up with a better value of Pi.
As put in the recent book 'Telling the Truth about History', historians, writing in the aftermath of postmodernism, would work toward an ideal of “workable truths,” approximations of facts that can be agreed to by all even after it is granted that language and representations always form a (thin?) film between us and the world (in the same way as we can mostly ignore the insights of Einsteinian or quantum physics in negotiating our everyday movements in practical life). The higher ideal of translatability between different languages—thus Vietnamese history into Bengali—remains worth striving for even if language always foils the effort. This ideal—a modified Newtonianism—is, in their view, the historian’s protection against the sheer madness of postmodernist and cultural-relativist talk about “untranslatability,”“incommensurability,” and all that.
So American historians recognize that Po Mo shite is worthless. What conclusion does Dipesh derive from this fact?
Unlike the world of the physicist Paul Davis, then, in the discipline of history the imagination of reality is dependent on the capacities of “the human mind,” its powers of visualization.
WTF? Good Physicists need imagination, so do good Historians, so do good human beings doing good human things. Physics does not know if the Anthropic Principle represents a constraint on fundamental variables. History does not know if there are true non deterministic Cliodynamic formulae. The 'human mind' may or may not be a constraint on both subjects.
The use of the definite article— “the human mind”—is critical here, for this reality aspires to achieve a status of transparency with regard to particular human languages, an ideal of objectivity entertained by Newtonian science in which translation between different languages is mediated by the higher language of science itself.
Quite false. A Relationist or an Occassionalist might subscribe to the Principle of Compositionality while a Substantivist might not. Dipesh is babbling ultracrepidarian crap.
Thus pani in Hindi and “water” in English can both be mediated by H2O.
Only for a specific purpose- e.g. translating a Science text book.
Needless to say, it is only the higher language that is capable of appreciating, if not expressing, the capacities of “the human mind.”
It is an open question as to whether the Antropic Principle applies. Thus we don't know if Physics is supervenient on Bio-Chemistry. We don't know of any language 'higher' than natural language. We do  know no natural language is higher than another.
I would suggest that the idea of a godless, continuous, empty, and homogeneous time, which history shares with the other social sciences and modern political philosophy as a basic building block, belongs to this model of a higher, overarching language.
Why? Mathematics acknowledges non-deterministic 'oracles'.  It doesn't believe in a 'higher, overarching language'. On the contrary, it asserts the impossibility of a sufficiently rich language containing its meta-language.
It represents a structure of generality,  an aspiration toward the scientific, that is built into conversations that take the modern historical consciousness for granted. A proposition of radical untranslatability therefore comes as a problem to the universal categories that sustain the historian’s enterprise.
It is a nuisance, not a problem.
But it is also a false problem created by the very nature of the universal itself, which aims to function as a supervening general construction mediating between all the particulars on the ground. 
Nonsense. Supervenience does not mean mediation. A supervening theory may be more general and abstract but mediation is through whatever is cheapest. I hand over a coin and buy a bunch of bananas. The pound coin is a pretty insignificant part of the monetary base upon which Monetary theory is supervenient. But it suffices for the purpose of the transaction in question.

The secular code of historical and humanist time—that is, a time bereft gods and spirits—is one such universal. Claims about agency on behalf of the religious, the supernatural, the divine, and the ghostly have to be mediated in terms of this universal.
If I show that a particular 'supernatural' agency is a social mimetic of a non-deterministic 'Oracle' then I have proved the utility of a particular Belief system. Marxism's appeal  was in part based on being viewed as Oracular.
The social scientist-historian assumes that contexts explain particular gods: if we could all have the same context, then we would all have the same gods.
Rubbish! Welsh Presbyterianism is flourishing in Meghalaya. This does not mean the Welsh and the Khasis share a social context. It is true that 'social-scientist historian' is taken to mean 'idiot' by a lot of people. Still, it is difficult to believe, in this day and age, that anyone thinks that all Christians have the same social context or that a Tibetan Buddhist, like Steven Segal, shares much in common with a yak herder in Bhutan.
But there is a problem. Although the sameness of our sciences can be guaranteed all the world over, the sameness of our gods and spirits could not be proved in the same objective manner (notwithstanding the protestations of the well-meaning that all religions speak of the same God).
This isn't true. Objectively, I can judge a Ghanaian Vaishnav Acharya- like Swami Ghanananda- to be equal to one from my natal place. Why? His discourses are as erudite and filled with spiritual wisdom.
So it could be said that although the sciences signify some kind of sameness in our understanding of the world across cultures, the gods signify differences (bracketing for the moment the history of conversion, which I touch on very briefly in a later section).
This can't be said by a Hindu who meets an African or European or Japanese Swami. Nor can it be said for a Christian who recognizes that there could be a Black Pope or a Chinese Pope or an Indian Pope.
Writing about the presence of gods and spirits in the secular language of history or sociology would therefore be like translating into a universal language that which belongs to a field of differences.
 So would writing about the existence of the subaltern or the proletariat or the bourgeoisie or the power elite or the nomenklatura or the Elders of Zion or the Lizard People from Planet X.


Dipesh says he is going to talk about Indian labor in this chapter. Does he actually know anything about the subject?
 in a society such as the Indian, human activity (including what one would, sociologically speaking, regard as labor) is often associated with the presence and agency of gods or spirits in the very process of labor. Hathiyar puja or the “worship of tools,” for example, is a common and familiar festival in many north Indian factories.
WTF? Hathiyar means weapon, not tool. It is only performed by Rajputs. Visvakarma divas is what is celebrated in factories. It does not matter in the slightest- whatever Amaresh Mishra might think.

Why? Hinduism is the dominant religion in India. A Pundit can always find a way to comply with Religious/ Astrological regulations and scruples without disrupting the production process.

Kipling's story 'the Bridge Builders' does feature a hallucinatory episode where the Gods of India have to be placated before the Bridge can be built. However, there is no Hindu Pundit present. Peroo, the lascar, is from the Chittagong hills.
How do we—and I mean narrators of the pasts of the subaltern classes in India—handle this problem of the presence of the divine or the supernatural in the history of labor as we render this enchanted world into our disenchanted prose—a rendering required, let us say, in the interest of social justice?
For a Hindu, there is no great scandal in saying that a 'samskar' has no magical result, but, rather,  a purely moral and spiritual effect.
Hinduism, as interpreted by contemporary Gurus and Acharyas is concerned with Social Justice. Why? The Religion will atrophy and die without it.
And how do we, in doing this, retain the subaltern (in whose activity gods or spirits present themselves) as the subjects of their histories? I shall go over this question by examining the work of three Subaltern Studies historians who have produced fragments of histories of work in the context of “capitalist transition” in India: Gyan Prakash, Gyan Pandey, and myself. I hope that my discussion will have something to say about the historian’s enterprise in general.
 Unfortunately, none of these three knows anything about Indian Labor. They haven't actually done any genuine historical research. They just scribbled high falutin' nonsense.

Dipesh thinks Vishavakarma Divas became a public holiday because of 'it has obviously been subjected to a process of bargaining between employers, workers, and the state'. This is nonsense. It is a holiday only in Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab- where organized labor is weak- and only because of the votes commanded by the Visvakarma community. I think Karnataka may make the day a public holiday for the same reason.

Dipesh mentions Pandey's work on Julahas- but Julahas can speak for themselves and tell a different story. They are pure Muslims. They don't have any Quran except the Quran. Ignorant outsiders have written stupid lies about them.
Some weavers were Hindus, some were Sikhs and so on. This did not affect the quality of their weaving. Religious differences could express themselves within a locality as different positions in the value chain. But, again, that might not happen. Now, everybody wants the same thing- viz. a good education in a STEM subject for the brightest of their kids. The idiots are welcome to study History at JNU.


Why is Dipesh such a dipshit? It is because he learned from worthless shitheads-
.. I have learned from Vincente Raphael’s and Gayatri Spivak’s discussions of the politics of translation. We know that given the plurality of gods, the translation from godly time into the time of secular labor could proceed along a variety of paths.
Nonsense. Hinduism has lots of gods but muhuraths occur in chronological, not 'many fingered' time.
But whatever the nature of the path, this translation, to borrow from Spivak’s and Rafael’s handling of the question, must possess something of the “uncanny” about it.
Why? When translating 'Dracula' or H.P Lovecraft into Hindi or German, fidelity, not 'uncanniness' is required.
An ambiguity must mark the translation of the tool-worshiping jute worker’s labor into the universal category “labor”: it must be enough like the secular category “labor” to make sense, yet the presence and plurality of gods and spirits in it must also make it “enough unlike to shock.”
Rubbish! Everybody knows foreigners are weird. It's like how if you are a burger flipper in McDonald's Delhi, you have to keep a live cobra coiled tightly around your scalp to meet Health and Hygiene conditions.
There remains something of a “scandal”—of the shocking—in every translation, and it is only through a relationship of intimacy to both languages that we are aware of the degree of this scandal.
This is sheer idiocy. Simultaneous interpreters at the U.N are not in a constant state of shock. Rather, they are bored out of their skull.

Dipesh is trying to sex up his boring shite by pretending it features Gods and Vampires and Werewolves and so forth. Nice try, Dipesh, but no cigar.

Dipesh does ask a relevant question-
 Why did the Indian working class fail to sustain a long-term sense of class consciousness?
We know the answer. Organized labor secured a quasi-rent while new entrants were consigned to 'temporary' status.
Dipesh can't accept this answer. Instead he thinks that some Gods or Vampires or Werewolves caused the problem.
The real labor of my mill workers, then—let us say their relationship to their own labor on the day of Vishvakarma puja—is obviously a part of the world in which both they and the god Vishvakarma exist in some sense (it would be silly to reduce this coexistence to a question of conscious belief or of psychology). History cannot represent, except through a process of translation and consequent loss of status and signification for the translated, the heterotemporality of that world.
Hindu History can represent that which Dipesh thinks impossible. There is no heterotemporality here at all. Grace operates in linear time. Rituals are defasible because Grace has wriggle room- karma is like an arrow which has already been shot from the bow but which a superior arrow, flying faster, can divert from the target.
History as a code comes into play as this real labor is transformed into the homogeneous, disciplined world of abstract labor, of the generalized world of exchange in which every exchange will be mediated by the sign “commodity.”
History is not a code. It is a record. There is no world where 'every exchange will be mediated by the sign 'commodity' because of problems with transaction costs, information asymmetry, non-convexities, local monopoly, repugnancy, uncertainty and so forth.

Yet, as the story of the Vishvakarma puja in the Calcutta mills shows, “real” labor inheres in the commodity and its secularized biography; its presence, never direct, leaves its effect in the breach that the stories of godly or ghostly intervention make in history’s system of representation.
Many Calcutta mills were owned by Europeans which is why the State cracked down harder on Labor.  The reason mill supervisors allowed Hindu rituals was because recruitment of 'simple' workers from other regions was caste based and thus the ritual had an economic function.
As I have already said, the breach cannot be mended by anthropological cobbling, for that only shifts the methodological problems of secular narratives on to another, cognate territory. In developing Marxist histories after the demise of Communist party Marxisms, our task is to write and think in terms of this breach as we write history (for we cannot avoid writing history). If history is to become a site where pluralities will contend, we need to develop ethics and politics of writing that will show history, this gift of modernity to many peoples, to be constitutionally marked by this breach. Or, to put it differently, the practice of subaltern history would aim to take history, the code, to its limits in order to make its unworking visible.
History is already a site where 'pluralities contend'. But Dipesh isn't contending with the vast majority of historians who think 'Subaltern Studies' historiography is worthless shite. Instead he thinks 'the practice of subaltern history' can do something both impossible and undesirable- viz. make the unworking of something which does not exist visible.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Reading Dipesh Chakraborty's 'Provincializing Europe'- part IV

In discerning a causative factor in History, we automatically create two types of History. History 1 is the trajectory that would arise if only the causative factor we discern operates. History 2 is what actually happens- viz. that other causative factors influence or outweigh the causative factor we have picked.

Thus, if I believe that History is caused by Energy's ineluctable tendency to make cat like noises, then I posit a History 1, where technological progress, which changes the amount of Energy available to Society, only expresses itself in more people making cat like noises. The world I actually face represents a History 2, where though some people do make cat like noises and use modern technology to disseminate cat like noises- for e.g. through You Tube videos and smartphones- still all sorts of other causative factors operate and, what's more, do so in a manner which damps down the production of cat like noises. Consider the case of Trump. No question, he'd like to make cat like noises on a continual basis. However, the exigencies of plutocratic power politics and geopolitical considerations and so forth considerably damp down his proclivity in this respect.

Still, what can not be gainsaid is that the propensity to make cat like noises exists and though it finds Technology and Social Media already in existence, it does not do so as part of its own existence but rather as independent forms. The coercive power of the State is required to destroy the independent existence of Technology and the Social Media and subordinate them to the making of cat like noises.

Dipesh quotes Marx-
“[Capital] originally finds the commodity already in existence, but not as its own product, and likewise finds money circulation, but not as an element in its own reproduction. . . . But both of them must first be destroyed as independent forms and subordinated to industrial capital. Violence (the State) is used against interest-bearing capital by means of compulsory reduction of interest rates.”
Dipesh tells us a ' logical fable to do with the category “labor power.” Let us imagine the embodiment of labor power, the laborer, entering the factory gate every morning at 8 A.M. and leaving it in the evening at 5, having put in his/her usual eight-hour day in the service of the capitalist (allowing for an hour’s lunch break). The contract of law—the wage contract—guides and defines these hours. Now, following my explanation of Histories 1 and 2 above, one may say that this laborer carries with himself or herself, every morning, practices embodying these two kinds of pasts, History 1 and History 2. History 1 is the past that is internal to the structure of being of capital. The fact is, that worker at the factory represents a historical separation between his/ her capacity to labor and the necessary tools of production (which now belong to the capitalist) thereby showing that he or she embodies a history that has realized this logical precondition of capital. This worker does not therefore represent any denial of the universal history of capital. Everything I have said about “abstract labor” will apply to him or her.

So people carry within themselves practices embodying two different types of History- one which is determined by a single causal factor, whatever that might be, and one which in all genuine causative factors are expressed. In the case of my theory re. Energy's ineluctable teleology as making cat like noises, the thing is feasible. Factory workers know how to make cat like noises. They don't know how to use machinery in the best possible way. That is something they have to be taught or which they must learn by themselves otherwise they will be sacked.

Workers do represent a denial of the 'universal history of capitalism' which is why we don't see a Marxist History 1 in operation anywhere. Nor do we see my cat noise producing History 1. But, it is feasible that everybody might suddenly choose to make cat like noises. It is not feasible that they would turn into Liebnizian monads endowed with an incompossible knowledge of Marxian Capital's ideal trajectory.

While walking through the factory gate, however, my fictional person also embodies other kinds of pasts.
Nonsense. When walking through the factory gate, the worker embodies only one type of past- viz. that in which he was hired to work in the factory and was assigned a badge or key-card. If he does not embody such a past, his walking through those gates may be physically obstructed. 

These pasts, grouped together in my analysis as History 2, may be under the institutional domination of the logic of capital and exist in proximate relationship to it, but they also do not belong to the “life process” of capital.
This is true only in the sense that everybody's past may be 'under the institutional domination of the logic of Energy's ineluctable tendency to express itself as cat like noises'. 
 They enable the human bearer of labor power to enact other ways of being in the world—other than, that is, being the bearer of labor power. Which is why they may get sacked. We cannot ever hope to write a complete or full account of these pasts. Unless we were historians who believe they have found genuine causative principles.  They are partly embodied in the person’s bodily habits, in unselfconscious collective practices, in his or her reflexes about what it means to relate to objects in the world as a human being and together with other human beings in his given environment. It is these habits and practices and reflexes which are suppressed in Social interactions. If invited to a dinner party, I am obliged to suppress my bodily habit of micturating in the sink, and my unconscious social habit of punching people and my reflex of snatching food. I may fail to do any or all these things but the upshot would be exclusion from future dinner parties.


Nothing in it is automatically aligned with the logic of capital. True, because 'the logic of capital' has no habitus. Making cat like noises does.

The disciplinary process in the factory is in part meant to accomplish the subjugation/ destruction of History 2.
No. It is meant to get the workers to do the jobs they are paid to do. Consider the case of Hindu workers at a Japanese owned factory who wish to interrupt the work schedule in order to celebrate Visvakarma Divas by applying 'teeka' to their supervisors by smashing their heads in and setting fire to a Human Resources Manager. What does the management do? Does it destroy or subjugate the workers' 'Hindu history'? No. It runs away. The local people, who rent rooms to the workers beat the fuck out of them. The State police arrests and tortures a whole bunch of them. Why? Are the local people anti-Hindu? No. They are concerned that workers continue to earn money in the factory so they can pay their rent. The Police wants the factory to stay open so that it pays its taxes and cesses. 
Capital, Marx’s abstract category,  says to the laborer: “I want you to be reduced to sheer living labor—muscular energy plus consciousness—for the eight hours for which I have bought your capacity to labor. I want to effect a separation between your personality (that is, the personal and collective histories you embody) and your will (which is a characteristic of sheer consciousness). My machinery and the system of discipline are there to ensure that this happens. When you work with the machinery that represents objectified labor, I want you to be living labor, a bundle of muscles and nerves and consciousness, but devoid of any memory except the memory of the skills the work needs.”

Similarly baby says to Mummy 'I want you to be reduced to sheer maternal nurture. Gimme your booby. Change my nappy. My body and my wailing are here to ensure that you don't rush off to Safeway to do a nude interpretative dance critiquing Butler's flawed notion of performativity.

“Machinery requires,” as Horkheimer put it in his famous critique of instrumental reason, “the kind of mentality that concentrates on the present and can dispense with memory and straying imagination.”
This is nonsense. Every type of work requires some degree of concentration on the present. No type of work- certainly not factory work- dispenses with memory and imagination. Both are required to diagnose and fix problems, actual or potential. A straying imagination is a valuable work skill because it it previsions improvements or prophylactic measures.
 To the extent that both the distant and the immediate pasts of the worker—including the work of unionization and citizenship—prepare him to be the figure posited by capital as its own condition and contradiction, those pasts do indeed constitute History 1. 
If this were true, Capitalism's 'History 1' is simply all human history. But so is that of making cat like noises. What can be claimed for the one can be claimed for the other. Ergo, it is a pointless and stupid claim.
But the idea of History 2 suggests that even in the very abstract and abstracting space of the factory that capital creates, ways of being human will be acted out in manners that do not lend themselves to the reproduction of the logic of capital.
Factories lost salience long ago. Only a small proportion of the population works in factories. History 2 does not matter because we know that a factory in Bristol can relocate to rural Poland or coastal China or anywhere else with little friction. Indeed, by the Seventies, big manufacturers had developed a preference to relocating in agricultural areas precisely because the work force was more flexible.

It would be wrong to think of History 2 (or History 2s) as necessarily precapitalist or feudal, or even inherently incompatible with capital. If that were the case, there would be no way humans could be at home—dwell—in the rule of capital, no room for enjoyment, no play of desires,no seduction of the commodity.
Commodities pre-exist Capital. So- d'uh!
Capital, in that case, would truly be a case of unrelieved and absolute unfreedom. The idea of History 2 allows us to make room, in Marx’s own analytic of capital, for the politics of
human belonging and diversity. 
No. The politics of human belonging and diversity encompasses slavery and gangsterism and Voodoo and so forth. Marx has a critique of 'false consciousness' which is relevant in these contexts. Capital may come into existence through slavery or gangsterism or witch-doctors enriching themselves, but this does not affect its trajectory according to Marx.
It gives us a ground on which to situate our thoughts about multiple ways of being human and their relationship to the global logic of capital. But Marx does not himself think through this problem, although his method, if my argument is right, allows us to acknowledge it.  If your argument is right, Marx was an idiot. There is a blind spot, it seems to me, built into his method—this is the problem of the status of the category “use value” in Marx’s thoughts on value. Let me explain.

Consider, for instance, the passage in the Grundrisse where Marx discusses, albeit briefly, the difference between making a piano and playing it. Because of his commitment to the idea of “productive labor,” Marx finds it necessary to theorize the piano maker’s labor in terms of its contribution to the creation of value. But what about the labor of the piano player? For Marx, that will belong to the category of “unproductive labor” that he took over (and developed) from his predecessors in political economy. Let us read closely the relevant passage:

What is productive labour and what is not, a point very much disputed back and forth since Adam Smith made this distinction, has to emerge from the direction of the various aspects of capital itself. Productive labour is only that which produces capital. Is it not crazy, asks e.g. . . . Mr Senior, that the piano maker is a productive worker, but not the piano player, although obviously the piano would be absurd without the piano player? But this is exactly the case. The piano maker reproduces capital, the pianist only exchanges his labour for revenue. But doesn’t the pianist produce music and satisfy our musical ear, does he not even to a certain extent produce the latter? He does indeed: his labour produces something; but that does not make it productive labour in the economic sense; no more than the labour of the mad man who produces delusions is productive.

Marx is making a distinction between 'goods' (like pianos) and 'services' (like playing a piano for paying customers). He was wrong to make that distinction but he wasn't the only one to do so. It is unfair to fasten onto this failure on his part to anticipate how Economics would develop in order to show that his entire oeuvre is nonsense on a par with Heidegger's. 

This is the closest that Marx would ever come to showing a Heideggerian intuition about human beings and their relation to tools. He acknowledges that our musical ear is satisfied by the music that the pianist produces. He even goes a step further in saying that the pianist’s music actually—and “to a certain extent”—“produces” that ear as well. In other words, in the intimate and mutually productive relationship between one’s very particular musical ear and particular forms of music is captured the issue of historical difference, of the ways in which History 1 is always modified by History 2.We do not all have the same musical ear. This ear, in addition, often develops unbeknownst to ourselves. This historical but unintended relation between a music and the ear it has helped “produce”—I do not like the assumed priority of the music over the ear but let that be—is like the relationship between humans and tools that Heidegger calls “the ready to hand”: the everyday, preanalytical, unobjectifying relationships we have to tools, relationships critical to the process of making a world out of this earth. This relationship would belong to History 2.
Nonsense! An Englishman, an Eskimo and an Eritrean have different History 2s  but pick up and use a hammer in the same way.  I pick it up and use it in a different way- not because of my History 2- but because I know my g.f will snatch it from me and complete the task herself thus permitting me a little leisure to open a beer can or two. 
 Heidegger does not minimize the importance of objectifying relationships (History 1 would belong here)—in his translator’s prose, they are called “present-at-hand”—but in a properly Heideggerian framework of understanding, both the present-at-hand and the ready-to-hand retain their importance; one does not gain epistemological primacy over the other. History 2 cannot sublate itself into History 1.
History 1 is based on a causal theory of (if other causes are suppressed or subjugated) everything. The present-at-hand, by contrast, arises in a field where no such theory of everything exists. For History I, everything is 'ready-to-hand' because it can be used immediately for an ineluctable purpose.

History 2 does not matter enough to require sublation. Suppression or subjugation are good enough. Dipesh confesses as much-
But see what happens in the passage quoted. Marx both acknowledgesand in the same breath casts aside as irrelevant the activity that producesmusic. For his purpose, it is “no more than the labour of the mad manwho produces delusions.” This equation, however, between music and amadman’s delusion is baleful. It is what hides from view what Marx himselfhas helped us see: histories that capital anywhere—even in theWest—encounters as its antecedents, which do not belong to its life process.Music could be a part of such histories in spite of its later commodificationbecause it is part of the means by which we make our “worlds” out ofthis earth. The “mad” man, one may say in contrast, is world-poor. Hepowerfully brings to view the problem of human belonging. Do not thesad figures of the often mentally ill, homeless people on the streets of thecities of America, unkempt and lonely people pushing to nowhere shoppingtrolleys filled with random assortments of broken, unusable objects—do not they and their supposed possessions dramatically portraythis crisis of ontic belonging to which the “mad” person of late capitalismis condemned?
No. These guys need medical attention and proper housing and so on. If they were deprived of medical care and housing and so forth by some malign action of the Market or the State or some Criminal Gang, then their plight calls forth some political action on our part. They themselves may take a vanguard role in such political action. There is no 'crisis of ontic belonging'. There is a crisis of mentally ill people being denied proper care.
Marx’s equation of the labor of the piano player with thatof the production of a madman’s delusions shows how the question ofHistory 2 comes as but a fleeting glimpse in his analysis of capital. Itwithdraws from his thoughts almost as soon as it has revealed itself.
History 2 does not matter if you believe in a History 1. It is a 'carmen solutum'. A madman's howls which he himself may hear as a Mozartian symphony but which should call forth a compassionate medical response not some worthless verbiage whose purpose is to equate the deeply silly writings of various Bengalis with some sterile marriage between two worthless adademic availability cascades- viz. that of Marx and Heidegger.
If my argument is right, then it is important to acknowledge in historicalexplanations a certain indeterminacy that we can now read back intoThompson’s statement at the beginning of this chapter: “Without time-disciplinewe could not have the insistent energies of the industrial man;and whether this discipline comes in the form of Methodism, or of Stalinism,or of nationalism, it will come to the developing world.”
Time discipline didn't matter provided there were no caste or gender based barriers to employment. The Japanese found that unmarried peasant girls came under 'time-discipline' almost frictionlessly. Indian industrialists could not hire unmarried peasant girls and so faced a different problem- except in Bengal where the State co-operated with the, generally White owned, Jute factories, etc.
If any empirical history of the capitalist mode of production is History 1 modified—in numerous and not necessarily documentable ways—by History2s, then a major question about capital will remain historically undecidable.
An ergodic system may grow to include elements which exhibit hysteresis but, provided, that hysteresis disappears within a few iterations, no 'undecidability' will feature. Otherwise, it is not a system. Similarly, any History I which is modified by History II is not a History I at all.
Even if Thompson’s prediction were to come true, and a place likeIndia suddenly and unexpectedly boasted human beings as averse to “laziness”as the bearers of the Protestant ethic are supposed to be, we wouldstill not be able to settle one question beyond all doubt. We would neverknow for sure whether this condition had come about because the timediscipline that Thompson documented was a genuinely universal, functionalcharacteristic of capital, or whether world capitalism representeda forced globalization of a particular fragment of European history inwhich the Protestant ethic became a value.
Rubbish! We know that the 'time discipline' of Chinese migrants from the countryside has nothing to do with 'a particular fragment of European history in which the Protestant ethic became a value'.
It has everything to do with the nature of the capital goods installed by their employers.
A victory for the Protestant ethic, however global, would surely not be victory for any universal.
Urm.. Yes it would. It would be a victory for the Universal Protestant Church.
The question of whether the seemingly general and functional requirements of capital represent specific compromises in Europe between History 1 and History 2s remains, beyond a point, an undecidable question. Thetopic of “efficiency” and “laziness” is a good case in point. We know, forinstance, that even after years of Stalinist, nationalist, and free-marketcoercion, we have not been able to rid the capitalist world of the everpresenttheme of “laziness.” It has remained a charge that has alwaysbeen leveled at some group or other, ever since the beginnings of the particularshape that capital took in Western Europe.
This is sheer stupidity. Dipesh thinks that if people are lazy then some grave scandal arises for the ethic of their Religion or the 'logic' of the specific type of Economy in which they find themselves. This is not the case. There would be no need for Organised Religion or Incentive Compatible Mechanism design if such were the case. People go to Church to be admonished against laziness. They accept rewards and punishments at work because they recognise that they might slack off otherwise. Indeed, people who want to lose weight or run a marathon, admonish themselves with 'mantras' and reward and punish themselves in order to stick with their diet or training schedule.
No historical form of capital, however global its reach, can ever be auniversal.
So what? A 'universal' which is a historical form is can become global. It might be encoded in a heuristic- e.g 'buy low, sell high'- and prevail everywhere. Everybody might accept it. It might reinscribe itself in every subsequent state in a manner we could call 'capital'. What is there to stop this happening?
No global (or even local, for that matter) capital can everrepresent the universal logic of capital, for any historically available formof capital is a provisional compromise made up of History 1 modified bysomebody’s History 2s.
Mathematics has a universal logic. Ramanujan's History 2 was different from Hardy's. So what? We can now see that History 2 makes no difference to History 1. It is, to employ Henry Ford's term, simply 'bunk'.
The universal, in that case, can only exist as aplace holder, its place always usurped by a historical particular seekingto present itself as the universal.
If I am queuing for theater tickets and am suddenly caught short I may pay a homeless guy to keep my place for me in the line.  If, because of his History 2, he decides to buy a ticket himself, he may usurp my position. But, in that case he won't be a place holder at all.

Can the 'universal' exist as a place-holder? Nope, unless it is homeless and someone will employ it to stand in a queue while they go to the toilet. Nobody would do that because the Universal being fictitious might well fictitiously buy a ticket for itself while giving you the cold shoulder.
This does not mean that one gives awaythe universals enshrined in post-Enlightenment rationalism or humanism.Marx’s immanent critique of capital was enabled precisely by the universalcharacteristics he read into the category “capital” itself. Withoutthat reading, there can only be particular critiques of capital. But a particularcritique cannot by definition be a critique of “capital,” for such acritique could not take “capital” as its object. Grasping the category“capital” entails grasping its universal constitution. My reading of Marxdoes not in any way obviate that need for engagement with the universal.What I have attempted to do is to produce a reading in which the verycategory “capital” becomes a site where both the universal history ofcapital and the politics of human belonging are allowed to interrupt eachother’s narrative.
But, Marxism says it has a narrative which explains everything and that other narratives are the ravings of lunatics. Why interrupt sense with nonsense? Would Dipesh like it if I interrupted his lectures with cat like noises?
Capital is a philosophical-historical category—that is, historical differenceis not external to it but is rather constitutive of it. Its histories areHistory 1 constitutively but unevenly modified by more and less powerfulHistory 2s. Histories of capital, in that sense, cannot escape the politicsof the diverse ways of being human.
Yes they can because those diverse ways don't affect how human beings use machines as workers. Either they do it the right way or they get fired.
Capital brings into every historysome of the universal themes of the European Enlightenment, but on inspectionthe universal turns out to be an empty place holder whose unstableoutlines become barely visible only when a proxy, a particular, usurpsits position in a gesture of pretension and domination.
In other words, when people talk about 'universal themes' or 'the European Enlightenment', they are indulging in pretentious one-upmanship of a wholly worthless sort.
And that, it seems to me, is the restless and inescapable politics of historical difference to which global capital consigns us.
Not us, it consigns you, Dipesh because you are part of a Globalised Credentialist Ponzi scheme based on whining about being Black or Female or Gay or whatever so as to get tenure and sell copies of your worthless books.

At the same time, the struggle to put in the ever-empty place of History 1 other histories with which we attempt to modify and domesticate that empty, universal history posited by the logic of capital in turn brings intimations of that universal history into our diverse life practices.
So Dipesh says that struggling against something that does not exist causes intimations of that non existent thing to somehow change our lives. This is not a sensible view. I may spend my time struggling against Lesbian Space Vampires. This may affect my day to day life. However, since Lesbian Space Vampires don't exist no 'intimations' emanate from them. The hallucinations I experience arise out of mental illness. Psychiatrists don't try to find the Lesbian Space Vampires and ask them to stop intimating things to me. Instead, they prescribe medication which will suppress my symptoms.
The resulting process is what historians usually describe as “transition to capitalism.” This transition is also a process of translation of diverse life-worlds and conceptual horizons about being human into the categories of Enlightenment thought that inhere in the logic of capital.
Some historians wrongly thought there was a cultural component to the 'transition to capitalism'. However, recent Chinese history shows that those historians were barking up the wrong tree.
To think of Indian history in terms of Marxian categories is to translate into such categories the existing archives of thought and practices about human relations in the subcontinent; but it is also to modify these thoughts and practices with the help of these categories.
At one time it was thought that issues of caste, region and gender would have salience with respect to the burgeoning of the industrial proletariat in India. That view is no longer tenable. All that matters is if employers can freely hire and fire workers and are free from a license/ permit/ regulation based Raj. If they can't, industrialisation stalls and the industrial proletariat gets split between 'permanent' and 'casuals' in a manner described by Andrew Sanchez.

The politics of translation involved in this process work in both ways. Translation makes possible the emergence of the universal language of the social sciences.
Nonsense! Translation makes it possible for two Social Science Professors who share an office to never communicate with each other but only do so like-minded Professors in other countries who use the same stupid jargon.
But it must also, by the same token, enable a project of approaching social-science categories from both sides of the process of translation, in order to make room for two kinds of histories.
Rubbish! Every History 1 says History 2 does not matter. There is no need to 'make room for it'. Once Energy has reached a level where everybody only makes cat like noises, there is no room for anything else.
One consists of analytical histories that, through the abstracting categories of capital, eventually tend to make all places exchangeable with one another. History 1 is just that, analytical history. But the idea of History 2 beckons us to more affective narratives of human belonging where life forms, although porous to one another,do not seem exchangeable through a third term of equivalence such as abstract labor.
Abstract labour just means the money economy. There is a non monetary economy. Money may play an indirect part in this economy but the protocols are different. Thus, if you have good cocaine your Social life broadens even if you bought the cocaine for that specific purpose. Still, there is a different sort of 'implicit contract'. It would not be acceptable to demand fellatio as an immediate return for providing a bump. But, with free entry and exit, the chances of sex do increase.
Translation/transition to capitalism in the mode of History 1 involves the play of three terms, the third term expressing the measure of equivalence that makes generalized exchange possible. But to explore such translation/transition on the register of History 2 is to think about translation as a transaction between two categories without any third category intervening.
Why? Many translations are not direct but involve a third language. So what?
Translation here is more like barter than a process of generalized exchange. We need to think in terms of both modes of translation simultaneously, for together they constitute the condition of possibility for the globalization of capital across diverse, porous, and conflicting histories of human belonging.
This is crazy. It doesn't matter if my dialect of Tamil was first translated into Hindi and then into English before being translated into German provided the translation is checked by a competent person at each step.
We know for a fact that Britain colonised countries with widely different types of currency- cowrie shells and so on. This did not matter in the slightest.
But globalization of capital is not the same as capital’s universalization.
Obviously, Yoga and Kung Fu and Hip Hop are all global phenomena. They aren't universal. 
Globalization does not mean that History 1, the universal and necessary logic of capital so essential to Marx’s critique, has been realized.
No one is suggesting that Marx was a true prophet. On the contrary, Marxism is as dead as a dodo. Not even Xi will be able to revive that corpse. All he will do is tighten Party 'residuary control rights' over everything.
What interrupts and defers capital’s self-realization are the various History 2s that always modify History 1and thus act as our grounds for claiming historical difference.

Either History 2 has causative factors or it does not. If it doesn't, it can't cause any interruption. Every causative factor in 2 can give rise to a History 1. So, what is 'interrupting and deferring' Marx's History 1, based on the Labour theory of Value,  is the superior History 1 based on the Marginalist Revolution in Value theory which achieved apotheosis in, that great Soviet Economist, Slutsky fundamental equation.