Thursday, 28 November 2019

Yogendra Yadav on JNU fee hike

Yogendra Yadav did an MA from JNU. He writes in the Indian express-
Let us understand the entire JNU fee hike protest from the vantage point of Sunita. She is an average Indian young woman. She lives in a village, close to a district town. Her father is an average Indian farmer who owns a little under 3 acres of land (average landholding in India is roughly 2.8 acres). Her mother works towards raising the family besides looking after their buffalo. Theirs is a five-member family (Indian average is 4.45), including her grandmother and her younger brother, who studies in Class 10. She is exceptionally bright and has topped her college in BA. She dreams of becoming an IPS officer, like the ‘Madam’ she saw in her college function. She wants to do an MA in JNU to pursue her aspiration.
Why can't she just take the Civil Services Exams immediately? She has a degree. That is all that is required. An M.A does not confer any further advantage. My sister, it is true, spent a year or two at JNU before getting into the IFS. But this was because she got her MA from London University when she was 19. She needed something to do while she was waiting to take her Civil Service exams which she could only do after turning 21. Since my family is affluent she did not need to work. Dad paid for her to attend the best Cramming College and hired a Hindi tutor. Thus she passed the exam on her first try. She scored particularly well in the interview. JNU did not help her in achieving her goal. Rather, it represented a fall back position. She could always get a Doctorate in I.R and become a professor. Indeed, she still might after retiring from the U.N.

There are only a thousand vacancies each year whereas a million sit the prelims. If Sunita is really very bright, she may stand a chance but it would be foolish for her to put all her eggs in one basket. She needs to develop work skills which raise her employability in the private sector. Having failed to get a Government job is not by itself any sort of recommendation.

 Furthermore, assuming JNU offers genuine academic courses, Sunita's M.A studies will distract her from preparing for the exam. It would be better for her if she started earning some money and using it for specialized coaching classes. If I were in her place, I'd start in a lower cadre- perhaps as a clerk in a Nationalized Bank or, if she wants to improve her English quickly, as a teachers assistant in a posh Kindergarten or School.
She is not alone or atypical. She is among the millions of first-generation learners who are entering higher education – poor, mostly rural and disproportionately more from marginal communities such as Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim or OBC.
It would be foolish for Sunita to set her heart on a thousand to one chance of getting a Civil Service job. Instead she- and the many millions of her fellows- must acquire productive work skills such that there is a market demand for what she has to offer. The Government can't make everyone a Civil Servant to be paid out of tax revenue. The vast majority has to earn money by doing productive things. Taxes are levied on that productive work.

It is foolish for a poor country like India to force young people into wasting their time pretending to be serious scholars when all they are doing is marking time taking a thousand to one gamble of becoming a 'Babu'.
This is not necessarily for love of knowledge. It is just that they have discovered, rather belatedly, that degrees are a passport to fulfil their aspirations to enter the middle class.
Sunita has a degree. It is useless save in that it qualifies her to participate in the Civil Service lottery. An M.A is even more useless. She has no love of learning for its own sake and this will tell against her in her graduate studies. She is only doing the M.A because she hopes to win the Civil Service lottery and has got into her head that going to JNU will improve her chances.
For every Sunita who succeeds, there currently are 999 who fail. A poor country like India can't afford this sort of waste. Young people should be earning money and improving their work skills, not pretending to be scholars.
Last year, we had 3.74 crore students in higher education, the number is growing by about 6 lakh every year.
But employment is shrinking while industry loudly complains that it can't find job-ready young people.
Sunita would be among the 11 per cent of those enrolled for higher education who manage to go beyond a simple graduation and have a realistic hope of a half-decent job.
An MA or a PhD does not provide a 'realistic hope of a half-decent job'. Plenty of holders of such qualification end up applying for jobs as peons.

Half of India's population is under 25. Of those enrolled in higher education, half will never gain a job in the formal sector.
The website 'Youth ki awaaz' states-
' in Uttar Pradesh in the second week of September 2015,  2.3 million candidates applied for just 368 vacancies, for the post of a peon in the government secretariat. This incident highlighted the graveness of the unemployment scenario of India in a nutshell, as the applicants included 250 doctorates, 25,000 Postgraduates, 15o,oo0 graduates, 750,000 lakh Higher secondary school pass outs and over a million class 10 or equivalent pass outs, for a job which required only a qualification of a class 5 student and cycling skill.
Unemployment among post graduates is 12 per cent. Among illiterates, it is 2 per cent. In some States, half of all post graduates who have job do the same work and receive the same pay as functionally illiterate people who may be younger than them. However, because of lower participation for women in the labor market, the plight of rural Sunitas is even worse. They are married to men as poor as their fathers or waiting to get married to such men- if any such can be found.

The EPW reports- Rohini Sahni and V Kalyan Shankar’s 2015 article, “What Does an MA Know?” ...is based on a survey conducted by them among postgraduate economics students in a state-run university. Their findings are worrying: students enrolled in institutes of higher education are often unaware of basic course concepts. The authors argue that Indian education suffers from the “diploma disease,” the ritualised process of qualification-earning. They add that higher education is often designed to conceal a student’s academic shortcomings.

Yogendra Yadav is aware of all this. Yet he asks about his fictional Sunita-
What would it take for her to fulfil her dream?
It would take the crushing of the dream of 999 other people like her if she gets the Civil Service job she wants.
The Preamble to our Constitution promises her “equality of opportunities”.
It also promises cows protection from the butcher's knife. So what? It is just meaningless verbiage.
So, she should be able to pursue her higher education based on her ability, irrespective of her gender, her location, her family means. But can she?
Of course not. There is no country in the world which allows people, irrespective of their family's wealth or their own credit-worthiness, to pursue higher education rather than have to work for a living.

How fee hike affects household budget
Her family is not very poor, certainly not below the poverty line. She is from a respected farming family in her village. Besides working on their own land, the family keeps a buffalo that yields some much-needed extra income. Last year, their monthly family income was Rs 9,350 (National Sample Survey’s latest estimate of average per capita monthly expenditure in India is Rs 1,446. My estimate is based on the rural figure multiplied by 5 and adjusted for inflation from the base year). Let us say it has gone up to Rs 10,000 per month this year, or Rs 1.2 lakh per annum.
Suppose Sunita gets a job working in a factory. Her income would be about Rs. 15,000 per month if she really is smarter than average. If she goes in for teaching- which as a 'topper' from her College she should be able to do- she would soon be on 20,000 and should see 50,000 within a few years.  By doing an MA at JNU, her opportunity cost is 2 lakhs per annum.

She may feel this is a worthwhile sacrifice if she gets into the I.A.S. But for every Sunita who succeeds there are a thousand who fail. Thus the collective loss is 2000 lakhs per annum. Since there are a thousand recruits to the top cadres of the Bureaucracy, this means that 2 billion pounds is wasted annually because people like Sunita do MAs rather than earn money, not from any love of learning but so as to win the Civil Service lottery.
Now, let us see what would it take her to go to JNU (it could be University of Hyderabad for that matter) to pursue her Masters.
An average rural family like hers incurs about 50 per cent of its total expenditure on food. Clothing, durables, electricity and transport account for another 30 per cent. That leaves the family with just Rs 24,000 per annum for education, medicine, all other services and any contingency. Her brother’s education costs them Rs 3,600 per annum since he studies in the local government school. The family wants to send him to a nearby private school that would cost Rs 7,800 per year (Figures are from the latest NSO survey on Household Consumption on Education).
Sunita's family is agricultural- i.e. its income is volatile. They need to be putting by much more money for prudential reasons. Sunita ought to be earning and helping to boost the family's savings.

For a moment, imagine yourself to be Sunita’s parents and look at your budget. Let us say you have access to the government’s latest survey on cost of education. It tells you that it would cost her annually Rs 13,000 if she stays at home and goes to the nearby government college, and Rs 17,000 if she opts for the local private college. The cost will be twice as much if she goes out and stays in a hostel.
Why should she do an MA at all? A degree is all that is required for the Civil Service Exam.
The annual cost for studying at JNU would have been around Rs 32,000, while for most other public universities it would be about Rs 50,000.
That is not the true cost. What students pay at JNU represents only about 1 to 5 percent of the total cost. The percentage is higher in other Universities. Nevertheless, this represents an enormous drain on a poor country.
You can now see why a jump in annual fee from an estimated Rs 32,000 to Rs 56,000 for a JNU student living in a hostel might make a difference to your decision (that’s additional 20 per cent of your annual household budget).
But Sunita's family is much better off if she gets a job rather than spend more time chasing the thousand in one chance of a posh Civil Service job.

Not enough scholarships
And remember, we are not even thinking of a poor family. Sunita represents an average village family, better placed than more than half of rural India (That’s right: median of income distribution is lower than its statistical mean).
All this calculation excludes any additional courses or tuition or coaching that Sunita might need. She is of course not thinking of technical or professional courses like BTech or a Bachelor’s degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), where her basic fee, excluding hostel, would be an estimated Rs 50,000 even in an ordinary public institution. You, her parents, have mercifully not heard about the run-of-the-mill private professional colleges that cost at least Rs 2 lakh a year, not to mention elite private universities that cost Rs 8-10 lakh a year.
What about a scholarship? So, you look up the National Scholarship Portal. Yes, she is eligible for a central government scholarship that could pay her Rs 20,000 per annum. But you missed the deadline by three years, as she needed to apply at the end of Class 12.
Yadav is wrong. Sunita is a 'topper'. She should apply for the 
UGC Post Graduate Merit Scholarship for University Rank Holders. The award is for 36,000 Rs p.a. There are 3,000 such scholarships. Other scholarships can be held simultaneously.
In any case, it is awarded to only 82,000 students every year. If you combine all the higher education scholarship schemes of the various ministries of government of India, it comes to an estimated Rs 1,801 crore (about 2.6 per cent of its education budget) for about 1.4 lakh scholarships per year (less than 2 per cent of the students who enter higher education every year) in 2014-15.  If you distribute that amount to the total number of students enrolled in higher education that year, it amounts to just Rs 527 per student per annum. Private universities in the capitalist US provide more students with financial aid than our ‘socialist’ country.
The US, as everybody knows, is just as poor as India. Yet some private universities, like Harvard, give a lot of financial aid to poor students. It only has a paltry 30 or 40 billion dollars worth of endowment. How on earth can it manage to be so generous?

How to fix this
What would Sunita’s parents do, if they were to frame the country’s higher education policy? I bet they would insist on the following four steps.
The cost of education should be affordable for a family like hers. If we have to be true to the constitutional promise of equality of opportunities, then tuition and other fees should be kept as low as possible. The fee charged by private institutions too should be effectively regulated. Higher education cannot be used for profiteering.
The value of the education Sunita is receiving is negative. It is making her less not more employable. It should be unaffordable for her family. The Sunitas of India should be working in factories- just like Chinese Sunitas in the Eighties and Nineties, or Korean Sunitas from the Sixties onward, or Japanese Sunitas in the Twenties and Thirties, or Bangladeshi Sunitas right now.

British and American Sunitas worked in factories and offices. That's why those countries became rich. Even now, most Sunitas in the West don't do MAs. They work.
There should be a quantum jump in the number and amount of fellowships.
Why? Indian 'scholars' are shit. They contribute nothing. They are a White Elephant simply.
At least 10 per cent of all top students irrespective of caste or community and at least top 25 per cent students from educationally disadvantaged communities must get full scholarship that covers actual tuition and living costs (an improved version of this scheme).
What about the 90 percent who have to pay for these scholarships? Where are they going to get the money? Being less intelligent, their productivity is lower. The people who could have organized them and made them more productive are rotting away in some useless academic department. Meanwhile, those few lottery winners who enter the Civil Service spend all their time lining their own pockets by demanding bribes from the people who pay their salaries.
Other students should get the benefit of a generous earn-while-you-learn scheme. Under this,students can work within the institution for up to 20 hours in a week and can earn enough to pay their mess bills.
The existing scheme of bank loans for students should be radically revised. The government should provide the surety on student loans and interest should be capped at around 7 per cent that farmers pay on their KCC card, with further relaxation on timely payment.
Why stop there? Why not say everybody should receive a million dollar study grant every month?
These are not new or radical suggestions.
But they are foolish suggestions. Not even rich countries can afford any such thing.
A committee appointed by the erstwhile Planning Commission, headed by Professor Pankaj Chandra, who was then director of IIM Bangalore, had made more or less similar suggestions in 2012. There was no follow up by the UPA or the NDA regime.
Nor was there any follow up to Professor Vagina Dentata Choothopadhyaya's suggestion that everybody should be renamed Gandhi and should be appointed Prime Minister of India by hereditary right.
If you were Sunita’s parents, you would be thankful to JNU students that they raised this issue.
You would be very thankful that Sunita is in hospital after being trampled or lathi charged. Your gratitude will know no bounds when you hear she has been molested by her supervisor or that some rogues on campus are blackmailing her into prostitution by threatening to release using videos they shot of her being gang raped.
At the same time, you would wish and pray that this protest does not end with rollback of fee hike just for JNU. You would know that very often, as in the case of the MeToo movement, a real and pressing issue is brought to light not by the worst-affected victim but by the victim who can best articulate it. You would want to focus on the deeper issues that this protest has raised: higher education has become unaffordable just when the number of those who desperately need it is exploding.
What good did 'higher education' do the millions of unemployed graduates the country has been saddled with since before Yadav was born?
Our education policy must respond to this pressing need. Solutions are available. What is missing is political will.
What is severely missing in the Indian education system is competent teachers willing to work in villages and mofussil towns. In the big metros, it is University administrators and shitheads like Yadav who fuck up what once were quite promising Colleges and Universities.
If you are reading this piece, you are clearly not Sunita’s parents. But should we all not think like one?
Yadav may think like Sunita's parents- assuming they have cow-dung where their brains should be. What they would prefer is the Chinese solution- i.e. girls living in dormitories working in factories and earning money and acquiring transferable work skills and commercial acumen.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Is Corbyn a danger to Jews and Hindus?

No. Jews and Hindus can look after themselves.

Corbyn is a danger only to the working class who deserve better representation than can be provided by the bunch of virtue signalling nutters he has surrounded himself with. The vast majority of Labor councilors and MPs are disgusted with the fanatics and try to sack them where possible. The trouble is that it is becoming more and more difficult to do so precisely because Corbyn is insecure and feels he can't dispense with the crazies.

Consider the testimony of Fiyaz Mughal- a veteran campaigner against Islamophobia- who now openly says that a Corbyn Prime Ministership would be a disaster for the country-
Firstly, Corbyn has been a lightning rod to attract people to Labour whose world view strongly hinges on the Israel and Palestine conflict. That is not a problem, but it has become a problem since some of these activists are openly antisemitic and see all Jews as being "the other"; as the cover-all term, many of these activists liberally use the term ‘Zionists’ to smear British Jews who simply disagree with them. 
By drawing in these activists, Corbyn’s leadership has then acted in a snail-like fashion to tackle complaints of antisemitism and, in some instances, his office has actively got involved in the complaints process and influenced decisions. He has called terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah "friends" and then gone on to say that he regretted saying this... how could Corbyn even consider calling such groups "friends", unless he agreed with their anti-Israeli and anti-American ideologies?
Or, take the fact Corbyn has actively made a point of turning up, legitimising and speaking at events held by divisive groups. For instance, he attended an event held by the group MEND, which he spoke at in November 2017.
MEND stands for Muslim Engagement and Development which was founded by a wealthy financier named Sufyan Ismail who now claims that Muslims hold the balance of political power in Britain.  
This is a group that the former Home Secretary recently said wasn’t “always as intolerant of intolerance as they claim to be.”
The recent excellent report by the Commission for Countering Extremism, headed up by the formidable Sara Khan, said the following of MEND: “Staff from another organisation, MEND, have posted hostile messages on Twitter relating to several politically and socially liberal Muslims, especially those involved in counter extremism work.
One MEND tweet labels some Muslims groups as “Uncle Toms”; and the public messaging of MEND’s founder describes civil society groups involved in counter extremism as “government stooges”.

Furthermore, at the Colin Cramphorn Memorial lecture in February 2018, Sir Mark Rowley, the former Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police said that Muslim bodies such as MEND foster grievances and just earlier this week, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said of MEND that it is, “a highly problematic organisation whose activities risk increasing hostility and suspicion between Muslim and Jewish communities”.
Yet, this is the organisation whose event Corbyn turned up to, thereby legitimising them to many. Neither did Corbyn turn up to question such an organisation. In fact, he seemed very comfortable at the event – so much for being a consistent equalities campaigner…
MEND has money and manpower to turn out the vote. Muslims may only be 5 % of the electorate but if their volunteers have good information, perhaps harvested from Social Media, regarding potential voters with an anti-semitic kink whom they can help get to the polling booth, it may really be the case that, as Sufyan Ismail says, Muslims may decide the outcome of the upcoming election.

It may be that people like Fiyaz Mughal and Sara Khan think this would be a disaster for British Muslims. Why? A 'culture of unchecked grievance' hurts only those who nurse the grievance. Everybody else gives the nutters a wide berth.
I cannot stand back and keep quiet when Corbyn turns up to divisive groups who risk increasing hostility between British Muslims and Jews and who build and enhance grievances. As someone who has worked on countering extremism for over two decades, I have seen where unchecked grievances lead to.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Vijay Sheshadri on Kipling

I haven't read any of Vijay Sheshadri's poetry though it has won a Pulitzer. Yet, like most ordinary people, I am not ignorant of his oeuvre- so frequently is this master wordsmith's apothegms on the lips of characters in the many American movies and films I watch during the course of the day.

I'm kidding. No one quotes Sheshadri in ordinary conversation. Kipling on the other hand rises unbidden to our lips. Why? Sheshadri has a theory. It is that Kipling's poetry is like journalism. It conveys 'explicit' meaning. This seems strange. Surely gnomic utterances, more especially those expressed in rhythmic or lapidary form, have an element of amphiboly? They allude to a folk wisdom which is at once mantic and apophatic. The spirit of prophesy descends but its expression is Delphic. Yet, there is a sort of grim comfort in speaking as though all conclusions are foregone and all that remains is to grittily display a knowing type of stoicism.

Genuine poetry has this quality. It unites its readership with respect to an 'unthought known' while leaving open every avenue of experiment or metanoia. Rhetoric- and Sheshadri is not a poet but a particular type of Rhetor- not a paraclete, perhaps, though maybe a 'sykophantes'- Rhetoric, in seeking for the precision of akrebia, divides its Reception so as to multiply holes in its own argument so all Reason drains away.

This can be a good thing. A multi-dimensional decision space is, by the McKelvey Chaos theorem, subject to a 'rent-dissipative' struggle for Agenda Control. It may be that Sheshadri's role, relative to his milieu, is positive in some way.

But his milieu is not ours. We require of our poets an expanded 'avakasha' or Kairotic menu of choice. Kipling, strangely enough, still gives us this- no matter what our nationality or place of domicile.

Consider what Sheshadri says (in conversation with Runku Vardarajan in Open Magazine)
I deplored Eliot’s partiality for Kipling’s poems like ‘Recessional’, where the ‘lesser breeds without the Law’ make their appearance. Eliot had made his own selection of Kipling’s verse, with a long introductory essay, and Faber & Faber published it in 1941. It was a controversial essay, because that was a time when not many people in the literary world of London were defending Kipling.
'Recessional' had entered the Hymnal of the American Lutheran Church. Eliot, like Sheshadri was American. Unlike Kipling, Eliot was an explicitly Christian poet. It would have been odd if Eliot had omitted a poem familiar to his Church-going readers when making his selection of Kipling's verse.

I must admit, on first reading the poem as an adolescent, I was put off by its pastiche of Biblical language. But then, I was equally put off by the Old Testament- for the same reason. I thought of the Hebrews as an upstart hill tribe which- briefly attaining Empery of a limited and regional a sort- thought it worthwhile to tart up its inglorious history in the sublime language of the urbane Syriac poets while paying doxological lip service to displaced Aramaean prophets.

Kipling, of course, had put this notion in my head. I read him as a kid, but read him in that indiscriminate manner in which, on aught that is green, goats graze and, in Paideia's shade, children laze such that every memorious Eden is at last rendered a Sahara.

In 1968, the year I first learned to read, I recall our car stopping at the supposed site of the Biblical Eden. Dad wanted to look around because he liked visiting battlefields and this was the topos of  the unholy 'vishodhana' of Kut-al Amara - which ended in a hunger march and the avoidable death of thousands of British and Indian soldiers brought about by a toxic combination of pitiless starvation and insensate sodomy. This was the locus of the greatest humiliation ever experienced by the undivided Indian Army. The father of an older friend of mine- a Pakistani General- has written a poem on the subject. I suppose, few Indic people from Army or 'Diplomatic' backgrounds who visited the spot, as it then was, could have failed to register similar sentiments.

The truth is the seeds of Partition- but also the Rowlatt Act- were sown there. It is disagreeable to admit that the 'British' did better in the Middle Eastern theater than the 'Indians'. This showed us our Imperial system was a sham. Our institutions bred complacency and careerism. Macaulay's Indian sojourn had been wholly inconsequential. Simla Society could not produce a Mrs. Hawksbee capable of keeping, the very first 'Indian Army' GoC,  Sir Beauchamp Duff, from so fucking up that after being sacked, he turned to drink and committed suicide in short order. The future commanders of the Indian and Pakistan Army learned this lesson even before arriving at Sandhurst.  National Armies succeed. 'Imperial' Armies fail.

In this context, Kipling's admonition not to ' loose/ Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,/ Such boastings as the Gentiles use/ Or lesser breeds without the Law' had a historical instantiation- an  'objective correlative' in the behavior of the Indian Army Generals most concerned with the Kut-al-Amara disaster.

 Brigadier Dyer, an untainted officer, took a different but even more calamitous path. Clearly, the future belonged to the chastened doxology of Amba Prasad Sufi- described in Wikipedia as a 'Pan Islamist'!- because Kipling's beloved Imperial Indian Army- its 'Soldiers Three' as much as 'Gunga Deen'- had indeed seen all its pomp and circumstance reduced to gall and ashes on that post Kut-al Amara death march while its Battle Commander, the Frenchified fop, General Townshend's, luxurious, Euphratean, barge blithely sailed past the less dishonorable desolation of 'Nineveh & Tyre'.

This, of course, is a parochially 'Babu' view. Sheshadri is American. He is sympathetic to the message of Christ and, I imagine, all the more at home in that Great Nation which has never felt it infra dig to dissemble this homely aspect of its constitutive synoecism. But Sheshadri is a scholar. He knows the precise Dollar exchange rate of his Nation's Sterling Eliot with respect to my poor paranoid Pound.

Yet he does not see that Kipling's allusion to 'Captains & Kings' is not, as conventionally supposed, rooted in the Book of Job, but rather the story of Ahab, who engages in warfare upon the plains- not the Mountains sacred to Yahweh- dispensing 'Kings' for 'Captains', to prove the universality of Israel's deity. For Eliot's generation, this paralleled the 'eternal return' of that grim trench-warfare which so disfigured their Nation's Civil univocity.

Kipling, in 'the Recessional' was, of course, referring only to a 'Thucydidean trap'- i.e. Imperial overstretch- but Eliot's higher education was that of Henry Adams. Both knew that the true scandal of their beloved Republic lay in Christian America's ability to industrialize the Socratic practice of death and wring ever increasing affluence from a war of attrition which, not Capital, not Labour, not Enterprise, not even the Land, was bound to lose. Rather it was Thymos, Tradition, Theology- the Triune God of the Tragic Muse- which would be worn away into empty air by what Heidegger would call Planetary Technology.

Sheshadri is a Madhwa Brahman- i.e. a Dualist who requires an Occassionalist theory of Space as 'avakasha' such that, by the operation of Grace, stasis, or concurrency deadlock, is overcome. He must know that 'Lord God of Hosts' translates into Indic as 'Ganapati'- who, for Dualists, creates or constricts kairotic Space-Time such that Soteriology either operates or gets stalemated. I recall the episode of the Simpsons where Homer impersonates the elephant headed Lord so as to simultaneously become 'creator of obstacles' as well as 'remover of obstacles' such that Apu and Manjula can have both a 'Love' as well as an 'Arranged' Marriage in a super-quick fashion so this immigrant couple can converge the more rapidly to the 'American dream'.

But that dream, at least in their case, was based on love for work.

The most heterogeneous of Kipling's characters are characterized by a similar unquestioned, univocal, love for the sort of variegated work which establishes a Freemasonry without a Soteriology.  This enables Kipling to continue to be the 'poet of work' as opposed to the elegist of a but archaic form of alienated labor long lost to self-regarding lucubration.

It is no wonder that he is hated.

Do you hate Kipling?Kipling is a poet where the ratio of implicit to explicit meaning is almost one-to-one. And there was always a controversy, independent of his politics, about whether his verse was just verse or poetry. I think Eliot makes a credible claim that it was poetry, even though we know exactly what Kipling means when we read ‘Recessional’ and ‘Danny Deever’.
We can guess at what 'Recessional' means because we have read the Bible and know a little about the British Empire's military history. Danny Deever is more alien to us because we haven't served in a type of regiment which has long ceased to exist. Yet, since Kipling always 'shows more than he knows', that ballad speaks to us of things remote from Kipling's own experience.

You can't paraphrase Kipling because the work of literature is not the work it seeks to chronicle. Thus the Bible speaks of the works of the risen Christ, which lasted a mere forty days, as requiring a book larger than the world to be fully transcribed.

But there are other elements to poetry than the ratio of explicit to implicit meaning and he certainly possesses all of those—although you can paraphrase Kipling.
Isn’t that the case with all popular poets? Is there a popular poet whom you cannot paraphrase?Robert Frost. Unlike Kipling, you can’t really paraphrase Frost because there is a vast cloud of implicit meanings that surrounds his poems. Kipling isn’t like that—unconnected to any antipathy I feel toward his politics and all of those complexities that involve an Indian reading Kipling.
So you do hate Kipling’s politics…Well, yeah. The imperialism was appalling. And if you look at his very clearly delineated and particular antagonism towards Bengalis, you can see it’s because Bengal is where the independence movement started. And the Bengali Babu was a figure of caricature in Kipling.
Kipling has a comedic poem about a corpulent and cowardly Bengali Babu who manages to kill a dreaded Burmese dacoit but he also has a Bengali hero in Kim. The fact is Kipling was 'the poet of work'. He pays tribute to able Bengalis who achieved extraordinary things and he mocks the shirkers and talkers. But he does this to posh White people as well.

To be fair, the Bengali Babu- initially the most loyal subject of the Raj- was first caricatured by Bengali writers. Kipling did not caricature or otherwise describe Bengali revolutionaries. He did limn elderly rebels against the Raj whose valor had outlasted their political relevance. But that relevance returned with a vengeance after Kipling himself had left India.
But there’s always a problem with Kipling because the work is so good. From the point of view of literature, it is really tremendous. So, you’re always dealing with that contradiction about him. I take great offence from those Kipling stories where he has a political axe to grind; but then there are others that are just beautiful, like ‘Without Benefit of Clergy’, which is about a relationship between a British man and an Indian woman. And you ask yourself, ‘Oh my God, what do I do with a figure that complex, with those elements of vitality to him?’
What we should do with Kipling is recognize that the brown woman in 'Clergy' is exactly the same as the white woman in 'Gadsby' or in 'William the Conqueror'. Why? There is only work while yet there are days. Literature is a Masonic 'Mother Lodge'- like that of 'The Janeites'- but it is only for those who have labored and battled in such unspeakable conditions that comradeship loses every individuating mark becoming maternal and univocal simply. Hemingway could prose on about 'men without women', but Kipling- kept out of the soldier's profession by his poor eyesight- had seen all, pre-visioned all, fore-suffered all and, as the Tiresias of pain, declared that Man's sorrows are but a shadow of the Mother's.


Saturday, 23 November 2019

Saikat Majumdar on BHU vs JNU

Saikat Majumdar- a startlingly illiterate novelist and Prof. of English- writes in the Indian Express-
Two news items jostled against each other on the front page of Tuesday’s (November 19) Indian Express. 
One, the JNU protests: “A visually challenged student said he was trampled on, an ex-student received five stitches on his head, a teacher said he was kicked and hit with lathis despite identifying himself.”

Two, at Banaras Hindu University, the protests over the appointment of Firoze Khan as an assistant professor of Sanskrit. “On Monday, a ‘hawan kund’ was set up and around 20 SVDV students were sitting on a dharna outside the Vice-Chancellor’s residence protesting his appointment. The protests have been on since Khan’s appointment, for the only reason that he’s a Muslim.”
At this moment, the two faces of student protest couldn’t be farther apart from each other. No denying that they are vastly different in scale and intensity, to say nothing of the fact that any activity in JNU is always on-camera nationwide in a way no other university in the country is.
But the fact remains that in both instances students are protesting measures taken by the vice-chancellor and the university administration. One against fee hikes that will drive students from weaker sections of society away from the university. The other against the appointment of a qualified Muslim academic to teach Sanskrit.
The JNU protests are against fee hikes. These students pay about 1 % of the cost of their education while students at Delhi University pay about 13 %.  The hike in fees won't apply to Below Poverty Line students. The students aren't saying the wealthy should pay more. They want a benefit meant for the poor to be received by them regardless of their economic standing.

The BHU students aren't protecting that a Muslim will teach Sanskrit but rather that he has been appointed to teach Hindu Priestcraft- a subject of which he knows nothing.

 The BHU agitation is peaceful and can be easily resolved by appointing the Muslim to the Ayurveda Dept or the Sanskrit Dept of BHU. The JNU protest isn't peaceful at all and can't be resolved because sooner or later the students will have to pay more for their education. They must not be allowed to leech off their poorer bretheren who work and pay taxes.
So much for a “singular” politics of student movements. For those whom student activism conjures up the mist in the eyes, the image of Berkeley in the Sixties, Paris, 1968, or, for that matter, Calcutta in the 1970s, welcome to the brave new world, India, 2019.
BHU saw massive student agitation in 1965. Why? A Muslim minister decided that the University should no longer have 'Hindu' in its name. That agitation was successful. The Nav Nirman student movement in Gujarat in the early Seventies was highly effective. It too owed more to the 'Sangh' than to the Left. India, it seems, entered this 'brave new world' before the author was born.
As I write, BHU student groups have come out in support of Firoze Khan’s appointment, and #StandWithFiroze is trending on Twitter, but so is #ISupportBHUStudents, which opposes this appointment.
Differences indicate a robust democracy. Are we to conclude, then, that in its staggering diversity, student politics in India is in rude good health?
No. Indian Higher Education is hugely dysfunctional. Universities appoint whom they like regardless of the welfare of the students. Which cretin thought it a good idea to hire a Muslim to teach aspiring Hindu priests? The proper place for a Sanskritist is the Sanskrit Department, not a Department which specializes in inculcating the Hindu Faith and Priestcraft.

Suppose JNU taught worthwhile subjects. Then it would be irrational for students to hold up their own education for a month so as to avoid a small hike in hostel fees. As things stand, most of them are no worse off for not attending lectures given by people as stupid and ignorant as themselves.
Who knows? But diversity is one thing, and hostile polarisation another. The ironic juxtaposition of headline news from JNU and BHU reveals, more than anything else, the brutal distances that severe and separate us today as a nation.
'severe and separate us'- would you believe this guy taught English at Stanford?
To say nothing of the ever-widening gulf between the nation and the university.
While teaching at Stanford, I once served on a Search Committee for a Confucius Chair in Classical Chinese Poetry. While the search was on, I heard a senior Chinese scholar, originally from the mainland, say that the Chinese government would like to see a white person in this position over someone who is Chinese or even of Chinese origin. Struck by that claim, I had asked why.
Majumdar is being naive. A Chinese origin professor who could speak Mandarin would interact with Chinese students and influence them ideologically. A round-eyed devil would just make a fool of himself.
“Because it looks good on China when white people do their culture,” he had said. “It sends the message that we’re so big that it’s not only Chinese people who teach and research our culture. The whole world does it.” Especially white people.
Also White professors of Chinese have a history of gullibility and willingness to be manipulated by the regime.
I still have childhood memories of an India where the Gorky Sadans and the American Centres fought a relentless culture war against each other. It was a bipolar world, and since the war between nuclear-armed nations was a Beckettian Endgame, the whole vigour of the un-fought battle exploded in the field of culture (and outer space). It’s a phenomenon widely and globally known, with funding from the CIA coming to prestigious periodicals of art, literature and culture, including the Partisan Review. And then the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and everything changed.
But China has taken over from where the Soviet Union left off. Majumdar may not have noticed but everybody else has.
It is a lesson at least as old as colonialism. If you want to rule, make sure your culture does too. Domination in the economic or military base would never last without domination in the cultural superstructure. Marx would know. Soft power following hard power. Shashi Tharoor knows it too.
This is sheer nonsense. The British established their dominion over India before its 'culture' was known to any but a handful of Indians. It was only after a sizable body of English speaking graduates came into existence that the Freedom Struggle got off the ground.

Marx said the economic substructure would determine the superstructure. Communism gained a hold over large portions of the Globe despite never exporting the language or culture of its Super-power. Soft power does not follow hard power. Rather it waxes or wanes purely on the basis of supply and demand. Either it pays for itself or it is useless. Kids in Manipur are learning Korean to watch Korean soaps and sing along to K-Pop stars. Why? It is for the same reason a lot of people in the former Soviet Union grew up watching Raj Kapoor or Amitabh Bacchan. Being denied access to a better quality product they have to settle for what they can get. Ask Shashi Tharoor's constituents. They should know.
A white American teaching Chinese in California. An Indian Muslim man teaching Sanskrit in Benaras. Perhaps the scenes don’t get along with each other well.
A white American, who does not know Chinese, teaching Mandarin to Chinese people in China. A Muslim teaching Hindus in Benares how to become Hindu priests. These scenes are analogous.
Unlike gravity, power likes to climb up. It fulfils China’s mission to see its culture spread to the world.
Nonsense! It fulfills China's mission to overtake America in STEM subject research. It gains nothing even if the whole world takes to doing Kung Fu and eating with chopsticks.
In the Western world, meanwhile, the hesitation comes entirely from the other direction.
There is reluctance on part of excellent and well-meaning white academics to enter into the domain of African American scholarship.
Clearly this guy has never heard of Rachel Dolezal.
What do you know about this people? What can you say? Can you write black as white, woman as man, queer as straight 
The answer has to be- no. A testimony to lived experience as a member of a discriminated against minority can't be written by a member of the majority. It has no probative value. It is merely speculative.

The same holds true of testaments to sharing a particular Faith. Religious instruction, for those aspiring to be priests of a particular denomination, should come from those of that faith who shared a like aspiration.
Dominant fields, in the reverse, have willed to welcome minority exponents, while failing to flush out ancient prejudices. “You’re black,” they’ve said. “What can you say about Shakespeare? Shouldn’t you rather talk about rap?”
This is a matter of marketing. If a widget manufacturer in Norway wants to sell widgets to Nigerians, he hires Nigerian marketing executives who use Nigerian spokespersons and Nigerian models and so forth.
In the end, progressive will has won. As Jonathan Gil Harris has shown us here in India, Shakespeare studies is a richer field for having Bollywood films in it.
Richer for whom? Gil Harris himself? His students? Are these guys seeing such a hike in their emoluments that the Finance Minister finds tax revenues have increased substantially? I don't think so.
Firoze Khan’s appointment to the Sanskrit Department at BHU can be a dream moment of Indian pluralism.
But that is precisely what the students want! They say employ him in the Sanskrit Department or the Ayurveda Department or any other Department. Don't employ him in the Department for Hindu Theology which trains Hindu priests.

The trouble is there have been plenty of Muslim Professors of Sanskrit and Hindu Professors of Arabic and so forth. The first Muslim woman to become a Professor of Sanskrit did so back in the Seventies. Indian pluralism's 'dream moment' came and went long ago.
For the language and culture of Sanskrit.
“All my life,” he says, “I learnt Sanskrit and I was never made to realise I am a Muslim, but now when I’m trying to teach, suddenly it has become the only subject.”
This was the fault of the BHU administration. They hired him to teach Sanskrit- which he was qualified to do- but tried to palm him off on the Hindu Theology Department. Now, I suppose, they'll put him in the Ayurveda Department because there is no vacancy on the Sanskrit faculty.
Be taught. But don’t try to teach. Be indoctrinated. But to what doctrine will you take us if you dare to teach? Who dare trust you?
A Muslim is welcome to learn how to become a Hindu priest. It is even possible that his Gurus are so pleased with him that they order him to teach aspiring Hindu priests. But some guy who knows Sanskrit is no more qualified to teach Hindus how to be priests than I am to teach Anglican Theology to aspiring clergymen on the basis of my knowledge of English.
Ironically, it was also a dream opportunity for the nationalist champions of Sanskritised India. Chinese ishtyle.
Why not Gangnam style? Has Chinese hard power softened Majumdar's brain?
Both opportunities are being cast away.
Very true- opportunity to have Hindu priests trained by a Muslim is being cast away. How will our Religion survive if Muslims don't teach it to us? Look at China. They are importing illiterate Guatemalans to teach Mandarin in their primary schools. That is the secret of their success.
Meanwhile, JNU burns.
No it doesn't- more's the pity. Still, we can live in hope.

Mrinal Pande on why Hindu theology must be taught by Muslims

Mrinal Pande, a former head of Prasar Bharati, writes in the Indian Express-

“India belongs to the Hindus, the Mohammedans, the Sikhs, the Parsis and others. No single community can rub over the rest. One day’s fight brings permanent loss to the country. It brings disgrace upon us.” (MM Malaviya at Congress Session, Calcutta 1933)

One wonders how this fierce upholder of unity and equality, founder of the Banaras Hindu University, would have felt at the sight of some 20 students sitting outside the university’s Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan, raising slogans against the appointment of a fully qualified assistant professor, Firoze Khan, on grounds that he is a Muslim — they reiterated their protest but called off the 15-day dharna on Friday. Their leader, Chakrapani Ojha, says that as per Hindu shastras, a Muslim cannot teach dharma vigyan (theology). Never mind the fact that Khan was shortlisted from 30 applicants, duly interviewed by a (mostly Hindu) panel of experts from the university and finally selected on the basis of proven merit and learning.
Malaviya did not say Hinduism belongs to non-Hindus. It was not his opinion that a Hindu priest could learn Dharm Vigyan from a Christian or Muslim. The original 1915 Act establishing Benares Hindu University clearly stated 'Provided that the members assigned to the Faculty of Theology shall all be Hindus'. This clause was dropped from the 1966 amended Act, but this was long after Malaviya had passed away. The unvarnished truth is that Pandit Malaviya understood that a given Faith can only be securely imparted by those possessed of that Faith to a higher degree. That is why he caused a stone 'shila-lekh' to be set saying that only Hindus (including Jains, Sikhs & Buddhists) were permitted to study or teach in the Hindu Theology Department.


S. Radhakrishnan confirmed Malviya's views. He wrote-


Firoze Khan is fully qualified to teach Sanskrit. But Sanskrit is not Dharm Vigyan. It is not Hindu paddathy or karma kanda. I know English, but this does not mean I am qualified to train Anglican priests. Firoze Khan would be an ornament to the separate Sanskrit faculty which exists at BHU. Since there is no vacancy there, it seems he will be accommodated in the Ayurveda Department. What is indisputable is that he is  out of place in the Dept. of Hindu Theology which caters to aspiring 'Sastris' & 'Acharyas' who will earn their living as Hindu priests mainly dependent on orthodox clients for performing 'graha sutra' domestic ceremonies. Unlike Christianity or Islam, the humble Hindu priest goes to the homes of his clients and derives the greater part of his income by conducting rituals in the time honored way.

Forget Hindu Shastras, common sense tells us that only a member in good standing of a particular Faith can impart a like Faith to young people.

A separate point is that it may be that there are some elderly Professors who hope this Muslim will convert to Hinduism as a result of teaching Hindu aspirants to the priesthood. They may consider that it is worth sacrificing the worldly prospects of the students so as to 'save the soul' of this talented young Muslim whose family, it appears, have participated in Hindu worship for a hundred years. However, this is not a fit and proper objective for a Publicly funded University to pursue. 

It is obvious that these students and their faceless instigators are not aware of the 1962 collection of the BHU founder’s speeches on the concept of dharma.
It is obvious that Malaviya did not think Muslims should be employed in that particular Department. This was enshrined in Law at his insistence. Even after the Law was amended in 1966, the principle was respected for over 50 years. Why has it been flouted now? Is it for the convenience of the administrators or the benefit of the students?

Mrinal Pande speaks of 'faceless instigators'. What instigation does an aspirant to Hindu priesthood need to reject a teacher who knows nothing about Hindu priestcraft and who belongs to another faith? Suppose you were enrolled in a University to study Mathematics. The administration appoints a teacher who is not a Mathematician but who has a PhD in Chinese. What good is that to you? Should you not protest that your education is being ruined just to suit the convenience of the administrators?

Mrinal Pande overlooks the fact that Pandit Malaviya specifically excluded non-Hindus from the Dept of Hindu Theology. She writes-
The learned educationist says, again and again, that ultimately there is only one Supreme Being whom peoples following different religions worship under different names,
One may as well say 'All Knowledge is One. Studying Chinese will make you a better Mathematician.'
but the concept of dharma must undergo a constant and vigorous churning of philosophical ideas, traditions and practices prevalent at the time. The truth, he writes, will rise to the surface on its own.
The concepts of religion are a fit subject for philosophical speculation. They have nothing to do with the correct performance of religious rituals by a person hired specifically for that purpose. A Hindu priest, while performing graha sutra ceremonies for a client may say 'I'd like to explain the concepts behind this ritual'. The client is at liberty to tell the priest to keep his opinions to himself. The situation may be different for Muslim or Christian priests. This is a good reason to exclude Muslims and Christians from instructing aspiring Hindu priests in how to perform their duties so as to make a living. This is because no 'constant churning of traditions and practices' is permitted while performing Hindu rites and ceremonies. Either the thing is done as it always has been done or what has been performed is mere mummery.

Malaviya was born a Hindu and remained a Hindu and died a Hindu. Did he hire Muslims to conduct his father's funeral? Of course he did! Then he slaughtered a cow and held a big barbecue where everybody got drunk on Jack Daniels and started discussing all sorts of concepts.
Holding on to this inclusive concept of dharma, he travelled through the country, raising funds for realising his dream. Among the generous donors for the cause of learning, there were Indians from all communities. Among the royals was the then Nawab of Rampur, a Muslim who donated Rs 1 lakh, a host of Hindu and Muslim students of Darbhanga who donated a purse of Rs 1,000, a Muslim beggar who gave Re 1 and many chaprasis and patwaris at Bilhour, many of them Muslim, who donated a month’s salary each.
Why did they do so? The answer is that the vast majority of the courses offered at BHU were of a purely secular nature and people of any religion, or none at all, were welcome to enroll there or to teach there. The exception was the Dept. of Hindu theology which trained Hindu priests.

“Universities”, said Annie Besant, at the court meeting of December 12, 1920, “are made by love, love of beauty and learning”.
Annie Beasant did not attend a University. She rose by her own merit. Had she got a degree, she would have known Universities, like other Institutions which charge money for providing a service, are made by the desire to secure a livelihood.
“For students,” Malaviya ji wrote, “their religion is acquiring knowledge”.
Knowledge of Religion is only securely acquired if it causes Faith to be firmly established within oneself. It can only be imparted by those who have more of it in the first place. Firoze Khan may be an expert in Sanskrit literature but there is no reason to believe he is not a good Muslim. To suggest that he could be instrumental in imparting Faith in a creed he has no truck with is to call into question his own Religious identity.
So why these protests at the BHU, whose founder’s “spirit of accommodation” and selfless service Gandhi ji mourned on his death, as he grappled with communal fires in Noakhali? 
These students protested because the University had chosen a lecturer without considering whether he could benefit the students such that they could go on to earn a living. Currently, this particular Department has a high standing. An orthodox granny is happy that the new family priest has a Sastri degree from Benares. All that will change when it comes to be known that there are Muslim lecturers there.

These students have acted out of enlightened self-interest. They are advertising the fact that students of this Dept. are orthodox Hindus. They will come and perform graha sutra rituals, not start quoting Kama Sutra or demanding to be fed mutton korma!

They have already won, because Hindus now have increased respect for the alumni of this particular Dept. Prof. Khan will be accommodated in another Faculty. Very wisely, he is keeping a low profile. His own people might turn against him if he starts talking tosh about the unity of all Religions. They would suspect he and his family were apostates.

Why was this motley crowd permitted to use a redundant scriptural ruling to bar all non-savarna, non-Hindu males, and by extension, also all females, from the teaching and learning of Sanskrit and/or debating the veracity of the so-called scriptures and rules they quote?
There is no such 'Scriptural ruling'. Sanskrit was broadcast to far countries like China and Japan by non-Hindus.

A Hindu priest won't get any clients if people think he spent his time at College 'debating the veracity of so-called scriptures' and then getting drunk and sodomizing his room-mate.
How could a handful of agitators dare to block a duly appointed professor, force him to return to his native city of Jaipur?
In 1965, a Muslim minister tried to have the word Hindu removed from the name of the University. He failed because of student agitators. His political career did not long survive this debacle.

By contrast, the young Professor from Jaipur has a very promising academic career ahead of him. He will teach Sanskrit- because that is what he loves doing. He won't teach Hindu theology because that is not his metier.

Contrast the indulgence shown towards the disruptors with the severe beatings to the JNU students in Delhi when they demanded a roll-back of the steep increase in their annual fees. It is obvious that dharma in the context of Sabarimala, Ram Mandir and the BHU agitation can be a near obsolete idea but, boy, look how it will command the joint forces of custom, tradition, money and institutions of a secular state.
But JNU is utterly useless. Why should the tax-payers fund its cretinism? The author may think prostitutes should take over Sabarimala and that no Ram Mandir should be built. But will she risk her life trying to assure these outcomes?
Subjected to scrutiny, each time the state blessed version of Hindu dharma turns out to be basically a cluster of several unformed and half-formed idea atoms, swirling furiously without a God particle of their own.
The Higgs boson is the God particle. Atoms, or anything else with mass, can't exist without it. There is a cluster of unformed shite in the writer's brain. Let us not subject it to scrutiny. We might get typhoid.
Semantically, the word dharma emerges from the Sanskrit verb “dhri”, which means to carry and to protect, call it a set of universal principles of justice. This is the dharma that, in Mahabharata, a Brahmin is ordered to go learn from a lowly meat-seller selling dog meat in a drought ravaged town.
She means the Vyadha Gita which features a wealthy meat vendor who has attained the highest spiritual knowledge. He is not lowly. He lives in a palace. This woman is confusing that episode with the story of Vishvamitra being forced to purloin and consume dog meat during a terrible drought, to illustrate the doctrine of 'apadh dharma' or exigent circumstances.
But in India, over the centuries, as Pali, Prakrit and then Persian became court languages, Sanskrit gradually came to be understood by very few and spoken by even fewer, most of them Brahmins.
This is nonsense. The Jains and Buddhists chose to write in Paninian Sanskrit so as to preserve a clear distinction between their Revealed Scripture and later commentaries. Few Brahmans understood Sanskrit. That was a good thing. They had no incentive to change the lore they memorized.
Sanskrit scriptures began, then, to be glibly quoted by this inbred circle that guarded their language as though the laws of Rta and those of Manu had all been divinely created at the same time. They were not.
Rta has no laws- it pervades the Cosmos in a univocal manner. Manusmriti clearly distinguishes between different epochs and states that laws change accordingly.

One thing which does not change is common sense. If you are training to work as a prostitute, a priest is not a good preceptor. Similarly if you want to be a lawyer, don't study under a Theoretical Physicist. This is not to say that Priests or Physicists aren't good people or that they are bad at teaching. It's just that they can't impart a skill they themselves lack. Even if you pay no attention in class- like me, when I attended the LSE- it is still a good idea to be able to say your Professor was someone eminent in your chosen field. Thus, if you are a Hindu priest, it is a point in your favor if you say you were taught by Professors named  Shastri or Joshi. It counts against you if your Professors had names like Honeytits or Cumbucket. At any rate, that has been my own experience and the reason I had to give up my career as a purohit, to concentrate to making it big in Porn as a P.Chidambaram impersonator. 

Arundhati Roy under the control of mind rays emanating from my neighbor's cat

Arundhati's article in the Nation ostensibly attacks Modi's regime. Yet every point she makes has the opposite effect. Why? Reading her dreck, I formulate a plausible hypothesis.
While protest reverberates on the streets of Chile, Catalonia, Britain, France, Iraq, Lebanon, and Hong Kong, and a new generation rages against what has been done to their planet, I hope you will forgive me for speaking about a place where the street has been taken over by something quite different.
So, India has a popular and effective Government. The street is being used for travel and transport not arson and stone pelting.
There was a time when dissent was India’s best export.
Rubbish! India never exported dissent. There is not a single example of a 'demonstration effect' such that a protest movement in India had imitators elsewhere.

India hasn't even exported any dissident intellectuals who fear to return home and a jail cell.
But now, even as protest swells in the West, our great anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements for social and environmental justice—the marches against big dams, against the privatization and plunder of our rivers and forests, against mass displacement and the alienation of indigenous peoples’ homelands—have largely fallen silent.
Why? Because they succeeded too well. Eugene Lim, of the World Bank, says of his spell in India-  'Activists can become famous and I am sorry to say, financially better off through contributions from international NGOs --·by having a case picked up by the Inspection Panel. I mean, that's a way to become famous in India- that you've got the Bank; you brought the Bank to the dock. To many activists, having the Inspection Panel of the World Bank accept a petition is like hitting the jackpot. Thus, many activists are going to try very hard to hit the jackpot. Thus, during my time, those of us working on India came to live with the reality that in all projects involving any forms of resettlement or environmental issues, we were going to have to defend what we were doing to the Inspection Panel. I don't really mind this, but it does divert resources and attention from other priorities.'
On September 17 this year Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted himself the filled-to-the-brim reservoir of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River for his 69th birthday, while thousands of villagers who had fought that dam for more than 30 years watched their homes disappear under the rising water. It was a moment of great symbolism.
For Modi- sure. For the people of Gujerat, no question. Medha Patkar, it is true, protested the filling of the dam but this had no effect. Why? One reason is given by Eugene Lim. The vast majority of claims for compensation were bogus and of a speculative nature. These people had to be paid to turn up to protests. The business model was unsustainable once the Government started to scrutinize foreign donations.
In India today, a shadow world is creeping up on us in broad daylight.
Nonsense! The senile paranoia of the Left is dying out. Shadow worlds don't exist. Roy probably thinks Night is a sinister Neo Liberal conspiracy.
It is becoming more and more difficult to communicate the scale of the crisis even to ourselves.
WTF would Roy know about crises? She is as stupid as shit.
An accurate description runs the risk of sounding like hyperbole.
Nonsense! Accurate descriptions feature well attested statistics. Hyperbole is what Roy does.
And so, for the sake of credibility and good manners, we groom the creature that has sunk its teeth into us—we comb out its hair and wipe its dripping jaw to make it more personable in polite company.
No we don't. We shoot the rabid creature in the head or smash in its skull with a brick. Roy may think that etiquette requires her to turn up at cocktail parties with a well groomed dog firmly attached, by its slavering fangs, to her posterior. She is wrong. Even Maneka Gandhi isn't that crazy.
India isn’t by any means the worst, or most dangerous, place in the world—at least not yet—but perhaps the divergence between what it could have been and what it has become makes it the most tragic.
Right now, 7 million people in the valley of Kashmir, overwhelming numbers of whom do not wish to be citizens of India and have fought for decades for their right to self-determination, are locked down under a digital siege and the densest military occupation in the world.
So what? That is just half a percentage of the population. The US has a larger number of people in actual prison. Compare the Kashmir Valley with the Swat Valley. Military operations there against a similar insurgency were far more intensive.
Simultaneously, in the eastern state of Assam, almost two million people who long to belong to India have found their names missing from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and risk being declared stateless.
The proportion of people of this sort is much higher in the USA.
The Indian government has announced its intention of extending the NRC to the rest of India. Legislation is on its way. This could the lead to the manufacture of statelessness on a scale previously unknown.
Previously unknown? Nonsense! America has done it on a far larger scale since the Fifties. Eisenhower deported over a million Mexicans under Operation Wetback. Roy may think the rights of indigenous people don't matter and that they should be turned into a minority in their own homeland. The Law does not agree with her.

The rich in Western countries are making their own arrangements for the coming climate calamity. They’re building bunkers and stocking reservoirs of food and clean water.
Nonsense! There may be a few bug-eyed Survivalists stockpiling dried food for the Zombie Apocalypse but they aren't rich- they are surviving on disability checks.
In poor countries—India, despite being the fifth-largest economy in the world, is, shamefully, still a poor and hungry country—different kinds of arrangements are being made.
Really? Are the Indians constructing undersea cities and stockpiling reservoirs of Betamax Video Tapes?
The Indian government’s August 5, 2019, annexation of Kashmir has as much to do with the Indian government’s urgency to secure access to the five rivers that run through the state of Jammu and Kashmir as it does with anything else.
Kashmir was annexed in 1948. India has controlled the rivers, thanks to American aid, for five decades.
And the NRC, which will create a system of tiered citizenship in which some citizens have more rights than others, is also a preparation for a time when resources become scarce.
Emigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh have never had citizenship rights. This included Hindu refugees. This is not about water. Roy is a cretin if she thinks otherwise.
Citizenship, as Hannah Arendt famously said, is the right to have rights.
Arendt was wrong. Citizens of the Soviet Union didn't have rights. Stateless people in the UK and other countries under the Rule of Law did have rights.
The dismantling of the idea of liberty, fraternity, and equality will be—in fact already is—the first casualty of the climate crisis. I’m going to try to explain in some detail how this is happening.
Sheer nonsense! The idea of 'liberty, fraternity and equality' was dismantled by Napoleon because it was an utterly shite idea. Changes in the Climate won't change the political and legal regime in any country. Those which were totalitarian will remain so.
And how, in India, the modern management system that emerged to handle this very modern crisis has its roots in an odious, dangerous filament of our history.
Roy would not know a 'modern management system if it came and bit her in the leg.
The violence of inclusion and the violence of exclusion are precursors of a convulsion that could alter the foundations of India—and rearrange its meaning and its place in the world.
If such violence can change India then it can change Pakistan and Bangladesh and every other similar country in the region. But this won't 'rearrange' their meaning or place in the world.
Our Constitution calls India a “socialist secular democratic republic.”
Why does it do so? The answer is that Indira Gandhi had suspended the Rule of Law and was toying with turning the country into a One Party State. Thus she amended the Constitution.
We use the word “secular” in a slightly different sense from the rest of the world—for us, it’s code for a society in which all religions have equal standing in the eyes of the law.
This is not true. India distinguishes between Hinduism, as the majority Religion, and minority Religions like Christianity and Islam. Only a Hindu can be the 'karta' of a Hindu Undivided Family- which is highly beneficial for Tax and other reasons.
In practice, India has been neither secular nor socialist. It has always functioned as an upper-caste Hindu state. But the conceit of secularism, hypocritical though it may be, is the only shard of coherence that makes India possible. That hypocrisy was the best thing we had.
Rubbish. The hypocrisy was wholly transparent. Nobody was fooled.
Without it, India will end.
Like Pakistan and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Myanmar ended.
In his May 2019 victory speech, after his party won a second term, Modi boasted that no politicians from any political party had dared to use the word “secularism” in their campaigns. The tank of secularism, Modi said, was now empty. So, it’s official. India is running on empty.
The tank never existed. Why is Roy pretending that the Heavens will collapse on our heads just because 'sickularism' has become a universal target of ridicule?
And we are learning, too late, to cherish hypocrisy. Because with it comes a vestige, a pretense at least, of remembered decency.
What remembered decency? Indira Gandhi's Emergency? The Naxals running amok? The Partition riots?

India is not really a country.
Nor is the US or the UK or Germany- save in a legal, political, economic and commons sense way.
It is a continent.
No. Australia is a continent. Undivided India was termed a 'sub-continent'.
More complex and diverse, with more languages—780 at last count, excluding dialects—more nationalities and sub-nationalities, more indigenous tribes and religions than all of Europe.
Papua New Guinea has 851 languages. So what?
Imagine this vast ocean, this fragile, fractious, social ecosystem, suddenly being commandeered by a Hindu supremacist organization that believes in a doctrine of One Nation, One Language, One Religion, One Constitution.
Why imagine it? It happened in 1947. The Congress was a Hindu organization. It received less than 10 percent of the Muslim Vote in 1946.
I am speaking here of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), founded in 1925—the mothership of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The RSS was set up by a Doctor in imitation of the Congress Seva Dal which had been set up by a Doctor two years earlier. The RSS was a weak and provincial sister of the CSD. Indeed, there was substantial dual membership between the Hindu Mahasabha and Congress.
Its founding fathers were greatly influenced by German and Italian fascism.
But it was Subhas Chandra Bose who dressed up in a fake military uniform at Congress rallies. Govind Vallabh Pant described the Mahatma as the 'Il Duce and Fuherer of India. Gandhi was greatly impressed by Mussolini whom, he said, was aiming at something similar to himself.

The RSS was copying the Congress Seva Dal but was less militant which is why it didn't get banned. After Independence, the Government of West Bengal banned the CSD but this ban was reversed after Nehru, who had been a member, intervened.
They likened the Muslims of India to the “Jews of Germany,” and believed that Muslims have no place in Hindu India.
No. They said Muslims would have to play second fiddle in India- which is what actually happened. Why? Because Jinnah said the Muslims were a separate Nation and his party won 90 percent of the Muslim vote in 1946.

On the other hand, it must be admitted that Gandhi and the Congress party agreed with Indian Muslims that the Jews in Palestine and elsewhere were a dangerous element. Bose and Nambiar, both supposedly Socialists, actually went to Germany and allied with Hitler. They raised an Indian regiment for the S.A. The Mahatma's own attitude to the Jews was highly problematic. His descendant, Arun Gandhi, got into hot water recently for blaming “Israel and the Jews” for being the biggest players in creating “a culture of violence.”
The RSS today, in typical RSS chameleon-speak, distances itself from this view.
What 'chameleon speak' has the RSS ever indulged in? They have always said that Muslims will only be tolerated if they are Nationalistic and know their place. Nobody wants to ethnically cleanse Muslims because they are hardworking and sober. You can't exploit people if you kill them or they run away.
But its underlying ideology, in which Muslims are cast as treacherous permanent “outsiders,” is a constant refrain in the public speeches of BJP politicians, and finds utterance in chilling slogans raised by rampaging mobs. For example: “Mussalman ka ek hi sthan—Kabristan ya Pakistan” (Only one place for the Muslim—the graveyard, or Pakistan). In October this year, Mohan Bhagwat, the supreme leader of the RSS, said, “India is a Hindu Rashtra”—a Hindu nation. “This is non-negotiable.”
How is this 'chameleon speak'? Other parties treat Muslims just as badly, but they compete in a hypocritical manner for their vote.
That idea turns everything that is beautiful about India into acid.
What did it do to Pakistan?
For the RSS to portray what it is engineering today as an epochal revolution, in which Hindus are finally wiping away centuries of oppression at the hands of India’s earlier Muslim rulers, is a part of its fake-history project. In truth, millions of India’s Muslims are the descendants of people who converted to Islam to escape Hinduism’s cruel practice of caste.
All Muslims are either converts or the descendants of converts. Caste can't be the reason for conversion because the Islamic caste system is just as cruel.
If Nazi Germany was a country seeking to impose its imagination onto a continent (and beyond), the impetus of an RSS-ruled India is, in a sense, the opposite.
Nazi Germany like the Kaiser's Germany was intent on conquest. The RSS has no similar agenda. There is no comparison between the two. By contrast, Islamists do export terror.
Here is a continent seeking to shrink itself into a country.
The subcontinent shrank into countries a long time ago.
Not even a country, but a province. A primitive, ethno-religious province. This is turning out to be an unimaginably violent process.
Rubbish! Roy's native Kerala is still going to alternate between Left Front and Congress led administrations. Delhi, where she lives, is under the Aam Aadmi Party. Regional parties remain dominant, or are reasserting themselves, everywhere you look. There has been no violence whatsoever.
None of the white supremacist, neo-Nazi groups that are on the rise in the world today can boast the infrastructure and manpower that the RSS commands.
But the RSS isn't a neo-Nazi group. Modi is not a skinhead. Why pretend otherwise?
It has 57,000 shakhas—branches—across the country, and an armed, dedicated militia of 600,000 “volunteers.”
Armed? Is this woman utterly mad? How many guns does the RSS possess? None at all. It is the Naxals who are fond of guns.
It runs schools in which millions of students are enrolled, and has its own medical missions, trade unions, farmers’ organizations, media outlets, and women’s groups.
So, it genuinely is a Social Service organization of a purely voluntary type. No wonder people respect it and vote for candidates with RSS backgrounds. Congress put up one RSS man- Shankarsinh Vagela- against another RSS man- Narendra Modi, in Gujerat precisely because the RSS is associated with financial probity.
Recently, it announced that it was opening a training school for those who wish to join the Indian Army. Under its bhagwa dhwaj—its saffron pennant—a whole host of far-right organizations, known as the Sangh Parivar—the RSS’s “family”—have prospered and multiplied.
'Far-right'? Nonsense. They are mainstream nationalists. Congress, during the greater part of its history, was even more nationalistic.
These organizations, the political equivalents of shell companies, are responsible for shockingly violent attacks on minorities in which, over the years, uncounted thousands have been murdered.
No. Shockingly violent attacks are carried out by professional gangsters. The RSS understands that violence is a turn off for voters. That is why the BJP does badly in Roy's Kerala. Communists should kill and be killed by their own- the way Nature intended.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a member of the RSS all his life. He is a creation of the RSS. Although not Brahmin, he, more than anyone else in its history, has been responsible for turning it into the most powerful organization in India, and for writing its most glorious chapter yet.
Nonsense! Atal Behari Vajpayee and L.K Advani are responsible for turning the BJP into the default National Party.
It is exasperating to have to constantly repeat the story of Modi’s ascent to power, but the officially sanctioned amnesia around it makes reiteration almost a duty.
Roy is merely ignorant, not the victim of amnesia.
Modi’s political career was jump-started in October 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, when the BJP removed its elected chief minister in the state of Gujarat and installed Modi in his place.
Keshubhai Patel resigned because of failing health. He had mismanaged the post Earthquake relief operation and there were allegations of corruption. Caste rivalries- e.g. between Kshatriyas and Patels- were a big problem in Gujerat. Modi was brought in because he comes from a very small caste and was good at organizational work.
He was not, at the time, even an elected member of the state’s legislative assembly.
Indeed. This was his great strength. He presented himself as a technocrat with clean hands- not a professional politician. Sonia Gandhi made Manmohan Singh Prime Minister for the same reason.
Three months into his first term, there was a heinous but mysterious act of arson in which 59 Hindu pilgrims were burned to death in a train. As “revenge,” Hindu vigilante mobs went on a well-planned rampage across the state. An estimated 2,500 people, almost all of them Muslim, were murdered in broad daylight. Women were gang-raped on city streets, and tens of thousands were driven from their homes.
Both the Home Ministry and the Minsitry of Defense did not think there was any great mystery. After 9/11, the Americans had pointed a nuclear gun at Pakistan's head. General Musharraf played for time by organizing an attack on the Indian Parliament. This meant there was a risk of war with troops massing at the border. India expected the Pakistanis to attack in the Rann of Kutch sector as they had in 1965. The Pakistanis used their criminal network to get Ghanchis in Godhra, who were related to Ghanchi mobsters in Karachi- to attack Hindu pilgrims so as to set off a pogrom which would lead to displaced people clogging up the transport network and thus causing logistical problems for the Indian Army.

The Defense Minister, George Fernandez, took personal charge. He was a great Hindi orator and was sure the Indian Army would obey orders- even if this meant firing on Hindus. The Home Minister sent in a top cop empowered to shift corrupt Station House Officers so as to break the nexus between the Land Shark, the Bootlegger, and the Police. Thus Modi was able to break the cycle of politically instrumentalized communal rioting which had begun in 1969. He was rewarded by getting re-elected with bigger and bigger majorities because he was also tackling other persistent problems- e.g. electricity supply etc.
Immediately after the pogrom, Modi called for elections.
Elections were due 8 months later. However Modi resigned because of criticism of his conduct- including criticism by his PM. He increased the party's majority because Gujerati voters knew he had done nothing wrong.
He won, not despite the massacre but because of it—and was reelected as chief minister for three consecutive terms.
Roy is being foolish. If killing people is the way to win elections, everyone would do it. Modi ended serious communal violence in Gujerat. That's one of the reasons it could prosper.
During Modi’s 2014 campaign as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP—which also featured the massacre of Muslims, this time in the district of Muzaffarnagar in the state of Uttar Pradesh—a Reuters journalist asked him whether he regretted the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat. He replied that he would regret even the death of a dog if it accidentally came under the wheels of his car. This was pure, well-trained, RSS-speak.
Roy doesn't say that the Muslims were massacred in a State ruled by a Socialist party. What Modi said is that if he were a passenger in a car which accidentally ran over a puppy, he would feel grief. This is perfectly reasonable. He was denying any responsibility for what happened. Had he said anything different, he would have been convicted by the Supreme Court and sentenced to death.

It seems 'well-trained, RSS-speak' is the same thing as 'sensible reply to a silly question'.
When Modi was sworn in as India’s 14th prime minister, he was celebrated not just by his support base of Hindu Nationalists but also by India’s major industrialists and businessmen, many Indian liberals, and the international media as the epitome of hope and progress, a savior in a saffron business suit, whose very person represented the confluence of the ancient and the modern—of Hindu nationalism and no-holds-barred free-market capitalism.
So everybody liked Modi. Why? It is because he wasn't a genocidal maniac. He was a smart and capable politician.
While Modi has delivered on Hindu Nationalism, he has stumbled badly on the free-market front. Through a series of blunders, he has brought India’s economy to its knees. In 2016, a little over a year into his first term, he announced on television that, from that moment on, all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes—over 80 percent of the currency in circulation—had ceased to be legal tender. Nothing like it had ever been done on such a scale in the history of any country.
Roy is not an economist- nor, indeed, an Architect though that is what she studied. The truth is India had done demonetization on two previous occasions. Other countries have had far more dramatic demonetization events. The shift to the Euro was the largest such exercise.
Neither the finance minister nor the chief economic adviser seemed to have been taken into confidence.
The Wanchoo Committee's demonetization proposal leaked and thus demonetization had to be postponed. Modi's initiative was successfully kept under wraps- which is why the public response was very positive. Modi's candidates won Assembly elections as a result.
This “demonetization,” Modi said, was a “surgical strike” on corruption and terror funding. This was pure quack economics, a home remedy being tried on a nation of more than a billion people.
Says Roy who isn't even a quack economist.
It turned out to be nothing short of devastating.
Nonsense! It was a mere blip.
But there were no riots. No protests. People stood meekly in line outside banks for hours on end to deposit their old currency notes—the only way left to redeem them. No Chile, Catalonia, Lebanon, Hong Kong. Almost overnight, jobs disappeared, the construction industry ground to a halt, small businesses simply shut down.
Demonetization was a political victory. It took the wind out of the sails of the anti-corruption movement. However, India needs a far bigger shake-out.
Some of us foolishly believed that this act of unimaginable hubris would be the end of Modi.
Roy is foolish. Naturally, this means her beliefs are foolish.
How wrong we were. People rejoiced. They suffered—but rejoiced. It was as though pain had been spun into pleasure. As though their suffering was the labor pain that would soon birth a glorious, prosperous, Hindu India.
India is already Hindu. Roy may not like it, but it is a fact. It can't become prosperous unless it undergoes demographic transition.
Most economists agree that demonetization, along with the new Goods and Services Tax Modi announced soon after—promising “one nation, one tax”—was the policy equivalent of shooting out the tires of a speeding car.
Most economists are fools. GST, however, is considered a good thing. What we don't like is its manner of implementation.
Even the government admits that unemployment is at a 45-year high. The 2019 Global Hunger Index ranks India 102nd out of 117 countries. (Nepal comes in at 73rd, Bangladesh 88th, and Pakistan 94th).
Transition to middle income status means unemployment rises simply because people don't starve if they don't work.
But demonetization was never about economics alone. It was a loyalty test, a love exam that the Great Leader was putting us through. Would we follow him, would we always love him, no matter what? We emerged with flying colors. The moment we as a people accepted demonetization, we infantilized ourselves and surrendered to tinpot authoritarianism.
Roy infantilized herself long ago. The fact of the matter is that people only support Modi because every alternative is worse.
But what was bad for the country turned out to be excellent for the BJP. Between 2016 and 2017, even as the economy tanked, it became the richest political party in the world. Its income increased by 81 percent, making it five times richer than its main rival, the Congress Party, whose income declined by 14 percent.
Why? Because Rahul Baba shat the bed.
Smaller political parties were virtually bankrupted. This war chest won the BJP crucial state elections in Uttar Pradesh, and turned the 2019 general election into a race between a Ferrari and a few old bicycles.
If the other parties could find a good PM candidate they'd be able to raise funds.
And since elections are increasingly about money, the chances of a free and fair election in the near future seen remote. So maybe demonetization was not a blunder after all.
Elections are about candidates. Money would not make Rahul Baba electable- save perhaps in Kerala where people can't understand what he is saying.
In Modi’s second term, the RSS has stepped up its game. No longer a shadow state or a parallel state, it is the state.
No it isn't. The RSS ethos would be completely destroyed if its cadres turned into corrupt power-brokers. It's fate would be the same as Congress Seva Dal under Jagdish Tytler.
Day by day, we see examples of its control over the media, the police, the intelligence agencies.
Unless we take the pills our Psychiatrist prescribed.
Worryingly, it appears to exercise considerable influence over the armed forces, too.
Also it influences the neighbor's cat which is using mind rays to control our dreams.
Foreign diplomats and ambassadors have been trooping to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur to pay their respects.
Like the German Ambassador. The reason they do so is because the RSS is a force for good.
In truth, things have reached a stage where overt control is no longer even necessary.
Because the neighbor's cat uses mind rays.
More than four hundred round-the-clock television news channels, millions of WhatsApp groups and TikTok videos keep the population on a drip feed of frenzied bigotry.
Which country has this woman been living in? Most Indians have tough lives. They aren't on any type of drip feed.
This November the Supreme Court of India ruled on what some have called “the most important case in the world.”
Which nobody outside India cares about.
On December 6, 1992, in the town of Ayodhya, a Hindu vigilante mob, organized by the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad—the World Hindu Council—literally hammered a 450-year-old mosque into dust.
According to Islamic law, it was not a mosque because no Muslim worship had occurred there since 1949. By contrast a Hindu priest had been performing rituals in it every year. Rajiv Gandhi had thrown it open to Hindu worship and permitted the installation of a foundation stone for the new Temple.
They claimed that this mosque, the Babri Masjid, was built on the ruins of a Hindu temple that had marked the birthplace of Lord Ram. More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the communal violence that followed.
Some Muslim gangsters started the violence but, as Roy says, it was mainly Muslims who were massacred.
In its recent judgment, the court held that Muslims could not prove their exclusive and continuous possession of the site.
In other words, both Muslims and Hindus had worshiped there throughout its history.
Instead, it turned the site over to a trust—to be constituted by the BJP government—tasked with building a Hindu temple on it. There have been mass arrests of people who have criticized the judgment.
Nonsense! The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has criticized the judgement. Not a single one of them has been arrested.
The VHP has refused to back down on its past statements that it will turn its attention to other mosques. This can be an endless campaign—after all, everything is built over something.
The Government would have to repeal a 1992 law before this can happen.  The thing is possible, but does not seem likely at present.
With the influence that immense wealth generates, the BJP has managed to co-opt, buy out, or simply crush its political rivals.
Roy's audience may believe her. But Roy herself lives in India. She must know she is lying.
The hardest blow has fallen on the parties with bases among the Dalit and other disadvantaged castes in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Many of their traditional voters have deserted these parties—the Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashriya Janata Dal, and Samajwadi Party—and migrated to the BJP. To achieve this feat—and it is nothing short of a feat—the BJP worked hard to exploit and expose the hierarchies within the Dalit and disadvantaged castes, which have their own internal universe of hegemony and marginalization. The BJP’s overflowing coffers, and its deep, cunning understanding of caste have completely altered the conventional electoral math.
This is Nitish Kumar's 'Maha-Dalit' strategy. But what has made it successful is the initiative taken by these communities themselves. The truth is these people have come up entirely by their own efforts. They are making a place for themselves at the table entirely by merit.
Having secured Dalit and disadvantaged-caste votes, the BJP’s policies of privatizing education and the public sector are rapidly reversing the gains made by affirmative action—known in India as “reservation”—pushing those who belong to disadvantaged castes out of jobs and educational institutions. Meanwhile, the National Crime Records Bureau shows a sharp increase of atrocities against Dalits, including lynchings and public floggings. This September, while Modi was being honored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for building toilets, two Dalit children, whose home was just the shelter of a plastic sheet, were beaten to death for shitting in the open. To honor a prime minister for his work on sanitation while tens of thousands of Dalits continue to work as manual scavengers—carrying human excreta on their heads—is grotesque.
To honor anybody is grotesque because Roy is carrying a lot of human excreta in her head. Why don't honorable people perform brain surgery on her so as to end this scandal?

Bill Gates realized he had backed the wrong horse by associating with Rahul Baba. Modi was given the award for helping people build toilets for themselves. The atrocity Roy mentions happened in a Congress ruled State. The father of the children says he had applied for money to build a toilet but had been denied by corrupt officials. This was the fault of the Congress Party, not the BJP.
What we are living through now, in addition to the overt attack on religious minorities, is an aggravated class and caste war
conducted by my neighbor's cat who uses mind rays.
In order to consolidate their political gains, the RSS and BJP’s main strategy is to generate long-lasting chaos on an industrial scale. They have stocked their kitchen with a set of simmering cauldrons that can, whenever necessary, be quickly brought to the boil.
The Left had only one cauldron in its kitchen- viz. pretending the RSS was actually the Nazi SS. But that cauldron cracked long ago. Now they have nothing. Why pretend India has changed in any fundamental way since the BJP took power? Governance has improved somewhat in BJP ruled States. But in many parts of the country we still have corrupt dynasts running amok.

On August 5, 2019, the Indian Parliament unilaterally breached the fundamental conditions of the Instrument of Accession by which the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir agreed to become part of India in 1947.
The Instrument of Accession was unconditional. Every Princely State joined the Union with the stipulation that Princes would continue to receive diplomatic and other privileges. This was unilaterally cancelled many decades ago by Indira Gandhi.
It stripped Jammu and Kashmir of statehood and its special status—which included its right to have its own constitution and its own flag.
This was perfectly legal. Only the Indian Union can decide what is or is not a State. Many States and Union Territories have been unilaterally created.
The dissolution of the legal entity of the state also meant the dissolution of Section 35A of the Indian Constitution, which secured the erstwhile state’s residents the rights and privileges that made them stewards of their own territory.
That Section came in by a Presidential Order and has left the same way.
In preparation for the move, the government flew in more than 50,000 troops to supplement the hundreds of thousands already stationed there. By the night of August 4, tourists and pilgrims had been evacuated from the Kashmir Valley. Schools and markets were shut down. More than 4,000 people were arrested: politicians, businessmen, lawyers, rights activists, local leaders, students, and three former chief ministers. Kashmir’s entire political class, including those who have been loyal to India, was incarcerated. By midnight, the Internet was cut and phones went dead.
What was the result? Bloodshed was minimized. Pakistan lost its network of agents.
The abrogation of Kashmir’s special status, the promise of an all-India National Register of Citizens, the building of the Ram temple in Ayodhya—are all on the front burners of the RSS and BJP kitchen. To reignite flagging passions, all they need to do is to pick a villain from their gallery and unleash the dogs of war.
Yet, no war has resulted. Why? Dogs scared it away probably because of mind rays emanating from my neighbor's cat.
There are several categories of villains—Pakistani jihadis, Kashmiri terrorists, Bangladeshi “infiltrators,” or any one of a population of nearly 200 million Indian Muslims who can always be accused of being Pakistan-lovers or anti-national traitors
because of mind rays emanating from my neighbor's cat.
Each of these “cards” is held hostage to the other,
coz that's how playing cards work.
and often made to stand in for the other
or anything else which pops into my mind because of mind rays emanating from my neighbor's cat.
They have little to do with each other, and are often hostile to each other because their needs, desires, ideologies, and situations are not just inimical, but end up posing an existential threat to each other
as my neighbor's cat often remarks while appearing to say miaow to everybody else.
Simply because they are all Muslim, they each have to suffer the consequences of the others’ actions.
Muslims, like other Religious groups, do suffer if some members of their community go crazy and start killing people in the name of their common Faith.
In two national elections now, the BJP has shown that it can win a majority in parliament without the “Muslim vote.”
In 1946, Congress won in Hindu areas without the Muslim vote.
As a result, Indian Muslims have been effectively disenfranchised, and are becoming that most vulnerable of people—a community without political representation, without a voice.
Except in Kerala, Muslims were indeed marginalized after Partition.
Various forms of undeclared social boycott are pushing them down the economic ladder, and, for reasons of physical security, into ghettos.
This has been happening continually since Independence.
Indian Muslims have also lost their place in the mainstream media—
they never had much of a place
the only Muslim voices we hear on television shows are the absurd few who are constantly and deliberately invited to play the part of the primitive Islamist, to make things worse than they already are. Other than that, the only acceptable public speech for the Muslim community is to constantly reiterate and demonstrate its loyalty to the Indian flag.
Nonsense! Muslims are welcome to say sensible things- indeed, that is what they do because they are sensible. Roy, a Christian, may talk bollocks but most Christians aren't like her.
So, while Kashmiris, brutalized as they are because of their history and, more importantly, their geography, still have a lifeboat—the dream of azadi, of freedom—Indian Muslims have to stay on deck to help fix the broken ship.
Kashmiris in the Valley don't have a life-boat. Like other Indian Muslims, they can only flourish if India flourishes.
(There is another category of “anti-national” villain—human rights activists, lawyers, students, academics, “urban Maoists”—who have been defamed, jailed, embroiled in legal cases, snooped on by Israeli spyware, and, in several instances, assassinated. But that’s a whole other deck of cards.)
again with the cards! Does this other deck also features mutual hostage taking?
The lynching of Tabrez Ansari illustrates just how broken the ship is, and how deep the rot.
Nonsense! This is a story about a guy accused of stealing a bike who was set upon by a mob in a backward, mainly Tribal, district.
Lynching, as you in the United States well know, is a public performance of ritualized murder, in which a man or woman is killed to remind their community that it lives at the mercy of the mob. And that the police, the law, the government—as well as the good people in their homes, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, who go to work and take care of their families—are all friends of the mob. Tabrez was lynched this June. He was an orphan, raised by his uncles in the state of Jharkhand. As a teenager, he went away to the city of Pune, where he found a job as a welder. When he turned 22, he returned home to get married. The day after his wedding to 18-year-old Shahista, Tabrez was caught by a mob, tied to a lamppost, beaten for hours and forced to chant the new Hindu war cry, “Jai Shri Ram!”—Victory to Lord Ram!
Hindu war cry? That would be 'Har Har Mahadev'. Which country has Roy been living in all these years.
The police eventually took Tabrez into custody but refused to allow his distraught family and young bride to take him to the hospital. Instead, they accused him of being a thief, and produced him before a magistrate, who sent him back to custody. He died there four days later.
So, it was a magistrate who fucked up- not the BJP.
In its latest report, released earlier this month, the National Crime Records Bureau has carefully left out data on mob lynchings. According to the Indian news site The Quint, there have been 113 deaths by mob violence since 2015. Lynchers, and others accused in hate crimes including mass murder have been rewarded with public office and honored by ministers in Modi’s cabinet. Modi himself, usually garrulous on Twitter, generous with condolences and birthday greetings, goes very quiet each time a person is lynched. Perhaps it’s unreasonable to expect a prime minister to comment every time a dog comes under the wheels of someone’s car. Particularly since it happens so often.
113 deaths in a country with 1.39 billion people is statistically insignificant.
Here in the United States, on September 22 ,2019—five days after Modi’s birthday party at the Narmada dam site—60,000 Indian Americans gathered in the NRG Stadium in Houston. The “Howdy, Modi!” extravaganza there has already become the stuff of urban legend. President Donald Trump was gracious enough to allow a visiting prime minister to introduce him as a special guest in his own country, to his own citizens.
Trump was a guest. If the Queen drops by for my birthday party, I will introduce her as my special guest. I won't let her blow out the candles on my cake.
Several members of the US Congress spoke, their smiles too wide, their bodies arranged in attitudes of ingratiation.
Roy thinks they should have been frowning heavily and constantly jumping into the air to fart in Modi's face.
Over a crescendo of drumrolls and wild cheering, the adoring crowd chanted, “Modi! Modi! Modi!” At the end of the show, Trump and Modi linked hands and did a victory lap. The stadium exploded. In India, the noise was amplified a thousand times over by carpet coverage on television channels. “Howdy” became a Hindi word. Meanwhile, news organizations ignored the thousands of people protesting outside the stadium.
They also ignored millions of people masturbating in other parts of the Texas.
Not all the roaring of the 60,000 in the Houston stadium could mask the deafening silence from Kashmir.
Roaring fucks over silence. Silence does not deafen anybody save by reason of mind rays emanating from my neighbor's cat.
That day, September 22, marked the 48th day of curfew and communication blockade in the valley.
Even more remarkably, the previous day marked the 47th day of something or other.
Once again, Modi has managed to unleash his unique brand of cruelty on a scale unheard of in modern times.
What did he do? Sodomize Trump's eye-sockets?
And, once again, it has endeared him further to his loyal public. When the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill was passed in India’s parliament on August 6 there were celebrations across the political spectrum. Sweets were distributed in offices, and there was dancing in the streets. A conquest—a colonial annexation, another triumph for the Hindu Nation—was being celebrated.
The Pakistanis were defeated in 1948. Since then the Valley has been Indian.
Once again, the conquerors’ eyes fell on the two primeval trophies of conquest—women and land. Statements by senior BJP politicians, and patriotic pop videos that notched up millions of views, legitimized this indecency. Google Trends showed a surge in searches for the phrases “marry a Kashmiri girl” and “buy land in Kashmir.”
What happened next? How many Kashmiri girls have been abducted? How much Kashmiri land has been alienated? The answer is none.
It was not all limited to loutish searches on Google. Within days of the siege, the Forest Advisory Committee cleared 125 projects that involve the diversion of forest land for other uses.
 How much land was diverted. Just 271 hectares. What was the land used for? Tube wells and transmission lines- stuff that helps local people.
In the early days of the lockdown, little news came out of the valley. The Indian media told us what the government wanted us to hear. Kashmiri newspapers were completely censored. They carried pages and pages of news about cancelled weddings, the effects of climate change, the conservation of lakes and wildlife sanctuaries, tips on how to live with diabetes and front-page government advertisements about the benefits that Kashmir’s new, downgraded legal status would bring to the Kashmiri people. Those “benefits” are likely to include the building of big dams that control and commandeer the water from the rivers that flow through Kashmir. They will certainly include the erosion that results from deforestation, the destruction of the fragile Himalayan ecosystem, and the plunder of Kashmir’s bountiful natural wealth by Indian corporations.
So, Kashmir will begin to pay for itself. Thank you Ms. Roy for this piece of BJP propaganda.
Real reporting about ordinary peoples’ lives came mostly from the journalists and photographers working for the international media—Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, the BBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. The reporters, mostly Kashmiris, working in an information vacuum, with none of the tools usually available to modern-day reporters, traveled through their homeland at great risk to themselves, to bring us the news. And the news was of nighttime raids, of young men being rounded up and beaten for hours, their screams broadcast on public-address systems for their neighbors and families to hear, of soldiers entering villagers’ homes and mixing fertilizer and kerosene into their winter food stocks. The news was of teenagers with their bodies peppered with shotgun pellets being treated at home, because they would be arrested if they went to a hospital. The news was of hundreds of children being whisked away in the dead of night, of parents debilitated by desperation and anxiety. The news was of fear and anger, depression, confusion, steely resolve, and incandescent resistance.
This too is BJP propaganda. Roy is saying Modi is winning the war against the insurgents. 'Incandescent' stuff burns itself out quite quickly. That's how fire works.
But the home minister, Amit Shah, said that the siege only existed in peoples’ imaginations; the governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik, said phone lines were not important for Kashmiris and were only used by terrorists; and the army chief, Bipin Rawat, said, “Normal life in Jammu and Kashmir has not been affected. People are doing their necessary work.… Those who feel that life has been affected are the ones whose survival depends on terrorism.” It isn’t hard to work out who exactly the government of India sees as terrorists.
It sees terrorists who kill people as terrorists. This isn't rocket science.
Imagine if all of New York City were put under an information lockdown and a curfew managed by hundreds of thousands of soldiers.
Why? Are New Yorkers killing other Americans and demanding to become part of Chairman Xi's China?
Imagine the streets of your city remapped by razor wire and torture centers
Where fanatical votaries of Xi spit venom at other Americans and dream of massacring every last one of them.

But why imagine anything so silly. Just look at what Xi is doing in Xinjiang. It seems China will have no Muslim problem going forward just as it has no Tibet problem.
Imagine if mini–Abu Ghraibs appeared in your neighborhoods.
First imagine that your neighborhood is over-run by crazy Islamists. Then imagine those fuckers being fucked over in Abu Ghraibs. The thought will warm the cockles of your heart.

Incidentally, Obama never actually shut down Guantanamo.
Imagine thousands of you being arrested and your families not knowing where you have been taken.
And also imagine all your terrorist pals having to put on the suicide vests themselves coz you are safely incarcerated.
Imagine not being able to communicate with anybody—not your neighbor, not your loved ones outside the city, no one in the outside world—for weeks together.
Nor being able to blow yourself up.
Imagine banks and schools being closed, children locked into their homes.
Sounds like Christmas day.
Imagine your parent, sibling, partner, or child dying and your not knowing about it for weeks.
And then getting a massive insurance check.
Imagine the medical emergencies, the mental health emergencies, the legal emergencies, the shortages of food, money, gasoline. Imagine being a day laborer or a contract worker, earning nothing for weeks on end. And then imagine being told that all of this was for your own good.
The Kashmiris have managed to chase away migrant workers- mainly Muslims.
The horror that Kashmiris have endured over the last few months comes on top of the trauma of a 30-year-old armed conflict that has already taken 70,000 lives and covered their valley with graves. They have held out while everything was thrown at them—war, money, torture, mass disappearance, an army of more than a half million soldiers, and a smear campaign in which an entire population has been portrayed as murderous fundamentalists.
The only people who have been ethnically cleansed from the Valley are Hindu Pandits.
The siege has lasted for more than three months now. Kashmiri leaders are still in jail. The only condition under which they are offered release is the signing of an undertaking that they will not make public statements for a whole year. Most have refused.
This is the one popular aspect of the crackdown. The politicians of the Valley are universally reviled.
Now, the curfew has been eased, schools have been reopened and some phone lines have been restored. “Normalcy” has been declared. In Kashmir, normalcy is always a declaration —a fiat issued by the government or the army. It has little to do with people’s daily lives.
Because those lives are wholly controlled by mind rays emanating from my neighbor's cat.
So far, Kashmiris have refused to accept this new normalcy. Classrooms are empty, streets are deserted and the valley’s bumper apple crop is rotting in the orchards. What could be harder for a parent or a farmer to endure? The imminent annihilation of their very identity, perhaps.
Why is this happening? The answer is Kashmiris are still terrified of the militants.
The new phase of the Kashmir conflict has already begun. Militants have warned that, from now on, all Indians will be considered legitimate targets.
But this time round, the militants will be slaughtered. That is why they are concentrating on threatening Muslim migrant workers and their own people.
More than ten people, mostly poor, non-Kashmiri migrant workers, have been shot already. (Yes, it’s the poor, almost always the poor, who get caught in the line of fire.)
Because militants don't like shooting people who will shoot back.
It is going to get ugly. Very ugly.
Not for the people of Jammu or Ladakh. The Valley is welcome to stew in its own juice.
Soon all this recent history will be forgotten, and once again there will be debates in television studios that create an equivalence between atrocities by Indian security forces and Kashmiri militants.
Nonsense! Those debates piss off the audience. Why? It is because Kashmiris are less than half a percentage of India's population.
Speak of Kashmir, and the Indian government and its media will immediately tell you about Pakistan, deliberately conflating the misdeeds of a hostile foreign state with the democratic aspirations of ordinary people living under a military occupation.
Democratic aspirations can be satisfied by participating in Democratic processes. What is off the cards for the Kashmiris of the Valley is their dream of dominion over non Muslims in the region. On the other hand, they are welcome to turn into a 'spite slum' living off remittances from the Gulf or elsewhere. Consider the British Sinn Fein party. It has 7 seats at Westminster but refuses to take them. Going forward, the Valley's Muslims may have 2 seats of a similar nature.
The Indian government has made it clear that the only option for Kashmiris is complete capitulation, that no form of resistance is acceptable—violent, nonviolent, spoken, written, or sung. Yet Kashmiris know that to exist, they must resist.
Or emigrate. Emigration is the better outcome because this part of India is going to get a lot poorer very quickly. The Center is going to pull its subsidies. Remittances will have to go towards buying food not financing militancy.
Why should they want to be a part of India? For what earthly reason?
What they want- on Roy's own account- does not matter in the slightest. The Kashmiri Muslim has alienated the Indian Muslim. Thus they have painted themselves into a corner. Consider Nitish Kumar's reversing his earlier opposition to the change in J&K's status. He saw that Bihar's Muslims welcomed the move. Kashmirs Muslim leadership took Indian Islam for granted and are now paying the price.
If freedom is what they want, freedom is what they should have.
Freedom has to be defended. Kashmir can't defend itself. It didn't want to defend its own Hindu minority and then pissed off the Hindu majority Jammu and the Buddhists in Ladakh. It failed as a State and has been downgraded to a Union Territory where the Police will be free to act against militants.
It’s what Indians should want, too. Not on behalf of Kashmiris, but for their own sake.
Roy thinks India should give up territory and permit ethnic cleansing of Hindus and Buddhists. That is why Indians consider her to be anti-national.
The atrocity being committed in their name involves a form of corrosion that India will not survive. Kashmir may not defeat India, but it will consume India. In many ways, it already has.
So Roy thinks India has already been 'consumed'. Why bother with it then.
This may not have mattered all that much to the 60,000 cheering in the Houston stadium, living out the ultimate Indian dream of having made it to America. For them, Kashmir may just be a tired old conundrum, for which they foolishly believe the BJP has found a lasting solution. Surely, however, as migrants themselves, their understanding of what is happening in Assam could be more nuanced. Or maybe it’s too much to ask of those who, in a world riven by refugee and migrant crises, are the most fortunate of migrants. Many of those in the Houston stadium, like people with an extra holiday home, probably hold US citizenship as well as Overseas Citizens of India certificates.
If they acquired such certificates legally, they have nothing to worry about. If not, they may have their naturalization stripped and be deported under Obama's Operation Janus initiative.
The “Howdy, Modi!” event marked the 22nd day since almost 2 million people in Assam found their names missing from the National Register of Citizens.
Why? Because they were not Assamese. They were Bangladeshi.
Like Kashmir, Assam is a border state with a history of multiple sovereignties, with centuries of migration, wars, invasion, continuously shifting borders, British colonialism, and more than 70 years of electoral democracy that has only deepened the fault lines in a dangerously combustible society.
Unlike Kashmir, Assam saw tribal populations being replaced by Muslim Bengali populations who illegally encroached on their land.
That an exercise like the NRC even took place has to do with Assam’s very particular cultural history.
The exercise took place because of a six year agitation by the Assamese. In 1985, Rajiv Gandhi's Government agreed to deport illegal migrants. What Congress promised, the BJP is delivering.
...Over the next several years, “infiltrators” detected by the border police, or those declared “Doubtful Voters”—D-Voters—by election officials, were tried under the Illegal Migrants (Detection by Tribunal) Act, passed in 1983 by a Congress government under Indira Gandhi. In order to protect minorities from harassment, the IMDT Act put the onus of disproving a person’s citizenship on the police or the accusing party—instead of burdening the accused with proving their citizenship. Since 1997, more than 300,000 D-voters and Declared Foreigners have been tried in Foreigners Tribunals. Several hundred are still locked up in detention centers, jails within jails where detainees don’t even have the rights that ordinary criminals do.
In 2005, the Supreme Court adjudicated a case that asked for the IMDT Act to be struck down on the grounds that it made the “detection and deportation of illegal immigrants nearly impossible.” In its judgment annulling the act, the court noted, “there can be no manner of doubt that the State of Assam is facing “external aggression and internal disturbance” on account of large scale illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals.” Now, it put the onus of proving citizenship on the citizen. This completely changed the paradigm, and set the stage for the new, updated NRC. The case had been filed by Sarbananda Sonowal, a former president of the All Assam Students’ Union who is now with the BJP, and is currently the chief minister of Assam.
In 2013, an NGO called Assam Public Works filed a case in the Supreme Court asking for illegal migrants’ names to be struck off electoral rolls. Eventually, the case was assigned to the court of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who happens to be Assamese.
In December 2014, Justice Gogoi ordered that an updated list of the NRC be produced before his court within a year. Nobody had any clue about what could or would be done to the 5 million “infiltrators” that it was hoped would be detected. There was no question of them being deported to Bangladesh. Could that many people be locked up in detention camps? For how long? Would they be stripped of citizenship?
Millions of villagers living in far-flung areas were expected to produce a specified set of documents—“legacy papers”—that proved direct and unbroken paternal lineage dating back to 1971. The Supreme Court’s deadline turned the exercise into a nightmare. Impoverished, illiterate villagers were delivered into a labyrinth of bureaucracy, legalese, documentation, court hearings, and all the ruthless skulduggery that goes with them.
Does Roy understand that everything she is saying proves that the NRC has nothing to do with Modi. It is simply a case of the Law of the Land being applied in the manner that the Supreme Court has laid down.

The Foreigners Tribunals and detention centers that have already started springing up across India may not, at the moment, be intended to accommodate hundreds of millions of Muslims.
Then why bring up the subject?
But they are meant to remind us that only Hindus are considered India’s real aboriginals, and don’t need those papers.
Hindus don't want to be considered 'aboriginals'. This is because everybody knows aboriginals get fucked over by wallabies who sound like Dame Edna Everage and own Fox News.
Even the 450-year-old Babri Masjid didn’t have the right legacy papers. What chance would a poor farmer or a street vendor have?
None at all. That is why poor farmers are constantly being demolished. In Neasden, a Swami Narayan Temple has been constructed on what used to be a street vendor.
This is the wickedness that the 60,000 people in the Houston stadium were cheering.
Very true. Thousands of street vendors are being demolished so as to construct Hindu temples.
This is what the president of the United States linked hands with Modi to support.
Trump demolished hundreds of street vendors to construct Trump Towers all over the place.
It’s what the Israelis want to partner with, the Germans want to trade with, the French want to sell fighter jets to, and the Saudis want to fund.
Coz everybody knows Saudis are only happy when street vendors get demolished so as to construct Hindu Temples.
Perhaps the whole process of the all-India NRC can be privatized, including the data bank with our iris scans.
Visa services have been privatized to very good effect.
The employment opportunities and accompanying profits might revive our dying economy. The detention centers could be built by the Indian equivalents of Siemens, Bayer and IG Farben. It isn’t hard to guess what corporations those will be. Even if we don’t get to the Zyklon B stage, there’s plenty of money to be made.
Says failed Architecture student, Arundhati Roy.
We can only hope that someday soon, the streets in India will throng with people who realize that unless they make their move, the end is close.
Coz they will be demolished and Hindu Temples will be constructed on their their bones.
If that doesn’t happen, consider these words to be intimations of an ending from one who lived through these time
while under the influence of mind rays emanating from my neighbor's cat.