Monday, 30 March 2020

Gwilym David Blunt showing why Resistance is futile

Rights exist if they are linked to Remedies under an incentive compatible bond of law. If there is no Remedy, or if it is not in the interest of the obligation holder to provide that Remedy- i.e. they can avoid that duty without paying much of a penalty- then Rights don't exist save, at the margin, as a talking point or a public nuisance.

'Cheap talk' pooling equilibriums represent coordination games of a certain type. However, they are vulnerable to busybodies who arbitrage on discoordination games. In other words, a norm which may be perfectly harmless within a homogenous population, and thus is self-reinforcing, is turned into a nuisance by being applied in an absurd or transgressive context. This can yield a rent for a 'moral entrepreneur' with an 'interessement' mechanism which is mischievous because it is based on an incompossible Structural Causal Model.

What happens if the assumption is made that Rights exist independent of the incentive compatibility of the corresponding Remedy? Let us see-

Gwilym David Blunt, a lecturer in some Soft Subject for the soft in the head, writes in Aeon-
Resistance is a human right. This is why the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that people will be ‘compelled to have recourse, in the last resort, to rebellion’ if human rights are not respected, and why the defence of human rights framed in many United Nations resolutions supports resistance against colonialism and apartheid.
Did the UN provide any remedy to Human Rights violations? Not in general, no. The thing had no teeth.

What about the impact of this declaration on domestic law in those countries where the law was not a joke?

Though provisions of an international treaty supercede State Law, the California Supreme Court in Fujii decided they were not self-executing. In other words, either a country moved, 'organically', towards a fairer system or it did not. The UN Declaration was merely hot air.

In Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights, unlike the UN Declaration, created rights which could be relied on in a court of law. However, its Article 14- covering non-discrimination- was a Cinderella provision and had no meaning in itself.

Did the UN declaration have any importance at all? I think it did have some utility. The fact is, in International Relations, a successful Rebellion can create a de facto Regime which it is may be useful to recognise on its own terms as a de jure sovereign State. But, if a Rebellion has no chance of success- indeed, if it is not a Rebellion at all but simply a stupid nuisance- then reliance on the UN Declaration is foolish and mischievous.
After a brief period- the 20 years following the collapse of the Soviet Union- when public intellectuals spoke glowingly of 'a rules based International Order', it must be admitted that currently the thing is utterly useless. Tibetans or Uighurs gain nothing from it whatsoever. Proclaiming a Right without providing a reliable Remedy is cheap talk of a worthless type.
It could not be otherwise. If your rights are violated, you must have a recourse.
A recourse is not a recourse if it is entirely ineffective. I have a right to life. Unfortunately, it becomes increasingly ineffective as I age. It is not the case that some recourse exists such that I can avoid death indefinitely.  Thus my 'right to life' is meaningless. No doubt, it may feature in the judgment of a court. But that judgment may be equally effective or ineffective if it made no mention of this soi disant right and stated its ratio using some other terminology.
Normally this would be found in the law and the courts but, when faced with severe and intransigent injustice, resistance is that recourse.
Nonsense! Resistance may lead to an abrupt termination of even such parlous amenities as were previously available. It is sheer magical thinking to hold otherwise.
But when others are resisting, and we are sympathetic to their aims, what should we do?
What we are doing is not resisting. We may say 'I should be resisting but am not' but this statement is about as meaningful as 'I should be Beyonce but am not.'
The answer is surprising.
Meaningless statements may be surprising. Why? Because there is little point making the conform to rationality or communicative sense.
From autumn 2018 for about a year, the group known as Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged a number of disruptive protests in the United Kingdom, on London’s bridges and across several city centres, bringing road traffic to a standstill.
What was the outcome of this 'Resistance'? The Tories, under BoJo- whom the UK's Chief Scientist said had presided over 'devastating' cuts in the fight against climate change while Foreign Secretary- won a stunning victory. The public turned against XR and the thing collapsed as its members faced mass arrest and legal problems of an expensive kind for which they had been inadequately prepared.
The protestors were drawing attention to the need for immediate action on the climate emergency.
That may have been their intention. But what they actually did was draw attention to their own stupidity and selfishness. The Green Vote is not electorally important- at least in first past the post polities. The lone Green MP in Westminster has no impact whatsoever. This is a far cry from what activists had hoped for- Greens holding the balance of power in a coalition with Corbynista Social Justice Warriors and SNP mavericks. What has happened instead is the collapse of the 'Red Wall' and the Toryization of the Working Class which now sees the Greens as part of what Piketty calls 'the Brahman Left'- i.e. that portion of the educated middle class which is intent on destroying the material standard of living of workers for some hysterical virtue signalling purpose.
From their perspective, these were acts of resistance, drawing attention to injustice and inaction.
From everybody else's perspective they were a public nuisance.
What should someone who is sympathetic to this cause and to their action do?
Tell them to stop being so fucking stupid.  But, in that case, those lunatics might start baying for your blood. So the safer course is to keep mum.
If possible, nothing. But there are different ways of doing nothing. It matters that you do nothing in the right way and for the right reasons.
Just as it matters that you piss in the punch bowl in the right way and for the right reasons- not simply coz  you're drunk and think the thing will be frightfully funny.
Let me explain.
Rights imply duties.
Only if the rights' holders apply in proper legal form for remedies involving  identifiable obligations' holders under a specific vinculum juris. I may say 'I have a Right to Food' and steal your sandwich and eat it. But you are not the obligation holder for this Right of mine. In order to assert it, I may need to bring a case against the Public Food Distribution System or the Department of Social Security of some such statutory entity. However, under exigent circumstances, that entity may have a sovereign immunity defence against providing the remedy.
If you have a right to something, other people owe you certain duties.
Nonsense! Some specific obligation holder may owe you a duty under a given vinculum juris. But that obligation holder may owe a superior duty to deny you that right. This is a matter for lawyers and judges.
There are at least three negative duties that are generated by the right of resistance: non-interference, non-obstruction and non-collaboration.
Rubbish! There is no such viculum juris binding 'other people' as opposed to some specific statutory authority or other public body.
The simplest of these is the duty of non-interference. If a person has the right to do something, there is a fundamental duty not to prevent them from doing that thing.
There may be a more fundamental duty, or a superior right, to prevent them doing that thing. Thus if I try to grab your sandwich while claiming that this represents 'Resistance', you have a superior right to use reasonable force to defend yourself and your property. This is a matter for the police and the courts.
So, if a person is enacting their right to resistance, then bystanders have an obligation to forbear and not to interfere.
That may be the view taken by a Court. But, equally, it may not. In practice, 'bystanders' may have a right- which they may consider a duty- to kick the fucker's head in. Consider a paedophile enacting his resistance to oppressive laws. re. raping kiddies, outside a primary school. It is likely that the fellow's brains will form an artistic smear upon the sidewalk after Mums have done with him.
This seems obvious, but there was a rather shocking instance during the London XR protests where this duty was not respected.
Shocking? Most people thought it was entirely salutary. The police did say they might investigate those members of the public who beat the shit out of the two protestors- one of whom was a 'Buddhist teacher'- but nothing came of it. Juries won't convict commuters who have a go at nutters who are trying to make their journey even more hellish than it already is. Why did those nutters not target the limousines or helicopters of the rich? Why fuck with working people using public transport?
In October 2019, protestors stopped London trains from working by climbing on top of carriages. At Canning Town in east London, one protestor was dragged off the roof of a carriage and set upon by commuters. This is a violation of the duty of non-interference.
But it is an affirmation of a superior right, a higher moral duty, of an eusoical type. Public nuisances must be curbed, no matter how thickly 'Buddhist teachers' and the like may coat themselves in a marinade of virtue signalling histrionics.
It might be that people were angered by having their day disrupted, but this doesn’t excuse their behaviour.
It both explains and excuses it. It is noteworthy that a wholly illegal assault upon the protestors did not give rise to a prosecution despite their being a plethora of video evidence. By contrast, the actions of the protestors were judged to be criminal by a Court.
It might be irritating but we have an obligation to do nothing.
Sez who? Not the Courts. We are welcome to heckle protestors and use reasonable force to prevent them violating our rights. Indeed, we may have a duty of a superior sort to so humiliate and demoralize the perpetrators of public nuisances that thy stop being such stupid tossers.
Yet simply not interfering with individuals is not sufficient. Resistance to injustice is often organised. In addition to the obligation not to interfere with individuals, there must also be a duty of non-obstruction to organisations.
This is simply untrue. Nazis 'resisting' the presence of immigrants in a neighborhood can and should be opposed and obstructed by organizations of various types.
This is often overlooked, but there are numerous ways in which people can unintentionally obstruct organised resistance. In 1849, Henry ‘Box’ Brown escaped slavery by mailing himself in a box from Virginia to Pennsylvania. It became a sensation in the media, a fact lamented by the abolitionist Frederick Douglass because it effectively closed this path out of slavery: if journalists had been more circumspect, then more people might have escaped slavery by post.
This was silly. The fact is Prigg v Pennsylvania (1842) had prised open a door which the Fugitive Slaves Act of 1850 slammed shut. The 'Box' Brown escape and its attendant publicity had little real impact. It took a Civil War and three quarters of a million dead to put an end to the South's peculiar Institution. 'Resistance', by contrast, had little effect.
In the age of Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok, it is easy to inadvertently obstruct organisations fighting injustice.
Only if they are crap. It is difficult to obstruct the FBI fighting injustice because they are a professional organization and may send you to jail if you obstruct them.
Posting a video or picture on social media could lead to a protestor being identified by the police or to escape routes being closed.
The sentencing of that protester may, on the other hand, help the cause by creating a martyr.
We should avoid getting in the way of what those who are performing acts of resistance try to do.
No. We should get a life which involves having some morally better purpose than 'performing acts of resistance'. One example is, not protesting, but putting an end to a glaring injustice. Another is saving lives as a Doctor or producing food and other essentials of life as a worker. Being a fucking drama queen virtue signalling support for the Environment, or the Palestinians or whatever is more likely to be a counter-productive nuisance than anything to be valued.

Living up to the duty of non-obstruction requires us to be more conscientious about the ways in which we communicate.
Whereas writing shite like this requires no conscientiousness whatsoever.
The final negative duty is that of non-collaboration with agencies that are suppressing resistance. If we shouldn’t inadvertently obstruct resistance, it follows that we shouldn’t actively help to suppress it. Agencies that are engaged in suppressing resistance often depend upon third-party assistance. As the academic Juan Espíndola found in his research on the German Democratic Republic of 1949-90, the wide network of ‘unofficial coworkers’ who informed on dissidents and provided logistical support to the Stasi were referred to as the state’s ‘respiratory organs’. Without collaboration, unjust regimes suffocate.
Not if they are sufficiently unjust. Shooting the families of non-collaborators may cause demographic replacement such that only collaborators survive.

By contrast just regimes are more, not less, vulnerable to non-cooperation and lack of public collaboration.
We might think that we aren’t pressured to collaborate like this today, but one might look at Apple’s decision in 2019 to remove an app that sought to inform prodemocracy protestors in Hong Kong where the police were concentrating and using tear gas.
Coz China is a tiny little country which only keeps going thanks to the kindness of Apple. Anyway, poorer people can't afford Apple. They use Android.
It is possible that, as resistance to climate change grows, ‘liberal democratic’ states might employ similar pressures. The rule is simple: don’t snitch.
A rule only the Mafia insists on. As resistance to the working class have a decent material standard of living increases, the resistors will have their fucking heads kicked in. Courts may try to sentence the aggressors but juries will acquit them. Politicians will get the message and laws too will change. The nuisance will be eliminated. Some lecturers may get the sack. What is certain is that kids will stop signing up for their worthless courses.
So we have at least these three obligations not to do things.
No. So far we have a stupid cretin telling idiotic lies.
Is there anything else we have a duty not to do? One option would be to follow the example of the philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who in 1846 stopped paying his taxes in response to the US government’s unprovoked war with Mexico and continued support for slavery. Thoreau refused to support a state so immersed in injustice. Ought we do the same in relation to the climate emergency? At this stage, I would say no. Democratic states still provide sufficient protection of human rights to warrant some continued support, though this could erode as the climate emergency escalates.
So this cretin thinks he is Thoreau- who wrote well but had zero influence. In any case, unlike the US, the country in which he lives has PAYE Income tax. In other words, the option to cheat on one's taxes and seek to withhold them for a conscientious reason is not available to most working people.

The sad truth is that stupid, only marginally productive, people like the author or his readers don't count for much.

This lends a ludicrous sort of pathos to his conclusion.
It’s not just what you do that matters, but what you don’t do, too.
He knows that the 'you' he is addressing will neither read, nor remember if they do read, his worthless shite. So he warms himself with the reflection that what his 'you' doesn't do, too, is all about his own private drama of moral grandiosity.

Incidentally, Aeon is obstructing my resistance to their imbecility by deleting my comment.
I wonder which 'community guideline' it violated? Take a gander and form your own opinion-
'Sometimes the most powerful act of resistance is to do nothing' 
Speaking generally, the 'most powerful act' is the one where most power (i.e. the most energy is transferred or converted per unit of time) is expended. No doubt, there was an active French Resistance. But it involved little power compared to Operation Overlord. 

 As a child, being weak and powerless, I was fascinated by the notion that Japanese 'jiu jitsu' or Gandhian 'Ahimsa' could invest me with the skill to use the much greater power of the adults against themselves. I may mention that my spirited resistance to paideia was wholly successful. Sadly, I have since discovered that I have a very low I.Q and thus needn't have bothered trying to resist edumification. India has now come to the conclusion that this was and is also the story of Gandhian Resistance in all its manifold forms. Stupidity is not Resistance. It may assert that it is strategic but Good Soldier Shweick could only resist the relatively enlightened Hapsburg yoke. He was powerless against Hitler or Stalin. Gandhian Stupidity- he and Rajaji (to whom he was, and I now am, related by marriage) said Hindus had a duty to fight for a restored Caliphate- was hugely counterproductive. Muslims came to fear and distrust Hindus because not a single one of them had actually fought for the Caliphate under Gandhi's aegis. By contrast, the older Hindu revolutionaries- like Amba Prasad Sufi- had actually died in the Pan-Islamic, anti-Imperialist cause, not because they were stupid but because they were intelligent enough to see that all Colonized people had a common interest in combatting European Imperialism regardless of Religious differences or nuanced points of Moral Psilosophy. I may mention that it was Brigadier Dyer who won the Seistan Campaign- in which Amba Prasad was killed- and it was he who was 'the Butcher of Amritsar'- which caused Gandhi to immediately call off his Civil Disobedience campaign- and, one month later, it was he who defeated the Afghan invasion and caused the restive frontier tribes to loot their co-religionist 'Jihadis' rather than seek to harass the 'infidel' Army Dyer commanded.  Like most Hindus, I grew up hating Reginald Dyer and loving Mahatma Gandhi. I still love Gandhi- he was very lovable- but, now I find myself looking at source material in Persian and so forth, I have to admit that Dyer deserved the rewards and acclamation he received. He had helped save Iraq and Iran and Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan from the sort of anarchy which we- unlike our parent's generation- have a proper inkling off. But this also means Gandhi was correct to delay India's independence by two decades. He knew better than anyone that his 'weapon' of non-violence was effective only against its wielder. Thus, again and again, he limited the amount of mischief 'Resistance' could do and, though personally brave, showed the yellow streak in the most histrionic manner. It takes a lot of moral courage to admit that Gandhi, though stupid and ignorant- like the rest of us- had enough genuine love in his heart to prevent Hindu India from taking the path of the Gadarene Swine and rushing off the cliff-edge of Benthamite Rationality. I think what made Gandhi different from us was that he got into a habitus of loving others entirely on his own terms. The thing just happened. He wasn't imitating anyone or following a set or rules. Suddenly, he is the head of a crackpot commune for no other reason than that he was loving and loveable- and as financially well cushioned as E.F Benson's Lucia.  In Game theory there is a concept called 'the price of anarchy'. It is out of date. 'Selfishness' merely means 'Stupidity' once things like 'Muth Rationality', 'Hannan Consistency' etc. are taken on board. Gandhianism was stupid- yes. But it was a cathartic type of Theater which benefitted horribly racist, misogynistic and just plain hypocritical High Caste Hindus engaged in morally despicable, but very profitable, professions. It has retained its utility in India because it diverts worthwhile types of protest or 'Resistance' into worthless avenues so poverty may burgeon and smart people have an incentive to emigrate. This is a good outcome because, as an Indian-all-too-Indian myself, I have to admit that poor and stupid Indians are nice. The smart sort are only bearable if they are making fools of themselves trying to sound Oxbridge or Ivy League or whatever.  Gwilym- what a beautiful name!- points to the UN Declaration of something or the other and it is good to know that there are beautiful Snowflakes and fragrant Sweet Williams who believe Rights can exist without incentive compatible Remedies under a Vinculum Juris- or bond of Law. I think he makes a mistake to mention the slave who escaped in a Box. The fact is the Supreme Court had opened a door in 1842 which was slammed shut by the Fugitive Slaves Act of 1850. Resistance didn't matter much. It took the killing of 750,000 men- the revised death toll of the Civil War- to end Slavery.  It was also a mistake to mention Extinction Rebellion- which pissed off us proles who are dependent on Public transport. We rebelled against what Piketty calls the 'Brahman Left' and voted Tory. By contrast, the Yellow Vests successfully 'Resisted' Macron's virtue signalling re. Climate Change. As a black man who was subjected to extreme racial abuse by my parents- 'get a proper job you fat b***k b******d' being a mantra much on the lips of Mum & Dad- I don't want to admit that I side with Racists who want to restrict immigration as well as chuck out people of my color who wish to wage war against Her Majesty the Queen, Gor Bless 'Er. But, the sad truth is that the only Indian MP  in Westminster back in 1905 voted for the first Racist Restricton on Immigration into this country. There's a pattern here, is what I'm saying. Economic considerations make for strange bedfellows. Morality turns out to be idiographic not nomothetic for the same reason Game theory failed to give the Moral Sciences an Evolutionary foundation- viz Regret minimization requires competing 'Tiebout Models'.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Madampat on the need for a Muslim Political Party

I recall, after 9/11, that some people claimed that no Muslim was guilty of that atrocity. Far from having initiated violence, Muslims were always and everywhere innocent victims of calumny and persecution. Over the subsequent decades, though hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims have indeed suffered terribly as a result of NATO's retaliatory war on terror, the number of people who cling to a narrative of Muslim non-violence has appreciably diminished, if it has not disappeared altogether.

There is some pathology involved in Islamic politics such that a small, but powerful, minority takes it upon itself to attack innocent non-Muslims even if this is bound to lead to a catastrophe for a much larger numbers of Muslims.

Consider the Rohingya extremists who, according to Amnesty International, massacred Hindus- no problem, Hindus in Myanmar have no power- but also attacked Buddhists and soldiers of the ruling Junta. The consequence was quite horrible for the Rohingyas as anybody could have predicted. Yet, the thing happened. Some Liberals took a swing at Aung San Suu Kyi but they achieved nothing. Why? The entire world now thinks of the sufferings of Muslims as something they have probably brought upon themselves by foolishly committing atrocities against more powerful peoples.

In India, however, there are still some people who cling to the old script according to which Muslims never initiate violence.

Consider the following article Shahjahan Madampat has published in Outlook-
The communal violence that rocked Northeast Delhi two weeks ago, the massive human and material losses Muslims had to suffer and the indifference of all political parties to their plight make one conclusion inevitable: the only option left for Indian Muslims is to organise themselves politically.
It appears that some Muslims, under the leadership of a Councillor of the 'Common Man' party, initiated violence against the majority community. They suffered disproportionately subsequently. Would the Muslims have put up a better show if they had been organized politically by a Muslim Party? Madampat may be from Kerala where a Muslim Party exists. But Kerala is different from Delhi. Hindus are a bare majority there whereas they are an overwhelming majority in Delhi. Furthermore, Delhi has a tradition of ethnically cleansing Muslims. 20,000 Muslims were killed after Partition and countless more were forced to flee. It is extremely unlikely that a Muslim Political Party could change the outcome of a violent clash. What is more likely is that there would be a wholesale expulsion of Muslims. There is a good reason no 'Muslim League' survives anywhere save Kerala. If the thing appeared, it would be a disaster for the Muslim minority in the same way that Jinnah's Muslim League was a disaster for them.
On the other hand, if the Muslims had a political party which aimed at removing barriers of caste and creed between Muslims and which focused on improving life-chances for young Muslims regardless of gender, then, perhaps, the violent or criminalized element of the community would get marginalized. However, militant Islamists can get funding from abroad, so this is by no means a foregone conclusion.
All other choices they have so far exercised have been utterly futile.
In other words, no political party has helped the Muslims. Perhaps, as the Holy Quran says, God himself only helps a community when it begins to help itself.
A political formation led by members from within would have improved their chances of effective resistance against marauding mobs.
Sadly, this isn't the case. The majority- meeting 'effective resistance'- would have upped the ante and gone in for more systematic carnage. They would have been backed by the police and the Army. This is not a battle Indian Muslims can win- even if they are in the majority, as is the case in the Kashmir Valley.

This may not be obvious to a Muslim from Kerala. However, South Indian Muslims are bringing in money from the Gulf and are helping their fellow South Indian Christians and Hindus do the same thing. By contrast, the Muslims of the Doab are in a weak economic position.
That Delhi did not have a single recognisable leader from the Muslim community to speak and act on its behalf in this crucial hour is proof that the usual practice of dependence on, and exploitation by, the so-called secular parties is no longer tenable.
Sadly, Delhi's Muslims did have 'recognisable leaders'. They instigated violence which was bound to end with Muslims being disproportionately affected.
Four Reasons
There are four reasons why Indian Muslims should seriously think about bringing a major chunk of the community under a single political umbrella.
There is only one reason. A Muslim political party could get the various different Muslim groupings to work together to improve their lives and life-chances. However, one which concentrates on creating a para-military force will be rapidly destroyed.
First, the subjectivity of an Indian Muslim at the current juncture is very different from that of even her ardent non-Muslim secular supporter. Tweets by Yogendra Yadav and Nidhi Razdan during the violence are illustrative of this difference in subjectivities. Both worried about the reputational damage to India during the visit of the US President.
It appears that some Muslims were paid to create mayhem during Trump's visit. One or two may have made money out of it but the community as a whole paid a high price. As for Trump, he couldn't have cared less. The West now approves of countries which get tough with their Muslims. Failure to do so may lead to the export of Islamic terrorism. The last thing NATO wants is to be drone striking Muslims in India the way they have to drone strike Muslims in Pakistan and Yemen and so forth.
Although their commitment to Indian pluralism is beyond reproach, their social location allowed them the luxury of worrying about the country’s image, while a Muslim citizen could have only prayed for survival.
Really? Only Muslims in North East Delhi were affected and they were only affected because some of their number had attacked police-men and their non-Muslim neighbors.
For the Muslim, the pogrom threatened to kill her and her family and destroy her property.
Only if Muslims in her neighborhood had already killed non Muslims and destroyed their property.
The CAA/NRC/NPR posed a direct threat to her citizenship.
No it didn't. If non Muslims fleeing Islamic persecution gain citizenship- as has always happened- then no Muslim's citizenship is threatened.
She cannot open her door and tell the murderous mob with equanimity: “Friends, the President of America is here. The image of the country will suffer if you kill us and torch my house. Please come back a couple of days later”.
Nor could non Muslims who had been targeted first by Muslim mobs.
Second, dependence of Indian Muslims on ‘secular’ parties benefited the latter immensely throughout the period after Independence, but did little to protect the former during communal riots or to improve their material condition.
The weaker party gets bashed if it is foolish enough to start a fight. Politics can't change that brute fact. Kerala's Muslims were smart enough to go abroad and earn well. That is why their material condition improved. The Muslims who moved to North East Delhi hoped for a better life. However, some of their number ran amok provoking an asymmetric retaliation. But, if Malyallee Muslims in the Gulf ran amok, they would be shot out of hand. All Malyallees would be deported regardless of Religion. They would have killed the golden goose with a vengeance.

The lesson here is one all who run can read. Don't run amok if the result is that your people will get slaughtered and have to run away. Work hard. Make money. Don't knife policemen or commit arson.
No top leader from any ‘secular’ party had the courage to descend on the scene during the violence and offer their support to victims, primarily because they feared the loss of Hindu votes.
I fear this understates the case. 'Top leaders' don't give a damn about violence prone Muslims of very low socioeconomic status 'being taught a lesson' . Had a Dawoodi Bohra neighborhood been attacked, Modi and Amit Shah would have turned up in short order.
They believed, perhaps correctly, that a substantial segment of Hindus has bought into the Sangh Parivar propaganda about Hindu victimhood.
The trouble is non-Muslims no longer believe Muslim protestations of innocence. As for 'victimhood', what is the point in that? All over the world we see Muslims being punished in a draconian manner anytime they act up. Why be a victim when you can slaughter the terrorists quite cheaply with no repercussions whatsoever? Saudi Arabia and U.A.E are great friends with those who are tough on their terrorists. The world has changed but perhaps this 'Shahjahan' hasn't got the memo.
Had there been a strong political leadership within the Muslim community in Delhi, they would not have had the luxury of shirking their responsibility. Apart from the possibility of such a Muslim leadership standing by their people, they would also have been able to curb fanatical elements within the community that went berserk, attacking innocent Hindus in neighbouring areas.
This is the reason there is no 'strong political leadership within the Muslim community'. The fanatics would kill off any 'Liberals' who deny that 'Islam is in danger' or that the C.A.A isn't about stripping Muslims of Citizenship or that it wasn't Muslim 'fanatics who went berserk' who started the trouble.
Third, our political history has demonstrated that marginalised communities tasted political empowerment and a modicum of self-confidence only when they organised themselves politically--BSP, SP, RJD, IUML are some examples.
We are speaking of coalition politics here. The question is why hasn't there been a UP or Bihar Muslim League on the Kerala IUML model? Is it because politics in those states was thoroughly criminalized a long time ago?
Fourthly, a right-thinking social and political leadership for Muslims now is the best bet against possible radicalisation and foolhardiness.
The problem with 'right-thinking' Muslim leaders- like Arif Mohammad Khan- is that they may end up with the BJP because their own Community might have its own ideological 'wedge issues' or irrational shibboleths- e.g triple talaq. This relates to the wider question as to why the Islamic World shows no real equivalent to the Christian Democratic or Christian Socialistic Parties of Europe.  Where is the Islamic equivalent of Merkel? Ten years ago, we might have said- Erdogan is such a man. But who would say that now?
The political situation now is so completely pitted against the community that extremist elements wanting to fish in troubled waters will find their task much easier.
Not if they keep getting arrested and tortured and hanged. Fishing in waters filled with very stupid fish is something Intelligence Agencies are good at. What follows is Gaza type ghettoization with limited internet access and everybody's mobile being tapped.
Our pride in the fact that only a few hundred Indian Muslims out of 200 million ever joined the ranks of global Jehadi outfits may soon become passé.
Sadly, this is a reflection of the low opinion Arabs have of Indian Muslims. In the Caliphate, they were assigned menial jobs.
Indian Muslims never fell for jehadi adventurism precisely because the sense of equal citizenship the Constitution granted them made them feel at home in spite of it being far from equal in reality.
So, this guy feels pride that few Indian Muslims joined the jihadis because...they were so stupid as not to be able to recognize reality.
Now they feel a sense of betrayal by allies on one hand and a sense of psychological disenfranchisement and imminent denial of citizenship, even physical annihilation by enemies, on the other.
This may be true. But if it is true, then the Opposition parties have much to answer for. They have lied to a poor, ignorant- and very very stupid, by Madampat's account- section of the population.
Muslims have lost faith in all institutions in the country­—government, police, judiciary, media, civil society and political parties.
So what? No great harm is done in being sceptical of the institutions of what is still a very poor country. What Muslims need is to have faith in their own good character, piety, family values, hard work and enterprise. Without this type of collective faith, no community can come forward even if it is relocated to Sweden- or rather, more particularly if it is relocated to Sweden. Dependence is not a good thing. It is not what Islam- or any other Religion- teaches.
They know that hate against them is spreading like wildfire among Hindus.
Sadly, it isn't just Hindus. Hatred of Muslims is now more common than not among non-Muslims the world over.
They also know that among the disseminators of hatred are people who hold the highest positions in the land, who meticulously work on new laws and policies aimed at consigning Muslims to an infernal existence in their own country.
Muslims may be hated but nobody wants to spend money on doing anything other than kill them if they attack. Why waste resources on constructing a Hell for Muslims to inhabit? How does this boost one's standard of living? Where is the profit in it?

Madampat has succumbed to Manichaean thinking. Why not take the next step and start foaming at the mouth and gabbling about the Jews and the Free Masons and the diabolical Christian plot to deny that Muhammad was the final Prophet?
This kind of an abject situation is fertile for radicalism and extremist tendencies to take root.
So what? Killing radicals and extremists is cheaper than enforcing laws which would criminalize the sort of black propaganda Madampat is spewing here.
Unless a political and social leadership—with a strong moral fibre and committed to the values and ideals of the Constitution—emerges within the community, the existing leadership vacuum will be filled by impetuous zealots and cynical rabble-rousers.
While cretins like Madampat publish this type of tripe.
Contours of a New Muslim Politics
This new Muslim politics should be Gandhian in its inclusivity, in its acc­eptance of diversity within and outside the community, in its commitment to Hindu-Muslim unity, in its adherence to non-violence.
In other words, the 'new Muslim politics' mustn't be Islamic at all. All Jihad must be 'inner' directed and should aim at things like absolute veganism and chanting the Gita and the Torah and the Bible along with the Quran.
It should not only be open to, but must proactively include within its ranks and leadership its overwhelming diversity—various sects, devout, atheist, irr­eligious, Sunni, Shia, gay, lesbian, transgender, freethinkers. In other words, anyone who is likely to be targeted as Muslim by Hindutva forces should have equal space in it.
Why hasn't this already happened? The answer is simple. 'Hindutva forces' retaliate against but don't otherwise target any type of law abiding Muslim. That is why this defensive alliance does not exist. On the other hand, the State has targeted Muslims in the past. Indeed, had India lost the '65 War, it is likely that a lot of Muslims would have been forced to flee despite being wholly innocent. Hopefully, India is now too strong for this danger to recur.
Second, women should take the lead in the formation and running of the political formation.
Like Shaheen Bagh? But that was an own goal. The BJP increased its seat count. Congress and the Left lost their deposits. Women doing stupid shite are still merely stupid shitheads.
History shows us that menfolk, imbued with macho patriarchy, have always subordinated greater common good to selfish motives. Shaheen Bagh has shown us spectacularly how a women-led movement can be qualitatively different, not prone to violence and remarkably stubborn.
But the thing failed! To quote Ghalib 'Ik tamasha hua, gila na hua'- there was a spectacle, but the complaint was not registered. Look what happened to the Greenham Common Women. They went on protesting nuclear weapons 9 years after they were all removed! The thing had about as much political importance as a sewing circle. Men may subordinate the common good to the desire to assert their masculinity but women too are quite content to make a nuisance of themselves for purely histrionic reasons.
Third, the new formation should eschew religious symbols and slogans, and instead choose symbols and icons of Indian nationhood.
But, if they are committing a public nuisance, sooner or later people will turn against them. The thing is childish play-acting.
Shaheen Bagh proved the efficacy of that approach not just as a tactic, but also as an inspiring model of citizenship assertion.
No it didn't. It showed Muslim women were stupid and ignorant and easily fooled.
The impassioned resort to the symbols and icons of India’s pluralist history and the reading of the preamble to the Constitution there and elsewhere created a new idiom of secular, yet not deracinated resistance.
Which failed.
Fourth, it should not be a monolith, but a loose umbrella of regional or state-based outfits. Because the political situation in the states differs from each other, a monolith will be counterproductive. It can also lead to a particular region or state developing hegemony over others. The only common ingredient at the national level should be a set of ethical principles and the dream of restoring India to its saner self.
It is dream of every lunatic to restore the sanity of everybody who treats him as a demented retard.
Fifth, it should keep out of electoral participation for at least a period of 10 years, focusing instead on organisational work, political education, social welfare and interfaith communication.
But if it keeps telling stupid lies like- C.A.A strips Muslims of citizenship- then over the course of a decade, even grannies and hysterical little girls will understand that the thing is demented.
Jumping into the fray will make it susceptible to all that is wrong in Indian politics. The suggestion is not to boycott polls, but to avoid them until such time that the community feels is ripe to form reliable electoral alliances.
Meanwhile, the BJP's Minorities cell will make steady inroads into the Muslim vote.
Sixth, it should build bridges with civil society groups to fight communal forces, environmental destruction and the denial of civil liberties and human rights.
Sadly, telling stupid lies does not 'build bridges'. It creates a pluralistic community of stupid liars who have no political influence whatsoever. This is a rainbow coalition of motley fools.
The difference between most such civil society groups and so-called secular parties is that the former is less likely to betray their ideals for temporary gains than the latter, which are prone to compromises and deception.
The problem with civil society groups is that they get taken over by unbalanced zealots with histrionic personality disorders. They can be effective in the short run, but medium to long term they damage their own cause by the shrillness of their rhetoric and their reckless disregard for the truth.
One example of this is that a majority of ‘secular’ parties have formed alliances with the BJP at one point or the other.
Would these 'secular' parties ally with a Muslim party? Sure! That's how secular they are!
Seventh, it should not do or say anything that will provoke more Hindus into the Sanghi fold. They should always maintain in their words and deeds the distinction between Hindutva and Sangh Parivar on the one hand and the larger Hindu society on the other.
What does this mean in practice? Surely, it is things like accepting the Supreme Court verdict upholding the contstitutionality of CAA and so forth. The fact is, non-Muslims feel people fleeing Islamic persecution should be given citizenship whereas Muslim economic migrants shouldn't.

The problem here is that the Sangh Parivar voices issues of concern to all Hindus. It would be foolish to endorse all their suggestions while vilifying them.
Eighth, the new political formation should keep away the temptation to indulge in identity assertion and focus on citizenship assertion.
So, shave your beard, take off your burqa, before taking to the streets.
Harsh Mander recently said: “The Muslim brothers and sisters and children who are present here are Indian by choice. The rest of us are Indians by chance. We had no choice. We had only this country. But you (Muslims) had a choice and your ancestors chose to live in this country. Today, those who are in the government are trying to prove that Jinnah was right and Mahatma Gandhi was wrong.”  
Why is this fool quoting Mander? Does he really think Indian Muslims chose to live in a secular Republic where cow protection is a directive principle of the Constitution? Are Indian Muslims less devout than Pakistani Muslims? They prefer not to live in an Islamic Republic as a matter of personal choice. They like being in a country where polytheists predominate. They swoon with delight when the Israeli Head of State receives a rapturous reception in India.

The fact is, the vast majority of Indian citizens had no choice regarding where they were born. Some non-Muslims had no choice but to flee to India and they do get citizenship. But is was a matter of chance that they didn't get butchered first.
It is the moral and historical duty of the Indian Muslims to prove Jinnah and Savarkar wrong, for that is the best tribute they can pay to their forefathers who chose to stay on in India.
Sadly, from what I have been able to glean over my long life, it seems the moral and historical duty of Indians & Pakistanis is to prove Jinnah and Gandhi wrong by emigrating to the UK or the US or Australia or Canada and thus giving their kids a better, more secure, life under the Rule of Law. In England, a Muslim or a Hindu can become Home Secretary or Chancellor of the Exchequer purely on the basis of merit and without having to condone any type of corruption or pledge loyalty to some incompetent dynast. The day may come when this will be equally true of India- but that day is distant.

Why can't India have a Left wing Party and a Right wing Party like other Democracies? Why should Religion and Caste still matter? The answer, I am sorry to say, is that India does not have an indigenous Economic theory. Thus 'Left' and 'Right' relate to a foreign terrain and can serve no orienting purpose, not utterly mischievous, on the Indian political landscape.

Friday, 27 March 2020

The Hindu Taoist's Panchamakara Tantra

Not Esotericism's bhukti Mantra nor Occasionalism's mukti Yantra
Informs this Hindu Taoist's Panchamakara Tantra
For, in the House of Islam, this old soak
Is a cat asleep on the Prophet's cloak

A shanda fur die goyim


With Petroleum Reserves sufficient only for its Paraclete to give Paradise extreme unction
Socialism preserves the Scholastically proficient as but its Abelard sign of dysfunction
With God glibly Gas Chambered & Goliard every Heloise's Seclusion
Marx's Misology is the Market for the Mitzvah of Exclusion.

Envoi-
Prince! To expand Ovid's Heroides to encompass you
Speak as Magdalene, or silence her Jew.


Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Why did the Lok Pal agitation succeed while Shaheen Bagh failed?

In 5th April 2011, the Gandhian activist, Anna Hazare began a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar. He was demanding an anti-corruption Ombudsman with wide-ranging powers. The agitation he spearheaded quickly snowballed.  The response of the Government was positive and immediate. Nevertheless, there was blood in the water and the TV Yogi, Baba Ramdev, booked the Ramlila Maidan for a 40 day mass sit in. He hoped to spearhead an anti-corruption Political Party. On 5th June, the police attacked the protestors and arrested Ramdev who had tried to slip away in female attire. That put paid to him. But Anna Hazare was made of sterner stuff. He attracted prominent 'non-political' public figures- like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, the Bhushan father and son, as well as the revolting Swami Agnivesh who was quickly chased away.

On paper, the Lok Pal agitation was a success. Laws were changed. Apparently, there is now a Lok Pal though nobody knows what he or she is doing. On the other hand, Kejriwal's 'Common Man' Party emerged from this agitation and now rules the roost in Delhi. It may also be that Congress was wounded and Narendra Modi was helped by this movement.

Eight years later, student activists managed to mobilize elderly Muslim women to protest against the C.A.A bill which grants citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Islamic Republics but which denies it to Muslim economic migrants from those countries. They hoped to widen the protest to include other suffering sections of society- e.g. distressed farmers- and to reduplicate the success of the Lok Pal agitation. However, they failed. It does not seem that 'Shaheen Bagh' has thrown up any new political party, or public figure who might follow in the footsteps of Kejriwal. Furthermore, this agitation seems to have helped the BJP and to have dealt the final coup de grace to Congress in Delhi.

Why did Shaheen Bagh fail so badly? One answer is that its organizers included two different types of lunatic student politicians. One was 'Pinjra Tod' (break the cage) whose main grievance is that girls in University Hostels have to return by 10 p.m. They aren't allowed to wander around at midnight getting raped. This is a terrible injustice. If boys, whom nobody wants to rape, can return to their Hostels at midnight, why shouldn't girls be accorded the same right? Everybody knows rape is due to the patriarchality of the performativity of gurr gurr de laltain of the Toba Tek Singh as has been fully explained by Bannerjee and Chatterjee. Thus girls should be allowed to roam around at all hours of the night due to gurr gurr de laltain will overthrow the Patriarchality of the Performativity of the gurr gurr de laltain. 'Pakistan Zindabad!' as a trans-gender activist- or just some silly girl paid to fly around India talking nonsense- said at a rally. She was going to go on to say 'Hindustan zindabad' but got arrested and is now in jail. This shows the gurr gurr de laltain of the Patriarchality of the Perfomativity of Toba Tek Singh and has been fully explained by Chatterjee and Bannerjee- but not Mukherjee because that sly creature has gone and got a job with a MNC.

The other bunch of lunatics was the Kerala based Popular Front which derives from SIMI- the banned Islamic Student's movement which has produced some terrorists. However, there were plenty of artsy-fartsy students and 'Civil Society' activists in the melee. Both JNU and Jamia Millia students and faculty participated in the tamasha, making it attractive for the Liberal Media.

With hindsight, Shaheen Bagh was bound to fail. Why? The organizers were feminists. They wanted the thing to be female dominated. They saw that elderly Muslim women had nothing better to do than come and sit in Shaheen Bagh. But such women are not greatly respected. They are considered to be ignorant and stupid. Thus Modi was able to dismiss these protests as a demonstration of Muslim stupidity and ignorance.

Pinjra Tod tried to expand the protests to a poorer part of North East Delhi. But this led to violent rioting. As always, the Minority initiated the violence but paid a much higher price. Still, Muslim men matter. Elderly women in burqas don't. So Shaheen Bagh could have carried on in the same way that the British Government let the Greenham Common women carry on for 9 years after the cruise missiles they were protesting were removed as part of a wider treaty with the Russians.

What will happen now? Grants to certain Universities will be scaled back. Hostel fees will go up. Poor (BPL) students will receive cash while everyone else will be forced to pay more for Hostel accommodation. Girls' hostels will still have curfews because parents- and truth be told, most students- want this safety measure. If law and order breaks down, Girls hostels will be attacked by mobs of sex starved young men. Women in Delhi are the biggest losers if riots break out. They will be gangraped and trafficked around the country. Boys will simply be killed if they don't run away far enough or fast enough.

What about the Muslim women who protested at Shaheen Bagh? Will they get what they want? No. As has always been the case, only non-Muslims will be given citizenship because they are genuine refugees. Muslims from Islamic Republics are economic migrants and will not be eligible. The Supreme Court will confirm that the Govt. has acted constitutionally. The Shaheen Bagh protestors were demanding something wholly unconstitutional. Now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, they have been dispersed. But the outcome would be the same if they, like the Greenham Common women, continued to squat at Shaheen Bagh for another nine years.


Sunday, 22 March 2020

Worst Aeon article ever?

Aeon has an article by an anthropologist, Dr. Sam Dubal, who worked for a year with former fighters in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda. 

He writes-
The experience compelled me to spend a lot of time thinking about humanity as a philosophical idea. The LRA is a group of people whose humanity has often been questioned, and sometimes denied. A rebel group fighting a spiritual rebellion since 1986, the LRA have waged war in ways that others see as horrific, brutal or otherwise outside the pale of the human – forcibly conscribing their soldiers; ‘sexually enslaving’ young girls; hacking or beating to death government collaborators and disobedient soldiers; and living like animals for years in the wilderness.
His conclusion is-
The legacies of racism and colonialism pressure us to resist ascribing animality to a violent African group living in the wilderness, and to instinctually reclaim their humanity as a way of resisting their barbarisation.
In other words, it's so not cool to call black people monkeys or to offer them a banana. On the other hand you should definitely offer this Indian firewater, the more of it the better.
But to recast LRA rebels as humans denies the ways in which they transcended the human, taking on the feared traits of wild predators while also living alongside and with the supernatural powers of holy spirits.
It is sensible to deny something that is egregiously false.  The human can't be transcended by human beings. It isn't really true that if you sacrifice a sufficient number of virgins to Hecate that you will gain supernatural powers. Also, Transcendental Meditation doesn't really work. You won't actually be able to levitate after paying a lot of money to take the course. 'Yogic flying' won't bring peace to the world. The thing is a con. Joseph Kony may be genuinely mentally ill. But other leaders have used child soldiers to terrorize the settled population and to make money for themselves.
As gorillas, they were fierce and respected soldier-animals, using the crafty tactics of wise apes to avoid capture by enemy soldiers.
This is false. They used the 'crafty tactics' of human beings. I suppose S.A.S commandos and other Special Forces trained in Jungle Warfare do the same. In battle, they make mincemeat out of these 'gorillas'.
As holy warriors, they carried out God’s will while maintaining virtuous lives free of alcohol, adultery and other perceived social ills.
Does this guy really believe this shit? It isn't even 'emic' coz the vast majority of Acholis think these guys were shitheads doing stupid shite.
Here, we might cautiously agree with civilians that rebels were no longer human – but not because, as civilians thought, they had fallen out of the sacred condition of humanity into a depraved state of animality.
Why might we do anything so stupid? What would be the point? Humans are humans. Do a DNA test if you aren't sure. It is merely a metaphor, a figure of speech, to speak of some people as beasts or devils or angels or sweety-pies. Why take a metaphor for a concrete fact and build another metaphor on top of it? Why say Humanity is a rung upon a ladder. One can slip down from it to a depraved state of animality. One can rise up, by some transcendent act, to a level where one works God's will. This is a meta-metaphor which may have some imperative or rhetorical force. But it isn't true. 
Rather, they had transcended humanity to reach extraordinary animal and divine forms of being.
No they haven't.
Their humanity does not need to be saved; it is a limiting condition they meaningfully surpassed.
They may need to be re-educated to behave in a humane way. They will find themselves better off if they do so. Also, they may have their heads bashed in if they don't. Don't forget the LRA was set up after Museveni's  NRA had used brutal methods against the Acholis. But Museveni too was reacting to atrocities. It was Idi Amin, whom the British used to get rid of Obote, who set off this cycle of violence in a beautiful and agriculturally rich region.
There are lessons we can take from the LRA. The next time we decry the imprisonment of Latinx kids at the border without adequate space, food or healthcare as dehumanising, or attempt to defend their humanity, let us remember not only what humanity recognises but also what it erases or obscures. That is, let’s remember why they are there in the first place – even when we are not. If humanity were in fact an adequate barometer of morality, ‘humane’ treatment might consist less of baths and edible food and more of large-scale reparative justice for more than a century of anti-democratic US foreign policy interference in Central American political economy.
There is a good reason to decry 'the imprisonment of Latinx kids'. We should be educating them and then making money off their labor so as to be able to retire in comfort. It doesn't matter which side of the border they are on. What matters is that they are in the pipeline of School to College to Working Their Asses off and raising families so that everybody is better off. Nobody gains from incarcerating these kids.
When we decry the conditions of children held in cages as dehumanising, are we not replicating a form of thinking that treats them like abused animals – where being ‘humane’ means not letting them sit in their own urine or be infested with lice?
Humans are valuable coz they can make cool stuff or provide useful services. We may kill or incarcerate people who are a threat. But, unless that is the case, we shouldn't be wasting money putting kids in cages.
To ask that migrants be treated humanely is to claim some very basic forms of equal treatment – access to toothpaste, diapers and medical care, for example.
It is better to treat migrants as a factor of production. It is pointless to treat them as having rights for which there exists no incentive compatible remedy, under a bond of law, customary or otherwise. There is asymmetry of information between poor migrants and the Governments of target countries. The latter should use appropriate signalling and screening mechanisms to ensure that no 'tragedy of the commons' type situation arises. Hypocrisy is positively mischievous in this regard. Merkel played the saint, saying 'come one come all', but promptly closed the borders causing much more, not less, misery to desperate people. They learnt their lesson. Last month, when Erdogan- as a negotiating tactic- swore to let refugees swarm into Europe, his goons had to force refugees onto buses to take them to the Greek border.

The problem with virtue signalling by academics and clerics and so forth is that politicians feel obliged to jump on the bandwagon. Thus people get fooled that a genuine entitlement exists which will be honoured come rain or shine. When Bernie Madoff does this and those who trust him +end up ruined, we say the guy was a crook running a Ponzi scheme. Madoff goes to jail. But when politicians do the same thing and the State reneges on the commitments they had so airily made, nobody goes to jail. The State has sovereign immunity. Savers & Pensioners may end up taking a haircut, kids may end up in rundown schools, Government Hospitals may turn to shit, unwinnable wars may break out- life for almost everybody can turn to shit just because a bunch of wankers wanted to shit higher than their arseholes and talk earnestly of universal Human Rights and Social Justice and the fight against Fascism.

It is silly to pretend that there will be 'equal treatment' for people who haven't paid into a social insurance scheme and those who haven't. The thing isn't incentive compatible. In the short run, the pretence can be maintained. Middle to long term, its biggest victims are those most vulnerable.
While necessary, these are hardly sufficient to achieve the good – namely, the kinds of justice due after years of imperial, racist, capitalist exploitation that created the violent conditions under which they became migrants.
I suppose there are campuses where 'social justice'- i.e. worthless degrees in worthless Subjects for those with historical grievances, bogus or otherwise- can find a 'safe space'. But taking, or even giving, such courses leads to lower life time earnings. At the margin, it makes you unemployable and stupider than you were born to be.
At the same time, we should be wary of using humanity to positively equate or compare Latinx kids in cages with their white, middle-class American age-equivalents. These caged kids are not also human; they are extraordinary beings, superhumans, having made incredible, dangerous journeys across lands to escape from the ugly margins of capitalism and empire that made them who they are (and killed many of their peers). Whatever commonalities might exist, unequal structural forces have shaped them into radically different and incommensurable forms of existence.
In which case, Americans shouldn't let these super-human kids in because they will eat the domestic variety's lunch.
They should be respected and recognised, rather than flattened by providing the deceptive material trappings of a basic humanity. Just as a bar of soap or a flu shot does not give them justice, neither does asserting their essential sameness to rich age-mates growing up in the heart of global empire.
We may respect and recognize man-eating piranha fish, but we don't want to introduce them into our baths.
Humanity’s abstract universality aims to help us connect to people in very different circumstances, but at the expense of encouraging us to wrongly think of ourselves as like them.
The 'abstract universality' of anything at all may aim at whatever it likes. But, it accomplishes nothing. Similarly, the 'concrete particularism' of some shite or the other is equally useless. On the other hand the socioproctological ditopology of the Nicaraguan horcrux of my neighbor's cat with respect to Humanity's Abstract Universalism under the rubric of a critical ontology of the concreteness of the particular aims at making myself a nice cuppa tea and maybe raiding the cupboard for a couple of chocolate biscuits. 
At the same time, humanity claims to reach for the good of universal justice, when in reality its claims are shaped by particular Western ideas about justice that have historically oppressed rather than emancipated non-Western others.
Eurocentric much? Humanity does not have any claims shaped by Western ideas about Justice coz, like Eastern ideas about Justice, they are completely shit.
It might be time to give up on humanity as a byword for emancipation or liberation, and instead call more precisely on what we often ask for in the name of humanity: justice and recognition for those constructed in and deeply marginalised by past and present structures of imperialism, racism, colonialism and capitalism.
But nothing and no one has ever been constructed by some verbose shite. This stupid fucker thinks Imperialism is still around. He thinks some countries are colonizing others. Fuck is wrong with him? How stupid and ignorant do you have to be to get a Doctorate in Anthropology? 

Friday, 20 March 2020

Thy negiah shomer

            
That Bloody Revolution leave thy Zion in niddah
Now it seems no Arab Spring but is bid'ah 
Lest Love & Loneliness lack chaperone
Thy negiah shomer, I'm never alone.

Envoi
Twixt Tetragrammaton & Shekhinah, e'er must Talmud
Be the Tertius Gaudens preventing Yichud

Kaushik Basu's divisive imbecility

It is a fact that the Indian Economy is slowing down. It is also a fact that Kaushik Basu is a partisan of the previous administration which employed him for cosmetic purposes. A third fact is that Basu and his ilk are against Modi whom they accuse of being 'divisive'.

Taken together, these three facts are bound to cause someone like Basu to blame India's slowdown on not just Modi- which would be a reasonable view- but on 'divisiveness', as if the reason for Ind's economic ills is a lack of trust between agents.

Suppose Basu were correct. In that case, the minority, not the majority, should do all it can to 'toe the line' and refrain from 'making waves' because 'Divisiveness' is the common enemy and, obviously, the cost of conformity by a minority is less than the cost of the majority changing their behaviour. In other words, Basu- with typical maladroitness- impugns what he and his ilk are themselves doing, while giving Modi a clean chit.

Kaushik Basu writes in Foreign Policy Magazine-
India presents a striking example of the limitations of pure economics. From 2003 to 2011, the world’s largest democracy was growing at a phenomenal rate, exceeding 9 percent each year between 2005 and 2008.
So what? China was doing even better. This was 'catch up growth' featuring 'low hanging fruit'. However, since India failed to fix problems related to
1) Infrastructure
2) Education and Training
3) Paternalistic Labor laws
4) Judicial delay and capriciousness
5) 'Inspectorate' Raj
6) Corrupt, incompetent, crony capitalists and a Banking sector riddled with bad loans
7) Rahul being a dunce and the Left tilting at the windmill of 'Fascism'

it was obvious that sooner or later there would be a shakeout and a slow down.
Even after 2011, it kept up a reasonable rate of growth. However, since 2018, the economy seems to be spinning into a crisis, with growth declining to 4.5 percent, consumption in India’s vast rural sector declining at rates not seen since the late 1960s, and the overall unemployment rate at a 45-year high. The 2018 Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India Report, recently released by the National Crime Records Bureau, highlights a stark mood of despair: Since 2017, there has been a noticeable rise in the relative share of suicides by daily wage earners. They are among the poorest people in the economic ladder, thereby suggesting a rise in poverty.
What is causing this economic turnaround in a country that until a few years ago was perceived as exemplary? Mistakes in fiscal and monetary policies have played a role, of course. But the sharpness of the decline suggests that something more is going on, and part of the cause lies in ruptures in the normative and institutional foundations of the nation caused by divisive politics.The rise in divisive politics, whipping up of religious tensions, and marginalization of minorities … are undoubtedly taking a toll on people’s sense of belonging and trust in the nation.
But Basu's ilk started this divisive politics based on whipping up religious tensions. They painted the Hindus as diabolical. They considered the BJP to be a Fascist party representing those diabolical Hindus. They didn't care that one branch of the dynasty was with the BJP or that Sonia gladly accepted ex BJP politicians like Shankarsinh Vagela and made them CM candidates despite their roots in the RSS. Currently Congress is tied up with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. In other words, Congress was just like the BJP. However, because Rahul did not come out of the closet as a sacred thread wearing Brahman till too late, Basu and Co. spent their time vilifying Hindus. This was silly, because Hindus are a majority in India. Moreover Baus and his ilk were themselves Hindus. Thus they came across as stupid, ignorant and useless.
Trust and a sense of belonging are not economic variables, but they form an important part of the underlying normative foundation of an economy. These values are eroding in India.
Trust and a sense of belonging are economic variables. People exit milieus where trust or a sense of belonging are lacking. Basu should know. He left India a long time ago and only came back to burnish his C.V by holding some high sounding post in the Administration. That done, he returned to a place he trusted and where he felt he belonged.

Currently, people like Basu are trying to get Indian Muslims to lose trust in India's Citizenship and other laws. It is trying to scare them into believing they are at risk of deportation or incarceration. Some Muslims, reacting to this fake news have acted in a manner such that people feel they don't belong to the neighborhood because they kill non-Muslims and set their houses on fire. Congress and the Left Liberals have created this situation. But, because they live abroad or in posh neighborhoods, they don't have to pay the price for their divisive politics based on hatred and repeating stupid lies.

An important hint of this comes from the decline in India’s investment rate—investment being dependent on trust and confidence—from nearly 39 percent of national income seven or eight years ago to 30 percent today.
Modi inherited this situation. People hoped he'd make land acquisition easier and carry out labour market reforms. But that hot potato keeps getting hotter. Indeed, all the problems which had previously accumulated continue to have salience. All we can say of Modi is that he is the person most trusted to unwind the mistakes of the past.

Still, continual carping by Basu & Co may- as he says- be damaging investor confidence in India just as it may be stoking paranoia amongst India's muslims.

This may well be contributing to the slowdown. Market economies rely on trust in several ways. For most transactions, there is a gap between service and payment. The auto shop repairs your car today, and you pay tomorrow. You pay the painter today, and she paints your home over the following week. Without trust, all these transactions would slow down and malfunction.
But all these transactions would slow down and malfunction if there was an abundance of trust which was misplaced. I offer you a magical spell to make Beyonce fall in love with you. You trust me, so you pay me for it. But the magic spell doesn't work. So your trust disappears.
                                                               
Francis Fukuyama noted the correlation between a society’s level of trust and economic prosperity, and, in a 2013 paper, Yann Algan and Pierre Cahuc use statistical analysis to show that trust can be critical for economic growth. By their calculation, an Africa with Sweden’s trust levels would achieve six times the per capita income it currently has.
This is sheer stupidity. Africans may have much more trust than Swedes but, for reasons of economic geography, more often than not, it is misplaced.
A recent Harvard Business Review paper shows that if a company’s workers have a sense of belonging, they improve their job performance by 56 percent, with a 50 percent drop in churn and a 75 percent reduction in sick days.
But what about all those other firms where employees had a tremendous sense of belonging but which went bust because their business model was shite? Those don't get measured because they are defunct. This is Junk Social Science because 'sense of belonging' in failing or 'shadow' enterprises (i.e. entities which would turn into firms if only their business model weren't shite)  aren't being taken into account. In any case, if you can see your productivity is going up, you would expect to be retained and get rewarded for loyalty down the line. In other words, what is driving this result is the feeling that the company has a good business model. It is worth one's while to feel a sense of belonging rather than a sense that you should be circulating your resume to rival firms so as to be able to jump ship before it sinks.
For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52 million. Extrapolate this to a nation, and you get a sense of why nations where large segments feel excluded do poorly.
This is utter nonsense. A country with a great sense of belonging but which is doing stupid shit will still come a cropper.
The rise in divisive politics, whipping up of religious tensions, and marginalization of minorities that we have seen over the last four or five years in India are undoubtedly taking a toll on people’s sense of belonging and trust in the nation.
But it is the minority in Parliament and politics generally which is whipping up these tensions. If they stop doing so and tell the truth then divisiveness would disappear. But the economy still would not improve.
The role of trust and sense of ownership get endorsement from a very unusual source: The British music conductor Charles Hazlewood noted in an interview that while discipline and obedience play an important role in a successful performance, the critical element between the conductor and individual musicians is trust. Giving them space to use their own judgment and creativity is what leads to truly great music.
Why does Basu not trust the present administration? Does he not understand that, as some British music or bus conductor said, doing something rather than some other thing is the dog's bollocks, Guv?
Something similar is likely true for the economy. With globalization and dramatic changes in technology, our world is transforming beyond recognition. It is not enough to simply collect data and examine the axioms of economics. Instead, economists must unearth some of the hidden assumptions of our discipline—the norms that we, knowingly or unwittingly, assume to be there, which may not be there or may have shifted. It is time to bring anthropology into economics and to rewrite our models. In short, this may well be economics’ Euclidean moment.
In other words, since economists have failed as economists because they are as stupid as shit, they must now start bringing anthropology and astrology and any other shite into economics so as to plumb new depths of stupidity.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Aut super gentem huiuscemodi non ulciscetur anima mea?

Lonelier, how?, than the soul of God
An Envoy, now, there's no abroad
Nor Diaspora's Haskalah
Must Revenge be its own Reward?







Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Satyanarayana Hedge on Ghalib 39.1


Veritas est Adaequatio intellectus et rei, is a grievous but gravid truth- it imposes a heavy labor but it may gestate something novel and uniquely invaluable- at least when it comes to hermeneutics. The intellect of the knower must be adequate to the thing known. But how are things known? One answer is that they are known through sense perception which directly establishes truth or falsity. What of things which are knowable but which are, as Aquinas puts it, 'deficient in truth' (propter defectum veritatis)?  Perhaps, this is a poetic type of knowledge, too connotatively concrete to be captured by a manifold of intuition. Alternatively, it may be that, as Shelley said, 'Poetry subdues under its light yoke all irreconcilable things.' In other words, Poetry is deficient of either denotative or analytical truth. Why then should we bother with it? C.S Pierce coined two terms- Tychism (the notion that Chance rules everything) and Synechism (the illusion of continuity and mirage of analytical truths in a discrete, quantized, world governed by Chance)- which explain why, for Pragmatics, the aleatory magic of metre and rhyme assume a mantic aspect. Yet, learned, lucubrated, 'ritigranth' poetry- baroque variations on classical themes- though far from mantic, nevertheless possess a romantic appeal. Why is this? For my generation, Umberto Eco's 'Name of the Rose', wonderfully translated by William Weaver and paperbacked in 1984- when I was 21 and honeymooning in Piedmont- answered the question canonically. Love is Tyche as Syneche in a manner which beggars all adolescent silliness and semiotics and sehnsucht for a sexless Eden. True, I resented my wife's ostentatious slimness and athletic prowess. But, soon enough, her belly swelled to my own TamBrahminical proportions and she suddenly turned into a good cook and splendid stretcher of my exiguous pay-packet such that I'd never been better off. Then, for some reason, the good lady returned from a visit to the hospital with a little fellow who- truth be told- took some quite scandalous liberties with her person. Still, I tolerated the intruder- he was born within earshot of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow, and thus was the sort of Cockney destined to be a Chimney Sweep or something utile of that sort. It does no good for a Westernized Oriental Gentleman, or WOG for short, to get into a slanging match with a sooty faced prole- and, anyway, I'm sure we could have peacefully co-existed till the fellow was big enough to crawl up chimneys, or trawl the shores of the Thames as a 'mudlark', or attend Westminster & turn into some sort of shill for a crooked Hedge Fund; what I mean is, I bore the little fellow no real ill will.
Then his Mother left me alone with him so she could 'pop down to the shops' and that miscreant, pretending to sleep peacefully in his crib, suddenly leapt upon me and tried to bite off my nose! I used ancient Kung Fu techniques to protect myself. Bastard! He responded with sneaky Ninja maneuvers which everybody knows can lay even Shao Lin Masters like myself low. What was I to do? Obviously, I had to use Mr. Spock's 'Vulcan neck pinch' to incapacitate my assailant. Sadly, he used it too. That is why when his Mum came back she cooed 'Daddy sleeping the Baby! How cute!' I tried to explain to her that there had been an epic Martial Arts battle in the course of which I could have been very badly injured. It was highly irresponsible of her to leave me alone with such a savage creature! Since all noises made by the Baby Daddy are pleas for food, she swiftly fed both her Men without any further Semiotic investigation. This was because, at the time, the lady was innocent of Eco's Semiotics, Barthes's idiotics, Kristeva's Chora etc. Indeed, given that every new wife/mother immediately learns, Baby and Daddy mirror each other long before Lacan's plagiarized 'mirror stage'.

C.S Pierce, sadly, had no baby to instruct him. Eco- a brawny, brainy, philoprogenitive, Piedmontese- could move from the sad stupidity of his primer on Semiotics to penning the most perfect novel Borges couldn't- well summarizes the sterility that, around the same time Lyotard (this is French for Jane Fonda's leotard after it got real stinky from all that aerobics Barberella had to do on Planet Reagan) spoke of a deeply anachronistic 'Post Modernism'.

What drove Eco to write a good novel? It was the abysmal stupidity of his own textbook. Himself his own Cavour, he'd lose the plot of Romance's Risorgimento to some formless Trasformismo that could be anything at all, save, in flashes, Piedmontese.

In his 'Theory of Semiotics' (1974) Eco takes the example of a cave man picking up a stone and using it for some purpose. He says, a single use of that stone is not culture. Culture begins when information regarding the function performed by the stone, and which could also be performed by a similar stone, is passed on- if only by Robinson Crusoe to his future self. Eco quote Pierce 'even ideas are signs' but forgets that signs don't matter. Ideas are dime a dozen. Only successful, of otherwise reinforced, Mimetics matters even if the Mimetic target is occluded or fictional. Evolution is essentially a process by which mimetic effects get 'canalized' without any signs or consciousnesses to interpret those signs. C.S Pierce's 'Boscovichian' atoms, yet constitute a 'Field Theory' like that of the Vimalakriti- and whether one calls it 'Magnetism' or 'Mimetics' matters not a jot.

Consider the manner in which aposematic traits are subject to Mullerian Mimicry. C.S Pierce may be forgiven for not knowing Muller's work- one of the earliest instances of the application of mathematics to biology- and it is tempting to speculate on what Tardean twist it might have given to Pierce's 'Tychism' (viz. the notion that natural laws evolve out of mere chance). The problem here is that the fitness landscape for our species- which is a mere speck in our galaxy, which is itself but a speck in the knowable Universe- imposes itself upon us as grim necessity and such fractal scarcity as forces our signals, if not our signs, to 'pay for themselves', or else cancel each other out as noise. Thus 'pragmatics' must be parsimonious, multiply realizable (i.e. 'robust'), and feature evolutionary capacitance. Creodes- developmental pathways- exist. This may create the illusion of 'Synechism'- i.e. analytical continuity though all that exists is discrete and quantized- but that illusion can't really pay for itself. It is merely noise, not signal. Names may denote a function- Eco's stone may be named 'head-breaker' to instruct some other as to how it can be used-  but only if there is already a 'culture' of pedagogy. Otherwise, mimetics suffices. It is only if we don't want the function to be performed that we deign to name it.

Obviously, this is the solution to that most Catholic paradox, and hence beyond Chesterton's facile paranoia's pen, which we name for Bertrand Russell, who won a Nobel Prize for Literature, and was, perhaps, the first of the genus naturaliter irritabile to see why the 'axiom of abstraction' (or 'unrestricted comprehension) could not always 'lay hold of' a class- i.e. there must be some 'extension' which escapes intensional denotation.

At a later point, with the work of Godel, Tarski & Turing, it became clear that the language of Reason itself would always be deficient of truth in that its 'adequate definition' would be relegated to its meta-language. However, Type structure can be seen as a 'syntactical discipline for enforcing levels of abstraction'. This reconciles Truth's lemma of extensionality with Reason's dilemma regarding its own impredicative intensionality. Alternatively, we could say, with Grothendieck, that a 'Yoga' exists such that seeming 'irreconcilables' are united at a higher level of generality. That which is heteroclite and purely extensional may, submit to a 'light yoke' that is essentially poetic precisely because Mathematics is not akrebia, it is an economia- and several may coexist.

I may mention that Ghalib- whose nom de plume, and passion for gambling suggests the search for the Victor of its own necessary Randomness- Ibn Arabi's Brownian motion as the Alhambra's motto- wa la ghalib illa Allah-  is, so to speak, on one side of the isthmus between the sweet waters of Martin Lof's test for that quality and the bitter brine of what is but unknowably pseudo-random. I shall return to this theme, with rebarbative unctuousness, towards the end of this post.

My own, ignorant, impression is that it currently seems that though the 'univalent foundations' project is feasible and highly utile, it will remain the case that there will be different mathematics, as there are different poetics, and though inter-translatability will be maintained, truth will always be deficient not because the intellect is inadequate but because the spirit seeks surfeit by but a method of forfeit. Thus, contra Russell, Logic is merely the long shadow of Mathematics mounting to the sunlit Parnassus of the Poets, but doing so in second childhood.

In Islam, the Akbhari notion of 'barzakh' as a limit which unites rather than divides, has not, to my knowledge, found a logical or mathematical expression. Yet, though deficient in truth, it is certainly 'poetic' to read a ghazal as if this were actually the case.

Of course, instead of maths one could substitute any other protocol bound ratiocinative system- for example that of the Law- in order to glean 'apoorvata', novelty, or 'taza gui'- freshness of speech- and thus arrive at a new hermeneutic merging of horizons.

Is this what Satyanarayana Hegde- a professional lawyer, but passionate amateur philologist- does in his paper titled The Semiotics of nāyikābheda in Ghālib Urdu dīwān 39.1?

The couplet in question is
shab kih vuh majlis-furoz-e ḳhalvat-e nāmūs thā
rishtah-e har shamʿa ḳhār-e kisvat-e fānūs thā
I read in Rajeev Kinra's 'Writing Self, Writing Empire', the following couplet of Abu Talib, who flourished in the Seventeenth Century- majlis-furoz-i gabr-o-musalmān yak ātish ast / dar sang-i dair-o-ka‘ba ba-juz yak sharār nīst  which equates the 'radiant one' of the congregation as univocal despite difference in creed. The same spark is in the Ka'ba as in the idol of stone. It is easy to extend this to a profane context of 'mimetic desire'. The lover is the 'korban' or 'pharmakos' such that Helen's face launches no ships, bequeathing but texts for scholarship.

Like Abu Talib, Ghalib was writing in a courtly tradition with Sufi overtones. A Semiotic analysis of this ghazal is either another ghazal or it is an exercise in hermeneutics of some more or less theological or historicist type. The first step in making such an analysis is to identify the 'sign system' which contains this ghazal. This is not something internal to the ghazal or deducible from what we know of the author or his geographical location. Why? An Urdu ghazal is itself a sign that something lyrically Persian is being foreshadowed, just as a Persian ghazal is a sign that something lyrical in Arabic is being foreshadowed, while a Ghazal in the Arabic may or may not be a foreshadowing of something in the Holy Quran, though God alone knows best. Sadly, this means the secular project of assimilating Ghalib to a 'Hindu' context has limited scope.

Taking the first line, what, if not 'majlis-furoz'  is the Arabic 'mot theme'? The answer is 'khalwa'- which denotes either the 40 day Sufi spiritual retreat, or else, by metonymy, for jurisprudence, an illicit tryst or even an accidental 'close proximity' without benefit of chaperone, which violates Islamic rules re. modesty.

One may also mention the correspondence between 'khalwa'- where a Sufi Master is still consulted- and ''uzla' (like that of Ghazzali Snr) which more sharply contrasts with majlis (assembly). 

Semiotic analysis, unlike pure hermeneutics, must concern itself with subsequent couplets. The next of which is

mashhad-e ʿāshiq se kosoñ tak jo ugtī hai ḥinā
                                             kis qadar yā rab halāk-e ḥasrat-e pā-būs thā
Here we have mention of Love's, 'Udhri',  'martyr' or 'shaheed'- both terms mean 'witness'. The tomb of the doomed lover- or Monist Pir- is itself a field of battle for Girardian mimetic desire which itself requires its 'korban' sacrifice. This is martyrdom piling up upon martyrdom like Ossa upon Pelion till Olympian re-ligio is overtopped and cast into shade. 

I've translated this couplet as 
'Whom has not, Lord, the longing to kiss bridal feet, with a martyr’s zeal fired?
'For miles, the Lover’s tomb, by not rolling wheat but green henna is gyred
Since nobody but a fetishist wants to kiss any type of feet, the meaning is- which piece of ground is hostile to hosting the tomb of a Pir, or Martyr in Love? I provide the image of devotees doing 'tawaf' circumambulation around the Lover's tomb and that their own soles become marked by henna.

Apart from the sign system of 'Udhri' Monistic Sufism, Ghalib's abstraction has a philosophical valency which has a universal expression. This militates for increased degrees of freedom in ascribing a sign system to it. My translation of the ghazal, made some ten years ago, is as follows-

Last night, when the radiance of our assembly to her abashed chamber retired
Each candle wick, became a thorny prick at its shade from the desired

Whom has not, Lord, the longing to kiss bridal feet, with a martyr’s zeal fired?
For miles, the Lover’s tomb, by not rolling wheat but green henna is gyred

Against Sorrow's sorites, the Brain, this Stoic armor, in vain, thus acquired
Trysts, hearts crush hearts to gain, are the thin lips of pain- it required.

Knew I respite from this wretchedness- I'd recite much to be admired
But, Oh!- eating my own heart out- my very bile has grown tired!

My version of the first couplet is a bit naughty. But then, Ghalib was 19 when he wrote it.  However, there is a possible Islamic meaning of a pious kind. The Prophet Muhammad's body shone by its own light. The simple and innocent people of Medina would wish to follow him even into his own chamber where his modest and virtuous spouses slept. We can imagine them waiting anxiously, burning the candle through the mid-night hours, yearning to be reunited with their Prophet at the, pre-dawn, Fajr prayer. In this reading, Eros has been completely sublimated. 

By contrast, Prof Pritchett, following S.R Faruqi considers this line to mean- last night {when / since / while} she was a gathering-illuminator of the seclusion of honor/dignity / the wick of every candle was a thorn in the clothing of the glass-shade

This makes no sense. Either there is a gathering or there isn't. Seclusion may be attended by honor. Dignity too may turn up. But that still is not a 'majlis'- a gathering. If this person has never been seen, why would every candle 'have a thorn in its clothing'? Who would know of her? Why work yourself up over some unknown person getting cozy with seclusion while Honor and Dignity stand around uselessly?

'Majlis', at that time, meant male assembly- it related to the 'biruni' not the 'andaroon'- i.e. the male part of the house, as distinct from the gynaeceum. The Sufi Pir- or the Prophet Himself (s.a.w)- must seclude himself just as women are secluded. This enables a reversal of gender roles whereby the devotee from being the female 'Viyogini' or simply a deflowered and abandoned lass, takes the male- but merely adolescent, or impotent- part. The essentially romantic and optimistic aspect of this arises out of the Sufi practice of 'rabita'- a 'heart connection' to the preceptor- whose 'talqin' inculcation can continue to occur from behind the veil of occultation or, vulgarly, beyond the grave in the limbo of 'barzakh'. The note of unbearable Grief, in this context, is struck by reason of the nature of Monism which bereaves Love of its idol so what is perishable hold no place in it.

Professor Pritchett, Post Master General Faruqi & this Hon'ble Hegde- exalted savants all- choosing to remain ignorant of the Theistic, Indic, context, have written nonsense. They are 'sexing up' their dossier. Why? What is wrong with them? The answer is they won't admit that Ghalib was Muslim. The Ghazal derives it grace from that much greater Grace promised by that Prophet whose hadith are as a river in Paradise which yet can spring from the lips of one's darban or khidmatgar, thus opening a door, kindling a thirst, for what is unseen, yet certain Good.

By contrast, for even the wretchedest poetaster, grasping the truth of Ghalib's couplet presents no difficulty at all. The light of the assembly has the virtue of modesty which enhances her beauty but also sequesters it in purity. The sentiment is familiar to, not just the Faith community, but those whose values arise out of Families, and if its expression varies it is only because such variance is the soul of Art. 


Let us now see what Hegde makes of 39.1. Before doing so, I should explain that Nayikabheda, which taxonomizes women in their abjectness as predestined sex objects, is a development of an erotic genre in Indic poetry in which the charms of different types of samanya, common hussies, are dwelt upon. I don't know what this has to do with Ghalib- who did once run a gambling den but wasn't a pimp- or how 'Semiotics' might figure,  but perhaps things will become clearer by and by. 

Hegde's  translation is-
 At night when the beloved
 was resplendent
in privacy’s seclusion
 Every candle’s wick 
 was a thorn in
the lantern's robe. 
Hegde omits mention of the fact that the fair one in question was 'majlis-furoz'- i.e. one who illuminates an assembly. That is why every candle's wick was horny. Otherwise only the lover would have this problem with his lantern. 

Hegde immediately quotes S.R Faruqi, and thus must be aware of his own error- 
'The real reason of the candle's agitation is hidden in the second distich's phrase 'assembly-illuminer...which is also the candle's function.  The candle, seeing its brightness and sparkle dimmed and its power of illumining the assembly reduced, was burning in envy and was therefore agitated... The candle wanted to throw off its dress which was pricking its body like a thorn, so as to divest itself of its dress and be nude in front of the beloved, so that the beauty of the unveiled beloved and the lantern-less candle could confront each other... the candle detested this obstruction, and was eager to throw off the lantern so as to be able to freely visit the radiant beloved.'
All this is quite mad. The Assembly has dispersed and everybody has returned to their own bedchamber. Those who can't sleep- being troubled by the thoughts of her (actually his- because the beloved is conventionally male in this sort of poetry) beauty- have lit a candle which leaps up restlessly. But this candle was not present at the Assembly. It couldn't have got naked and challenged the beloved to a dance off or mud wrestling or a twerking competition. Also the notion of fire wanting to visit the fair one and get it on with her is not poetic. It is the fantasy of pyromaniac.

Hegde, by profession a lawyer', finds great profundity in the following-
The arguments as to why the candle’s wick pricks the lantern’s robe like a thorn are as follows: the candle’s flame spills out of the lantern and reddens it. The lantern becomes hot and dry due to the candle’s heat. Redness, heat and dryness are symbols of agitation. The lantern in which redness and acrimony are radiating is in this state due to the candle’s wick and hence, it’s proved that the candle’s wick is pricking like a thorn in the lantern’s robe and because the lantern is the candle’s robe, the candle has “a thorn in its robe” (that is, it’s agitated)
This is sheer nonsense. It is the opposite of 'husn-e-talil'- beauty in poetic aetiology. This is a case of straightforward 'transference'- the distrait lover imagines an inanimate object as being in the same plight as himself. This 'pathetic fallacy' is poetic because there is pathos in the poet's plight. Verbose lawyerese like the above is utterly Philistine. It is to take a spade to a souffle.

Hegde next shows why he earns big bucks as a lawyer. He has uncovered new evidence-

The second hemistich was originally sham‘a sey yak khār dar pairāhan-e fānūs thā. 7 The Persian hypotext8 for 39.1 (not noted by any commentator) is Mūṣawī Khān “Fit̤rat’s” 9 distich: The candle-wick’s a thorn in the lantern’s robe in every assembly illumined by his fiery radiance.
Hegde then employs his extraordinary erudition to prove that the ugliest possible interpretation of the image of a lantern with a thorn in its robe- viz. that women should be secluded not just from the Sun's virile gaze but also denied even a teeny tiny night light- is what is canonical for Urdu. This fits well with the notion that a Muslim man's idea of showing his gal a good time is to lock her up in some dark shed where not even a lantern can gaze at her.

But Urdu isn't English, thank Goodness, where candles have a quite different size and shape- so much so that by the Seventeenth Century, everyone knew the story of the 'Apothecary's wife, who never loved her husband all of her life, and being averse to his handle, availed herself of a candle.'

The word 'fanus'- lantern- could also mean 'tattle-tale' and Hegde latches on to it. The problem is that we understand why a man may want to put out the lantern so as to be in the dark with a woman. We also understand why he may claim that it is only to protect her reputation that he does this. Someone seeing them together by its light might suspect they weren't actually stock-taking or filling out tax returns or completing whatever task it is the lecher required her to stay behind after work for. Thus the safer thing would be to proceed with these needful chores entirely in the dark. Who knows? Perhaps some fair one has been taken in by such claims. In my case, all I've received is a swift knee to the groin.

My point is that Semiotics, unlike Philology, is context bound. Signs arising in  one situation- lots of people (at least in the imagination of the lover) feeling horny for one particular person who is secluded and beyond reach- have no connection at all with the same signs arising in another situation- viz. a guy who wants to turn the lights off so as to get jiggy with a lady. For Philology, however, the fact that the same signs may be used in both situations is a matter of great interest. The Philologist will want to know about how semantics and pragmatics and syntax change when the situation changes. This may make a great deal of difference to hermeneutic reception of fragmentary texts from cultures remote in time or manners from our own.

Suppose a blushing virgin like myself is invited to dinner by Beyonce. She dims the lights while snuggling up to me on the sofa. This is a sign that she wants to deflower me. On the other hand, when Mum- annoyed by my tapping away at the keyboard- barges into my room and turns off the lights, the meaning is quite different. She wants me to go to sleep coz tomorrow's a School Day.

Semiotics is about stuff like dimming or turning off the lights. It has a logic. But that logic is context bound. Thus what Hegde is doing is not Semiotic analysis. He is not looking at the context of Ghalib's couplet. He is relying on some nonsense which he terms 'Semiotics' to turn what Ghalib said into something Ghalib didn't say, would never say, because it is stupid, ugly and false.

Thus he writes- ' The candle-wicks are a thorn in the fānūs’ robes;
But fānūs is tattler
Therefore, the candle-wicks are a thorn in the tattler’s robes;
 But tattler semiotically signifies candle
Therefore, the candle-wicks are a thorn in the candle’s robes;
But the candle’s robe semiotically signifies its own wax body
Therefore, the candle-wicks are a thorn in the candle
 After resignifying 39.1’s key lexemes, I’ll translate it anew:

At night when the beloved made love bashfully
Every candle’s wick pricked the candle like a thorn

Using Hegde's own method, let us see what we can come up with-

Tattler, semoticially, signifies someone who communicates things which perhaps ought not to be communicated.
Hegde is a tattler.
Therefore candle-wicks are a thorn in Hedge's robes
But candle-wicks are crowned by flame
Therefore Hegde's robes are getting burned
But, semiotically, robes could mean pants
Thus Hegde's pants are on fire.


After resignifying 39.1's key lexemes, let us translate it anew
At night when the beloved made love bashfully
Every Hegde's pants were on fire causing his prick to shrivel up like a thorn

Hegde draws on Faruqi. Is Faruqi an imbecile? Does he not get that context is everything?

No. Hegde quotes Faruqi as saying-
'We know that meaning’s impossible without context. The context of any text’s the genre that it’s a part of (for example, lyric, encomium, story, novel etc.), and then the rules and regulations (conventions and poetics) that determine the genre-identity that we placed it in.
True enough. Ghalib was writing in the Hubb al Udhri tradition where love is not consummated. The beloved may be the Sufi Pir. Not just Eros, Thanatos itself, is sublimated though Monism seems a doomed project save for Madness.
Finally, a text’s context is other similar texts…the best commentary on any poetic text is another poetic text, i.e., the meaning and valuation of a particular text is determined in comparison with another text. As far as the lyric’s concerned, this principle is: How has the topos of the particular distich under consideration been used in some other distich? For example, the discussion on Ghalib’s distich under consideration becomes deeper and sharper when we’re aware of the poetry of his precursors, contemporaries and successors, and when we can look for this topos in other poets as well. 
This is perfectly reasonable. Poems relate to poems and only a poem can translate a poem. But this does not mean you can throw away whatever the poem itself says. After all, that is what determines its context. If a collocation used in one context is also used in another, this does not mean the context is the same.

Hegde writes- ' I’ll read codes in the sense of the Barthesian semic and cultural codes. 
Sadly, Barthes was a nitwit. He misread Sarassine as I have shown. To deploy a 'semic code' you actually have to know how connotation works in the discipline you are appealing to. Barthes didn't know Econ. I do. So I am able to understand why he wrote utter bollocks.

 These codes are the context that translate texts and render them meaningful. 
Nonsense! Meaning is 'artha'- use value- nothing more. Codes don't matter unless you are a lawyer paid to pretend otherwise. But sensible people jurisdiction shop so at the margin, legal codes are economic.
Though texts are linked to definite contexts, context’s indefinite, and “we do not have an agreed normative principle for deciding what a context is.” 
Rubbish! If the thing matters, then there is a Schelling focal solution to the underlying coordination or discoordination game.
 I’ll posit context as polysemic, heterogenous, and fluid. 
In which case your pants are on fire. Fuck are you positing shite for? Your dick is literally being roasted right at this moment! Pour a lota of water on your undercarriage my dear Hegde!
 Inferring which literary-socio-cultural context to blow up/narcotize for a given text is a paradigmatic macro-abduction, 
What does that mean? The answer is that the cognitively simplest theory is Schelling focal provided the cost of getting things wrong aint too high. It's the reason we still have Arrow-Debreu securities though we know this means there's a bigger crash heading our way.

If I were teaching Ghalib to gormless meatheads for a pittance, sure, I'd just use Pritchett & Conway's drivel. But, to get something out of reading him for myself, I've got to mathematize him. Fuck! I sound like the idiot Badiou saying 'Mathematics is Ontology'! Still, for what it is worth, this couplet could be represented as a description of a 'strongly inaccessible cardinal number', whose existence is equivalent to being inside a Grothendieck Universe- i.e. a 'topos' where all Maths can be done. Obviously this has to do with the continuum hypothesis, which however we could 'bracket' as 'barzakh'. In other words, this couplet of Ghalib's is an epitome of Akhbari Islam. No doubt, a smart guy who knew from Math, or Islam for that matter, would consider me to be babbling nonsense. But if so, it is nonsense of this order-
 just like inferring which semantic property of a polysemic lexeme to blow up/narcotize is a syntagmatic micro-abduction. 
No it isn't- unless you are Alexa or the predictive software which helps you compose texts on your smartphone. Anyway, this isn't how you approach poetry. Why not use a sword to trim your nose-hair?
 Recoding a text is decoding it anew by recontextualizing it.
In other words, abandoning the text to talk about anything that takes your fancy.

For some reason, Hegde- whom I imagine to be an upright and decent man- has a liking for a particular genre of courtly poetry which, truth be told, better befits the pimp's profession- viz. tabulating the different types of sex object which human beings can be reduced to, by shitheads.

How does he manage to link that sort of dehumanizing shite to Ghalib?

He writes- I’ve seen as a Model Reader the semiotic strategy of 39.1, its mens operis by focussing “on the things themselves,” i.e., the lexemes khalwat (lovemaking),
But khalwat does not mean lovemaking. In this context, it refers to the Saint withdrawing into seclusion in a monastic cell or else a lady retiring to her chamber.
 embarrassment (nāmūs) 
Namus means honor and dignity. It does not mean embarrassment.
and candle (sham‘a). 
that is correct.

I’ve inferred by modus ponendo ponens a Law/Rule that can explain this text’s Result: If lovemaking, embarassment and a candle (oil-lamp) are present, 
But they aren't. Nobody is getting jiggy here.

the topos is the lajjāprāyarati mugdhā nāyikā (Rule/Major Premise); lovemaking, embarassment and a candle are present here (Minor Premise), hence, (Conclusion) the topos is the lajjāprāyarati mugdhā. 

Let us try this modus ponens stuff ourselves. If Hegde's pants are on fire then the topos is Sati Mahima. 

39.1’s recoded genre is thus nāyikābheda, its sub-genre poems about love-in-union (sambhoga śṛṅgāra) and its sub-sub genre the topos of the ingénue embarrassed about lovemaking (lajjāprāyarati mugdhā). 

We are now in a position to translate Ghalib's 39.1 into Indglish.

Last night only Hon'ble Hegde is retiring due to his farts are so firing
His lungi burning up! It is true, I'm telling you, not gupshup.

Hegde ends- after an astonishing display of erudition in a number of classical languages- by asking-
Haven’t I indulged in hermeneutic nihilism and violated the habitus and literary field of Ghalib studies by aberrantly decoding 39.1 in the context of nāyikābheda?
No. The erotic genre among courtier poets is a semiotic field because the context is the same- more especially where polygamy prevails, or slavery obtains, and primogeniture is not firmly established. Now, from the time of Amir Khusrau, the eroticization of the Pir/Avatar has had its subgenres. Ghalib's is in the Udhri/Viyogini tradition. I can think of one or two instances of apparently 'nayikabheda' verses which asymptotically approach that barzakh. It is certainly not impossible to populate it felicitously. But it is that quality this lucubration of Hegde's lacks. I believe it has been published in a book.

But of books and candles and 'nayikabheda', and amor adaequat intellectūs suī, early Seventeenth Century English had made an Orient discovery- viz.  a two leav'd book is best to handle;  all's as daylight there to who spare the candle. 



N.B- I feel I've been a trifle harsh on Hegde. Perhaps the reason his paper is so bad is because of the editorial intervention of 'Brill Publishers' based in Leiden who it may be, demand submissions to be written predominantly in double Dutch.

Hegde invokes Borges's Pierre Menard, whose signal virtue consisted of leaving texts alone, not subjecting them to supposedly 'Semiotic' vandalism. But, I feel, he is a good man and I want to look again at his patchwork of quotations which, sadly, he has failed to stitch together.