Thursday, 25 February 2021

Mithi Mukherjee's 'justice-as-equity'

Empires can be good things in that they reduce the per capita defense cost and provide cheap protection to minorities and to Capital. But Empires can break up very quickly and chaotically. The question is how do stable Nation States emerge out of that hot mess?

With hindsight, we can say
1) Nations should be unitary, like Israel, not 'consocational', like Lebanon. If that unity is based on Religion- as India's unity ultimately is- so much the better. There may be contested margins, but the core is stable.
2) Tolstoyan, or Quaker, or Gandhian, or Wilsonian, or Marxist, or Ordoliberal, 'Human Rights based; this or that', is worthless bullshit. Indeed, all 'discourse' is worthless. Life is economic- that is ergodic, not hysteresis ridden. Shadows have no life of their own. They disappear as communities turn back to the task of making choices under the noon-tide Sun of scarcity. 

Ashok Upadhyay has reviewed Mithi Mukherjee's 'India in the Shadows of Empire' in Beacon Magazine. Apparently, he finds some new relevance in that worthless tome because Modi is a Nazi- right?- and Nazism is so not cool.
Seventy years after Independence, discussions on the state of the nation, nationhood and the State itself have one underlying belief. It is taken for granted that the Indian State as it came into being in 1947 and especially after the Constitution gave it a foundational structure, represented the aspirational culmination of the freedom struggle; a Nation-State with a philosophical system embedded in the Constitution that mirrored, gave expression to, the dreams of a people just emancipated from colonial yoke.

This is nonsense. Lawyers know that large portions of the Indian Constitution are based on the 1935 Government of India Act. The other significant elements are to be found in the Nehru Report of 1928.

It is true that the 1935 Act was imposed because Indians could not agree on anything till the Muslims went their own way. Furthermore, initially, the deliberations of the Constitutional Assembly gave more weight to the arguments of the Princes and the minorities simply so as to allow Sardar Patel to consolidate the de facto power of the Indian Union. However, this was just eye-wash. What prevailed was the views of the Hindus who were busy taking over the offices previously occupied by not just White people but also Muslims under the previous system of reserved seats. 

Exactly the same thing was happening in other ex-colonies. Constitutions didn't matter at all. They could be disregarded or amended and then disregarded. No 'philosophical system' was embedded in any Constitution promulgated around that time- though Burma's Constitution was more Lefty because fewer people worked on it- because Constitutions are essentially Juristic and pertain to boring administrative details- e.g. salaries and pensions and terms of service for Civil Servants.  

Freedom was our birthright, the Preamble and the Directive Principles guideposts to a future Indians had only dreamt of.

Fuck off! Ambedkar described his contribution to the Constitution as 'hack work'. Since Indian lawyers are boring and loquacious, the Indian constitution was very very long and very very boring. It had nothing to do with 'dreams', though it could send you off to sleep quickly enough. 

Why, even the icons of the nation-sate–the flag, the Asoka pillar, the chakra were iconic signifiers of the emancipatory process.

No they weren't. They were boring and looked like shit. Ashoka died more than 2000 years ago. He didn't emancipate anything. He was an Emperor.  

It did not seem strange then, or even later, that the freedom struggle, so momentous and historical in its grounding in non-violence and mass mobilization,

that it failed completely 

should have resulted in such a bathetic outcome of a Transfer of Power?!

The Gandhian freedom struggle failed. There was a risk that parts of the country which had become ungovernable during the War would become so again. But people like Vallabhai Patel were as energetic and as good at wielding the big stick as any Viceroy. Indeed, they were rather more effective. Muslim and Communist militants were beaten, killed or locked up. They dared not wag their tail. Meanwhile, Hindi- not Hindustani- was pushed through as the official language of the Union (Gandhi's opposition to this was one reason Godse said he had to kill him)- reserved seats for Muslims were abolished and a Directive Principle re. cow protection was introduced. The Hindus had won and they wanted everybody to know this.

True, at the time, Communism seemed a magical way to achieve very rapid economic growth and military power. Also, Hindus wanted to get rid of stupid caste restrictions so as to rise up. So 'Secularism' was considered a good thing. Most importantly, educated Indians agreed with Nehru that Science, not Gandhian shite, was what the country should invest in. 

If the freedom struggle entered modernity’s books for its unique blend of mass power and animas then so did the avuncular way in which the family silver and the keys to the estate as it were, were handed over to the servants from the sculleries.

Perhaps 'animus' is meant. But power wasn't handed over to 'servants'. It was handed over to lawyers who were descended from Dewans and who represented the Hindu majority.  

The crowning irony was that the elevation of the subjects to the position of master was blessed by the leading representative of the very sovereign that Indians had fought against.

This was not an 'irony' at all. It was what had happened in Ireland and Egypt and so forth. George III had no difficulty giving a courteous welcome to the diplomatic representatives of the victorious  American Revolution.


So was 1947 the outcome of a national liberation? An Indian revolution?

No. There was a peaceful transfer of a power which had already been considerably diluted. This process continued till India became a Republic, a little more than 2 years later.

Many observers of independent India

are as stupid as shit. They have nothing interesting to say-  

have commented upon the pervasive influence of the colonial raj on post-Independent government practices; the lal-batti culture, the President and the governors in states.

But there was continuity between the practices of the Marathas and Moghuls and so on and those of the British. However, post-Independence practices were very different from what went before. The administration was not subject to the authority of the Crown in Parliament. It was wholly indigenous and independent. So what if motor cars, as opposed to magic carpets, were still used where roads existed? The fact is plenty of District Commissioners had to perform the tours of inspection on horse-back or elephant-back.

But the assumption is these are the symbols of power too tempting for most politicians and bureaucrats to abandon.

Fuck off! The Brits had plenty of 'symbols of power'- top hats and frock coats and medals and decorations signifying knighthood or whatever- which the Indians thought ugly and stupid. 

They are remnants; at the end of the day, they can be dispensed with, given some element of political will; what is important to keep in mind, so conventional wisdom goes, is that they are trimmings on an essentially Indian State, a statehood whose aspirational foundations are uniquely Indian.

But other states in the region have very similar 'aspirational foundations'. 


That idea of a uniquely Indian state informs discourse on both sides of the political spectrum;

nothing informs essentially foolish discourse 

the nationalists assume the state, a Nehruvian construct

though Nehru constructed nothing. He presided over the centralization of power because that is what exigent circumstances- or, the interests of the Hindu majority- required

with a sham secular inflection; the left assert the state is a superstructure representing Indian capitalism and increasingly, after 1991, global, neo-liberalist policies.

India isn't secular. It is Hindu. Non-Hindus would love to break away from it. Hindus want to get richer. They think, as does everybody else, that Leftists have shit inside their brains. That's it. That's the whole story. 

Both sides agree on the tainted character of the Indian state

but are regarded as a stinking pile of poo by everybody else. Who gives a fuck what they agree about?  

but do not doubt its epistemological break with its former colonizing master.

There was no 'epistemological break'. There was a political break. It is not the case that British degrees were no longer recognized in India. On the contrary, G.o.I sent scholars to British Universities. However, it stopped taking orders from the Crown in Parliament and, a little later, the Privy Council was replaced by the Supreme Court as the final Court of Appeal.

In fact one historian traces the origins of what she calls the “Righteous Republic” to the readings of ancient texts by the “founding fathers”; never mind that in their study and incorporation of what they considered relevant to the upcoming republic, they tip-toed around the seminal influences of the Mughals on political and social formations.

 There was no 'tip-toeing' at all around the issue of teaching the Muslims their place in the Republic of India. The message was loud and clear. If you don't like it here, fuck off to Pakistan. The notion that Muslims were coddled is a myth. No doubt, hard working and honest Muslims held high positions- but this was because they were hard working and honest. They were producing 'surplus value' for the State. The same was true of corrupt sycophants- they were kept around because they made money for you and licked your arse, though no doubt their Religion made them a cosmetic hire.

Mithi Mukherjee cuts to the heart of the matter; how do we identify the nature of the Indian State?

By noticing that the thing has always been run by Hindus for Hindus though, no doubt, honest and hard working non-Hindus can rise by merit. True, Hindus lie about this from time to time. But then Jinnah too lied about Pakistan treating non-Muslims as equal citizens. Indeed, no country says 'we fuck up our minorities' even if it is fucking obvious that they do nothing else.  

More to the point, what were its foundational principles, the epistemologies that fashioned its being as an instrument of power in a free India?

'Epistemologies' did exist. Gandhi had one but Nehru told him it was shit. The Communists had one- but it too was obviously shit. Hinduism could be said to have an epistemology. But it cashes out as common sense so nobody bothers to invoke it- unless they are a Katju level cretin. 

Power, the Hindu says, arises from Saam-Daam-Dhand-Bhed.  Persuasion- Bribery- Beating-and 'Divide and Rule'. 

As a historian she is not content to brush off the “Transfer of Power” as an accidental phrasing,

Historians should focus on facts. The Brits had transferred most powers to the Provinces by 1937. Ten years later they handed over power over Defense and Diplomacy. This Transfer was done in a perfectly legal and constitutional manner. 

a sort of logical conclusion of a non-violent freedom struggle in which the oppressor finally sees the light of day and is gracious enough to take it on the cheek and move on ruefully recognizing that the sun has finally set on the empire.

The British also transferred power to those- like Aung San in Burma- who were ready to fight them with bullets. 


In that ‘Transfer of Power’ Mukherjee locates the imperial sovereign handing over power to a shadow of itself.

Very true. Indians are shadow of British- innit? Shadows be dark. Also they are two dimensional. Mukherjee herself if probably a shadow of some nice White lady. Sadly, that White lady can't hand over any power to poor little shadowy Mithi. This is because shadows have no will of their own. 

In her book, India in the Shadows of Empire, the historian attempts to lay bare the founding principles of the new Indian state after 1947 as a legacy of the imperial past seemingly overturned.

Why do anything so pointless? The fact is the British Labour Party could have appointed Col. Wedgwood, not Olivier, Secretary of State for India- in which case the country would have got Dominion Status in 1924. Gandhian stupidity, or cowardly realism, prevented this. Still, the INC had stated what they wanted very clearly in 1930. They got it- at the price of parting with Muslim majority areas. This has nothing to do with an Imperial past or a monarchical past though no doubt that past has not magically vanished from India.

Her contention is that the political philosophy of the new state is no different from the philosophy of the imperial power that ruled over India since 1857.

Which proves she is as stupid as shit. The fact is the political philosophy of Britain in 1857 was completely different from the political philosophy of the Labour Party which ruled Britain from 1945. How the fuck could Indians have a political philosophy which disappeared in England in 1867?  


If this is the first radical break from extant scholarship

produced by shitheads whom nobody pays any attention at all to 

that viewed the new state as an experiment in fragmented modernity, the second is that the imperial epistemology itself grew out of a long struggle with what she calls the colonial philosophy of the East India Company, a discourse held by the likes of Warren Hastings that eventually led to the 1857 uprising.

Sheer nonsense! Warren Hastings, in 1818, said ' 'a time not very remote will arrive when England will, on sound principles of policy, wish to relinquish the domination which she has gradually and unintentionally assumed over this country and from which she cannot at present recede.

However, Hindus- like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Dwarkanath Tagore- lobbied Westminster to allow unrestricted British immigration into India. They felt that only the Brit could defend the Hindu from the rapacious Muslim. Gandhi, writing in 1939, said that the Punjabis and Gurkhas and Indian Muslims would overrun India. The Hindus wouldn't be able to defend themselves. They may be the majority but they were as weak as shit. That's why Gandhi said the Brits must hand over power only to the INC. In particular, they must hand over the Army because otherwise the non-Punjabi, or non-Gurkha, Hindu would be at the mercy of the meat-eaters. 

In a fascinating blow-by-blow account, Mukherjee traces the dialectics of that struggle for epistemological supremacy that eventually led to the assertion of the monarchy and a new imperial discourse of rule determined to ensure that 1857 would never happen again.

This is utterly absurd. The Brits ensured that natives would never again have charge of artillery. They changed the pattern of recruitment and ensured that officers took responsibility for the morale of their men. They built railways so that they could quickly crush any Mutiny or other insurrection. Nobody bothered with 'Epistemology'. Killing rebels quickly and then fucking over their families was the way to go.  


Her distinction between the ‘colonial’ and ‘imperial’ discourses is crucial to the understanding of the foundational profile of India’s post-1947 statehood.

Nonsense! It is utterly useless. If Dadhabhai Noaroji, who lived under both Company Raj as well as direct Imperial Rule, found no difference between them then a bird brain like Mithi can't discover the opposite. All she can do is tell stupid lies. 

For her, the colonial discourse epitomized by the East India Company, and elaborated by Warren Hastings at his trial, underlined territorial expansion and subjugation by force of the colonized principally for commercial gain.

This remained the test for annexation. If the thing couldn't 'pay for itself' then it wasn't done- unless the French were expressing an interest, in which case geopolitical considerations prevailed.  

The discourse of the ‘imperial’ was positioned as a critique of the colonial discourse’s narrow goals by reference to justice based on a de-territorialized notion of natural law that was supposed to speak on behalf of the peoples of India.

Sheer nonsense! If 'natural law' does not exist in England- where as Sir Edward Coke pointed out ,Law is 'artificial reason'- then how could it do so in India? Plenty of smart Indians were lawyers. Why did none of them ever frame an argument in terms of 'natural law'? The answer is because the Courts recognized no such beastie.  

Mukherjee traces the origins of this imperial discourse by a fascinating examination of three ‘moments’ in British Indian history. The first is the impeachment trial of Warren Hastings in the last two decades of the eighteenth century that she claims Indian historians have ignored.

Because it failed. The thing was a parochial matter- a deeply corrupt Parliament was fighting over the perks of office- which had no influence at all on British political history. The only time someone refers to it is to explain why the Brits stopped impeaching people two hundred years ago. Now, even the Americans, can see that it is a silly thing to do.  

The trial offered Edmund Burke the platform for the most lucid expression of what would become an imperial discourse on sovereignty.

Burke's essay on the French Revolution is remembered. Nobody gives a shit about Sheridan and Burke's attack on Hastings. Indeed, few recall Mill's attack on Governor Eyre though Britain now has a large and very successful Jamaican origin population who have had a big cultural impact on the 'home country'.  

The second moment in the development of the imperial discourse comes with the establishment of the Supreme Court in India in 1774

But that 'Supreme Court' was useless. It could not check the Executive at all. Few now remember there were 'Supreme Courts' in Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. They were abolished in 1861 and replaced by High Courts. But you could always fight a case all the way to the Privy Council. This only changed after 1950 when the present Supreme Court was established.  

Britain itself only got a Supreme Court a dozen years ago on the insistence of Brussels. Perhaps the thing will be scrapped. 

and the third, the uprising of 1857.

This was important only in a negative sense. Propertied Indians came to see that the alternative to the Brits was anarchy. 

The British government back home learnt the lessons of 1857 well.

What lesson? Don't let the natives get their hands on artillery. Kill them if they become fractious.  

They learnt that Indians were capable of uniting even under a weakened Mughal Emperor against the firangi,

Nonsense! They saw that smart Indians were loyal Indians. The not so smart were slaughtered.  

that force alone would not help sustain their hegemony.

But force alone did sustain their paramountcy. Hegemony is meaningless Gramscian shite.  

All sources of national unity and cohesiveness had to be dismantled and the foreignness of British rule sublimated in a new overarching concept of sovereignty by a de-nationalized, de-territorialized monarch who would stand above all law in the dispensation of justice to all the peoples of India.

This did not happen. Victoria did become Empress, because her daughter had become an Empress, but she remained territorialized as the Queen of England equally subject to the Crown in Parliament. Britain was sovereign. India was not. The Crown in Parliament could barter away Indian territory to anybody it pleased. By contrast, it could not hand over any piece of English ground to anybody at all. Nor can it monkey with the Scottish legal system. Parliamentary sovereignty is limited in ways which only apply to Britain itself.  

That was the imperial project. That dispensation was to come through the discourses of justice: justice-as-equity and justice-as-liberty.

This is sheer fantasy! Equitable remedies exist in English Law but the gate of Equity was closed in the Seventeenth Century! Justice is not Liberty. It may uphold rights which are linked to Liberty but then again it may not. 

Justice under the Raj was differentiated by race and hereditary entitlement. Princes enjoyed sovereign immunity. Whites had the right to Jury trial by a 50 per cent White panel. Some landlords were immune to arrest on their estates. Some Indians, not others, were subject to corporal punishment. Women, of course, had greatly inferior rights. Though slavery was abolished, the legal position of 'bonded labor' remained unclear.  

Another, smarter, reviewer- Prakash Kumar writes- 'Neither the Company’s colonial discourse of sovereignty over the people of India nor the imperial discourse of justice could fend off the eruption of the 1857 revolt. 

Why? It is because 'discourse' is completely ineffective against bullets. However, that revolt could have been easily avoided if the artillery had been kept out of sepoy hands and the native officers hadn't been so old and out of touch with the young recruits. 

Chapter 3 documents the emergence of another set of justifications of colonial rule. The two new discourses of “justice as equity” and “justice as liberty” after the Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 built a somewhat different type of defense of the empire (p. 74).

No it didn't. The only type of defense that mattered was keep a strict watch on the sepoys and having lots of White troops with artillery around to kill mutineers and fuck up anyone foolish enough to help them. 

Why does Mithi think that saying things in English will quieten down Ind's revolting masses? Has it worked for her? Does she not say 'Boo to Modi' on a regular basis? Yet, she must have noticed, Modi rules. Clearly 'discourse' is worthless. 

 The former gave to colonial rule the role of mediator in the vision of India as a society of warring communities. 

Which 'communities' were warring in India at that time? None at all. The British weren't supposed to mediate anything. They were supposed to kill or lock up (or extern in the case of White people) any mischief maker regardless of creed. It wasn't till the Viceroyalty of Curzon that there was any talk of balancing the interests of different communities. But that had a lot to do with internal British politics. 

The latter seemed to promise some form of self-government to the people of India in a hazily defined, remote future when the latter would be ready for it, setting the context for an elaborate definition of a pedagogical mission for the colonial state.

No. This was merely the Whig theory that representative institutions should raise and spend taxes so as to benefit local communities. Gradually such municipalities should link together and form the basis of regional, and later national, self-governing bodies. 

This had nothing to do with 'pedagogy'. The fact is the Presidency Universities were merely examining bodies. Colleges already existed. The thing was a case of Supply and Demand. The Indian Education Service was set up because Indians wanted higher standards in the schools they were paying for. But the I.E.S only functioned for some 25 years- from 1896 to about 1922. It had no influence on the rising generation. Edmund Candler's 'Sri Ram, Revolutionist' is the epitaph of that type of stupidity.

 These new discourses were distinctive in that they were lodged in the person of the monarch 

This is wholly untrue. It had been very clearly established that the Queen was wholly subordinate to Parliament. 

and not in natural law

Natural law was irrelevant. English Law was what was provided.

 as the prior discourses of imperial justice were. 

No. They too were couched in the language of customary law supplemented by English Law.

Justice was now going to be delivered to the Indian people as a personal gift of the monarch.

The monarch's personal gift could only extend to the offer of employment as a Munshi. She couldn't even bestow an English title on an Indian Prince. 

The same reviewer writes- Chapter 4 makes an important argument that the moderate stream of the Indian National Congress, disavowing resistance as a means to freedom, represented imbrication of the anticolonial movement in imperial discourse. 

Indians realized that the British Navy ruled the Seas. True, portions of the interior could drive out the Brits but the littoral would always want them back in one shape or another so as to secure the benefits of International Trade. The question was whether India could pursue a 'Listian' (i.e. economic nationalist) program within the Empire. The same question faced other Colonies though, where English speaking stock predominated, there was no question of severing ties to the Monarch as symbolizing the mother country. This was not the case for the Boers or Catholic Irish or the Indians and other non-Europeans.  

India's problem was that it was stagnating economically, losing f.d.i share and failing to attract the best international entrepreneurial talent. Apart from the Tatas, its own indigenous capitalists were under-educated, under-capitalized, and quite understandably loathed as jumped up usurers or swindling brokers. All romance had fled Ind's coral strand. It was a frumpy, bureaucratic, shithole punctuated by elephants and maharajahs which were smaller and squatter than those to be found in Africa or the once fabulous Orient.

Naoroji represented the old fashioned mid-Victorian Radical. He was the first M.P the Indian Parliamentary Committee managed to get elected. But the next one was the Tory Imperialism Bhownagree. Naoroji himself was happy to rub shoulders with Rosa Luxembourg & Karl Liebknecht at the Amsterdam Conference of the Second International. Shyamji Krishna Varma, some 30 years younger than Naoroji, backed the wrong ideological horse in Herbert Spencer. The future would belong to those of the Gaddar or Jugantar revolutionaries who turned leftward rather than Hindu nationalist. Or so it seemed at that time. Now, Savarkar stands vindicated.

The Congress seemed to demand freedom as an act of charity from the monarch.

No. The monarch had no power. Congress was lobbying the Crown in Parliament. 

 The ultimate goal of Home Rule by the Congress revealed the party’s limited political aspiration of citizenship of the empire. 

Prior to the First World War, being part of an Empire meant lower cost of external, particularly Naval, defence. Then the Kaiser got pissed coz his cousins had bigger Empires than he did and fucked up Europe. At a certain point he said the War would have been worth it if the Brits lost India. The fellow was a cretin. The Indo-German conspiracy failed. Then came the Bolshevik Revolution. By 1921, the Chief of the British Army Staff was saying he hadn't enough troops to hold even England, let alone Ireland and India and Egypt and so forth. Thankfully, Gandhi surrendered unilaterally in 1922 and so Hindus and Muslims parted company and the Brits got to stay on because the Indians couldn't agree as to how strong or weak the Federation should be. Then the Germans went crazy again and Brittania emerged too weak to take up its old role as Ruler of the Waves. So, a Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan and a Buddhist Sri Lanka had to go it alone, all fucking over their minorities to a greater or lesser extent. Why? That's what Nationalism means. Getting rid of Empires comes at a high price for some- as Tagore warned. 

Mukherjee implies that the later demands for dominion status and self-government at the Round Table Conference were also largely anchored within the same framework of demand for justice to Indians. 

Mukherjee is as stupid as shit. India was doing what everybody was doing. The lesson of Ireland was clear. You could get independence in the Twenties if you paid the price of partition on the basis of Religion. But Ireland wasn't doing well economically in the Thirties or Forties or even the Fifties. Its population was declining, despite married women having to have babies like crazy to keep the Pope happy, till the Sixties.

Why is Mithi obsessed with 'demands for justice to Indians'? Perhaps she believes that in the good old days, when Bengal was golden, her ancestors would make a beeline for the closest White dude demanding justice in the shape of first some nice hilsa curry and then some nice rosgulla and then a cushy desk job in Writer's building. 

But an insurgent discourse of “freedom” as against “justice” also gained a foothold, from 1893 to be precise. 

I suppose the lady means the cow-protection riots. The Viceroy did say this marked the beginning of mass politics for the INC. But, those guys were seriously not that into bovines. 

This was “an alternative discourse of legislative freedom” that demanded for Indians “the right to make laws for oneself”.

Which the Brits, quite sensibly, were giving scope for save where it conflicted with vested interests back in Westminster. So this was a pure 'Listian' economic conflict though, given India's size and diversity, it was always possible to show that any economic demand made by the INC would adversely affect some larger group. But that remains true to this day. 

This rise marked the rupture between the demands for imperial justice and legislative freedom. 

in the same sense that it marked the rupture between the demand that Queenji sit on my face and the demand that I be made Prime Minister. 

The author highlights the significance of this competing discourse and the latter’s autonomy that has been somewhat simplistically passed over as the “extremist” program.

The extremists, quite reasonably, wanted to kill Whitey, take his cool stuff and then...urm...well, there's bound to be other people who need killing and they are bound to have cool stuff too. 

The big problem with getting rid of an Emperor is deciding who to kill next. Suddenly, it dawns on peeps that they could be next. Suddenly Imperial 'Justice' and 'Liberty' don't looks so bad.

The latter principle (justice as liberty) was the cornerstone of the “civilising mission” of British rule.

There is a wide difference between the French meaning of this term and the British usage. Though there was an 'Occidental' party in England during a portion of the Nineteenth Century, it was the 'Orientalists' who prevailed. The Raj based itself on indigenous institutions though no doubt it could aim at reform of a humane and rational type. But there were severe limits to such efforts. 

As Mukherjee notes: “Justice as liberty…took on the form of a teleology that was based on the premise that whatever India may have been in the past or continued to be in the present, it could still move toward a future of liberty and, indeed, even freedom.

But this might never happen. Teleology arises only where there is an inevitable outcome- a final purpose which must be served. The British made no such assertion about India. Even the Labour party agreed that if- as happened in 1922 when Gandhi threw in the towel- India was unready for self-rule then the Raj had to stay in place.  

The teleology of liberty gave rise to a new discourse of imperial pedagogy …

No it didn't. 'Imperial pedagogy' meant shite taught at Haileybury, or- later on- the Indian Institute at Oxford or other Universities were ICS probationers completed their training. These guys had to mug up laws and languages and so forth. They weren't expected to listen to tosh about 'teleology'.  

This was the more precise articulation of what also came to be known as the ‘civilising mission.’ (75) Mukherjee pursues this idea relentlessly: if the mission of the imperial project was motivated by a sense of mission, “…a point of termination inevitably became a part of this mission…”

Fuck off! The ICS, like the IAS, does not say anything about its 'point of termination'. Sad. It would be great if they were indoctrinated to all kill themselves by the year 2030 so that we could have a 'babu mukth Bharat'. 

And she concludes that it was this discourse of justice as liberty “that allowed the British Empire to convert—with the consent of the of the Indian National Congress—its forced departure from India in 1947 into a voluntary ‘transfer of power’ in which the first prime minister of India received his oath of office from Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of the British Empire in India.” 

Mountbatten was first sworn in as Governor General by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court before administering the oath to his Cabinet.

If the discourse of justice-as-liberty then cast its shadow

it didn't. Mithi is making this shit up. 

over a “freedom” that really amounted to a transfer of power, blessed by a representative of the Queen, then an even longer shadow was to darken the formation of Indian state.

& if the discourse of anal intrusion cast its shadow over the American Declaration of Independence than QAnon is right. A longer shadow of buggery and pedophilia darkens the continued operation of every branch of the Federal Government. Let's go invade Capital Hill! Wake up sheeple! The Feds be fucking our kids in the ass!

It is in this investigation that Mukherjee exhibits forensic skills.

Fuck off! She is as stupid as shit. Her skills are fecal not forensic. 

The imperial discourse of justice-as-equity

didn't exist. Britain asserts Parliamentary sovereignty. Lots of lawyers are Members of Parliament. They know that English law is not 'justice-as-equity'. It is 'artificial reason'.  

was built upon two hegemonising (and unethical) assumptions: that India was essentially an amalgam of warring communities and that it therefore required the firm hand of a monarch standing above sectarian interests to maintain the peace between those fractious communities.

Rubbish! Britain could have sent some Royal Duke to India to rule it in perpetuity. It did not do so. Why? Monarchs tend to be shit at running things. It is better to have a professional Army and a professional Civil Service and a professional Judiciary. True, parliamentary oversight of distant Colonies involves much tedium and time taken away from considering the problems of the home country. But, so long as the Colonies 'paid for themselves' with something left over, perhaps that tedium was worthwhile.  

Justice-as-equity did not mean, as it did elsewhere even in England’s Common Law Courts, that Indians would be subject to a common law standing above all.

WTF? Since 1873, all courts offer all petitioners every remedy available. India never had a separate Court of Equity or Canon Law so why bring up the subject?  

It meant that equity was represented in the figure of the monarch that stood above all law.

But England decisively rejected this notion in the Seventeenth Century! James I found he could not even hang a robber caught in the act! A properly constituted Court had to first find the fellow guilty.

In subsequent decades the gate of equity was shut, the 'divine right of Kings' was denied, Charles I was executed, and- later on- his son James II was chased out of the country. There was a 'Glorious Revolution'. England was a 'limited monarchy'. The Queen reigns, she does not rule.  

The roots of justice-as-equity were located in sovereignty.

Nonsense! Equitable remedies exist against unjust actions occurring in far away places over which no sovereignty has been asserted. There is a 'Command' theory of Law which may invoke sovereignty but it isn't the only theory around.  

But hold it! Sovereignty did you say? That means political coercive power, right? Mukherjee offers a different view. “The role of political discourse” she says. “is often ignored in a discussion of the question of sovereignty. In the dominant approaches, the issue of sovereignty has been studied overwhelmingly in terms of the sovereign’s will and his power to coerce. ..Behind these approaches is an understanding of sovereignty that is exterior to discourse…However ,,,modern power operates as much through discourse as through violence. Indeed, it is as truth that power in the modern world presents itself.” (183. Emphasis added)

It might be nice to believe this fairy tale- but only for a moment. As we know 'truth' is always changing because facts change, Science advances, attitudes and beliefs adjust. Does this mean that the laws must change or be interpreted differently? Consider what that would mean in practice. Nobody would know whether they still have the same Hohfeldian rights and obligations that they had yesterday or the year before. Why? Because some Scientist in some far away country has made an astonishing discovery. 'Truth' as what Aristotle called 'Eudoxa' has changed. Justice-as-Equity now says something different from it did yesterday. 

This a world which would rapidly turn to chaos. It is better to have 'robust' laws and stare decisis type Justice. Otherwise we might as well return to the days of the 'General Eyre' where everything is inquired into and nothing is known in advance about the outcome.  


Really now, if that rings a bell in your befuddled mind it should. For Mukherjee adds: “In a democracy sovereignty depends as much on the ability of the state to persuade as the ability to coerce…It requires an infrastructure of persuasion as much as an infrastructure of coercion.” (183) If that rings some more bells it too should because what else is happening tight now in the Indian republic but the exercise in persuasion that goods days are around the corner once we stop slaughtering cows?

Mithi has rung Upadhyay's bell but good. The guy is having orgasm after orgasm. Why? Infrastructure of persuasion is shoving its dick up his arsehole and stimulating his prostate gland. Will he thank Modi for this? No. What a mean fellow! 

How did the British after 1857 deploy the justice-as-equity principle for what was clearly an unethical legitimacy?

They didn't. They weren't stupid. They shot rebels and took away their property. This may have been 'unethical' but this is what legitimated their power. How so? Well if you were loyal to them and some guy grabbed your land, then- if you paid the court fees and the lawyer's fees and so forth- you'd get a judgment which the Brits would, after your bailiffs had failed, themselves enforce. If the guy who robbed you tried to fuck with the Brits, they would kill him and fuck over his family.  

By portraying India as a people grounded in divisiveness – caste, class – effete and barbaric cultures and practices, religions whose civilizational glory had long faded. British rule invested India – a meaningless entity by itself – with a cohesive idea of itself.

No. The Brits occupied and ruled India. They didn't have to portray shit. On the other hand, some British novelists portrayed fairies and elves and dragons and witches and wizards. Nobody thought this meant the British ruled over the kingdom of the fairies. Indeed, most people did not even believe that fairy-land existed.  

Disraeli invented a ‘legal fiction’

No. Lawyers deal with 'legal fictions'. Disraeli was a novelist who, like Bulwer Lytton, did well in politics. He offered the title of 'Empress of India' to Queen Victoria because her daughter was the new Empress of the Germans.  

by constructing a narrative based on the idea that the ‘native’ peoples had invited the British to rid them of their suffering from tyranny and to protect their property and rights. “It was as subjects of the principles of of ‘liberty, equity and justice’ that Indians became the subjects of the British Empire. Significantly the reverse was also true: it was as subjects of the British Imperial monarchy that Indians would become subject to the principles of liberty, equity and justice. In other words, the historical relationship of Indians as subjects to these principles came to be mediated through the figure of the Queen.” 

No it didn't. The Queen wanted some Indian Princes to be created Peers of the Realm. She was told to shut up. It is true that some very poor people from Champaran, hearing that the King Emperor was hunting in the Terai, came to present a petition to him. They were told to fuck off. Indian lawyers, by contrast, knew better than to appeal to the Monarch. So did Indian Princes. What Mithi says is pure fantasy. Indians weren't subject to principles which held no sway in England itself. That's why England had Chartists and, later on, a Labour Movement and a Suffragette movement and so forth.  


The hegemonizing principle worked well.

It didn't exist. 

It was presaged by the Queen’s message to the Delhi Durbar of 1877: “ ‘We trust that that the present occasion may tend to unite in bonds of yet closer affection ourselves and our subjects, that from the highest to the humblest all may feel that under our rule the great principles of liberty, equity, and justice are secured to them.’” As Mukherjee reminds us, “…That even as the Queen talked of her relationship with her subjects in personal terms as ‘bonds of affection’ her speech also revealed that her relationship with her Indian subjects was to be mediated by the principles of liberty equity and justice. The foregrounding of these principles as the foundation of the new state and the source of its legitimacy revealed a determination to construct a discourse of governance.”

Wow! Mithi must think the sun shines out of Queenji's arse! But she is mistaken if she thinks there was a 'new state'. There wasn't. The British Crown in Parliament had been paramount in India both before and after 1857. The form of that paramountcy was changed. The Queen sent a message which was written for her- with an eye to internal British politics (in particular, the fractious Irish members of Parliament) rather than with any intention to sway Indian hearts and minds.  


The relationship established by the sovereign with her subjects–discursive and personal–worked with the Indian National Congress when it was established in the late nineteenth century.

Nonsense! The INC knew very well that Westminster was supreme. There may have been some backwoods nobleman who thought Victoria exercised power in the same way that he exercised power. But even such noblemen were brought gently back to earth if they started babbling about visiting Victoriaji. 

I recall a story about the old Chogyal of Sikkim toasting an American diplomat with the words 'Long life to your President and his beautiful wife Queen Erizabet.' It was pointed out to him that the American President is not in fact, ex officio, the husband of the British Queen. However, the Chogyal brought out a picture of Queenji and pointed out that she had a smokin' bod. Hit it, then, by all means quit it, but do hit it. 

The INC came into being in Mukherjee’s view precisely as a response to the justice as equity principle.

No it didn't. If it had, it would have said so. 

W. C Bonarjee wrote in 1898

It will probably be news to many that the Indian National Congress, as it was originally started and as it has since been carried on, is in reality the work of the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava when that nobleman was the Governor-General of India. Mr. A. O. Hume, C. B., had in 1884, conceived the idea that it would be of great advantage to the country if leading Indian politicians could be brought together once a year to discuss social matters and be upon friendly footing with one another. He did not desire that politics should form part of their discussion, for, there were recognised political bodies in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and other parts of India, and he thought that these bodies might suffer in importance if, when Indian politicians from different parts of the country came together, they discussed politics. His idea further was that the Governor of the Province where the politicians met should be asked to preside over their deliberations, and that thereby great cordiality should be established between the official classes and the non-official Indian politicians. Full of these ideas he saw the noble Marquis when he went to Simla early in 1885, after Lord Dufferin had in the December previous assumed the Viceroyalty of India. Lord Dufferin took great interest in the matter and after considering over it for some time he sent for Mr. Hume and told him that, in his opinion, Mr. Hume's project would not "be of much use". He said there was no body of persons in this country who performed the functions which Her Majesty's Opposition did in England.


The newspapers, even if they really represented the views of the people, were not reliable and as the English were necessarily ignorant of what was thought of them and their policy in Native circles, it would be very desirable in their interests as well as the interests of the ruled that Indian politicians should meet yearly and point out to the Government in what respects the administration was defective and how it could be improved, and he added that an assembly such as he proposed should not be presided over by the Local Governor, for in his presence the
people might not like to speak out their minds*

Mr. Hume was convinced by Lord Dufferin's arguments and placed the two schemes, his own and Lord Dufferin's, before leading politicians in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and other parts of the country, the latter unanimously accepted Lord Dufferin's scheme and proceeded to give effect to it.

Lord Dufferin had made it a condition with Mr. Hume that his name in connection with the scheme of the Congress should not be divulged so long as he remained in the country, and his condition was faithfully maintained and none but the men
consulted by Mr. Hume knew anything about the matter."




In March 1885, it was decided to hold a meeting of representatives from all parts of India at the ensuing Christmas. Poona was considered the most central or most suitable place. From this meeting was issued the following circular:




A Conference of the Indian National Union will be held at Poona from the 25th to the 31st Dec. 1885.




The Conference will be composed of Delegates leading politicians well acquainted with the English language from all parts of the Bengal, Bombay and Madras Presidencies.




The direct objects of the Conference will be

(1) to enable all the most earnest labourers in the cause of national progress to become personally known to each other; 
(2) to discuss and decide upon the political operations to be undertaken during the
ensuing year.




Indirectly, this Conference will form the germ of a Native Parliament, and, if properly conducted, will constitute in a few years an unanswerable reply
to the assertion that India is still wholly unfit for any form of representative institutions. 

It is absolutely clear from the foregoing that the INC was wholly political. It was completely unconcerned with 'justice- as-equity'. Justice is a service industry- one which a poor country like India can't afford very much of. By contrast, politics can flourish even more in a poor country- because the opportunity cost of one's time is so low- than in a rich nation. 
If justice-as-equity meant referrals to the conscience of a monarch,

No such 'referrals' were made save by the hopelessly ignorant. All educated people knew that the Queen merely reigned, she did not rule.  

petitions for righting perceived grievances/lapses, could the lawyer be far behind?

The 'vakils' were ahead, not behind, in pursuing remedies from Parliament through judicious bribery. Edmund Burke's 'cousin' William Burke was in the pay of the Rajah of Tanjore while the Irish politician Phillip Francis- another persecutor of Hastings- was probably being paid by Cheyt Singh and other wealthy Indians opposed to Hastings. The fact is these Irishmen were just as concerned to loot India so as to make their own fortune. Only Mithi thinks there were Saints and Heroes of 'Justice-as-equity'.  

The imperial discourse had to lead up to the age of the petition and who better to do that than the lawyer on behalf of the subjects?

What fucking petitions were presented? If the Chartists got nowhere with the petitions, how could the Indians do so? Most English laborers had a smattering of literacy- at any rate, they knew English- who would believe that the Indian masses could understand any petition drawn up in their name?  


So the ‘Vakil Raj’ and the INC were born with the lawyer as sole political representative.

Nonsense! Dadhabhai Naoroji wasn't a lawyer. Neither was Gokhale. Princes and Zamindars weren't lawyers. They may have used lawyers for certain purposes but their interests were of a political type. They were unconcerned with 'Justice-as-Equity'.  

It is no accident that almost all the intellectuals and nationalists were lawyers, including Gandhi.

But they were paid by propertied classes or the new industrial entrepreneurial class.  

It was not a quirk of petite-bourgeois sycophancy that led Madan Mohan Malaviya, pleading for elected representation to the Legislative Council in 1906 to round off his plea thus: ‘…Why then should it be denied to the loyal and intelligent subjects of her Gracious Majesty?’

Yes it was. Many young people laughed at old men like Malaviya and Gandhi for this sort of 'petit-bourgeois' sycophancy.  

There was method in such seeming unctuousness.

No there wasn't. It was foolish. That is why the 'Garam Dal' displaced the arse-licking 'Naram Dal'.  

Mukherjee reminds us that, ‘In light of the arbitrary nature of the colonial executive, the discourse of the Congress had necessarily to be addressed to a higher imperial judge…’ 

But it wasn't. It sometimes addressed the British Cabinet. But the Cabinet is not a Judicial institution. Of course, lawyers might appeal to the Privy Council on some thorny issue of Waqf Law or 'Mitaskhara' or whatever.  

And who higher than the monarch?

The Crown in Parliament. Till about a dozen years ago, the UK had parliamentary supremacy. Even now British Judges consider what in the US is called 'political question' to be more capacious than is the case in India.  

The lawyer, defendant, plaintiff and judge: India’s nationalist ambitions were confined to and constricted by the courtroom and its lead players.

Fuck off! Some Indian Nationalists were Communists. Others wanted a Theocracy. Few thought lawyers mattered- even if they themselves had been called to the bar. 

Then along came Gandhi.

Who was very well financed by Gujarati, and later Marwari, nouveau riche entrepreneurs.  

In South Africa, Gandhi, a lawyer, played the imperial game fighting – in the courts – for Indians there.

He lost because Smuts prevailed. Lord Milner's 'kindergarten' was scrapped. It became clear that first White Colonies, and then those of the dusky sort, would go entirely on their own way on all internal matters.  

When he came to India and began a non-violent cooperation movement against the British in 1921, the first call he gave was to boycott all British courts and to ban ‘lawyers from participating in and leading the struggle for national independence’ 

Why did he do so? Because the Irish had set up parallel courts. That succeeded and Ireland got independence in 1922. Gandhi had surrendered unconditionally by then. He went meekly off to jail and the country was so peaceful that the Brits withdrew the Rowlatt Act. 

In Mukherjee’s phrasing, the ‘renunciative persona’ of Gandhi was about to replace the ‘enunciative persona’ of the lawyer.

But it never did so. The lawyers went back to practicing law though from time to time they'd go off meekly to jail. Gandhi was shot the moment he started wagging his tail in independent India. Godse was hanged in a proper legal manner. There was a nutter who was supposed to have set up 'People's Courts' in the Adivasi belt. Last he was heard from, the fucker was facing jail time for sexually abusing young girls.  

The account of how this persona arrived to redefine and reshape India’s freedom struggle is riveting in its detail, fascinating in its novelty and freshness of approach.

It is a fairy story. Gandhi failed. He surrendered unconditionally. True, when the Japs were at the gate, his showed an eagerness to get to Jail so Tojo could release him and pat him on the back. But the Brits fucked over the Japs- thanks to the Americans. 

One knows one is retracing a period of India’s complex history never before examined in this fashion;

because no one has ever been as stupid and ignorant as Mithi 

as a clash of ideas of discourses as the location for what can only be called the ‘epistemological break’

what fucking 'epistemological break' is involved in a nutter telling stupid lies till he is sent off to jail to cool down? As Ghalib puts it 'Ek tamasha hua, gila na hua'. The thing was a theatrical spectacle. No actual grievance was redressed. 

in India’s long march to freedom. Gandhi did not invent the ‘renunciative discourse’ of freedom or the sanyasin as the proponent of freedom. His discourse of the renouncer was ‘genealogically connected’ with traditional Indian (Hindu, Buddhist and Jain) discourses on transcendental or renunciative freedom: mukti, moksha, nirvana. He blended these into a political slogan of swaraj like no other renouncer in the nineteenth century had.

Then fucked up so completely, that, in 1932, all the minorities of India repudiated the leadership of the INC.  

The discourse of swaraj, of course, was a radical opposition to the epistemologies of imperial rule.

An epistemology is a theory of knowledge. Two people who are agreed as to what constitutes knowledge may still disagree as to the facts. Equally, they may disagree simply because their interests are not aligned. I may say 'the fact is you took my yoghurt from the fridge and are proceeding to eat it'. You may deny this fact even if you know it is true because you want to eat the yoghurt.

Imperial rule was based on procedures which in turn depended on what did or did not constitute pertinent facts. This was also true of post Independence rule. But it is bizarre to speak of 'epistemology' in this context. Nobody at that time did so- even if, like Radhakrishnan and Lala Har Dayal, they lectured on Philosophy. 

It was not based on western notions of rights, of state-guaranteed duties and responsibilities.

Yes it was. Gandhi may have had personal beliefs of a different type but he clarified that, as President of the INC, he was pushing forward its agenda- which was couched in legal and political language of a type familiar to Westminster- rather than the ideas he put forward in 'Hind Swaraj'. Nehru pointed this out to Gandhi in 1946 after the latter wrote to him saying 'The first thing I want to write about is the difference in outlook between us. The difference is fundamental then I feel the public should also be made aware of it.'

Previously, Gandhi had threatened to publish a letter from Nehru to embarrass him. But much had changed over the succeeding years. Had Nehru quit Congress just before the election, Congress would not have monopolized the Hindu vote. Hindus saw that the British would deal with Nehru- more particularly because his pal Atlee was Prime Minister. As for Gandhi, there was no point dealing with him. The fellow was a crack-pot. Nehru, conveys this in a polite but firm manner- 

It is many years ago since I read Hind Swaraj and I have only a vague picture in my mind. But even when I read it 20 or more years ago it seemed to me completely unreal. In your writings and speeches since then I have found much that seemed to me an advance on that old position and an appreciation of modern trends. I was therefore surprised when you told us that the old picture still remains intact in your mind. As you know, the Congress has never considered that picture, much less adopted it. You yourself have never asked it to adopt it except for certain relatively minor aspects of it. How far it is desirable for the Congress to consider these fundamental questions, involving varying philosophies of life, it is for you to judge. I should imagine that a body like the Congress should not lose itself in arguments over such matters which can only produce great confusion in people’s minds resulting in inability to act in the present. This may also result in creating barriers between the Congress and others in the country. Ultimately of course this and other questions will have to be decided by representatives of free India. 

Gandhi wasn't standing for election. Thus he would have no voice in what followed though some might pretend otherwise for politeness' sake.

Most importantly, it did not acknowledge the distinction between the self and ‘other’.

Nonsense! Every body in politics acknowledges that the guy running things is different from the guy getting fucked in the ass in jail.  

Gandhi tapped into India’s most profoundly different worldview of freedom that presupposes the erasure of identity, of the gap between the self and other that was the cornerstone of the western idea of freedom grounded in individual rights.

Gandhi tapped into India's mercantile castes reserves of cash so as to advance their financial, political, religious and cultural interests. Some Hindus may speak of Advaita and some Muslims of Tawhid, but nobody has ever 'presupposed the erasure of identity'. That is why if I tenderly fondle your breast- believing it to be my own gorgeous pair of titties- you slap me silly or get me arrested by the police. 


The first task of the competing discourse—Mukherjee also calls it the Indic discourse

which she has taken great pains to get away from. Perhaps the poor lass was constantly being poked and prodded by Indian people who 'presupposed the erasure of her identity'  as something separate from them. But, Indian law supplies the remedy. She probably thought that it didn't because Gandhi had erased the distinction between ipseity and alterity. But any thought it is possible for Mithi to have is a stupid and ignorant thought. 

—was ‘to overcome the fragmentation of Indian society’ that had been an essential part of the colonial-imperial discourse and had so far prevented a national mass movement.

British people created the INC for the specific purpose of creating a National forum at least for intellectuals. That's the testimony of W.C Bonnerjee who was the first President of that organization.  

The Gandhian discourse ‘provided a way out of the labyrinth of the politics of identity

No it didn't. That's why, first Burma and then Pakistan went their own way. Other parts of India may have wanted to do the same. But the Army fucked them over till they kept quiet. The same thing happened in other newly independent nations.  

and made possible a large-scale mass movement

but such a movement- viz Swadeshi- existed from 1905- nine years before Gandhi returned to India.  

based on non-violence, an essential pillar of the discourse of renunciative freedom’ 

Gandhi gassed on about it but others didn't bother.  

As a political activist turned renouncer, Gandhi infused the freedom movement with a politics that in hindsight few understood beyond the realm of practicalities.

There was nothing to understand. The thing was a fairy story. 

For him, the fight for independence was a struggle for moksha, for non-attachment.

Though plenty of people were gaining moksha all over the place without bothering with politics of any sort. 

It did not aim for the seizure of power; it was directed at the extinction of power, of all power itself through the erasure of identity.

It may well have aimed at the erasure of nastiness and the promotion of niceosity.  

Political freedom then had to become transcendental liberation that negates all institutions premised on identity. The renouncer renounces all; the state has to wither away.

& rainbows must shoot out of everybody's butt 

It is not surprising that Gandhi asked Nehru to dissolve the Congress and turn it into a social service organization.

Gandhi published a 'Last Will and Testament' which everybody ignored. Godse had put paid to that nuisance.  

But the most tragic irony lay here.

No it didn't. The tragedy is that Gandhi was not ignored ab ovo. The irony was that his financiers would have been better off investing in Engineering Colleges and Institutes of Management.  

Had India really followed Gandhi?

No. He was a cretin. 

He had followed his renunciation to the hilt;

Nonsense! He was sleeping naked with great nieces. A renunciant is supposed to leave his family. 

he withdrew to spend his last years in dousing the fires of Partition with the healing voice of peace and harmony.

He failed. Finally, a Hindu rid the Nation of that maha-nuisance. Godse is now considered a hero though he was as stupid as shit and brought down disaster on his own Chitpavan community. 

He withdrew from active politics and the making of the new nation state.

He found himself de trop. Some observers thought he wanted to be offered the Premiership. As a matter of fact, Vallabhai had received the majority of nominations. But Nehru put his foot down. He'd join the Socialists and let Congress descend into senile dementia. Nehru refused to pay even lip service to Gandhian shite. 


Could Gandhi have done anything else? Not likely, for the logic of his discourse demanded anasakti or non-attachment.

Gandhi needn't have been such a worthless pile of shite. He could have said to Jinnah and Shurawardy and Liaquat- 'Listen guys, the choice facing India is between a Centralized, Socialist, Government and a decentralized Federation where Religion and Property are safe. I'm an elderly Gujju and I represent semi-literate Banias. So you can trust me to oppose young, phoren returned, Hindi speaking Brahmins and Kayasthas of a Socialist stripe. Work with my man Patel and my 'sambandhi' Rajaji so as to ensure the Socialists don't take power at the center and force their noxious creed down our throats. The Princes too will be on side once a smart guy like Shahnawaz Bhutto or CPR Iyer explains things to them.' Of course, Gandhi would have had to sideline Maulana Azad so as to make the Cabinet Mission Plan work. But Azad would have understood.

The reason Gandhi couldn't rally the Right, now the nightmare of a Socialist Britain handing power to Socialists in India had materialized, was because his financiers actually wanted a strong, Lefty, Center to put up Heavy Industries which they believed would be privatized- as had happened to the Japanese zaibatsu in the Eighteen Nineties. 

Should the rest be silence? Nehru and the Congress felt the job had just begun; a new state had to be created. Gandhi had no answer; he had become irrelevant. He was perhaps saved from providing any solutions by the bullet that claimed his life..

Sadly, stupid academics who think they know about 'epistemology' won't leave Gandhi alone.  

So a search for the defining principles of the new state began—on an ominous tone that almost presaged the future. Mukherjee asks the question: Why was the end of British rule described as a ‘Transfer of Power’?

Because it was a transfer of power over Defense and External Affairs just as power over other matters had been transferred ten years previously to the Provinces. What was different was that Nehru had come to see that a strong Center was essential. Thus independent India was more, not less, centralized than British India.  

Why is the freedom movement not seen as the Indian revolution in the same way that the Americans see their own liberation from the British two hundred odd years earlier?

Because there was no violence. Elections were held and power was transferred to a body legally constituted body with the full concurrence of the Crown in Parliament. 

One may equally ask the question, 'why is cricket not referred to as 'Indian baseball'? Or 'why is New Delhi not referred to as the Capital of California?  

Her answer may shock the reader

by its stupidity 

but it is spellbinding nevertheless and it is the core of her work.


The Constitution that finally emerged after six years of deliberation

Six? No. Less than three. 

pulled the nation away even further from the Gandhian discourse

but Nehru told Gandhi there was never any Gandhian discourse within Congress. The guy was only tolerated when he advanced Congress's agenda. His private crotchets were of no interest to the party.  

and right into the old imperial discourse that the freedom struggle had so successfully battled, but not overthrown or upturned.

Nehru and his diplomats denounced Imperialism all around the globe. Mithi, cretin that she is, pretends otherwise.

Still, it is undoubtedly a fact that Nehru did not relocate the territory of India to some other planet untainted by Colonialism. Sad.  

If Nehru didn't have magical powers, why assume Gandhi did? This is the question we must ask Indian intellectuals who write shite of Mithi's stripe.

Prakash Kumar summarizes her thesis thus- 'But the real rupture with the paradigm of the moderate Congress and the contrary move toward explicit resistance of the empire came with Mahatma Gandhi as described in chapter 5. 

Gandhi's advent occurs after the Brits mop up the Ghaddar and Jugantar resistance and put paid to the Indo-German conspiracy There was a trial of strength but Tegart prevailed over Bagha Jatin. Ghanshaymdas Birla who had somehow got caught up in the Roda Cartridge case, is typical of the smart young person who quickly gets under the Gandhian umberella so as to steer clear of the CID. Indeed, Tegart became a great pal of Birla and took a Directorship in his London flagship after he retired. 

The Non Cooperation Movement marked the ascendancy of the ideas of “renunciative freedom,” a core Gandhian idea, which the Congress quickly embraced. 

No. Gandhi explicitly said that he was taking charge of the agitation to advance Congress's, not his own, program. He fucked up. Congress split. But Motilal & C.R Das's Swaraj Party fucked up equally. Still, the 1928 Nehru Report was accepted as Congress's platform. By 1930, you could say Jawaharlal had triumphed as it was his vision which was endorsed as the aim of 'Purna Swaraj' in Lahore in 1930. The problem was, the rich were in no hurry to have their fiscal throats slit by a very very poor electorate. 

This move by the anticolonial movement enabled it to come out of the labyrinthine imperial and colonial trap and demand complete political independence.

This is not what happened. Gandhi renounced politics to do 'constructive work' in 1922. Sadly this renunciation did not stick. He got back in the game with the Dalmia financed, Dandi Salt March which- predictably- failed completely. India still has a Salt Tax. Then came the Second Round Table Conference where Gandhi managed to unite all the minorities and 'depressed classes' against the INC. After that the Brits dictated the pace and scope of reform simply jailing or releasing Congress leaders as required.

 The Gandhian idea of transcendental freedom 

was predicated on sleeping naked with little girls. The thing was pure fantasy.

enabled two maneuvers: one, political resistance to colonialism 

which failed immediately

and two, spiritual freedom through an ethical engagement with current mores of the society.

i.e sleeping naked with little girls

 The chapter’s argument counts among the most valuable contributions of the book in its new interpretation of a continuum between the Gandhian calls for political and spiritual freedom. 

coz little girls really want to sleep naked with very old and smelly men

In Gandhi’s vision, the author argues, political “political freedom ... was indistinguishable from renunciation, renunciation of desire, and of identity”

such that girls understand it is terrible 'himsa', violence, if they refuse to sleep naked with their great-uncle

Mithi's other big idea is that 'transfer of power' is totes evil coz like Foucault, right? I mean there's Knowledge- that's Epistemology, yeah?- and then there's Power and Biopolitics and I mean you can't tell me some sinister shite aint going down. What if the Government is watching you poop? What if everybody is watching the Government watch you poop? I mean isn't that the sort of question we should be encouraging our students to ask? Look at what is happening all around the globe! If the Government isn't watching you poop what the fuck is it doing? I mean, that's just logic, right? 

Upadhyay takes up the tale- 

The ‘Transfer of Power’ stretched the long shadow of empire over the framers of the Constitution; not surprisingly its essential principles were reminiscent of the old imperial discourse.

Worse still, India remained in exactly the same position on the map as it had under the Raj.  

How so? Mukherjee draws our attention to The Preamble. It lists justice in economic, social and political domains as the primary function for the national good followed by liberty, not in the above domains but in thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.

This is silly. Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are all mentioned. There is no warrant for assuming one takes precedence over another. Anyway, the Preamble was considered unenforceable for the first two decades after Independence. 

The Preamble thus ‘clearly constitutes justice rather than freedom as its foundational or over-determining category,

Said no Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Mithi is making this shit up.  

bringing the social, the economic and political domains within its jurisdiction…the category of liberty or freedom is is second in importance to justice.’ 

This is an unwarranted assumption. It is frequently the case that we have to list things of equal importance. This does not mean one thing won't be mentioned before another thing.  

The foundational principle of justice as the pivot on which Indian democracy turns owes its origins to the imperial discourse of justice as equity, says Mukherjee.

The pivot on which Indian democracy turns is Parliamentary Elections on the basis of universal franchise.  This remains the case even if the Constitution is suspended or scrapped altogether. 

Her penultimate chapter captioned with a question, ‘An Imperial Constitution?’ answers in the affirmative. “What one sees in the Indian Constitution is the ultimate triumph of the juridical-epistemological framework of empire” grounded in the idea of justice as equity with “its accompanying figure of the monarch as judge.

Where the fuck is the Indian monarch and when has any such worked as a Judge? Every country that became independent cobbled together a Constitution. But, speaking generally, those Constitutions didn't matter very much.  

It is in the Constitution that one can see the mutation of imperial justice as equity from a critical category of anti-colonialism to the sovereign legislative category of Indian politics and the final marginalization of the post-Independence formation of the Gandhian discourse of transcendental freedom under which the struggle for Independence had been largely carried out.

If that is what one wants to see then one can see it with even greater clarity in the novels of Enid Blyton. 

The Indian Constitution builds on the 1935 Act, it is true, but it also owes a lot to the Nehru Report. Still, it did not greatly matter and was swiftly amended every which way but loose. 


Who could this monarch-as-judge

There was no monarch-as-judge in England. James I may have had some illusions on that score but was obliged to give them up when he crossed the border.  

be in a new avatar of the old discourse? A judge who stands above the law, who precedes the law as the embodiment of justice – in other words a monarch or sovereign exterior to the people? Why, the state itself!

But, in independent India, the State is manned by Indian people whom other Indian people will beat up, or blow up, if they screw up too badly. 

In the Indian Constitution, justice as equity is the sovereign legislative principle.

No. Parliament holds the legislative function though Presidential Ordinances can have effect provided the Prime Minister holds the confidence of the Legislature. The phrase 'justice as equity' is unknown to Indian jurisprudence. One may as well speak of 'Law as twerking'.  

Being so, it allows the legislature or state to resolve ‘a conflict between the legislative imperatives of universal law and discretionary equity’ in favour of the latter (emphasis added).

Nonsense! This is a function of the Courts or of Tribunals or other quasi autonomous instruments of 'delegated legislation'. Parliament can, of course, pass a Law of restricted scope or the same matter can be dealt with by Presidential ordinance. But the Legislature does not itself function as a provider of Equitable remedies. 

Britain, it is true, used to have a Lord Chancellor. But India has a written constitution which makes no such provision.  

In this scheme of statehood, the state comes before the law. ‘The state is the source of all laws not the people. The state – not the people – is therefore also the source of the Constitution’ (191.Emphasis added).

Actually, the Indian Constitution upholds its own autochthony- i.e. affirms its immemorial pre-existence on Indian soil. Thus it claims its origin in the Indian people even before any State existed.  

Bear in mind, Mukherjee seems to tell us, that the monarchical state stood outside and above the people; so “the discourse of justice as equity was historically anchored in the duty and compassion of the monarch in opposition to the modern evolutionary discourse of the rights of the citizens deriving from the universality of the law…” Not surprisingly then, “the directive principles were specifically defined in terms of the duties of the state rather than as rights of the individual.” 

But those duties are linked to rights held by individuals under a vinculum juris.  


Where does that leave freedom?

It leaves freedom as a bunch of Hohfeldian rights linked to remedies under a bond of law.  

The Indian Constitution does mention freedom as a Fundamental Right but it is subordinated to the principle of justice.

No it isn't. Fundamental rights aren't more or less fundamental that each other any more than 'fundamental particles' in Physics.  

And since the state is the arbiter of that principle of justice as equity,

It is not. The Judiciary is the arbiter.  

it also has the right “to suspend or override freedom when (it is) deemed to be coming in the way of justice” 

The State certainly has that power. However a Court may decide that that power was exercised ultra vires. The power to do something is not the same thing as a right to do something.  

The framers of the Constitution achieved this end by adding qualifications to each right to such an extent that one Constituent Assembly member, Somnath Lahiri remarked, quite unerringly, that the rights had been framed from “the point of view of a police constable.” Granville Austin, the constitutional scholar is summoned by Mukherjee to say that “ this particular aspect of personal freedom was whittled down until on paper at least it was non-existent.” 

True enough. But, the fact is, much the same could have been said about McCarthy's America. Come to think of it, an American couldn't own gold in the Fifties whereas an Indian could- so, economically we were more free. Indeed, if you weren't a crazy Commie or a rabid Rezakar or a Sheikh Abdullah type secessionist, then India wasn't too bad. JBS Haldane decided to take Indian nationality after his wife was sacked for drunkenness in dear old Blighty. 

Ramifications follow from the legislative sovereignty of justice as equity

but those ramifications also follow from the anal intrusion of justice as equity 

and the subordination of individual freedom especially for the judiciary in relation to the executive.

and the incessant sodomy judges are forced to experience at the hands of executives of various types 

The Supreme Court’s power to examine parliamentary legislation in terms of its constitutionality was drastically reduced, “if not altogether removed by the framers of the Indian Constitution. While the Constitution did provide for judicial review in the domain of Fundamental Rights (think Aadhar and right to privacy!) and the relation between the central and the state legislatures, severe restrictions were placed on the nature of review. ’

That has been reversed but now the Bench realizes it bit off more than it could chew. The 'doctrine of political question' will have increasing salience going forward.  

More surprises follow. The framers further undermined the Supreme Court by rejecting the ‘due process’ clause as a ‘fundamental procedural element in the constitution despite ‘overwhelming public demand for it’

Fuck off. Nobody wanted the thing because it was associated with American plutocracy using the Bench to block FDR's agenda.  

And why would the public have wanted due process? “By giving the courts the power to judge in a case where the the individual’s rights may have been infringed upon by the legislature or the executive, the right to due process safeguards fundamental rights from the excesses of the state..”

This is silly. Instead of 'due process' the Indian Bench reads Article 14 and 21 to get to the same result. Saying 'procedures of law' is just as good as saying 'due process'.

Nehru, GB Pant and other Congress leaders opposed due process: “‘To fetter the discretion of the legislature could lead to anarchy’” They contended that “…in the interests of law and order, the prevention of violence the imperative of social justice, the due process clause needed to be dispensed with, and Parliament given the absolute power to override the rights of the individual.” 

Britain, with its unwritten constitution, always had Parliamentary sovereignty. Indians may have been prepared to have 'due process' etc, if Hindus in Muslim majority areas benefitted. But once Pakistan was created, there was no way Hindu India would accept any limit to its power to fuck over Muslims and Communists and anybody else who tried to create mischief. 


The ‘Constitution is a creature of Parliament,’, and if that was the case it could also be amended. “Parliament had the right to amend the fundamental provisions of the Constitution if the court’s decisions conflicted with its own sense of justice as equity.” Thus, amendments became, as Mukherjee notes, “an institutionalized way of dealing with judicial independence and asserting the legislative will of the Parliament even when the legislations were declared to to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.”

So what? This is scarcely news. Why gas on about 'Justice as equity' if, it has always been obvious, Justice is a scarce commodity in a poor country like India?  

When Nehru declared that “‘No Supreme Court and no judiciary…can stand in the way of the sovereign will of the Parliament , representing the will of the entire community…” and by designating the Constitution as a ‘creature of parliament’ Nehru had placed Parliament and in effect, the ruling party and its leader above the Supreme Court and the Constitution itself. It was in the Parliament, a.k.a. the ruling party and its leader, that the sovereign of the discourse of justice as equity was located—as it was in the figure of the Queen during the imperial raj.

Nonsense! The Queen had no power. Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay could chop your balls off- or at least forcibly sterilize you.  However, even if there was no strong leader at the helm, extra-judicial killing to end an insurgency could carry on with impunity. 


Reading ‘In the Shadows…’ what we learn is that the ‘imperialism of categories’, to use Ashish Nandy’s memorable phrase, is

shite, like everything else which came out of his mouth 

alive and throbbing in the assertion of the legislative sovereignty of justice as equity,

or the aesthetic hegemony of anal intrusion as the Capabilities approach to a Rights based discourse of Human Development as the reach-around demanded by the Neo-Liberal Nomenklatura with comprador characteristics 

in the subservience of individual rights and freedom to justice – as interpreted by its supreme arbiter, Parliament and, by implication, the party in power.

Either there is subservience to the ruling party or there is Justice. There can't be both.  

Someone once said, you never read the same book twice. Re-reading ‘In the Shadows…’ first published in 2010, and after a review in Seminar magazine in 2014 did not give me the sense of having walked down this road before; not even those heavily underlined passages that should have invoked a sense of déjà vu. That had been a different reader. Now, it was the resonance of its pivotal ideas in the reality we live; or, to turn the equation around, in the way that the increasingly frightening omniscient state reaching out to grab us by the short and curly, to determine for us the codes by which to live and think—all in the name of justice and development—echoed so much in the pages of her book that made me think of re-visiting that period of our tryst with destiny through Mukherjee’s text. When I opened the book to the section on the ‘Imperial Constitution?’ I decided to read the book once again; I could hear the drumbeats of vaunting authoritarianism posing as grandstanding rhetoric.

So, this guy doesn't like Modi. Fair enough. But why read Mithi's book? Will it help him overthrow Modi? Or will it make him stupider than he already is?  


Not for the first time India is confronted with the prospect of an authoritarianism smelling the fruits of unbridled power The idea of a sovereign leader standing above all law, dispensing justice is the procrustean bed of our political life, of our democracy; democracy in India is not freedom for the individual grounded in rights primarily; it is the freedom for the State to determine and fashion the liberties of its subjects—all in the name of justice and development. The only unfettered freedom for the individual to vote a party into power that can then decide the freedoms we are entitled to.

So the guy doesn't like Democracy. If I were him I'd emigrate to the UAE. 

In India then electoral democracy is simply the means by which we endorse the power of the State, of the ruling party as the sovereign arbiter of our liberties.

The same is true of the US or the UK. That is why people who are worried about populist authoritarianism should emigrate to stable Monarchies in the Gulf. 


As head of state, the ‘sovereign’ does not need an Emergency, or a coup or coercive means (as yet) to enforce its will. The foundations on which the Indian State are erected allow for such a possibility in the first instance; that is Mukherjee’s unstated message; at least that is how one can read her text of an Imperial’ Constitution, of the echoes she finds of an imperial sovereign past, in the attitudes of our founding fathers to ‘due process’ to accountability to a judiciary and laws that should limit its excesses.

   Mithi migrated to the US where, no doubt, she is very happy with Trump's picks for the Supreme Court. In India, however, the Judiciary is independent. Still, Upadhyay should migrate to some nice monarchy in the Gulf because Hindus are in the majority in India.  

In Mukherjee’s view, the exercise of power, of sovereignty and of the perpetuation of the imperial discourse of justice-as-equity needs more than coercive power; it needs a discourse;

Does what China is doing to the Uighurs really need a discourse?  

imperial power (and by implication, the power of the Indian State) need not be guaranteed by force, political or economic might, by material appropriation and dispossession alone; it was and continues to be legitimized in the hearts and minds of the subject

wow! these cunts think Indian 'hearts and minds' belonged to Queenji only! Meredith Townsend revealed over a hundred years ago that Indians were not loyal to the Brits. They only pretended to be. 

through persuasion, by convincing its subjects that had been racked, ransacked by innumerable conquerors that its moment of glory had passed, that it was dysfunctional, malcontented, its communities at war with each other. It needed to welcome the supremacy of a foreign monarch and his/her categories of imperial rule to hold it together.

Why do these two people of Indian origin not know that the Brits defeated Indian princes and took their land? What do they think happened? Queenji started shouting very loudly in various Indian languages. She said 'India very dirty and horrible. Chee! Chee! Kindly invite a nice British Viceroy. Then everything will be hunky dory. Haan ji haan. Chashme buddoor'. Indians, being very stupid, were quickly fooled. Then they started complaining 'Queenji, why you are not giving justice as equity? Is it due to you are using it as dildo? Chee! Chee! You one nasty bitch!' 

Sadly Nehru was rudely shoving the British aside and, without any concern for 'due process', he was starting massive campaign of anal intrusion as justice as equity and Hegemonization of the Compador Nomenklatura of the Neo-Liberal reach-around of the Populist Authoritarianism or the Democratic deficit of the immanent Sovereignty of the scotomization of the Panopticon of the infrastructure of ideological nexus of whatever it is that crawled up your arse and died there.  

By implication, that persuasion or discourse now has a new infrastructure

because discourses are getting new infrastructure for free from their rich Uncles who migrated to Singapore back in 1972.

to suit the sovereign’s ideological needs and to convince us that we Indians are at threat from ‘divisive’ forces that celebrate differences in religious beliefs, eating habits, dress codes and languages, from those who would destroy the fabric of our unity by extolling its diversity. Justice and development are prioritized; freedom is assigned—by the State—to only those purveyors and disseminators of the culture of statism, homogenization and majoritarianism.

Upadhyay is talking about Muslims. For some reason, Hindus seem to have developed an aversion for people of that Faith- unless they live in UAE or US or UK or other nice countries where terrorists are locked up properly.  


Mukherjee’s book is outstanding not just because it attempts to answer puzzling riddles long ignored, for instance, why ‘Transfer of Power’?

Because Power was transferred. Why is that difficult to understand?  

Its brilliance lies in raising more questions than it sets out to answer: The paradox of the renunciative discourse’s rapid disappearance from the political and psychological landscape of modern India soon after it had attained its formal objectives of what can be viewed as a qualified freedom.

There was no paradox. Gandhi talked stupid shite and got money from his financiers. Then everybody told him to fuck off. Finally, because he still didn't get it, he was shot. Then, he could be safely put on a pedestal. 

Was Gandhi’s project, of ‘transcendental freedom’ perhaps a Greek tragedy destined to an inevitable failure?

It was nonsense. It failed.  

Now one knows why disparate aspects of his practice and precepts, so ridiculed and made ludicrous, such as prohibition, the village economy, the loin cloth, his call to the Congress to disband, his experiments in celibacy make sense; seen discretely they appear as simulacra.

The guy said everybody should stop having sex so the human race could die out. Seen discretely or holistically, his nostrums were stupid, ignorant, garbled, shite.  

Their truth lies in the wholeness and tragedy of the renunciative discourse that enabled India’s freedom and was, in turn, disabled.

What 'enabled' India's freedom was the Kaiser's War. Empires were no longer viable. Sir Henry Wilson entitled his talk to the War College in 1921, 'the end of Empire'. Then an Irishman killed him. Ireland and Egypt and Afghanistan got independence. Ataturk prevailed in Turkey. White resistance to the Bolsheviks collapsed. India should have got independence around 1924. Gandhi's unconditional surrender prevented this outcome. Maybe that was a good thing. Maybe it was a bad thing. But that is what happened. 

Nobody in India wants Gandhianism- even those who pretend otherwise. This is because they don't want their throats slit in a manner which might discommode them from gassing on about Truth and Non Violence and like how the Modern World is totally Evil.  

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

'Teiku' & the skull of Yehoyakim,


Where saying 'toss for it' is what establishes Talmud's bona fides
We dance away Truth's dowry like Hippocleides
Yet the thing is a bag, Zugoth's self-aborting shag
 & Absence Thy Bolshevik feast of Barmecides.

Envoi-
Prince! Fuck Love till it Babies ; God is Here
 Truth but the rabies of the Tenth's pint of Beer. 

Why Gandhi was responsible for Partition

Was Partition inevitable? Yes- so long as Gandhi was alive. Why? He had always insisted that his Party, and his Party alone, should decide India's future and rule over it. But, by 1939, it was obvious his party was corrupt and that it discriminated openly against Muslims. Gandhi himself, when not considered a crackpot, was viewed as an inveterate liar, hypocrite and tireless intriguer. 

Consider the following conclusion to an article Gandhi wrote a month or so after the Second World War began-
Consider for one moment what can happen if the English were to withdraw all of a sudden and there was no foreign usurper to rule.

It may be said that the Punjabis, be they Muslims, Sikhs or others, will overrun India. It is highly likely that the Gurkhas will throw in their lot with the Punjabis. Assume further that non-Punjabi Muslims will make common cause with the Punjabis. Where will the Congressmen composed chiefly of Hindus be? If they are still truly non-violent, they will be left unmolested by the warriors. Congressmen won’t want to divide power with the warriors but will refuse to let them exploit their unarmed countrymen. Thus if anybody has cause to keep the British rule for protection from the stronger element, it is the Congressmen and those Hindus and others who are represented by the Congress. The question, therefore, resolves itself into not who is numerically superior but who is stronger. Surely there is only one answer. Those who raise the cry of minority in danger have nothing to fear from the so-called majority which is merely a paper majority and which in any event is ineffective because it is weak in the military sense. Paradoxical as it may appear, it is literally true that the so-called minorities’ fear has some bottom only so long as But the British power will, so long as it so chooses, successfully play one against the other calling the parties by whatever names it pleases. And this process need not be dishonest. They may honestly believe that so long as there are rival claims put up, they must remain in India in response to a call from God to hold the balance evenly between them. Only that way lies not Democracy but Fascism, Nazism, Bolshevism and Imperialism, all facets of the doctrine of ‘Might is Right.’ I would fain hope that this war will change values. It can only do so, if India is recognized as independent and if that India represents unadulterated non-violence on the political field.
Gandhi is saying that non-Gurkha or non-Punjabi Hindus have zero fighting ability. They wouldn't be able to stop an alliance of Punjabis, Gurkhas and non-Punjabi Muslims from 'overrunning the country'. However, because of the magic power of Ahimsa, these Hindus, who are represented by the Congress Party, won't be 'molested'. Using Ahimsa magic, they would prevent the Punjabis 'exploiting' unarmed countrymen. Still, the new masters will take over the Palaces and mansions and pleasure gardens currently in Hindu hands. This is Gandhi's prediction of what would happen if the British left.

Why is he making this prediction? Did he really believe Hindus (except Gurkhas and Punjabis) were utterly shit? Perhaps. But, if so, he ought to be saying 'back the Brits. Otherwise the Punjabis will turn up and boot you out of your bungalows.' 

Gandhi can't accept that Muslims did not believe their Hindu neighbors were arrant cowards without martial qualities. He does not see that a minority really could be in danger if the majority is similar to it in respect of the means and ability to wield coercive power. 

Gandhi says Hindus, though a majority, are weak. British bayonets alone permit the Hindus to 'play at democracy'. Yet the Hindus are demanding that the Brits leave. Is it because they want the Punjabis to rule over them? Or is Gandhi lying?

The answer is, Gandhi is lying. In 1932 he demanded that the Army- including its Muslim and Sikh and Gurkha soldiers- be handed over to the INC. The minorities- including the Sikhs and Dalits united against him and his party. 

In 1939 Gandhi is making the same demand. At the beginning of this article he writes-
 I know that many have been angry with me for claiming
an exclusive right for the Congress to speak for the people of India as
a whole. It is not an arrogant pretension. It is explicit in the first article
of the Congress. It wants and works for independence for the whole of
India. It speaks neither for majority nor minority. It seeks to represent
all Indians without any distinction. Therefore those who oppose it
should not count, if the claim for independence is admitted. Those
who support the claim simply give added strength to the Congress
claim.

Suppose the Muslim League had, in its first article of Association, asserted Islam to be the religion of India and the Muslims of India to be its natural rulers. Then its position would have been the same as the INC which, truth be told, spoke for itself- not the majority though, according to Gandhi, the Hindu majority did cleave to it. 

Gandhi says 'those who oppose Congress should not count- if India really has a claim to Independence'. This is the doctrine of a One Party State! Not for nothing had Govind Vallabh Pant called Gandhi 'the Il Duce and Fuhrer' of India. It is noteworthy that Gandhi was killed by his own people within a few years of Mussolini. Hitler, of course, took his own life.  

Britain has hitherto held India by producing before the world
Indians who want Britain to remain in India as ruler and arbiter
between rival claimants. These will always exist. The question is
whether it is right for Britain to plead these rivalries in defence of
holding India under subjection or whether she should now recognize
the mistake and leave India to decide upon the method of her own
government.

Gandhi is lying. Britain held India by military and economic might coupled with effective Administration. It did not bother to 'produce Indians before the world' because, quite properly, the testimony of a despised and conquered race is not worth hearing.  

And who are the minorities? They are religious, political and
social: thus Mussalmans (religious), Depressed Classes (social),
Liberals (political), Princes (social), Brahmins (social), non-Brahmins
(social), Lingayats (social), Sikhs (social?), Christians—Protestants and
Catholics (religious), Jains (Social?), Zamindars (political?). I have a
letter from the Secretary of the All-India Shia Conference registering
their claim for separate existence. Who are the majority in this
medley? Unfortunately for unhappy India even Muslims are
somewhat divided and so are the Christians. It is the policy of the
British Government to recognize every group that becomes
sufficiently vocal and troublesome. I have drawn no fanciful picture
of the minorities. It is true to life. The Congress itself has been
obliged to deal with every one of the groups I have mentioned. My
list is not exhaustive. It is illustrative. It can be increased ad libitum.
I know that the fashion is to talk of the Hindus forming the
majority community. But Hinduism is an elastic, indefinable term, and
Hindus are not a homogeneous whole like Muslims and Christians.

But this guy just showed that Muslims and Christians aren't homogeneous wholes! He can't keep his lies straight even over the length of a paragraph! 

And when one analyses the majority in any provincial legislature it
will be found to consist of a combination of the so-called minorities.
In other words and in reality so far as India is concerned, there can
only be political parties and no majority or minority communities.

But if there can only be political parties why should one Party, Gandhi's Party, have what Gandhi demands- viz. 'an exclusive right to speak for India as a whole'? 

Gandhi's demand is totalitarian. It lays the basis for a One Party State. If that isn't tyranny, what is? 

The cry of the tyranny of the majority is a fictitious cry.

Not in this instance. Gandhi is saying Congress should have 'an exclusive right' of representation. 

I observe that Janab Jinnah Saheb has said, in reply to Rajen
Babu’s letter offering to refer the League’s grievances against the
Congress Governments to an arbitration tribunal, that he has
already placed the whole case before the Viceroy and Governor-General and requested him to take up the matter without delay as he and the Governors of the Provinces have been expressly authorised under the Constitution and entrusted with the responsibility to protect the rights and the interests of the minorities.
The matter is now under His Excellency’s consideration, and he is the
proper authority to take such action and adopt such measures as would meet our requirements and would restore complete sense of security and satisfaction amongst the Mussalmans in those Provinces where the Congress Ministries are in charge of the administration.

So far so good. Prasad made an offer of arbitration to Jinnah which Jinnah rejected because he had already taken the correct constitutional step of placing the matter before the Viceroy. 

It is unfortunate that he had rejected Rajendra Babu’s reasonable proposal.

It may have been reasonable, but it was more reasonable yet for Jinnah to avail of the appropriate Constitutional remedy. 

Is it rejection of the proffered hand of friendship?

Well, answer the question, why don't you? Is it or is it not? Why suggest something you won't back up? Is that a friendly act?  

Be that as it may, nobody can have anything to say against
the Viceroy investigating and adjudicating upon the charges brought
against Congress Ministries. Let us hope he will soon conduct the
investigation. Whether the Muslims are regarded as minorities or
otherwise, their as well as any other community’s rights and privileges,
religious, social, cultural and political, must be regarded as a sacred
trust to be jealously guarded. And the independence of India will
make no difference to the protection of those rights. In fact they will
be better protected in every way, if only because in the framing of the
Charter of Independence by the nation’s representatives the Muslims
and other minorities, real or so-called, will have an effective voice.

We know how things turned out. The Brits did indeed give a more effective voice to minorities in Sri Lanka and India than they received after the region became independent. Gandhi goes on to say that Hindus are cowardly and useless in battle. This is not a good argument to make when a country is at war. Clearly the Hindus can contribute nothing to the defense of the realm. Let the Punjabis and Gurkhas and Indian Muslims- who, Gandhi says, are immune to the Hindu disease of being shit at fighting- decide how India should be ruled. After all, once the Brits depart, they will 'overrun' everything though, mercifully, they won't molest the backsides of Hindu cowards.