Sunday 27 February 2011

Ghalib's ghazal 120

See Prof. Fran Prichett's site for an intoxicating analysis of this Ghazal.

My bare existence baits their rage, not my barbarous bird cage
My lament so unlamented by the song trappers of the age...

Mimetic desire, were a refining fire, Lord, thy Perfection to gauge.
Did not the thymotic rival, for very survival, my affection engage

My heart’s wounds, not adept to suture, the eye of the needle wept
Eyes dry in my operation theater, she'll cry on the Opera stage!

To what tug-of-war hast thou, Lord, set, shameless, all hands to wage?
To tug at a heart, or by literary art, tosser, tugging’s guilt to assuage?

Breakers of our bloody sea, breasts to storm Cuchulain's rage
To see thy steed perform, we agree to at thy Blenheim engage

Madam, you’re a talker, I’m sentenced as a stalker, but mark my apercu sage
'ware Iron, a She, Turk irony!, epiphanies of Tiffany’s manacle thy mage!

Rain clouds gather over my fields like my few fond memories over this page
This happiness, too, that harvest which You, to the lightning, pre-engage...

The Brahman bury 'neath Ka'ba's stone for his heart's its sarcophagal rage
For Love & Faith, Death & Truth- atone as the pullulation of like phage.

 Being by day of all wealth robbed, by no terror of theft is my night daubed
To Tear’s Saqi, eyes sobbed, Death’s the dyvour debtor, I'm underage.

Greedy of thine and mine, poets mine each other to our Gokturk undermine
 & witless, but witness the gold digging ants of our own credulous page

I’m a court poet- djinn to the staff of the Solomon of the Age
Whose fortune can’t befall another- or my Firdausi engage.

Ghalib's contempt for Farhad is well known. Was it because, proud of his Turkish heritage, Ghalib sensed the truth of the legend that the Turks are descended from a slave blacksmith/miner class, in the Altai mountains, who rebelled and founded a vast Empire?

After all, Ghalib served a Timurid (Timur means 'iron') who, like the dead Solomon, propped up by his staff, whom the djinns obeyed, yet by virtue of a certain sort of wisdom, a penchant for poetry of a certain type, nevertheless commanded a not wholly undeserved  respect, though termites were eating through his prop and the final debacle little delayed.

Friday 25 February 2011

Zorn und Zeit vs. Manyu and Manu

Apparently Peter Sloterdijk's name, by reason of some failure of Grimm's Law in relation to Aryan phonetics, can't- by the likes of me- be legitimately pronounced Poofter fucking-Media-asshole-dilettante-witless-Heideggerianly-Nazi-fucking-shite-dick.

I look to Prof. Michael Witzel, of Harvard, to correct this anomoly.

Meanwhile, what of this Shite-dick's Zorn und Zeit (Rage and Time)?

Does the Iliad in fact begin with Achille's rage? No.  His was a type of Manyu (dark anger- as arising from an injustice) not the thymotic fury of an Ajax.

The Mahabharata is the great Aryan text on Manyu. In the Gita, its epoche, Achilles and Arjuna's determination not to fight is traced to that variety of Manyu termed Vishada (depression).

Sloterdijk and Sazzarin and, now, fucking Angela Merkel- fuck youse guys, seriously, fuck you very much. The original German sin is Sinn.

The Gandhian hand-job- its continuing relevance.

Apropos the current crisis in Micro-finance, we must return to the example of the Mahatma. This is what he had to say about his own preferred panacea for poverty- viz. hand spinning yarn.
(page 136)
Shri Jajuji writes to say that whilst on the one hand hand-spun
yarn is piling up, on the other handloom weavers are  day  by  day
giving up hand-spun yarn in preference to mill yarn. An appeal to the
weavers through the columns of Harijan, whether in English or in any
of the Indian languages, will be good for nothing. Hardly any weaver
reads Harijan and, if attempt is made to read it out to him, he will not
take inte-rest in it. Hence the task of speaking to the weavers on the
suicidal  effect  of  abandoning  hand-spun  yarn  devolves  upon  the
devoted heads of Charkha Sangh workers.  They have to reason out to
the weavers how they will be ultimately responsible for killing their
own occupation by excluding hand-spun yarn.  As soon as the mill-
owners can do so profitably, they will certainly stop selling mill yarn
and will weave it themselves.  They are not philanthropists.  They have
set up mills in order to make money.  They will stop selling their yarn
to  handloom  weavers,  if  they  find  weaving  is  more  profitable.
Therefore it is a question of time when handloom  weavers  will  be
starved. These are really fed by hand-spinners even as they in their
turn are fed by handloom weavers.  They are twins, complementary of
each other.  This fact should be brought home to the weavers by the
Charkha Sangh.  With loving patience and knowledge they should try
to appreciate the difficulties of the weavers and learn how to remove
them.  Acharya  Vinoba  has  pointed  out  one  remedy,  namely,  to
double  and  twist  the  yarn  at  the  same  time  that  the  cones  are
unwound.  If  this  practice  becomes  universal,  there  would  be  no
untwisted  hand-spun  yarn  available  for  weaving.  It  is  found  by
experience that twisted hand-spun yarn is any day as weavable as mill-
spun yarn, if indeed it is not more so.

In other words, Gandhi realized full well that the hand yarn he had forced Congress members to spin- as the price of membership in that vehicle to class power as well as their badge of personal servitude to him- was not in fact suitable for the weavers he claimed to be helping. He also understood that his articles in his periodical the 'Harijan' (the name Gandhi gave to the untouchables once he'd decided that what they really needed was him, not Social Justice, not education, just him and his dear and dotty little ways) were of no interest to weavers, just as his wishing to stay in a 'Harijan' colony in Delhi did not enthuse its untouchable residents at all- it was the millionaire Birla whose good offices Gandhi invoked to force himself on them (though he did suggest to Birla that it would look bad if the water supply and electricity connection and so on were removed immediately after he left).
We now understand why Gandhi was so keen for everybody to go to the villages and harass people there with their love and understanding. It was to exercise moral blackmail on the weavers to use the yarn his followers were spinning.
After independence, mills were forced to produce hank yarn for handloom weavers and this was subsidized. However, it was the power loom sector which benefited from the subsidy. The Government's reservation of certain 'Janta' (common man) categories for the handloom sector hastened its deskilling and decline in quality. The stage was set for the starvation of weavers and their hamlets emerging as hot spots for Tuberculosis.
This is not to say hand weaving was or is unviable any more than carpet making. Only Gandhian hand weaving was unviable.
Well done thou good and faithful servant. A bullet was too good for you.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Gandhi on the Suffragettes.

Gandhi from "Hind Swaraj' (1908)

(In England,) Women, who should be the queens of households, wander in the streets or they slave away in factories. For the sake of a pittance, half a million women in England alone are laboring under trying circumstances in factories or similar institutions. This awful act is one of the causes of the daily growing suffragette movement.
This civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed. According to the teaching of Mohammed this would be considered a Satanic Civilization. Hinduism calls it a Black Age. I cannot give you an adequate conception of it. It is eating into the vitals of the English nation. It must be shunned. Parliaments are really emblems of slavery. If you will sufficiently think over this, you will entertain the same opinion and cease to to blame the English. They rather deserve our sympathy. They are a shrewd nation and I therefore believe that they will cast off the evil. They are enterprising and industrious, and their mode of thought is not inherently immoral. Neither are they bad at heart. I therefore respect them. Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English are at present afflicted by it.

Dr. Mahajan, of BASIX, is giving away copies of this noxious books to junior employees of his organization who- to their credit- never read the fucking thing. Once they do so, will the scales fall from their eyes?

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Dr. Vijay Mahajan, Shodh Yatras, and availability cascades

Dr. Vijay Mahajan, the Micro-finance maven behind BASIX,  is on a 'Shodh Yatra' and his riveting blog is here.

He asked some N.G.O workers 'for their views about what are key development problems facing the state? Productivity in agriculture was reducing and it was possible that in five years agriculture will collapse and farmers will land up being only wage labour for industry or services sector.  NREGA is having a negative impact on the agriculture.  Someone wondered if NREGA is a kind of four-step conspiracy – initially make agriculture unremunerative using human labour, then make larger farmers dependent on mechnisation, then withdraw or reduce outlay on NREGA, by which time not much demand is left for agricultural labour, and in the fourth step, the workers are captive for the industrial and service sectors. I recalled that this was not too different from the history of England during the Industrial Revolution.
I than asked what they thought of other government schemes like the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy, and the food subsidy in terms of Rs 2 per kg rice. The response was there is no need of MSP if all the intended benefits – irrigation, seeds, extension services – reach the farmers.  MSP was also destroying varietal diversity as only a few varieties were purchased.  As for the subsidized rice scheme, the participants said the people never asked for Rs 2/Kg rice. These kinds of schemes are just making the poor farmers more dependent.  It was said that Government work is just target based and not attached closely with the real need of the common people. Change in the attitude of people is more important than meeting the target.
In the words of one civil servant [name withheld] – “This scheme is widely misused.  Middlemen collects hundreds of ration cards in return for the promise of giving 15 kg out of 35 kgs rice for free, and a bottle of liquor costing Rs 50. Thus the middleman spends Rs 80 per card.  The balance of 20 kg rice is sold in the market for Rs 16, thus earning Rs 320.  Thus the middleman makes Rs 240 per card. This then shared throughout the system.”  I told them , however, that wherever I had asked, people seemed to be getting their full entitlement of rice and at the specified price and appeared happy about the scheme. “Why would they tell you otherwise?” was the response.  Either I am na├»ve or they are cynical, or both. I leave it that.'

Dr. Mahajan's reference to the Industrialization of England puzzled me. Perhaps, the reference was to the Speenhamland system, ‘outdoor relief’, whereby (it was asserted) larger farmers had their labor inputs subsidized at the cost of weavers, artisans as well as small farmers who relied upon their own labor input. Furthermore, the suggestion might be that the Poor Law acted so as to maintain the pool of mill labor in place during slumps thus benefiting the ironmasters and mill-owners, as well as the petit bourgeois retailers, undertakers (Oliver Twist!) and so on- at the cost of other rate-payers.
I don’t understand how the analogy applies to the NREGA. The Poor Law, on the analysis above, served a good economic purpose by subsidizing labour inputs without adversely impacting mobility. On the contrary the self-employed weaver or small farmer subsidized the big employers who could exploit economies of scale. In other words, those with lower potential productivity gain subsidized those sectors where productivity could grow faster. Isn’t this a good thing? Moving people out of agriculture and cottage industry is the only way to get out of abject poverty and effect demographic transition in a sustainable and non-coercive way.
If NREGA and RTE and so on are very much better implemented and added to, why should not vast swathes of the rural hinterland not turn into welfare slums with ambitious youngsters, caught up in an availability cascade, aiming for employment in N.G.O’s to do things like revive ancient tribal languages and handicrafts and set up support groups for gay and lesbian goats and so forth?
Or has it already happened?

Silly question.
Of course it has. It's just that the impact is too small to be very noticeable. As with Gandhism, Bhoodan, Sampoorna Kranti, Intermediate Technology and other shite, this too is a case of India's poverty saving it from properly implementing a humane and ecologically sustainable model of development which would impoverish it much further and faster and, in consequence, fuck up the environment even more than would otherwise be the case, thus requiring even more availability cascades at every level of Public discourse.

I know nothing about the Shodh Yatra movement. On the one hand, going out and learning stuff for yourself and pooling that information is a good thing. Johhny Appleseed meets up Madhuri Mangoseed and Liberace Lycheeseed (what? everybody knows lychees are totally gay) and they exchange seeds and so you get greater fruit variety all over the place.
This reminds me, I read somewhere that 'theoria' in Greek was what happened when people traveled to other areas to witness the religious rites there and returned home and talked about how like maybe everything fits together you know?
Well, we know what happened to Greek theoria. An availability cascade started such that the solution to every problem was like carve a statue already. Once you get a lot of statues of naked dudes, you naturally get a bunch of pederasts lurking around them. They get to measuring dicks and that gets you to geometry, Pythagoras, Plato, Euclid, shit like that.

Which is okay if you're into stuff like statues of naked dudes and Mathematics and Philosophy and stuff. But what of this Shodh Yatra business? Is it not just a holier-than- thou availability cascade as meta-availability cascade as meta-meta-availability cascade with no fucking pause for some like statues to go up and some pederasts to gather and some apoorvata to occur?

Jus' sayin' is all.

Monday 21 February 2011

When murder isn't murder.

There are questions in mathematics which even Jewish mathematicians can't solve. The question I want to address today is are there murders whose solution defies even the most brilliant detective? Take the following case-

Sauntering down the Arcade on a summer's evening, I stopped at a burrito van and purchased the special. The operator of the van moaned about the wind and the hail as he got busy with the hot plate. A passerby stopped to listen. The burrito guy asked hopefully if he wanted to order something.
'No', says the passerby, 'I recognize your voice from the messages you left on my wife's voice-mail. My name is Diego Vasquez. You and me got a score to settle, buddy.'
"I don't want no trouble,' says burrito guy. "I broke it off when she told me she was married. Is that a gun you're holding? Don't please... fuck!"
The noise of the pistol going off was quite deafening. I suppose I went into shock. By the time I'd recovered, the other man had fled. After some time I gathered myself sufficiently to go to the police station on the other side of the square.
Though the detectives I spoke to confessed their inability to procure for me the burrito I'd paid for,  they were very interested in what I had to say. They asked me to accompany them to the burrito van. It was empty but the smell of cordite and some blood stains inside the van convinced the police that a crime had occurred.
Back at the Station, I learned that Diego Vasquez had a criminal record. He was a member of the dreaded Los Ninos gang. I was able to identify him from his mug-shot.

From c.c camera footage, the police became convinced that Vasquez had murdered the burrito seller and returned to the scene of the crime with two accomplices to remove the body.
Later that week, Vasquez was detained at Stanstead while attempting to board a charter flight . I was informed that I would be a witness in his trial for murder. This put me in a real bind.

You see, the fact is, I knew who had murdered the burrito guy. It wasn't Vasquez. Yes, he had motive, means and opportunity. Still, when he fired his gun, the person who deftly picked up the bullet with his chopsticks, as it emerged from the muzzle or the pistol, and conducted it into the body of the victim was none other than Iain Duncan Smith. True, I didn't actually see him do it. But that's the thing about I.D.S. No one notices him. Not till it's too late.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Outed by my dear old Mum- an insight into Hindu attitudes to homosexuality

Many years ago, I committed the ultimate solecism of marrying a non Tam Bram. How this happened is itself an instructive story, indicative (in my opinion) of the, Drona Acharya like, duplicity of the leading Tamil Savant in London at the time- Padma Shree  Dr. John Marr- who, wishing to handicap the most able, or Ekalavya, amongst his students, cunningly convinced her that the sounds that emanate from my mouth are in fact some archaic or ultra pure version of Tam Bram dialect rather than- as he very well knew- such English as, it remains my self-flattering conviction, is spoken by poshest of posh persons- like Queenji herself innit?
The lady who espoused me- hoping to acquire what old India hands called 'a sleeping dictionary' and thus steal a march over her academic rivals- eventually came to see that she had been cruelly deceived, and divorced me in summary fashion.

My dear old Mum, who had managed to hush up news of the mesalliance, visited me a short while later, worried I had succumbed to Clinical Depression.

It was on her return to India that she outed me as a homosexual.

What happened was this. Taking tea with Mrs. Iyengar, who should drop in 'by chance' but biggest gossip of the M.E.A wives' association- Pinky Mathur only!

Pinky Mathur- So, Vasantha, tell us, your son in London- must be having girl-friend no?
Mum- No! He likes boys only. No girls at all.
Pinky- Really? But I heard...
Mum- All a mistake! When he was 20 he was as innocent as a baby. He didn't know anything. By the Grace of God all that is over and done with. Now he is with boys only. I visited just last month. Boys sleeping everywhere.   No girls anywhere to be seen.
Pinky- So he
Mum- Of course he is gay! He has always been gay! I'm his mother! Don't I know that his character has always been gay! What are you trying to imply? You have been listening to rumors.
Pinky- Well I had heard...something...I thought... but, I was wrong as I can see... Sorry, I didn't know. But, tell me, are you really okay with it?
Mum- Of course I'm okay with it! What are you talking? One boy, he is working in clothes shop, he saw me walking by on my first day and somehow he recognized me and came running to touch my feet, calling me Mataji and Ammijaan. Muslim boy. Pathan from Pakistan. He loves my son so much, just seeing my face in photo, he immediately felt I am his mother also. Actually, all the boys love my son. They are Refugees. He meets them through the Refugee Legal Center where he does voluntary work. He handles their paper-work to spare them the fees of crooked lawyers. Staying with him, they save money to send home. Every night is like a party at his flat. No worries, no sadness, no depression at all. Just all these boys being gay with each other without thought for caste or creed.
Pinky- Well... I must say, you're very broad-minded.
Mum- What you are saying- broad-minded? That because someone is Muslim I'll object? My father was in Freedom Struggle, I say! He had many Muslim friends in prison. I tell you, my son takes after my father in this respect! Mind it, kindly!
Pinky- Sorry, Vasantha, I did not know.... It seems, I knew you but never knew you. I want to tell you something... my son, you know the one in San Fransisco... the one I told you was living with a gori...
Mum- Forgive and forget. Take trip to Tirupati. By God's grace everything is possible.

New Indian copyright law causes your dick to shrink.

The amended Indian copyright law reduces price discrimination by permitting the import of lower priced books legally available in other countries into India.
The result, according to Publishers is that foreign text-books may rise in price ten fold.
It is because, in America, publishers argue that the import of cheap Indian editions would cause their dicks to shrink. Hence, since dick shrinkage is highly infections and American publishing dicks are constantly rubbing up against Indian publishing dicks, the Indian Copyright amendment act is bound to cause dicks to shrink all round.
This causes Indian publishers to argue that the new law may cause the price of foreign text books to rise ten fold because once your dick starts shrinking fuck you care about the price of foreign textbooks, that's your dick shrinking goddamit, you start babbling anything that comes into your head- fuck me, that's another centimeter I've just lost- won't William Darlymple or Gurcharan Das or somebody please do something, my dick is fucking shrinking for Chrissake!

What people need to understand is that if Publishing dicks start shrinking, it becomes the duty of fuckwits everywhere to speak out.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

The modern Mahatma- is sodomy ever licit?

Chi Jawahar Lal

Sodomy is never licit, however an exception can be made for a true Satyagrahi taking the Jubilee Line to the Swami Narayan Temple in Neasden because Dollis Hill, it is widely acknowledged, is indeed the indubitable arsehole of the Universe.



The modern Mahatma- visit to a software factory

Recently I visited a software factory but was disappointed to note that casual micturation upon computer consoles and defecation in potted plants was continuing to occur. On my raising the matter with the factory overseer, rather than the offending party being subjected to rebuke, or becoming the object of emulative competition, the factory proprietor expressed a polite and irrelevant concern that I might be suffering a stroke or experiencing the incontinence associated with senile dementia.

This proved to me, yet again, that though the British may have left, India still needs a Mahatma like myself.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Heidegger, his Heraclitus, in Der Speigel

Colliding with a maiden small, yet street legal
Like Heidegger, his Heraclitus, in Der Speigel
I see what motility must to that Black Sun's ovum
Her eye's blason blue a Speculum Novum.

To amuse the idle did our idols refuse

To amuse the idle did our idols refuse
Or their currency but defray in use
Work wot is a ghastly expense
Loss naught is if not this Sense