Tuesday 31 July 2012

The Saqi as a Professor of Feminism

I saw Indian Feminism play false with Mum
Now who will marry her ugly son?
'Amma! please to meet the Grape's daughter
'At J.N.U, Prof. Saqi taught her'

Monday 30 July 2012

Amaresh Mishra - 'Gujarat is not part of India'

Amaresh Mishra is an Historian not a Geographer (is that a word?). Still, he's written a lot of books so he must know something. Apparently, Gujarat is not part of India anymore. It has split off and is drifting towards Mauritius.
Mishra writes in the Times of India-
 'Be it Gujarat or whatever take, Maruti Suzuki anywhere—Gujarat is not India.' 
The context of Mishra's article is the Manesar arson and murder.
Okay, the syntax in the sentence I quoted may seem a bit strange. But Mishra is not concerned with conforming to the usages of 'foreign trained Indians'. Still the meaning is clear- Gujarat is not India. Not anymore.
Judging by the rest of his post, It's because Gujarat, under Narendra Modi, has been forced to abandon Hinduism. 
Mishra writes- In a famous case that took place last year in the Honda factory of Haryana’s industrial belt, foreign-trained Indian managers refused to allow workers to celebrate Vishvakarma Pooja. In the Hindu pantheon, Vishvakarma is the lord of tools and workers—his birthday is normally a holiday, no less relevant than Ram Navami, Buddha Jayanti or the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.
Workers worship their tools on Vishvakarma Diwas. At Honda, a worker was assaulted by the supervisor when the latter tried applying a "teeka" on the former’s head. Indian workers have their own definition of what constitutes "hard work". It includes whiling away time, bonding with fellow workers, and then putting in extra work at the right time
In Gujarat such a thing could not happen because Modi has banned Hinduism and is ruthlessly suppressing indigenous festivals like Visvakarma divas. Consequently, Indian workers there no longer have their own definition of 'hard work' which includes 'whiling away time' and 'bonding with fellow workers'

At Manesar, a worker tried to apply teeka to his supervisor because the supervisor had made a Casteist remark. This is an ancient Hindu practice intended to bring the Grace of God into the stony heart of superiors. However, Management alleged that the worker had slapped the supervisor- whom they sent home. The worker was suspended. A few hours went by. The workers became very angry when Management failed to reinstate the worker immediately. This was a terrible insult which could only be avenged by blood. What great wrong had the worker committed- to be suspended? He had only been applying teeka to his boss- that is all. What is wrong with that? It is a traditional Hindu practice. Management, however, remained obdurate. So the workers used iron bars to apply teeka to the legs and heads of about 100 managers. They also started a havan- or fire sacrifice. One senior manager, entering into the spirit of the occasion, spontaneously committed suttee- probably to protest against injustice to women. This sort of thing is quite routine and part and parcel of ancient Hindu culture. Yet, Management is making the outlandish claim that workers broke the H.R. manager's legs and burnt him to death!

Sadly, local villagers were very angry with the workers- probably because they did not distribute sweets to mark this holy occasion as custom demanded. Consequently, the workers ran away or, in the case of the innocent ones, were handed over to the police by irate villagers. Police, no doubt, also want to apply some teeka of their own. They too are very religious people.
However, they have an impersonal hierarchy in the Police force, so maybe they won't be permitted to apply teeka.

As, Dr. Mirshra points out-
'Also, the sense of impersonal hierarchy is alien to Indian workers. They can respect an angrez who mingles with them, but they will boycott Indian managers trying to put on foreign airs and indulging in unfamiliar hierarchical behaviour.
Foreign—especially American, German and Japanese personnel—were often left dumbfounded by these cultural practices. Because of historic factors—the traditional resistance of the Hindi-Urdu belt to British Imperialism, the rugged-peasant masculinity and sense of honour—dubbed mistakenly, "pre-modern" by social analysts—the management versus worker clash was more severe in post-liberalization, north Indian factories.
The sense of impersonal hierarchy- as exemplified by the Govt. of India- is alien to Indian workers. That is why, when the British left, Govt. of India collapsed completely. The Indian clerks and peons and chaprasees and so on could respect an Englishman who mingled with them- Viceroy Ripon was always to be seen sharing their paan and bidi and putting Visvakarma divas teeka on all and sundry- but they boycotted any Indian manager trying to put on foreign airs and indulging in unfamiliar hierarchical behaviour. A case in point is Mrs. Gandhi. She was indulging in unfamiliar hierarchical behaviour and putting on foreign airs to impress Sir Peter Ustinov who had come to interview her. Two of her guards immediately boycotted her with their guns. Management ruthlessly assaulted the guards who were only trying to put some teeka on her head and other parts of her body. This traditional resistance of the Hindi-Urdu belt to British Imperialism- which consisted of enlisting in large numbers in their armies and then mutinying- arises from a rugged-peasant masculinity and sense of honour. Gujaratis don't have rugged-peasant masculinity and sense of honour. Why? Gujarati is not very different from Hindi. The very name Gujarat derives from the Gujjar tribe. The leader of last year's strike at Manesar was a young man called Sonu Gujjar. Yet Gujaratis, including Gujjar Gujaratis, don't have rugged-peasant mentality. They don't object to impersonal hierarchy. What makes them different? Well, we all know that Modi massacres Muslims. Turns out that was just a blind to divert attention from the really diabolical aspect of his tyranny- viz. his systematic emasculation of Hindus and ruthless suppression of their Religion and Caste practices. Indeed, Gujarat is no longer part of India. 
The problem is that post-liberalization India has no idea of 1857, India’s first war of Independence.
They do. The Brits were stupid enough to introduce land reforms which weakened the landlords and helped the sepoys' families. Yet the sepoys backed the landlords against the Brits. The Brits didn't  make the same mistake twice. Henceforth, they backed existing hierarchies. The Bengal Army of the East India Company, which remained at the forefront of the war’s long and torturous course, comprised of soldiers from the Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar belt. Yet, these soldiers weren't able to stop their own supply lines being looted by Meo tribesmen who were their co-religionists and caste fellows. They rebelled against what was seen as the insensitivity of a multinational company—the world’s largest that managed a huge country like India plus other colonial stations—towards the sense of dignity, pride and religion of both Hindus and Muslims. That, at any rate, is true. Mangal Pandey said 'Company Bahadur, you are a big MNC. Please don't be seen as being insensitive to dignity, pride and religion of Hindus and Muslims. It is really hurting our feelings.  Tell you what, we'll Mutiny and shoot you and slaughter your wives and kids. That will make you nice and sensitive.' Oddly, it didn't have the desired effect. The Brits, with Sikh help, slaughtered the Sepoys who, though more sensitive than a blushing maiden of seventeen summers, don't seem to have been any good at fighting. Still they had 'rugged-peasant masculinity'. Much good it did them. 
It is imperative to note that the Manesar incident arose following an anti-Dalit, caste slur issued by a supervisor to Jiya Lal, a worker. Then Jat-Gujar-Tyagi-Dalit workers—belonging to the Haryana region—and UP-Bihar Poorabias—united to give a fitting reply to the miscreants belonging to the management. The management brought in hundreds of bouncers to beat workers to submission. In fact, the official statement of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union, states that the bouncers started the fire that killed a senior manager.
So class solidarity overcame caste divisions—a similar phenomenon occurred during 1857.
Both 1857 and Manesar incidents arose out of cultural slights inflicted by an insensitive foreign/part-foreign management. At the other end of the spectrum, it can be seen that like the Manesar incident, the cultural aspect of 1857 carried a slew of wage related issues, and other socio-economic grievances, nursed by soldiers against the British East India Company.
Interestingly, the supervisor who uttered the alleged anti-Dalit slur was Dalit himself. Jats and Gujars, of course, are well known for their solidarity with Dalits. They get terribly outraged if anyone utters anti-Dalit slurs. 
Sangram Singh, the Dalit supervisor who sparked off this new Mutiny, as of 1857, is clearly an insensitive foreign or part foreign person. Unlike Jats or Gujars, such foreign, or foreign trained, managers do not have the sensitivity to refrain from uttering anti-Dalit slurs. In Japan, if Mr. Suzuki accidentally bumps into Mr. Takeshita, the latter retaliates by calling the former a clumsy bhangi dolt. This is absolutely routine in advanced countries. In India however, ordinary working people from peasant backgrounds never use Casteist slurs. Only because of Corporate, greed-driven, Globalization is this evil practice of uttering Casteist slurs spreading in places like Haryana. It does not happen in Gujarat because Modi has totally suppressed Hinduism and Indian Culture and so when the foreign or foreign trained manager utters Casteist slurs the workers don't react because they simply don't understand the concept of caste. Thus when Mr. Takeshita says 'pull your finger out you damn bhangi' , the worker thus addressed shrugs his shoulders and inquires of his colleague- 'I say, old boy, that slitty eyed Oriental just called me a bangee or bungee or something like that. Any idea what the little Nip was getting at?' 'None at all, old boy. Are you sure you heard correctly? Bukkake was what he probably said. Probably wants you to come on his face. Don't you do it though. Remember what happened with Mountbatten. Once these foreigners get what they want they just pull out of the country and take their f.d.i with them.'
Mishra concludes- It can be seen clearly that though India runs on the workforce of UP, Bihar, Delhi and Haryana- the Manesar workforce having run away after committing murder and arson- the people of these regions have historically resisted the homogeneity, uniformity and conformity demanded by global corporate culture. As opposed to the homogeneity, uniformity and conformity demanded by the khap panchayat.

 These workers demand their own indigenous-capitalist ethic, different from the west. (WTF? What indigenous-capitalist ethic is this? Does the author mean Sonu Gujjar's successful extortion of a few crores for himself and his cronies as his price for quitting the Union business? They are in no mood to comply. As opposed to commit murder & mayhem and then run awayBe it Gujarat or whatever take, Maruti Suzuki anywhere—Gujarat is not India. But UP, Bihar, Delhi and Haryana do constitute India. More's the pity. The country is finished without these states. No, these States will finish off the country. As the author signs off this article, news about certain Jat sections of the Haryana establishment dividing Jats and Gujars and undermining workers’ solidarity is pouring in—massive police repression has been unleashed on workers. Without a proper enquiry, workers are being blamed for the Manesar violence. Such tactics however are not going to work—after twenty years of enormous liberalization, India is on the threshold of a gigantic working class unrest. Indian people regard economic reform and the English speaking managerial elite with disdain. They have tasted wealth—but they also know that, foreigners and their lackeys have amassed riches a thousand times over. With people of north Indian origin—their culture of constructive violence and non-submission to power intact—leading this battle, the stage is set for new class struggles of the 21st century. Like the Anna Hazare movement of August 2011, the Manesar incident has taken all political parties by surprise. Their political response system is simply, not attuned to the new, 21st century Indian reality.
Constructive violence? But, Mishra Sahib, you quote the Union as saying that it was the Management's goons who started the fire- the workers didn't do anything violent at all. What happened to their 'rugged peasant masculinity and sense of honor'? Clearly, they were all weeping and crying and trembling and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because a supervisor had used a Casteist slur. Will they ever be able to overcome this terrible shock to their sensibilities? 
Still, we should look on the bright side. At least, Gujarat is not part of India anymore. 

Thursday 26 July 2012

Guha's Law- Criminals better Lawmakers than Lawyers

  Has Ramachandra Guha discovered a new law of Historiography? Or does everybody already know that the lawyer to criminal ratio in Parliament is inversely correlated with the rate of Economic growth?
'India’s first Lok Sabha, or Parliament, had a very high number of lawyers. A large proportion of its members were from the upper castes and were English speakers. Over the decades, however, Parliament has become more socially inclusive, its members drawn from a much broader range of castes and classes. Other changes have been less salutary—as in the greater number of criminals who enter its portals, and the increasing disruptions to its proceedings. In the 1950s, the Indian Parliament was a theater of intelligent and spirited debate. Now speakers are shouted down by their rivals, microphones and chairs are sometimes flung around, and walk-outs are frequent. “In the noise and disorder generated in Parliament over [allegations of] scandalous misconduct by someone somewhere,” observes Béteille, “it becomes difficult to decide on the merits of the individual case. But the long-term effect of continuous discord and disorder within Parliament is an erosion of public trust in the institution itself.”
(Ramachandra Guha in the New Republic)

   The Hindu rate of growth was legislated into existence by high minded lawyers who respected each other's intelligence and integrity so much that they were able to set aside their petty differences in order to gang rape the Economy. 
  Since the Police and the Civil Service and the financiers of the Political Parties were highly effective in preventing Laws being applied, voters ditched the lawyers- they cut out the middle-man- in favor of Criminals with effective countervailing power - i.e. the ability to kill policemen and Civil Servants and to bribe Judges and Jail Superintendents and so on.
  This destabilized Indian Democracy which in turn meant that the Indian Economy could pick up its bra and panties and start sprinting away in the hope of becoming a second China. 
  Unfortunately some high minded lawyers and other 'Civil Society' hooligans have caught the Indian Economy and are dragging her back to Indian Democracy which is now claiming that its izzat was looted by this callous Pinki Pramanik and only marriage with the rapist can restore its honor.
  Personally, I blame Mamta Bannerjee. That boy aint right.

Perry Anderson's 'After Nehru'.

Perry Anderson's essay, 'After Nehru'- is written after the style of that vacuous nitwit and improves on its original in idiocy, irrelevance and fake moral outrage.

Essentially, Anderson thinks the fact that the Indian State operated like a State is a very bad thing. Why? Perhaps, he believes India should have embraced Communism. But which brand and under whom? Every single Indian politician or ideologue would have been prepared to describe himself as Communist if that helped his career. Indeed most Indian Communism is simply careerism of this sort.
The problem with the Communists was that the 3 planks of their program were catastrophes waiting to happen.
1) Collectivization of land would have resulted in a massive famine, a million Mutinies, and the complete collapse of the State. The brief career of the Khalq faction in Afghanistan proves this. A corrupt sort of Land reform was the only viable option.
2) Nationalize everything. We all know how that turned out.
3) Self determination for Minorities- i.e. Bantustans as Gulags

Anderson writes ' The role of caste in the political system would change, from the years after independence to the present. What would not change was its structural significance as the ultimate secret of Indian democracy. Gandhi declared that caste alone had preserved Hinduism from disintegration. His judgment can be given a more contemporary application. Caste is what preserved Hindu democracy from disintegration. Fixing in hierarchical position and dividing from one another every disadvantaged group, legitimating every misery in this life as a penalty for moral transgression in a previous incarnation, as it became the habitual framework of the nation it struck away any possibility of broad collective action to redress earthly injustice that might otherwise have threatened the stability of the parliamentary order over which Congress serenely presided for two decades after independence. '
Is there any possible Universe in which Anderson's claim is not either vacuous or obviously false? Let us suppose a bunch of people from different parts of India come to a certain place. They belong to different castes. This strikes away any possibility of broad collective action, on their part, to redress earthly injustice. I bet there are Indian students at the University where Perry Anderson teaches. I bet those Indian students belong to different castes. Do those students join together to form an India Soc? If the University decides to impose higher fees on Indians or if Indian students are being racially abused, will that India Soc. sit idly by?  Will the Indians say to each other- alas! we belong to different castes. Prof. Anderson has said that we can't come together to take collective action. Instead, we must weep over our bad karma and resign ourselves to injustice.'
Indian Students were already showing their ability to rise above caste to come together when Aurobindo was at University. The Indian National Congress itself was composed of men of different castes. Before Democracy, people of different castes had shown themselves capable of working together. Why else did India become a Democracy? It wasn't something imposed from outside. Yet, Prof. Anderson says, that after Indians of different castes, by means of a broad collective action, decided to give themselves a Democratic form of Government, they- at that very moment- became incapable of broad collective action by reason of belonging to different castes. Further- this was and is 'the ultimate secret of Indian Democracy.'
Reading this got me real mad at Indian Democracy. I immediately phoned her and said 'You damn slut! Your ultimate secret has been revealed to all and sundry by Perry Anderson in the London Review of Books! Why you are going and making us Indians incapable of broad collective action to redress earthly injustice? Have you no manners? Don't you know this is completely unacceptable behavior? Kindly stop it. I don't want to have to tell you this again.'
I urge all my readers to do the same- unless you are of different caste to me, in which case don't bother.

Monday 23 July 2012

Meta-metaphoricity in Islam- if the Dutch cap fits.

    Metaphor (majaz) in Islam can be a controversial topic. Whether Semantically or Ontologically, the distinction between majazi (phenomenal/ figurative/ illusory) and haqiqi (noumenal/literal/real) permits the appropriation by Islamic Savants and Mystics, of the Bacchic, Erotic and Thymotic genre poetry of the pre-Islamic Arabs for a pious, albeit ecstatic, purpose and it is this appropriation which endows the ghazal with philosophical interest. On the other hand, theologians rule out a metaphoric rather than literal understanding of Scriptural teaching relating to the Unseen- for example the notion that God is like maybe how u feel when u dun bin real nice to people and like maybe Hell is how it feels when you don't got a date for the Prom coz u shot everybody at Columbine
   I am not a Muslim- nor, to be frank, even a virtuous man- and anything I say about Islam is bound to be either foolish or offensive or both. In particular, a man like me completely cuts himself off from God, utterly negates the possibility of ever overcoming his own swinishness, by saying cherry-picking things like- 'such and such is the real Islam whereas such and such is hypocritical Priestcraft, or fanatical Ignorance and Superstition, or part of some sinister conspiracy orchestrated by the I.S.I and/or the C.I.A, not to mention the P.T.A- the Parents Teachers Association at a meeting of which my saintly Mum and Dad were confronted by the ugly rumor that I couldn't read, write or (worst of all, for a Tam Bram male) do 'rithmetic. Thankfully I was able to argue that the 'Black Propaganda' they had heard was simply a product of 'Institutionalized Racism'- my melanin challenged West Indian class teacher clearly having it in for us yet darker skinned South Indians.
   Still, Dad smelt a rat and demanded to inspect my homework notebooks which were all full of line drawings of cats. Mum got very angry with him- 'What's wrong if he is drawing picture of cat? He is an artistic genius. I myself enabled him to master drawing picture of cat by the time he was just 14 years old. You just see, my boy will be acclaimed as a Picasso while all your so-brilliant nephews will be stuck behind desks earning the pittance which is your Government Officer salary!'
 I said nothing. Mum was so ignorant, she didn't understand that my almost geometrically idealized cats could well be diagrams in Economics or Graph theory or Quantum Physics or something similarly intense. Anyway, what was I saying? Urm... I've lost the thread- so just read through the following while I go refresh my drink-

Existence of metaphor (majâz) in the Qur’ân

I have heard people expressing the idea that there is no metaphor in the Qur’ân, or indeed in the Arabic language. They are adamant in their denial of this aspect of language. What is the truth about this? 
Answered by
Sheikh Nâsir al-Mâjid, professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh
The issue of distinguishing between literal and metaphorical expressions in Arabic has been a topic of much disagreement since early times. The vast majority of scholars, including commentators of the Qur’ân, language specialists, and legal theorists, acknowledge the existence of metaphor. They do not distinguish between the language of the Qur’ân in this matter. Among them are some of the most eminent and erudite scholars who adhere to the creed of the Pious Predecessors and defend it.

Those who denied the existence of metaphor were motivated in doing so because of how certain innovators abused the concept to give misinterpretations that negate the meanings of the texts of the Qur’ân and Sunnah relating to the Unseen and to the attributes of Allah.

In actual fact, the recognition of metaphor in the Arabic language presents no danger. This is because the default assumption for any instance of language is that it must be understood literally unless there is a contextual indicator to show otherwise. This is a matter of unanimous scholarly agreement.

When it comes to texts relating to maters of the Unseen, there cannot conceivably be any contextual indicator to show the need for a metaphorical meaning. Therefore, a person cannot correctly resort to a metaphorical interpretation in order to negate the text’s literal meaning.

Those who make such interpretations and negate the attributes actually do so on the basis of their pre-suppositions as to what those texts imply. They come up with these interpretations to dispel the negative implications that they mistakenly discern from the tests.

The texts relating to Allah’s attributes do not lend themselves to being understood metaphorically – neither linguistically nor from their context.

This is, in brief, the general position of Ahl al-Sunnah on the matter.

There is no problem with acknowledging metaphor as being a part of the language. The Qur’ân was revealed in the language of the Arabs. It employed their idioms and modes of speech.

It remains to say that metaphor is a necessity of language – any language – indispensable for its vitality and continued survival. No matter how vast a language might be, its words and expressions are limited in number and can never encompass all the meanings and nuances of meaning that people need to have in order to express the thoughts circumstances of their lives.

If we consider these points, they should dispel our reservations about this topic.

And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
  In this blog post, I'm going to look at a special sort of metaphor- a meta-metaphor- a figure of speech for figures of speech which, by its very existence paints language as something which is imperative
and strategic rather than alethic and substantive- and the special sort of speculative virtual Ontology- majazi majaz- which it gives rise to. My purpose is to show that in so far as the Created (Khalq) participates in the Uncreated (Quran) it does so under the rubric of Predestination (Qadr) in a very specific and paradoxical manner such that haqiqi, that is literal, Revelation about the Unseen is the the Providential terminus of a trajectory of metaphorical (majazi) reasoning such that metaphors are treated as literal truths and further metaphors are derived from them which themselves are treated as having even more literal truth. In other words, meta-metaphoricity is both the isthmus, or barzakh, between the two seas, one salt, one sweet, and the means of its own erosion, or vanishing, enfolded in the immeasurable Graciousness of God.
  I'm just kidding. What I'm actually going to do is gas on in my usual vein about how everybody dun bin Racist to me and like my fucking Doctor is now saying to me I've got to lose twenty pounds- which is more than I currently spend at McDonald's for lunch- and I've just fucking looked this up on the internet and basically, so long as I redefine my ethnicity as Dutch (Hollanders, the tallest people in the world, are about four or five inches taller than us Indians) then I'm only 10% overweight according to the height-weight chart. Anyway, I just phoned the Dutch Consulate- well, it wasn't the Dutch Consulate exactly, just some random dude- and he responded to my umpteenth call demanding immediate action by calling me a Paki cunt! Which is not just Racist but Sexist. Still, if the Dutch cap fits...

Joshua Greene & Kant's sick joke

Kant’s Joke—Kant wanted to prove, in a way that would dumbfound the common man, that the common man was right: that was the secret joke of this soul. He wrote against the scholars in support of popular prejudice, but for scholars and not for the people.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

This is a link to Joshua D. Green's very well written paper 'The secret joke of Kant's soul'.  I don't know if any Economists have commented on it but I imagine the point they'd make is that 'following rules'- i.e. something which looks deontological- may be optimal from the 'Consequentialist' point of view and, equally, that contested, or competition between, rule-sets militates for meta-rules which aim to maximize the information set and subsume all consequentialist calculi under that rubric. In other words, though the Socio-biological considerations Green highlights may indeed be illuminating in their own right, what they don't have any bearing on are the 'distinctions without differences' that constitute Philosophy's realm of discourse.
To see why consider
a) the Trolley problem- you can either let a trolley kill five people or divert it such that only one person dies.
 A moment's reflection will show that both the consequentialist and the deontologist should seek to maximize loss of life by their action because this will
1) prompt the Railway company to spend more on safety thus saving more lives in the long run.  Or if the accident was a one off, then in any case the Investigation is likely to expand the Social Information set in such a way that all Consequentialist decision making is advantaged.
2) Highlight the importance of deontics and prompt a debate that might lead to exciting breakthroughs in the subject etc- for the higher duty is to duty itself & promoting deontics is the most pressing duty incumbent on deontologists.
Since both Consequentialism and Deontology, by always counseling the most reprehensible action possible (thus attracting the interest of the hoi polloi the way Freakanomics does), always arrive at the same conclusion, they can be unified under the rubric of optimal decision theory over some fitness landscape.
More generally, both continue to be central to Ethics- i.e. the project to 'shit higher than your arsehole' (Wittgenstein) in the manner that maximizes public nuisance.

b) The Footbridge problem- ought you to throw a fat man off a footbridge to halt the trolley from killing 5 people?
 Clearly, you have to shove the other guy off the footbridge before he works out that he has to shove you off the footbridge. Which of you actually splatters on the ground is determined in a Darwinian way- which is good for the species.
The objection may be made that, assuming Muth Rational Expectations and equal physical endowment, you and the other guy instantaneously realize that the Nash equilibrium is to shake hands, smoke 'em if you got 'em, and video the carnage on your respective camera phones.
However, Ethics must never counsel a course of action that doesn't maximize avoidable loss. Hence it is enough for there to be some probability, even if everybody has Rational Expectations and perfect information, that a person might suddenly act in line with Ethical thinking for both of you to do your damnedest to grapple with each other such that both of you are likely to go off the bridge either
1)  not in time to avert the carnage but to add gratuitously to the body count.
or else
2) one or both of you go over the bridge but the Railway company is able to avoid implementing Safety procedures because the motivation for your fight is not known- the angle the Press play up is that it was some random fight between two strangers which led to a fatality.
  Thus, assuming the other guy hasn't yet started trying to throw you off the bridge- in which case anything you do is either instinctive self-defense or panicked cowardice and thus outside the scope of Ethics- you can't be certain he will fight you and so you have to try to at least try to throw him off the bridge, assuming you are a moral person. Information asymmetry means you can't be sure he's a moral person, so you don't know for certain if he'll try to throw you off the bridge. This holds true even if he is thin and you are fat. He may not try to throw you off the bridge till you attack him.

The problem with existing Consequentialist and Deontological theories is that either
1) they fail immediately if all agents act upon them. Either someone has sacrificed you before you got a chance to sacrifice someone else or the Human Race died out in a Concurrency deadlock long ago. As the Indian proverb has it- in 'after you', 'no, after you', both missed the train.
2) they don't fail immediately.
But theories which don't fail immediately have two properties
1) they have mischievous consequences because they become availability cascades.
2) they undermine deontics because a duty is not a duty if it is known to have the pleasing property of being logically consistent or sensible in any way.

This yields Iyer's Iron Law- 'A theory only counts as part of Ethics if it robustly counsels good people to do the very worst thing possible under any and all circumstances'.

Friday 20 July 2012

Why Partition?- More howlers from Perry Anderson

What caused the Partition of India? 
The answer, today, is blindingly obvious. Islam, independent of local conditions, has the potential to set the establishment of a purely Confessional State as the Political horizon par excellence for its followers. This, by itself, militates for the demand for Partition of any developing  country such that Muslim majority areas have a choice as to the degree of Islamization they wish to embrace. The alternative- viz. that Islam essentially quit the political arena without a fight- is closely associated, in living memory, with the tyranny of Kings or Military cliques and the chauvinism of dominant clans. Both One Party Socialism and Globalized Capitalism have proved themselves unable to inculcate Civil Society with Rational and Humane values, never mind endowing it with a countervailing power against arbitrary dispossession or immiseration.
 Since Islam's political agenda, at least in countries with large pre-modern sectors, remains hazy and contested, Rationality and Humanism are valorized as regulative principles within its own noisy, internecine, discourse and the corollary is that every sort of prescriptivism or partisanship within Islam tends to cash out as a vision of what the ideal Islamic Republic might look like.  
In other words, discourse within Islam, in a developing country, is always going to take the establishment of an Islamic state as its reference point or 'first-best' equilibrium. In a sense, even for secularists, it may appear that Islam first needs to take Power in order to then give it back and function as part of a wider system of Checks and Balances. Azad as an anti-Aligarh ultramontane Muslim gains power through Khilafat but, precisely because he was accepted as a sort of Imam ul Hind- at least by Gandhi- he can then cede Power back to the Secular realm. 
However, given Islam's historical record, this sort of discourse is going to scare non-Muslims shitless which by itself might be enough to set off a chain reaction of polarization ending in Partition and ethnic cleansing. The alternative is that Mullahs concentrate on denouncing each other as heretics and fighting over who gets to control which Mosque- still scary but less linear in leading to the same end result.

All conjecture aside, the simple truth is- the Partition of India occurred because one section either wanted, or was susceptible to a preference falsification bandwagon towards an Islamic state and another did not, for the best of reasons, wish to live under any such regime. But, since the non-Muslims were not prepared to fight to the bitter end to prevent the setting up of such a State- though they may have been prepared to fight the continuance of European rule upon the territory of the sub-continent- Partition was inevitable.

Perry Anderson misses this obvious point in  his recent follow up  article in the London Review of Books, in which, with an added virulence of pi jaw, he affirms various foolish academic availability cascades about Partition only to end up making Nehru, and not just Nehru, even Gandhi, look intelligent- or, at least, more intelligent than himself. 
Anderson does not know much about India, so it is inevitable he will perpetrate some howlers.
These are some of them.
1) Nehru came from a much higher social class than Gandhi. Nonsense. Both were barristers and Gandhi was by far the more eminent man. Indeed, he was offered the Congress Presidentship before Motilal Nehru who was merely a pleader who came up by his own efforts. Gandhi's dad was a hereditary Dewan whereas Nehru's elder Uncle had worked himself up to a similar rank under a feudatory of a Prince before setting up as a lawyer. By contrast, had Gandhi followed his father's footsteps, his position would have been similar to his old friend Sir Prabhashankar Pattani. 

Moreover, from the point of view of Hindu orthopraxy, the Gujerati Bania of Jain/Vaishnava background is not lower than the heterodox Kashmiri Kaula. Indeed, the former's Vegetarianism gives him the edge. The Kaula, being followers of Kapalika Tantrism, even have a saying- 'in Religion, claim to follow Saivism; in behavior, appear Vaishnava'. Gandhi's ancestors had been Dewans (Chief Ministers).  Nehru's ancestors had reached no higher position than that of kotwal (Police Station House Officer) in Delhi- that too after its decline had begun. Those members of his extended family who gained positions as Dewans had a lower, bird-of-passage type, position in the thymotic scheme of things- being Estate Managers merely rather than reputable local Men of Substance with a hereditary claim to office-  than that enjoyed by Gandhi's ancestors.  Indeed the old Thakore of Rajkot saw nothing improper in becoming a disciple of his erstwhile subject, whereas the Nehru clan remained hirelings merely, possessing less moral authority than the Court Purohit.
One last point- Gandhi's sub caste had been on an upward trajectory for hundreds of years, indeed their mores are now normative in much of Hindu India, whereas Nehru's ancestors have been on a downward trajectory for a thousand- many now being homeless refugees. 
On what basis, then, can Anderson say Nehru was 'much higher class' than Gandhi?
Gandhi could have taken a degree while in London- he just wasn't particularly gifted academically. Perry Anderson seems to think that going to Harrow makes one a gentleman. That may have been true about England, it wasn't true of India- especially Hindu India.

Why does Anderson- who has access to Wikipedia or at least Yahoo Answers- insist that Nehru was higher class than Gandhi? He wants to blame Nehru for partition. Apparently there is some iron law which says Higher Class people get to decide what happens because...urm...it's like a law of Nature- right? Just suppose, Nehru had been swapped at birth with Jinnah. Then the movie 'Gandhi' would have ended quite differently.  Edwina would have embraced that cadaverous old scarecrow- 'Darling, I now see it is you who are truly higher class. Thus, I must conspire to make you Prime Minister of Hindustan.' Gandhi would have said with tears in his eyes- 'beta, is budhe ko maaf karo! You are higher class. I should have seen it and made you my heir'. Mountbatten then confesses to being the dacoit who stole the Crown Jewels & Joseph Stalin sings a qawwali as the credits roll.
2) Nehru was emotionally dependent on Gandhi in an infantile manner- as opposed to showing reverence for him in typical Hindu Guru- Shishya style.
Since Anderson believes Nehru was higher class than Gandhi and since higher class people are just so much better and more powerful than lower class people, the mystery remains as to why Nehru was subservient to Gandhi. Turns out, Nehru was a big baby and Gandhi breast-fed him.
Is this true?
 The Brits had cracked down on Radical students in England a couple of years before young Nehru graduated. Still, Nehru did have his own political ideas but, like other men of his generation, he was skeptical about them. The age of enthusiasm had ended and the era of careerist political engagement still lay in the future.  In the interregnum, only a, G.E. Moore type, non cognitive Elite relationism could 
underpin Ethical prescriptivism's participation mystique- i.e. pi jaw's Passion & Transfiguration . Far from having no interest in metaphysical or mystical philosophy, Nehru had been tutored at home by a Theosophist and, though studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge, was influenced by the vitalist notions current at that time. His preference for Gandhi over Annie Beasant- though her Mum had been a House Matron at Harrow- is explainable by the fact that she claimed to be in contact with Spiritual Masters on the Astral plane and to have found the new Universal Messiah- some dark skinned Tam Bram urchin.
 Nehru's choosing Gandhi reflects the fact that his generation's affectation of blasé  skepticism masked a deep and abiding spiritual thirst.  Motilal, it seems, was not mistaken in his choice of a bride for his son.

In any case, Nehru was a well brought up young man from the super-polite intelligentsia of Allahabad. At that time, virtually every well established family had a Pir-Murid or Guru-Shishya relationship with a Spiritual personality. Nehru may have been hot tempered but he was not ignorantly jahil or boorishly beadaab. People of our generation may find his writings about Indian History smack too much off 'Hindutva', but it was a pardonable fault at that time. Azad was a rabid 'takfiri' but later turned into a Secularist.
3)  as Gandhi’s favourite, Nehru could count on prevailing over rivals to head Congress`- heading Congress wasn't a big deal. He'd have got that feather in his cap simply for being his father's son and having put in jail time.  The truth is, Nehru didn't believe India would really become independent in his life-time. He read Atlee's plan in 1938 and said, when he came down to breakfast, 'well, you're giving us everything we wanted!' but then forgot the entire episode and never mentioned it again even after Atlee came to power.
4) The contrast with Subhas Chandra Bose, a brilliant student of philosophy at Cambridge, who was the first native to pass the exams into the elite ranks of the Indian civil service and then decline entry to it on patriotic grounds, is striking. 
 Actually, Aurobindo's failure to present himself for the horse riding test is generally considered a patriotic non serviam. That was 30 years before Bose.
 Aurobindo, who could have headed up the I.N.C if he  wanted, initially took a more, not less, radical path than Bose. But, ultimately, his embrace of Spirituality was far more extreme than Gandhi. 
Why does Anderson say 'the contrast (between Nehru and Bose) was striking'? Nehru was a little older. Politically, there wasn't much difference between them. Bose trusted the Capitalists, like Tata, more. He broke a strike at Tata's led by an Parsi engineer on the grounds that the Tatas were Nationalists. Nehru was suspicious of the industrialists and didn't like the Modi-Lee pact. Communists like Saklatvala and Rajni Palme Dutt found Nehru more congenial. Bose's writing is fuckwitted 'dialectical' Marxism for shitheads which could easily shade into Left adventurism or Trotskyism or some other such theological heresy. M.N Roy's escape from Stalin's assassins to the safety of a British Jail cell showed the dangers of lining up behind a clever-too-clever Bengali. Nehru's  belletristic guff, on the other hand, was perfectly safe. The fact is, it was Bose who revived the Jugantar idiocy of a German pact with the help of the Indian Nazi Party.  But, in any case, neither Bose nor Aurobindo nor any other politician of the period- including Ambedkar, who revived some antiquated Dalits-were-Buddhists nonsense of Ayothi Dasa- made any original, as opposed to totally fuckwitted, contribution to Indian public discourse. 
5) Nehru didn't care about Untouchability-
'When Gandhi was blackmailing Ambedkar to submit to the demand that Untouchables be treated as loyal Hindus within the caste system rather than pariahs excluded from it, Nehru uttered not a word in solidarity or support for Ambedkar
Anderson is being disingenuous. Gandhi fasted to prevent the granting of separate electorates- a mistake on his part because it might have allayed Muslim fears. But Nehru didn't support Ambedkar for the best of reasons. Firstly, the senior most and most popular Dalit leader, the cricketer, Palwankar Baloo- whom Ambedkar took as his inspiration- supported Gandhi as did the Dalits of Madras. The Rajah-Moonje pact had cut the ground under Ambedkar's feet- ground he did not recover till Gandhi's attempted to monopolize the 'Harijan' issue and run it into the ground, like he did Handloom Weaving and Basic Education and so on, in the crackpot belief that all Dalits were Bhangis and since he himself cleaned toilets, he was one himself- indeed, he was the only true Dalit. Incidentally, the Hindu Mahasabha leader, Dr. Moonje, like Gandhi, had served in the Boer War but with higher rank. In fact, Ambedkar's decision to become a Buddhist was in line with Hindu Mahasabha thinking. 
Anderson ignores all such nuances to paint Nehru as an Oxbridge High Caste/Class snob guilty of a faux pas involving lack of noblesse oblige towards some Lower Class/Caste LSE type. Yet, Nehru being a non-vegetarian himself, had less rather than more visceral motivation to cling to Untouchability.
Under the circumstances, the only reason for him to support Ambedkar would have been if it really was objectively true that only British officials, supported in the Legislature by Dalit reperesentatives, could advance that community.
This was flagrantly untrue.
The British had failed to remove Untouchability when their power was at its height. Indeed, the Court judgement which sparked off the Vaikom agitation showed their readiness to reintroduce it in a more virulent form because it chimed with the Eugenic nonsense popular at the time. Gandhi gave Ambedkar a larger number of reserved seats than they would otherwise have got. Separate electorates appeared at the time to merely yield power to British officials as opposed to elected representatives. Nehru had every reason to believe that the British would not use this power to end Untouchability because their recent trajectory had been retrograde in this regard.
Anderson continues-
Gandhi was fasting, and even though the lot of the Untouchables was a ‘side-issue’, as Nehru significantly dismissed it, that was enough. Separate electorates really were a 'side-issue' in the sense that their provision couldn't help Dalits and might harm them compared to what Gandhi was offering.
More was involved here, however, than simple unwillingness to differ with Gandhi on any issue on which he chose to take a political stand. 
Yes, more was involved. Once the Legislature was packed with representatives elected by different castes and interest groups- representatives for the Zamindars (landlords), others for the Ryots (tenants), others for Labor constituencies, others for women and so on- it would operate pretty much like the old Legislative Councils with nominated members. If the British were serious about abolishing Untouchability- they could use their existing powers. Separate electorates were a red herring.
Nehru, as he often confessed, was no believer: the doctrines of Hinduism meant little or nothing to him. But, in much the same artless way as Gandhi, he identified the religion with the nation, explaining that ‘Hinduism became the symbol of nationalism. It was indeed a national religion, with its appeal to all those deep instincts, racial and cultural, which form the basis everywhere of nationalism today.’ By contrast Buddhism, though born in India, had lost out there because it was ‘essentially international’. Islam, not even born in India, was inevitably even less national.
Hinduism- as defined by the British- did indeed have a national character. It also had a transcendental aspect- which is why some passionate Nationalists like Aurobindo retreated from Politics- but there can be no question that it was a source of National Identity, Social Cohesion and motivator to make patriotic sacrifices. As a leader, Nehru needed to convince others that he represented something more than his Daddy's son or a costly foreign education. The sentimental guff in his books and speeches, far from being artless, was nicely calculated to shore up his credentials as following in the footsteps of 'Bal, Pal & Lal'. 
Even so, Iqbal was suspicious of him. This is what he wrote to Jinnah in 1937- 
The Muslim has begun to feel that he has been going down and down during the last 200 years. Ordinarily he believes that his poverty is due to Hindu money-lending or capitalism. The perception that equality [is (?)] due to foreign rule has not yet fully come to him. But it is bound to come. The atheistic socialism of Jawahar Lal [Nehru] is not likely to receive much response from the Muslims. The question therefore is: how is it possible to solve the problem of Muslim poverty? And the whole future of the League depends on the League's activity to solve this question. If the League can give no such promises I am sure the Muslim masses will remain indifferent to it as before.
Happily there is a solution in the enforcement of the Law of Islam and its further development in the light of modern ideas. After a long and careful study of Islamic Law I have come to the conclusion that if this system of Law is properly understood and applied, at last the right to subsistence is secured to every body. But the enforcement and development of the Shariat of Islam is impossible in this country without a free Muslim state or states. This has been my honest conviction for many years and I still believe this to be the only way to solve the problem of bread for Muslims as well as to secure a peaceful India.
If such a thing is impossible in India the only other alternative is a civil war which as a matter of fact has been going on for some time in the shape of Hindu Muslim riots. I fear that in certain parts of the country, e.g. N.W. India, Palestine may be repeated..Also the insertion of Jawarhar Lal's socialism into the body-politic of Hinduism is likely to cause much bloodshed among the Hindus themselves. The issue between social democracy and Brahmanism is not dissimilar to the one between Brahmanism and Buddhism. Whether the fate of socialism will be the same as the fate of Buddhism in India I cannot say. But it is clear to my mind that if Hinduism accepts social democracy it must necessarily cease to be Hinduism. '
So Iqbal, a contemporary of Nehru, thought he was a Socialist. He predicted that there would be a struggle to the death between Socialism and Brahmanism. Anderson, however, knows better. Nehru must be some sort of Brahmanist because ...urm... otherwise the following sentence is just a bunch of stupid lies-
'It followed that the system Gandhi had always insisted was the foundation on which Hinduism rested, historically preserving it from disintegration, had to be presented in a roseate light. Caste had its tares, of course, as Gandhi too conceded. But in the larger view of things, Nehru explained, India had no reason to hang its head. ‘Caste was a group system based on services and functions. It was meant to be an all-inclusive order without any common dogma and allowing the fullest latitude to each group.’ Mercifully free from what had handicapped the Greeks, it was ‘infinitely better than slavery even for those lowest in the scale. Within each caste there was equality and a measure of freedom; each caste was occupational and applied itself to its own particular work. This led to a high degree of specialisation and skill in handicrafts and craftsmanship’, in a social order that was ‘non-competitive and non-acquisitive’. Indeed, far from embodying any principle of hierarchy, caste ‘kept up the democratic habit in each group’. Later generations, hard put to take in that Nehru could have composed such enormities, can point to other passages in which he added that ‘in the context of society today’ – as opposed to the (undated) past – caste had become a ‘barrier to progress’ that was no longer compatible with democracy, political or economic. Untouchability, as Ambedkar would note bitterly, Nehru never so much as mentioned.'
Anderson's mistake is to confuse stuff Nehru wrote with what he actually thought. Bolsheviks could pretend that the Russian 'mir' was actually Communism avant la lettre. Why shouldn't Indian leftists pretend that the Rg Vedic 'kavi' means 'proletarian' and that Castes were all originally highly egalitarian institutions? Ambedkar pretended Buddhism hadn't been casteist and this is now a well established Academic availability cascade which bien pensant Western Professors keep trundling down the road.  
Nehru, like Ambedkar,  knew Technological Industrialization, Scientific Education, Modern Medicine,  the emancipation of women, urbanization and so on were what would kill off Untouchability and Caste discrimination.  Neither separate electorates nor religious conversion would do the trick. Ambedkar's widow- a Doctor whom he had married to safeguard his health- was accused of poisoning him by his son and ostracized by the Dalit Community. Why? She was a Brahmin and Brahmins are untouchable to the Mahars. Clearly, even if she didn't actually put something in his food, just by being of a caste inauspicious to his own, she had hastened his demise.
The sad thing about both Ambedkar and Nehru is that they ended up slowing Industrialization and the spread of Scientific education and so on. In Ambedkar's case it was because he suddenly got it into his head that Buddhism- which had spread untouchability to Japan and Korea- was a panacea. It wasn't. Burma's 'Buddhist Socialism' destroyed its economy and empowered a brutal military Junta. In Ceylon, Buddhist monks like Budharakshita- 'Buddy racketeer'- wrecked the polity and set it on the path to Ethnic Cleansing.
Nehru's culpability, but also his capability, was somewhat less. He let himself be captured by those who controlled access to him, aware but unable to do anything about the corruption of even his own kith and kin, and went along with a corrupt sort of Agency Captured 'Socialistic' license-permit Raj which was nothing but the Modi-Lee agreement writ large.

Still, the fact remains, Ambedkar and Nehru and Gandhi and other politicians born after Gokhale were all stupid fuckwits because that is the job of politicians during a transition to democracy. 
 IN A NUTSHELL, THIS IS WHY PERRY ANDERSON GETS INDIA WRONG. He thinks people like Gandhi and Nehru were supposed to be intellectual pioneers leading their benighted people out of the swamp of superstition. This is nonsense. The first Indian I.C.S officers and Oxbridge graduates and barristers and Doctors and Mathematicians and so on dated from BEFORE any of these guys WERE BORN. Gandhi and Nehru  were always considered intellectually second rate by educated Indians. They were barristers, but wouldn't have made the cut to be appointed High Court Judges.  Still, they were relatively clean and not raving sodomites, so perfectly good Jail fodder.  Furthermore, at crucial moments, they signed the papers put in front of them by clever bureaucrats like V.P Menon.
No country in the Twenties and Thirties chose its political leaders on the basis of intellect and education. Nehru certainly wasn't egregiously more stupid than politicians of comparable stature in other countries.  Bose had done better in his exams. So what? He studied philosophy. That's another word for shite. 
In any case, Bose was Hindu- that would have kept him from the Premiership of Bengal because it was Muslim majority. Nehru, a Hindi speaking Hindu, on the other hand could be a Hindi belt leader.

Gandhi believed he was a Man of God- and okay many people took him at his word, when it suited them. He wasn't a worse Godman than many others, though no doubt he too had his little fads and fancies. Similarly Nehru was just one of a large number of sons or nephews or grandsons of prominent barristers who acted as their Political Aide de Camps, and made up the numbers at Congress tamashas. Nehru, to his credit, kept his nose clean. After his father died, he didn't take money from the odious Dalmia but paid his own way by writing books while in prison. True, he was stupid. Politicians usually are. True, his books are fairly crappy- so what? They served the cause, earned him money- thus keeping him out of the clutches of  crooked Capitalists or Enemy Agents- and, moreover, his books express sentiments which, by their very meaninglessness, conform to the approved belletristic pattern of the Urdu or Hindi of the period. Incidentally, his 'Discovery of India', translated into Farsi, was found inspiring by young people in Mossadegh's Iran. 

Perry Anderson, persisting in treating Nehru as an intellectual as opposed to a popular writer, quotes this harmless piece of fluff from Nehru- behind which we can easily hear the Hindi or Urdu- 
'Perhaps we may still sense the mystery of nature, listen to its song of life and beauty, and draw vitality from her. That song is not sung in the chosen spots only, and we can hear it, if we have the ears for it, almost everywhere. But there are some places where it charms even those who are unprepared for it and comes like the deep notes of a distant and powerful organ. Among those favoured spots is Kashmir, where loveliness dwells and an enchantment steals over the senses.
and draws this conclusion-
A mind capable of prose like this was unlikely to show much realism about the difficulties facing the national movement.
This is quite mad. Nehru wrote books which served his cause and made him financially independent. To his credit he hadn't taken money from the Birlas and Tatas in the Twenties and refused Dalmia's money after his father died. He wrote gentlemanly nonsense because nonsense sells and all he wanted was to remain a gentleman rather than a paid lackey of the crooked Capitalists. There is absolutely no evidence that he took himself seriously as a stylist or thinker. In fact he mocks the notion. 
The style and subject matter of his books were perfectly in harmony with his objectives and what's more sound like Hindi or Urdu translated, actually quite gracefully, into English. But then he was a politician from U.P- that's where he won elections from. 
Had Nehru written in the style of an Akbar Illahabadi or a Lu Hsun- not to mention a Kazi Nazrul or Miraji- he'd have scared off the straights. Even a Firaq was too strong for the taste of the times.
The remainder of Anderson's essay is in keeping with the howlers listed above. He does not understand that Nehru had little power of his own. Had he joined the Leftists he'd have been rendered even more irrelevant.  Some far-sighted Hindus had already begun to see what is now obvious to all the world- viz. emigration is better than minority status in a Muslim country. This is not because Muslims are inherently intolerant but that preference falsification under democratic or quasi-democratic regimes in Muslim majority states tends to bandwagon towards second class status for non-Muslims- but also ethnic cleansing if Law & Order breaks down. 
It is noteworthy that the position of Christians in Iraq and Eygpt and now Syria has got worse, not better, in recent years. 
Nehru had little power, Wavell had some- but told Whitehall that the quantum of power he had left was only enough to get the Whites out of the country safely, nothing more. Mountbatten was able to play a bluff but only for a very short time. He told people he was the King's cousin so war-weary Britain would be obliged to send troops to get him out of a jam. Still, to be on the safe side, he also pretended he was in a hurry to get out of India so as to get the top job at the Admiralty and that was the reason he was bringing forward Independence. 
The notion that the British Army had the strength, or the British Economy the wealth, to prevent the nightmare scenario Wavell had outlined- in other words, the myth that the Brits could have averted the slaughter of Partition when they were lucky to save their own skins- is one which makes for good headlines and bien pensant breast beating in holier than thou circles. It is a dangerous myth. I recall attending a dinner party some years ago where an earnest young gentleman, of the colored persuasion, kept going on about how we have to send troops into Somalia and everybody agreed till I suddenly recalled I'm black- not the good sort of black, but Tamil black- and I cut in to explain why this would be a disaster. Somalis, on average, are smarter and tougher than other people. The Americans- with April Glaspie, no seriously, April Glaspie!- hovering in the background blundered into a minefield till finally they had the sense to just up-sticks and run away. Running away, incidentally, is true Military Intelligence.
Partition happened. Why? Some Muslims and non-Muslims wanted to kill each other. But many Muslim politicians and administrators and smaller land-lords had an incentive for ethnic cleansing against non-Muslims. Preference falsification did the rest. In East Pakistan, Partition did not end ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims. The Hindu proportion of the population has declined decade on decade. If the same isn't true of Muslims or Christians in Hindu majority states in India, it is because Hindu politicians and administrators and land-lords and businessmen have no similar incentive and, in any case, Caste trumps Creed. Some Hindu castes- notably in districts where a demographic change is imminent- may have an incentive and a preference falsification mechanism to do ethnic cleansing but those incentives and that mechanism don't have more than regional currency.
The British had to leave because they weren't in control. They secured their main objective- India stayed in the Sterling zone- and got out without a scratch on their skin. Congress was around to catch the thali they had let fall from their hands. This wasn't greed so much as fear of what would happen if the thali smashed to pieces on the ground. Meanwhile, an Indianized administration made pragmatic decisions and found pragmatic 'Netas' to sign off on those decisions.  At this juncture Nehru's guff about the essential unity of India actually turned into a reality. The Tamil and the Punjabi were able to get along at the Cabinet table. The previous trend towards Provincial autonomy was reversed. Most importantly, the Congress leaders- thanks to the esprit de corps they'd built up in prison- didn't try to roast and eat each other. The Army- apart from one moment of madness on the part of Cariappa- stayed out of politics. Nehru continued on the conservative path which Gandhi had accustomed him to. India didn't lurch to the left to the extent of Burma. It muddled along. However, it was in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's Emergency that Gandhi and Nehru's Congress showed its true strength. Unlike Bangladesh, where the very people who had liberated the country from Pakistan turned upon each other, like rabid dogs, killing whole families and stringing up comrades in arms; unlike Pakistan, where a General hanged the very man who had appointed him, unlike Sri Lanka where Mother and daughter were rivals for power; in India dog did not eat dog. Filial piety was maintained. Appearances kept up. The masses muddled along somewhat more purposefully than before. The British could and can take a certain quiet pride in the achievements of their ancestors but for whom the English language would not echo, with an equal meaninglessness, in the Law Courts and Parliamentary Chambers of Ind's coral strand.
All of this is common sense. Anderson raises the straw-man of British responsibility for Partition simply to take a dig at Mountbatten. Yet, he later presents evidence that there was absolutely nothing Mountbatten could have done differently. The fact is, Wavell was planning to evacuate Whites from Hindu areas first. If Hindus were the greater threat to Whites, it makes sense for Mountbatten to appease the Hindus. His job was to get the Whites out and he managed to do that- though maybe some nuns were raped in Kashmir by the invaders or something like that.
Anderson's logic is warped. He tells us the Congress had only 3% Muslim membership. What percentage of non-Muslims did the Muslim League have? He tells us that Nehru was from Kashmir. That means, if the invaders took the Valley, Nehru's own people would be killed. (In fact this did happen later on). Why was it wrong for him to seek to defend his own people? What was he supposed to do? Say 'well, Muslims are in the majority in the Valley. Some other Muslims are invading the valley and though killing and raping and looting both Muslims and Hindus- it is only the latter they want to wipe out as a matter of principle. Since I am a Hindu I must let it happen...because...urm...well the Law says invaders should get to murder minorities because...urm... dunno but Perry Anderson thinks its a good idea and he's a Professor of Law at Cambridge...what? he's a Professor of History? That too in America? Oh fuck, I'd better send in the Army.'
The fact is, Nehru did not establish Hindu rule in the Valley. His Muslim friend, Sheikh Abdullah, ruled and took land away from people of Nehru's caste. He was cool with that.

The truth is, if the doctrine of Command Responsibility- established at Nuremberg- applies, then it is Jinnah and Suhrawardy and Liaqat and so on who stand condemned for genocide. Nehru is vindicated.
Jinnah, whom Anderson holds up as a great legal luminary and respecter of laws made the mistake of giving the Maharaja of Kashmir the option of acceding to India. Yet he did not prevent the invasion which caused the Maharaja to jump into Delhi's lap.
Similarly, it was Jinnah who put forward the utterly mad 'hostage theory' whereby the majority would not kill the minority for fear of reprisals against their own people somewhere else.  Was he utterly ignorant of Islamic history?Jinnah did not protect minorities in Pakistan. Even personal friends of his had to flee. Nehru did, to a certain extent, protect Muslims and, certainly, those close to him like Azad and Kidwai- or Chaghla who abandoned his old mentor, Jinnah- got a seat at the top table after Independence.
Anderson mentions Muslims killed in Hyderabad but not the Rezakar massacres which preceded this. How is it Nehru's fault if some idiots in Hyderabad thought they could kill the Hindu majority with impunity simply because God was on their side?

One cause of the massive bloodshed of Partition- also an exacerbating factor in the Bengal famine- was that the British had given too much power to the Provinces and Native states. Both Punjab and Bengal were Muslim majority states whose bosses had jointly issued the Lahore declaration favoring Pakistan. Did Punjab send food to Bengal? No, even though all the traders who stood to make a windfall profit were Muslims, not Hindus.
Later, the Premier of Bengal could use his power to precipitate the bloodshed of the 'Day of Action'. The Center was too weak to bring him to book. Similarly, during Partition, some of the Princely States were arming and sending out irregulars for ethnic cleansing.
Anderson, of course, either doesn't know or doesn't care about details like that. He wants to blame Nehru for Partition just because he rejected the stupid and unworkable Cabinet Mission Proposal.
Nehru wasn't doing something underhand in rejecting a weak federation. The right thing to do was blindingly obvious. That's why Nehru received support from the people who mattered for his strong Center policy- the alternative was a hundred Partitions- but Anderson thinks this makes him the bad guy. Why? Well,  Anderson tells us, Nehru must have known that he himself would become Prime Minister so he wanted to rule over as big and powerful State as possible. But how did Nehru know he'd be Prime Minister? Did he have a crystal ball? Did he believe in astrology? No.  Anderson's argument is mean spirited simply.

Anderson continually attacks Nehru for saying things which it was convenient, or incumbent, on him to say. That's what happens in Politics, Anderson baba. People make empty speeches.  Yet, even Nehru- not the sharpest tool in the box by any means- is not as fucking stupid as you Perry baby. You are criticizing Nehru for things he got right. Common sense things. Why?

P.S- funniest thing in the article- ' When in the summer of 1945 an emissary of the Communist Party, the one other force in the subcontinent that understood something of the principles of self-determination...'
The Communist Party! In 1945! Understood the principle of self-determination!
You couldn't make it up if you tried.