Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Hobsbawm and the decline of the Indian Left.

Hobsbawm, though a British citizen by birth, emigrated to England when he was 16. Thus, he saw the country with a foreigner's eyes. Its history was not his own history. His historiography was a Rabbinical exercise in an ideology foreign to England.

Emile Chabal, writing in the Aeon E-zine, points to his dramatic impact on the Indian Left.
Hobsbawm’s engagement with South Asia went back to his undergraduate student days at Cambridge in the late 1930s. It was here that he met some of the sons and daughters of India’s powerful dynastic families,

Nonsense! He met the sons and daughters of successful barristers and government contractors. Dynastic families were 'Serene Highnesses' and enjoyed sovereign immunity.  

many of whom were drawn to Marxism as a potential cure for their country’s economic and social ‘backwardness’.
These members of the Indian 'national bourgeoisie' believed that Gandhianism would give way to Soviet style economic planning and rapid industrialization with the Public Sector taking a vanguard role and Private Enterprise shrinking and finally disappearing altogether.

At this time, the Indian Left placed faith in mathematical economics and the technocratic vision of engineers and scientists. It looked to the future and was unconcerned with the past. That is what made Communism attractive to young people of all walks of life.
Galvanised by the political changes taking place during and after the Second World War, these students returned to India in the 1940s and joined their local communist party.

which were already thriving because, after Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, the Communists had worked closely with the British. M.N Roy kept demanding bigger subsidies for this.  

Thanks in large part to their family connections –

which were solidly upper middle class- not aristocratic at all 

and the relatively benign way in which communists were treated in India in the 1950s and ’60s,

unless they weren't impotent, in which case they were slaughtered 

compared with many other parts of the developing world – this generation of talented personalities quickly rose to positions of prominence in local and national government.

But such positions of prominence weren't actually positions of power. 

As a result, when Hobsbawm first travelled to India in late 1968, he came with a bulging address book of important names, including the communist politicians and thinkers Mohan Kumaramangalam, Parvati Krishnan, Renu Chakravarty and Indrajit Gupta.
Kumaramangalam, an Old Etonian, had left the Communist party and joined Indira's Congress in '67. When he nationalized the Coal industry, most people thought this would mean increased efficiency. Indeed, the nationalization of the Banks too was considered desirable because many private Banks had crashed. It seemed reasonable, at that time, to prefer Nationalization so that educated professional were put in charge of Enterprises, rather than allow them to be run into the ground by superstitious Marwari speculators.

Parvathi Krishnan, unlike her brother mentioned above, never turned her coat. She was a great Trade Unionist but her party made the mistake of supporting Indira's Emergency and declined thereafter. She herself lost her seat to the DMK, though she was personally very popular. However, her party was no longer offering voters a better life. It was merely an anachronism. She and Renu Chakravarty are remembered as courageous activists but, it should be remembered, other such female activists could be found from all walks of life. It was not privilege which distinguished these women but their record of self-sacrifice. Needless to say, their kids are all in America, unless they are wealthy and have joined the BJP in India.

Indrajit Gupta was a great parliamentarian who served as Home Minister under Gowda & Gujral. Suppose the CPM had permitted Jyoti Basu to become P.M, then Gupta might, as Home Minister, have taken some forward looking steps. However, the ideological purism of the Left meant that he was just a useful tool in an alliance whose sole raison d'etre was to keep the BJP out of power. Thus, once the BJP could show a better track-record of Governance, the decline of the Left became inevitable. It was no longer offering anything positive. It was merely battling an imaginary evil in service to a corrupt and incompetent dynasty.

Some of Hobsbawm's Indian friends did have a big impact on Indian politics, not because they were 'privileged' but because, in the Fifties and Sixties, they engaged in grass-roots work at some risk to themselves. However, their willingness to play second fiddle to the dynasty meant that they inherited oblivion.

Chabal writes-
If these friendships gave him (Hobsbawm) a welcome taste for the ways of the Indian elite, they did not offer him the kind of scholarly reach he craved as a young academic.
It is because the Left did not bother with 'scholarly reach' that it was a dynamic force in the Fifties and Sixties.
For that, we need to look at how his ideas reached a younger generation of Marxists in the 1950s and ’60s through the so-called ‘transition debate’. This debate hinged on a classic problem in Marxist theory, namely when and how the transition from feudalism to capitalism took place.
One may as well speculate and how and when Adam was expelled from Eden. The thing is wholly pointless. No doubt, a wealthy country like England can afford to pay a few Professors to pore over the Archives and debate such issues. India had no such luxury. Most people had little access to free markets and such Capital as they could borrow came with 'feudal strings' involving bonded labor.
The debate began with the publication of the British Marxist economist Maurice Dobb’s seminal Studies in the Development of Capitalism (1946), and was followed by a vigorous exchange between Dobb and other Marxists such as Paul Sweezy, H K Takahashi and Georges Lefebvre in the early 1950s.
These guys were unhonoured and unsung in their own countries. 'Butskellism' prevailed in England. Marxist jargon was a fit subject for comedy- like the shop-steward in 'I'm all right Jack', or Tooting's 'Citizen Smith' or various Monty Python sketches.
Hobsbawm himself contributed to the debate with two long articles on the ‘crisis of the 17th century’, which he argued was the final phase of feudalism before the advent of capitalism.
Hugh Trevor-Roper & Hobsbawm coined this notion of a 'General Crisis'. Perhaps it had something to do with sun-spots or climactic changes. Perhaps not. What we can be certain of is that this debate had zero political consequences in England. It didn't even feature in an episode of Blackadder.
Initially, this debate was focused on English history, since England was the paradigmatic case study of ‘transition’ in Europe. But it soon attracted attention in other parts of the world. For Indian Marxists, the transition debate showed that Marxist theory was not fixed in stone.
Marxism was supposed to be about changing the world, not talking nonsense about imaginary 'transitions'.

Indian Marxists wanted to escape from India to the West by pretending to be erudite and to represent some supposed revolutionary force present in India. It was careerism pure and simple. The 'long march through the Institutions' was about gaining tenure and publishing worthless text-books and getting invited to international Conferences. But that 'long march' ended in utter irrelevance.
It offered the possibility of meaningful intellectual disagreement and divergence among Marxists, without compromising the unity of the cause or incurring the wrath of local communist parties. As a result, Indian Marxists such as Irfan Habib

whom everybody pretended to have read but nobody actually did 

used the transition debate to ask new questions that were either absent or neglected in the initial flurry of articles from the early 1950s. Had India ever been feudal

did ancient India have a King Artha who sat at a nice Round Table and had a pet wizard named Merkin?  

and, if it had, was it still feudal?

Pakistanis took to the term feudal. Indians- not so much. This is because Pakistani feudal lords wore baggy trousers and liked raping people whereas Indian landlords wore dhotis and had pot bellies.  

How did colonialism challenge Dobb and Sweezy’s Eurocentric assumptions?

Dobb & Sweezy were as stupid as shit. They didn't get that feudalism exists where barriers obtain such that there is 'local monopoly' of some judicial and fiscal functions. The problem is that those barriers may be useless against an invader.

Was it even necessary for a non-European country such as India

Most of India came under direct British rule. It was up to the Brits to decide whether or not to transition shit 

to follow the same model of transition? Could historians ‘change’ the order in which transition might have taken place? Making India fit into the transition debate was a way of showing that Indian society could achieve socialism, despite its distinct historical trajectory.
One could as easily say- 'Indians are pure Aryans and thus Europeans and thus can become technologically advanced.' It is a silly thing to do. People can see for themselves that Indians don't look like Germans. Achieving Socialism means having a National Health Service and free Public Schools and affordable Public Housing and plenty of well paid jobs in Public Sector Enterprises. If the thing is feasible, just do it already- if Socialism really is what you want. On the other hand, if your purpose is merely to gain tenure, then write opaque, impenetrable, nonsense.
It was through the transition debate that Hobsbawm first made an entry into the Indian intellectual scene.

Whereas Dobb- Hobsbawm's guru- but also associated with Sen (recall the Sen-Dobb thesis) was already a big influence by reason of his doing a PhD at the LSE around the time Ambedkar was there. I should explain, the Tatas had given a lot of money to the LSE and a Tata cousin- Sakhlatvala- was a Communist MP.  One may mention Phillip Spratt and Palme Dutt in this connection. 

In the early 1960s, he was asked by the British communist publisher Lawrence & Wishart to write an introduction to the first English translation of the part of Marx’s Grundrisse that became known as Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations. Published in 1964, this cheap volume brought to an English-speaking audience for the first time some of Marx’s early reflections about pre-capitalist social and economic systems, and macro-level historical social change.

This is an Anglophone perspective. There were Jugantar type Indian revolutionaries in Moscow when the Grundrisse was first published. To their credit, they all hated each other and kept trying to get Stalin to send their best friend to a Gulag. But this wasn't the only conduit of Marxist shite to India. There were also some German speaking Marxists, like Gangadhar Adhikari, who were translating Engels etc. directly into Indian languages like Marathi. My point is that India was importing that shite directly. For some reason, Indians were still reading Bukharin when I was a lad. Don't ask me why. On the other hand there is a political party in Bihar which was formed with the specific purpose of condemning Lin Biao! In 2020, it won 12 seats. Congress only managed 19. 

The subject matter made it of interest to Indian historians since this was one of the few places where Marx discussed the ‘Asiatic’ or ‘Oriental’ mode of production,

as opposed to the 'lazy nigger' mode of production which involves lying on your back knocking down coconuts with your ginormous dick. This is the mode of production I will take up just as soon as I get a penis transplant.  

which was supposedly characterised by a ‘despotic government’ extracting surplus from an overwhelmingly rural village economy.

which is what actually obtained on many a zamindari or jagir.  

The fact that Hobsbawm had written the introduction to the text made him into Marx’s privileged interlocutor on these issues – and his interpretations were soon under scrutiny.

Hobsbawm explained that the Party wouldn't let him write about British Socialism post 1914. In other words, Indians understood that this was an 'interlocutor' who worked under Orwellian constraints. Indian Communists- riven with internal divisions between Moscow's poodles, Peking ducks and a plethora of yet daffier quacks- had to either masturbate furiously without ever jizzing or prematurely ejaculate encomiums to the Dynasty. 

It was an indicator of how important the text was for Indian Marxists

who had a good chance of actually taking power in a number of States but who knew that the result would be horrible 

that the influential Delhi-based journal Enquiry,

which, I confess, I've never heard of 

set up by the historian Bipan Chandra in 1959, devoted almost an entire issue in 1969 to a reprint of Hobsbawm’s introduction and a lengthy reply by Habib, who accused Hobsbawm of interpreting Marx in such a way as to minimise the importance of class struggle in pre-capitalist economies.

Habib had a point. Communists came to power in Afghanistan and started killing each other and everybody else. That didn't end well. Class struggle in pre-capitalist economies is what paves the way for the Taliban.  

This sort of engagement did much to enhance Hobsbawm’s profile. Given the prohibitive cost of books published in Europe, non-Indian Marxist debates could only circulate through locally produced journals, cheap Indian editions, illegal photocopies, word of mouth, and the handful of Marxist bookshops in Delhi and Calcutta.

Indian Marxists didn't want to read that shite. A few academics did pretend to read this stuff because they wanted to emigrate or, at least, get tenure at JNU rather than Godhulia Gornmint College. 

Throughout the 1970s, Hobsbawm’s star rose in India. This was not because of anything special he did to draw attention to himself, although his two visits there in the late 1960s and again in the late 1970s did not do his reputation any harm. Instead, it was because his writings began to appeal to a wider range of scholars.

More and more Indians wanted to follow Ranajit Guha- the first Marxist historian to high tail it for the West 1959.  Bipan Chandra, poor fellow, had been deported from Stanford during the McCarthy period. 

By the mid-1970s, a new generation of Indian Marxists was coming of age.

and desperately trying to figure out a way to emigrate. By contrast, a young trainee Chartered Accountant in London in the early Seventies, suddenly discovered Marx and returned to India. That was Khobad Gandi. After a spell in prison, he was expelled from the CPI (Maoist) party in 2021. If only his daddy had sent him to JNU to learn Marxism, the fellow would be a Professor Emeritus in some nice Western country. The moral is- don't study Chartered Accountancy. You might become an actual Marxist and end up in jail. 

They were tired of discussing ‘transitions’ and ‘modes of production’. What they wanted was a guide to revolutionary action.

By the mid-Seventies, it was obvious that Naxalites would either be killed or left to rot in rural shitholes. The problem with revolutionary action is that your fate is more horrible if the thing succeeds than otherwise. Anyway, during the Emergency, the Constitution was changed so that India was declared a 'Secular, Socialist' Republic- albeit one with a dynastic Prime Minister. 

As the world erupted into guerrilla rebellions inspired by Mao and Che Guevara –

or, in Afghanistan, an anti-Communist guerrilla rebellion. 

and as India struggled through its only period of non-democratic rule, the ‘Emergency’ of 1975-77 –

in which the RSS resisted while the CPI collaborated.  

the orthodox communist obsession with uncovering and emancipating an industrial proletariat seemed too narrow, especially in an overwhelmingly rural society such as India.

The Left had helped destroy the proletariat as a class by preventing the growth of the organized sector. Featherbedded layabouts can't be the revolutionary vanguard of anything. India is a country where, as a British sociologist observed, a strike reduces absenteeism. Workers who never show up suddenly appear because they know their pay will be docked otherwise. 

It was this search for agents of revolution that brought to prominence another strand of Hobsbawm’s work – his studies of rebels and bandits – about which he had been writing since the late 1950s. In the 1970s, young Indian Marxists enthusiastically read Hobsbawm’s Primitive Rebels (1959) and its sequel Bandits (1969), alongside other texts such as E P Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1963).

Ranajit Guha, safely ensconced in English bowers, spearheaded the 'Subaltern School' of bullshit.  

These serious historical analyses of neglected figures such as mafia men and bandits gave Indian Marxists the tools to search for different kinds of revolutionary subjects closer to home.

But they ran the fuck away from such mafia men and bandits if they came anywhere near their own homes.  

It was, for instance, with Hobsbawm and Thompson in mind that young journalists in the mid-1970s went out into the dusty flatlands of Uttar Pradesh to write about India’s version of the bandit, the dacoit.

JP Narayanan had a longstanding bromance with dacoits who would surrender in exchange for gun licenses. Such figures were already a staple of the movies and comic books.  

The Indian Left would have discovered the tribals in any case. However, the experience of the late A.K Roy in the Jharkand Mukti Morcha showed that the tribals, unless terrorized by Naxal gunmen, would kick the caste Hindus to the curb as soon as it was convenient to do so. Thus Roy paved the way for Shibu Soren whom not even Manmohan Singh could keep in his Cabinet- not because of his corruption, but his penchant for murder. Needless to say, Soren's son now rules that State. 
While many appreciated the attempt to enlarge the revolutionary canvas, not everyone agreed with the way it had been done. In particular, Hobsbawm’s orthodox communist insistence that peasant and bandit movements were ‘prepolitical’ – in other words, not politically conscious in a revolutionary sense – provoked a hostile reaction from many Indian Marxists.

It was safer to quarrel with Hobsbawm than Shibu Soren.  

This critique was most clearly articulated by the historian Ranajit Guha in his Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India(1983), which became the foundational text of the so-called ‘subaltern studies’ school of historiography.
Guha emigrated to England in 1959. It seems the 'subaltern' was better studied at a distance. I believe there are only two Subalternists left in India- and one is not an Indian citizen.
One of the central premises of Guha’s book was that Hobsbawm had been wrong about peasant movements. In his view, peasant revolt represented an entire universe of political activity in colonial India that had been systematically neglected by ‘elitist’ historians of both Right and Left.
So the real class-struggle must be by subaltern historians, at the University of Sussex, against elite historians at Oxford or Cambridge. This class struggle must be carried out by telling stupid lies. Thus if some arrogant Whitey says 'There was no English literature in India prior to the arrival of the British,' you must say 'Billions of years before England came into existence, India could boast countless poets producing superb English verse. Evil Brahmins suppressed this subaltern recreation. '
The job of subaltern studies was to correct this bias – and this meant shedding the Hobsbawmian view of the peasant as ‘prepolitical’.
In some ways, the success of the subaltern studies school marked the end of Hobsbawm’s direct impact on the cutting edge of Indian intellectual life.
Cutting edge? Guha or Gayatri's retarded shite was 'cutting edge'? The Left was slitting its own throat by indulging in this nonsense. If your idiot son could not get into IIT and gain a Green Card that way, you sent him to JNU so he could get a teaching gig in some cow college by pretending to engage with Foucault or Deleuze.
The postcolonial critique developed by Guha and his followers pushed younger scholars away from Hobsbawm’s arguments in the 1980s and ’90s. He was still admired as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Marxist history, but his Eurocentrism made him appear less and less useful.
In other words, the man was White. Brown people wanted to secure tenure on the basis of their own imbecility, not as the result of some White dude's imprimatur.
Still, there was one area where Hobsbawm continued to exert influence: the university curriculum. The Marxist wave that swept across Indian academia in the 1970s left its mark on the teaching of the humanities and the social sciences at some of the country’s most prestigious institutions.
Nonsense! The only prestigious institutions in India are those that teach STEM subjects.
At the University of Delhi – a vast, college-based university established in 1922 – the history curriculum underwent a major overhaul in the mid-1970s, under pressure from new staff who were either Marxists or sympathetic to Marxism.

Indira showed her contempt for her Marxist sycophants by letting them take over non-STEM  higher education- which Indians rightly despise.  

One of the legacies of this reform was a core course entitled ‘The Rise of the Modern West’

which was the result of cod fishermen and clock makers and black smiths and brewers doing smart things while the Crown and Clergy did stupider and stupider things. 

that aimed to teach students about the development of European society and economy from around 1500 to 1800.

The developments were technological or agronomic or involved crossing great oceans on rickety sail-boats. In other words, this is History as an adventure story when it isn't a narrative of the application of reason to solving bread and butter questions in a methodical and persistent manner.  

The course – which still exists today – was a veritable rundown of the intra-Marxist historiographical controversies of the 1950s and ’60s, including the transition debate,

the Black Death caused the transition in England and, later on, there were mimetic effects. 

the crisis of the 17th century,

which had to do with Reformation vs Counter Reformation which Marxists could not understand

mercantilism and trade,

 which was about apportioning the gains from trade and is a type of Econ Marxists can't grasp.

and the origins of the industrial revolution, as well as other less obviously Marxist topics such as the Renaissance and the early modern European state system.

i.e. boring shite about which only ignorant bigots drone on.

Predictably, the syllabus was stacked with classic Marxist texts, including Hobsbawm’s textbooks on the Industrial Revolution, Industry and Empire (1968), and the European 19th century, Age of Revolution (1962), alongside books by Dobb, Rodney Hilton, Christopher Hill, Perry Anderson and Immanuel Wallerstein.
This is why a History degree is considered a badge of imbecility. It is noteworthy that Ramachandra Guha and Sanjay Subhramaniyam did Econ, not History. No doubt, they are incorrigibly stupid but at least they can write decent English.
Hobsbawm’s influence was also felt at one of India’s premier research universities,

concentrating on the theory and practice of anti-National activities 

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. Founded in 1969 and subsequently known for nurturing generation after generation of Marxist-inspired academic talent,

i.e. brainless drudges 

it was exactly the sort of place where Hobsbawm’s work would be discussed in detail.

Nirmala Sitharaman got her start by arguing from a Hayekian perspective at JNU. That was before 'Hayekian-Marxists' started mushrooming all over the place. Come to think of it, Meghnad Desai was already on that track but kept quiet about it.

Over the past half-century, hundreds of research students on MA, MPhil and PhD programmes in history and the social sciences have taken courses that have included Hobsbawm’s writings on labour history, historiography and nationalism.
What has been the outcome? JNU is now considered a shit-hole. Kanhaiya Kumar- who was the blue-eyed boy of the Libtards- was trounced in the last election on his own home turf. He is now RaGa's chamcha. 
Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that this legacy has persisted, despite the liberalisation of the Indian economy in the 1990s and the success of the Hindu nationalist Right in the 2000s. In recent years, both Delhi University and JNU have found themselves under severe pressure from a hostile government that wants to root out supposedly ‘Left-wing’, ‘seditious’ and ‘anti-national’ thought in Indian universities. For the first time since the 1970s, suspect academics have been targets of mob violence and administrative censure – and the future of these institutions as places of outstanding research is in doubt.
This is because they did not 'outstanding research' whatsoever. Take Kanhaiya's PhD. Will the South African government invite him to advise them on socio-economic issues? No, because they can easily see that his thesis is illiterate nonsense.

The BJP is delighted that these nutters at JNU are bringing disgrace upon the Nehru dynasty.
Nevertheless, it is hard to overstate the influence of almost half a century of university teaching.
What influence has it had? Over the last fifty years the Communist parties have made themselves more and more irrelevant. Their 'circular firing squad' has now run out off canon fodder. Previously, there may have been one or two intellectuals- like Chabal- or diplomats who kept track of their illiterate squabbling. Nobody does so anymore because they have been wiped out as a political force.
The mere fact that thousands of Delhi University history students have struggled through classes on the transition debate – including almost every single professional historian in India today, and a large swathe of its upper civil service – demonstrates the extraordinary power of particular Marxist debates to transcend their original context.
It demonstrates that the thing was just a Credentialist Ponzi scheme which has collapsed because its victims can no longer get tenure or clerical jobs. Even IAS officers are being denied plum postings in favor of technocrats from other cadres. Indeed, outsiders are being brought in and promoted on the basis of merit.
Hobsbawm was a direct beneficiary of this institutional configuration.
Okay, maybe the senile old fool- whom nobody listened to in England- managed to sell a few of his books in India. Big whoop.
The longevity of his written work owes much to the fact that, still today, young Indian Marxist student activists know his name – and will turn to his essays or his textbooks as part of their general political education.
But will then find themselves unemployable. Meanwhile people who take on real-world issues can win elections and form Governments. A 'general political education' based on Hobsbawm or Habib leaves one unfit for any type of political action. That was why the Indian establishment permitted this type of nuisance to burgeon.

Anthropomorphizing Amitav Ghosh

Brewer's dictionary, states that the 'biggest bores are of the Brahmaputra'. Of those tidal bores, none exceed Amitva Ghosh in boringness. This is this because this tidal bore professes Social Anthropology. What happens when we anthropomorphize Amitav Ghosh and pretend its tidal bore of vacuity emanates from a human source?

Consider the following article he wrote 5 years back-

Back in March 2013, when I received and accepted an invitation to visit Bogazici University,[1] I did not for a moment imagine that my arrival in Turkey would follow hot on the heels of a historic election in India. But so it did: I landed in Istanbul on June 1, 2014, five days after the swearing-in of India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
If this tidal bore is a human being, then it is an incredibly stupid human being. Most Indians imagined that Modi would be the next PM.
For the Indian National Congress, which has long carried the banner of secular nationalism in India, the election was a humiliation – an unprecedented defeat, at the hands of an organization that is closely associated with Hindu-nationalist groups, some of which, like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have even been banned in the past.
The RSS was set up a year after the Congress Seva Dal and was modeled on it. The Seva Dal was banned in West Bengal after Independence but Nehru got the ban lifted. Jagdish Tytler was head of the Seva Dal. His role in the anti-Sikh pogrom is notorious.

Congress was a Hindu nationalist organization with a few 'show pony' Muslims just as the RSS is a Hindu nationalist organization with a few Muslim members. Some Congress 'show pony' Muslims cross over to the BJP. But then, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is itself divided between these two parties. Sonia and Rahul are Congress. Menaka and Varun are BJP.
The outcome of the election, while not a surprise,
if it wasn't a surprise, why couldn't Amitav imagine it would happen? Does the answer have to do with the Navier-Stokes equation in so far as it constrains the phenomenology of tidal bores?
was still a moment of reckoning for those such as myself, whose revulsion at the dynasticism and corruption of the Congress was outweighed by concerns about the BJP’s right-wing economic program and its espousal of majoritarian politics.
Ghosh voluntarily chose to migrate to America- a country well known for its left-wing economic programs and minoritarian politics.
The prime ministerial candidate’s record during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat was itself the greatest of these concerns, especially in relation to his conduct during the anti-Muslim violence that had convulsed his state in 2002.
Ghosh was writing this after the Supreme Court had failed to find any evidence against Modi. Another BJP Minister was convicted but has since won on appeal and been released. Why? It turned out this lady Doctor was working in a hospital not 'handing out swords' to all and sundry. A little later, a Hindu nun was convicted of terrorism because she 'lent her gold motorcycle' to some supposed miscreants. That nun has defeated the senior politician who tried to frame her by a huge majority on his own native turf. Why? Indian voters don't believe that lady Doctors have any swords to hand out nor that Nuns habitually ride around on gold motorcycles.

Ghosh's fiction is deeply boring and sedate. Yet he believes that, in the real world, Gynaecologists own a lot of swords and Nuns ride gold motorbikes when they are not lending them to terrorists.
Before 2014, no Hindu-nationalist party had ever won an outright majority of seats in India’s legislature.
Nonsense! The Indian National Congress won many outright majorities. Indira Gandhi split the I.N.C and what now obtains is the dynastic vehicle she created. Was Indira secular? No. She was a deeply religious Hindu who maintained close relationships with 'Brahmacharee' Yogis and Gurus and Acharyas. She fought a court case against her half Sikh daughter-in-law to prove her sons were pure Hindus and thus she was entitled to inherit from them under Hindu law.

This does not mean Hindu Indians give a rat's fart for the religion of their ruler. That's why the Brits could rule India for so long at so little cost in terms of 'blood and treasure'. The truth is they protected all the various religions of India. Not just that, they raised the prestige of vernacular languages and promoted their use. It was only after they left that 'Midnight's children' disdained those languages and chose to advertise their ignorance and stupidity in English so as to benefit from intellectual or aesthetic 'affirmative action'.
That the BJP had now come to power with a mandate far larger than predicted was clearly a sign of an upheaval in the country’s political firmament. How had this come about? What did it portend for the future?
We know the answer to that now. Better governance. Less corruption. Promotion by merit in the Cabinet.
It was only when I arrived in Istanbul that it struck me that Turkey had been through a similar moment eleven years before, in March 2003, when an election had brought in a new Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the founder of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
This idiot thinks there was or is some similarity between Turkey- which thanks to Ataturk was never conquered or humiliated- and India where defeat and humiliation is something we inflict on each other, and our own selves, in a fractal manner.
He too was heir to a long tradition of opposition to his country’s dominant secular-nationalist order;
Anti-clericalism is not the same thing as what Indians call Secularism. Ataturk was anti-clerical. He was not 'secular' in the Indian sense. He pushed for Romanization of the alphabet while India went in the opposite direction favoring 'the script of the Gods'. He forced people to wear hats and ties and skirts while we made a fetish out of dhotis and Gandhi caps.

 Apart from being a 'Ghazi'- i.e. victorious Islamic warrior- he was a great peacemaker precisely because he always kept his word. After his death, however, there was the Varlık Vergisi in 1942 and then the Istanbul pogroms in 1955 which resulted in a 98 percent drop in the Greek population of Turkey. Pakistan and Bangladesh- both Muslim countries like Turkey- show similar demographic trends. Hindu India does not show anything similar. The proportion of Muslims tends to mount- indeed, Ghosh's West Bengal now features Muslim majority areas as does Assam.

Ghosh thinks Erdogan is like Modi because

 his party had also been closely linked with formerly-banned religious organizations. He had himself been accused of inciting religious hatred and had even served a brief term in prison.[2]
Erdogan was jailed for reciting this poem-
The mosques are our barracks,
the domes our helmets,
the minarets our bayonets,
and the believers our soldiers.
The context was the Army's dismissal of the elected Government. Ghosh should have said 'Erdogan was jailed for opposing the Military coup'. Instead he pretends that Erdogan was jailed for inciting hatred against non-Muslims.

Does Ghosh believe there is a thriving non-Muslim community anywhere in Turkey? Does he really not know that, like Pakistan, Turkey has continually reduced the number of non Hanafi Muslims? Why is he so reckless with the truth?

The margins of victory too were oddly similar:
Oddly? This fucker is a Professor of a fucking Social Science.  He ought to know better than to write shite like this-
in 2003 Prime Minister Erdogan came to power with 32.26% of the popular vote and 363 of 550 seats in Parliament.[3] In 2014 the coalition of parties headed by Prime Minister Modi won 336 of 543 parliamentary seats; his own party’s share of the vote was 31%.
Ghosh is Indian. He knows that India has a lot of different languages. Its population is gigantic compared to Turkey. Modi's party did not even contest a lot of seats but had local allies. This was also true of every other Party. This stupid shithead may not have known how Turkey's election system differs from the Indian or British system. But he did know, mendacious, meretricious, shithead that he is, that this paranoid suspicion of his involves a suggestio falsi. 
The parallels are striking. In both cases an entrenched secular-nationalist elite had been dislodged by a coalition that explicitly embraced the religion of a demographic majority.
Very true! The Greeks and Armenians who were part of the 'entrenched secular-nationalist elite' were... killed or ethnically cleansed a long long time ago!

There may have been an anticlerical elite. But it was concerned with perpetuating its own power.

Secularism was itself a point of hot dispute in both elections, with the insurgent parties seeking to present the concept as a thinly-veiled means for monopolizing power and discriminating against the majority. But the ideological tussle over secularism and religion was a secondary matter: the winning candidates had both campaigned primarily on issues related to the economy and governance, promising to clean up corruption and create rapid economic growth.
Erdogan's party was not 'insurgent'. It already held power. In 2014, Erdogan took over the Presidency from a loyalist of his. Prior to 2007, there was a 'secular' President but he had been routed at the polls.

By contrast, Congress had been in power in India for a decade. Still, the BJP was well established. It was by no means an 'insurgent'.
The parallels extend even to biographical details. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was raised in straitened circumstances in a poor part of Istanbul; his parents were immigrants from the small town of Rize, on the Black Sea, and he had earned money in his childhood by selling ‘lemonade and pastry on the streets’.[4] Narendra Modi was born in the small town of Vadnagar, in Gujarat, and as a child he had helped his father sell tea at the local railway station. Later, he and his brother had run a tea-stall of their own. Both men have been associated with religious groups since their early youth and both profess a deep personal piety. Both also have claims to physical prowess: Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a semi-professional footballer, and Narendra Modi has been known to boast of his 56-inch chest. Both leaders are powerful orators;[5] both exert a charismatic sway over their followers and maintain an unchallenged grip on their party machinery.
There are no parallels here. Erdogan was from a big City. Modi was from a small town. Both, like the majority of their countrymen were from modest backgrounds. Erdogan was a sportsman. Modi was not. Erdogan, in 2014, did have an unchallenged grip on his party. Modi did not. It was his track-record as Chief Minister which made him popular.  Charisma and oratory can't get you very far in a country with many languages.

This is by no means the first time that political developments in India and Turkey have mirrored each other.
Political developments in the subcontinent mirrored the Treaty of Lausanne in the sense that Religion trumped Language in determining Nationality. One may certainly speak of Pakistan as emulating Turkey- two of its military dictators professed admiration for Ataturk. However, the Army has played no role whatsoever in India. There are no parallels between Muslim Turkey and Hindu India.
In the late 1960s and early ‘70s both countries were shaken by left-wing student radicalism and trade union unrest.
All countries were shaken by such unrest.
The next decade, similarly, was a time of deepening conflict between the state and minority groups: Kurds and Alevis in the case of Turkey; and Sikhs, Kashmiris, Nagas, Mizos and a host of others in India.
Ghosh names non Hindu communities in the case of India. The Kurds however are of the same faith as the majority of Turks. Why does Hinduism have a unifying power such that it trumps differences in language, whereas Islam does not?
Between the years 1975-77 India went through a period of brutal repression under a State of Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi; in Turkey the coup of 12th September, 1980, led to mass imprisonments, torture and killings.[6]In both countries the violence reached a climax in 1984: in Turkey an all-out war broke out between the army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); it was in this year too that the Indian army stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which was followed by the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the massacre of thousands of Sikhs.
So, India had only a brief, never to be repeated, period of 'brutal repression'. Unlike Turkey there was no 'all out war'. Sikh Punjab has never had a separatist majority. This is not the case with the Kurdish areas of Turkey. There are no parallels here whatsoever.
The parallels continue into the 1990s. In December 1992, an agitation launched by the BJP and its allies culminated in the tearing down of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, by a mob of Hindu activists; this in turn led to months of rioting and thousands of deaths. In Turkey, in July 1993, a gathering of prominent Alevis, was attacked by an Islamist mob in the town of Sivas: dozens of men and women were killed. In both cases it was the inaction of the authorities that permitted the violence to escalate.
Ghosh is misrepresenting the facts. The Sivas arson attack was a purely local affair aimed at a Sunni writer who had translated and published excerpts from Rushdie's Satanic Verses. Those responsible were small fry without any political standing who were given draconian prison sentences. By contrast, the demolition of the Babri Masjid was directly sponsored by senior politicians and resulted in no arrests or trials though some people were taken into custody briefly. Ludicrously, a CBI court finally framed charges against Advani, Murli Manohar, Uma Bharti etc. in 2017!

The ‘liberalization’ of the Turkish and Indian economies also occurred in tandem, in the 1980s and ‘90s. It was in these decades too that the secular-nationalist establishment of both countries began to suffer major setbacks, with religious parties steadily gaining ground.
In the eighties, Indira and Rajiv were projecting themselves as the protectors of Hindus. They had stolen the clothes of the BJP. The destruction of the Babri Masjid occurred under the rule of pious and devious Brahman who was well versed in Sanskrit and who relied on crazy Godmen like Chandraswami. Why is Ghosh pretending that Rao was part of a 'secular-nationalist' establishment? The fact is, it was Rajiv who had re-opened the Ramjanmabhumi for Hindu worship.

That political developments in India and Turkey have occasionally mirrored each other is in some ways surprising, since the historical trajectories of the two republics have little in common.
There is no mirroring precisely because Turkey and India are completely different from each other.
Unlike India, Turkey was never colonized; to the contrary it was itself a major imperial power until the First World War. In the second half of the 20th century, Turkey’s politics differed from India’s in that they were dominated by the army. As a close ally of the United States, Turkey’s international alignments were also different from India’s through those decades. Perhaps more significantly, in material terms Turkey is (and has long been) far better off than India: its people are more prosperous and better educated, and its infrastructure is more ‘advanced’ in almost every respect. Indeed Turkey is effectively a First World country while India ranks in the lower levels of almost every index of ‘development’. Moreover India, with more than a billion people, is vastly larger than Turkey with its population of 77 million.
Yet the two countries do have at least one very important commonality: both are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, with very marked differences between regions.
Kurdish is not taught in public schools. Only since 2013 can it be taught in private institutions. Now Erdogan says it can be an elective subject. Compare this to India. Every State has its own language and script.
It is for this reason perhaps that the transition to nationhood was accompanied by similar traumas in both India and Turkey: indeed it could be said that it is in their dreams and nightmares, their anxieties and aspirations, that their commonalities find their most eloquent expression.[8]
This is nonsense. The transition to nationhood was prolonged for India. It happened very quickly for Turkey. In both cases, Religion trumped Linguistic affiliation. However Hindus did not expel Muslims to the same extent as Muslims expelled Hindus from the areas where they were a majority.

Turkey, being a Muslim, Hanafi, country, is similar to Pakistan and has a history of separatism violently dealt with by an Army dominated Administration.
Both republics were born amidst civil conflict, war and massive exchanges of population.
Turkey was born amidst military conflict. India and Pakistan were not. The Muslims initiated ethnic cleansing as did Sikhs and Dogras. This caused the 'massive exchange of population'. However, Ghosh's own West Bengal did not symmetrically expel Muslims. According to a Bangladeshi writer, whose article was published in the NYT, Muslims who migrated to East Pakistan did so for purely economic motives.
In no small part was it due to these experiences that secularism came to attain an unusual salience in the two countries:
Sheer nonsense! The Caliph had sentenced Ataturk to death. An Indian Khilafati turned up to try to kill Ataturk. That's why he abolished the Caliphate and suppressed the Mullahs with an iron hand. He introduced the Roman script so as to tackle widespread illiteracy. There were similar 'secularizing'- i.e. Westernizing- attempts in Iran and (briefly) Afghanistan.

Indian 'secularism' did not mean wearing trousers and hats and using the Roman script. It meant the reverse. Back in the Fifties, it was possible to believe that Socialism- i.e. 5 year plans- would transform the country into a modern industrialized economy. But, it soon became obvious that this was a pipe dream. Communism proved to be even more gerontocratic and out of touch with reality than the Congress party. Its 'popular front' collaboration with Congress showed its irrelevance. Now Congress has as many MPs as the Communists did in 2004. Out of the 5 seats the Communists currently have, 4 are a gift from the DMK.
it was considered indispensable for the maintenance of peace and equity within diverse populations. But secularism was thought to be indispensable also to the aspirations for material advancement that lay at the heart of the Kemalist and Nehruvian projects.[9] For the elites of both countries there was little difference between ‘secularism’ and ‘secularization’: the ultimate aspiration was for a general progression towards what Nehru liked to call the ‘scientific temper’.
Nehru tried to create a Technological cadre within the Government. The I.A.S strangled this initiative of his. His successors were more likely to listen to astrologers than engineers.
This was thought to be essential to the attainment of modern ways of living, as exemplified by the West. But since religion plays an important role in the lives of the vast majority of Indians and Turks, secularism was always an embattled aspiration, in both countries.
Misrule and bad Governance caused ruling parties to be 'embattled' in both countries. Islam, however, has far greater political potential than Hinduism- because of the caste system. Thus, Islamist parties have formed the kernel of opposition to despotic Military based regimes in countries like Algeria, Syria, Turkey, Egypt etc. In Pakistan, the Army has attempted to co-opt or create an Islamic counterweight to 'Awami' Socialist parties.

By contrast, India has seen competition between two middle of the road Hindu dominated parties. The BJP got the upper hand because it is less corrupt and has a meritocratic, not dynastic, leadership. There was a brief period when Congress appeared anti-Hindu. That was simply a mistake.
Yet, through the latter decades of the 20th century, even as the banners of secular-nationalism were beginning to look increasingly tattered, their bearers somehow managed to retain their hold on power in both Turkey and India.
There is no similarity between Turkey, whose constitution permitted its Army to topple any Government it considered to be compromising 'secularism', and India where there has never been a military coup.
This does not mean, of course, that religious parties never had any taste of power before the ascent of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Narendra Modi. Just as Erdogan’s advent was presaged by two former Prime Ministers, Turgut Özal and Necmettin Erbakan, so too was Narendra Modi preceded as PM by another leader of the BJP: Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Congress was a Religious party. India's first President- Rajendra Prasad was profoundly Religious. The Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel, was and is popular with the RSS and the Sangh Parivar. Lal Bahadur Shastri was religious. During his rule, Muslims were persecuted by the Custodian of Enemy property. Laws banning cow protection were 'beefed up'. Indira Gandhi was initially a Socialist. However, when she returned to power, she was deeply religious and presided over massacres of Muslims and the military assault on the Sikh Golden Temple. Rajiv Gandhi was even more pro-Hindu. He permitted the massacre of Sikhs and fixed elections in Kashmir thus causing an insurgency. Sonia, by contrast, was more even-handed. However, she put up an RSS man, Shankarsinh Vagela, as her CM candidate in Gujarat. The BJP returned the favor by poaching Congress Muslims like Dr. Najma Heptulla and MJ Akbar.

Vajpayee's period in office dispelled the impression that the BJP was vastly different from Congress. If anything, the party seemed too Nehruvian- i.e. addicted to high flown rhetoric.
Why then did the elections that brought Erdogan and Modi to power seem so pivotal?
They did not seem pivotal but rather inevitable to voters simply because Governance was expected to improve under both.
In part it was because these elections had each been preceded by a tectonic shift in the political landscape; a development that was most notably evident, in both cases, in the collapse of the traditional left.
I don't know about the Turkish left. The Indian left lost salience because it lived in a fantasy world where the RSS was actually Hitler's SS. Thus it needed to follow the Comintern's 'Popular Front' strategy. But that strategy had failed in the Thirties! In West Bengal, the Communists destroyed their own support base by unleashing their hoodlums on the peasants so as to acquire land for crony capitalists. A former Congress leader, the fearless Mamta Bannerjee, beat them at the ballot box and then her goons beat the Communists in the streets until they piped small. Now many of them vote for the BJP.
In Turkey this collapse came about well before the election of 2003. This is how Jenny White, an anthropologist, puts it: ‘In previous decades, the Turkish left had carried the banner of ideological resistance to economic injustice. But the left had fallen victim to a double knockout punch: the post coup military crackdown and the global decline of socialism. Both left- and right-of-center parties abandoned the terrain of economic justice for more global issues. Islamist institutions and party platforms took over the role of the left as champions of economic justice…’[10]A similar dynamic was at work in India ten years later, most notably in my home state, West Bengal, where a Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), had been dominant for more than three decades. But in the latter years of its rule the Left Front had come to be seen as corrupt and subservient to moneyed interests. Its rupture with the class that had brought it to power – small and marginal farmers – was set in motion by an effort to bring heavy industries into the state. This resulted in a series of land disputes between small farmers and corporations: by intervening on behalf of the latter, the Left Front sealed its own fate. In the election of 2014 the left parties suffered a defeat so catastrophic as to all but eliminate them as a major factor in national politics. This is undoubtedly a radical break for a country where the left has often held the balance of power.
The Communists had previously shat the bed by opposing the Nuclear deal with America for purely ideological reasons. The Left refused to step up to the plate, in the mid Nineties, and form a coalition government with Jyoti Basu as P.M. This showed it was more concerned with ideological purity than doing anything for the Nation. One factor in Mamta's rise is that she has cultivated the Namasudras, whom the Communists had massacred.
But there was a break also in the nature of the support that Erdogan and Modi were able to mobilize: they both succeeded in extending their bases beyond traditional religious groupings. Erdogan, for example, was able to draw on the resources of the vast network of educational, social and media-related organizations created by Fethullah Gülen, a religious figure who is in many respects quite different from traditional Islamist leaders.[11] So too was Modi able to enlist not just the old Hindu-nationalist organizations like the RSS, but also a number of gurus, godmen and pundits who have recently risen to prominence. Among them are some who have created new constituencies of Hindu activists in universities, tech companies and the like. This enabled the BJP to counter some of the charges that had proved most effective against religious conservatives in the past: that they are obscurantist and old fashioned; that they are a hindrance in the march to modernity; and so on.
Ghosh is being silly. Nobody cares about godmen and pandits. Modi won because of his track-record in Gujarat. High growth and good governance was what voters wanted. Rahul refused to step up to the plate and promise to deliver these things as P.M. Thus, Modi and Modi alone was saying 'Give me the top job. I can deliver what you want.'
Instead, the BJP (like the AKP before it),[12] was able to turn the tables on the secularists: it succeeded in presenting itself as more modern than its opponent, being less statist, less corrupt and less tainted by the past. That the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate was a self-made man, not a dynastic scion, was frequently cited to suggest that he would bring a new dynamism to the country’s politics.
Modi had dramatically sidelined the old men in his party- Advani, Murli Manohar and so on- which is why he was taken at his word. Moreover, he ran an effective, tech-savvy, campaign.

The similarities in these two political careers are such as to suggest that something more than coincidence is at work here, something systemic.
There are no similarities here whatsoever. Erdogan prevailed against the Army because to join Europe required Democracy. He seemed the man who could deliver this prize. By contrast, Indian politics is completely unaffected by anything from outside- save perhaps Islamic terrorism.
Erdogan and Modi are men of their time
Just as Ghosh is a man of his time. All people are people of their time.
and have both come to power by riding a wave of neo-liberal globalization:
That wave began in the Eighties. China rode that wave. Its politics are very different from India's.
their rise is proof that an economic ideology, when wrapped in a packaging of religious symbols and gestures, can have a tremendous electoral allure.
But Congress had exactly the same ideology. It could have done a similar type of 'packaging'- indeed, it embraced 'soft Hindutva' in the recent elections- but it would still have lost because its Crown Prince was reluctant to come forward. Indeed, he has now disappeared to America leaving his party to flounder in hopeless confusion.
The process by which the neo-liberal program was sacralized in Turkey has been described thus by the scholar Cihan Tugal: ‘Starting with its establishment in 2001, the AKP’s ideologues presented it as the expression of an economic shift, but they did so using a quite spiritual language. Nazif Gurdogan, a conservative ideologue and a member of a predominantly elite religious order, interpreted this party (in Sufi language) as the representative of the ‘forces of light’ against the ‘forces of darkness’.
Which party says it represents 'the forces of darkness'? Why mention 'Sufi language'? Every single language in the world thinks light is good and darkness is bad.
He further defined the latter as proponents of centralized, hierarchical, and rigid organizations based on trust, transparency, and distribution of authority. In political economic language he saw the party as the agent of flexible capitalism against organized capitalism represented by the nationalized sectors of the bourgeoisie. Religious civil society… combined its forces to sacralize the AKP’s economic program. Without this spiritualization, neoliberalism could not be sustained.’[13]
 I don't know Turkish but am willing to believe that there are crap Turkish journalists who write nonsense. Spiritualization is not needed to sustain any purely economic process or mechanism. Ghosh may believe otherwise, but then he is a cretin teaching a worthless, wholly discredited, subject.
Or, as another student of Turkish politics has put it: ‘… greater access to global resources, wealth accumulation, and communication technologies has redirected ‘political Islam’ toward an increasingly rationalized, post-political manifestation of something that might be termed ‘market Islam’.’[14]
It may be termed 'market Islam' if it purports to sell Salvation or remission of Sins. If not, it should not be termed anything so derogatory.
That this shift took longer in India than in Turkey is perhaps partly attributable to Hinduism itself: it is no easy matter, after all, to superimpose an ideology of ‘growth’ and consumerism upon a religion in which asceticism and renunciation are foundational values.
Sheer nonsense! Every religion says that asceticism and renunciation are good things. Neither Lord Jesus Christ, nor Prophet Muhammad, nor Lord Buddha lived lives of luxury while the masses starved.

On the other hand, no Government in India has ever said- 'Everybody should eat less. They should own fewer clothes. They must not have a roof over their head.' On the contrary, all promise to deliver 'roti, kapada, makan' and 'bijli, pani, sadak'.
But over the last two decades an emergent alliance of right-wing economists, revisionist thinkers and electorally savvy politicians and strategists has pulled off the seemingly impossible.
Ghosh has a conspiracy theory about why Turkey and India and China and so forth want to get richer. It is because of an 'emergent alliance'. Sadly the left-wing economists, progressive thinkers and electorally shite politicians were not able to form an 'emergent alliance'. Instead they shat the bed in impotent frustration. That is why whole world is now so evil and nice Begali buddhijivis like Ghosh have to double down on writing stupid articles like this. Meanwhile, in Ghosh's own country of domicile, Trump rules the roost.
Through a re-branding exercise of the sort that contemporary corporations are so adept at, they have successfully invented and sold a new product – ‘Market Hinduism’.
Where? On Ebay? On Amazon? Or merely in the fevered imagination of a stupid 'Social Anthropologist'?

Ghosh himself is selling shite books on Amazon. Why? There is a globalized niche market for stupid shite.
As with many other re-branded products the goods are actually rather shop-soiled.
Like Ghosh's own oeuvre. Why is this idiot pretending that markets are bad things? If he really believed any such thing, he would not sell his worthless books. He could just e-publish them for free.
They consist of pretty much the same set of ideas that motivated 19th century opium traders, many of whom were devout evangelical Protestants, to claim that by smuggling drugs into China they were merely upholding the divinely-ordained laws of Free Trade, and thereby doing God’s work.
Evangelicals opposed the Opium trade. Missionary Societies did want free entry into China for the purpose of proselytisation- not some sinister form of unjust enrichment. Some Parsis and other Indian merchants benefited by the trade as did local Chinese compradors. The Chinese developed a taste for opium in the early eighteenth century whereas the East India Company became the biggest supplier- albeit indirectly- some 50 years later.  Opium smoking was legal in China till 1813. It is utterly false to say that Christians forced opium on China because they believed 'Free Trade was divinely ordained'. This is a highly repugnant, false, and racist statement tending to sow seeds of hatred between people of different religions and ethnicities.
The irony – a terrible one for people of a genuinely spiritual bent – is that this ideology has the power to impoverish the religions that it touches, emptying them of all that is distinctive in their traditions.[15] 
There is no irony here. There is simply a brazen lie. Gladstone condemned the Opium Wars in ringing terms. ‘A war more unjust in its origin, a war more calculated … to cover this country in permanent disgrace, I do not know, and I have not read of'. Gladstone embraced Free Trade- which only really triumphed with his first Chancellorship- but his condemnation of the Opium wars was wholly unequivocal. Christians in the UK campaigned against this despicable trade.
Instead it infects those religions with ideas that are not only ‘secularized’ but are also directly opposed to many of the values that have historically been cherished by every religion.
Ghosh is wrong about British Christianity. It has no truck with such repugnant types of commerce. Did he learn nothing at Oxford?

Are there any portents for India in Turkey’s experience of AKP rule?
With hindsight, no- none at all. There was no attempted coup. Nothing in India corresponds to the Gulenist movement.
I believe there are.
Because you are a cretin.
The first lesson is that the Narendra Modi’s tenure is likely to pose many surprises for liberals, left-wingers and others opposed to the BJP. As Cihan Tugal writes: ‘The first three years of AKP rule were a liberal’s dream. The party passed many democratic reforms, recognized the existence of minorities hitherto rejected by official discourse, and liberalized the political system.’
Because Turkey wanted to get into the EU.
Just as Erdogan was able to distance himself from his predecessors’ posture in relation to minority groups, it is perfectly possible that Modi too will take a different stance towards some of India’s troubled regions.[16]Equally, there may be some surprises ahead for New Delhi’s security hawks. Just as the AKP’s former Foreign Affairs Minister (and current PM), Ahmet Davutoglu, was able to engineer some significant changes in Turkey’s relationship with its neighbours, Narendra Modi too may be able to alter the regional dynamic in southern and eastern Asia. There are signs already that under his leadership India’s relations with China and Bangladesh will take a different tack.
Ghosh was wrong. India's diplomatic relations are not a political football. Modi was more assertive because he was in a stronger position. It may be a decrepit Congress coalition would have been defeatist. But that's the reason Congress was decimated in the elections.
In matters of governance, it is generally accepted that Erdogan has been more efficient and effective than his immediate predecessors. It is quite likely that this will be the case with Modi as well.
But what of Narendra Modi’s core promises: growth and economic expansion? Here the eleven-year time lag between Erdogan’s election and Modi’s may be of critical importance. Through Erdogan’s first term as Prime Minister, Turkey’s Gross Domestic Product grew at an average rate of 7.2%.[17] But this probably came about because of  a global upswing that happened to occur at a time when ‘emerging’ economies abounded in low-hanging fruit. [18] In India too the economy was expanding at similar rates in that period, under a Congress-led government. But after the global economic downturn, there has been a marked slowing of growth in both India and Turkey. It would seem that unlike Prime Minister Erdogan, who had the good fortune to come to power with a favorable economic wind behind him, Narendra Modi’s ascent has coincided instead with a strengthening downdraft.
What will happen if expanding expectations of growth are hemmed in by a tightening horizon of possibility?
The answer is that there has to be greater efficiency in 'last mile delivery'. Even Mamta has had to disintermediate her party apparatchiks from this, preferring to let the buck stop with Government officials. In Bengal, this has meant more gangsterism. Not so in BJP ruled states.
If the Turkish experience is any indication, the likelihood is that the attempt to pursue old strategies of ‘growth’ will become increasingly frenzied. More malls will be built and more public lands will be sold off; real-estate bubbles will proliferate, accompanied by revelations of corruption; the privatization of natural resources will accelerate, perhaps even leading to the sale of rights to rivers.[19] 
This had already happened and the BJP was left holding the baby.
At the same time, grass-roots opposition will be suppressed and every effort will be made to silence environmentalists.
In Bengali, the word 'grass-roots' translates as 'Trinamool'. Mamta's Trinamool Congress swept away the Communist despotism though, no doubt, the Left tried to suppress it. Genuine 'grass-roots' movements can't be suppressed in India. Environmentalists can be silenced because they don't have grass-roots support and rely instead on foreign money.
But only for a brief period will it be possible to get away with this. At a certain point people will push back, as they did in Turkey, during the Gezi Park protests of 2013.[20]Indeed the one area in which there is certain to be headlong growth is that of protest – a whiplash effect, ironically, of the same neo-liberal wave that has brought the AKP and the BJP to power.[21] 
Five years later, can we find any evidence for a 'whiplash effect' in India? No. None at all.
For it is now evident that the very currents that send tsunamis of capital and information hurtling around the world also have the effect of throwing up sand-bars of protest, many of which self-consciously mimic each other.
The reverse is evident. There are no 'tsunamis of capital and information'. Economists speak of 'turbulent flow' but acknowledge that 'contagion effects' can be quickly curbed. Sandbars are powerless against tsunamis. They are a natural, not a mimetic, phenomenon.
But governments have also been quick to learn: from Hong Kong to Seattle, Istanbul to London, the powers-that-be have found ways to contain and ultimately disperse these movements.
'Powers-that-be'! How very sinister! All Ghosh is saying is 'silly protest movements run out of steam. They can create a backlash in favor of the incumbent administration.' This is what is happening to the 'yellow vests' in France.
As a result their principal effect is often merely to bruise the egos of whichever leaders they happen to be directed against.
When protests break out in India, as they surely will, how will Narendra Modi respond? Will he take a leaf out of Erdogan’s book and become more authoritarian and repressive? Will he retreat into Sultan-ish isolation? Will political pressures ultimately lead to a break between him and some of the organizations that helped to bring him to power (as has been the case with Erdogan and the Gülenists)? Only time will tell.
Time has told all. Modi faced no mass protests. He was a sensible man who did sensible things. Also he worked very hard indeed. Ghosh and his ilk ranted and raved about Fascism to no effect whatsoever.
No matter what Modi’s response, the contradictions between neo-liberal promises of growth and the constraints of the environment will not go away. Not only will they cause domestic disruptions, they will also impinge, with increasing insistence, on matters deemed to be ‘external’. Thus has the AKP’s ambitious foreign policy been disastrously waylaid by events beyond its borders, most notably by a conflict that has, to a significant degree, been shaped by climate-change: the civil war in Syria, which was triggered by the catastrophic drought that began in 2008.[22]India, like Turkey, happens to be located in a region that is exceptionally turbulent, both politically and climatically. It is more than likely that the BJP’s foreign policy will also be susceptible to similar disruptions.
But it hasn't happened. Ghosh's Manichaean world-view corresponds not at all to Reality.
Indeed perhaps the most important lesson of the Turkey’s recent past is that the world is now entering a period of extreme volatility, when governments will be so overwhelmed by crises and firefighting requirements that they will be less and less able to implement coherent programs and policies.

Amitav Ghosh
November 24, 2014
It is sad to think of Ghosh, slavering at the mouth and rubbing his hands with glee in anticipation of a catastrophe befalling the people of his ancestral homeland, still doing the same thing five years later. How long must his fruitless vigil continue? Why can't the people of the sub-continent start massacring each other already, so that this cretin is proved right? As a person of Indian origin myself, I feel deeply ashamed at the manner in which we have let down our great buddhijivi who watches our doings from an Ivy League Ivory tower.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Sriya Iyer on the economics of Indian religious riots

Half a century ago, an American economist, George Akerlof,  spent a year in India. He wrote a paper about the Caste system which, though it contributed nothing to our emic understanding of Varna or Jati, did add something which has proved useful to Economic theory. In his Nobel lecture, Akerlof says 'What I learned in India became the keystone for my later contributions to the development of an efficiency wage theory of unemployment in Western countries.'

By contrast, the field of 'Economics of Religion' has added nothing to either economic theory or our understanding of Religion. Indeed, the utter failure of Weberian theory was one reason why 'Institutional Economics' came into disrepute, though- no doubt- the Myrdal's abysmal oeuvre played a part as well.

Why? If Ackerlof could gain a new insight by looking at caste, why hasn't any economist contributed anything valuable to Economic Theory by looking at Religion?

Is there something about Religion which makes Economics screw up when it tries to analyze it?

The answer comes in two parts. Firstly, the project is foolish and based on ignorance, secondly it attracts ignorant fools.

Why is the thing foolish? The answer is that Econ supervenes on Religion, by the latter's account, but the reverse is not the case. Thus, Religion- at least, that of the Greek Orthodox Church- distinguishes between economia- an idiographic, accommodative, practice of Governance- and akrebia- a more rigid, nomothetic, rules based prescriptive approach.  Aristotle had warned that it is a mistake to seek for a greater akrebia in analysis than the subject matter permits. The result is bound to be foolish. Similarly, Indic Religions differentiate between Artha and Moksha. There is no hermeneutic merging of horizons between them. Thus, there can be no semantic supervenience relationship between the two. Thus neither can really say much about each other.

Turning to our modern 'Positive Economics', we find, from its own self-defintion, that it can't have a theory of Religion. Why? No scarcity obtains. That which is the goal of Religious activity is non rival, non excludable, involves no production or utility function and is wholly independent of preferences, endowments & coordination mechanisms. Norms and Values and Doxastic exchanges aren't like commodities. It is a different matter that there may be mimetic rivalry. What there can't be is scarcity related opportunity cost.

This is not to say that activities described as motivated by Religion are not economic. However such actions are similar to those motivated by Politics, Aesthetics, Scientific inquiry, Athletic or Sporting accomplishment- indeed any normative or thymotic field of activity. However all activities of this type- provided they involve scarce resources or occur on an uncertain fitness landscape- can be described in the same way as any biological or otherwise co-evolved behavior. One may speak of coordination and discoordination games and pooling or separating equilibria on the basis of either 'cheap talk' or 'costly signals'. There is no point having a separate 'Economics of Religion' because the boundary between  Religion and Politics- or Aesthetics or purely Thymotic or Commercial activity- is impossible to draw. Indeed, Religion itself harps on this topic constantly. There are always money-changers in the temple or else there is spiritual evil in high places. Every Crusader abides the question- is she really a Conquistador?-  as must every Paraclete the infirmity of suspicion that they but prostitute a virtue they do not possess.

Sriya Iyer has written a review article which, she claims, ' identifies some of the most important developments in the economics of religion in the last couple of decades, notably,

(1) new developments in theoretical models including spatial models of religious markets and evolutionary models of religious preferences and traits;
In other words, some third rate hacks have misapplied ideas from useful fields to a subject in which their opinions are guaranteed to have no influence. Which religiously minded person will turn to an academic economist (i.e. the stupidest type of that variety of cretin) for guidance or enlightenment on any spiritual or theological matter? One may as well ask an anchorite for guidance on portfolio choice.

(2) empirical work which addresses innovatively matters concerning econometric identification in examining causal influences on religious behavior;

These cretins don't know what causes religious behavior. If they did they could have set up a lucrative cult, like Scientology, but which uses the Economist's jargon. Alternatively, if they are altruists, they could have figured out a way to help people in despair, or those struggling to beat addiction, or other such unfortunates who claim to benefit from religious consolation.

The fact that they don't do it shows they don't know how it is done. Thus they can't identify causes. Since they are shite econometricians, using invalid instruments, they can write nonsense of a click-bait variety or for a purely propagandistic purpose as Sriya Iyer herself has done.

(3) new research in the economic history of religion that considers religion as an independent rather than as a dependent variable;

If it is truly independent then it can't show up in 'the economic history' of anything. There will be no hysteresis effects and no co-evolved processes.

 and (4) more studies of religion outside the Western world.

by people who know neither the Western world nor whichever shit-hole their parents managed to escape from by completely ignoring or reversing the prescriptions of its indigenous religious or moral regime.

Why is this utterly shite branch of the subject still burgeoning? To answer this question, let us look at the following excerpt from a new book titled 'The Economics of Religion in India' by Sriya Iyer which has been published in Quartz magazine.

We can think of religious riots in India as one example of a broader class of riots that are categorized as “ethnoreligious conflicts”—defined as conflicts that involve ethnic groups that are distinguished from each other by their religions.
Ethnoreligious conflicts are characterized by some or all of the following features
1) Forcible conversion or suppression of religious practices
2) Ethnic cleansing or deprivation of civil and political rights
3) Transfer of property and other assets- including nubile women- from one community to another
4) Persistent theological denunciation of the other sect as being a path to damnation

By contrast riots can occur between followers of different sports teams or flare up because of gang rivalry or as a response to police action. London saw severe 'hoodie riots' after a gangster was shot by the police. Criminal gangs, using blackberry phones, coordinated a youth revolt which degenerated into a looting spree involving large scale arson.

More usually, riots arise out of political demonstrations in which a fringe element engages in mayhem so as to attract publicity and put pressure on the administration. The 1990 poll tax riots, in the UK, which brought down Thatcher, or the 'yellow vests' in Macron's France are examples. The dilemma posed by such riots is that repression may push the 'silent majority' down the road to militancy. No Government can lock up a sizable portion of the electorate. By contrast, a very large demonstration- e.g. the anti-Iraq War 'Not in my name' protest- which involves no rioting, may have no impact on political decision making. Violence, here, is a proxy for 'preference intensity'. Non-violence is dismissed as 'virtue signalling'.

India's post-independence communal riots are more like this purely political type of riot save in Kashmir where ethnic cleansing of Pundits has actually occurred.

The occurrence and virulence of riots is a function of policing policy and resources and can be instrumentalized for political purposes. It can also represent a type of vigilantism- 'teaching a lesson' to a turbulent or criminal minority, or 'sending a message' to an economically dominant coalition. However, this does not amount to 'ethnoreligious' conflict. Why? Because the follow-through is absent. Ethnic cleansing does not actually occur. The civil and political rights of the targeted community are not curbed. Their religion is not suppressed or denounced as satanic.

Sriya Iyer is wrong to think the sort of communal riots she speaks of are 'ethnoreligious conflicts' rather than breakdowns in public order similar to football riots. Why? Because the Hindu majority areas of India have not gone in for systematic ethnic cleansing. There has been a political instrumentalization of riots of various types. But this does not represent ethnoreligious conflict. The Party orchestrating the rioting can draw support from the targeted community. Zail Singh was President at the time of the anti-Sikh riots. Congress is currently in power in Punjab under a Sikh C.M who stayed loyal back then. Similarly, in Gujarat, the Patidar agitation- though ostensibly against the incumbent administration- did not really represent a rejection of it. Rather, this was a show of strength designed to affect the balance of power within competing political parties so as to secure reservations for Patels.

On the other hand, Gujarat has also seen riots which are 'anti-national' in the sense of featuring the involvement of a 'foreign hand'.

 The Shahrukh Khan film 'Raees' gives the background to a bizarre situation where a Muslim Minister, belonging to the Congress Party, uses a Muslim bootlegger to get hold of bombs from the Pakistani ISI to stage a terrorist incident so as to spark off riots. Later the Minister and another Muslim politician arranged to have a honest Muslim MP killed. This attracted the ire of the then Home Minister. 'Raees' fled to Pakistan, but after falling out with Dawood Ibrahim, returned to India. However the police, who had been on his pay-roll, killed him.

All this is common knowledge. But not for Sriya Iyer. Why? She is part of an academic availability cascade whose imbecility can be instrumentalized in a hypocritical manner by the most worthless sort of public intellectual. These guys get to pretend that a side-effect of Economic Growth is Rioting. This is junk Social Science. Why? The 'Structural Causal Model' is silly. If two things are meaningfully correlated then we can increase one thing to increase the other thing or vice versa. Smoking and cancer are correlated. Reducing smoking reduces cancer. Smoking may be statistically correlated with rising income but it isn't caused by it. When China's economic upsurge began, smoking increased a lot and, I suppose, this raised cancer risk. But reducing disposable income by reducing economic growth is not the solution to the problem.

During the Cuban 'famine' of the Nineties, health incomes improved. But it is not food availability deficit which is correlated with better health but, rather, increased exercise and the substitution of organically grown vegetables and fruits for higher calorie processed foods.

All this is common sense. But that is an uncommon commodity among academic economists. It is individually rational for them to publish 'politically correct' junk social science even though, collectively, it reduces the prestige of their discipline. This type of Economic analysis has a 'negative externality' for Economics as a more or less prestigious subject for study at the University level.
The data for 1950-2006 show that there were about 30 religious riots each year in India.
On average, 212 people were killed each year, and almost 600 injured. There is also considerable variation in riots and growth across the Indian states. For example, in 2006, while Punjab had virtually no riots, the affluent state of Gujarat had about six riots.
Thus, riots in India are idiographic and reflect localized politics. 'Affluence' or its lack is irrelevant. In any case, it is misleading to speak of Gujarat as 'affluent'. It is still very poor by First World standards. Iyer should say 'in 2006, Gujarat had six riots while Punjab, which has a comparable per capita income, had none. Thus, in India, there is no correlation whatsoever between religious violence and Economic conditions. To argue otherwise would be like saying, in Punjab, you can smoke as much as you like without increasing your cancer risk. In Gujarat the reverse is the case. Smoking does not cause cancer. Living in Gujarat does.'
The damage in terms of property and prosperity must be on a similar scale; so too must the harm done to inter-religious networks throughout the country.
Why must it? Economics knows of no such law. Iyer is living in England. She could inquire about the hoodie riots. How much damage in terms of 'property and prosperity' did they actually do? Did the City of London haemorrhage talent as Capital fled to safer harbors? Did the Sikh and Muslim shopkeepers who confronted the hoodies to protect their shops harm 'inter-religious networks' in the City? If so, how come London has a Muslim Mayor?
The intensity of such riots, puzzlingly, has shown no sign of abating despite India’s recent and accelerating economic growth.
'Accelerating'? Which planet is Iyer living on?

Who, in India, is puzzled by any riot- intense or otherwise? We know almost immediately who is instrumentalizing it and what the political purpose is. In the case of Godhra, there was an external security threat. That is why Delhi intervened, sending in not just troops, who were prepared to fire on fellow Hindus because they believed the whole thing was a Pakistani plot designed to harm our defensive posture in the Rann of Kutch, but also a senior Police Chief to break the link between the corrupt police SHO and the land-shark, bootlegger etc. Modi was supposed to be the scapegoat but because no one was in a hurry to replace him, he turned things around by lifting curfew early and then by his smart handling of the Akshardam terrorist attack. The forbearance of the Swami Narayan sect was a big help.

Everything I am saying can be verified by a 10 minute Google search. Iyer, however, has to rely on highly partisan academic sources because she is a highly partisan academic herself. She hopes to be the West's 'talking head' to be trundled into TV studios anytime there is a riot back home. It is a dirty job, but someone has to do it- and better it is done by an Iyer rather than those damned Iyengars who accuse us of putting garlic in the sambar.
For example, the riots in 2002 in Gujarat are an acute reminder of this. In two and a half months of violence, normal life came to a standstill, and close to 400 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the capital alone. The state-wide death toll of the riots, though disputed, is estimated to have been 1,050.
If normal life came to a standstill, how come there was scarcely any impact on growth? If anything, it increased because Modi managed things much more smartly than anyone suspected was possible. But, the context should be borne in mind. Both the Home Ministry and the Defense Ministry were convinced this was a Pakistani plot. This meant soldiers would shoot fellow Hindus if ordered to do so. Corrupt policemen understood this was not 'business as usual', though no doubt the Sanjiv Bhatt type of vermin played a waiting game. It backfired in his case because the voters, not the 'public intellectuals', prevailed. Barkha Dutt is now spitting bile at Kapil Sabil over the folding of his Tiranga TV that was supposed to relaunch her career. How the mighty have fallen!
Events such as this outline the importance of a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind religious riots (specifically, what determines rioting behavior) and the effects of rioting on economic growth. As macroeconomic theory suggests that riots affect economic growth and growth affects the chance of riots, we must first examine what causes riots.
Macroeconomic theory does not suggest that riots affect economic growth. During the hoodie riots in London, no Macro-economist- and London is plentifully supplied with them- said 'OMG, this is gonna blow a hole in my UK growth estimate.' Iyer is talking nonsense.

Why 'examine what causes riots'? We could just watch 'Raees' on Netflix instead. Economists simply don't have the tools to model anything so complicated.
An economic approach to religious rioting
To develop a framework within which to examine rioting, I view religious riots, as suggested first by E Glaeser, as an act of hatred and an extreme form of religious participation or attendance.
This is utterly foolish. Extreme hatred can't be appeased by anything less than full ethnic cleansing. Hindu majority areas of India have shown no evidence of any such thing. There has been thoroughgoing ethnic cleansing in non-Hindu majority areas of the sub-continent.

Iyer is from a Hindu background. She may know of other Iyers who spend a lot of time going to teerths & Temples and taking darshan of Gurus and Acharyas and so forth. Do they really have a greater proclivity for rioting than their less religious neighbors? In India, participation in rioting may be related to whether one comes from a 'martial' or dominant land owning caste. It may also correlate to lower socio-economic origins. It is definitely correlated to previous criminal activity.

Iyer probably knows that her fellow Iyers- or other educationally advanced Brahmins, Jains etc- are  not more inclined to violence as a result of attendance at congregational worship. However, they may harbor the suspicion that Muslims are whipped up to a frenzy by their Mullahs in the mosques.

Consider what happened when the Iyers' pontiff was imprisoned on a murder charge. Did they riot? Suppose their pontiff had urged them to do so. Would they have obeyed?

Iyer is of Indian origin. Why is she writing as though the country and its people are utterly alien to her? Why has Quartz excerpted this from her book? Its readership is mainly Hindu and upper caste. We all have relatives who are pious. Do they run out of their temples or prayer halls baying for blood?
The Glaeser model is very important for economic studies of religious conflict, as it provides a unique framework within which to consider the decision to riot.
Glaeser is good on urban economics in advanced countries. His model is useless when applied to India because of missing markets & differences in Public Service provision.
This decision is similar to the decision to attend a sermon, in that both involve costs of time sacrificed for religious activity. Rioting, as a manifestation of hatred, is also determined by economic, historic, political, and psychological grievances.
Wow! This Iyer thinks that when an Iyer decides to listen to a sermon she is making exactly the same type of decision as when she decides to riot. That is why our widowed grandmothers are constantly rioting when they are not listening to sermons. It is a terrible social problem. Kindly ensure that your granny gets a well paid job so as to curb her criminal activities.

Rioting involves raping and looting and settling scores and gaining a rep as a hard man which affects future earning from extortion and contract enforcement. If there is good Governance, then it also involves substantial penalties. This is what curbs the underlying phenomena. Where there is genuine hatred, democratic politics permits ethnic cleansing of a systematic type. Consider the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Look what happened to non-Sunnis under the Caliphate. Rioting is an inefficient way to get rid of those you hate. The Rwandan genocide wasn't a riot. It was systematic butchery.
These non-economic determinants provide us with instruments that can be used in the econometric analysis presented in this chapter.
An instrument is invalid if it has no causal connection with whatever it correlates to. If it has a causal connection, then there is a genuine Structural Causal Model. This means there is a policy prescription at the end of the analysis- stuff like reduce smoking to reduce cancer. What possible policy prescription could Iyer's idiocy produce?

In their pioneering work on the economics of religion, C Azzi and R Ehrenberg included afterlife consumption, determined by time dedicated to time-intensive religious activities, as a component of the household’s utility. An increase in wage rates, by increasing the opportunity cost of time, decreases religious participation.
It may increase intensity of religious participation more than proportionately. Furthermore, participation may be classed as 'psychogogia' or entertainment rather than 'methexis'- as Plato observed long ago. One may go to Church or Synagogue just to hear the music or to be seen and to see others.
Similarly, one may watch a religious movie out of eusebiac, not hedonic, motive. Economics must stay silent here or reveal itself to be a braying ass.
Since religious rioting can be categorised as this sort of participation,
No it can't, unless there is a religion which says 'rioting is pleasing to the Lord. So is raping and looting. Go thou and commit mayhem.'
A Religion may ordain ethnic cleansing- but that must be done systematically and once and for all.
we would expect an increase in the rate of Indian growth to lead to fewer riots.
No we wouldn't. We'd expect more riots in areas with fuzzy appropriable control rights and weak Governance. Turf wars characterize boom towns with inadequate policing and fuzzy land titles.Where Governance is weak, contract enforcement is outsourced to local Dons.

Who is this 'we' Iyer speaks of? Are there really any economists who think as she does? Do they also believe their grannies, in between going to the Temple, spend their time rioting?
Religion may also be a way of ensuring income and happiness in spite of economic fluctuations—especially, as is the case in developing countries, in the absence of other risk-mitigating institutions.
A pooling equilibrium, based on 'cheap talk', offers less security than a 'separating equilibrium', based on a 'costly signal'. Religion based networks can evolve these 'costly signals'. However this has nothing to do with rioting. The theory of comparative advantage says you should hire professional rapists and cutthroats to manage that side of things. Marwaris were able to give a fitting reply to Shurawardy's 'Direct Action Day', not by knifing people themselves, but by paying professionals to do so on their behalf. This also meant they could stop the killing once it was clear Calcutta would go to India, not Pakistan. That was the point of the Shurawardy-Gandhi 'miracle in Calcutta'. The professional hoodlums renounced violence till such time as they were once again paid to perform it. A Bangladeshi author writing in the NYT says that Muslims who left West Bengal for East Pakistan did so for purely economic reasons. Hindus expelled from the East could not displace Muslims in the West as happened in East Punjab. That is why the population exchange was one-sided in the East.
In India, rioting is mainly, but not entirely, an urban phenomenon: only 18.1% of Hindu-Muslim riots in my data set took place in villages, with the remaining occurring in towns or cities.
Villagers are smart enough to run away once the first couple of corpses are discovered. Systematic ethnic cleansing does happen in rural areas, however, a superior alternative is the gradual immiserization and enslavement of the minority.
However, this effect could be interacting with the rent-seeking effects of rapid urban economic growth.
In other words, in the absence of good Governance, there is rent dissipation.
Furthermore, urban disturbances may be reported more faithfully, given the size of the country. In contrast to the Stark-Finke hypothesis, R Barro and R McCleary find an inverse urban-attendance relationship and attribute this to the presence of competing leisure activities in cities.
Barro and McCleary think the devout Catholic who may be cleaning their homes or offices can't attend Church not because she has 3 jobs but because of the few hours she has in the evening to doze off in front of the TV set. That's her 'competing leisure activity'.

Urban populations are more heterogeneous and thus established religious institutions have to make a real effort to establish contact with new arrivals and to cater to their needs. Where there is large scale immigration from other regions of the globe, it may take some time for appropriate institutions to be created. However, religious participation may have been previously happening in an informal manner. The statistics won't pick this up.
The literature on the economics of religion may also explain membership in right-wing religious organisations such as the RSS, which imposes strict prohibitions on its members. 
The RSS is not a religious organisation. That is why Amit Shah, a Jain, feels at home in it. Furthermore, it has a Muslim wing. It does prohibit casteist behavior on the part of its members. Some believe Hinduism condones the caste system and that the RSS's 'Hindutva' runs counter to 'Manuvadi' Religion.
Iannaccone and E Berman model this as a club good: the sect imposes sacrifices that may stigmatise members in the view of outsiders but that also eliminate free riders who partake of religious participation without appropriate commitment.
This is the wrong model. A club good has high excludability. Moreover its benefits are non-rivalrous, not dependent on intensity of engagement as represented by one's position within a hierarchy.

A Cult or Elitist Organisation can exclude 'low caste' people or people of the wrong class, color or gender.  A Religion can't do so without giving up all claim to universality. The RSS won't turn me away just because I'm fat, old, poor and have unorthodox religious views. However, I will get little benefit from membership because I don't give a damn about India or the poor or whatever. Thus I will never rise up within that organisation nor will my membership of it result in some tangible benefit to Society from which I could take vicarious satisfaction.
Thus sacrifice and stigma, by signaling commitment, may be a second-best solution to crowding externalities within the congregation.
Crowding externalities are costlessly dealt with by branching- the creation of new 'shakhas'. Iyer is using the wrong model. This is a 'separating equilibrium' on the basis of costly signals which have reputational effects. It is not a club good because there is no congestion point.

Glaeser’s “political economy of hatred” provides us with non-income causes of rioting.
The relevant paper shows that 'hate creating stories'- like Iyer's attempt to create hatred of the RSS- are a matter of supply and demand. In this case, we have a narrow class of academics and soi disant 'public intellectuals' who have been talking shite about the BJP for thirty years constituting both the demand and the supply for this type of logorrheic coprophagy.
He defines hatred as “the willingness of members of one group to pay harm to members of another group.”
Which is what academics like Iyer have been doing. A few years ago, a couple of Bengali Hindus wrote a paper suggesting that Hindus kill Muslims if they get richer. 
Though ostensibly irrational, hatred is modeled as a function of supply and demand in a political market. People hate because of feelings, whether justified or not, of injustice, or if they feel threatened.
Iyer type intellectuals do feel threatened by the BJP. Why? The Left-Liberals began a 'long march through the Institutions' to complete irrelevance, some fifty years ago. Now, they realize that Departments and Professorial Chairs they thought were their monopoly are slipping from their grasp. They consider this unjust.
This is reflected in other historical work as well: for example, Jaffrelot writes extensively about Indian Hindus as the majority with a minority complex.
Hindus have been ethnically cleansed but have not done this on any substantial or enduring scale. The caste system is what gives them this minority complex. Consider what happened when the French Governor of a South Indian town decided to level the Mosque and the Temple. The Muslims were united in opposing this. The Hindus showed no similar unity. Why? It was because the priests of the Temple were arrogant, grasping, bastards. Ananda Ranga Pillai said to them, 'you people are extortionate in your demands. Today you want us to protect your Temple from which you make a big profit. You claim it is our religious duty to do so. Tomorrow, you will demand we send you our wives and daughters. That too will be our supposed religious duty. Fend for yourselves or get your caste fellows to help you. We won't stand with you.'

The British, meanwhile, did not demolish either Temples or Mosques. Also they actually paid their bills. So they prevailed over the French. Hindus living in majority Muslim populations slit their own throats by supporting the Independence struggle. Others supported the Communist party which endorsed Partition and then got its throat cut in Pakistan.
According to Glaeser, the demand for hatred is reflected by the willingness of consumers to listen to hateful stories—which may or may not be true—supplied by politicians.
Or, in this case, imbecilic economists.
It is an increasing function of the psychological need for the consumer to hate.
Yup, our libtard academics are hopelessly addicted to scare stories about Fascists taking over everything.
For example, if the consumer’s group has just faced a loss, then he or she may have an innate interest in finding a scapegoat to hate. Hatred is a decreasing function of the benefits that a person in the majority group obtains from social or economic interaction with the minority, the value of which we can assume increases as an economy grows.
This should be modeled as focal solutions for coordination games giving rise to hedging on discoordination games and the creation of arbitrage opportunities. This is because pooling equilibriums can deteriorate if the focal point is congestible. Discoordination games provide a ratchet. Reduced Uncertainty has the same effect as Economic Growth.
The benefits are a function of the minority group’s size and the extent to which its members are integrated into society. Thus, religious conflict can be modeled as a function of the percentage of minorities in the population.
This model fails immediately because we can see that countries with very small Muslim minorities produce more terrorism than those with much much larger proportionate Muslim minorities. Religious conflict can be modeled as a function of Governance related disincentives to running amok.
Politicians supply stories of past crimes, which transform non-haters into haters,
Just as libtard academics endlessly recycle gory stories about Godhra not
to maximise the number of votes received
but the number of citations they get from other libtard academics.
Individuals in the majority group vote based on the potential benefits they will receive from proposed policies as well as their dislike of the minority. Individuals in the minority group vote based on the potential benefits and their hatred of the majority.
So, this is a simplistic model with little explanatory value.
Politicians supply stories of past crimes, which transform non-haters into haters, to maximise the number of votes received.
But, if they are rational, they should take votes away from the supposed 'criminals'. Apartheid South Africa did strip voting rights off some coloured people in 1951.

This is a Just So story which presumes people are irrational. It does not correspond to anything observable. Why is Iyer propounding it? The answer is she wants to turn imaginary hate crimes into real hate crimes by saying 'well, look Modi was re-elected. This proves he must be guilty of what we said he was guilty off. How else can we explain this low caste man- who didn't even attend Harvard, let alone Cambridge- beating Rahul not once but twice?'
Politicians’ expenditure on hatred is constrained by the level of funds available to campaigning parties, the political organisation of minorities, and constitutional statutes limiting abuse of minorities.
Hatred can be spread by telling stupid lies- as Iyer's ilk has been doing for decades. What constrains it is not the amount of money Universities have to push this tripe but the stupidity of the liars involved.

Constitutional statues limiting the abuse of minorities can be overturned or ignored. They are not a constraint at all.
The supply of hatred is also determined by the initial level of hatred in society and the intergroup impact of politicians’ policies.
Nonsense! Experience shows that the supply of hatred is linked to exogenous factors- like terrorists crashing planes into skyscrapers. Why assume hatred is endogenous? I may want to suppress you, but that does not necessarily mean I hate you. Indeed, I may be keen to kiss you and have sexual intercourse with you.
Thus a pro-redistribution candidate is likely to benefit minorities the most if they are poorer, and the response of the opposition may be to create hatred of them.
Experience shows that pro-redistribution candidates hurt the poorest the most. That's why people stopped voting for them.

Glaeser’s model suggests that in equilibrium, the level of hatred increases with intergroup economic differences, time spent listening to messages of hatred, the level of funds of the right-wing candidate, the benefits from interactions expropriated by the majority group, and the voter’s interest in the subsidy received from hating.
This is not a trembling hand equilibrium. A small perturbation in any of the determining factor would lead to a runaway process. Thus nobody with Rational Expectations could hold this to be an equilibrium. Since it is not expected to be an equilibrium, it can't be any such thing. There is ex post and ex ante mismatch.

Intragroup economic differences are greater than intergroup differences because babies have less money than Daddies. The very elderly are likely to have lower disposable income than workers in their prime. Elasticity of supply differs within groups because of differences in genetic and other endowment. This means that intergroup differences will always be less than intragroup differences even within the same cohort.

Iyer believes people spend time listening to messages of hatred. Who listens to her? Nobody- save to dismiss her as a cretin or to suborn her work for a similarly meretricious purpose.

There is no 'subsidy received from hating'. This woman is utterly mad. 
Hatred falls with the number of interactions not carried out specifically with the members of one’s group,
Which is why beat cops love muggers and rapists and other such scum so much. Libtards in their ivory towers, who never interact with such sociopaths, want to hang every last one of them- so intense is their hatred.
the benefits from interactions with minorities, and the funds available to the left-wing candidate. Hatred displays increasing returns and, once started, is costly to curb.
So, it is a run-away process. The steady state involves extinction of the alterity unless there is a co-evolved process. But, if co-evolution occurs, the thing may be very cheap to curb. Consider what happened when the Caliphate was on the rise. It made big territorial & financial gains. Some idiotic professors spoke of its inevitable triumph because of its supposedly superior 'anti-fragility'. Then everybody bombed the shit out of it.
The size of minorities has an ambiguous effect: if they are large, it is costly for both politicians and voters to hate; but large minorities may increase the majority voter’s innate interest in the benefits of hating.
Whites were a minority in South Africa in 1951 when they stripped coloured people of the right to vote. Power matters. Hatred may gain enough power to kill or enslave a much larger population. But it won't bother with constitutional or democratic window dressing.
Ultimately, incentives to both voters and politicians must be altered to change the level of hatred in society.
By whom? Cretins like Iyer? Who will give them the power to do this mechanism design? Who will listen to them if they keep telling stupid lies?
Glaeser concludes that economic and social integration and statutes preventing the political use of minorities as scapegoats help fight hatred.
Statutes can be ignored or overturned. Economic integration occurs if there is an economic motive for it. This can't be created by magic by stupid Professors. Markets, however, can achieve this provided it is genuinely economic to do so. Since non-academics are better at actual economising, it follows that such academics should continue to be wholly disintermediated from the process. On the other hand, we do need to continually remind them not to sexually harass their students and refrain from filling their hands with their own feces so as to fling it about at Departmental Meetings. If necessary, rules regarding tenure should be changed to curb this type of nuisance.
Concomitant with Glaeser’s analysis, secularism has been associated with the formerly socialist Congress Party.
Congress was propped up in 2004 by the Communist parties who pretended this was the 1938 'Popular Front' strategy required to combat the rise of a supposedly Nazi like BJP. The result of this stupidity on the part of the Left was its slow suicide.
For example, former Congress prime minister Manmohan Singh once commented that “Muslims must have the first claim on resources.”
Which Muslims believed- NOT!
The size of the Muslim minority (15% of the population) is not insignificant, but it implies that the BJP need not court Muslim voters to gain electoral success—although the empirical relationship between the size of the minority and rioting that we observe is interesting.
No it isn't. The thing is an artifact of your own stupidity and prejudice.
Thus, microeconomic models study the determinants of religiosity, as well as the dynamics of the market for religion.
But such models fail utterly. Exogenous factors matter. Barbarians sacking Rome increased religiosity. The Medici Popes increasing the Vatican's temporal power reduced it.
Low wage rates and unemployment due to slow growth, or inequality and urbanisation, are potential factors in the decision to riot.
The only potential factor in the decision to riot has to do with one's chance of doing so without getting shot, beaten to death or sent to prison.
The causality here runs from income to religious activity, a source of simultaneity in our examination of the effect of religious violence on growth.
No such causality obtains. High wages and tight employment markets can yield high religiosity as people abstain from drugs because they wish to live long lives and then go to Heaven. Low wages and  high unemployment may cause many people to despair and take drugs and get involved in prostitution and petty crime and other such demoralizing activities. They may become anti-clerical and take pride in attacking Churches and raping nuns and so forth.
Non-income determinants of rioting include the size of the minority and the prominence of political parties.
Says Iyer who lives in green and pleasant England. How does she explain the hoodie riots? Unemployment? It was low in the cohort affected. Real wages were so high, immigrants from France were attracted. Which minority was targeted or doing the targeting? The thing started when a Black gangster was shot. But the hoodies were of all colors. Religious people- whether Muslim or Sikh or Christian- did not take part. Why? Rioting is against Scripture. It is illegal. It is a sin. Writing rubbish under the pretense of doing economics is not illegal. But, it isn't a good thing either. Still, as an Iyer myself, I'm glad an Iyer is doing it instead of one of those damn Iyengars. I urge Sriya to go beat up Amia Srinivasan. Show that toffee nosed Vaishnavite that philosophers don't have the monopoly on cretinism. I would do the job myself- but I was very severely injured by a 4 year Iyengar girl whom I attacked because of her rebuttal of my argument re. the validity of the Mochizuki proof of the abc conjecture. Since then I have embraced Ahimsa and stopped pretending I know from Math. Sriya, however, is made of sterner stuff. This book of hers represents a great step forward for the Iyer community. On the basis of its imbecility we should be immediately granted not just Educationally Backward Caste status but a special quota on account of our utter mental retardation.