Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Could there be a Gandhi-Ambedkar ideology like the Gandhi-Nehru ideology?

 Mahatma Gandhi & Boddhisattva Ambedkar had great political salience during the British Raj. However, after Independence they came to be seen as crackpots because the fundamental plank of their respective political strategies- Hindu-Muslim unity in Gandhi's case & a Dalit- Muslim alliance against the Hindu majority for Ambedkar- was proven to be utterly foolish. 

Over time, precisely because their political legacy was ludicrous, both reappeared as symbolic figures at opposite ends of a philosophical (i.e. worthless) spectrum. Thus⁰ Gandhi is now deemed to represent 'Universality' or 'Absolutism'- which is the view that all relativist perspectives converge on an independent, absolute, Truth- while Ambedkar is considered an exponent of  'Pragmatism', as represented by C.S Pierce's maxim- "Consider the practical effects of the objects of your conception. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object." This is pretty much the same thing as 'Yoneda Lemma' or the Structuralist program. There is no reason why we can't 'factorize' Gandhi's and Ambedkar's trajectories and thus arrive at a Gandhi-Ambedkar synthesis which in turn would shed light on the dynamics of their actual interaction. 

Generations of Indians preparing for the Civil Service exams have done something similar for the so called 'Gandhi Nehru' ideology. One is tempted to speak of a Hegelian Aufhebung, or sublation, in this context. William Lawvere's work might be a point of entry for mathematical economists in this context. 

Sadly, there are some Indian origin 'psilosophers' (the word means 'having slender wisdom') who- having signally failed to understand Continental philosophy (which, admittedly, is mad)- write bizarre, illiterate, garbage about both Gandhi and Ambedkar. It is the task of Socioproctology to point a finger at these assholes. The same point may be made about elderly Indian origin savants representing other schools- e.g. Bilgrami from the analytical tradition, or Sorabji who is a Classicist and an expert on Stoic philosophy. In the former case, 'Parikh's theorem', properly understood, could have killed off an ubiquitous kind of stupidity while, in the latter, a better grasp of mutual influences during the Indo-Greek period would have been illuminating. 

 Could there be a worthwhile scholarly literature on Gandhi or Ambedkar's thought? Sure. In fact the thing would have appeared instantly, had Gandhi and Ambedkar jointly conceived a program which was genuinely useful to India in the inter-war years. In that case, we would speak of a Gandhi-Ambedkar philosophy. Sadly, the opposite happened. Thus, whereas one can easily speak of a Gandhi-Nehru ideology of Indian Secular Nationalism, or a Nehru-Ambedkarite conception of the Constitution, Gandhi and Ambedkar remain at opposite poles though both explicitly embraced Indic Religion and the one is known by the Hindu title 'Mahatma' (usually applied to a monk) whereas the other went one step higher and is known as 'Boddhisattva' (reincarnation of the Buddha who delayed his own 'Nirvana' so as to bring salvation to others).

In practical terms, in the last decade we have seen attempts to resurrect Gandhian politics- the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare is the leading example- as well as to revive Ambedkarism by bringing about a Dalit-Muslim alliance which would defeat Narendra Modi's BJP. 

Both of these movements failed dismally. Anna Hazare helped dig the grave of the Congress Party and thus helped Modi rise to power. Dalits, it turned out, have been the victim of Muslim violence and- in the recent elections in West Bengal- voted for Modi. Ambedkar himself contributed to this. His close ally, J.N Mandal, decided to thrown in his lot with the Muslim League. Ambedkar became Law Minister in India, while Mandal became Law Minister in Pakistan. So far so good. But then Mandal and his 'Namasudra' community had to flee Pakistan and cross over to India where they languished miserably. At a later point, the Communists massacred some of these refugees in Marichjhapi where they had been invited to settle. The Left continually pretended to favour Dalits but yearned to be accepted by the culturally superior Ashraf Muslim. This was a factor in the Left's slow suicide in North India. Kerala took a different tack and has a competent Communist government as well as a meritocratic Muslim League. 

Parallel to these ill-conceived political interventions, Academia has been building up Gandhi as a great philosopher while Ambedkar- who certainly had the academic qualifications to be some such thing- has been depicted as a crazy fool by Indian academics infatuated with French philosophers like Deleuze whom they don't appear to understand. 

It would certainly be possible to give a philosophical account of both Gandhi and Ambedkar. In the former case, we can use Hindu and Jain philosophy as well as the narrower tradition of judicial hermeneutics (Mimamsa and Navya Nyaya) to specify Gandhi's trajectory and explain how it could have been repaired. Since these branches of Indian thought have parallels in Western philosophy, it would be relatively easy to give a scholarly account of Gandhi's thought and to explain how it might be further developed. Sadly, there seems to be no interest in Academia or elsewhere in doing anything of the sort. Gandhi is simply treated as some sort of shaman or miracle worker and then linked to whatever bee the savant in question has in his bonnet. 

With Ambedkar, because he was trained in both Economics and the Law, it would be relatively easy to incorporate more recent advances so as to get to an Ambedkarite Social Science, based on group-level mimesis, whose pragmatic underpinnings involve open problems in mathematics and the behavioural sciences. Once again, no one is interested in doing any such thing- because it would actually be useful to India. 

Since much of the interest, among younger savants, in Gandhi and Ambedkar is linked to a desire to see a revived and intellectually vigorous Left and since Marxism now has mathematical representations of  increasingly realism and practicality, I wonder whether  it would make sense to take up William Lawvere's insights into Hegel and thus give a coherent, perhaps category theory based, account of whatever it is savant's find attractive about these two very dynamic figures. The alternative, as my Socioproctological Investigation has shown, is everybody talking utter nonsense under the rubric of praising Gandhi or pretending Ambedkar wasn't a sensible and pragmatic politician and thinker. 


Monday, 27 September 2021

Nahal Toosi & the stupidity of American foreign policy

The journalist, Nahal Toosi was based in Islamabad and Kabul- two places where both American diplomacy and journalism turned out to be mischievous shite. She writes in Politico.

India’s prime minister is in Washington this week for a coveted White House meeting.

India does not 'covet' White House meetings. Biden is a senile fool. Kamala Harris has been a fucking disaster. This is a defeated power led by a lame duck President, with an even lamer Vice President,   struggling with deep internecine divisions as a solid Eurasian block continues its rise.

India does have a couple of items on its defense shopping list but isn't going to lock into the more ambitious Naval aspects of Quad. Anyway, the Australians will change their minds once again because America has become shit at making things which, in any case, will be obsolete by the time they are commissioned. As for a Japan facing demographic collapse, it will simply accept the inevitable. Let the biggest trading country be the dominant naval power. Forget about what America once was. Face what it now is. The time has come to exit the West and reconnect with Asia. 

India, of course, has always been skeptical of America. Had Manmohan not wasted his political capital on the 123 nuclear deal, the Left might not have pushed back against his 2012 proposed reforms. History then would indeed have judged him kindly. Modi does like visiting America because some of his most fanatical fans live there. But he knows that America fucks over its friends while generously helping its enemies by its own extreme stupidity.

Obama himself said that American foreign policy consists of doing stupid shit. Then he just went ahead and did more and more stupid shit. Biden, of course, has already outdone his former boss. If Taiwan can't get its hands on nukes then it will go the way of Hong Kong. At that point, there will be no pretense of 'Quad'. China will command the Seas while its poorer Southern neighbors exert pressure on its soft underbelly thanks to their more plentiful troops. Anyways, China will soon be drawing in so many immigrants from its poorer Southern borders that Han hegemony will start getting diluted. 

All this is obvious to all but American journalists like Toosi.

But Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalism and his country’s backsliding on human rights and democracy are creating a problematic alliance for President Joe Biden.

There has been no 'backsliding'. In poor countries, either the Government kills bad actors or else there are no remedies for rights violations and Democracy becomes meaningless. Ask Ashraf Ghani. He literally wrote the book on failed states before presiding over one. Had his regime killed enough people- including the dangerous prisoner who just suicided American marines at Kabul airport, there would have been no Taliban takeover.  

Non-Muslims will kill and ethnically cleanse Muslim minorities in a region where the opposite has routinely happened. America only had leverage because it was claiming to be the best at killing Muslims. But now it has run away weeping copiously about how precious its little toy soldiers are and how they will never again be put in harm's way. 

Modi owes a lot to America. But for its Visa ban on him, he could never have grown so much in stature. Recall, he got his start- at the age of 25- organizing resistance to Indira's totalitarian regime. He helped restore democracy and legal rights to India- but both, in a Hindu majority country, mean increasing Hindu power and Hindu prosperity.

Modi reaped as he had sown. He fought for Democracy in Gujarat at age 25 and became its Chief Minister little more than 25 years later. He showed firmness in dealing with a terroristic minority- which is what Democracies do- and thus became Prime Minister after a dynast became gun-shy and refused to stand lest he go the way of his daddy and granny. 

The truth is, America has always been utterly useless in promoting either human rights or democracy or winning wars in the region. Pakistan is the only country which, in a purely duplicitous spirit, has courted America. But this is because Pakistan does not want Democracy or Human Rights. It dreams of 'Khilafat'. 


Modi, a favorite friend of former President Donald Trump,

Trump had no friends. George W Bush was the only President who was friendly to India. But he was useless. 

will meet Biden on Friday along with the leaders of Australia and Japan. The four countries make up the “Quad,” a grouping Biden is trying to elevate in a broader effort to stand up to China.

But America is the weakest link. It is a house divided against itself led by a senile coward.  Still, if being nice to Biden puts Xi's nose out of joint- why not do so?


While the members of the Quad all are democracies, India’s was recently downgraded from “free” to “partly free” by Freedom House, which slammed Modi’s government for everything from harassment of journalists to attacks on non-Hindus.

America is classed as a 'flawed democracy'.  So what? All that matters is that a country makes good decisions. America does not. Indeed, there is no prospect it will do so in the foreseeable future.

Yet not only have Biden administration officials kept their public criticisms of Modi to a minimum, they’ve even engaged in outreach to Modi allies known for their extreme views.

Either America needs India or it doesn't. If it does it must praise, not criticize Modi and, what's more, reach out to the major indigenous constraint on Modi's decision making- viz. the RSS.  But the RSS is no friend to America's corrupt Beltway culture. It refuses to hand India over to Walmart. 

Earlier this month, the top U.S. diplomat in New Delhi met with the leader of an Indian organization notorious for its often-violent promotion of Hindu nationalism.

While Modi met with Obama & Trump & Biden who are notorious for their often violent promotion of American national interests. What's so surprising about that? Toosi knows that Americans diplomats did a deal with the Taliban which enjoys nothing more than killing Americans. Why is she getting her knickers in a twist about Americans meeting the leader of the RSS who doesn't want to see Americans or Israelis killed anywhere in the world?  

The U.S. envoy, Atul Keshap, was reported to say afterward that he’d had a “good discussion” with Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a movement with paramilitary elements that intimidate Muslims and other non-Hindus.

An intimidated Muslim is one who isn't trying to kill Americans- wasn't that the premise of the 'War on Terror' which Toosi herself covered?  

Keshap said the pair spoke of how “India’s tradition of diversity, democracy, inclusivity and pluralism can ensure the vitality and strength of a truly great nation.”

Whereas the Americans who brokered the deal with the Taliban could make no such claim. 

Those remarks did little to reassure longtime observers of the Washington-New Delhi dynamic, who

are utterly shit 

fear it’s all part of a broader willingness of the Biden administration to look away from the Modi government’s abuses despite U.S. influence on the country.

The US has no influence- or rather the influence is negative. Surely even Toosi must understand that India has such a low opinion of America that it elects the one guy they put a Visa ban on? 

Modi, it is true, was nice to Trump but this was because Trump was anti-China and anti-Pakistan. Biden & Co will go back to their usual habits of financing the nutters in Islamabad and handing more and more victories to China and Russia and Iran.  


“Why is the Biden administration so mute on India’s human rights situation? Why are U.S. officials pulling their punches? What is the strategy?” asked John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

The answer is simple. India could do what China does- viz. repay insult with insult. The thing is easily done. Quote Mahatma Gandhi and gas on about American genocide against Blacks and Hispanics and so forth.  

“The U.S. is a vital partner to India, in trade, diplomacy and military relations — this is leverage that the Biden administration does not seem to know how to measure properly.”

America can easily push India into the enemy camp. But why bother? America is leaving the region in any case. India has the demographic advantage over China on its land border. That's all it needs.  


On Thursday, as the Indian leader scored a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, one U.S. lawmaker also voiced concern about India’s trajectory under Modi.

Nobody wants to meet Kamala. The only thing one can say about her is that she is even more shambolic than Biden. Still, for Modi, the pay-off is the thing will go down well in the far South which is where Kamala's Mum comes from. Anyway, she will be out of office soon enough. Thus five years from now, like Obama, she will revisit India courtesy of some Chamber of Commerce or 'Leadership' seminar and thus get to feel important again. The fact is African Americans are going to reject Harris. They have much better candidates who are untainted by any connection to America's deeply racist Criminal Justice system.

“I hope his White House visit includes honest conversations about how the Modi government can ensure India’s democracy remains a democracy for all of its people,” Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) said in a statement.

The White House can't have an honest conversation about anything because it is stupid, ignorant, and corrupt. Andy Levin must be pleased that Netanyahu is gone and that Bolsonaro looks shaky. But, sadly, India remains a Hindu majority country where his type of stupidity is laughed at. 

White House and State Department spokespersons did not offer on-the-record comments for this story. The Indian Embassy also did not respond to requests for comment. Keshap, who was in charge of the U.S. Embassy in India on a temporary basis, has since left the post.

America was in the region on a temporary basis. Now it is on its way out. Nobody is interested in any nuggets of wisdom it pulls out of its ass at this late hour.  


Elevating the Quad, including India, will continue to be a priority, a senior Biden administration official said Thursday in a written statement.

In other words, the thing is doomed- unless it never meant anything in the first place.  

“The Quad is a model for how much of our statecraft in Indo-Pacific will look going forward,” the senior official said. “It’s about bringing together allies and partners together in a flexible, fit-for-purpose configuration.”

So far the only tangible achievement has been to drive a wedge between France and the Ozzies and Brits and so forth.  Still, just as the US-India 123 deal ended up helping non american corporations, so too might the nuclear submarine deal end up helping France which has a better type of nuclear sub it can supply. But Europe as a whole is detaching itself from a senile and rudderless America. 

Biden administration officials have said they do not have blinders on to India’s troubles. Instead, they argue that when it comes to a country of 1.4 billion people that is geo-strategically vital — especially when it comes to holding a rising China at bay — they prefer to level their criticisms behind the scenes.

So that they are told to go fuck themselves only behind the scenes.  

“Public admonishment is the appropriate tack under certain circumstances, but in other circumstances the private approach is what’s really going to do the most good,” one senior official recently told POLITICO in describing the administration’s overall strategy on human rights.

But China has already told America to fuck off openly.  

That worries other U.S. officials who argue that there’s little evidence that the overall human rights and democracy atmosphere in India is improving.

Yet, that is what is happening because both are a function of per capita Income and State capacity- which have increased.  


“We are repeating the Obama and Trump mistake of cozying up to India and Modi without demanding Modi end his tilt towards authoritarianism and start protecting human rights and religious freedom,” a U.S. official engaged in the debate told POLITICO. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

India rejects attempts to interfere in its internal politics. It will return to its traditional posture of being suspicious of a Racist and deeply corrupt country which seeks only its own advantage. 

The U.S. official said Biden administration representatives do voice their human rights concerns privately to their Indian counterparts, but, “I just don’t know that Modi or his party change any behavior because of those conversations.”

Their behavior will change. They will tell America to fuck off. Everybody will. America is on the skids.  

Complicating the U.S. calculation, the official added, is that Modi remains popular in India, so there’s “lots of hand-wringing” inside the Biden administration about what to do.

No there isn't. There is a lot of hypocrisy in the Biden administration. But what those guys are doing with their hands is masturbatory.  

As the U.S. official suggested, Biden is to an extent echoing his recent predecessors.

Bush started killing Muslims all over the place. Then Obama doubled down on killing Muslims all over the place. Trump began to reverse that trend. Biden went one better than Trump by shitting himself and running away. 

Modi came into power in 2014, and former President Barack Obama largely embraced him, despite Modi’s record of anti-Muslim sentiment.

But Obama had already helped spread chaos to Syria and Libya and so forth. Still, he had killed Osama. That was the time to get out of Afghanistan. Sadly, the fellow was a ditherer.  

In fact, nearly a decade earlier, Modi had been denied a U.S. visa on religious freedom grounds after he was accused of tacitly supporting Hindu extremists attacking Muslims years earlier in the Indian state of Gujarat, where he was chief minister.

This was a quid pro quo for Congress which had come to power in 2004. Sadly, it back fired. The Left had previously pretended that Vajpayee was a CIA agent and Modi was 'junior Vajpayee'. But it was Manmohan who was being courted by Dubya. It was Manmohan who pushed through 123. But this meant that Congress became the party of 'neo-liberalism'. Rahul has tried to hint that the reason he refused to step up to the plate was because his 'vichardhara' (ideology) was opposed to what Congress had done. Sadly, nobody now believes Rahul has a functioning brain. Thus he can't have a 'vichardhara'.  

In 2016, however, Modi’s star had risen so much in Washington that he delivered an address to the U.S. Congress.

With the exception of Indira Gandhi, every full term Indian Premier has done so. That exception is telling. Indira abandoned non-alignment for a Defense pact with the Soviets. Her explicit anti-Americanism won favor because everybody could see that American foreign policy consists of doing evil shit. Obama used the word 'stupid'. But when great power is wielded stupidly- evil is the result. 


Trump, Obama’s successor in the Oval Office, made little pretense of caring about human rights and openly sought favor with the world’s autocrats. He also was keen on countering a rising China. All of that made Modi a particular favorite of Trump’s.

Trump was happy to glad hand Imran Khan as well- which is why the fellow is whimpering coz Biden hasn't phoned him yet. Say what you like, Trump could look Presidential and appeared capable of doing mutually advantageous deals. But, this is not the case with Biden. India needs to disengage slowly rather than be the first to leave the party muttering darkly that Biden is senile but Harris would be worse. 


In 2019, Trump attended a “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston, Texas, alongside the Indian leader. The following year, Trump visited with Modi in New Delhi. Both events attracted massive crowds. During Trump’s visit, Muslims and Hindus clashed in riots in the Indian capital,

Some Muslim gangster politicians were paid to start the thing- killing policemen as well as Hindus- to coincide with Trump's visit. Sadly, the Delhi Police Chief was due to retire and had already undermined local police morale. So the retaliation was done by the Hindu majority. The message was clear. The world doesn't care if every single Muslim in India is ethnically cleansed. This view, of course, has been reinforced by Biden's ignominious flight from Afghanistan. 

but Trump said Modi had reassured him about the situation, and that Modi was working closely with India’s minority Muslims.

How? By killing them? 

Trump’s own antipathy toward Muslims — whom he had proposed banning from U.S. soil — made him a favorite of Hindu nationalists.

 Not to mention Americans and Europeans. Sadly, Trump couldn't do what Chairman Xi did to his Muslims. 

Is India really anti-Muslim? Sure. In 1948, Muslims who crossed the border were stripped of citizenship rights. Non-Muslim refugees got citizenship. Muslims lost every type of affirmative action they had enjoyed. Cows, on the other hand, got Constitutional protection because cows are sacred to Hindus. 


During a congressional briefing this week, Sifton laid out examples. Among them: The Modi government’s passage of a law that discriminates against Muslims by making religion a basis of citizenship;

just as it always has been.  

its revocation of the autonomy granted to the majority-Muslim Jammu and Kashmir region

But it was the Supreme Court which had previously decided that J&K had 'no shred of autonomy'. Nehru jailed its most popular leader who only got free by doing a corrupt deal with Indira.  

and subsequent crackdown on that state;

It is no longer a state.  

and the passage in some Indian states of “anti-conversion” laws that appear to target Muslim men who marry Hindu women.

This is supported by Communist administrations and Catholic Bishops. 


These and other moves are playing out against a backdrop of more violence against religious minorities,

No. There is less violence because retaliation is so swift and asymmetric.  

crackdowns on government critics and journalists and more,

but this also happens in Opposition ruled states. The fact is India's First Amendment goes in the opposite direction to America's First Amendment. But this has been the case for 70 years!

Who is Toosi writing this crap for? The answer appears at the end of her article. Apparently there is something called the American Muslim Institution. God alone knows what it was doing for the last 20 years while America was busy killing or unjustly incarcerating Muslims all over the world.  


In a Sept. 20 letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the American Muslim Institution condemned Keshap’s visit.

“Mr. Secretary, given the current religious discrimination and violence facing Christian, Muslim and Dalit minority groups in India,

This is hilarious! Dalits have been the biggest victims of Muslim violence. Why not say 'Jewish and Arab Muslim minorities in America face religious discrimination and violence from Biden's administration'?  

In India, if you are against Muslims you are for Dalits and vice versa. 

it is critical the United States not legitimatize the RSS and those perpetuating violence against minorities in India,” states the letter, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO. “It is critical that we hold not only our foes but our allies accountable when it comes to our long-cherished values of religious freedom, justice, equality and rule of law.”

Sadly, many Americans think these 'American Muslims' are a fifth column. It is certainly true that American Muslims have killed innocent Americans in terrorist attacks. Hindus have not done so. Jews have not done so. Chinese origin people have not done so. Muslims will continue to be attacked- even in Islamic countries- if they are connected to a terroristic violence. Indeed, ISIS Khorasan may find that Taliban does a much better job of eliminating them than the previous American backed regime. 


Sunday, 26 September 2021

Feisal Devji on India's Islamic future

In an essay titled, Britain’s Muslim empire and its Indian future, facile Devji wrote

THERE was a time not so long ago when British statesmen proudly characterized their empire as the ‘world’s greatest Mohammedan power.’

This is not true. British Statesmen, might from time to time have said- 'we must not forget that we are the world's greatest Mohammedan power' and thus mustn't antagonize India's Muslims too much. The problem was that, more often than not, they would just go ahead and do it anyway. Why? Indian Muslims didn't greatly matter. The Hindus hated them and it was the Hindus who were in the majority. 

It is true the Brits were proud of having a really big Empire- because having lots of real estate is a good thing. But they weren't particularly proud of ruling over darkies and heathens of various descriptions because they didn't like darkies or heathens. No Britisher was saying 'Aren't we lucky to rule over all those lovely wogs? We must give them kisses and cuddles in plenty.' The truth is, they'd much rather have been ruling over Christians with fairer complexions. Thus it isn't the case that the Brits were proud of being the World's largest Hindu power, or Jain power, or Sikh power, or Muslim power, or Voodoo power. 

By using such a locution these men sought to compete with the Ottomans,

Nonsense! Nobody wanted to compete with the 'Sick Man of Europe' which had continually lost territory for 200 years. It is true that 'Abdul the Damned' tried to use 'Pan-Islamism' to bolster Turkey's position. But he failed miserably and was forced to abdicate by the 'Young Turks' who, bizarrely, the British Ambassador & Chief Dragoman (Lowther & Fitzmaurice) believed to mainly consist of Jewish Freemasons! 

whose emperor claimed to be the Caliph or heir to the Prophet Muhammad’s worldly authority.

Did any British Monarch claim Caliphal authority? No. Thus there was no 'competition' as opposed to 'contestation', but such contestation was plentiful within the Islamic fold. 

On the other hand, it is true that British Governor-Generals did from time to time find it convenient to get the 'Khalifa' to write to a Tipu Sultan to make friends with the the Brits. This Caliphal authority also came in handy to condemn the Mutiny as irreligious. 

Yet the Turkish sultan only started claiming authority over Muslims outside his domains in the eighteenth century,
This is the notion that the Sultan sought to retain a spiritual authority- similar to that exercised by Christian Patriarchs in Ottoman territory- over Muslims in territory ceded to Russia in 1774. But that authority was utterly vacuous. All it could do was remind the Turks that their decline was accelerating. 

In earlier times, Turkish Sultans did invoke Caliphal authority to demand help from other Sunnis- especially Hanafis- against Safavid Iran . The Mughals tended to ignore such demands though the young Akbar did truckle to the Ottoman briefly. Late on, the decline of the Mughals did lead to Hanafi Muslims, e.g. Waliullah- looking to the Ottoman Emperor. Anti-Shia sentiment in India does have this deep history. However, after Turkey lost territory in Europe and North Africa in the early years of the Twentieth Century, both educated Shias and Sunnis agreed that preserving the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate was important for maintaining the prestige of Islam. Some Brits worried that if Turkey allied with Germany then, in the event of a war, the Sultan might declare a jihad against the Brits which would cause problems in India or amongst Muslim soldiers under British command. However, this fear was misplaced. 

Thus, though Kitchener opened negotiations with the Sharif of Mecca with a view to creating an Arab Caliph, this would not have mattered to Hanafi India some of whose aristocracy claimed Turkic descent. 

However, the Turks were aware that the Indian Muslims were useless. They did not set any great stock by any 'jihad' they might launch. The fact is the Turks had been looking to Europe for quite a while simply because they felt the quality of manpower diminished as one went South. This is one reason the Levant was sinking economically and culturally. 

Unlike the European powers, Turkey could do nothing for co-religionists outside their domains. This was another reason to turn a blind eye to the East. Devji asserts the opposite. Because Europe interested itself in the fate of Christians wherever they could be found, Turkey chose to project itself as a Pan-Islamic power. But, this is nonsense. The Turks were continually losing battles. The most they could do was kill their own Christian minority.  
once European powers had advanced similar claims over his Christian subjects,

European powers wanted to gobble up the Sultan's domains. Lloyd George and Clemenceau wanted to expel the Turks from Smyrna and confine them to the Anatolian plateau.  

which only goes to show that pan-Islamism has its origins in the West as much as anywhere else.

No. Islam started off 'pan-Islamic' but some of the splits which occurred in its early years have persisted.  

Unable to claim a comparable religious status for themselves,

If the Brits had wanted to convert to Islam they could have done so. They did not want a 'comparable religious status' because Islam, at that time, represented weakness and backwardness. 

The fact is the British Press had turned against the Muslim Turks and so British Governments were not keen on an alliance with them.

the British derived their Islamic credentials

like their Black credentials 

from the sheer number of Muslims

and Blacks 

they ruled.

They also ruled over more homosexuals than anybody else. Thus, by Devji's logic, the Hindu King Emperor (not Muslim, because Hindus were more numerous) was also Black and Gay. No wonder the Kaiser hated George V! The fellow had lifted his lungi to thrust his great big black cock up the keyster of his Germanic cousin.  

The truth is, the Brits were acceptable rulers to the Indians precisely because they weren't Muslims or Hindus or even Catholics. Their Anglicanism was novel and its proselytizing zeal somewhat lacking compared to other sects. Had the King Emperor decided to pander to the Muslims, the Hindus would have been the first to howl with dismay.

Devji can't accept the obvious truth. What legitimized British power was military strength and fiscal solvency. Nothing else.  

But by basing their religious legitimacy on the facts of demography, Britain’s ideologues ended up conceiving of their empire as a liberal, if not quite a democratic order, in which the consent of the greatest number had to be secured.

This is sheer fantasy. Britain did have 'ideologues' but they were concerned with persuading British people to give them a little money or power in exchange for flattering lies.  

And indeed they were keen to demonstrate that by offering its subjects religious freedom and promising to protect their interests, the empire did in fact represent Muslims as well as Hindus and other groups whose most sizable populations were all to be found in India.

No. The way you demonstrate that representation is occurring is by actually having a couple of representatives. The Brits did that in India. There were Muslims and Hindus and so forth on the Legislative Council as well as plenty of Rajahs and Nawabs.  

However numerous the religious communities within this empire, it was only the Muslims who lent their name to its otherwise Christian dominion,

This simply did not happen. The Muslims had not lent their name to anything at all. India is a word or Greek extraction. Turkey is named after a pre-Islamic nation just as Germany is named after a pre-Christian nation. Even the word 'Arab' is pre-Islamic. There was a Roman Emperor known as 'Phillip the Arab'. 

There was no point for either Britain or France or Holland to start saying 'We are a Muslim power' because in that case Muslim politicians and princes would have started making all sorts of demands. Incidentally, the Aga Khan demanded Tanganyika as a reward for support during the First World War. He didn't get it.  His son was not permitted to marry a British aristocrat's daughter. Even now, the Aga Khans aren't considered part of European royalty. They have plenty of European blood but it isn't, Almanach de Gotha, blue blood.                        

perhaps because their global distribution more than matched Britain’s own.

The truth is, the British Monarch did think it worthwhile to take the title of Empress of India- perhaps so as not to be upstaged by her daughter who had married the new minted German Kaiser. But no European potentate would want to claim to be the leader of Islam. Why? Christian zealots at home would demand that the heathen be converted.  

After all it was not because they comprised the majority of this empire’s subjects that Muslims could claim it for themselves, and certainly not because they ruled it, but only by virtue of their planetary dispersal, of which India formed the dominant part.

Muslims weren't greatly dispersed. In any case, in North Africa and Europe and Central Asia and India and Indonesia they were coming under Western European control. The truth is Muslims mattered less and less- till Europe fucked itself up and Islam, thanks to its jurists and preachers, proved a great bastion against the madness of Communism. 

Disingenuous and self-serving though it may seem, we should recognize that such rhetorical forms of religious authority played an important role in British policy,

No we shouldn't. It simply wasn't true.  

and were often tailored to suit the convenience of Muslims themselves.

Right! Coz the Brits really coddled the Muslims didn't they? No doubt, pure altruism motivated their toppling Mossadegh in Iran and seizing the Suez Canal from Nasser.  

In ways both devious and direct this narrative

is utter bullshit 

that drew religious legitimacy from numbers rather than doctrines might even constitute the source of all those movements that from the beginning of the twentieth century have dedicated themselves to Islamic nationalisms, democracies and republics.

No. Islamic revival was a wholly Islamic affair. The Brits can claim no credit for it- nor, indeed, do they. It would be something of an own goal.   

For it was in colonial India that Islam first became a political category in the modern sense,

No. Islam became a 'political category' in the modern sense almost immediately after its inception.  

naming as it did the interests and opinions of a population

Islam furthered the interests and was in line with the opinions of its very first adherents. 

rather than some ritual observance or religious authority.

but, ritual observances and religious authority are matters which affect the interests of a population which may hold very strong opinions indeed about them.  

But military activity was the least part of Britain’s Muslim empire.

No. It was its foundation. That's how Empire's work.  

More important by far was the fact that in their search for an ‘authentic’

There was no 'search'. The thing already existed. The Brits took over an existing service industry. They didn't give a fuck about 'authenticity'. What mattered was enforceability- itself a function of what people were accustomed to.  

Islamic or Hindu law that they might administer in secular fashion, the English ended up discarding or downplaying the customs and profane regulations that had characterized previous dynasties,

if it was convenient and remunerative to do so 

to set in place purely ‘religious’ legal systems in their colonies.

Nonsense! Anglo-Mohammadan Law permitted customary deviations- e.g. Khojas like Jinnah getting to keep Hindu inheritance law.  

Islamic law as we know it today, then, is in great measure

Islamic. Not British or Portuguese or anything else.  

a combination of Muslim jurisprudence and English case law

No. Islamic law in most places is based on Codifications approved by Muslim jurists. English case law is irrelevant except in so far as it represented pre-existing Muslim Law. 

that was produced in India starting in the eighteenth century and exported to many other parts of the Muslim world. It is this hybrid legal system, known in colonial times as Anglo-Mohammedan law, which forms the basis of the Sharia as a legal system pertaining to the citizens of modern states as disparate as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This is completely untrue. Some French dude helped codify Iran's Laws under the first Shah. Saudi Arabia's reforms are pretty recent and nobody in their right mind would suggest it has any resemblance to anything obtaining under the Raj.  


Even when Britain did not impose such new practices outside the subcontinent, some ended up nevertheless being adopted by Muslims there.

Only if- like Oman- they were protectorates under the Viceroy or, like Egypt, were under British control to a greater or lesser extent.  

After all India’s place at the heart of the empire

The heart of the empire was London. Britain had Canada and the West Indies and Australia and a big chunk of Africa. India was important, but its importance tended to decrease.  

made cities like Bombay into magnets for Muslim traders, intellectuals and politicians across Asia and Africa,

Nonsense! No African or Asian intellectuals or politicians ever settled in Bombay or Calcutta. There were some foreign Muslim traders but they didn't do particularly well compared to Armenians or Baghdadi Jews.  

becoming a centre for the production and distribution of print materials, recording and film to all corners of the Islamic world.

There was little of this and it soon disappeared. The fact is India was backward and the Indian Muslim was considered, in places like Egypt, as a simpleton. Maulana Azad returned the compliment- at least as far as Al Azhar was concerned. The Muslims of the MENA looked to Paris and other European cities. Al-Afghani, it is true, spent some time in India. Was he a Russian agent? Some Brits thought so. Indeed, he was linked to Blavatsky as well as to certain Continental strains of Free Masonry. But one can scarcely say that Al-Afghani found any great inspiration in India. It was a backward, poverty stricken, place with little intellectual life or cultural distinction. 

On the eve of the First World War, then, two great Muslim powers confronted each other

coz Asquith's real name was Asghar Pasha.  

– the Turks with their Middle Eastern and European possessions against the British with their Asian and African ones.

The Brits had Middle Eastern protectorates- like the Trucial States- and colonies- like Aden. 

Each represented a different form of Islamic authority

No. The Sultan represented Islamic authority. The King Emperor represented Anglican Christian authority. It is simply not true that Muslims have ever thought that Christians could represent their Religion in an authoritative manner. 

and served as the centre of political gravity for a large part of the Muslim world.

Muslims in Muslim ruled States in India considered the the Ruler- e.g. the Nizam- as the center of political gravity. 

Before going to war Britain’s prime minister had promised India’s Muslims that the Ottoman Empire would not be dismembered once hostilities ceased and that the Caliph’s position would remain inviolate.

Some senior British diplomats seem to have got it into their heads that the 'Young Turks' were Jewish freemasons. At any rate, this was the sort of propaganda Yusuf Ali (an ICS man now remembered for his translation of the Quran Sharif) and other British agents were putting out. The truth is the Brits wanted the Caliph to be a less powerful version of the Nizam or Khedive. They had substantial investments in Ottoman Turkey- as did the French- and wanted to control the Turkish economy without actually assuming responsibility for its defense. Had it not been for the genius of Ataturk and the fighting ability of the Turkish foot soldier, the Brits and the French might have propped up the Caliph and preserved the appearance of territorial integrity or suzerainty for that Empire.  

As it turned out, Indian soldiers were deployed against the Ottomans

and the Germans 

only to see their Middle Eastern possessions partitioned between the British and French, with Turkey narrowly escaping a similar fate due to her military revival under Mustafa Kemal Pasha.

But this was scarcely a big surprise.  

David Lloyd George acknowledged the importance of his pledge to the empire’s Muslim subjects in these telling words:

‘It is too often forgotten that we are the greatest Mahomedan power in the world and one-fourth of the population of the British Empire is Mahomedan. There have been no more loyal adherents to the throne and no more effective and loyal supporters of the Empire in its hour of trial. We gave a solemn pledge and they accepted it. They are disturbed by the prospect of our not abiding by it.’

The context is a debate in Parliament where Lloyd George was facing criticism for letting the Turks keep Constantinople. He replied that it was to have gone to Russia but the Bolsheviks now ruled the roost there. Anyway, they said they didn't want it. He then brought up his declaration of 2 years previously which was meant to help recruit soldiers in India. This is what he said   

'Nor are we fighting to destroy Austria-Hungary or to deprive Turkey of its capital, or of the rich and renowned lands of Asia Minor and Thrace, which are predominantly Turkish in race. Outside Europe we believe that the same principle should be applied.…While we do not challenge the maintenance of the Turkish Empire in the homelands of the Turkish race with its capital at Constantinople—the passage between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea being internationalised and neutralised [as they will be]—Arabia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine are in our judgment entitled to a recognition of their separate national conditions."

What the cunning fellow did not say was that the Brits wanted the Caliph to stay on as a puppet. The Khilafat movement in India was actually quite helpful. Indeed, a Khilafat agent tried to assassinate Ataturk- one reason he decided to abolish the Caliphate altogether. 

Lloyd George's entire speech can be found in Hansard. It is obvious that he was only talking about Muslims in India so as to resist calls for the annexation of Constantinople or even a 'hang the Caliph' type agitation further down the road. 

(The declaration was given on) January, 1918. That was a perfectly deliberate pledge. I am going to ask the House and the country to realise what it meant. This was not a speech delivered at a public meeting. There was a good deal of disquiet as to our war aims. There was a feeling amongst the workers—and this was brought to our notice—that we were fighting for some aggressive imperialistic purpose. This was interfering with output for the purposes of the War, and we were informed that it was essential that we should reassure the workers of the community as to the purposes for which we were waging war. This was not an offer to the Turks. It was to reassure our own people as to what we were fighting for. There was another reason. The Mahomedan population of India were disturbed and they wanted a reassurance. We were making a special effort here to procure output for the War, and we were making a special effort in India to secure recruits. We needed all the men we could get for France, and what happened two or three months afterwards showed how important it was that we should secure all the support we could get in the East to do the fighting in Turkey. What is the effect of that statement? The effect of the statement in India was that recruiting went up appreciably from that very moment. They were not all Mahomedans, but there were Mahomedans amongst them. Now we are told "that was an offer you made to Turkey and they rejected it, and therefore you are absolutely free." It was more than that. It was a statement of our war aims for the workers of this country, and a statement of our war aims for India. It is too often forgotten that we are the greatest Mahomedan power in the world. One-fourth of the population of the British Empire is Mahomedan, There have been no more loyal adherents to the throne, there has been no more effective loyal support to the Empire in its hour of trial than came from the Mahomedans of India. We gave a solemn pledge, and they accepted it, and they are disturbed at the prospect of our not abiding by it. I can give you a statement made by the Viceroy. In May, 1919, we were considering this at the Peace Conference. He said: Moslem feeling is already deeply stirred. Educated opinion is probably prepared for extensive territorial losses but not for the loss of Constantinople, especially in view of the recent announcements made by the Prime Minister and Lord Robert Cecil. They depended on my Noble Friend's words just as much as they did on mine.
Though Arab nationalists professed themselves happy to exchange Turkish suzerainty for a European one,

The Turks claimed sovereign, not suzerain, status. Class A League of Nations Mandates gave more than suzerain rights to European Nations but only on a temporary basis. The Arabs weren't happy about this at all- as is well known. 

India rose in revolt with a fervour not seen since the days of the Mutiny.

Nonsense! There was an almost entirely peaceful agitation which petered out once Gandhi called off the Non Cooperation Movement and Secretary of State Montague published a telegram showing that the Viceroy had been doing his best for the 'Khilafat' cause.  

Quickly placed under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, this movement brought together Hindus and Muslims, Sunni and Shia, in a non-violent agitation that shook British rule in India by the scale at which people refused to cooperate with the government, resigning posts, preventing the work of administration and flooding jails. Gandhi himself withdrew from the movement, though he never disclaimed it, when violence started breaking out, and without able leadership or indeed Arab and Turkish support it eventually fizzled out, especially once the Turks themselves abolished the caliphate in 1924

The truth is Britain was militarily weak and faced a 'Red Menace' at home. India could have got what Ireland and Egypt and Afghanistan got at about this time. But Gandhi called off the agitation. It then became obvious that the Hindus had been lying. They didn't give a fuck about Khilafat. But, neither did the Shias. Then, it turned out, neither did the Turks. Some Khilafat funds got embezzled. The thing turned into a shit show. By 1926, Hindu Muslim riots were back with a vengeance.  Why? Gandhi's hypocrisy was plain to see. He had lied to the Brits- pretending to be loyal when he was actually seditious- he had lied to the Muslims- pretending that Hindus felt they had a religious obligation to fight and die for Khilafat- he had lied to the entire Indian nation- saying he would deliver Swaraj but then backing down and saying India wasn't ready, indeed, might never be ready to rule itself- and he had lied to his own disciples- telling them he could himself earn a Rupee a day from weaving- in other words, even if Swaraj did not come to India, his methods could help ordinary people become better off. 

Devji, too, is a hypocrite. He can't possibly believe that 'the Indians who engaged in (the Khilafat movement)  saw themselves as the citizens of a Muslim power.'

Britain was not then, and is not now, a Muslim power. It has an Established Church which is decidedly Christian, not Muslim at all. Indians who joined the Khilafat movement may have pretended to be 'loyal subjects' but they were no such thing. They wanted the Brits out of India and out of Asia and out of Africa.  

What enraged them more than anything else during this episode was Britain’s ‘betrayal’ of her Islamic obligations.

If Britain had Islamic obligations, the foremost of them would have been to make Islam, not Christianity, the Established Religion. It is a different matter that a promise made by the Government should be kept. But, Constantinople wasn't handed over to Russia. Thus, for extraneous reasons, the promise was in fact kept. 

 For it was because many Indians believed that they were or should be partners in empire

because being conquered means you should be a partner of your conqueror- right? It's like what happens when somebody hits you on the head and runs off with your wallet. He owes you half the proceeds of the robbery because you were his partner in crime. 

 that they were outraged by the treatment meted out to the Turks,

by, among others, Indian- including Indian Muslim- soldiers

 which gave rise to the subcontinent’s first mass mobilization, and the world’s only great pan-Islamist agitation. 

greatly shite agitation which failed completely. If no such thing has happened anywhere else it is because Indians are stupider than others. 

For his part the Mahatma’s aim was simply to hold the British to their word and call upon them to represent their subjects:

Nonsense! The Mahatma's aim- or so he said when put in charge of the Congress/Khilafat combine- was to deliver Swaraj (Home Rule) within 18 months. He didn't give a tinker's cuss for Khilafat. Nor did he want the Brits to 'represent their subjects'. Suppose the Viceroy had put on a dhoti and started babbling bollocks about chakri and khaddar and so forth. Gandhi would have been well miffed. 

‘What is this British Empire? It is as much Mahomedan and Hindu as it is Christian. 

Gandhi had been to Britain. He knew that British people were not as much Mahomedan as they were Christian. Furthermore, the reason the British Empire was called 'British' was because Britishers ran it. 

Its religious neutrality is not a virtue, or if it is, it is a virtue of necessity. Such a mighty Empire could not be held together on any other terms. British ministers are therefore bound to protect Mahomedan interests as any other. […]

But, it turned out that the Viceroy as well as the Secretary of State for India had indeed protected Mahomedan interests far better than he and his Hindu chums had. Montague sacrificed his career so as to 'protect' Indian interests. Gandhi & Co had simply been opportunistic hypocrites. 

 To join the Khilafat movement then means to join a movement to keep inviolate the pledge of a British minister. […] If the seven crore Mussulmans are partners in the Empire, I submit that their wish must be held to be all sufficient for refraining from punishing Turkey. It is beside the point to quote what Turkey did during the war.’

These were empty words. No Hindu went to Jail for Khilafat. Plenty said they would, but none did. 

Gandhi’s task was to compel his rulers to act in a democratic fashion

which means holding elections. But that wasn't what the silly sausage campaigned about.  

by moral and non-violent means,

lying is not moral. It may be non-violent but a lot of white collar crime is non-violent.  

for he thought Britain could forever redeem herself by doing so, and thus establishing a world wide commonwealth in the truest sense of the term.

Gandhi redeemed himself by quietly pleading guilty to sedition and going off to jail like a good little boy. No doubt this established a world wide commonwealth in the truest sense of the term- which is nonsense simply.  

It was during the Khilafat Movement that he finally lost his faith in the empire and turned to nationalism in its more conventional forms.

Conventional nationalism wages war against foreign occupiers. By 1920, nobody anywhere had any faith in Empires. The Tzar was gone, the Hapsburgs were gone, the Kaiser was gone, the Chinese Emperor was gone- true, Britain had a King Emperor, but the Labor party formed a Government in 1924. The country was moving in a Socialist direction. 

Nevertheless, pan-Islamism continued to interest the Mahatma, not least because in the period before non-alignment and socialism came to take its place, Islam formed the only substantive link between India and her neighbours,

Nonsense! Afghanistan and Iran were the only Islamic neighbors India had and Islam wasn't much of a link with either because there were modernizers in both countries. In Iran (and Turkey) they gained ascendancy. The 'hijrat' to Afghanistan failed. The country was poor and badly governed. The fact is, Islam did not matter much in the Twenties and Thirties. Indeed, it was on the back foot. 

Anti-Imperialism, on the other hand, did link India to Ceylon and Egypt and Iraq and so forth. But this too was inconsequential. 

and one that was of far more political and popular consequence than subsequent forms of internationalism ever were.

Maybe for Pakistan, not for India. The thing was a waste of time. 

In other words India could only become a world power

Newsflash! India is not a world power. Briefly, under the Brits, Indian soldiers fought in Europe and the Middle East and thus affected the Global Balance of Power. It won't happen again.  

as an Islamic one,

just as Britain was actually Islamic and America was like totally in your face Muslim and the Chinese were constantly brandishing Qurans and did you know Beyonce's twerking buttocks are actually a semaphore version of Sahih Bukhari? After all, Statistics indicate that as much as 20 per cent of her fan-base is Muslim or lives in historically Muslim countries like the UK. This proves she is a very devout Muslim- just like Bibi Netanyahu or Narendra Modi, both of whom rule countries with significant Muslim minorities. 

by gaining the trust of her Muslim neighbours

both Afghanistan and Iran were as weak as shit. Who cared about their 'trust'?  

rather than depending upon the support of distant powers with global interests of their own, something which would reduce India to the position of a client state rather than a force in her own right. Or as Gandhi put it: ‘It is only a people whose mentality has been perverted that can soothe itself with the domination by one race from a distant country, as a preventative against the aggression of another, a permanent and natural neighbour.

Very true! All those Hindus and Sikhs who were killed or who had to run away from Pakistan had a very perverted mentality indeed! 

Brigadier Dyer, a month or two after earning the title 'Butcher of Amritsar', led mainly Indian troops against the Afghans- putting them to rout easily enough. Only Rajaji was cowardly enough to support Khilafat on the grounds that otherwise the Afghans would conquer us again.  

Instead of developing strength to protect ourselves against those near whom we are permanently placed, a feeling of incurable impotence has been generated.

By Gandhi.  

Two strong and brave nations can live side by side,

like the French and Germans- right? 

strengthening each other through enforcing constant vigilance, and maintain in full vigour each its own national strength, unity, patriotism and resources. If a nation wishes to be respected by its neighbours it has to develop and enter into honourable treaties. These are the only natural conditions of national liberty; but not a surrender to distant military powers to save oneself from one’s neighbours. […]

India was not respected because a tiny number of Brits ruled it better than it had ever been ruled before. Why was Gandhi pretending India had achieved what Afghanistan gained even after losing a War? 

‘The Indian struggle for the freedom of Islam has brought about a more lasting entente and a more binding treaty between the people of India and the people of the Mussalman states around it than all the ententes and treaties among the Governments of Europe.

But British India had cowed those States! When Gandhi wrote this shite, there were 100,000 Indian troops garrisoning the MENA for the Brits. What entente can there be between a subject race and its free and independent, albeit much smaller, neighbors? 

Gandhi may not have foreseen that the departure of the Brits would lead to millions of Hindus and Sikhs being killed or having to flee. But Devji knows this is what happened. Why quote Gandhi at his most asinine?  

No wars of aggression are possible where the common people on the two sides have become grateful friends.

Germany and Russia had been 'grateful friends' for more than a century. The common people of both countries got on pretty well. Yet a 'war of aggression' took place between the Tzar and the Kaiser. Gandhi may not have noticed this. He was not an observant man.  

The faith of the Mussulman is a better sanction than the seal of the European Diplomats and plenipotentiaries.

But Gandhi betrayed the faith of the Mussulman. 

Not only has this great friendship between India and the Mussulman States around it removed for all time the fear of Mussulman aggression from outside, but it has erected round India a solid wall of defence against all aggression from beyond, against all greed from Europe, Russia or elsewhere.

Because the Brits had disappeared and the Japs, bless their cotton socks, would never try to invade India. After all, they too were 'grateful friends'. Indeed there was a Japanese spy, got up as a monk, who turned up at Gandhi's Ashram and who went around beating a drum till some local villagers gave him a good kicking.  

‘No secret diplomacy could establish a better entente or a stronger federation than what this open and non-governmental treaty between Islam and India has established. The Indian support of the Khilafat has, as if by a magic wand, converted what was once the Pan- Islamic terror for Europe into a solid wall of friendship and defence for India.’

Okay. I get it. Devji is a comic. He was writing this about the time ISIS was kicking off the second wave of Pan-Islamic terror. But killing those fuckers quietens them down a treat.  

This of course had been the basis of Britain’s own Muslim policy before the First World War,

Nonsense! The Brits had established suzerainty over Afghanistan and extracted concessions out of Persia at the point of a gun.  

so the Mahatma was only urging Indians to make it their own in a more genuine and honest way than the English had ever done. It was also a policy that continued to inform Muslim leaders in the subcontinent for many years to come. So the Nizam of Hyderabad, for instance, who was both the world’s richest man and the eccentric ruler of India’s largest princely state, entertained the ambition of transferring the caliphate to his own dynasty by supporting the exiled Ottoman emperor and marrying into his family.

The Nizam subsidized the cousin of the last Ottoman Emperor whom Ataturk had given the ceremonial title of Caliph to. But Ataturk changed his mind and exiled the Prince. I need hardly say that Hanafis don't accept that sovereignty can pass through the female line. The Nizam paid a good bride-price for two Ottoman Princesses who were taller and more regal than their short and dusky husbands. One of them later married an American business executive named Pope.

In this he was encouraged by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, an Englishman who had converted to Islam, produced a famous translation of the Quran still in use today and agitated for pan-Islamic causes which he thought were entirely in Britain’s true interests. Outlandish as it appears today, the idea of situating Sunni Islam’s central authority in a still colonized country where Muslims were a minority was not considered especially peculiar then.

This is utterly mad. Pickthall was considered an eccentric whose support for Turkey during the First War  (unlike the loyalty shown by Yusuf Ali) would block any possible official appointment his linguistic attainments might otherwise bring him.

The Nizam, on the other hand, was perfectly respectable and working for him helped rehabilitate Pickthall. But there was no prospect of continued Muslim domination of Hyderabad. It imported soldiers from Yemen which had lost whatever military reputation it might have had a thousand years previously. 

Devji probably doesn't think it peculiar that Steven Segal is the acknowledged 'tulku' of some Tibetan Lama or that the World Center of the Ba'hai Faith (which originated in Iran) is in Israel or that the Maharishi decided to hole up in the Netherlands. Why? I think the answer is that Tibetan Buddhism or the Bahai Religion or the practitioners of Transcendental Meditation pose no threat of any sort. 

The truth is guns matter, money matters, Science matters- but Religion does not matter unless it has money and guns in which case only money and guns can prevail over it. But, nowadays, it is Science which generates the money and which makes fancier guns. 

There is something to be said for Religions which inculcate thrift and enterprise and so forth. Apparently, in the USA, moving to a Mormon neighborhood raises your kid's chances of going to College- or at least staying out of Jail. Islam's future, like the future of other Religions, depends on improving life-chances for its young people. Devji thinks Indian Muslims could play a leadership role for Islam going forward. Is it because he sees that Indian Muslims are determined to rise by their own thrift, enterprise, hard work and pursuit of educational and professional excellence?

No. He thinks Islam is in trouble because no 'great power' in the Muslim World exists. Apparently, the British Empire was actually a Muslim power and so everything was cool with Islam between the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate and the end of the Raj. Then everything turned to shit.

 today there exists no great power in the Muslim world and no centre of gravity for its politics,

So what? The tide has turned against Western meddling in the region. Why should Islam not come up, the way Christian Europe came up, with multiple centers of gravity for its politics? 

all of which goes a long way towards accounting for the state of things in this extended region, something explanations based on the politics of oil or neo-colonialism cannot quite manage to do. By a centre of gravity, of course, I do not mean some kind of theological order, but instead a power that might centralize political and religious thought across an entire region, whatever its constitutional character. This in fact is what has already happened to Christianity, which despite its huge following in the poor and powerless countries of the global South, is nevertheless stabilized politically in the rich and powerful states of the North.

Nonsense! Christianity grew rapidly because of competition between Christian sects and Nations. It hasn't 'stabilized' at all. Take the issue of Gay Marriage. The prosperous North can't ram it down the throats of the Global South nor- thankfully- can they force homophobia down our throats.  

But then this is not a particularly new argument, with Muslim thinkers making it since the end of the First World War, the event from which Osama bin Laden too dates Islam’s decline. In this vision of things pan-Islamism does not refer to some kind of theological entity or even a world state, but only a Muslim great power of the Ottoman or British kind. And pan-Islamism, as we have already seen, is as much a Christian fantasy as it is a Muslim reality, being in either case a thoroughly modern phenomenon.

Bullshit! Pan-Islamism disappeared at the time of Khajirites and Kerbala.  

Today the British model of an Islamic power is the only one possible, not because its pluralist character was more egalitarian than the Ottoman, its secularism more pronounced or its demographic politics more imaginative, but rather because India in our time has once again become the world’s greatest Muslim power.

No it hasn't. It has become the world's only Hindu power.  

For although they are by and large an impoverished and disadvantaged minority in the country, the enormous population of over a hundred and fifty million Muslims there renders any simple socio-economic profile suspect, especially in light of the fact that the Indian community represents a significant portion of the world’s total and still constitutes a centre of gravity for Islam in the region.

Since Devji wrote this, Indians have tended to become more determined that Islam should have no 'center of gravity' in India. But something similar could be said about parts of Europe.

After all it is no accident that every single religious movement in Pakistan and Afghanistan, militant or moderate, from the Taliban and Lashkar-e Taiba to the Barelwis and Sufis, all have their intellectual and doctrinal origins in India.

Nor is it any accident that ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims and persecution of 'heretical' Muslims in such places has reinforced the Hindu determination to quickly and massively retaliate against Muslims running amok in India. The fact is Muslims in Hindu dominated regions thought that superior martial spirit might permit them to prevail. This same type of craziness motivated 9/11. The good news is that Muslims can dominate areas where they are the majority. If they want to lock up women, nothing can stop them. But there is an economic price to be paid for this type of 'Indian' (as the Egyptians say) stupidity.  

What is more Islam in these borderland states is capable only of radicalizing its Indian roots, not setting down any of its own.

No. Pakistan can't 'radicalize' the Indian Deobandis for the simple reason that they don't want to be massacred by the majority.  

Despite all the talk of Middle Eastern funding for fundamentalism and militancy in the region, no Muslim movement there derives its history or inspiration from places like Saudi Arabia but only from India, and more especially from the days of the British Raj.

This is because the Saudis and others stopped funding people who turned out to be useless and unreliable. So the Pakistan can monopolize their own shitty backyard. However, it too faces the problem of 'blow-back'. Sensible Islamic Governments have gotten out of the business of backing any indigenous sect. Hizb ut Tahrir has been no help to the Palestinians. Erdogan turned against Gulen. The Saudis spent a lot of time and money on taming the wilder Wahhabi ulema. Religion, it turns out, isn't a 'force multiplier'. It is a Frankenstein's monster. 

India does have Islamic sects- Devji may belong to one himself- which don't proselytize and don't do crazy shit. Their spiritual preceptors- be they 'Westernized' or 'traditional'- encourage thrift, technical education and enterprise. The result is that such people do just as well, if not better, as Hindus or Zoroastrians or Sikhs. 

This extraordinary situation should at least give us pause for thought.

Why? The fact is that Muslim sects which did smart things rose up economically and educationally. Those that did stupid shit had to expand laterally and stick their fingers into the electric socket of jihad. Pakistan could export its craziness to Afghanistan- which was even poorer and more backward.  But nobody wants to be ruled by the Taliban. It may lose out to ISIS which has nothing Indian in its genealogy.  

Were it to be fully appreciated, scholars and policy-makers would realize that India is the key to Islam’s flourishing in the region, as well as to the latter’s own stability.

Utterly mad! Hinduism is the reason India is cohesive. Salafi Islam is the reason Pakistan has declined economically. This does not mean that South Indian Muslims or Bohras or Ismailis etc can't do just as well as Hindus in India. But if they start killing the majority, there will be massive retaliation till they become quiet. 

Rather than placing Pakistan and Afghanistan in a Middle Eastern context, in other words, such experts would see that India provides the centre of gravity for Islam in both.

No. India expelled the Muslim supremacists. Bangladesh too got rid of those nutters. Pakistan was able to expand its influence into Afghanistan because of American and Saudi money. But China will discipline them if they don't straighten up and fly right. After all, Pakistan now owes China a lot of money. It will have to work off that debt before resuming global jihad.  

This is one reason why India serves as the focus for Pakistani militant groups in particular, which are dedicated not to avenging the suffering of Indian Muslims so much as the loss of Islam’s historical centre there.

This is nonsense. India kills Muslims and has now taken to cross-border strikes. Why die at the hands of the kaffir when you can subjugate fellow Muslims in Pakistan or Afghanistan?  

Neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan is large enough or powerful enough to centralize Islam and make of it a global model, just as no Middle Eastern country is able to do.

Yet Islam has its center in Mecca & Medina from its very first inception. This is not to say that a world religion needs a center. Buddhism did fine without one.  

Indeed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, while mobilizing a great many people for this or that reason, has never produced a single mass movement of any kind,

The Ahmadiya sect is Pakistani as is the persecution of Ahmadiyas.  

let alone a national one, since the day it was founded over half a century ago.

So what? Most countries don't found mass movements.  

Its religious politics is therefore like every other politics there, made up of conspiracies, compromises and coups d’etat conducted by all sorts of factions, each making up for its lack of numbers by direct action and armed force.

Devji sure has a low opinion of Pakistan! 

Only a federation that brings together India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri Lanka, perhaps along the lines of the European Union, has any hope of creating a stable and prosperous South Asia while centralizing both Hinduism and Islam within it.

Rubbish! Muslims slaughter and ethnically cleanse non-Muslims where they are the majority. If the Indian Army couldn't keep the Kashmiri Pundits safe what hope have the rest of the Hindus? That's why they start killing Muslims within 12 hours of Muslim attacks on Hindus. The majority soon prevails over the minority. 

Indeed the former religion has been as radicalized as the latter with the partition of British India. It was because he realized that Hinduism ran the risk of becoming politicized merely as a state religion that the Mahatma had advocated a more expansive global role for it and India in general, one that justified his own participation in the Khilafat Movement:

‘The age of misunderstanding and mutual warfare among religions is gone. If India has a mission of its own to the world, it is to establish the unity and the truth of all religions. This unity is established by mutual help and understanding between the various religions. It has come as a rare privilege to the Hindus in the fulfilment of this mission of India to stand up in defence of Islam against the onslaught of the earth-greed of the military powers of the West. […] If Hindus and Mussalmans attain the height of courage and sacrifice that is needed for this battle on behalf of Islam against the greed of the West, a victory will be won not alone for Islam, but for Christianity itself. Militarism has robbed the crucified God of his name and his very cross and the World has been mistaking it to be Christianity. After the battle of Islam is won, Islam and Hinduism together can emancipate Christianity itself from the lust for power and wealth which have strangled it now, and the true Christianity of the Gospels will be established. This battle of non-cooperation with its suffering and peaceful withdrawal of service will once and for all establish its superiority over the power of brute force and unlimited slaughter. What a glorious privilege it is to play our part in this history of the world, when Hinduism and Islam will unite on behalf of Christianity, and in that strife of mutual love and support each religion will attain its own truest shape and beauty.’

Gandhi could not foresee that within a few short years of his death, Hindus of all family backgrounds would reject distinctions of caste and color and even gender. However, once Islamic terrorism began to grow they acquired a healthy fear of, and fury against, Muslims. But this was also true of the Chinese and the Europeans and so forth.  

In the absence of a South Asian union in the foreseeable future, and with the loss of Hinduism’s world-historical ambition for the time being,

Hindus have the same 'world-historical' ambition as everybody else- viz. having a secure and reasonably prosperous life in this world. Religion is about the next world- or birth, as the Hindus say.  

the Republic of India, as the region’s only great power, has a particular role to play as far as the politics of Islam is concerned.

If Islam has a politics then non-Muslims will have to have a countervailing anti-Islamic politics.  

And this role its Muslim citizens can take on by exercising a kind of gravitational pull for their co-religionists elsewhere, in the same way as they had in the colonial past, and in doing so to provide a model for Islamic politics globally.

Is Devji saying 'Muslims must join R.S.S.?  

As it is this huge population that is yet a minority already serves as the chief example of Muslim politics in a democratic mode, though it is more fashionable today to talk about the community either as a breeding ground for terrorism or as a victim of discrimination and violence at the hands of Hindu militants. While they are ostensibly opposed, these characterizations are of course nothing but mirror images of one another.

It is likely that Muslims will be split on caste lines by extended reservations. This will pretty much put things back to the way they always were.  

 

In one way India has been true to her colonial past by trying to become a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference, (attempts always frustrated by pakistan) sponsoring her citizens to go on pilgrimage to Mecca and routinely playing the Muslim card in her dealings with Middle Eastern states. But on the other hand her governments have viewed even Islamic organizations with a long history of patriotism, such as the important seminary of Deoband, with suspicion and have tried to cut down their international profile.

It is true that India wanted to beg money from the Oil Sheiks. One Ruler said to the Indian Ambassador (later a Vice President of the Republic) 'Go tell your people that I have always kept an Indian as my night-watchman. Do you think I will forget my night watchman?' 

Sadly, the success of the Software industry showed India that there was something better in life than being the night-watchman of some Arab dude. It then turned out that the Gulf and Saudi and so on were perfectly happy to invest in India- because it wasn't Islamic at all.  

The seminary, for example, which used to attract students from places as far away as South Africa and South East Asia, has now to content itself with a largely Indian intake, the rest having gone off to study in countries like Saudi Arabia.

But then the best Islamic scholars from India have gone there too. On the other hand, there are Hindu and Jain savants who find it to worthwhile to pursue Research Degrees at Western Indological Institues. 

And this is to say nothing of the routine discrimination that many Muslims face in India.

Hatred against Muslims has greatly increased in some neighborhoods. But, we have to admit, there have been other such internecine quarrels in which Islam wasn't involved at all. 

Nothing could be more counterproductive for India’s own regional ambitions and global stature than this situation, which in addition serves to destabilize the whole of South Asia.

This is not true. Islam does not matter. Even Terrorism doesn't matter if massive retaliation is possible. Being able to project force on land and sea against China does matter as does not getting trapped in their infrastructural eco-system.  Ultimately, it may be China which renders the Afpak region peaceful- if not exactly prosperous *vecause the Chinese need a return on their investment. 

But half a century after the partition of British India, the ceaseless conflict of whose successor states poisoned the religious atmosphere of India,

India's religious atmosphere has been fine- for Hindus. The surprising thing was that caste did not slaughter caste and sect did not turn on sect. Why? I suppose it was because Hindus were simply too poor to afford to kill each other so as to assert their superior holiness.  

things are finally changing.

Devji was right. Things were changing. People were beginning to understand that Professors had shit for brains.  


Amartya Sen & the price of fish

 Amartya Sen tells the following story about what sparked his interest in Economics. Read it through and take a moment to firstly identify what elementary mistake he is making and secondly identify the reason we can be sure he is lying 


Sen's mistake is to fail to understand that what was happening represented price-discrimination. His lie was to suggest that he thought volatility was linked to Uncertainty- which is his own misunderstanding of a much later literature.

Markets are social phenomenon. In India, local vendors of perishable produce act like a cartel. There is a tradeoff between price and quality because inventory deteriorates rapidly. Customers are poor and price sensitive. This means that some items disappear from most local markets when there is a supply shock. Indians of the older generation were aware that good quality items only came into the local bazaar at festival time. Only richer localities could preserve inventory or turn around high quality perishable items fast enough. 

Sen may not have been aware of this sociological aspect to Indian markets. But he did study price theory at University in India. He should have known that the supply of fish was inelastic because, at that time, refrigeration was not a possibility. A football result could affect demand but not supply but this would be a transitory and localized phenomenon. 

Sen, even as a child, was a cretin because he did not realize that if football results were predictable, there would either be little interest in watching games or, at least, no cause for celebration at the outcome.

I suppose Sen has some hazy idea that volatility is linked to Knightian Uncertainty. This is not the case.  Indeed, in retail markets we would expect to see greater price rigidity the more Knightian Uncertainty obtains. But, in this case, there is no Knightian uncertainty whatsoever. There are only three possible states of the world- we win, we lose, we draw.

 Even if everybody has the correct probability distribution, there would still be price spikes if there were a convention of celebrating victories with fish banquets. Furthermore, fish sellers in the locality, who as a group have a local monopoly, will 'price discriminate' on the basis of the market segmentation Sen alludes to- viz. the 'common knowledge' as to which type of fish will confer extra utility for those celebrating their side's victory. The losing side might be offered a cheap price as a consolation for their loss. 

To be fair, Sen did not teach price theory. But people who don't understand price theory should not teach any type of economics. 

Was there really any price volatility of the sort Sen describes? No. The supply of fish was subject to exogenous shocks which caused volatility at the wholesale level. At the retail level, there was more quality than price volatility for institutional reasons. 

However, for socially sanctioned 'sumptuary consumption'- e.g. during festivals or other celebrations- there was localized price-discrimination by fish sellers who acted as an informal cartel. They understood that the utility of consuming your favorite food item goes up if you are celebrating. This also means sellers part with fresher and thus better quality fish because there has been an upward adjustment of the Muth rational market clearing price. 

However, you might buy cheap 'comfort food' if you are in the dumps- though this may be an afterthought once you have drowned your sorrows thoroughly. The fish will be less fresh and more highly spiced but, after a few drinks, that has its own appeal.

 Since one football club was associated with demand for one type of fish, fish-sellers could 'segment the market'. Sen might not have been able to understand this as a child. He might have asked 'why is this fish suddenly more expensive?' His Mum might have replied, 'the fans of such and such team want to banquet on their favorite type of fish. In their euphoria, they are willing to pay more and so these cunning fish sellers- who are all in league- are taking advantage of their elation.' Most kids have enough theory of mind to understand this explanation. They get used to parents saying 'we won't buy this for you now. We will wait till after the festival when the demand goes down.' This is an example of market segmentation by time. Sen never became capable of understanding even this simple phenomenon which is taught to High School kids. No wonder he was so atrocious an Economist that he got a Nobel for being a darkie. 


Zizek on Violence- or shitting

Zizek writes- 

In his “Critique of Violence,” Walter Benjamin raises the question: “Is any non-violent resolution of conflict possible?”

All resolution of conflict is non-violent. One side desists either because it is beaten or has been paid off or won over with kisses or found something more interesting to do. By contrast, we don't say that a conflict has been resolved while people are still getting beaten or killed.  

His answer is that such a non-violent resolution of conflict is indeed possible in what he calls “relationships among private persons,” in courtesy, sympathy and trust: “there is a sphere of human agreement that is non-violent to the extent that it is wholly inaccessible to violence: the proper sphere of ‘understanding,’ language.’

Sadly, Walter Benjamin killed himself because he understood what would happen to him once the Nazis got hold of him. This is why he stopped being capable of participating in relationships among private persons or contributing to language based activities like talking or writing. 

This thesis of Benjamin belongs to the mainstream tradition in which the prevalent idea of language and the symbolic order is that of the medium of reconciliation and mediation, of peaceful co-existence, as opposed to a violent medium of immediate and raw confrontation.

This is mere pi-jaw worthy of a bureaucrat or pedant. Language is about communication and commerce and creativity of different types.  

In language, instead of exerting direct violence on each other, we are meant to debate, to exchange words, and such an exchange, even when it is aggressive, presupposes a minimum recognition of the other.

No. Language is about telling peeps who want to fight to stay the fuck away from each other on pain of being sent to jail.  

We don't think the would be rapist or murderer should get to argue with his victim as to why she is a worthless piece of shit and should be treated as such. 

The entry into language and the renunciation of violence are often understood as two aspects of one and the same gesture: ‘Speaking is the foundation and structure of socialization, and happens to be characterized by the renunciation of violence,’ as a text by Jean-Marie Muller written for UNESCO tells us. 

This tells us that UNESCO is shit. Israel and the US were right to quit.  This Muller dude is a French philosopher- i.e. a shithead- who has specialized in Gandhian shite. 

Since man is a ‘speaking animal,’ this means that the renunciation of violence defines the very core of being-human: ‘it is actually the principles and methods of non-violence … that constitute the humanity of human beings, the coherence and relevance of moral standards based both on convictions and a sense of responsibility,’ so that violence is ‘indeed a radical perversion of humanity.’

In the view of a cretin. Why not say 'man is a shitting animal. But one can't take a comfortable dump while engaged in a knife fight. Thus non-violence is the foundation of shitting. This proves that violence is a radical perversion of shitting.' 

Insofar as language

or shitting 

gets infected by violence, this occurs under the influence of contingent ‘pathological’ circumstances which distort the inherent logic of symbolic communication.

or shitting. 

What if, however, humans exceed animals in their capacity for violence precisely because they speak?

or shit? 

 When we perceive something as an act of violence,

for example if your opponent shits into his cupped hands and flings his feces in your face 

we measure it by a presupposed standard of what the “normal” non-violent situation is –

the guy should shit on the boss's desk, like a normal person 

and the highest form of violence is the imposition of this standard with reference to which some events appear as “violent.”

in which case the highest form of shitting into one's hands and flinging one's feces into the face of an opponent is to classify the act of so doing as 'violent'. 

In other words, if a guy flings his shit at you and you call the police coz that's fucking assault with a stinky weapon innit? the police should arrest you, not the shit-flinger, coz you described his action as premeditated violence rather than just an alternative style of excretion and waste disposal. 

This is why language itself,

or shitting itself 

the very medium of non-violence,

coz you don't want to be knifing peeps or getting knifed by peeps while taking a dump 

of mutual recognition,

you can tell I'm in the next stall coz my shit smells of curry 

involves unconditional violence.

Which is why everybody should be arrested the moment they start taking a dump. OMG! That's why the Government has installed cameras in toilets! It isn't just to watch us poop, it is to convict us as violent terrorists once Zizek's theory has been accepted and the laws have been suitably amended.

Incidentally, Gandhi was constantly getting and giving enemas. He was worse than Hitler or Stalin! They went in for mere conditional violence. Gandhi's violence was unconditional! So is the baby's. Every filled diaper represents worse violence than the H-Bomb! 

So, perhaps, the fact that reason (ratio) and race have the same root tells us something:

they don't have the same root. Reason has a Latin root but 'race' has a Norse root and is ultimately related to something swift flowing.  

language,

or shitting 

not primitive egotistic interests, is the first and greatest divider, it is because of language

or shitting 

that we and our neighbors (can) “live in different worlds” even when we live on the same street.

but shit in solitude  

What this means is that verbal violence

or shitting 

is not a secondary distortion, but the ultimate resort of every specifically human violence.

because all violence is shitting except that greater violence involved in describing as violent an attack by an opponent who is throwing his turds at you or smearing his feces on you or forcing it down your throat.  

Take the example of anti-Semitic pogroms, which can stand in for all racist violence.

If you are a thug of a certain sort- sure, I suppose so.  

What the perpetrators of pogroms find intolerable and rage-provoking, what they react to, is not the immediate reality of Jews, but to the image/figure of the ‘Jew’ which circulates and has been constructed in their tradition.

Which is why anti-semites keep slaughtering each other when they get together. It is also the reason the Nazi party collapsed immediately with Hitler knifing Himmler in his rage against the image/figure of the Jew just as Himmler was stabbing Goebbels who was shooting Goering and so on and so forth.  

The catch, of course, is that one single individual cannot distinguish in any simple way between real Jews and their anti-Semitic image: this image overdetermines the way I experience real Jews themselves and, furthermore, it affects the way Jews experience themselves.

Zizek may be accurately describing himself. Yet, the fact is, had he been violent to Jews he'd have been locked up or else Mossad would have made an example of him.  

What makes a real Jew that an anti-Semite encounters on the street “intolerable,” what the anti-Semite tries to destroy when he attacks the Jew, the true target of his fury, is this fantasmatic dimension.

There is no evidence of this. Jews were attacked when it was safe, and it appeared profitable, to do so.  Violence is costly. Long run, the thing has to pay for itself. The Economic dimension matters. One can increase or decrease different types of violence through 'mechanism design'. 'Fantasmatic dimensions' are only important in a comic book world. 

The same principle applies to every political protest: when workers protest their exploitation, they do not protest a simple reality, but an experience of their real predicament made meaningful through language.

No. Their reality is simple. Zizek's language would make it meaningless which is why workers don't invite him to represent them.  

Reality in itself, in its stupid being there, is never intolerable:

Which is why Zizek sleeps naked in the snow during the depths of winter.  

it is language, its symbolization, which makes it such.

We tell intolerable bores to fuck off or else ourselves find somewhere else to take a ruminative dump.  

So precisely when we are dealing with the scene of a furious crowd, attacking and burning buildings and cars, lynching people, etc., we should never forget the placards they are carrying and the words which sustain and justify their acts.

Nor should we run away till we have read every one of their placards and heard all the slogans they raise as they beat us to death or string us up from the nearest lamp-post.  

It was Heidegger who elaborated this feature at the formal-ontological level, when, in his reading of essence /Wesen/ as a verb (“essencing”), he provided a de-essentialized notion of essence.

In the same way that Hitler provided a de-victorized notion of victory which involved Heidi's Fatherland being defeated and shorn of territory and partitioned and forced to pay reparations. 

Traditionally, “essence” refers to a stable core that guarantees the identity of a thing.

Nope. It is merely that which is true of it in all possible worlds. But this means having no identity or other type of existence in most of them.  

For Heidegger, “essence” is something that depends on the historical context, on the epochal disclosure of being that occurs in and through language;

The German language would have been suppressed if Heidi had been believed. However, it was obvious that you don't have to change language or hermeneutics or anything else to get a people to behave. It is sufficient to punish them if they do wrong while letting them prosper if they work hard and don't get up to any monkey tricks.  

his expression “Wesen der Sprache” does not mean “the essence of language,” but its “essencing,”

which it can do to itself. Thus Heidi's expression does mean 'the essence of language' even when it doesn't. 

the making of essences that is the work of language, “language bringing things into their essence, language ‘moving us’ so that things matter to us in a particular kind of way, so that paths are made within which we can move among entities, and so that entities can bear on each other as the entities they are. … We share an originary language when the world is articulated in the same style for us, when we ‘listen to language,’ when we ‘let it say its saying to us.’”

Heidi was wrong. Only incentives matter. Language does not.  

For a medieval Christian, the essence of gold resides in its incorruptibility and divine sheen which make it a divine metal.

No. Some stupid pedants have made up this shit and attributed it to medieval Christians. The truth is they understood well enough that what was true of gold in all possible worlds was that it possessed all the qualities necessary and sufficient to function as a good store of value and unit of exchange etc.  

For us, it is either a flexible resource to be used for industrial purposes or the stuff appropriate for aesthetic purposes.

It is still a store of value.  

Or, for Catholics, the castrato voice was once the very voice of angels prior to the Fall.

Nope. There was some ambiguity about Matthew 19.12 'some made themselves eunuchs &c'. However, the same condition can occur naturally by reason of an endocrine deficiency. Radu Marian is an example. 

For us today, it is a monstrosity.

No. Radu Marian is a great artist. He worked very hard to attain virtuosity.

This change in our sensitivity is sustained by language; it hinges on the shift in our symbolic universe.

No it doesn't. Economic and geopolitical forces change laws and norms and tastes. Language does not matter at all.  Still, if Zizek can make a living by pretending otherwise- good luck to him. It is only in a metaphorical sense that he is shitting into his cupped hands and flinging his feces about for the entertainment of wealthy Americans wot went to Collidge. This isn't either violence or non-violence or a philosophical reflection on either. It's just monkeys doing what monkeys get rewarded with bananas for doing so the Zoo's paying customers get their money's worth.