Both India and the USA were once British colonies. Some stupid Indians- Communists mainly- pretended India hadn't become independent in 1947. The freedom struggle must continue till Indians have thoroughly decolonized themselves with yet more Gandhian enemas for everybody.
If those Indian nutters who worship the Mahacrackpot, rather than the Maharishi who made billions teaching 'yogic levitation'- were right then America too should continue to fight against Mad King George with Mad Hatter Tea Parties. That wouldn't be crazy at all. It's like Her-story, dude. Crack a book sometime.
Priya Satia is an American historian of Indian heritage. Her work is extraordinarily vacuous. She writes-
Every historian worth their salt knows that
only stupid people teach history- or, as they say at JNU, those who can't learn from History are condemned to teach it. This particularly stupid person is marching to Dandi to make her own salt- except it isn't salt. It is shit.
historical and local specificities ultimately render all analogies inaccurate.
No. For any specific purpose, there is generally one analogy which is 'Schelling focal' if not canonical- i.e everybody would agree it solves a coordination problem even if doesn't necessarily shed most light on a given situation or the right way to tackle a particular problem
Yet people navigating times of great change and uncertainty habitually seek reassurance from the past.
For the reason mentioned above. Essentially, if a 'coordination problem' has a canonical or protocol bound analogue- i.e. there is either a Kripkean or judicial buck stopping mechanism- then that is the 'Schelling focal' solution which it is Muth rational and eusocial to adopt.
Stare decisis jurisprudence works in this way. Your lawyer tells the court that the case is most analogous to such and such previously decided case. The other side might argue that some other decision is binding or that the ratio in that case does not apply for some other reason- e.g. new statute or Treaty law.
In 1852, Karl Marx observed how revolutionaries “anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past … to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise.”
The revolutionaries of 1848 thought that some sequence of events from the French Revolution would repeat itself. Napoleon III certainly took advantage of this. The truth is he wasn't that different from the Orleanist King. Still, he might have inherited his Uncle's military ability and that would give the Tzar pause before reviving the 'Holy Alliance' to intervene.
By helping to legitimize major change,
Legitimacy doesn't matter. Money matters. War matters. Even the law matters. But even if there is a claim which the law says is legitimate, it will avail nothing against sovereign immunity. The remedy for a right's violation does not exist unless it is actually provided and prevails over all else. This has to do with incentive compatibility- i.e. the remedy provider should have an incentive to actually provide the remedy rather than try to shuffle out of the obligation.
historical analogies have played a key role in the very making of modern history, including its ugliest episodes:
Nonsense! The ugliest episodes in history were either mimetic- i.e. doing what the other guy is doing, or threatening to do, but doing it more brutally- or else ideological or derived from an evil theology.
The Nazis defended their camps, for instance, by pointing to British concentration camps in the South African War at the turn of the 20th century.
This simply isn't true. Everybody had interned aliens during the First World War. Stalin's Gulags had been pretty successful. Mussolini was no slouch in such matters. The Nazis were merely following best practice in Dictatorships of the period.
The question is why they spent money on gas chambers. My guess is that a lot of Nazis wanted to get paid for killing but didn't want to kill those who might fight back and slaughter them. Why go to the Eastern Front when you could earn good money living in comfort while pretending to be combatting 'World Jewry' or 'non-Aryans' or Homosexuality or whatever?
Much of what has transpired in history has been justified by reference to some precedent.
No. What justifies things is whether it makes money or gets you power. Some small citation cartel of stupid professors, or cabal of cretinous journalists, might publish an article or two of Priya's retarded stripe, but not even Soros paid them a lot to do so.
Making new comparisons thus helps shift the paradigms and false equivalences through which we inherit the past so that we might make new history in the present.
Stupid people don't make history. Thy teach it to other imbeciles.
Despite their own inevitable inaccuracy, fresh analogies help uncover the darker historical truths obscured by the more flattering comparisons that enabled them.
Priya can only tell stupid lies. She can't uncover shit.
The question is not so much whether to analogize but whether the analogies we invoke serve ethical ends.
It is not ethical to do stupid, self-serving, shite or pose as having some great moral authority or being part of some great social or political movement.
Today, the world faces climate crisis, a pandemic, vast inequalities, war—a litany of troubles that makes our time seem unprecedented but also profoundly continuous with the past:
Priya has made an amazing discovery. Today carries on from Yesterday. Who knew?
The climate crisis is a product of the accumulated pollutants of the industrial age, and inequalities are partly the legacies of the historical processes of slavery and colonialism that were never redeemed.
This silly bint doesn't get that less productive peoples being wiped out is a worse outcome. Inequality would now be greater if there hadn't been so much horrific injustice in the past.
If our goal is to identify a propitious historical analogy that will help us cope with and overcome polluting industrialism, racist oppression, and violence, we
will fail. There is no such analogy. Also, climate change is a real problem. Stuff about kids getting triggered by statues of guys who may have owned slaves is stupid shit.
might look to the Indian noncooperation movement that began in the 1920s—not as something done, over, in the past, but as an ongoing struggle that we might resume.
Fuck off! The thing collapsed almost immediately. Gandhi surrendered unilaterally. The Congress Khilafat combine collapsed over the next couple of years. Instead of White people getting killed, there were Hindu-Muslim riots.
The Indian struggle for independence from British rule had begun much earlier, but
guys like Gandhi and Motilal were ultra loyal till about 1915-16.
tactics of nonviolent protest burst on the scene under the leadership of Mohandas Gandhi from the 1920s to 1940s.
These tactics failed. The Brits dictated the pace and scope of reform. Gandhi & Co would queue up meekly to go to jail from time to time. This was the utmost cooperation of which they were capable.
Gandhi’s approach built on earlier struggles in India and South Africa and was the product of a global intellectual history, including Jainism and Leo Tolstoy’s Christian pacifism.
i.e. it was based on fantasy and achieved nothing.
In a series of mass movements, protesters engaged in tax resistance, marching, and boycotting British educational institutions and British-manufactured cloth (in favor of local hand-spun cloth).
In Priya's native Punjab, people like Fazli Husain & Chotu Ram decided to boycott the boycott movement. Punjab began to rise. There was no Hindu-Muslim problem. The Unionist Party held power. Sadly, a stupid Gujju barrister who didn't get on with another stupid Gujju barrister, spoiled the peace of the Punjab by dragging Religion into Politics. Gandhi started it. Jinnah finished it. Partition was the price of their ego-maniacal stupidity.
Autonomy was achieved and proved through the very act of nonviolent refusal of British rule, whatever its consequences.
But violent refusal of Muslim rule by Sikhs and Hindus or Hindu rule by Muslims divided the country. I may non violently refuse to be a tool used by Rishi Sunak to beat and sodomize and decapitate trillions of British Dalits but nobody fucking notices. On the other hand, if I shove a radish up my bum and run naked through the streets, so as to protest the Tory party's use of suttee, thuggee and agarbatti to oppress and brutalize the British proletariat then I get arrested and am sent to jail for public indecency! I'm a political prisoner just like Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.
In this sense, it was fundamentally about redemption of the self.
Gandhi tried to recruit soldiers for the Brits. His people chased him away. Sad.
Among the movement’s actions that seized global attention was the Salt March of 1930, when Gandhi and dozens of followers set out on a 25-day, 240-mile march to protest the British salt monopoly and extortionate salt tax.
Motilal and CR Das had raised the matter 6 years previously in the Legislative Assembly. But they wouldn't agree to raise the Income Tax to provide the necessary revenue.
Still, Gandhi was wrong about the tax. He thought the poorest were paying ten or twenty percent of their income in salt tax. The true figure could not have been more than one percent. Also, sea salt was uneconomic to produce. That is why the Princely States seldom produced their own salt. Incidentally, once Liaquat abolished the tax, the price of salt went up. Under Nehru, the tax was restored.
Tens of thousands joined as Gandhi spoke to crowds along the way. On reaching Dandi on the Arabian Sea coast, Gandhi picked up a lump of salt-rich mud on the shore and declared the British law breached. Over the next several weeks, masses around the country violated the salt laws and other repressive laws. Hundreds of nonviolent protesters were beaten; more intense British violence was checked by extensive international press coverage. Gandhi was among the 60,000 arrested by the end of 1930—but the following year, the British conceded his demand to participate in negotiations about India’s future.
No. Gandhi lost. He had previously refused to participate in the First Round Table Conference. He was forced to join the Second Conference but fucked up massively. The Brits unilaterally imposed the 1935 Act which gave Provincial Autonomy. Congress preferred to hold office, and line its pockets, rather than sulk in jail.
The British departed India in 1947, but, to many,
Commie nutjobs who changed their mind after the police and the Army started beating and killing them
the struggle for decolonization remained unfulfilled, as the institutions and values the British had established remained intact.
Fuck off! If British institutions and values had remained intact, Hindus and Sikhs would not have had to flee Lahore and Muslims would not have had to flee Delhi.
In the Gandhian vision, the mere transfer of power was not decolonization, for the enemy was not the British but British civilization’s centering of material desire as the key to prosperity and progress.
Also, the Brits had caused Indians to have penises and vaginas. True decolonization can only be achieved once Indians are as smooth as Barbie dolls down there.
A regime in which white rulers were simply replaced by brown ones would also have to be resisted.
What was resisted- unless it was safer to run away- was rule by people of a different religion. Color didn't matter. That's why Sonia could rule India.
It would remain, in Gandhi’s words, “foreign rule.”
Under Sonia, that's exactly what it was.
This warning that the struggle for decolonization had to be permanent is
stupid shit. Why not stay that the struggle for overcoming constipation and taking a dump is permanent. It is not enough to empty your bowels. You must keep giving yourself enemas- which is what the Mahacrackpot did- and drinking laxative even if your bowels are as clean as a whistle.
the movement’s most compelling legacy for our time.
Very true. Priya herself has revived the Ghaddar party and is seeking an alliance with the Kaiser to drive the British out of India.
It emerged from an understanding, shared by other anti-colonial groups, that liberation—in the sense of a recovery of our full humanity, not just political freedom—is something experienced in the course of common struggle.
As opposed to the struggle which commences after the colonists depart and which involves former comrades trying to kill each other or driving each other into exile
Man’s purpose, Gandhi’s contemporary the philosopher and poet Muhammad Iqbal argued, is to remake oneself ethically rather than to remake the world.
Both failed. Man's purpose is to do smart- or at least sensible- things such that future generations rise in prosperity and security. That's why we have big brains. Any parrot can repeat stupid bollocks. But every species must alter its environment so as to thrive better within it.
Still, Iqbal may have thought he'd get lots of Houris in Heaven and the Mahacrackpot may have thought he'd get reborn on a paradisal planet where nobody ever had sex or ate anything nice or said anything sensible.
This warning that the struggle for decolonization had to be permanent is the movement’s most compelling legacy for our time.
If so, that legacy was stupidity. After decolonization, the next priority is being able to defend your borders which in turn means growing the economy so as to afford better weapons. Ukraine was foolish to get rid of its nukes. You can bet that henceforth they will grow their economy in the manner of Poland while building up their own military industrial complex.
The idea that struggle is meaningful itself, regardless of its effects,
is stupid. That's why it is a bad idea to struggle against sodomy by fisting yourself incessantly
pushed back against European colonizers’ claims that history is a story of progress in which evils such as colonialism are sometimes necessary.
They are not necessary. It's just that they may move things along a little faster.
To Gandhi, this vision of history discounted the sustaining force of love that routinely defuses would-be conflicts in a manner illegible to history.
It also discounted the possibility that he himself was as stupid as shit. The truth, however, is that he needed money for his crackpot schemes and so had to pose as a freedom fighter. He had said he'd deliver 'Swaraj' if one crore rupees was raised. The money came in, but no Swaraj materialized. So Gandhi started saying true Swaraj was peas and lurve and giving the Mahacrackpot more and more money so he cold piss it against a wall.
Nonviolence embraced such quotidian practices of love,
but not sex
creating new possibilities for the future by calling on humans to be morally accountable exclusively in the present.
Coz Gandhi needs your money NOW.
Insofar as it was about being ethical—and thus civilized—now, nonviolence was the end in itself, not a means to some political end. It was self-rule (“swaraj”) in the most substantive form.
But involved giving Gandhi money. That was the bit on which Gandhi always insisted. The problem with helping people become self-sufficient or self-ruling is that it makes you dependent on swindling them so as to pay your own bills or finance your own crackpot schemes.
“It is swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves,” Gandhi explained in 1909.
And it is stupidity when we listen to a shitty lawyer who doesn't have the thing explain how he can get if for you.
“It is, therefore, in the palm of our hands.” Freedom might be attained instantly, entailing only refusal to be ruled by another. Each person would thus “become his own ruler,” he wrote in 1939;
But, in 1939, he demanded that the Brits turn over the Army to the INC. Why? Congress is a Hindu party. Hindus are devotees of Ahimsa. So the Punjabis and Muslims and maybe the Gurkhas will take over the country unless Congress has the Army to defend itself.
government itself would be redundant. Such utopianism was necessary to meaningful decolonization, he insisted: “To believe that what has not occurred in history will not occur at all is to argue disbelief in the dignity of man.”
It is also to disbelieve that cats are dogs or that pigs can fly.
Straining after the ideal mattered more than arriving at it: “Let India live for this true picture, though never realizable in its completeness,” he affirmed in 1946.
India lives for a better picture- one where many of its people aren't as poor as shit.
For Gandhi, then, moral transformation at the level of the self, more than the departure of the British, was the movement’s real goal.
And for the movement the real goal was to pretend Gandhi had done something fantastic, in which case it might still get some money or influence.
It meant recovery from the values of colonialism:
Getting rid of Pax Britannica. Gandhi was safe enough because Gujarat was Hindu majority. Tagore, on the other hand, stood to lose his estates in East Bengal. Suppose Congress had been disbanded in 1924. The Muslim League too would have disappeared. Punjab might have continued to prosper under a Unionist Government. After Burma went its own way, different provinces would have competed to sell rice and wheat and provide recruitment to the Army. India would have been a food exporter and force projector during the War and going forward.
Colonists don't want colonies to turn into shitholes. America was once a Colony. The reason they want to become independent is so they can get richer and stronger than anybody else.
that material attainments (rather than ethical being) were a measure of civilization, that evil might be justified by some future vindicating effect, that society thrived through individual self-interest rather than the reciprocity of interests.
Would Gandhi listen to people who wanted to lecture him on why it was totally evil to take money from Mill owners?
Such values were incompatible with planetary habitation: “God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West,” Gandhi warned in 1928. “If an entire nation of 300 millions took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.”
This was also the view of Sukhamoy Chakroborty who, after Mahalanobis, was the most influential Indian planner. The problem was that though India could not meet the basic needs of even one hundred people, it could pander to the greed of 1.4 billion. This was because the basic need of one hundred people includes not getting conquered and enslaved or eaten by lions or just dying swiftly of dysentery or slowly of hunger.
Given these goals, Gandhian noncooperation, or satyagraha, relied on boycotts and strikes against British economic dominance
which would have occurred anyway. Obviously, indigenous manufacturers would pay for such boycotts while workers go on strike to get higher wages all the time. The good news about strikes and boycotts is that it envenomed relations between communities.
and unjust laws but also everyday practices aimed at redeeming the mind and soul—walking, singing, fasting, and spinning yarn.
while telling stupid lies and demanding donations
Sacrifice, of conveniences or even life, for the sake of ethical action demanded by the present—as opposed to instrumental sacrifice in the name of some future purpose—was at its core.
Which is fine if we live in a 'kshanikavada'- i.e. momentary- Universe in which case all that matters is whether you gave money to Gandhi at this moment. The fact that financing his foolishness would harm you and yours could be safely ignored because the Future is an illusion. But this is also why you should invest with Bernie Madoff or burn down your house and go stand naked on a hill top waiting for the Rapture which will definitely occur today.
Satyagrahis’ willingness to endure deprivations, violent punishment, imprisonment, and even death sought to awaken the suppressed humanity of their oppressors.
But, those 'oppressors' were Indian prison guards or policemen who would have had to suppress their humanity and watch their own families starve if they quit their jobs. The workaround was simply. Touch the feet of the Netaji and conduct him, very politely, to prison. During the Emergency,
The point was not to punish but to open themselves up to punishment to instigate the conversion, or decolonization, of their oppressors’ minds.
This simply didn't happen. During the Quit India campaign, millions of Indians enrolled in the Army, the Police and any other type of Government job. Gandhi & Co, said they would 'do or die' but they neither did anything- save sulk in jail- nor did they die, worse luck. By contrast plenty of Indian soldiers died bravely fighting Hitler and Tojo. On the other hand, Bose was stupider than Gandhi in that he ran off to join those monsters.
As Faisal Devji, a historian at the University of Oxford, recently put it, Gandhian noncooperation was “motivated by love for the opponent’s humanity, no matter how residual it might have become.”
Gandhi & Co cooperated with the authorities by pleading guilty and queuing up meekly to be sent off to jail. This did mean that they were safe during the Second World War. But it was safety bought at the price of cowardice and uselessness.
Who was Gandhi's opponent? The Viceroy? No. After the Second Round Table Conference, no Viceroy bothered with Gandhi. Either the fellow was sent off to jail or he was allowed to prance around talking bollocks. What about Jinnah? Surely he was Gandhi's opponent? Nope. Jinnah was welcome to fuck off to Karachi and be the father of Pakistan while Gandhi remained in India as the father of India till some Hindu nutter shot him.
Gandhi recognized that challenging the entrenched values of colonialism was a formidable task.
A foolish task. The entrenched values of any successful colonialism are, firstly to make the colony more prosperous and productive and secondly to make it better able to defend itself and contribute to collective security. This involves making it more and more self-garrisoning and self- administering. Britain did this to its settler colonies and had begun to introduce and extend responsible or representative government in India. This could have been done more rapidly if the partition of Bengal in 1905 had been allowed to stand.
Though moral transformation of the self was in the palm of one’s hand, the power of colonial educational institutions propagating instrumental views of evil and centering consumption as the key to civilization meant that it would take time for each individual to realize the need for it.
But most Indians were as illiterate and untouched by 'colonial educational institutions' as Gandhi's wife.
Many anti-colonial thinkers perceived that empire’s shape-shifting capacity meant permanent anti-colonial struggle, rather than a moment of decisive victory.
Very true. Hapsburg Empire shape-shifted. The Czechs must continue to fight it. The same is true of the Assyrian Empire.
Satyagraha—literally, insistence on truth
seizing the truth or holding on to it obstinately. However, for Advaita, the meaning would be, the Truth beyond Duality.
—was necessary precisely because of the way empire was so easily normalized and obscured.
Gandhi was a loyalist of the Empire when he coined the term. He was still recruiting for the British Army just two years before he started demanding money to deliver Swaraj. Twenty years later he thought the Japs would win and was counselling the Brits to hand over their lovely island to Hitler. Whatever appeared normal to Gandhi was very abnormal indeed.
Liberation would be experienced in, rather than as a result of, that unresolved struggle. Colonialism valorized “a society of individuals where each person shuts himself up in his own subjectivity,”
as opposed to shutting himself up in somebody else's rectum- unless it was Sartre's and you were trying to curry favor with him so as to gain recognition as the Black Beauvoir.
the Martiniquan philosopher Frantz Fanon wrote in The Wretched of the Earth (1961), but human nature is essentially intersubjective,
whereas dogs are total solipsists- right?
and the very forms of collective organization necessary to anti-colonial struggle
stuff like everybody turning up at the same time and same place for a political meeting
allow the colonized to recover the kinship and solidarities
e.g. being able to recognize a sibling or a spouse
that are integral to lived experience:
Fanon dealt with lunatics in Algeria. They had problems with distinguishing people from furniture. This was coz they were colonized. Once the French ran away, all those lunatics got jobs as Actuaries or Cost and Management Accountants.
“[T]he community triumphs and … spreads its own light.”
as opposed to spreading its own legs.
In the wake of such anti-colonial movements and the horrors of World War II, many European philosophers, too, recognized that history was not a narrative moving in a particular direction
yet, history moved in a particular direction through the Twentieth Century. Europe started off as top dog and then slid down continually because it kept doing stupid shit.
but the unceasing flux of life through which individuals strive to redemptively transcend their humanity—
by pretending they have gained super-powers.
a continual quarrel between ethics and circumstances that shapes the ends of each of our lives.
Her life is dedicated to telling stupid lies about how Punjabis suffered just as much at the hands of Whitey as enslaved and trafficked Africans. This was despite the fact that some Punjabis became very wealthy and powerful as a result of the British presence whereas hardly any African American received any material benefit at the hands of American slave owners.
This is a way of living in a state of constant aspiration, aware that fulfillment of struggle lies in the struggle itself.
Gandhi & Co were pushing against an open door. The problem was that everybody wanted to be the first to get through and so nobody got through till the Brits knocked heads together and made the Indians queue up properly.
Right from the start, Gandhi demanded that the Brits hand over all power to the INC- including power over the Army. He simply didn't understand why nobody wanted the INC to have all power. This was because it was obvious that he was a crackpot.
The search for analogies with this understanding of history is not about tracing history’s direction or lamenting our failure to learn from the past; it is about grasping human capacities so that we don’t mistake our predicament as exceptional and lose sight of it as part of a continual quarrel in which our life’s meaning is at stake.
What this stupid Professor of History is saying is that she and her colleagues are stupid and useless and will achieve nothing, still she herself is as great as Mahatma Gandhi who, truth be told, was stupid and useless. What she doesn't get is that Gandhi's financiers and lieutenants made a lot of money or gained a lot of power for themselves and their descendants thanks to his mummery. By contrast, what will anybody get by worshipping Fanon or Satia herself? Just a PhD in useless shite. They will be poorer not richer, more contemptible, not more powerful.
The Indian anti-colonial movement is not an analogy from the past offering lessons but where we actually are in history
Satia is posing as some sort of Mahatma. Take her course and you too will be able to...do what exactly? Sleep naked with your great-nieces? Get Whitey to return America to the First Nations? No. We must get Biden to submit to gender reassignment surgery at least once a week. Nothing less will do.
—trying to recover our humanity in the face of state oppression and destructive materialism.
It is too late for Satia to recover her sanity. Teaching shit has turned her brain to shit.
Nor is it a story about another place, and so, irrelevant to the United States. Descendants of the Indian and other anti-colonial struggles are there—U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, for one, frequently refers to his ancestors’ participation in the Gandhian movement.
But not to his grandpa's support for Indira's Emergency.
Moreover, early Indian anti-colonial activists drew inspiration from contemporary American anti-racist struggles.
No. Pro-British, lower caste activists or Christian converts mentioned this. George Washington inspired the higher classes. They were not concerned with their own serf-class, let alone the descendants of slaves in a faraway country. After all, India too had some descendants of African slaves. I believe one of them is now a BJP legislator.
And precisely because the redemptive power of love is a universal value,
it has nothing to do with politics.
the Gandhian movement’s ideas and tactics also watered American struggles.
Some Americans pretended the Mahatma had magic powers. Then the Maharishi turned up and made billions teaching 'yogic levitation'.
Black civil rights leaders met with Gandhi in the 1930s, and Gandhian tactics profoundly influenced the postwar civil rights struggle led by Martin Luther King Jr. and the anti-war and pro-environment movements that followed—whose descendants are among us, too.
Now we have Vivek Ramaswamy claiming that the Second Amendment and NRA should get all the credit for Civil Rights.
These movements are all ours. The collective heritage of global struggles against oppression is an American strength.
Very true. It was the collective heritage of global struggle which enabled cowboys to massacre Injuns. As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both arose directly out of America's inheritance of the fruit of the struggle of the helots against the Spartans.
The past is not a series of self-contained moments behind us—pearls that we might squint at to find a reflection of our times—but something everlasting in the way it structures the world we inhabit.
The past isn't everlasting. Hysteresis effects diminish and disappear. Otherwise structures would not be robust and thus not structures at all.
It’s time to join the salt march,
to go beyond single-day rallies and endure the deprivations needed to seriously confront the military-industrial structures causing existential climate crisis and rampant violence.
Cool. Priya is going to Ukraine to fight Putin's goons. Good luck to her.
As Americans despair at their political institutions’ failure to alleviate the epidemic of mass shootings, it’s time to ask: What would happen if, during the school year, teachers launched a monthlong march to their state capitols to demand gun regulations and Americans joined in their thousands along the way?
Nothing. Nobody gives a shit about teachers who think they are actually Mahatma Gandhi . Sack them and kids will have a brighter future.
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