Thursday, November 20, 2008

Denial of Bharat - Beyond mechanical labour

The story is very specific to India - or Bharat more precisely, how it was vandalized . But it could be general symptom.

The Marxists participated in vandalizing Bharat , true. But they did that with a straight face, the colonial agents talked about intellect and knowledge with colonial masters, they talked labour with us - their perceived subjects ready to receive state relief - But one declare oneself to free from their machinations, their relief.

This blog is try out the blogger settings, and to think about moving to blogger in future. Right now, i would put links to the articles in

------Copied the article from MS live ----

Outer source of Knowledge and Denial of (post) colonial subjects

Making a Start: Some bow to the lord Jagganath while making a new start. A member present himself to the president of the gathering before making a speech . A book on Indian philosophy starts with a prayer to the lord.

The very first line of an book on ancient history, written by an ‘eminent historian’ DN Jha presents itself as - “For long centuries India was known to the external world only through stray references to it in classical greek and Roman literature”. A sociology book by GS Ghurye, which has been in publication since 1932, starts with - “ A foreign visitor to India is struck by the phenomenon ….”

The above books, in a way, are quite significant influence on study of humanity in India:

Prof DN Jha has held senior positions in govt, including in NCERT, and has been an influential opinion on ancient history of India. Prof Jha's Political activisim and ideology , in part contributes to uncritical support of his positions .( For example, At one place in his book, he asserts the hope of coming utopia (as predicted by discredited theories of socialism ) to contradict happy days in a kingdom of ancient history . ) . It attests to his influence that, inspite of such overt biases as hope of a coming utopia, Prof DN Jha is considered an emminent historian. He has significant presence through respectable and rather uncritical access to the national and international media .
Importance of Prof GS Ghurye's book speaks for itself, it has been in publication for more than half a century, surviving Indian colonial scholarship, the nationalized govt controlled years, and through the era when NIIT or Aptech have set the trend faster than the universities.
The books, obviously are not travel stories. They are alleged to be analytical presentations. What then is the importance of invoking foreign/external tourist to start the books, to introduce the subjects of the book ? Is starting with foreign somehow carries an assumption of starting with a clean slate, for which the top professors of India have invoked a ‘foreign visitor’ as starting point to espouse further chapters ? Or is it a reflection of something more sinister and contemptuous.

The subjects vs The source of knowledge ?

Let us examine if it could be the assumption of starting with a clean slate, for which the top professors of India have invoked a ‘foreign visitor’ as starting point to espouse further chapters.


1-A- Ghuriye's subject: The subject of race and social Darwinism have been developed further in India by the colonial scholars to analyze Indian social and linguistic groups, mostly with less than complementary purposes. Social and linguistic groups, studied as objects of a immutable material composition, described using a concept of race, happens to be the focus of Ghuriye. It is accepted that such methods of racial classification and analysis was created in west in 19th century, extending the biblical scolarship of linguistics. The infamous 'divide and control' ideas of British, in fact have used some of these principles to create racial identities and giving a political shape to it, for example transforming the dravidian identity to a racial one. The extent of european interest in this subject can be easily ascertained by the fact that, One of the most popular books on social Darwinism , and that in 19th century europe, was about races in India. Ideas such as skull measurement (Discussed in ch 5 of the above book by Ghuriye) and racial anthropology has also been dominant in European politics in late 19th century . When the first edition of Ghuriye's was rushing out through the printing press, there was a major political movement going on in Germany, That is by the national socialist party of Hitler. Some of the members of his socialist party used racial anthropology in extremely violent ways, that usually would disturbs normal people. At the dawn of the previous century, the colonial British govt had used racial anthropology to carry out a census on its Indian subjects. It is these despicable methods of skull measurement that Ghuriye accepted as a process worthy of consideration, to create or refute something called races and secondary theories built of this concept. Ghuriye may be just one among the "intellectuals" and politicians of his time. However, in his influential book, he analyzed the skull sizes in it in 'first person' language (in chapter-5 of his book). [His conclusions are not important, which actually had opposite result compared to the fanaticism of colonial administrators like Risley.]

1-B- Ghuriye's reflection or source? Look back to the question of what a visitor means to Ghuriye. As a matter of common knowledge, and also by the tone of chapter-5 of his book, it is clear that Ghuriye was aware of contemporary happenings as in Europe in his own subject. Therefore, it is obvious that Professor Ghurye was not using his foreign visitor as a clean slate , on which the social and linguistic communities in India could merely be reflected as racial categories. In that case, could there be another motivation of Professor Ghuriye to use the 'foreign visitor' to introduce his chapters on races in Indian social organizations ? Consider a quote by British author Kevin Hobson, who has reserached on colonial phenomena: Indeed, there is ample evidence to show that the British viewed themselves as the source of knowledge for the Indian people and regarded the Indians in the same way as a scientist regards the subjects he studies.

1-C- Traditional use of shape: Take a step back. Examine some Indian ideas on shapes. The Love of shapes is painted and carved in India. The shape of giant temples, as well as the smaller ones are created with precision and symmetry. It is obvious the care and imagination that has gone into the structures. Sometimes detailed planning of cities, The fine paintings and sculptures have their own story to describe on shapes.These have obviously drawn the national imagination. However there is another aspect of apathy.

Russi Astabakra once reached in the palace of King Janaka(?) to avenge his father's defeat in arguments. He had eight bends in his body and looked ugly. Obviously, he was no Sanat Kumar in that respect. When holy seer reached the gathering in King's palace, The Best of Brahmins in the gathering questioned his eligibility for debate, by wondering how this ugly looking man with eight bends could argue on various subjects, including Yoga etc. As the story of Astabakra informs us, Astabakra counter argued, who is the cobbler who focused on shape of the knower of Brahman. With that argument, Astabakra earned his debate with the brightest, assembled around King Janaka. Check the contempt of the shape in that argument. Take the idea, frequently quoted in traditional hinduism, of Ghata Vs the Earth, the ring vs the gold, the Sansara and the metaphorical surfs of metaphorical oceans :- one has the shape, other one is raw material, the quality that exists in the shape even when it deforms, The surfs, playing as they are, but in a sense no different from water of the depth...The The Shape exists, in beauty, subtle , in brilliance, in utilitarian forms etc. But they were the manifestation the still more fundamental constructs.., the manifestations may be evaporated further down the path. Shape was temporary, surfs of metaphorical sea often gives different appearance than the depth, Still both had their essence, as part of the sea, they were water - the shape is not denied, but in some fundamental sense it was rather inconsequential. In apparently metaphysical debates where realities was as extreme to describe sanasara was mere surfs of the deep ocean, the question of idea of shape and appearance, there relevance and parameters is a fundamental one.

1-A- Ghuriye needed fixation of colonial power to introduce humanized skulls: Back to Ghuriye's fundamentals of sociology, As mentioned, it is not about his conclusions or competence...., It is about his acceptance of violently radical subjects such as skull and measuring shape of other body parts being considered as basis for measuring human and national destiny. [The national destiny is about the secondary historical theories of class and racial warfare, Erroneous fixation with the historical destiny ] Ghuriye introduces this violent subject on shape of skulls, shape of buttocks etc to social and linguistic organizations in India. The Logical position of skull measurement need not be repeated in 2000, thanks to the jewish and western effort, this is no more an acceptable subject. Consequently Ghuriye must of have logical issues if he delved around to check what he was doing. He needed a big fixation, the big pull of power to introduce this perversity. Remember the source of knowledge as the author Kevin Hubson argues- Here, Could The western man for Ghuriye be a metaphor for the source of intelligence, Was Guriye talking of endorsement of skull analysis from the source of knowledge, when he introduced his foreign source ? Could this faith on source of knowledge by the influential group of Indians be the reason, why Ghuriye's book remained in publication for more than half a century?

2. DN Jha's ancient History

Consider DN Jha’s book on ancient Indian history. Ancient Indian history is very much possible without knowledge of ‘outer world’, which DN Jha says had stray references. However Indian history is not possible without information to ‘outer world’, only if the information from inside is presumed to be irrelevant and unusable, and the outer world, is considered true source of knowledge. Considering the unfortunate contempt of colonial scholars, this mayn't be an absurd supposition. Would it then explain why the most respected and eminent professors of India mentioning the ‘outer world’, before they start espousing further chapters?

Take the opposite argument, Could instead DN Jha instead be looking for a clean slate in the ‘outer world’?

The Marxist idea and emphasis of ‘forces and relations of production’, which DN Jha uses for historical construction is not specific to India. It had been used by British colonial scholars in conjunction with the racial theory to describe India, perhaps with its destiny was linked to be civilized in colony . The Russians used Marxist ideals, to get Mao to engineer one of the largest man slaughter movements in Maoist revolution of China. Its doctrine was known from London to Vietnam. There was nothing much to describe the ‘outer world’ about theory describing ‘forces and relations of production’ for Marxism was developed in Europe. Therefore DN Jha couldn't have used his outer world as a mere clean slate to reflect the Indian history as a class struggle, through forces and relations of production.So the importance of knowledge of ‘outer world’ could very well be a symbol of introduction to the valid knowledge of materialistic theories to describe India .

2.A.1 The source of Intelligence Vs the primitives ? : It mayn't be incidental, that DN Jha's book goes lengths to describe the supposedly primitives - that is fundamnetal fools on the idea of the shapes and organizations. Just like Ghuriye's skull size analysis, Jha reduces the grandiose to primitive by attacking through another flank. For DN Jha, the Prajapati is not transcendental principle, for him The Prajapati is a primeval man, who ‘is said to be sacrificed himself’ . Think of a person subjected to greed and class warfare, think of a person who can be described by skulls or or through his land or wealth holding - Would that person be any other than a screwed up fanatic, if he chooses to do such a thing as to 'sacrifice' himself ?

2.A.2 Prajapati/Brahma portrayed with attributes of class and race and human :

The sages and Brahmins asked to worship the Prajapati- the transcendental self , who is not limited to the greed or satisfaction , the wealth or penury or such materials and materials beyond. The sages advised to please the Lord through Bhakti, truth and prescribed duty , guidelines, tapasya and Kriyas . The historian in turn bounded the god in thoughts- more precisely in hostile colonial thoughts - he painted prajapati in human follies. The govt paid historian, then laughed at futility of the creation of his mind- a crazy primitive who did crazy things. To take the attack further, Bhakti [ when applied to orthodox hinduism] is portrayed as a conspiracy of old days. Many look at that laugh, that confidence of a powerful professor paid by Indian govt, and mistake the derogatory as a sign of eminence.

Meanwhile the transcendental logic is convincingly more about 'foreign', Philosophers such as Kant would be foremost in such studies. Kant himself mentioned logic of Indian argument in a subject usually associated with faith in modern times. His reference was one line in one of his original books. However that seems to be before before the British historians put their act together.

It is argued before that, DN Jha's 'outer world' is not a clean slate for arguments, instead it is the source of his knowledge such as ‘forces and relations of production’. Prof Jha is secure in his source. However, the professor fails to even acknowledge such arguments, as appreciated by no less than Kant and others. Prof Jha is dismissive, as if he has prophetic knowledge from outer world , out against noise equivalent, knowledge that is contemptuous and from false prophets without endorsement of outer world. For DN Jha, Indian history indeed would have been impossible without his proud and prophetic outer world.

[ It seems the confusion is due to confusion of history as a rational principle in the universe of classical mechanics, Vs ideas of philosophy/metaphysics as developed in west. Material history as a philosophy or more accurately, as Counter philosophy seems to have developed haphazardly by humanity depts in an euro centric way, in the age of great expansion of europe. It had phenomena limited to material world, so rationalism required a prophet for historical truth of religion. When a historical truth was agreed upon by organized groups, this supposedly truth created other problems - for example whether Jesus is cacusian or white people have oppressed the images of other races by painting biblical images through cacusian race- as claimed in Black liberation theology. Many Indian gods have been bound to historical idea of races, for example the Lord of universal water, Varuna is considered to be a Dravidian god ! The Indian cultural setting was against a cosmological universe with an age with more than 13/14 digits instead of 4 digit number of 6000 years. The 6000 years timeframe, as espoused in rational history is actually closer to the biblical time as set in cultural setting of medieval europe. This could be a reason, why Indian cultural setting is weird to Western frame work of rational history, and hence has been problematic for radical historians whose aryan-dravidian descriptions are in orthodox tradition of 6000 year cultural setting. Western frramework of history, to be complete, must however provide some space for Indian phenomena, since Prajapti is not a prophet, what could else it be for the modern historian, if he is not a primitive pshycopath ?]

3. Colonial Subjects:

Colonial "subjects" - is not a flattering way to describe people with English reading abilities. It is, however used in a justifiable context. In a sense, The devious ideas of Skull measurement was never done on humans. It was done on human subjects with what is confusingly recognized as scientific and rational perspective in humanity studies. In fact, collection of humans for such purposes are referred to as specimens .

3. A- The medieval darkness of Subjects Vs the modern man:

It is scary to observe, since colonial days, the Indian power structure have attempted to silence all who have attempted to shake the base theories of such colonial national constructs, with aryan , dravidian racial stuff . One example of a high profile person on sides seem to be Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo had English education and had read European theories. He has opposed Max Mueller for what he observed as killing a developing subject of linguistics by lousy logic of pita, peter, father....[ MaxMueller, like some other europeans of his time were working on biblical theories of race] .... that was early in 1920s. In spite of Sri Aurobindo's brilliance - Both on western analytics and Indian wisdom - Sri Aurobindo was rather on the sidelines of national political influence, after his early stint. Indian linguistics professors may have spent a summer holiday in pondichery, but it is safe to say that Max Mueller's idea of binding linguistics with race has significant influence in studying language through historical and political frameworks.

Fast forward 2000 - the BJP minister unwittingly toppled the root of aryan/dravidian narrative from the authority govt. Archeological sites such as Mathura - which didn't have satisfactory explanation in colonial time frame, was given prominence. Such description was conforming to most of the mainstream standards. Some were valid when considered from the source of valid knowledge - Before the fanatic british historians acted in late colonial period, there were early indologists who were not identified with destructive contempt of India - In fact some early indologists were later called Romantics. But the reaction in sleepy English media was fast and furious - thousands of articles were published against the so called saffronization between 2000- 2004 . This is distinctly larger than the opinion pieces on city planning, water conservation, philosophy of science, issues on health care and transportation. The intensity of the discussion against 'saffronization' was shaking and often contained choicest and insensitive leftist rants . Most circulating local news papers of my state had opinions pieces that derided sanskrit - a computationally sensitive language, as well as the language Indian civilization with wealth of literature and philosophy , by making equivalence with some european system of fascism. A top most linguist went into hyperbole in the same news paper - ancient when hindus of history, were asserted not to have the basic human experience of "daya" - kindness, until the doctrine of Budha was developed. Were they daemons ? Or could it instead be the serious colonial problem of supposedly true and prophetic source of knowledge in 'outer world' - and its fanaticism to confer darkness and ignorance in imperial insensitive?


Sometimes a beautiful stone sculptor, placed amidst playing fountains, comes to life for a poet- immersed in the beauty of the sculptor. Some times actual life gets filled with stupor. A thought of an instant often appears wise and sensible. Here appears to be a case where elaborate arguments of rationalism appears to have fallen into stupor of fascination with "outer world". It has been surprising to find that that two of important books in their discipline follow the same route as a starting point. Supposedly eminent historians have shown stupor and race in gods, where as bringing utopia in their futuristic hope.

A third impartial setting, which at times necessary to examine an argument has been misused as a source of fascination, and misunderstood by the supposedly eminents as the source of true knowledge. It is not difficult to see the disadvantages - Historical schemes of skull measured aryan dravidian races were considered important half a century after hitlers national socialist regime in Germany . The associated insensitivity could be a consequent fanaticism to prove and confer the darkness and ignorance. Isms - including rationalism with some historical points are ideas, and it is a mere postulation that the idea could be the universe. The certainty of such postulations is far from being accepted. Extreme reliance on 'outer world' in matters of Indian analysis could be replaced by independent enquiry in the higher echelons of study, where people like Prof DN Jha presides.An intellectual challenge could be to reconstruct colonial process for understanding, and then to extricate the discussion out colonial and political derision, contempt and negation.

The other aspect is a personal challenge , to recognize the in-completeness in materialistic historical schemes and theories in probably a complete world - that fills in beyond and beyond, closer and closer, with all the details, with all the subtleties and with all its humility .

Jai Sri Rama

©, 2008- All Rights Reserved

[It has been little difficult for me to put together a set of arguments as above. Errors/rough edges may be present and may be edited ]

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