Monday, August 7, 2017

Pakistan Day: Freeing the Colonized Minds of the Elites

Pakistan achieved independence from the British colonial rule 70 years ago. However, the minds of most of Pakistan's elites remain colonized to this day.  This seems to be particularly true of the nation's western-educated "liberals" who dominate much of the intellectual discourse in the country. They continue to look at their fellow countrymen through the eyes of the Orientalists who served as tools for western colonization of Asia, Middle East and Africa. The work of these "native" Orientalists available in their books, op ed columns and other publications reflects their utter contempt for Pakistan and Pakistanis. Their colonized minds uncritically accept all things western. They often seem to think that the Pakistanis can do nothing right while the West can do no wrong. Far from being constructive, these colonized minds promote lack of confidence in the ability of their fellow "natives" to solve their own problems and contribute to hopelessness. The way out of it is to encourage more inquiry based learning and critical thinking.

Orientalism As Tool of Colonialism:

Dr. Edward Said (1935-2003), Palestine-born Columbia University professor and the author of "Orientalism",  described it as the ethnocentric study of non-Europeans by Europeans.  Dr. Said wrote that the Orientalists see the people of Asia, Africa and the Middle East as “gullible” and “devoid of energy and initiative.” European colonization led to the decline and destruction of the prosperity of every nation they ruled. India is a prime example of it. India was the world's largest economy producing over a quarter of the world's GDP when the British arrived. At the end of the British Raj, India's contribution was reduced to less than 2% of the world GDP.

Education to Colonize Minds:

In his "Prison Notebooks", Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist theorist and politician, says that a class can exercise its power not merely by the use of force but by an institutionalized system of moral and intellectual leadership that promotes certain ideas and beliefs favorable to it.  For Gramsci "cultural hegemony" is maintained through the consent of the dominated class which assures the intellectual and material supremacy of the dominant class.

In "Masks of Conquest", author Gauri Viswanathan says that the British curriculum was introduced in India to "mask" the economic exploitation of the colonized. Its main purpose was to colonize the minds of the natives to sustain colonial rule.

Cambridge Curriculum in Pakistan:

The colonial discourse of the superiority of English language and western education continues with a system of elite schools that uses Cambridge curriculum in Pakistan.

Over 270,000 Pakistani students from elite schools participated in Cambridge O-level and A-level International (CIE) exams in 2016, an increase of seven per cent over the prior year.

Cambridge IGCSE exams is also growing in popularity in Pakistan, with enrollment increasing by 16% from 10,364 in 2014-15 to 12,019 in 2015-16. Globally there has been 10% growth in entries across all Cambridge qualifications in 2016, including 11% growth in entries for Cambridge International A Levels and 8 per cent for Cambridge IGCSE, according to Express Tribune newspaper.

The United Kingdom remains the top source of international education for Pakistanis.  46,640 students, the largest number of Pakistani students receiving international education anywhere, are doing so at Pakistani universities in joint degree programs established with British universities, according to UK Council for International Student Affairs.

At the higher education level, the number of students enrolled in British-Pakistani joint degree programs in Pakistan (46,640) makes it the fourth largest effort behind Malaysia (78,850), China (64,560) and Singapore (49,970).

Teach Critical Thinking:

Pakistani educators need to see the western colonial influences and their detrimental effects on the minds of youngsters. They need to improve learning by helping students learn to think for themselves critically. Such reforms will require students to ask more questions and to find answers for themselves through their own research rather than taking the words of their textbook authors and teachers as the ultimate truth.

Summary: 

The minds of most of Pakistan's elite remain colonized 70 years after the British rule of Pakistan ended in 1947. They uncritically accept all things western. A quick scan of Pakistan's English media shows the disdain the nation's western educated elites have for their fellow countryman.  Far from being constructive, they promote lack of confidence in their fellow "natives" ability to solve their own problems and contribute to hopelessness.   Their colonized minds uncritically accept all things western. They often seem to think that the Pakistanis can do nothing right while the West can do no wrong. Unless these colonized minds are freed, it will be difficult for the people of Pakistan to believe in themselves, have the confidence in their capabilities and develop the national pride to lay the foundation of a bright future. The best way to help free these colonized minds is through curriculum reform that helps build real critical thinking.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Alam vs Hoodbhoy

Inquiry Based Learning

Dr. Ata ur Rehman Defends Higher Education Reform

Pakistan's Rising College Enrollment Rates

Pakistan Beat BRICs in Highly Cited Research Papers

Launch of "Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program"

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Impact of Industrial Revolution

Hindutva: Legacy of British Raj


34 comments:

Kanza A. said...

Colonized minds: Are we English Pakistanis?


http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/8623/colonized-minds-are-we-english-pakistanis/

It only took me the journey from the airport to my dormitory to form my first opinion of the Japanese. They are extremely helpful and kind. Even if they are running late and you stop them to ask directions they will make sure that you can reach your destination.

I could not speak or write Japanese when I arrived and felt handicapped. I could not read anything – street signs, restaurant menus or shop names. Even the English words were written in Katakana, a script Japanese use to write foreign words. I realized that to live in Japan, I would have to polish my Japanese speaking and reading skills. I also felt that my home university should have the Japanese language as an elective so that students could learn Japanese before coming to Japan in future.

Back home, I always propagated the use of our own language (be it Urdu, or one of the provincial or regional languages) but a few days in Tokyo made me a total pro on the subject.

In one of my classes, I met a girl from India, Lucknow. After getting to know I was a ‘Japanese Level 1’ student, she suggested a website which could be of immense help for me. The following is the mail I got from her later that day:

Dear Azeemi,

Here is the link for the Japanese lessons: http://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/urdu/index.html. If you have a Mac, an iPod or aniTouch, they are also available as podcasts from the iTunes store.

Regards.

The website was in Urdu. She was clearly oblivious of the fact that as far as we have sites in English, we don’t need Urdu ones.

On another day I was extremely touched when in one of my Japanese classes, my instructor gave me a printed paper. It had text in Japanese and Urdu, as seen in the picture. I again wondered if he knew that when we are taught languages in Pakistan, most of the times, its taught in English. Never would I expect a language instructor in Pakistan to hand me anything like the paper he gave me.

Lets compare this scenario with what language/communication difficulties an exchange student to Pakistan might face. None – as long as they know how to speak in English.

One of my friends, an American who has been living in Pakistan for seven years, does not know how to read Urdu. I was shocked when I first discovered this fact. Baffled, I asked:

”Why don’t you know how to read Urdu? Why don’t you learn?”

”Is there a need?” was the question I got in reply.

And although I hate to admit, I had to agree with her. Who needs to learn how to read Urdu? Even the people at the lowest level of the social hierarchy say ‘thank you’ instead of ‘shukria‘, and use numerous English words in daily speech. They feel dominated if you converse in English with them.

If asked to speak in Urdu without employing a single word from English, many students of some elite universities and schools will miserably fail. Even worse is the fact that they will ‘laugh it off’. For them, apparently, speaking in English is related to having a higher self esteem.

How many times have people with fluent English not laughed at someone without the same proficiency level?

How many times have we not seen a person constantly struggling to converse in English?

How many of us have found ourselves talking to foreign visitors (British or American mainly) entirely in English instead of trying to teach them Urdu?

These behaviours denote much more than what we think they do.

They signify the ‘colonization of the mind’ – a concept many writers have talked about, in vain.

The ‘colonization of the mind’ theory was once more proved true by a friend here in Tokyo. I was called an ‘English Pakistani’ once he saw the wall posts on Facebook by my Pakistani friends, all of which were of course in English.

I hated to be called that. I was deeply ashamed that I, a Pakistani patriot, was not recognized for her true identity but had become accustomed to living in a borrowed one – English.

Riaz Haq said...

British Colonialism: Alive in the Minds of Indian Elitists
Mad British Colonialist Legacy
by Andre Vltchek / May 1st, 2015

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/05/british-colonialism-alive-in-the-minds-of-indian-elitists/


Not everyone in India is outraged by former crimes of the British Empire. Some want to forget and to “move on”, especially those closely linked to the establishment; to the new corporate and pro-Western India, where education is being privatized, mass media controlled by big business interests, and progressive ideologies buried under unsavory layers of greed.

At the grounds of Jallianwala Bagh, Anand P. Mishra, Professor at O. P. Jindal Global University, Haryana, spreads his arms: “This happened almost 100 years ago and I don’t hold any grudges towards British, anymore.”

--------

The British Empire was actually based on enforcing full submission and obedience on its local subjects, in all corners of the world; it was based on fear and terror, on disinformation, propaganda, supremacist concepts, and on shameless collaboration of the local “elites”. “Law and order” was maintained by using torture and extra-judiciary executions, “divide and rule” strategies, and by building countless prisons and concentration camps.

To kill 1,000 or more “niggers,” to borrow from the colorful, racist dictionary of Lloyd George, who was serving as British Prime Minister between 1916 and 1922, was never something that Western empires would feel ashamed of. For centuries, the British Kingdom was murdering merrily, all over Africa and the Middle East, as well as in the Punjab, Kerala, Gujarat, in fact all over the Sub-Continent. In London the acts of smashing unruly nations were considered as something “normal”, even praiseworthy. Commanders in charge of slaughtering thousands of people in the colonies were promoted, not demoted, and their statues have been decorating countless squares and government buildings.

The British Empire has been above the law. All rights to punish “locals” were reserved. But British citizens were almost never punished for their horrendous crimes committed in foreign lands.

When the Nazis grabbed power in Germany, they immediately began enjoying a dedicating following from the elites in the United Kingdom. It is because British colonialism and German Nazism were in essence not too different from each other.

Today’s Western Empire is clearly following its predecessor. Not much has changed. Technology improved, that is about all.

*****
Standing at the monument of colonial carnage in (Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar) Punjab, I recalled dozens of horrific crimes of the British Empire, committed all over the world:
I thought about those concentration camps in Africa, and about the stations where slaves who were first hunted down like animals were shackled and beaten, then put on boats and forced to undergo voyages to the “new world” – voyages that most of them never managed to survive. I thought about murder, torture, flogging, raping women and men, destruction of entire countries, tribes and families. It is all connected: colonialism, present-day riots in Baltimore, horrid ruins of Africa.

In Kenya, near Voi, I was shown a British prison for resistance cadres, which was surrounded by wilderness and dangerous animals. This is where the leaders of local rebellions were jailed, tortured and exterminated.

In Uganda, I was told stories about how British colonizers used to humiliate local people and break their pride: in the villages, they would hunt down the tallest and the strongest man; they would shackled him, beat him up, and then the British officer would rape him, sodomize him in public, so there would be no doubts left of who was in charge.

----
The Brits triggered countless famines all over India, killing dozens of millions. To them, Indian people were not humans. When Churchill was begged to send food to Bengal that was ravished by famine in 1943, he replied that it was their own fault for “breeding like rabbits” and that the plague was “merrily” culling the population. At least 3 million died.

Riaz Haq said...

What Is a Colonized Mind?
Peter d'Errico • December 12, 2011
England was once so proud of its colonial regime that it boasted, “The sun never sets on the British empire.” Today, colonialism is a bad word. It is fashionable to say we live in a ‘post-colonial’ world.

The truth is the world continues to involve relations of domination and exploitation, under new names: “globalization,” for example.

None of this is news to observers of history and contemporary affairs. The “Occupy” movement, whatever else it may be, is evidence of widespread awareness that 1 percent of the population dominates 99 percent, an arrangement similar to colonialism except it happens within as well as between nations.

The interesting—and complicated—thing about colonialism is that it encompasses not just politics and economics, but consciousness. Critical theorists such as Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire have pointed this out.

Fanon, a black man born in the French colony of Martinique, became a world-renowned psychoanalyst and philosopher, working in Algeria. He wrote, “For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity” [The Wretched of the Earth].

Fanon’s study of psychology and sociology led him to the further conclusion that colonized people perpetuate their condition by striving to emulate the culture and ideas of their oppressors. He wrote, “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”

Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, is best known for his development of what might be called ‘liberation literacy,’ teaching literacy and political awareness together. Freire agreed with Fanon, “The oppressed want at any cost to resemble the oppressors.” He said, “the oppressed must be their own example.” Unlike Fanon, he argued that oppressors also could (and those who wanted to end colonialism must) change their own thinking: “those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly” [Pedagogy of the Oppressed].

How do we apply these thoughts to the situation of American Indians today? The problems start with the notion that the United States is not a colonial power, or that the colonial era of American history is over. These notions are sometimes stated openly, more often concealed as assumptions behind our rhetoric.

When an Indian speaks about “our country,” what country is being talked about? Is it an Indigenous Nation or the United States? When an Indian refers to “my President,” which president is being discussed, the president of an Indigenous Nation or the president of the U.S.? These kinds of statements need to be examined to determine whether the speaker is asserting something that supports or undermines consciousness of Indigenous sovereignty.

The 1924 Indian Citizenship Act declared, “all non-citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States…are…citizens.” Reaction among Indians was diverse, some welcoming the chance to more closely assimilate and others wary of the loss of Indigenous sovereignty. Prior citizenship acts had been tied to allotment, for example. Non-Indians were also divided in their views, some saying citizenship would “redeem… the tribes,” and others saying citizenship would empower Indians.

--

Patrice Lumumba, the first indigenous leader of the Republic of the Congo, called for mental decolonization in his speech to the 1960 Pan-African Congress, saying we have to “rediscover our most intimate selves and rid ourselves of mental attitudes and complexes and habits that colonization … trapped us in for centuries.” Lumumba thought it possible to work together with the former Belgian oppressors; for their part, they saw him as an enemy and facilitated his assassination.


https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/opinions/what-is-a-colonized-mind/

Kaptaan said...

Mr Haq I mostly agree with your posts. But this I can't.

Our elite is oriental to the core but with a veneer of colonization. Who do they act like? I don't see them acting likinf British ruling class? I don't see a Jeremy Corbyn or a Labour Party or even a Cameron of the Tory party in them. I see oriental Moghul and eastern autocracy. Simple as that.

Riaz Haq said...

Kaptaan: " I don't see them acting likinf British ruling class? I don't see a Jeremy Corbyn or a Labour Party or even a Cameron of the Tory party in them. I see oriental Moghul and eastern autocracy. Simple as that."

British prime ministers rule their country and their people as their own. Pakistani elite with colonized minds rules Pakistan as though it were their colony to be looted like the colonial rulers did. That's the crucial difference.

Mughals did not loot their people. That's the reason India remained the world's largest economy producing over a quarter of the world's GDP before the Brits arrived. Brits looted India's resources and impoverished it so much that India contributed less than 2% of world GDP in 1947.

And Pakistan's liberal intellectual elite look at their fellow countrymen with the same contempt as the colonial ruling class did. That, again, is the big difference.

Ram Rahim said...

This is one topic indians and pakistanis can unite. In social media lot of indians are expressing that india can aspire to develop until we stop educating ourselves in english. In their words "no country has progressed while teaching education in a foreign language".

while this may be true, fact is, in 70s yrs India did not bother to "upgrade" languages to teaching level , specially in medicine and engineering. Urdu is great for poetry, not for medicine.

Anonymous said...

"Mughals did not loot their people. That's the reason India remained the world's largest economy producing over a quarter of the world's GDP before the Brits arrived. Brits looted India's resources and impoverished it so much that India contributed less than 2% of world GDP in 1947. "

No this is too simplistic. real reason India lost out was the advent of industrial age. Same thing happened in China too, around the same time.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "No this is too simplistic. real reason India lost out was the advent of industrial age. Same thing happened in China too, around the same time. "

Here's a review of Sashi Tharoor's "Inglorious Empire: what the British did to India" that deals with this subject:

Tharoor sets out energetically, bluntly and hurriedly the litany of exploitation and theft, and the support given to the East India Company. This was before the Government of India Act of 1858 led the British crown to assume direct control. The company had a private army of 260,000 at the start of the 19th century, and the champions of the British industrial revolution plundered India’s thriving manufacturing industries.
Under British rule India’s share of world manufacturing exports fell from 27 per cent to 2 per cent as East India employees made colossal fortunes. The marquess of Salisbury, secretary of state for India in the 1870s, remarked that “India is to be bled”, and by the end of the 19th century it was Britain’s biggest source of revenue.
“To stop is dangerous; to recede ruin” was the logic, as enunciated early by Robert Clive, commander in chief of British India in the mid-18th century. The Indian shipping industry was destroyed and Indian currency manipulated while tariffs and regulations were skewed to favour British industry.

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/inglorious-empire-what-the-british-did-to-india-1.2981299

Riaz Haq said...

RR: "while this may be true, fact is, in 70s yrs India did not bother to "upgrade" languages to teaching level , specially in medicine and engineering. Urdu is great for poetry, not for medicine."

The issue is early education and the curriculum at primary and secondary level, not STEM subjects in colleges and universities.

UNESCO has encouraged mother tongue instruction in primary education since 1953 (UNESCO, 1953) and UNESCO highlights the advantages of mother tongue education right from the start: children are more likely to enroll and succeed in school (Kosonen, 2005); parents are more likely to communicate with teachers and participate in their children’s learning (Benson, 2002); girls and rural children with less exposure to a dominant language stay in school longer and repeat grades less often (Hovens, 2002; UNESCO Bangkok, 2005); and children in multilingual education tend to develop better thinking skills compared to their monolingual peers (e.g., Bialystok, 2001; Cummins, 2000; King & Mackey, 2007).

Some educators argue that only those countries where the student’s first language is the language of instruction are likely to achieve the goals of Education for All. Research also suggests that engaging marginalized children in school through mother-tongue based, multilingual education (MTB-MLE) is a successful model (Benson & Kosonen, 2013; Yiakoumetti, 2012). We are beginning to get answers to some key questions: Under what circumstances and with what resources can education in the mother-tongue combined with multilingual education be an effective approach whereby children become proficient in their home language while laying the foundation for learning in additional languages? What are the costs and benefits of alternative approaches directed at the individual, family, community, school, region, and nation? What are meaningful yet efficient ways to measure costs and benefits? What are the implications of MTB-MLE for recruiting, educating, and mentoring teachers and teacher assistants and for creating and evaluating curricula in diverse language classrooms? What are the contributions of family and community in formal and non-formal MTB-MLE, and how can these be measured?


http://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/children-learn-better-their-mother-tongue

Rizwan said...

Unfortunately expatriates like us are a product of this system. At one time we thought like that too. It is only by coming to the West and seeing it first hand have we come to realize its strengths and weaknesses, and what it did to us. So we have come full circle, while those in Pakistan are still "half circle" so to speak. Only the right type of education can change this consciousness, but who is there to develop and implement the policies and develop the curricula that will bring about the desired change? Thank you for at making people aware of this problem. It's a start.

Riaz Haq said...

Rizwan: "It is only by coming to the West and seeing it first hand have we come to realize its strengths and weaknesses, and what it did to us. So we have come full circle, while those in Pakistan are still "half circle" so to speak."

I know many Pakistani intellectuals with advanced degrees from US and Europe who have lived in the West for years but still have totally colonized minds. The key reason in my view is the lack of critical thinking which needs to be inculcated in education at primary and secondary levels.

Riaz Haq said...

Split #India: #Hindu Nationalist #RSS did not support #Gandhi's #QuitIndiaMovement Against #British Raj

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170810/jsp/frontpage/story_166526.jsp

The following are excerpts from some of the speeches that stood out:

Elephant in the room

The role the RSS did not play or did play in the freedom movement hung heavy.

Narendra Modi: Every individual in the country had become part of the Quit India Movement. Inspired by Gandhiji's words, the whole country was moving forward....

Sonia Gandhi: When we remember freedom fighters, we should not forget there were outfits and people in that period who opposed the Quit India Movement. These elements had no role in the freedom struggle.

(Murmurs of disapproval swept through the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha, and BJP member Kirron Kher was heard saying: "Sad, sad.... This is the tragedy of Parliament."Although BJP members usually do not miss any chance to register their loyalty to the parent, none got up to contest Sonia.)

Whither India?

Modi: In 1942, the clarion call was "karenge ya marenge (do or die)". Today, it is "karenge aur kar ke rahenge (we will do and surely do)". The country needs the spirit of the Quit India Movement to develop into an India of the dreams of the freedom fighters in 2022. Corruption, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition are the greatest challenges that India now needs to overcome and we should rise above political considerations and resolve to bring about a positive change.

(The Prime Minister divided India's pre-independence journey in two phases from 1857 to 1941 and 1942 to 1947. He said the first phase was incremental but the second one - 1942-47 - was "transformative and delivered the objective". He said the country needed the same spirit in its journey from 2017 to 2022.)




Sonia: Fear is replacing freedom.... Isn't it true that there is an attempt to destroy the foundations of our democracy which rests on freedom of thought and faith, equality and social justice? We can't let the idea of India be a prisoner of a narrow, divisive and communal ideology.... It appears our secular, democratic and liberal values are in peril. Space for debate, disagreement and dissent is shrinking.

Kanimozhi: The only real freedom (to expect) is freedom from fear.... If our women, if our people, if our Dalits, if the underprivileged, the backward communities and the minorities are not free from fear of the future, then there is nothing to feel proud of.

(Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, recalled freedom fighters from her state who took part in the Quit India Movement without knowing Hindi. Many were non-Hindus who ate what they wanted.) Are they in any way less of Indians? Are they less than anybody else? But today, if I don't speak Hindi, people think I am less of an Indian. If I don't eat what some people think is right, or if I am an atheist, I am not an Indian. Why have we become this?

Whether it is a rape, whether it is stalking, whether it is an acid attack, it is always the woman who is being questioned. Why? Are we not ashamed of ourselves? We should be ashamed of even questioning why the woman is out.

Sugata Bose: Modiji says that the next five years will be transformative. We sometimes wonder is it transformative because the three top constitutional posts are held by people belonging to the same ideology? We cannot but express some concern. If he truly wants all evils to quit India by 2022, including communalism, in the pejorative sense of that word, we hope that he will take stronger action against those who are spreading the poison of hatred and killing human beings in the name of religion.

(Amid thumping of desks by Opposition members) I appeal to the Prime Minister to stop the engines of coercion in their tracks. Faith in India's destiny rescues us from debilitating pessimism in the face of ferocious assaults on the expression of rational difference.

Riaz Haq said...

Sense of unease among Muslims: Says retiring #Muslim VP of #India Hamid Ansari. #Modi #Lynchistan http://toi.in/5SxO0a via @timesofindia

In his last interview before demitting the office of India's vice-president, Hamid Ansari has said that Muslims in the country were experiencing "a feeling of unease".

"A sense of insecurity is creeping in" as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism, he added. Ansari also said he shared the view of many that intolerance was growing. In hard-hitting remarks during an interview to Rajya Sabha TV, he ascribed the spate of vigilante violence, mob lynchings, beef bans and "Ghar Wapsi" campaigns to a "breakdown of Indian values" and to the "breakdown of the ability of the authorities" to enforce the law. "...and overall, the very fact that (the) Indianness of any citizen (is) being questioned is a disturbing thought," Ansari said.




Asked in an interview why he thought Indian values were "suddenly" breaking down, Vice-President Hamid Ansari answered: "Because we are a plural society that for centuries, not for 70 years, has lived in a certain ambience of acceptance."
He said this acceptance was "under threat". "This propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is unnecessary. I am an Indian and that is it," he told Rajya Sabha TV.

On Thursday, Ansari demits an office that only S Radhakrishnan had occupied as long: 10 years.




Asked specifically about his speech on Sunday in which he spoke about a nationalism with cultural commitments at its core being perceived as the most conservative and illiberal form of nationalism, and whether the remark was about the mood of the country in 2017, he replied: "Oh, absolutely." And he agreed he had felt a personal need to underline that this need to keep proving one's patriotism, and the intolerance it made for, was unhealthy: "Yes. And I am not the only one in the country; a great many people feel the same way." Asked if he had shared these apprehensions with the PM or the government, he replied: "Yes... But what passes between the Vice-President and the PM in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged information."

Riaz Haq said...

Sense of unease among Muslims: Says retiring #Muslim VP of #India Hamid Ansari. #Modi #Lynchistan http://toi.in/5SxO0a via @timesofindia

In his last interview before demitting the office of India's vice-president, Hamid Ansari has said that Muslims in the country were experiencing "a feeling of unease".

"A sense of insecurity is creeping in" as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism, he added. Ansari also said he shared the view of many that intolerance was growing. In hard-hitting remarks during an interview to Rajya Sabha TV, he ascribed the spate of vigilante violence, mob lynchings, beef bans and "Ghar Wapsi" campaigns to a "breakdown of Indian values" and to the "breakdown of the ability of the authorities" to enforce the law. "...and overall, the very fact that (the) Indianness of any citizen (is) being questioned is a disturbing thought," Ansari said.




Asked in an interview why he thought Indian values were "suddenly" breaking down, Vice-President Hamid Ansari answered: "Because we are a plural society that for centuries, not for 70 years, has lived in a certain ambience of acceptance."
He said this acceptance was "under threat". "This propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is unnecessary. I am an Indian and that is it," he told Rajya Sabha TV.

On Thursday, Ansari demits an office that only S Radhakrishnan had occupied as long: 10 years.




Asked specifically about his speech on Sunday in which he spoke about a nationalism with cultural commitments at its core being perceived as the most conservative and illiberal form of nationalism, and whether the remark was about the mood of the country in 2017, he replied: "Oh, absolutely." And he agreed he had felt a personal need to underline that this need to keep proving one's patriotism, and the intolerance it made for, was unhealthy: "Yes. And I am not the only one in the country; a great many people feel the same way." Asked if he had shared these apprehensions with the PM or the government, he replied: "Yes... But what passes between the Vice-President and the PM in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged information."

Riaz Haq said...

The former Chairman of the Law Commission on how enforced cultural nationalism will harm India in the long run

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/today-we-do-not-talk-of-inclusive-nationalism/article19452167.ece/amp/


Former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah was hailed as the co-architect of the landmark judgment in 2009 that decriminalised homosexuality. Justice Shah, also a former Chairman of the Law Commission, may have retired but he continues to speak openly on a range of issues, including free speech. In this interview, he discusses the current debate on the right to privacy, the Supreme Court judgment on the national anthem, and “enforced cultural nationalism”. Excerpts:

In your M.N. Roy Memorial Lecture on ‘Free Speech, Nationalism and Sedition’ this year, you began with his words and said Roy’s views on nationalism and its attendant dangers still resonate today. What worries you?

---
Today, in India, we do not talk of inclusive nationalism. What we have is a situation of enforced cultural nationalism. It is a culture of hate that is being perpetrated in the name of nationalism. There are repeated lynchings in the name of cow protection — from Mohammad Akhlaq to Junaid Khan, it is all very disturbing, to say the least. There is an invasion of university space. Independent thinking is being killed. We seem to have forgotten the all-inclusive nationalism from half a century ago, and we have inverted it into something that is undesirable.

As Tagore said, when the nation becomes powerful at the cost of the harmony of social life, that day is an evil day for humanity. What do we have today instead? People speak of removing the thoughts of Tagore from textbooks!

You posed a question on the defining characteristic of a nation, whether it’s the territorial boundary or the people. What does nation mean to you?

The defining characteristic of a nation changes with time, situation and context. About 150 years ago, countries were still isolated from each other, and an identity based on geography was necessary to bring about order in chaos. But in a world that is increasingly international, where identities of ordinary people have intermingled so greatly that they are no longer distinguishable from one another, it becomes hard to defend the idea of a nation based only on territorial boundary. Indeed, as M.N. Roy put it, the idea may even well be regarded as an “antiquated cult”. If we allow territorial identity to overwhelm our narrative, we may regress into a situation where people become blinded by a nationality driven by irrationality, which in turn may have extreme consequences. Sadly, this is the situation we seem to have found ourselves in today.

Connected to this is the trend of manufacturing affection for the state and government — be it the Prime Minister’s office, the Army, the police, to call them to question is to spread disaffection against the state. And linked to that is: what prevents us from striking down the law on sedition?

We are in a situation today where any criticism of certain offices is branded as anti-national and sedition. Whether it is any wrongdoing, fake encounters in the Northeast, even speaking about these is enough to label you seditious. We are also acquiring a reputation of being singularly humourless, where even a parody is not tolerated!

In India, we have had a long, celebrated legal history of fighting against the law of sedition. Gandhi, Tilak and their ilk have all been part of building the jurisprudence around this. The [Supreme] Court agrees that mere criticism is not sedition. But that does not prevent prosecutions from taking place. Any dissent is taken as sedition. This tendency is very disturbing.

Riaz Haq said...

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > OPINION
Making ‘O’ levels Pakistan Studies textbooks available to all

By Dr Madiha Afzal Published: February 2, 2016


https://tribune.com.pk/story/1038923/making-o-levels-pakistan-studies-textbooks-available-to-all/

Those excellent texts are the ‘O’ levels Pakistan Studies textbooks — the required one written by Nigel Kelly, and a secondary one by Farooq Naseem Bajwa. I recently reviewed these, and my latest research paper compares these books with the Matric textbooks in detail. There are big differences between the two sets of books — probably not a surprise to many. I list some of them here.

First, the Pakistan ideology, that central premise and starting point of the Matric textbooks — that the sole basis of Pakistan is Islam — is nowhere to be found in the ‘O’ levels books. This ideology was not born with Pakistan, but was a concept constructed by the Jamaat-e-Islami and introduced into textbooks in the 1970s and early 1980s via a University Grants Commission directive.

Two, the evolving historical and political story of Partition is told in the ‘O’ levels books rather than the linear narrative presented in the Matric books. The Cambridge texts describe periods of Hindu-Muslim cooperation. Kelly mentions Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s initial pronouncements about Hindus and Muslims being one nation, and also mentions Jinnah’s initial opposition to Partition before explaining how events changed their minds.

Third, the ‘O’ levels book shows the positive side of India and Hindus (along with the negatives). Upon Partition, when India withheld the cash it owed Pakistan, “Gandhi was determined that the division of assets should be as fair as possible. He objected to what the Indian government was doing”. The book states that Gandhi began a hunger strike, and as a result, the Indian government paid Pakistan the remaining Rs500 million it owed us.

Fourth, the ‘O’ levels books quote Jinnah’s critical statement: “You may belong to any religion, caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” They also mention his title of “protector-general” of minorities. It is then no surprise that Dr Tariq Rahman found in his 2002-03 survey that ‘O’ levels students have more tolerant views of minorities relative to Matric students — with 66 per cent of ‘O’ levels students versus 47 per cent of Matric students supporting equal rights for Ahmadis, 78 per cent versus 47 per cent for Hindus, and 84 per cent versus 66 per cent for Christians.

One criticism of Kelly’s book, and the official ‘O’ levels curriculum, is that it could cover a longer historical period. Currently, it covers the history of the subcontinent from the Mughal Empire onwards. Bajwa’s book casts the widest lens on pre-independence history, (briefly) covering Hindu empires, the Indus Valley civilisation, and the Persian and Greek invaders of the subcontinent.

Riaz Haq said...

Cambridge International Examinations: Not Pakistani, so it must be good
By Hooria Imran Published: May 10, 2013

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/17016/cambridge-international-examinations-not-pakistani-so-it-must-be-good/

I began to notice, with increasing clarity, how much emphasis our teachers put upon the internalisation of what I call the CIE ‘exam formula’.

In Pakistan , where people are quick to condemn the local education system for its corrupt policies and inefficiency, the implications of a CIE ‘exam formula’ are heavy.

As a 12th grader currently doing my AS level, I feel that the educational arena and its opportunities are perceived in a very dichotomous manner.

Firstly, people engage in the belief that the local examination boards are excessively inefficient. In true reductionist fashion, they cite instances of cheating in examination halls, laughingly point out the typos in a Karachi Board textbook, and express their dismay at the concept of rote learning that local boards are supposedly the sole perpetrator of.

Such notions, in turn, facilitate the glorification and uncritical acceptance of the international examination boards available in Pakistan, of which the most widely-endorsed one is Cambridge International Examinations.

When viewed within the context of South Asia’s colonial history with Britain, such endorsement poses a problematic picture.

I have had the good fortune of taking high school exams through both, SSC and CIE. My experience with the two boards and its candidates has made me come to understand the assumptions made by the two institutions about and towards each other and I have seen how they play into the post-colonial situation of Pakistan.

O/A level candidates have a very poor impression of SSC/HSSC education. They believe it to be superfluous – somehow sub-par and not wholesome enough.

On the other hand, CIE qualifications always merit instant validation from society and assert one’s social status. When discussing the shortcomings of the Matriculation system, there is always a sense of gratification shown by O level students.

“Thank God I’m doing O levels! I’d never have been able to ratta-fy (rote learn) so much text!”

Comments like this always make me sceptical because such mentality contributes dangerously to the class divide that exists in educational sectors.

Where does this childish superiority complex end and the hegemonic exploitation of the lower social classes at the hands of the British-affiliated education sector begin?

Time and again, especially with the examination date so close, my teachers have emphasised the importance of doing past papers, and frequently impart lessons from ‘What CIE Expects from a Candidate.’

To do well in CIE requires monetary resources. Thus, for the upper classes, education through an international education board like CIE is an easy opportunity. The same cannot be said for the lower social classes. They cannot afford the same opportunities, and are yet evaluated on the same standard that society expects of education from an international exam board.

Many would argue that the CIE curriculum is designed specifically in such a way that it keeps in regard the socio-political situation of the countries that it includes. Even so, the insidious effects of a CIE education as a lived experience are immense.

The social divide that I mentioned before is one. Also, through the endorsement of particular texts, CIE has the power to perpetuate Eurocentric colonial images in Pakistan’s society simply by training students to inculcate the CIE “formula” based on which they’ll be graded in their exams. This is not to say that local curriculum and educational boards prescribe the most objective and undistorted texts either, but Pakistan’s geopolitical history with Britain in particular lends problematic undertones to the issue where a Western education board like CIE is concerned.

Anonymous said...

For all its faults India more or less banned Cambridge curriculum in the 1970s by refusing to recognize it for admission into elite colleges iit downwards.whatever the faults Indians write their own textbooks which paint a far poorer picture of British India than Cambridge curriculum does for obvious reasons...

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "For all its faults India more or less banned Cambridge curriculum in the 1970s by refusing to recognize it for admission into elite colleges"

Here's recent news:

Cambridge International Examinations today announced the results of its March 2017 exam series in India for Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS & A Level qualifications. With more than 34,000 entries, the March 2017 series grew by 29 per cent on 2016, according to a press release.

There was a 31 per cent increase in entries for Cambridge IGCSE this year, with more than 26,000 entries. Entries for Cambridge International AS & A Level increased by 21 per cent on March 2016 with more than 7,000 entries.

http://www.brainfeedmagazine.com/cambridge-international-examinations-announces-results-march-2017-exams-india/

Students who have pursued ‘A’ level education in India have consistently attained high academic achievements in Indian competitive tests and Indian universities for the last 30 years or so. ‘IGCSE’ and ‘A’ Level qualifications are accepted by all relevant educational institutions in India. The University of Calcutta, The Association of Indian Universities, the Joint Entrance Board and the IIT Boards recognise that (a) ‘IGCSE’ and ‘A’ Level qualifications are equivalent to corresponding qualifications obtained under relevant Indian Boards, and (b) students with ‘IGCSE’ and ‘A’ Level qualifications are as eligible for admission to Indian universities as students qualified under the Indian Boards. A full list of institutions and examining authorities in India which accept Cambridge qualifications can be downloaded here.


http://thecambridgeschool.ac.in/acceptance-worldwide/

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected..bad move though most super elite schools are still affiliated to Indian boards mostly case/icse.

There are growing number of international schools that follow the ib curriculum mostly catering to expats and the super rich but their performance in various entrance exams is dwarfed by elite schools on icse/case curriculum.

Riaz Haq said...

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy pushes "humanism..... fundamentalism be replaced by humanism as an alternative – a tall order in a country where liberals are held hostage to a medieval mindset whose tenets are disseminated constantly and aggressively through television, newspaper and now social media. Fear prevents all but the most courageous from speaking against the trend"

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/08/10/the-challenge-of-fundamentalism-in-pakistan-and-around-the-world


But what is humanism and how is it used by colonial and neo-colonial powers against the colonized?

Excerpt pf "What Is to Be Done: The Enlightened Thinkers and an Islamic Renaissance"
By Ali Shari'ati


Humanism is a school of thought used by the powers that be in he world to control the destinies of other nations to establish superficial and false relationships between te colonizer and the colonized. It is to eliminate the natural state of enmity, struggle and rancor between two opposing poles and to create a mystical, humanistic and general peace between them .... This is a tactic which has been used in Africa, Latin America and the Islamic East, by misusing the theses of common religion, nationalism, and humanism. ... today the latter (nationalism) has become a progressive anti-colonialism front in Africa, Asia, and Latin ... superficial and false relationships between the colonizer and the colonized.

https://books.google.com/books?id=aaZXDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT23&lpg=PT23&dq=humanism+used+to+colonize+asia+africa&source=bl&ots=lT6y8h8ibu&sig=SR8JxoZs8pf-zqxw-xfLCM71WYI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwihtdfw3s3VAhUHS2MKHdlpCeUQ6AEIRzAG#v=onepage&q=humanism%20used%20to%20colonize%20asia%20africa&f=false

Anonymous said...


I have not heard of any Cambridge A level snobbery in India as all elite schools Doon School,DPS,St PAul's etc follow Indian boards and CIE are generally referred to as escape routes for people who cannot cope up with Indian academic pressure Indian Grade 12 (A level equivalent) is a cross between British and USSR education systems and fairly difficult(Standard reference books for IIT entrance exams include weepingly difficult stuff like IE Irodov Problems in General Physics and Igor Piskunov's Integral and Differential calculus.)
Unfortunately not many(most frankly) students go to schools equipped to teach it so a large number barely scrape through but those fortunate enough to go through good schools have no complex vis a vis CIE boards or IB boards.

Riaz Haq said...

#NBA’s #KevinDurant on #India"Cows, Stray Dogs" "Bunch of Underprivileged People" "20 years behind" #Poverty #Filth
https://www.thequint.com/sports/2017/08/11/nba-star-kevin-durant-on-india

NBA champion Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors had visited India in July to help the NBA make inroads into the nation of 1.3 billion.
Durant took part in a camp in New Delhi, where he helped set a Guinness World Record for the largest basketball lesson – 3,459 people participated in it across multiple venues.
The NBA finals MVP met young players at the NBA Academy, with many more joining via satellite from four other cities across the country.
However, after returning to the United States, he said in an interview to The Athletic that India is 20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience.

I went with no expectation, no view on what it’s supposed to be like. I usually go to places where I at least have a view in my head. India, I’m thinking I’m going to be around palaces and royalty and gold — basically thought I was going to Dubai. Then when I landed there, I saw the culture and how they live and it was rough. It’s a country that’s 20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience.
Kevin Durant
Durant added that there are “just a bunch of underprivileged people living in India”.
You see cows on the street, monkeys running around everywhere, hundreds of people on the side of the road, a million cars and no traffic violations. Just a bunch of underprivileged people there and they want to learn how to play basketball. That was really, really dope to me.

Riaz Haq said...


#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

"Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own." --- Pankaj Mishra

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/india-70-partition-pankaj-mishra.html

India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion

By PANKAJ MISHRA
AUG. 11, 2017

August 15, 1947, deserved to be remembered, the African-American writer W.E.B. Du Bois argued, “as the greatest historical date” of modern history. It was the day India became independent from British rule, and Du Bois believed the event was of “greater significance” than even the establishment of democracy in Britain, the emancipation of slaves in the United States or the Russian Revolution. The time “when the white man, by reason of the color of his skin, can lord it over colored people” was finally drawing to a close.

It is barely remembered today that India’s freedom heralded the liberation, from Tuskegee to Jakarta, of a majority of the world’s population from the degradations of racist imperialism. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, claimed that there had been nothing “more horrible” in human history than the days when millions of Africans “were carried away in galleys as slaves to America and elsewhere.” As he said in a resonant speech on Aug. 15, 1947, long ago India had made a “tryst with destiny,” and now, by opening up a broad horizon of human emancipation, “we shall redeem our pledge.”

But India, which turns 70 next week, seems to have missed its appointment with history. A country inaugurated by secular freedom fighters is presently ruled by religious-racial supremacists. More disturbing still than this mutation are the continuities between those early embodiments of postcolonial virtue and their apparent betrayers today.

Du Bois would have been heartbroken to read the joint statement that more than 40 African governments released in April, denouncing “xenophobic and racial” attacks on Africans in India and asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate. The rise in hate crimes against Africans is part of a sinister trend that has accelerated since the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

Another of its bloodcurdling manifestations is the lynching of Muslims suspected of eating or storing beef. Others include assaults on couples who publicly display affection and threats of rape against women on social media by the Hindu supremacists’ troll army. Mob frenzy in India today is drummed up by jingoistic television anchors and vindicated, often on Twitter, by senior politicians, businessmen, army generals and Bollywood stars.

Hindu nationalists have also come together to justify India’s intensified military occupation of Muslim-majority Kashmir, as well as a nationwide hunt for enemies: an ever-shifting and growing category that includes writers, liberal intellectuals, filmmakers who work with Pakistani actors and ordinary citizens who don’t stand up when the national anthem is played in cinemas. The new world order — just, peaceful, equal — that India’s leaders promised at independence as they denounced their former Western masters’ violence, greed and hypocrisy is nowhere in sight.


Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/india-70-partition-pankaj-mishra.html

Indian leaders very seldom practiced domestically what they preached internationally. Though committed to parliamentary procedures, Nehru never let go of the British-created colonial state and its well-oiled machinery of repression. The brute power of the Indian police and army was used in 1948 to corral the princely state of Hyderabad into the Indian Union. Up to 40,000 Muslims were killed, and the episode remains the single-largest massacre in the history of independent India.

Nehru shared with Hindu nationalists a mystical faith in the essential continuity of India from ancient civilization to modern nation. Determined to hold on to Kashmir, for example, he abandoned his promise of organizing a referendum to decide the contested region’s political status. In 1953, he deposed a popular Kashmiri politician (and friend) and had him sent to prison, inaugurating a long reign of puppet leaders who continue to enrich themselves under the long shadow of the Indian gun.

As early as 1958, Nehru’s regime introduced the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the forerunner of repressive legislation that today sanctions murder, torture and rape by Indian soldiers in central India and border provinces. It was under Nehru that Indian troops and paramilitaries were unleashed on indigenous peoples in India’s northeastern states in the 1950s and ’60s. It was Nehru who in 1961 made it a crime to question the territorial integrity of India, punishable with imprisonment.

Yet in the eyes of the world, India maintained its exceptional status for decades, as many promising postcolonial experiments with democracy degenerated into authoritarianism, if not military rule. The country’s democratic politics appeared stable. But they did so only because they were reduced to the rule of a single party, the Congress, which was itself dominated by a single family — Nehru’s. And far from being socialist or redistributionist, Nehru’s economic policies boosted India’s monopoly capitalists. His priorities were heavy industries and elite polytechnics, which precluded major investments in primary education, health and land reform.

Anonymous said...

No amount of hatred and ill will of an insignificant Muslim minority from a failed state in an anti muslim country will stop India's rise to the top.

You are destined to watch impotently from the sidelines as India rises and Pakistan collapses.

Here's wishing you a long life...

Kaptaan said...

Just for the record elites in these [below] countries have indeed been colonized with Western mind.

* China
* Japan
* South Korea
* Singapore
* Turkey
* Lebanon
* Azerbaijhan
* Kazakstan

Riaz Haq said...

Kaptaan: "Just for the record elites in these [below] countries have indeed been colonized with Western mind"


With the possible exception of Singapore, they all use their own languages for educational instructions and they have their own curriculums. In Pakistan, the elite schools that produce the nation's leaders are all English medium schools and many follow Cambridge curriculum for O level and A level education. They even use Pakistani history books by English authors like Nigel Kelly.

Riaz Haq said...


Trashing #India sells better for #Western audiences. #Slumdog #Ray #Roy #Gidla #Dalit #Boo #Economist http://www.dailyo.in/politics/intellectuals-satyajit-ray-arundhati-roy/story/1/18920.html … via @dailyo_

More contemporaneously, Slumdog Millionaire by British director Danny Boyle was a rage abroad. The one stomach-churning scene in the movie starring Frieda Pinto, Anil Kapoor and Dev Patel where a child falls into an excreta-filled sewer was played and replayed on foreign television networks with feigned horror. (The excreta was, in fact, a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate sauce.)

Books receive the same treatment. Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity which retells her experiences living in a Mumbai slum for three years, sparing no gory detail, was published to international acclaim in 2012.

Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness received an equally rapturous welcome abroad as it wended its laborious way through India’s graveyard of troubles: Kashmir, Maoism, poverty, communalism, violence. Roy’s sense of bitter hopelessness about India enthrals foreign publishers.

Now a book by Sujatha Gidla, Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India, is the latest toast of the West. A Dalit Christian, Gidla tells the story of her uncle Satyamurthy, a Maoist leader who fought the Indian state from the jungles of central India.

In a gushing review, The Economist (July 29, 2017) described Gidla as heralding the “arrival of a formidable new writer.” The magazine added: “Ants among Elephants is an interesting, affecting and ultimately enlightening memoir. It is quite possibly the most striking work of non-fiction set in India since Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.”

The names trip of the tongue nicely: Ray, Roy, Boo, Gidla. Of course The Economist wouldn’t dare review Shashi Tharoor’s excellent book An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India which exposes Britain’s horrific crimes during its colonial occupation of India.

Even the British edition of Tharoor’s book was re-titled to make it less offensive to the British. An Era of Darkness became the anodyne An Inglorious Empire: What the British Did To India. In an interview with the BBC for the book’s British launch earlier this year, one of the panelists was dismissive of Tharoor’s evocative and detailed description of the brutalities of the British Empire and the financial ruination it brought upon India.

In contrast, Arundhati Roy’s dark vision of India has been lapped up by newspapers like The New York Times and television channels in Europe and America. Should all of this matter? Emphatically not. India has many flaws – violence, poverty, rape, corruption, casteism. It is right for journalists and authors, Indian and foreign, to write about them.

It is equally right for filmmakers to show the underbelly of India – from the coal mines of Dhanbad to the slums of Mumbai. Sunlight is a disinfectant. Shine it mercilessly on our imperfections. Only then will change take place. The problem though is balance.

-------

In its review of Gidla’s book, The Economist gives its Western readers a detailed tutorial on India’s caste system: “One in six Indians is a Dalit, which means 'oppressed' in Sanskrit. That is to say, 200 million Indians belong to a community deemed so impure by the scriptures that they are placed outside the hierarchical Hindu caste system and are commonly called ‘untouchable’. Upper-caste Hindus traditionally treated untouchables as agents of pollution. To come into contact with them was to be defiled, they believed. Indian villages depended on untouchables to provide field labour and clear away human waste. Yet untouchables were excluded from village life.

Anonymous said...

The above is true for all non western countries..when was the last time you read something positive about China/Russia.

As the west continues its relative decline expect the anti orient tirades and drain inspector reports to get shriller for the past 200 years the west has considered itself the pinnacle of human evolution and worthy of slavish emulation.The fact that Chinese and Indians consider their far more ancient civilizations inherently superior and will not ape them like Filipinos creates resentment..

Riaz Haq said...

INGLORIOUS EMPIRE
The lies Brits tell themselves about how they left behind a better India

https://qz.com/1053297/independence-day-what-good-did-the-british-do-for-india-during-the-raj/

Railways. The British built the railways primarily for themselves, using their own technology and forcing Indians to buy British equipment. Each mile of the Indian railway constructed cost nine times as much as the same in the US, and twice that in difficult and less populated Canada and Australia. The bills were footed by Indian taxpayers and British investors received a guaranteed return on their capital. Freight charges were dirt cheap, and Indians who traveled 3rd class paid for expensive tickets.
Tea. The British desire to end their dependence on Chinese tea prompted them to set up plantations in India. Following many failed attempts, they managed to find a local version that worked. For this, the British felled vast forests, stripped the tribals who lived there of their rights, and then paid Indian labourers poorly to cultivate the cleared areas. Once the tea was ready, it was shipped off to Britain or sold internationally. The little bit left in India was too expensive, until the Great Depression when weak global demand finally let Indians enjoy the delights of the drink.
Cricket. “Yes, the British brought it to us,” Tharoor writes. “But they did not do so in the expectation that we would defeat them one day at their own game, or that our film-makers would win an Oscar nomination for an improbable tale about a motley bunch of illiterate villagers besting their colonial overlords at a fictional 19th-century match (Lagaan, 2001).”
English language. The British made it absolutely clear that it was only taught to serve their own purpose. Lord Macaulay wrote: “We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals, and in intellect.” (This is the same Macaulay who also said, “A single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.”)
“That Indians seized the English language and turned it into an instrument for our own liberation was to their credit, not by British design,” Tharoor writes.
The upshot of the empire, as Tharoor puts it, was that “What had once been one of the richest and most industrialised economies of the world, which together with China accounted for almost 75% of world industrial output in 1750, had been reduced by the depredations of imperial rule to one of the poorest, most backward, illiterate and diseased societies on Earth by the time of independence in 1947.”
Inglorious Empire shows in full glory how the British systematically purged India’s riches, destroyed its institutions, and created divisions among its peoples. Worse still, there has been no formal apology for what the empire wreaked on its subjects. Instead, there is rising nostalgia for the empire as nationalism surges in a country that is now three ranks below India in the size of its economy.

Riaz Haq said...

John Locke Against Freedom
JOHN QUIGGIN

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/06/locke-treatise-slavery-private-property/

John Locke's classical liberalism isn't a doctrine of freedom. It's a defense of expropriation and enslavement.

Given his reputation as a defender of property rights and personal freedom, Locke has been accused of hypocrisy for his role in promoting and benefiting from slavery and the expropriation of indigenous populations, actions that would seem to contradict his philosophical position. This is too charitable.

The real contradictions are to be found within Locke’s philosophical writings. These are designed to fit his political positions both in England, where he supported resistance to the absolutist pretensions of the Catholic James II, and in America, where he was part of the slave-owning ruling class (albeit from afar).

An early example of Locke’s doctrinal flexibility can be found in his Letters Concerning Toleration. Although the argument for toleration appears general, Locke manages to find reasons for excluding both Catholics and atheists. So, in the context of seventeenth-century England, the only group who would benefit from Locke’s proposed policy of toleration was Protestant dissenters from the established Church of England. This was, not surprisingly, the group to which Locke belonged.

Locke’s theory of property is similarly self-serving. It’s generally seen as a historical fiction, used to justify currently existing property rights, despite the fact that they cannot really have been acquired in the way that Locke suggests. As Hume objected, “there is no property in durable objects, such as lands or houses, when carefully examined in passing from hand to hand, but must, in some period, have been founded on fraud and injustice.”

That’s true of course. Considered in the American context, however, Locke is not offering a theory of original acquisition. Rather, his theory is one of expropriation, designed specifically to justify the “fraud and injustice” to which Hume refers.

Locke’s central idea is that agriculturalists, by mixing their labor with the soil, thereby acquire a title to it. He immediately faces the objection that before the arrival of agriculture, hunters and gatherers worked on the land and gained sustenance from it. So, it would seem, the would-be farmer has arrived too late. The obvious example, to which he refers several times, is that of European colonists arriving in America. Locke’s answer is twofold.

First, he invokes his usual claim that there is plenty of land for everybody, so appropriating some land for agriculture can’t be of any harm to the hunter-gatherers. This is obviously silly. It might conceivably be true for the first agriculturalist (though on standard Malthusian grounds there is no reason to suppose this), or the second or the fiftieth, but at some point the land must cease to be sufficient to support the preexisting hunter-gatherer population. At this point, well before all land has been acquired by agriculturalists, his theory fails.

Riaz Haq said...

What if Western media covered #Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/08/16/what-if-western-media-covered-americas-white-tribalism-the-same-way-it-covers-other-nations/ …


If we talked about what happened in Charlottesville the same way we talk about events in a foreign country, here’s how Western media would cover it. Those quoted in the “story” below are fictional.

The international community is yet again sounding the alarm on ethnic violence in the United States under the new regime of President Trump. The latest flash point occurred this past weekend when the former Confederate stronghold of Charlottesville descended into chaos following rallies of white supremacist groups protesting the removal of statues celebrating leaders of the defeated Confederate states. The chaos turned deadly when Heather Heyer, a member of the white ethnic majority who attended the rally as a counterprotester, was killed when a man with neo-Nazi sympathies allegedly drove his car into a crowd.

Trump, a former reality television host, beauty pageant organizer and businessman, rose to political prominence by publicly questioning the citizenship of the United States’ first black president, Barack Obama. Since his election, Trump has targeted Muslims, refugees, Mexicans and the media. He has also advocated for police brutality. These tactics have appealed to and emboldened white ethno-nationalist groups and domestic terrorist organizations.

After Charlottesville, Trump has largely refused to unequivocally condemn the actions of the white supremacist groups. In a shocking news conference Tuesday, Trump, fuming after consuming hours of cable television, doubled down on blaming “both sides” for the weekend’s violence. His remarks garnered praise from a former leader of a white terrorist group known as the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville,” Duke said on Twitter.

Beyond Trump’s coddling of white extremist groups, the emboldening of white supremacists and neo-Nazis raises questions about the state of the United States’ democracy 152 years after its brutal civil war over the rights of the white ethnic majority in its southern region to enslave members of the black ethnic minority. After the Charlottesville turmoil, more protests are expected around the country against the removal of Confederate monuments.

“Culturally, Americans are a curious lot,” said Andrew Darcy Morthington, an United Kingdom-based commentator who once embarked on a two-year mission trip to teach rural American children and therefore qualifies as an expert on U.S. affairs. “Donald Trump’s campaign message was that he would make America great again, and that there would be so much ‘winning.’ If America cares about being great, why has it fought so hard to keep monuments to the Confederate losers and enslavers?”

“The worst thing Britain ever did was letting go of our colony and thinking Americans were capable of governing themselves without eventually resorting back to tribal politics,” said Martin Rhodes, a shopkeeper in London. “I can’t believe a once-great empire would threaten everything it has built over generations just because a group of people give in to racism and xenoph…” Rhodes’s voice trailed off as he stared wistfully at a silent Big Ben.

Experts are also linking the weekend violence to the scourge of domestic terrorism carried out by white males, who have carried out almost twice as many mass attacks on American soil than Muslims have in recent years.

“This is the time for moderates across the white male world to come out and denounce violent racial terrorism, white supremacy and regressive tribal politics,” said James Charlotin, a Canadian national security expert. “Why haven’t they spoken out?”

Riaz Haq said...

How Western media would cover Baltimore if it happened elsewhere

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/04/30/how-western-media-would-cover-baltimore-if-it-happened-elsewhere/?utm_term=.9fc9d0cfa6f7

If what is happening in Baltimore happened in a foreign country, here is how Western media would cover it:

International leaders expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in America, especially concerning the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and the corruption in state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality. The latest crisis is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, a once-bustling city on the country’s Eastern Seaboard, where an unarmed man named Freddie Gray died from a severed spine while in police custody.

Black Americans, a minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white American males.

The United Kingdom expressed concern over the troubling turn of events in America in the last several months. The country’s foreign ministry released a statement: “We call on the American regime to rein in the state security agents who have been brutalizing members of America’s ethnic minority groups. The equal application of the rule of law, as well as the respect for human rights of all citizens, black or white, is essential for a healthy democracy.” Britain has always maintained a keen interest in America, a former colony.

Palestine has offered continued assistance to American pro-democracy activists, sending anti-tear-gas kits to those protesting police brutality in various American cities. Egyptian pro-democracy groups have also said they will be sharing their past experience with U.S.-made counter-protest weapons.

A statement from the United Nations said, “We condemn the militarization and police brutality that we have seen in recent months in America, and we strongly urge American state security forces to launch a full investigation into the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. There is no excuse for excessive police violence.” The U.N. called on the United States to make a concerted effort to make databases of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in the justice system.