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Sunday, December 13
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books)
by Debashish on December 13, 2009 06:03PM (PST)
(recycled): Dipesh Chakrabarty's book "Provincializing Europe" is an important theoretical study of colonialism and its legacies in India. While [many] works outline the atrocities and dleterious effects of colonialism abound, Chakrabarti, one of the founder-members of the Subaltern Studies movement in Indian (and world) history tells the story from the lesser known side of the strategies used by Indians (in colonial Kolkata) for making an "alternate habitation" of modernity - i.e. adapting it to their own uses. In doing this, he also makes a number of important theoretical points about cultural situatedness and conditions for effective cross-cultural dialog. This review, taken from the London Review of Books is by Amit Chaudhuri, a well-known younger Indian novelist and commentator. more »
Tuesday, September 29
by Rich on September 29, 2009 06:38PM (PDT)
In a country where one can be arrested for writing a book because it offends the sentiments of religious devotees or criticizing or for criticizing the judiciary this interview with Arundati Roy addresses sham democracy in India. One has to confront Arundati one by one on the issues she raises for social justice that are wide ranging and concern Maoist in Orissa, armed occupation in Kashmir, the ever latent potential for genocide within the power regimes couched within Hindu or Islamic fundamentalist movements or even more to the point, the model of Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalism for ethnic cleansing that is being adapted by the Home Minister (and former Enron lawyer) India's new neo-liberal elite, its global corporations to move 85% of the population from the villages and countryside into mega-city slums, appropriating the lands of indigenous peoples, to harvest for themselves India's last remaining natural mineral resources, such as bauxite.... more »
Wednesday, August 26
by Debashish on August 26, 2009 06:11PM (PDT)
The following is a revised transcript of a talk given by me at the Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco in 2008 and carried in the current edition of Sraddha, a journal of the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.
In this, I bring into dialog the epistemic boundaries of the western academic discipline of Psychology and Sri Aurobindo's formulation of Integral Yoga, so as to reflect on the disciplinary formation of a field of Integral Psychology. What would such a field hold out and how would it impact the existing assumptions of both Psychology and Yoga? The insertion of such a discipline into the academy is not a trivial task. It is a project fraught with danger and possibility, which needs to be carefully negotiated. - db more »
Saturday, August 15
by Debashish on August 15, 2009 12:24AM (PDT)
In this article, Pankaj Mishra considers contemporary India's middle class myth of emerging economic superstardom. Is this a reality or a make-believe narrative swallowed as part of neo-liberal globalization with its own convenient interests? According to Mishra, "Many serious problems confront India. They are unlikely to be solved as long as the wealthy, both inside and outside the country, choose to believe their own complacent myths." more »
Saturday, July 4
by Debashish on July 4, 2009 11:50AM (PDT)
Partha Chatterjee, founding member of the Subaltern Studies editorial collective, is director of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and visiting professor of anthropology at Columbia University. Chatterjee's interests are diverse and include Bengali theater. He has acted in Mira Nair's adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's story The Namesake.
Chatterjee's work on anticolonial and postcolonial nationalism has left a definitive mark on contemporary scholarship. He has grappled with the problem of an Euro-American modernity politically institutionalized by the nation-state, in its implementations in terms of resistant cultural nationalisms among non-western and colonized peoples and their imagined communities.
The present inflection of his work moves towards postcolonial governmentality and the grassroots cultural politics of claiming identities within its categoric specifciations.
Chatterjee points out how the standard secular form of post-Enlightenment nationalism has been adapted in attempts to arrive at alternate forms within non-western cultures, yet how such adaptations have been marked by serious ambiguity, becoming co-opted by the forms they have sought to resist, rendered impotent or transformed into fascict ideologies. He calls for a continuous popular/communitarian creativity in understanding and dealing with such transformations, though his voice in this matter, judging by India's postcolonial history, tends towards pessimism.
For example, this is what he has to say about the moibilization of religion in its anti-colonial adaptations:
The innovations in nationalist thinking and nationalist mobilizations which have occurred in the postcolonial world have tended to get repressed by the emergence of fairly standardized forms of governance. Many of these innovations were actually repressed because they were not seen to be consistent with the known forms of the modern state. For instance, if you had movements or parties which were largely based on religion, this was seen to be somehow inconsistent with the idea of a modern constitutional state. Therefore, there was always this problem of what to do with such movements. Yet, those movements have been very influential and powerful in terms of mobilizing people against colonial rule.
So, once the objective of decolonization and transfer of power to a new nationalist elite had been met, the question was how to contain or manage these forces that had been released in the course of the national movement. That is where many of these tensions remained unresolved. If you look at the case of post-independence India, this whole debate about the "secular" state and what the secular state must do and what it means, in a sense, reflected this unresolved tension. In the historical process of the emergence of that state, a great deal of the mobilization had used religion, had depended on extremely powerful religious reform movements, of actually shaping what were seen to be religious beliefs and religious practices but changing them, reformulating them, in order to conform to what were seen to be the new challenges of the modern world.
So these religious reform movements were often completely part of the broader set of social changes that brought about nationalism, that brought about the new state, that brought about new political formations. They were integrally tied with many of those movements and yet the requirements of the secular state presumably forbade religion in public places or public life, or forbade political parties based on religion, because these were somehow inconsistent with a modern nation-state. Very often, there were all kinds of shortcuts or repressive ways of keeping those things under cover, as it were. Many of the tensions around secularism, for instance, and the kinds of challenges that emerged later on, in the case of India's Hindu right-wing in the 1980s for instance, were very much part of these unresolved questions from within the national movement. What the Hindu right then appealed to was not to say that nationalism was all wrong; they said, in fact, that they were the "true" nationalists. The reason why that could be said persuasively was because of a great deal of religious-based rhetoric and the presence, as I said, of these powerful religious reform movements, which were always part and parcel of nationalism.
So these remained unresolved problems. The overall frames remained derivative, almost imitations of forms of the state as developed in the West, but in actual practice what had to be done was to find completely innovative practices at the localized level. The real problem occurred when many of these local adaptations and innovations required a new translation into the larger frame. more »
Saturday, June 20
by Debashish on June 20, 2009 09:51PM (PDT)
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the foremost virtuoso of the lutelike sarod, whose dazzling technique and gift for melodic invention, often on display in concert with his brother-in-law Ravi Shankar, helped popularize North Indian classical music in the West, died on Thursday at his home in San Anselmo, Calif. He was 87. In this obituary from the New York Times, William Grimes provides an outline of this most extraordinary musician. more »
Sunday, June 14
by Rich on June 14, 2009 08:12PM (PDT)
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Once again, Pakistan is in crisis, with Waziristan the newest "most dangerous place" in the world. Islamabad can't control the escalating conflict, and the government is again run by an unpopular, incompetent and nepotistic civilian administration.
And again, Pakistan is going hat in hand to the IMF, Saudi Arabia and China to face off oil prices, food inflation, dwindling foreign exchange and declining terms of trade.
Tariq Ali has been warning of Pakistan's collapse for four decades. For those sins, his books have often been banned there, and "generals, corrupt politicians and bearded lunatics" dislike him in equal measure. In The Duel, Ali provides a gossip-filled, witty and polemical history, revealing, with perspicacity and verve, the flight into the abyss. ... more »
Saturday, May 30
by Debashish on May 30, 2009 03:38PM (PDT)
With the ascendency to Indian politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a plethora of literature has appeared paying serious attention to the phenomenon of "Neo-Hinduism" in India, and by and large relating it to fascist possibilities. This postcolonial literature, swelling the shelves over the last five years, has piggybacked onto a larger more international body of postmodern writing on nationalism and its dangers that has been growing in stridency ever since the pseudo-religion ... more »
Thursday, May 28
Neo-Liberalism as Doxa and India Discourse on Globalization by, Rohit Chopra [Full paper added by ron]
by Rich on May 28, 2009 03:45PM (PDT)
This paper assesses, on the basis of key arguments from Pierre Bourdieu's work, how and why a consensus about the positive effects of globalization and liberalization could have established itself as a dominant discourse across Indian social space. Describing the discourse that validates globalization and economic liberalization as a particular worldview, which he terms 'neoliberalism', Bourdieu describes how neoliberalism establishes itself as a doxa ... more »
Saturday, May 16
by Rich on May 16, 2009 10:36AM (PDT)
The Congress party delivered its best performance for decades, and while it will still need the support of regional parties outside its United Progressive Alliance (UPA), it was expected to form a considerably more powerful government that it did in 2004, and one more able to push through an ambitious reforming programme. more »
Monday, May 11
Prana, Kratu, Jazz II: Ali Ahmad Hoosain, Hasan Haider, Ahmad Abbas and Subhen Chatterjee at UC Irvine, May 10, 2009 by Debashish Banerji
by Debashish on May 11, 2009 01:15AM (PDT)
Grizzled shehnai ustad Ali Ahmad Hoosain laid out the cross-cultural and cross-epochal sonic landscapes along with his two sons and his tabla accompanist Subhen Chatterjee at U of California, Irvine. Prana, Kratu and Jazz commingled once more. more »
Saturday, January 10
by Debashish on January 10, 2009 10:05AM (PST)
Controversy surrounding the representation of a "nationalized" Indian mystic comes late to Sri Aurobindo. Pre-dating the latter in personal chronology as in nationalism and the modern articulation of a global Vedantic spirituality, Vivekananda precedes also in the matter of contemporary debates on representation. In the present 2005 piece by Makarand Paranjape, some of the recent histories of representation and the all too familiar stakes are rehearsed and can be instructive to our consideration of the present controversy raging around "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo." Who gets to authorize the representation? What are the relative uses of hagiographny and biography? Are not both of these varieties of fiction? What purposes do they serve? Where does cultural tradition come in? What is the place of hermeneutics in all this? Paranjape's reflections and call for a balanced realism is much needed for us to heed and reflect on in these times of myth-making and madness. more »
Friday, December 12
by Rich on December 12, 2008 01:13PM (PST)
The single omnipresent historical reference in the American media immediately in the wake of September 11, 2001, was, of course,”Pearl Harbor”-- and those code words for it, "infamy" and "day of infamy," splashed in mile-high letters across the front pages of papers. What we had experienced, it was commonly said then, was "the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century." And with that image of the Japanese attack that began the Second World War for the United States went powerful, if only half-conscious, memories of how that war ended, of nuclear holocaust, and so the place where the World Trade Center towers went down was promptly dubbed "Ground Zero," previously a term reserved for the spot where an atomic blast took place.
Naturally, the idea that 9/11 was an "act of war," and that we were "at war," quickly and heavily promoted by the Bush administration, followed; and all of this would have been appropriate to a surprise attack by a nuclear-armed state, but not to an assault by 19 terrorists backed by a ragtag organization spread from Hamburg, Germany, to the backlands of Afghanistan. That the framework for taking in what had happened that day was so thoroughly askew mattered not a whit to most Americans at that time; and the rest, including the President's "Global War on Terror," came easily, if disastrously, in its wake. Now, "9/11" has become the "Pearl Harbor" of the twenty-first century, the antecedent and analogy of choice, and so, not surprisingly, it was on all but a few media lips, during the recent massacre and siege in Mumbai, India.
Arundhati Roy, the Indian activist and author of the prize-winning novel The God of Small Things was one of the earliest, strongest, sanest voices on this planet of ours to take on George W. Bush and his Global War on Terror. "The freshest voice on Earth," I called her back in 2003. She was an inspiration. Now, she turns to the events in her own country, in Mumbai, and explains just why using 9/11 as the analogy of choice there, as we once used "Pearl Harbor" here, will lead in no less terrible directions. .... more »
Thursday, November 27
by Rich on November 27, 2008 05:57PM (PST)
The juxtaposition is what creates the magic
— Suketu Mehta
Our recommended links represent some of the best resources we have found on the web for integrating global perspectives with critical reflections....
Open Democracy and Global Voices (who it seems C.N.N has just discovered) move along complimentary liminal pathways in the cybersphere of global journalism to engage important perspectives left out in the corporatist Media-net
Kanishk Tharoor is an assistant editor of Open Democracy and he raises an interesting question regards the agenda post-Mumbai for a similar Patriot Act in India as in the States post 9/11. more »
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler