Non-Western Worldview

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_22872 » 23 Sep 2013 15:52

SwamyG garu, thank you, very nice, X-posted in Secularism thread.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Atri » 23 Sep 2013 16:05

thanks, Swamy ji.. :)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby svinayak » 24 Sep 2013 20:15 ... -then.html ... 51p001.pdf ... zation.pdf


lynda shaffer
Tufts University

he term southernization is a new one. It is used here to refer
to a multifaceted process that began in Southern Asia and
spread from there to various other places around the globe. The
process included so many interrelated strands of development
that it is impossible to do more here than sketch out the general
outlines of a few of them. Among the most important that will be
omitted from this discussion are the metallurgical, the medical,
and the literary. Those included are the development of mathematics; the production and marketing of subtropical or tropical
spices; the pioneering of new trade routes; the cultivation, processing, and marketing of southern crops such as sugar and cotton; and the development of various related technologies.
The term southernization is meant to be analogous to westernization. Westernization refers to certain developments that first
occurred in western Europe. Those developments changed Europe and eventually spread to other places and changed them as
well. In the same way, southernization changed Southern Asia and
later spread to other areas, which then underwent a process of

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 26 Sep 2013 00:57

So basically she calls Indianization as Southernization. If this is not negation of history that Kaushal used to warn us about then what is it?

So called Southernization is Indianization and many eminent scholars looked at it: Braudel etc.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby SwamyG » 27 Sep 2013 18:40

Nice call ramana garu. The term southernization makes sense only if the ideas and practices that spread included non-Indic ones too, though the journey began in India.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby svinayak » 27 Sep 2013 21:21

ramana wrote:So basically she calls Indianization as Southernization. If this is not negation of history that Kaushal used to warn us about then what is it?

So called Southernization is Indianization and many eminent scholars looked at it: Braudel etc.

I am doing some research on how they have been working on stopping the spread of Indianization to rest of the modern world in the last 100 year. One obvious attempt is the social engineering inside India in the last 50 years. THe other is reduce emigration of Indians in the last 60 years. They have been doing this secretly

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 02 Oct 2013 04:26

If any one goes to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco on Larkin Street and starts from Indian exhibit all the way to the Korea and Japan one understands that Asia is Indian in ideas and thoughts.

During the early Han times, Buddhism was adopted due to the violence during the period and promise of a better life upon a good life here. This brought peace and prosperity to the land. During the time of the Wei, Lady Feng one of the Empresses commissioned Sinified Buddhas as opposed to Greco-Indian Bamian style Buddhas. And the rest is history.

Mao tried to uproot Indian culture during the Great Cultural Revolution.

So Indianization was underway long before the lady prof came up with the term Southernization.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 07 Oct 2013 23:14

I think there is understudied/underexplored thread between the defeat of the Crusaders in the Middle East on to the post modern Western World.

It goes back to Abraham his god that travels with him and so on.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Agnimitra » 07 Oct 2013 23:57

ramana wrote:I think there is understudied/underexplored thread between the defeat of the Crusaders in the Middle East on to the post modern Western World.

That thread is the emulation of Islamic memes by the Christian West.
Two parts of that osmosis exist:
1. The first is well known and advertised - the reabsorption of classical Hellenic thought into Europe from its remnant repositories in Arabic sources. This ultimately lead to the renaissance, reformation, etc. and the freeing up of the classical life force from the tyranny of the sacred.
2. The second, much less talked about thread, was the transfer of Islamist memes into Christendom. These included concepts such as Aslam Taslam, a core Islamic oath to subjugate the whole planet to shariah law. This was imported into the Church and became a part of its sacred aspiration to earthly magisterium, exactly like a Caliphate. This then also became a great impetus to Colonialism. The ENTIRE colonial strategy of the West was modeled on that of the Ottomans.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 08 Oct 2013 04:43

AM its even bigger than that. I was pointing to post-modernism and post-Abrahamism.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 08 Oct 2013 20:36

NYT on Ashkenazi Jews origins:

European women may be the source of ashkenazi origins

short version:

Link toOriginal Article in Nature

A new genetic analysis has now filled in another piece of the origins puzzle, pointing to European women as the principal female founders, and to the Jewish community of the early Roman empire as the possible source of the Ashkenazi ancestors.

The finding establishes that the women who founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Europe were not from the Near East, as previously supposed, and reinforces the idea that many Jewish communities outside Israel were founded by single men who married and converted local women.


This kind of upends the idea that Judaism is matrilineal i.e. on has to be born of Jewish mother to be a adherent of Judaism.

However the above DNA analysis is limited to early Roman Empire when the "Persian Interlude" was there for many centuries before Rome was even an Empire!!!

On the contrary if this true that most Ashkenazis are European in origin then it makes the establishment of Israel as a homeland for Jews kind of superflous!

And Europeans like Hitler are dead wrong to try to extripate the Jews from Europe as they are native to the land.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Agnimitra » 06 Nov 2013 04:59

ramana wrote:So basically she calls Indianization as Southernization. If this is not negation of history that Kaushal used to warn us about then what is it?

So called Southernization is Indianization and many eminent scholars looked at it: Braudel etc.

My guess is that when they try to appropriate (or at least claim a share in) the Vedic ("Arya") heritage, they probably prefer to see it on a larger geographical scale - Eurasian rather than just the Indian Subcontinent. So if "Norway" (northern way) is Uttarapatha, then the Indian Subcontinent must be Dakshinapatha. Hence Indicization becomes "Southernization". JMT.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby brihaspati » 06 Nov 2013 05:21

ramana ji, there could be a more mundane explanation. We know that the current coastal Palestinian populations carry mid, north and western Mediterranean genes. In this they would therefore carry the coastal northern part of Med - as in southern France/eastern Spain, Italy and Greece. They probably came in a sequence of raids and occupation/colonization in the middle Bronze period - after the collapse of the Minoan and expansion of the middle Greek. They probably for a time pushed the Egyptians back and then they in turn collapsed. With the roll back of the 18th dynasty, it was the turn of the Israeli groups to expand to the sea and occupy the space. They would have taken the women - [there are indications that Moses himself had non-"Jew" wives so strict endogamy was not yet practised].

This would be a way for European female genes to find their way into Judaic populations. Also the eastern Med had a lot of slave trade under the Bronze age Greeks, the Hittite empire and Egypt. That would also supply European women to the Levant from the Old Kingdom period.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 26 Nov 2013 02:45

Surasena wrote:
Uncomfortable origins

In 1074, a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, in Burgundy, crossed the frontier of Christendom and entered Muslim Spain. Arriving in the infidel capital of Córdoba, he offered to walk through fire if only his audience would agree to abandon superstition and embrace the Christian faith. The Muslim king and his courtiers contemptuously ducked his challenge. Indeed, such was their scorn that they refused even to martyr him. The indignant monk was left with little choice but to "shake the dust from his feet, turn on his heels, and set off back home".

This was the de facto limit of multicultural dialogue in the Middle Ages. Just as Muslims tended to regard the civilisation of Latin Christendom with an invincible lack of interest, so did most medieval Christians find it impossible to conceive of Islam as a faith distinct and separate from their own. The conviction of the monk from Cluny that a spot of fire-walking might be sufficient to convert the Saracens reflected his deep-rooted presumption that their religion was no more self-sufficient and autonomous than a Christian heresy. Give them a little lecture, throw in a miracle, and they were bound to see the error of their ways.

Ever since Erasmus, the medieval mindset has been generating snorts of derision. No period in history is more subject to what E P Thompson termed "the enormous condescension of posterity" than the Middle Ages. The very term serves to condemn it: for the notion of a "Middle Age" derives from the determination of Renaissance humanists to cast themselves as the heirs of classical civilisation, and to dismiss everything in between as mere barbarism and backwardness. Such a conceit, if recent letters to the New Statesman are anything to go by, is still strongly maintained today. "The modern secular movement", it is argued, "which was interrupted by the age of faith in the Middle Ages", is part of a continuum which reaches back to "the early humanists" of the ancient past. As a classicist, I can only applaud such enthusiasm for the achievements of antiquity; as a historian, however, I do have some reservations.

Look again, for instance, at that Cluniac monk. Is he really so different from a member of the Humanist Association? In many ways, yes, of course - but in the manner, perhaps, that a theropod dinosaur is different from an ostrich. Evolution notwithstanding, the line of descent is clear enough. Monk and humanist alike are convinced that their respective belief systems embody the only sane way of interpreting the universe; both feel that it is a moral imperative to encourage everyone else to agree with them; both lay claim to a universalism that is in fact culturally highly specific. No less than the medieval Christian Church, Europe's post-Christian elite operates secure in the conviction that it has attained an enviably superior state of enlightenment, one that aspires to enfold within its embrace all other possible ways of seeing the world, and to neutralise all rival claims. Seeing secularism in that light, the tolerance that it extends to Islam is merely the mirror image of the Cluniacs' militant disdain: an expression of the complacency to which all powerful civilisations are, by their nature, prone.

To argue this is not, as a second correspondent complained, to slap atheist faces with a wet fish just for the sake of it. Rather, it is to make the point - permissible in a historian of the ancient and medieval worlds, surely? - that the origins of much that seems most modern to us can in fact be traced back to the distant past. Neutrality between different religions, as it is practised in Europe today, can never itself be culturally neutral, for the simple reason that it depends on a philosophy that is ultimately Christian in character. That the world can be divided into church and state, and that these twin realms should exist distinct from each other: here are presumptions with which many Muslims, for instance, would disagree profoundly. Certainly, there is nothing in the Quran equivalent to the New Testament injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Muhammad, unlike Jesus, had neither the slightest hesitation in formulating a fiscal policy nor in laying claim to political authority. For those who imagine that the western model of the multicultural state can emasculate Islam as readily as it has de-fanged Christianity, this should be a detail of more than merely theological or antiquarian interest.

Yet many secularists are still determined to regard all religions as being essentially the same and to deny the glaring fact of their own descent from a specific religious tradition. Hence their scrabbling around for Greek, Roman, even Indian and Chinese progenitors - any heritage, it would seem, just so long as it is not Christian. They protest too much. To recognise the Christian roots of modern-day secularism is no more to accept the doctrinal truth or otherwise of Christianity than an acknowledgement of our cultural debt to ancient Greece is an obligation to set about worshipping Zeus. So much seems to me self-evident - and leads me to wonder whether there might not be, in the reluctance of so many secularists to trace their ethical and sociological presumptions back to Christian origins, something of Bishop Wilberforce's horror at the notion that he might be descended from an ape.

The western tradition of self-examination, of self-questioning, of self-doubt is indeed a precious one; but we can hardly afford to shrink from applying our own standards to ourselves. "Everything must be examined, everything must be shaken up, without exception and without circumspection." So wrote Diderot, that über-philosophe. If the question of what a supposedly post-Christian Europe owes to its Christian past is one that makes many enthusiasts for the Enlightenment uncomfortable, all the more reason, I would argue, for staring it in the face.

Tom Holland's "Millennium: the End of the World and the Forging of Christendom" is published by Little, Brown (£25). ... secularism

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 10 Dec 2013 00:26

Two related posts.....

svenkat wrote:Dated article by TCA Srinivasa Raghavan from 2007.
Modi and the Ramanujam Test

A K Ramanujam put forth a simple idea: while Westerners function on moral absolutes, Indians function on contextual morality.
Some readers will recall that this is the nth time I am writing this. I beg their indulgence for repeating myself yet again. But I do believe that it is important for understanding many of the things that we Indians do, and, even more importantly, the way we think, especially about issues of morality.

It is important today because of our diverse and strange reactions to Narendra Modi. He has a lot going for him -- leadership, demagoguery, a state under his belt, tacit and revealed Hindu approval, etc. One also gets the sense that India is getting tired of centrist politics and is ready for a decisive shift rightwards.

Be that as it may, in the mid-1980s, the well-known American Indologist from Chicago, McKim Marriott, edited a volume called Imagining India: India through Indian eyes. In it was an essay by the late poet A K Ramanujam titled Is there an Indian Way of Thinking? That essay remains, in my view, the best ever written on the subject of how Indians decide on the morality of their actions.

Ramanujam put forth a simple proposition. He said that unlike the West, which functions on the basis of moral absolutes, Indians function on the basis of contextual morality.

Thus, most often, for the majority of Indians, an action is right or wrong depending on the context in which that action is situated. So in some contexts it is perfectly all right even to kill your brother. Even the Gita tells you so.

When I first wrote about this essay, many people protested. Ramanujam simply could not have said this, they said. I had to mail at least a dozen copies of the essay in order to convince the skeptics. Only two replied.

If we apply the Ramanujam Test, as I like to call it, everything falls into place. Thus, in the context of the partition, it was moral to reassure India's Muslims that they were safe here, whence the charge of appeasement.

In the context of Pakistan and its million follies, many Hindus believe that it is moral to attack them. In the context of the inequities of the caste system, it was all right to deprive the upper castes via reservations, never mind that such deprivation is itself immoral. In the context of domestic political exigencies, it was all right to take money from the KGB but not from the CIA. In Nandigram it was all right, said the CPM, to kill villagers because they belonged to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).

We can multiply these examples, but the point is clear. The absence of moral absolutism enables us to justify everything. It clouds our collective as well as individual judgment and, at the most trivial, we get the rubbish we see on TV.
But sometimes it is not trivial, especially when the political context becomes the moral justification for the actions of people, the government, its agents and even some institutions of the State - when a big tree falls, the earth is bound to shake, Soharabuddin, Afzal Guru, etc.

As far as political morality of present dilemma is concerned, I think the original sin lies in our having adopted and accepted identity politics as being a normal and legitimate instrument for pressing group claims - but only as long as such politics is confined to caste. So we say it is fine to have caste-based political parties but not religion-based ones.

We apply different rules to the two - even if the end-result is the same: fomenting disaffection between communities. How does it matter to the citizen if state persecution is based on either caste or religion? Isn't persecution the same for everyone?

This moral ambivalence is what Ramanujam talked about. For example, however strong and morally justified the case may be for the empowerment of the oppressed castes and for what the Americans call affirmative action, is it a logical and morally justifiable step from there to have caste-based political parties that incite hatred?

We have internalised identity-based politics to such an extent that not only do the jholawallah intellectuals make a nice living from it, we don't even hark back a mere 102 years ago, when it all started, for it was in 1905 when India took the decisive step towards identity-based politics when W A J Archbold, Principal of the Anglo-Mohammedan Oriental College in Aligarh, helped fix that fateful meeting of Muslims landowners with Lord Minto, the Viceroy.

Later he helped them draft the letter that demanded separate electorates. Muhammad Ali, the great secular leader, described the whole thing as a "command performance". Yet has any Indian historian enquired who this guy Archbold was? How did a Cambridge don writing about French poetry become the Principal at this college? Who suggested his name? Why did his predecessor resign? Is there a biography? No, sir, not one. The man has become a mere footnote even though there are a million questions to be answered about him.

Therefore, first we got the Muslim League, next the Justice Party in 1918 (the DMK's fore-runner) and so on until after independence, when a whole clutch of caste-based parties sprang up. What great moral principle are all these parties based on?
Think about it and you will see that Narendra Modi is our own creation, of liberals, conservatives, fascists, communists and every other man jack of us. He is not the problem, we all are.

and rebuttal...

brihaspati wrote:Even Ramanujam and the author's own thinking is a reflection of their own failure to go beyond the superficial, and therefore getting confused.

(1) What appears as contextual application of values - and morals - is not unique to India, it is even more showed up by the so-called "west". The duo here show a complete lack of understanding of the reality of the records of western history - especially the combo of church+imperialism+racism. Starting right from the fundamentals of post-Mosaic versioning of the Judaic traditions - the records and narratives are a record of contextual and opportunistic application of morals and values. Moses himself ordered the culling of the women and children of the very peoples who had given him and his followers shelter after their Sinai trek.

Throughout the Judaeo-Christian traditions, every absolutist commandments and morals had been trumped on various excuses. One simple tool was invocation of angels/messengers/firishtas/burning bushes/direct voices from the supreme headquarters to trump supreme headquarters own earlier pompous declarations.

The record of that whole trajectory and spectrum of morals is a sordid tale of using the morals to extract benefits and power and obedience from the larger powerless section of society, create guilt on every possible natural dilemmas faced by the ordinary human - as a means of psychologically subjugating a population and creating legitimization of authority who can use a myriad transgressions through a legalistic exploitation mechanism.

(2) Any absolutist value - that does not acknowledge itself as a certain viewpoint from a small subgroup that is either loud enough or coercively powerful enough - has always been forced to create exceptions and contextualizations on various excuses when in practical terms of pursuit of power and dominance they have had to break their own rules and laws and morals.

(3) Not Indian - but Bharatyia values when as referred to in the Gita - is actually showing an underlying absolutist moral scheme. This is where certain values take precedence over others. So from Krishna's viewpoint, the value of establishing legitimacy of natural inheritance rights, and the continuous criminality of the Duryadhan coterie at centre of power and as state power - was a more serious offence than the killing of a brother by a brother.

What superficiality dismisses the Bharatya exploration of morality as merely contextual when all of Mahabharata and many parts of Ramayana, grapple deliberately with uncomfortable questions about the justice of hierarchies, entitlements, claims of superiority or inferiority, practical deviations from ideal situations or socially established norms?

Bharatyas, before they became Indians - had grappled with morality, realized that absolutist values in detailed and concrete implementations were never sustainable, and they would need invoking of authority in some form to explain away the need for contextualization.

But they attempted a deeper understanding of morality as manifestation of the need to have principles that helped humans to decide dilemmas in practical implementations. The principles have a definite hierarchy in Bharatyia thinking - and it is this deeper principle that has a preference ordering - that is used in Bharatya thinking. To a superficial mind, or the western mind used to self-deception on theological grounds - this would appear contextualization and opportunism since the typical authority used to justify transgressions in the west - is absent.

(3) "Indian" is a loose term we now use, but subconsciously - it is the resulting hybrid - and not composite, culture/philosophy/morality resulting from coercive and opportunistic adoption of the Judaeo-Christo-Islamic theological layers. So we need to distinguish between the Bharatya and "Indian" even on basic moral approaches.

In both streams - contextualization is inevitable, because any absolutist moralism is like writing a Constitution for human behaviour. One can never capture all possible variations of the human experience, forever into the future, for all peoples, lands, and times in a finite number of statements.

The difference - and this is where the loud "Indians" desperately trying to justify their "Indianness" by trying to please both the Bharatya and the "west", completely lose it - is that in the Bharatya system the problem is recognized, and a deeper and more fundamental system of eliciting a hierarchy of general values and principles with an inherent preference ordering is sought for.

In a sense this is also about establishing absolutist positions but with a clear understanding that it
(a) assumes that there is a ideal hierarchy of values
(b) but any instantaneous understanding of that hierarchy might be clouded by imperfect human understanding
(c) so there should be a constant and never ending search for perfecting that understanding without assuming that one has reached perfection at any stage

This allows the Bharatya to keep the possibility of a perfect system = ishwara = any concept of the perfect divine, as a target ideal, but also allow constant search and non-acceptance of the current understanding of that "ishwara" to be final.

This is in stark contrast to the "western" position of having already found "ishwara" as defined in "n" number of categorical statements using memes/words/associated ideas of a particular time, place and people. Henceforth everything else has to be fit around this "n", and excuses have to be found for enforced or required or optimal deviations.

There is another significant difference : the Bharatya approach makes it possible to question and prevent growth of single authorities as having sole right to interpret morals. Because that moral is principle dependent and principles are separate from their practical implementation - no one authority can usurp moral authority. The hybrid "Indian" will always fail to continue this hybridization without state coercion, and what they see as the "NaMo" problem, is simply the old, Bharatya memes raising their heads again.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby RoyG » 12 Dec 2013 03:06

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 14 Dec 2013 22:08

Behind the Nordic countries' appearance and oft-proclaimed concern for human rights lurk darker attitudes. This disguise hides many ugly characteristics such as false morality, a pretense of superiority, as well as profound humanitarian racism.

The key problem is deNazification escaped the Nordic countries.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby sanjaykumar » 14 Dec 2013 22:36

Yet many secularists are still determined to regard all religions as being essentially the same and to deny the glaring fact of their own descent from a specific religious tradition. Hence their scrabbling around for Greek, Roman, even Indian and Chinese progenitors - any heritage, it would seem, just so long as it is not Christian. They protest too much. To recognise the Christian roots of modern-day secularism is no more to accept the doctrinal truth or otherwise of Christianity than an acknowledgement of our cultural debt to ancient Greece is an obligation to set about worshipping Zeus. So much seems to me self-evident - and leads me to wonder whether there might not be, in the reluctance of so many secularists to trace their ethical and sociological presumptions back to Christian origins, something of Bishop Wilberforce's horror at the notion that he might be descended from an ape.

The western tradition of self-examination, of self-questioning, of self-doubt is indeed a precious one; but we can hardly afford to shrink from applying our own standards to ourselves. "Everything must be examined, everything must be shaken up, without exception and without circumspection." So wrote Diderot, that über-philosophe. If the question of what a supposedly post-Christian Europe owes to its Christian past is one that makes many enthusiasts for the Enlightenment uncomfortable, all the more reason, I would argue, for staring it in the face.

Horse manure. This man cannot possibly be well informed on European history or religion.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 24 Dec 2013 20:39


LokeshC wrote:
A_Gupta wrote:See "William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008".
Incidentally, William Wilberforce was a great anti-slavery advocate. He was also one of the political forces behind making the East India Company permit missionaries into India in 1813. ... ristianity

The father of the infamous Macaulay who set out to anglicize India and Wilberforce belonged to the same church (the Clapham sect).

One of the reasons of the extent and spread of American slavery of Africans was in response to Briturdistan using Indian indentured labor to beat international cotton production.

Before the creation of slavery, Blacks were considered only slightly less than equal and infact had more rights than the Irish immigrants. This went on until the Bacon's Rebellion (a mixed race rebellion) shook the confidence of the English Elites (who were running the show), and they resorted to divide the blacks and the whites by inventing an artificial layer of superiority called race. By this time the European race "scientists" had "figured out" that "hierarchy of races".

Around the same time, the Portugese were discovering the traditional slave trade routes in Africa and once the Americans came to know about the blacks were brought in "as slaves" instead of "indentured laborers". The existing free blacks were captured in the south and then made into slaves.

The dependence on slavery increased exponentially once competition with Briturdistan increased (due to free labor from India). England has an equal hand in Screwing Indians as well as screwing African Americans. Infact, any non-white country that was touched by that tiny island has seen nothing but pain. In that sense England was (and maybe is) the cancer of the world.

So its funny and tragically ironic that a bill against "mordern slavery" is named after someone who went against it due to purely business interest (i.e. American Slavery was a competitive threat to England). Ofcourse the gora admi wont see the irony and hypocricy. He is as blind a hypocrite as anyone can be and will be singing white man's burden songs for sometime to come :)

Louisiana wanted to abolish slavery and bring in Indian indentured labor and was over ruled.

Its true that British anti-slavery stance was backed with massive use of Indian indentured labor.
In the early colonial days even US was peopled with indentured English people.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 23 Jan 2014 02:28

X-Post to think and reflect.

Long book review on the Britsh and how they divide Greater Indian Region(GIR)

How Colonial Britain Divided to Rule

How colonial Britain divided to rule
Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity by Mahmood Mamdani

Reviewed by Piyush Mathur

In Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity, Mahmood Mamdani carries forward his pioneering, hefty contributions to (what I would call) an historical epistemology of world politics: this time by discussing (the European colonization of) not only Africa - his usual focus - but also India, the Malay States, and the Dutch East Indies.

Mamdani argues that the British-colonial turn to indirect rule as a response to India's Great Revolt of 1857 hinged on producing a set of codependent, dichotomous identities involving native and settler, to which the modern preoccupation with defining and managing difference is traceable. He concludes that "native does not designate a condition that is original and authentic" but was created in specific forms by "the colonial state" using specific tactics (p2).

Unlike previous European imperial governments, "including Roman and British 'direct' rule before mid-nineteenth century" and the French policy of "'assimilation'" as well as its early-20th-century counterpart of 'association'", indirect rule shifted the focus from civilizing and assimilating "colonized elites" to defining mass subjectivity in differentia from the elite imperial minority (p1, p43). However, indirect rule's institutionalization of both political and social differences distinguishes it from "the modern state" as well, which "ensures" political equality "while acknowledging" civil differences (p2).

The core of British indirect rule's ostensibly protectionist differentiation was replicated elsewhere So, after "the law enforced, the census recorded and history memorialized ... caste, religion, and tribe" among Indians, the Malay States saw their population defined as "civilized" versus "aboriginal"; residents of the Dutch East Indies found themselves defined as Europeans, foreign Orientals, or natives; and, after the Berlin Conference (November 15,1884 - February 26, 1885), the census generally classified Africans into "races" and "tribes" (p46, p35).

Indirect rule: intellectual and administrative

Mamdani discusses "the mode of indirect rule ... both as an intellectual reflection on the mid-nineteenth-century crisis of empire" - comprising the Great Revolt of 1857 and Morant Bay in Jamaica in 1865 - "and as a set of colonial reforms designed to ameliorate" it (p4).

He frames Sir Henry James Sumner Maine's (1822-1888) tremendously influential formulations on the British-Indian crisis as a template for the institutionalization of the native-settler dichotomy through subsequent Euro-imperial crises elsewhere. Regarding the latter, he discusses the writings of Frank Swettenham (1850-1946) in the Malay States, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936) in the Dutch East Indies, and key colonial and nationalistic historians of Africa (especially on the Sudanic belt).

As for the colonial reforms themselves, he focuses on the British-Indian administrative initiatives following Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858; Swettenham's divisively protectionist measures in British Malaya following the 1874 Treaty of Pangkor; Cornelius Van Vollenhoven's (1874-1933) implementation of Snouck Hurgronje's formulations in the Dutch East Indies after the Aceh War (1873-1914); and the British tribalization of Darfur (where the Indian lessons were first applied within Africa) after the Battles of Omdurman (1898) and Umm Diwaykarat (1899).

Before getting to the details about the above, let me mention that the book's last section focuses on Africa's intellectual and administrative antidotes to the indirect rule's legacy. Here, Mamdani introduces and recommends the contributions of Nigerian historians - Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Abudullahi Smith, Yusuf Bala Usman, and Mahmud Tukur - crediting them for finding ways out of colonial as well as nationalistic historical accounts and historiographies.

While Dike's Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1835 (1956) had detailed the comingling of different groups of people throughout the middle of the 19th century as they moved into the Delta States (thereby exposing tribalism as a later, colonial manufacture), Smith had challenged the so-called Hamitic Hypothesis regarding African history.

Usman, partly developing upon the foregoing historians' work, had introduced a theory of historiography (via an innovatively rigorous history of Katsina) whose key contribution was to advise the historian to remain critically "conscious" of the "specific categories, conceptions and assumptions" (s)he aims to employ to write a history (instead of focusing predominantly on pursuing sources) - as these tools themselves (as much as the historian) are historical products (p92). Tukur's work on the history of Zaria, Nigeria had shown how different peoples comingled there prior to the British restriction of their movements and residence after the railways began to operate.

On the administrative side, Mamdani discusses and credits Mwalimu Kambarage Julius Nyerere's (1922-1999) exemplary "statecraft", which decolonized "the indirect rule state" without succumbing to violent Leninism - except that it ended up prioritizing "nation-building" over "democracy and social justice" (p5).

Post-1857 British India

Maine had blamed the failure of the "civilizing mission" of the liberal Utilitarians and Evangelicals on their lack of understanding of "native ... religions and social belief" (p9). Toward generating that understanding, he had shifted the attention to "observing daily life" of Indians (whom he had presumed were primitive) from the erstwhile Eurocentric Orientalist study of Sanskrit texts. He was driven by, and also contributed to, dubious theories of history that implied that one could understand the past of a presumed progressive or modern civilization (the West) by observing presumed primitive contemporary civilizations (the non-West).

On the whole, Maine's approach - Mamdani shows - was only superficially empirical, selective, racialized, analytically misleading, and logically flawed. He believed in a real India whose "'extreme geographical isolation'" had left it unadulterated by external influences and ended up manufacturing it while trying to articulate where to find it. He opined that the Indians were ancient offshoots of the so-called Aryan race - except that they had failed to progress from kinship-based "'natural groups'" to individuals and from "customary to civil law" because, like the Irish, they had failed to benefit from the Roman Empire (p16, p19).

Being custom-bound (as ensured by its religion - "'Brahminism'"), India - in Maine's framework - was also status-driven, cultural, and contextual. For having an abstract civil law, the West, on the contrary, was contract-based and free from culture as well as context. While India's civilization had been arrested by its customs (which he dubiously singularized as customary law), Western civilization had led to its civil, progressive, abstract, modern law (p6, p16, p20).

These ideas, Mamdani illustrates, retained "a theory of nativism" that rendered "the settler" as "modern", historically progressive, and belonging to a legislated or political society - and the "native" as traditional, defined by geography, naturally stagnated, insulated, and religio-cultural (p44, p6, p14). For Indians, unlike for the Europeans, Maine therefore recommended "local ... decentralized ... and customary" governance (p26).

Administratively, this discriminatorily protectionist stance came inscribed in "the doctrine of noninterference in the private domain, especially in religion" via Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858 (p26). The doctrine entailed distinguishing between the private and the public via "legal and administrative" reforms put in place through 1862-1872. Through these reforms, "multiple personal codes" (one for each officially recognized religious group) were promulgated; however, "a single legal bureaucracy" was institutionalized for the public sphere by rendering "Islamic law" inapplicable in criminal trials, abolishing "all Persian titles", and debarring "Muslim assistants to the colonial courts" (p29).

The government also restricted "the market" in the name of "protecting the village community from moneylenders", farmers from traders, and "the landlord's estate from division and fragmentation" (people so grouped through the Censuses' caste and tribe categories); it also established special protections to the religious minorities it defined: "Muslims in the 1880s and 1890s" followed by Sikhs, "non-Brahmin groups," and "Hill Peoples" (p27). Later, "the Indian Councils Act of 1909, also known as the Morley-Minto Reforms" created "separate electorates ... in the provincial and central legislative bodies" for whose council seats "only Muslims were entitled to vote" (p30).

The Malay States: "civilized" (by Islam) versus "aboriginal"

In the Malay States, the key distinction made was between "civilized" and "aboriginal," with "the regime of protection" for the latter having been established by Swettenham (p31). Initiating the British colonization, the Treaty of Pangkor (1874) "defined a Malay as 'one who habitually speaks Malay, professes the religion of Islam, and practices Malay customs'" - a definition still "enshrined in Article 160 of the Malay Constitution" (p31). This definition "turned non-Muslims who had hitherto been as Malay as Muslim Malays into the aborigines they are considered to be today" (p32).

However, these "aborigines" had themselves got this singular label in the 1940s, when the British attempted to isolate "the Malayan People's Army" - the anti-colonial "communist-dominated guerrilla force" - from the villagers when the Army was also resisting the Japanese invaders in 1941. The associated violence had pushed many "villagers and forest peoples" deeper into the forest; calling them "aboriginal" (Orang Asli), the British had then "appointed them an advisor" and resettled them as cultivators.

The British also created the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) in 1950, and enacted "the Aboriginal People's Ordinance" in 1954. Until then, these myriad peoples had many different, sometimes uncharitable, names in the administrative literature (p32).

At its inception in 1957, independent Malaysia "distinguished between...'Malay'...and 'Orang Asli'," with the former (Muslims) "acknowledged as civilized ... by religion" while "the fully indigenous (asli) status" of the latter "implied" their sole suitability "to be subjects" (p33). However, the riots of 1969 forced the creation of a new category of peoples called bhumiputera (sons of the soil) - comprising the downtrodden from many groups, including the Malay and Orang Asli - who received "special privileges" through "the New Economic Policy of 1971" (p34).

Nevertheless, a subsequent "constitutional amendment... criminalized public discussion of 'sensitive' issues" such as "the privileged position of Malays in law, the role of Malay sultans, the status of Malay as the official language and Islam as the official religion - and the questioning of Malay privileges" (p34).

The Dutch East Indies: Muslims versus natives

As with Maine in India, Snouck Hurgronje "saw external historical influences ... as impurities" in the Dutch East Indies (p41). Made the "Advisor on Native and Islamic Affairs" in 1891 against the backdrop of an 18-year-long Islamist-led uprising (the Aceh War) in "northern Sumatra", he viewed Islam as the key external influence on the native traditions (p34). He thus dichotomized between "religious Islamic law (hukom)" and "customary law (adat)": the former as "dogmatic", "unworldly", "written", "easy to identify", and the latter as "flexible", worldly or practical, unwritten, "difficult to discern", and negotiable (pp35-37).

Believing that these two inherently dichotomous laws' historical intertwining was responsible for the unrest, he recommended that "the Dutch distinguish between the Islamic scholars (ulama) and the customary chiefs (uleebalang) and ... support" the latter against the former (p37). In reality, Mamdani stresses, Snouck Hurgronje produced "the opposition that he claimed [had existed] from time immemorial" (p38).

While framing the ulama as the enemy of the Dutch, Snouck Hurgronje also distinguished "between Islam as a religion and Islam as a political ideology", advocating tolerance toward the former and "ruthless suppression" of the latter (p38, p39). In effect, "religious tolerance" became the policy "toward those who acquiesced in Dutch rule" whilst "a brutal counterinsurgency" ensued against those "who did not" (p39).

Snouck Hurgronje's recommendations culminated, via the efforts of Cornelius Van Vollenhoven (1874-1933), in "separate legal codes for Europeans, foreign Orientals, and natives" that remained in place until the inception of the Republic of Indonesia in 1945 (p42).

Africa: races versus tribes; Darfur

With "civil law" being viewed as "the marker of" civilization, "different systems of customary law" were said to exist among the colonized - and their imperial articulation divided "the colonized majority into ... administratively driven political minorities" that were called tribes in Africa (p45). In practical terms,
When a census-taker entered your name, it was either as member of a race or as member of a tribe. ... Races were said to comprise all those officially categorized as not indigenous to Africa... Tribes ... were all those defined as indigenous in origin. (p46-47)

Then, while "races were governed under a single law: civil law", each tribe, by definition, was viewed to have been governed by its own customary law, which turned out to be a caricatured cultural selection made under colonial supervision. Apportionment and content of rights were made to hinge on the perceived civilizational state and stage of the peoples: "the colonizing master race (Europeans)" had civil privileges over "colonized subject races (Asians, Arabs, Colored, and so on)," who had civil privileges over "native tribes" (p50-51).

Within customary law, "tribes" were divided into "native and non-native" - with the former favored and identified only in terms of "origin" (an ultimately unascertainable criterion). The presumed uniqueness of each tribe ensured the state's intervention to certify its traditionalism and authenticity - equally the parameter for the tribe's value as a native ally - and to singularize its governing authority in the "chief", inevitably an older male (p49). This contradicted Africa's "political history" of pluralism, in which "the definers of tradition could come from women's groups, age groups, clans, religious groups, and so on" depending on the "domain" (p49).

To illustrate the above generality of African colonization, Mamdani focuses on Darfur, where, after defeating "the Mahdiyya in the Battle of Omdurman", the British resorted to "tribalization" to counteract the Mahdiyya's Sufi-inspired ideology, Mahdism (p69, p71).

While being "anti-imperialist", mass-supported, and violently "repressive", the Mahdiyya themselves used to have an all-round cosmopolitan make-up (p71). The tribalization began to unfold as the British, making it "the centerpiece of their strategy in Sudan," sliced up "Darfur, the province into a series of homelands, dars" - which they had "identified with a tribe administratively tagged as native", attaching significant advantages to one's official nativity by origin (p71).

In this, the British "subverted" the customary meaning of dar, which used to signify "one of several locations, starting with one's immediate dwelling and extending to several localities in a series of concentric circles" (p71, p72). However, the new colonial definition of home as "tribal homeland ... became the basis of voluntary organization over time" (p72).

Uniquely for Africa, Darfur's tribalization systematized discrimination against "pastoralist tribes" in favor of "peasant" tribes (p73). That feature aside, the rest "is obtained in all African contexts ... from Eastern Africa to Nigeria, from Sudan to South Africa" excepting Rwanda, where "the historiography and the land tenure system, local administration and dispute resolution - were racialized" (rather than being "joined ... to a tribalized administration") in that "[e]very institution privileged Tutsi over Hutu" (p72).

The Hamitic Hypothesis, 'Arabization'

As for the intellectual component behind the construction of native versus settler dichotomy - and Africa's racialist tribalization - Mamdani blames the historiography that has rested on the so called "'Hamitic Hypothesis'," according to which "Africa was civilized from the outside, with light-skinned or fine-featured migrants from the north civilizing natives to the south" (p55).

He mentions the key historians - both colonial and anti-colonial nationalistic ones - who believed in that hypothesis, discussing some of them; he also outlines the key "forms" of this hypothesis.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries' colonial writings regarding central Africa, the Tutsi are "cast ... as the Hamites and the Hutu as the native"; in colonial accounts of West Africa, "the Berbers were cast" as "Hamites and ... presented as the founders of Hausa states and thus civilizers of the Hausa".

In writings regarding the Sudan, this hypothesis, which dubiously "knit together disparate histories of the Sudan" comes up as "Arabization" of native Negroes; and then there is the "Pan-Africanist version" - such as that authored by "Cheikh Anta Diop, who cast Egypt as the great civilizer of the rest of Africa".

Mamdani points out that while Diop "darkened the complexion of Hamites" by rendering "Egyptians of the Pharaonic period as a black people", he "left the logic of colonial historiography intact" (p54).

Focusing on its Arabization version, Mamdani debunks the belief that there was "an ongoing confrontation" between Arab invaders and native Negroes - averring that Arabs never invaded Sudan (p57). His account clarifies that Africa's Arabization had little to do with the Arabs, per se - and that the meaning of "Arab" in the historical context of Africa has been far from uniform.

Instead, an "Arab" identity was embraced in three major distinctive phases - between the early-16th century founding of the Sultanate of Funj and the 19th-century European colonization - by local royals, merchants, and masses respectively for spiritual, commercial, and political reasons (which he carefully outlines). In the last phase, for instance, "Arab" attracted many common Africans owing to "the anti-colonial pan-Arab movements, particularly Nasserism" (p59).

These temporal variations in the manifestation of Africa's Arabization aside, there were regional variations: While "settled" and powerful people got to be called Arab in "historical Funj, the heartland of northern Sudan", it was "nomads marginal to power" that were called Arab "in Darfur" (p59, p60).

In the book's last section, Mamdani provides a brief qualitative sketch of Africa's decolonization as a nationalistic "preoccupation of ... the intelligentsia and the political class" and as an attempt at going beyond the colonial dichotomy of settlers versus natives (p85). Through "the thick of civil war", the intellectuals attempted "to give the independent state a history", just as the politicians attempted "to create a common citizenship as the basis of national sovereignty" (p85).

As "mainly a post-colonial development", the African university has generally lacked distance from politics; hence, Mamdani credits here Nigeria and South Africa for "creating a significant density of institutional life" as a precondition for intellectual autonomy (p88). Given its benefit of autonomy, Nigeria happened to develop "an alternative historiography to colonial conventions on race and tribe" (p87, p88).


The lively, aphoristic writing of this short book improves upon Mamdani's previous books, which, though unfailingly thorough and groundbreaking, are typically ponderous. The book contains a number of interesting factual details and enlightening explanations that this review's reader must access on his or her own. This is not a comprehensive nor definitive book of history (but nor is Mamdani claiming that); it is better described as a historically informed theoretical explanation of the modern preoccupation with defining and managing difference.

A weakness of the work is that Mamdani does not question the conceptual status of "tribe" at all - let's say in the anthropological tradition. Hence, he is driven to showing that those that had been deemed "tribal" by the imperialists were not in fact tribal - by stressing such peoples' pre-colonial cosmopolitanism, demographic fluidity, or political organizing, etcetera. If, however, he had investigated further into the anthropological literature, then he would have come to know that the term "tribe" never actually came around meaningfully and has been deemed inherently flawed since Morton Fried (1975).

Another intriguing, worrisome problem with the book is that it shows no awareness of, and does not engage with the fact that the British efforts to develop pure, native law for India had dated as far back as Warren Hastings, the first governor-general of Bengal through 1772-1785, at whose initiative N B Halhed compiled A Code of Gentoo Laws; or, Ordinations of the Pandits in 1776. Further, compiling an "Ur-text that would simultaneously establish the Hindu and Muslim law" had preoccupied the British since Sir William Jones (1746-1794), well before the Great Revolt of 1857 or imposition of the indirect rule (Bernard Cohn, 1996, p69).

Mamdani likely has an explanation for his jump to Maine; however, he has not shared it with us. In any case, the book's early, pivotal dependence on this singular historical character - out of the crowded past - has about as many strategic disadvantages as benefits.

Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity by Mahmood Mamdani. Harvard University Press (September 17, 2012). ISBN-10: 0674050525. Price: US$25.62; 168 pages.

Piyush Mathur is an independent observer.

(Copyright 2013 Piyush Mathur)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 23 Jan 2014 22:06

Looks like after Edward Said, Mahmood Mamdani is the best at deconstructing the colonial polices of the West. And it has bearing on the present world and the need read and understand his arguments.
Three interviews that give the gist of his book "Define and Rule"

In Conversation with Mahmood Mamdani

Bhakti Shringarpure: Tell us a bit about your recent book, Define and Rule.

Mahmood Mamdani: This book is a set of three lectures, which I gave a few years ago – the W.E.B Du Bois lectures at the department of African and African-American studies at Harvard. At this time, I was trying to understand the big shift in British colonial policy, which heralded a shift in western colonial policy. It suggested a move away from common citizenship to the recognition of “difference” in the political domain. This move took place in the colonies. It was a response to a deep fundamental crisis of British colonial rule marked by two events – the 1857 uprising in India and the Morant Bay rebellion in the 1860s in Jamaica. Some decades later, the Mahdiyya in Sudan followed. British scholars began a sustained, determined search into what had gone wrong. Why did the 1857 uprising take place? Why had the natives rejected the civilizing mission? Among the leading British thinkers, or rather, the one who came up with a response that held sway, was the legal anthropologist Sir Henry Maine. Maine proposed that the only way forward was to understand the agency of “native” and to understand the history through which that agency had been forged. So it’s really a book about nativism, about how the notion of nativism is born and is created by the settler, and is born as a response to a crisis. It traces a journey, from 1857 India to how this becomes a strategy for governance in 20th century African colonies and the ways in which it is then critiqued by the Nigerian historiographical tradition.

BS: Your book Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror is definitely one of your most controversial. The book, while offering a historical context to Darfur, also states that what is taking place there is a violent insurgency and counter-insurgency, but not genocide as the West declared.

At the time, almost four years ago now, you participated in many debates and talks about Darfur. Often, at the end, students and victims from Sudan would throw strong accusations at you. At the debate with John Prendergast at Columbia, one young woman accused you of being against helping refugees. Then, three men from Darfur, who were victims, said, "Stop confusing us with history,” and "It’s always history, never reality for Mamdani." Did you expect such a response? Why did your book yield these reactions?

MM: I had expected that victims’ stories would play a strong role, so I wasn’t really surprised when those questions came up. I do not agree with the point of view that the way forward is victims’ justice. I do have a notion that the real problem, at least in the situations that I know of in the African context, is an ongoing cycle of violence. Victims and perpetrators have tended to trade places over time. Yesterday’s victims become today’s perpetrators. And “victims’ justice” will simply produce another round of violence. How do you bring it to an end? That is really my question. So my answer is that we have to look beyond victims and perpetrators to the issues. What are the issues? What drives the violence? Not just in terms of criminals and criminal justice, but in terms of political justice. It is personally difficult to be confronted by victims, to whose specific suffering I have no response. My books are really not a response to that subject. It is suffering that I can neither deny nor disrespect.

BS: Do you think there is something about the book itself – the form or tone – that yields this resistance to historicizing, politicizing, or seeking nuanced political understanding? Have you thought of it from this perspective?

MM: Yes. Of course my approach evokes these responses, because the conventional approach, the approach used by the contemporary human rights movement, has been to document the atrocities, [to take] testimony, to identify perpetrators, to name and shame. The perpetrator is portrayed as someone with all the agency in the world. The victim is someone with no agency. That’s the narrative. Thus the demand is justice for the victims and punishment for the perpetrators. It is completely abstracted from any context, any history. So the full focus is on the victims, on the suffering of these victims, on their need for some kind of punishment. The alternative I put forward sets this whole thing in context. It suddenly gives the victim some agency and detracts from the total agency of the perpetrator. Of course it cannot be very comfortable. I have no doubt about that.



Book Review Define and Rule-H Net

Mahmood Mamdani. Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity.
Cambridge Harvard University Press, 2012. 168 pp. $29.95 (cloth),
ISBN 978-0-674-05052-5.

Reviewed by Dane Kennedy (George Washington University)
Published on H-Diplo (May, 2013)
Commissioned by Seth Offenbach

Indirect Rule and Its Legacy in Africa

Over the past decade or so, the political scientist and public
intellectual Mahmood Mamdani has established himself as one of our
most penetrating, provocative, and prolific commentators on modern
Africa. He has specialized in probing inquests into the causes of
crises such as those that have afflicted Darfur, Rwanda, and Uganda.
A dominant theme of his work is that the continent's problems can be
traced in large measure to the political and legal structures that
colonial regimes left in their wake. In his 2008 W. E. B. Du Bois
lectures, now published as _Define and Rule_, he offers some
wide-ranging reflections on this colonial legacy, commenting on its
intellectual origins and political consequences.

Anyone who has read Mamdani's _Citizen and Subject: Contemporary
Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism_ (1996) will find the
central thesis of this book familiar: the system of indirect rule
that the British instituted across much of Africa was a
"quintessentially modern" mode of governance that sought "not just to
acknowledge difference but also to shape it" (pp. 1, 2). According to
Mamdani, colonial authorities reified two types of difference--race
and tribe--which distinguished those who were subject to civil law
(Europeans and other immigrants as racial outsiders) from those who
were subject to customary law (Africans as tribal natives). The aim
of the colonial state was to create a classificatory structure that
contained Africans within a multiplicity of mutually exclusive tribal
categories, each with its own distinct traditions and territories:
divide and rule thus became "define and rule." As Mamdani sees it,
the greatest challenge confronting postcolonial Africa has been to
escape the enduring effects of those colonial categories and

Perhaps the most striking way the present study departs from
Mamdani's previous work can be found in the opening lecture/chapter.
Here Mamdani traces the ideological roots of indirect rule in
colonial Africa back to British India in the aftermath of the 1857
mutiny/rebellion. He credits Henry Maine, British India's chief legal
official and prominent social theorist, with laying the intellectual
foundations for indirect rule. Convinced that the rebellion had been
caused by the disintegration of Indian society under the onslaught of
Western modernity, Maine argued that colonial policy needed to
bolster the traditional bonds of kinship and custom that sustained
the village community, which he considered the key stabilizing
institution of Indian life. Although Maine's contribution to the
Raj's conservative turn after 1857 has been examined in far greater
depth in a recent book by Karuna Mantena, the analysis here is cogent
and compelling.[1] Moreover, Mamdani provides a postscript that
tracks a similar shift in thinking among Dutch East Indies
authorities in response to the Aceh rebellion in Sumatra in the late
nineteenth century.

The central challenge for Mamdani is to explain how Maine's policy
prescriptions, which were crafted in response to the crisis the
British faced in India, were transferred to Africa. Mamdani focuses
on the Mahdiyya, the late nineteenth-century Islamic uprising in
Sudan, which he believes "shook the foundations of empire to the
core" in much the same manner as the Indian mutiny/rebellion had done
(p. 68). There are several problems with this argument. The Mahdiyya
originally arose in opposition to Turko-Egyptian--not
British--imperial rule. Although the British became embroiled in
Sudan after they occupied Egypt in 1882, they quickly concluded that
the place was more trouble than it was worth and ordered the
withdrawal of Egyptian forces. Charles "Chinese" Gordon's suicidal
decision to disobey those orders certainly complicated matters, but
it did not alter the outcome. The British pulled out of Sudan and
stayed away for the next sixteen years. When French imperial
ambitions spurred a British return in 1898, General Herbert
Kitchener's forces crushed the Madhist army at the battle of
Omdurman. It is hard to see how either Britain's original withdrawal
from Sudan or its subsequent conquest of the country can be
interpreted as a crisis of imperial confidence that led to a
Maine-like embrace of indirect rule. It is equally hard to see how
British colonial policy across the rest of Africa can be attributed
to what happened in Sudan.

At other points in his analysis, Mamdani seems to offer a rather
different explanation for the introduction of indirect rule to
Africa. He states that Maine's "influence trickled down to all levels
of the [colonial] service" when his work became required reading for
new cadets (p. 31). Mamdani also tentatively suggests that many
"British administrators in Africa ... had more than likely served in
the Indian Service" (p. 86). The implication of these claims is that
Maine's recommendations for remaking the Raj were "transplanted to
African colonies" (p. 7) because they had become administrative
orthodoxy, providing a template for application almost anywhere, not
because the Mahdiyya had traumatized the British.

The larger question is whether indirect rule was simply imposed from
above or responsive to pressures from below. Many historians have
viewed indirect rule as a strategy that sought to mask the fragility
of colonial regimes by forging alliances with traditional elites.
Although this is widely regarded as one of the key outcomes of the
administrative reforms that took place in India after 1857, Mamdani
has little if anything to say about accommodations with indigenous
authorities after the destruction of the Mahdiyya or campaigns of
conquests elsewhere in Africa. As he sees it, the introduction of
indirect rule was evidence of the colonial state's strength, not its
weakness. Indeed, indirect rule is portrayed as a far more insidious
form of colonial power than direct rule because it divided African
peoples into artificially contrived categories of difference that
undermined attempts at mass resistance. Hence Mamdani's stress on the
modernity of indirect rule: far from reconciling itself to
precolonial authorities and traditions, British policy reified those
authorities and traditions for its own purposes. But what were those
purposes? Having addressed this issue at some length in previous
works, Mamdani devotes little attention to it here. It is fair to
say, however, that the debate between Mamdani and his critics largely
hinges on how they answer this question.

The book's concluding chapter/lecture focuses on several Africans who
are celebrated for their efforts to overcome the fissiparous effects
of indirect rule. Mamdani proclaims the Nigerian historian Yusuf Bala
Usman "a towering figure among ... postcolonial intellectuals"
because he rejected the divisive use of cultural tradition in
independent Africa, dismissing it as a residue of indirect rule (p.
88). Usman is contrasted to Western historians of Africa, who are
accused of accepting and perpetuating colonialism's artificially
contrived cultural divisions. Mamdani's other hero is Julius Nyerere,
the founding father of independent Tanzania, whose policies are
praised as "the most successful attempt to dismantle the structures
of indirect rule" (p. 107). Nyerere's Arusha Declaration and his
forced villagization program are presented as important instruments
in that process of dismantlement. Others are more qualified than I to
evaluate these claims.

As the published version of three public lectures, _Define and Rule_
cannot be judged by the standards we apply to academic monographs.
This slim volume covers a great deal of ground, but makes no pretense
of comprehensiveness or analytical cohesion; it is meant to probe,
challenge, and provoke debate. By those criteria, it is a success. It
will do nothing to diminish Mamdani's reputation as one of our most
impassioned commentators on colonialism's impact on modern Africa.


[1]. Karuna Mantena, _Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of
Liberal Imperialism_ (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
2010). Mamdani gave his Du Bois lectures several years before the
publication of Mantena's book.

Citation: Dane Kennedy. Review of Mamdani, Mahmood, _Define and Rule:
Native as Political Identity_. H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews. May, 2013.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States

and finally Harvard Uty:

WEB Dubois Lecture by Mohd Mamdani

Has the vimeo link

Define and Rule focuses on the turn in late nineteenth-century colonial statecraft when Britain abandoned the attempt to eradicate difference between conqueror and conquered and introduced a new idea of governance, as the definition and management of difference. Mahmood Mamdani explores how lines were drawn between settler and native as distinct political identities, and between natives according to tribe. Out of that colonial experience issued a modern language of pluralism and difference.

A mid-nineteenth-century crisis of empire attracted the attention of British intellectuals and led to a reconception of the colonial mission, and to reforms in India, British Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies. The new politics, inspired by Sir Henry Maine, established that natives were bound by geography and custom, rather than history and law, and made this the basis of administrative practice.

Maine’s theories were later translated into “native administration” in the African colonies. Mamdani takes the case of Sudan to demonstrate how colonial law established tribal identity as the basis for determining access to land and political power, and follows this law’s legacy to contemporary Darfur. He considers the intellectual and political dimensions of African movements toward decolonization by focusing on two key figures: the Nigerian historian Yusuf Bala Usman, who argued for an alternative to colonial historiography, and Tanzania’s first president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who realized that colonialism’s political logic was legal and administrative, not military, and could be dismantled through nonviolent reforms.

My thesis is even American policy towards Native Americans is based on similar concepts. And can be extended to post-Civil War Jim Crow laws in the South which finally got repealed due to the Martin Luther King movement.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 09 Feb 2014 23:23

The only nation besides our own that is not yet befouled by either Islam or Christianity is the Manchu Ch'ing empire. Countries such as Korea or Annam have also done an admirable job of maintaining their independence (tokuritsu) by remaining unconverted to those occult religions.

- Shinron (New Theses) By Aizawa Seishisai, 1825

Barbarians (Muslims & Christians) are, after all barbarians. It is only natural that they adhere to a barbarian Way, and normally we could let things go at that. But today they have their hearts set on transforming our Middle Kingdom Civilization to barbarism (Christianity). They will not rest until they desecrate the gods, and destroy the Way of Virtue, until they lure all peoples into their ranks and take over all lands in the world. Our Way of Virtue and their deceitful techniques are as incompatible as fire and ice. The universe is not vast enough to contain us both: "Unless their barbarous way is blotted out, the Way of Amaterasu and our Sage Emperors remains unelucidated."133 Until the Way of Amaterasu and our Sage Emperors is elucidated, their barbarous way remains to be blotted out. Either we transform them or they will transform us-we are on a collision course. How can a leader of planning and vision shirk his duty of counteracting [their] deceit with our justice? Only thus can he spare future generations from pestilence!

- Shinron (New Theses) By Aizawa Seishisai, 1825



Aizawa Seishisai (1781-1863) was an important Confucian scholar and tutor to the lords of Mito, a branch of the
Tokugawa family. Aizawa’s greatest work, Shinron (“New Theses”), was written in 1825, in the wake of a string of
incidents of Western ships entering Japanese waters. Now considered a seminal contribution to Japanese nationalist
Shinron tapped into rising sentiments in Japan supporting a more active political role for the emperor and a
firm stand against the intrusions of Western “barbarians.” Aizawa’s writings, as well as the work of other scholars in
what was known as the Mito School, would later prove an inspiration to the detractors of the Tokugawa shogunate
who rallied around the slogan sonnō jōi (“revere the Emperor and expel the barbarians”). ... hinron.pdf

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 19 Feb 2014 09:26

the heathen in his blindness by s.n. balagangadhara ... ndness.pdf

Today, most intellectuals agree that: a) Christianity has profoundly influenced western culture; b) members from different cultures experience many aspects of the world differently; c) the empirical and theoretical study of both culture and religion emerged within the West. This study argues that these truisms have implications for the conceptualization of religion and culture. More specifically, the thesis is that non-western cultures and religions differ from the descriptions prevalent in the West. The author proposes analyses of religion, the Roman "religio", the construction of "religions" in India, and the nature of cultural differences. Religion is important to the West because the constitution and the identity of western culture is tied to the dynamic of Christianity as a religion. ... 9004099433

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 20 Feb 2014 02:09 ... picks=true

The colonisation of the mind

The obsession with English has kept the masses from participating in the development of the nation

In last week’s column, it was established that people overwhelmingly prefer their own language to English, as evidenced by the language of the newspapers and television programmes they consume.

Yet, since Independence, the leaders of India have retained English in government, business, law and all important affairs of the country.

There are three predominant myths around the English language.

Myth 1

English is needed for the modern world

The argument goes that all current-day learning and scientific advancements are communicated mainly in English. Therefore, India needs to conduct its affairs principally in English. If this were the case, the top nations of the world should all be doing the same. But they don’t.

There can be no argument about the success in science and modernisation in Japan and Germany and other nations, and these countries conduct their affairs mainly in their own language.

Education in these countries is in the language of the people, making everything inclusive. The contribution made by these countries to scientific progress is unquestionable. Global experience shows that English is not a pre-requisite for progress.

Myth 2

English is a link language for a globally integrated world

People argue that English is needed as the main language to benefit from a globally integrated world. This is true only when it comes to international affairs which is but a small part of the nation’s activities.

To suggest that the English language is the only way does not add up.

A look at the main exporting nations of the world (Table 1) shows that eight out of ten of them do not conduct their internal affairs in English. They do what they have been doing for centuries, which is conduct their affairs in their own languages. All are hugely successful on the global stage.

Myth 3

English in the IT industry

We often hear that India’s success in IT is only due to the predominance of English in the country. While it has been useful to have a pool of English-speaking people to draw from for the IT industry, to conclude that therefore English should be the dominant language is hugely misleading.

Take the case of Samsung Electronics. Among the predominant IT companies in the world, it from South Korea where the Korean language is predominant.

Set up in 1969, Samsung in 2012 recorded global sales of $189 billion which is higher than the sales of the two tech giants IBM (sales $105 billion) and Microsoft ($78 billion) combined. This demolishes the theory that English has to be the predominant language of the country for success in the global IT world.

What is required for success is a clear intent, converted into powerful strategy and backed by relentless execution --- and not the English language.

The real cost of English

The history of the imposition of English in India is well known. It was a way for a small number of British nationals (in 1900 it was only around 1,30,000 in India) to rule over 300 million plus Indian subjects.

A tiny group of Indians was trained in English to help the British rule, and act as intermediaries for the Empire. English became the ticket to a better life of privileges during the British Raj.

After Independence, the imposition of Hindi as the national language was opposed by the non-Hindi-speaking states.

The use of English was justified because it was said to serve as the link language and it was kept as the language of business and law and government

The negative impact of this policy on the country has been huge, with the masses kept out of participating in the development of the nation by a linguistic wall, resulting in perhaps the largest underutilisation of human capital ever. At a time when the country was required to be participative, democratic and all inclusive, laying emphasis on English made the nation become a preserve of the exclusive and the elite.

A unique form of apartheid on the basis of language is unwittingly being practised in the country. India is that rare country where local languages are classified as ‘vernacular’.

The Merriam dictionary defines the word ‘vernacular’ as “a dialect native to a region rather than a literary or cultured language”. Imagine Japanese or German being called ‘vernacular’! The correct thing to do would have been to declare English a ‘foreign’ language.

India should have followed the Japanese or German or Korean model which enables people to learn anything and everything in their own language; learning a foreign language is never a requirement.

Boosting confidence

Consequently the strength of the entire population is harnessed for economic progress.

The confidence level in these nations is high compared to India which is always looking West and where people are made to feel inferior if they are not proficient in English.

The political parties who talk of inclusive growth should put linguistic inclusion on the nation’s agenda.

While English can remain optional, every Indian should have the opportunity to get ahead on the basis of knowing his/her own language. There will be a surge in growth if people are able to learn and grow and participate in their own language.

Thinking afresh on the language issue will be hugely beneficial. Is any political party willing to see this opportunity? (Concluded)

The writer is the Group CEO, RK Swamy Hansa, and Visiting Faculty, Northwestern University. The views are personal

(This article was published on February 19, 2014)

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby gandharva » 28 Feb 2014 02:36

"Academic study privileges etic (outsider) view of religion over emic (practitioner) view. This is objective for "book" based religions only. God's REVELATION (Abrahamic) can be studied objectively by anyone equally. But EMBODIED KNOWING is not "text" & needs inner state/anubhava. Point is that Revelation can be studied by outsiders equally because it does not need embodied experience to understand "commands"/"laws". EMBODIED KNOWING is like you cannot appreciate music without experiencing, just by analyzing the written musical scores (text). You cannot know cuisine you never ate just because you read a text describing it. Difference between 1st person & 3rd person experiences"


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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby panduranghari » 28 Feb 2014 05:51

Constructing a grand narrative.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 07 Mar 2014 09:01

The Western barbarians have independent and mutually contending states, but they all follow the same God. When there is something to be gained by it, they get together in order to achieve their aims and share the benefits. But when trouble is brewing, each stays within his own boundaries for self-protection. So when there is trouble in the West the East generally enjoys peace. But when the trouble has quieted down, they go out to ravage other lands in all directions and then the East becomes a sufferer. Russia for instance, having subjugated the Western plains, turned eastward to take over Siberia and penetrate the Amur River region. But as the Manchus were still strong in China, the Russians could not attain their objectives and had to turn their aggressive designs toward the land of the Ainu.

As to the Western barbarians who have dominated the seas for nearly three centuries—do they surpass others in intelligence and bravery? Does their benevolence and mercy overflow their own borders? Are their social institutions and administration of justice perfect in every detail? Or do they have supernatural powers enabling them to accomplish what other men cannot? Not so at all. All they have is Christianity to fall back upon in the prosecution of their schemes. . . . When these barbarians plan to subdue a country not their own, they start by opening commerce and watch for a sign of weakness. If an opportunity is presented, they will preach their alien religion to captivate the people's hearts. Once the people's allegiance has been shifted, they can be manipulated and nothing can be done to stop it. The people will be only too glad to die for the sake of the alien God. They have the courage to give battle; they offer all they own in adoration of the God and devote their resources to the cause of insurrection. The subversion of the people and overthrowing of the state are taught as being in accord with the God's will. So in the name of all-embracing love the subjugation of the land is accomplished. Though greed is the real motive, it masquerades as a righteous uprising. The absorption of the country and conquest of its territories are all done in this fashion.

- Shinron (New Theses) by Aizawa Seishisai, 1825

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby sanjaykumar » 07 Mar 2014 09:16

A wise man once snorted that Christianity was the west's killer app.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Klaus » 07 Mar 2014 16:42

ramana wrote:NYT on Ashkenazi Jews origins:

The finding establishes that the women who founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Europe were not from the Near East, as previously supposed, and reinforces the idea that many Jewish communities outside Israel were founded by single men who married and converted local women.

On a slightly lateral note, the land north of the Black Sea (consisting of today's Crimea & provinces bordering the Sea of Azov) was known as Ashkenaz, due to the Bronze & Iron age underwater settlements. Its still not resolved whether they were actually Semitic (no DNA testing has taken place to my knowledge). This goes back to the period of the Thracian settlements & artifacts located further west in the Carpathians, Romania, Poland & Bulgaria and perhaps even earlier.

One starting point is to ascertain when exactly the Black Sea started going anoxic and produced bouts of Hydrogen Sulphide, whether it occurred prior to the sea water deluge across the Dardanelles or after. At times, I think its this constant cross-referencing with Biblical accounts that gets in the way of producing work of real consequence.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 07 Mar 2014 18:12

At the beginning of the Kan'ei era [1624-44], the bakufu passed edicts forbidding the casting of barbarian images and forcing all stupid commoners who had been Christians to tread on the Cross as a test of loyalty. The barbarians probably surmised that they could not evade this bakufu decree; the mere thought of paying anchor at Nagasaki struck fear in their hearts. Ch'ing writers who advocated razing churches and eradicating Christianity in their own land lauded our policies...

When state power is on the upswing, Heaven lends a helping hand. So it was at Shimabara. Heaven brought all the realm's Christians together in one castle so that they could be exterminated. At that time, the barbarians were doing their best to propagate Christianity in our land... But as soon as they arrived, they were cut down. When other barbarians heard this news, they were so dejected that, according to one Ming writer, they muttered to themselves, "[Japanese officials are so perceptive] they must have three eyes each."...

Again the dimwits argue, "The barbarians' religion is a set of shallow, base doctrines. They may deceive stupid commoners with it, but they will never beguile our superior men (chun tzu). There is no cause for alarm." But the great majority of people in the realm are stupid commoners; superior men are very few in number. Once the hearts and minds of the stupid commoners have been captivated, we will lose control of the realm. The ancient sage kings enforced harsh penalties for seditious and subversive activities (in the Book of Rites); such was their hatred for those who incited stupid commoners to rebel. The barbarians' religion infiltrated Kyushu once before, and spread like the plague among stupid commoners. Within less than a hundred years, two hundred eighty thousand converts were discovered and brought to justice. This indicates how fast the contagion can spread. Should we allow our stupid commoners to be deceived and converted once again, and in addition, should we permit nefarious lords such as Otomo Sorin and Konishi Yoshinaga to win over and employ these converts in furthering their wicked ends, the resulting insurrections will not be easy to suppress. It is of no avail for a few superior men to remain untouched by the pollution spreading around them. The immunity of superior men to Christianity does not permit complacence.

- Aizawa_New Theses Parts 1. 4. 6. and 7 with Forward ... _4_6_7.pdf

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 21 Apr 2014 21:50

Colonization proceeds according to a formula: first come merchants, then missionaries, and finally soldiers. While Miura based his speculations on the example of the Dutch colonization of Java, other Japanese thinkers turned to the role of the Spanish in the Philippines.47 In these accounts, Christianity advances by rendering a country pliable and open to potential colonization. Historians of empire and imperial ideology will note that as early as the eighteenth century, Japanese writers were producing full-blown diagnoses of a specifically cultural imperialism, which goes back to the insight that dominance can occur not only through military, but more subtly through the diffusion of a new ideology...

Sunzi suggests that the best generals subdue a country without fighting, in essence by subverting its morale.48 This allows them to take a kingdom intact and without bloodshed. Accordingly, the critique above regards Christianity as a method for sabotaging a country's morale by producing a new set of divergent allegiances.

Influential scholar and ideologue Aizawa Seishisai (1782-1863) made an explicit connection between The Art of War and the barbarian creed in his important New Thesis (Shinron, 1825):

[The barbarians] are truly adept at "subduing the enemy without resorting to battle." They lure our commoners over to their side through their barbarian sect, for they have learned well the lesson, "to take over the enemy's homeland and people intact is the best strategy of all."49

- The Invention of Religion in Japan By Jason Ananda Josephson, p. 54-55 ... on&f=false

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 07 May 2014 07:45

In fact, the very first act of Jesuit missionary consolidation in the town that became their center, Nagasaki, was in this mode. When the order to established its first church there in 1569, they ‘dissimulated’ (Port: dissimular). The ‘church’ was a disused temple, but rather than removing the Buddhist icons and replacing them with Christian ones, the Jesuits left the pieces in place, hoodwinking the congregation into thinking the message that they were preaching was concordant with, not oppositional to, that of the prior-occupants; Gaspar Vilela openly wrote, “I dissimilated, gathering all the heathens of the land, who heard my sermon. The first time they were not very satisfied, but the second time they grasped the true knowledge.” The policy therefore worked and, “in this way in the first year all of them, who must be 1500 people, were baptised.” Only then did Vilela “dismantle the pagode [i.e. temple] and I made a very gracious Church of All Saints in it.”110 This propensity did not go unnoticed in Japan. When Carlo Spinola (1554–1622) was apprehended going about in concealing garments near Hirado... he was interrogated on behalf of the Japanese authorities by an apostate named João or Heizō. Spinola was asked, “how can the Christian clerics go so far as to pretend and disguise themselves?” Apparently an Englishman was present, and he butted in that such “is the habitual way with these priests.”... If it was no longer possible to trust what was said—if, in Japanese terminology, truth (shin 信) were lost, government could not function, never mind whether or not treason was contemplated. This may have been what Ieyasu meant when he told the Viceroy, as quoted above, that Christianity was “distinct.” Ieyasu said he could not detect in it the quintet of Japanese religious desiderata: benevolence, virtue, rites, knowledge and truth (jin gi rei chi shin 仁義礼智信), that kept the law and the dharma equipoised.

- The English and the Control of Christianity in the Early Edo Period by Timon Screech

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 09 May 2014 07:50

In times past, even the worst spreaders of sedition were fellow nationals working from within. But the Western barbarians are different. They all believe in the same religion, Christianity, which they use to annex territories. Wherever they go, they destroy native houses of worship, deceive the local peoples, and seize those lands. These barbarians will settle for nothing less than subjugating the rulers of nations and conscripting all peoples into their ranks. And they are becoming aggressive. Having overthrown the native regimes on Luzon and Java, they turned their predatory eyes on our Divine Realm. They instigated insurrections in Kyushu using the same methods as on Luzon and Java: Not only in Japan have nefarious commoners led people astray by spreading wicked doctrines. Fortunately, our enlightened lords and their astute advisors perceived the foreigners' pernicious designs and took steps to exterminate them. Due to our leaders' wise policies, Christianity was utterly eradicated. Not a single adherent remained alive to subvert our Middle Kingdom, and our people have been spared from the foreigners' wiles for two hundred years.

Even so, Amaterasu's Great Way is not fully elucidated, and the people have nothing to rely on spiritually... Our present situation is like that of a patient recovering from a near fatal disease: Though his life is no longer in danger, he is weak and in doubt about his best future course of action. He needs something spiritual to rely on within, and he is attracted to many harmful things from without.

One source of harm that has appeared of late is Dutch Studies. This discipline grew out of translation work-the reading and deciphering of Dutch books by specially trained interpreter-officials. There is no harm in Dutch Studies itself; the harm comes when some dupe with a smattering of second-hand knowledge of foreign affairs mistakenly lauds the far-fetched notions spun out by Western barbarians, or publishes books to that effect in an attempt to transform our Middle Kingdom to barbarian ways... Should the wily barbarians someday be tempted to take advantage of this situation and entice our stupid commoners to adopt beliefs and customs that reek of barbarism, how could we stop them? [The Book of Changes tells us,] "The lining of frost on which we tread [in early winter soon] turns into a hard sheet of ice." We must adopt appropriate measures to thwart them now, before it is too late...

No one who understands such matters can help being angry and vexed.

- Shinron (New Theses) by Aizawa Seishisai, 1825 CE

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Lilo » 14 May 2014 15:59


Photo: A girl being fed bananas in a human zoo,Brussels World’s Fair, Belgium, 1958

Expo 58, also known as the Brussels World’s Fair October 1958. It was the first major World's Fair after World War II.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby member_19686 » 23 May 2014 23:39

Rajiv Malhotra
Chinese journalism apprecates the strategic significance of my book BEING DIFFERENT more than Indian MSM has. Read: ... creativity ... 7695639554

In East-West debate, opposing ideas are necessary for creativity
Andrew Sheng says the East-West debate on a global political order can't ignore holistic thinking

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 May, 2014, 8:04pm

In the early 1990s, a fierce East-West debate arose about whether the economic success of Asia was due to Asian values of hard work, fealty and paternalistic government, largely attributable to Confucianism, Islam, Hinduism and other Asian cultures. The debate faded when the Asian financial crisis cut back the hubris on both sides, and especially since the triumphalism of the West was shattered by the recession of 2007-2009.

There was a subtle shift in 2011 when Francis Fukuyama published a new book, The Origins of Political Order, in which he looked more carefully into whether the Western liberal democratic model was necessarily the default model of future global social evolution.

As Asian economies powered ahead after 2007, a new strand of voices began to be heard. The debate shifted towards questioning whether Western values are truly universal. Prominent among the Indian critique is a book by Rajiv Malhotra, Being Different, which argues that India differs significantly from the West, specifically US culture. This is because its dharma tradition (incorporating Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) offers a diversity of beliefs that differs radically from the Judeo-Christian origins of Western culture.

The Chinese response, as expounded by Fudan University professor Zhang Weiwei, is that within China, there are two views on China's development. One is that to be modern, China must adopt universal values; the other is that China must find its own path based on its own cultural traditions.

In his book, The China Wave: Rise of a Civilizational State, Zhang argued that China is the only country which "amalgamated the world's longest continuous civilisation with a huge modern state". He debated with Fukuyama on whether the rise of the middle class in China would give rise to universal values shared by the middle class elsewhere. Fukuyama felt there would be universal values; Zhang thought otherwise.

Recent research by Nanyang Technological University professor Chiu Chi-Yue on cultural mixing suggests Zhang may be right. He studied why the Chinese consumer public objected to putting a Starbucks outlet, a symbol of the modern middle class, in the Forbidden City. He found that people tended to sort values into three categories: business, social and sacred. Most were pretty relaxed over business activities, but they could get offended if social behaviour intruded into personal space. Moreover, over things they considered sacred, the reaction could be very strong, even to the point of violence.

Each culture has icons, institutions or things considered sacred, which may require sacrifice to defend. While people do not mind cultural mixing in the business and social spheres, when they sense foreign contamination in what they hold as sacred, they will resist.

Professor Chiu's work suggests that if different cultures hold different things sacred, there can be no homogeneity in values. But this does not mean that genes, beliefs and ideas do not mix and become hybrids. Society adapts to cultural and genetic mixing. Too much inbreeding creates genetic and social fragility and ultimately decay, whereas openness to new ideas and innovation, however strange, create rejuvenation.

To claim that one faction is superior to another takes only one side of a contradiction of life - that competitiveness is simultaneously creative and destructive. Eastern philosophy realises that to be sustainable, opposites must coexist.

In contrast, Western thinking, originating from Judaic and Christian beliefs, starts with one God and one ideal unity. For every problem, there is a single unique solution. Its scientific approach is to break the whole down into parts for more detailed and specialised examination, knowing more and more about less and less.

But life is all about interconnections and interdependencies that form an ever-changing whole.

The recent failure of neoclassical economic models is the best example of how crises cannot be explained by models based on "rational behaviour". Eastern holistic thinking is fuzzy, contradictory, often non-logical and non-linear - but it is founded on long human experience, pragmatism and is adaptive to change. On the other hand, any theory, however elegant, is based on limited information and experience, and is incomplete and flawed.

History and civilisation must consider the different disciplines of geography, sociology, economics, politics, physics and biology and, today, climate change. Our natural environment has been drastically changed by excess consumption, and we either adapt, cooperate or fail.

Hence, the common factor that unifies East and West, North and South is that technology and climate change are affecting us all at internet speed. As Keynes brutally recognised, in the long run we are all dead, but those who live must try to avoid mutual destruction. Change is the only constant.

Andrew Sheng is a distinguished fellow at the Fung Global Institute ... creativity

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby ramana » 17 Jul 2014 02:58

X-Posted from Western Universalism thread...

Rudradev wrote:
abhischekcc wrote:
{quote="Rudradev"}[b]What economic-military and demographic weight did the early Christians have against the Roman Empire? Yet, by this one expedient of targeting influential people and seizing authority over prevailing self-narrative, they conquered the Roman Empire during the reign of one monarch, Constantine. Then they consolidated their grasp by recasting the entire way in which the Roman Empire saw itself, the world, its past history, and by projection its future destiny.[b] JohneeG ji has written of the disastrous results for all of Europe in his new thread.{/quote}

Again, wrong way of reading history.

Actually, your post quite clearly reveals whose version of "history" you have been reading.

Xtians were highly persecuted by the Roman empire. After many centuries, it was made a partner along with two other religions - European Sun worship and Persian religion of Mithraism.

As JohneeG points out, there is little evidence to show that Xtians faced any particularly harsh degree of persecution. It is manufactured nonsense to claim the mantle of victimhood and justify their later excesses. Many have written, for example, that the fire of Rome under Nero's reign was arson deliberately conducted by Xtian terrorists themselves.

Also, the story hardly adds up does it... the Xtians were supposedly persecuted en masse, thrown to the lions for two centuries, then all of a sudden the same evil oppressive Romans said "hello Xtians, let us make you a partner along with Mithraism and Apollonism as one of our Empire's Great Religions"?

Much later, due to Constantine getting a sun stroke, seeing a cross in his delirium, and then winning the next battle - he became convinced of the power of the 'cross'.

This is one of those absurdly reductive apocryphal stories that the West selectively accepts as "historical fact" when it is convenient to their worldview. A nice little fairy-tale to cover up the sort of machinations, bribery, blackmail, assassinations and what-not that actually drove the adoption of Xtianity as a Roman state religion.

Similar stories abound by the thousand in Hindu folklore, about various rulers being influenced by this or that omen to take a particular decision. Yet if we tried to incorporate our own folklore into our own historical narrative, it would be under immediate, vicious and relentless attack as "superstition", "chauvinism", "majoritarianism" etc. from our OWN brown saheb leftist academics. Such things wouldn't be allowed into our school curriculum even with the caveat that they are folklore. Yet, note that the West uses exactly this type of narrative to conceal the darker corners of early J-C expansionist history.

Remember even in this sequence, it was the Roman military power that subsumed Xtian Church to its own purpose, and not the other way round.

I think you need to look harder at the sequence.

Look at the timeline of maps showing the extent of Roman imperium over the period 390 BCE to 500 CE here:

The Roman Empire expanded steadily to its maximum sphere of influence, as a unitary state, under Septimus Severus in 200 CE. Non-Xtian.

When Constantine took over in 306 it was already beginning to slip from this pinnacle. After accepting Xtianity one of his first, tactically brilliant moves was to PARTITION the Roman Empire into two independently administered sections, Western (ruled from Rome) and Eastern (ruled from Byzantine), effectively destroying the unitary nature of its cultural identity. That sowed the seeds for its physical destruction over the era that followed.

By 476 the "Empire" was a fragmented shambles. Western Europe belonged to the Franks, Visigoths, Vandals and Britons... Rome ITSELF was ruled by a foreigner, the German Odoacer, and what called itself "Roman Empire" was basically Byzantium and its surrounding principalities.

This is the state it reached just 150-odd years after the adoption of Xtianity as a State Religion by Constantine. As compared to 600 years of steady expansion, relative economic stability, and radiant cultural influence before the adoption of Xtianity.

Within 150 years "Rome" as it had existed was gone... its civilizational narrative and unique identity utterly lost. Since then the shell of imperial infrastructure it left behind served only one "winner"... the Xtian Church... by providing a skeletal support system for the so-called "Holy Roman Empire". In cultural terms the Classical Age was replaced by a centuries-long Dark Age all across Europe. Xtianity was the only winner... Rome was the corpse after the parasite had devoured it.

So please tell me again, who subsumed who to its purpose?

Added Later: The grand-nephew of Constantine, Emperor Julian, recognized (though too late) that a Christianized Roman Empire was doomed in a way it had never been before. He (guided by a few supportive thinkers, such as Libanius of Antioch and Priscus of Panium) recognized that Judeo-Christian Universalism would inevitably undermine the traditions of Hellenistic belief that stitched together the people, soldiers, administrators and rulers of the Roman Empire, and which provided an indigenous and culturally-grounded rationale for the ascension and authority of the Augustus.

Julian did his best to overthrow the JC-universalist mafia who had come to dominate the intellectual, cultural and therefore political/military discourse in Rome after Constantine. The Christians assassinated him.

Please read "Julian" by Gore Vidal for a historically accurate and detailed exposition of these events.

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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby Rony » 19 Jul 2014 16:59

A Srilankan writing on the destruction of Buddhism in Maldives

The Maldives - A Forgotten Buddhist Past

Imagine yourself voyaging in a sailing ship from the Equator coming due north, some seven hundreds of kilometres longitudinally west of Sri Lanka . For hundreds of miles you pass islands both on the left
and on the right as you travel, all set in a sparkling blue ocean. From the palm fringed shores of these
islands, both large and small, arise dazzling white stupas each with a towering spire pointing high into
the sky. That is the picture of the Maldivian islands in pre-Islamic times some eight hundred years ago.

It is a reasonable assumption that monks and lay Buddhists would have gone over there from Sri
Lanka a very long time ago. They established close links with the existing Maldivians who subsequently,
had a religion and a culture almost indistinguishable from our own.

The year 1153 C.E. proved to be a great turning point for the religion of those islands. According to a
legend related in the chronicle Tarikh, Sheik Yusuf Shams-ud-din arrived in the Islands and exorcised the
spirits said to have possessed the King Theemugy Maha Kalaminja, a Buddhist.

He promptly converted to Islam and ordered his courtiers to do likewise. In a short time all the inhabitants of the islands had changed their religion. In this way the Maldives lost its ancient culture built up over more than a thousand years and with it, Buddhism.

Consequently Arabic culture soon engulfed the Maldivian way of life. Travellers returning from Arab
lands pressed for the full Islamisation of the country to ensure the security of Islam and to expunge
Buddhism from public memory. The people began to add on or even adopt completely new Arabic names. The old script, evele akuru, which closely resembled sinhala akuru, was replaced by the Arabic script.

Paucity of literary recordsThere are no literary records left except for a few inscriptions engraved on statues and coral slabs to give us a guide to the nature of pre-Islamic Maldives .

But the extensive archeological discoveries found in almost all of the inhabited islands afford us
considerable insights into the nature of the Maldivian past which is mainly Buddhist culture and which
closely paralleled the state of Buddhism that prevailed in this country in those times. The
discovery of a figure of Tara shows us that elements of Mahayana Buddhism had also found a niche in
Maldivian Buddhism just as it had in Sri Lanka during the late Anuradhapura period.

Buddhism in the face of Semitic intolerance

Semitic monotheistic religions insist on the destruction and sweeping away of the past wherever it
triumphs or has become a majority in the host population. The message of the Old Testament of the
Bible is clear on this subject. Speaking of rival religions it says, “destroy their altars, break their
images, and cut down their groves”. (Exodus: 34: 13).

This is confirmed in the Holy Qur’an which says, “Slay the polytheists wherever you find them” (Qur’an 9:5).
These culture-obliterating Biblical Quranic clauses has caused Buddhism to suffer greatly or be
exterminated entirely in Asia, where, before it had flourished and made huge contributions to raising
levels of culture and happiness in Asian civilisation. The absence of absolute rules, giving freedom in so
many areas, allowed great cultural statement in Buddhist societies.

In stark contrast, the new absolutism, newly installed in the Maldives and as elsewhere, resulted, as the
Professor’s book relates, in the harmless but free-thinking Buddhist monks and all those who
resisted the change, to be beheaded all to the gleeful shouts of ‘Allah hu Akbar’

All these Asian countries with a Buddhist past would have experienced a great and wilful destruction of
their own Buddhist art, architecture and monuments. These would be either modified or replaced entirely as
a means of obliterating the memory of a tolerant religion.
An additional reason for the loss in the
Maldives is that many Buddhist monuments were made of softer rocks or coral, which deteriorated in time.

Place names such as Lankafuri (‘City of Lanka ’) and Viha Mana Furi (Vihara Mana Pura) ‘Delightful City of Buddhist Monasteries’ are easily recognisable to those conversant with the Sinhala Language.

It is a theme of this writing to reveal the similarities between the Maldivians and the Sinhala
cultures that existed a thousand years ago. Peaceful monks who went there from Sri Lanka had planted the
Buddhist culture there. They were not military adventurers or invaders directed to uproot existing
cultures and replace them with new ideas of religion. Nor did they disorientate the inhabitants by requiring
worship of revered items unseen and in far distant lands.

The Maldives being a series of flat coral islands, were on the main sea routes to the East and, without
strong and determined defence were easy prey for pirates, buccaneers and adventurers. They were very
vulnerable to attacks and invasions from seafarers or overseas cultures. Finally this actually happened and
they submitted to their fate. Today not even a small Buddha statue can be introduced to these islands
without attracting a criminal penalty.

Sri Lanka is indeed, very fortunate to still practice Buddhism despite the various changes in its fortunes over the centuries of 2500 years. The fate of Buddhist Maldives is an object lesson for the Sinhalese.

BRF Oldie
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby UlanBatori » 19 Jul 2014 18:49

Photo: A girl being fed bananas in a human zoo,Brussels World’s Fair, Belgium, 1958

And my problem with desis admiring the Huntington "Clash of Civilizations" KKK line is that no one sets up a "zoo" without a lot of different varieties of the species. So think carefully: what who else was in this "Human Zoo" that drew such crowds of Civilized Westerners? Even in 1958?

BR Mainsite Crew
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Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby vishvak » 21 Jul 2014 18:41

UlanBatoriji, please throw some light on who else were there in the human zoo, and also careful thinking in case there were some Indians displayed in the zoo as animals. Those who set up the zoo, those who allowed it during times of civilizing others, those who visited the zoo in awe - all these people never did the careful thinking part but surely we will.

JE Menon
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Posts: 7022
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Non-Western Worldview

Postby JE Menon » 21 Jul 2014 20:07

A Western view on a non-Western Worldview through an anti-atheism prism... Interesting, and there are several parts. I think the guy has genuinely tried to understand... ... 4B982F280B

I don't think this has been posted here before.

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