Monday, 26 December 2016

Gandhi and Nehru and Marx and villages.

Aparna Krishnan And when Marx and Nehru labelled villages as cesspools of superstition and ignorance, or something else like that, there is only so much that their frameworks can give this country. A country rooted in villages.

Mark Johnston The European and Russian villages Marx would have come across perhaps had little surviving in the way of traditional wisdom and practice. Patriarchal imported Christianity and an almost all poweful aristocracy ensured that old ways, ingrained by generations of survival with the land, had been almost completely discarded and forgotten. Foolishly, 'revolutionaries' from the urban elite were taken in by the myth, or was it the lie, of progress. They were looking to a future where technological 'improvements' ended the widespread starvation caused, not by stupidity of villagers but by the agricultural 'improvements' forced on them by their so called betters. Of course, this could not and did not work out for the better.
Not sure what Nehru's excuse was...
  
Comments
Narayana Sarma 1. Nehru was a product of the times. If he did not stand for all that he stood for, he would have been replaced by someone else who would stand for everything that well, he stood for. (If Aparna Krishnan was the then prime minister, she would have done exactly what Nehru did.)

Aparna Krishnan If Aparna Krishnan had spoken her mind, as she probably would have, she would have been quietly put away in the dustbin. The Mahatma was regelated to the background. FYI, you are I are presently in the dustbin !! 

Narayana Sarma 2. Villages then sure would have had some semblance of 'wisdom' but we have no means to say that they did not have the other two things mentioned- ignorance and superstition. It is important to see that knowledge in our villages coexisted with superstition all along. Our society was heavily stratified, we have our caste, untouchability, etc when the west had its slavery.

Aparna Krishnan what does not have good and bad ? The question is whether one believes in villages and works on reestablishing villages, or believes that they need to be wiped out and cities established.

Narayana Sarma 3. The proposition that the villages Marx saw had little by way of traditional
 knowledge sounds a bit too gross. What you said in that context seems to suggest that a) Christianity is some special and worst kind of patriarchal religion while others are not. b) there was some special aristocracy there which did not exist elsewhere in the world c) that prolonged exposure to the above two causes traditional wisdom to disappear, (in which case the contemporary indian villages, exposed to both of them for over hundred years would have no traditional knowledge left)- and none of these- I am sure- can be substantiated.

Narayana Sarma 4. I believe Marx's take off on Capital based society (btw that is what exists everywhere today) is not as much his observation/opinion, as it is his prophesy- the villages are fast becoming cesspools of superstition and ignorance (even if they were not then) and it follows that cities take them over. The capital as a force will draw the hitherto closed societies into world trade- and as a consequence the differences of class get more and more strongly defined, and as more and more people get marginalised, branded and discarded, retaliations arise in various forms, in various places, sometimes isolated and sometimes not so, sometimes victorious and sometimes losing out.
Aparna Krishnan

Aparna Krishnan And why would he decide that villages would become cesspools. And why did not Gandhi (or Naren or you ?)

Narayana Sarma Aparna Krishnan Marx deduced that from his theory of dielectics.

Narayana Sarma Gandhi did not work that way- he believed in the essential goodness of human beings, which when appealed to, could change the course of history, could alter even the laws of dielectics. Marx on the other hand went on to say that these forces of Capital destroy everything held hitherto sacred, will demolish every 'idea' for what the capitalist society offers- 'individual profit'.

Aparna Krishnan Well, and today the economics we see does butress Marx. But I see the essential goodness in villages and their framework that needs to be protected.  Cities are the cesspools ! Morally as well as literally.

Narayana Sarma Gandhi, (and Naren too) tried to appeal to the essential goodness of Man. I observe here that very few- countable- people like yourself have responded to the call. On the other hand several people like Nehru saw it fit to ignore Gandhi beyond a certain point. Gandhi got sidelined, and so was Naren. The larger wheel of Capital however marches on- it draws people away from villages into cities- whether the former/latter are cesspools or not. It offers them jobs which would emancipate them- give them new identities in place of the old, disgusting ones. Gandhi's, Narens, and Aparnas (well, narayanas too, if you insist :) ) will however go ahead and do whatever they like best.

Aparna Krishnan Now I repeat the earlier cross-question "One of the standard things critics of Gandhi say is that he allowed the capitalists to direct the course away from gram swaraj into a centralized industry because their support was needed. Would you consider the criticism valid ? Was anything else possible given the times and the exigencies ? And given that his first and last dream was gram swaraj ..."

Narayana Sarma Can't fault Gandhi there. Gram Swaraj was Gandhi's 'idea'. And Marx observes that history has proven time and again that ideas do not rule social laws. It is the economic 'substructure' that always ruled. Though sometimes it may give out some impression that ideas also mean something, the effect is almost without exception, very temporary in nature.

Aparna Krishnan So Kumarappa worked for the economic framework. When petroleum gets thus subsidized, all economics goes awry. Neither is a non renewable resource costed, or the permanent damage to the earth. What sort of economics is that Narayana ?

Narayana Sarma Capitalist economics is like that. Who says it is logical, rational or whatever that goes with ethics?

Aparna Krishnan You sound as if your head follows Marx, but your heart leads you along Gandhi's gram swaraj. Then how will you work out the economic basis for the this ?

Aparna Krishnan   And as to capitalism 'succeeding' on basis of a self-destroying logic - I am not very sure what that indicates. 

Narayana Sarma Aparna Krishnan One does not have to work out any economic basis. It simply does not exist :) 

Narayana Sarma Aparna Krishnan Gandhi considered himself a failure. I think he is right there and that does not reduce the importance of anything he did/intended to do. As to 'many successes', i believe they are very nearly redundant to the Grand march of Capital, that Karl Marx so vividly described.
Mark Johnston I'm sad to say that I do feel that the Abrahamic religions, when integrated with imperial rule and expansion are a special case. The damage that Christianity has done and is doing in every former colony illustrates that. The joke about "when the white man came we had the land and they had the bible, they asked us to close our eyes and pray and when we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the bible" may be over simplistic but has too much truth in it to be funny. It was Christianity and the aristocracy combined with the British State that saw the militarily defeated Scots and Gaels banned from speaking their language, singing their songs, playing their music, wearing traditional clothes and finally cleared from the land to make way for sheep. The ministers from their pulpits backed the aristocrats in keeping rebellion down just as much as the soldiers sent in with guns.

Mark Johnston Nearly two thousand years of rule by priests and kings determined to destroy the native goddess worshipping culture that had endured from neolithic times in the British Isles is likely to have had a larger effect than a century or two of British colonialism and its destructive after effects in India. The witch burnings and hangings here were traditional women healers and midwifes being destroyed as much in the name of science as religion. Protestantism grew, in part, from patriarchal revulsion to the fact that aspects of goddess worship had found a place in the Catholic church under the guise of saints and the mother or Jesus.

Mark Johnston If the people are cleared off the land, lose their religion, language and culture and are replaced by outsiders who manage the new alien farming methods with the law, army, church, aristocracy and state collaborating against them than how much traditional wisdom can be expected to survive? The horrors practiced by the British Empire abroad were first practiced and 'perfected' at home. 
Aparna Krishnan Narayana Sarma, your choice of operation and way and life seems more impacted by Gandhi. But you seem to stand by the conviction that that way cannot work. There is some internal contradiction here.

Sanjay Maharishi Nehru's excuse was probably similar. Technology to improve the condition of the farmers.

Aparna Krishnan But he dismissed the richness of villages - and a richness that has been extant on this land.


Sanjay Maharishi ..and we know what the technology has brought.

Aparna Krishnan A rich land doomed by the 'educated'.

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