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Re: Arundhati Roy on Juriprudence



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IPI_Marker

Hi Rajiv,

> That's being dishonest. Gandhi-ji did not believe in
> violence. He found it reprehensible and it was
> unthinkable for him to take a position of an armed
> revolutionary. It had nothing to do with India or
> condition of the Indians. He'd have done the same
> thing anywhere. I am not sure that we really
> appreciate his passion for non-violence. It was the
> core of his being. 
>  
> He did think in his early life that British rule was
> somehow beneficial for the Indians. He changed his
> position later. He was not impressed by the so called
> materialistic achievements of the west. He saw the
> industrial strength and prosperity of the
> west with suspicion. I am not sure you can site him to
> boost your argument on western superiority and
> Gandhi-ji's endorsement of it.


I am using Gandhiji to endorse Western Superiority. But I was quoting
Gandhiji to illustrate the point that we become servants of British not
only because of their oppression because of our own stupidity and
mistakes. I know what Gandhiji thinks of Western Civilization (He told
a reporter that it would be a good idea!).

Here is a small Q&A with Gandhi on the following site to illustrate my
point: http://www.kamat.com/mmgandhi/whyahimsa.htm

Question
Why are you against violence? Is it because it was an impractical means
for India to go about fighting for their independence? Or were you
against violence because you believe that it is not morally justifiable
for a people to use violence to fight against an oppressive
government?" 

Answer by Gandhi
                               
I am against violence due to my upbringing and my culture. In Gujarat
where I grew up, there was a lot of influence of the Jain religion,
which was formed solely based on non-violence. 

I am not against violence; I am against injustice. In fact, I have done
my part in the World Wars, thus being a willing party to the warfare.

Of course, India being the country of the poor and the exploited had no
means of fighting the British enterprise. But a handful of army,
however powerful, cannot rule millions of citizens who are
uncooperative. So as long as we fought against the British (violent or
non-violent means) we would have won the freedom.

India could have won freedom about ten years earlier than it did
through some violence against the British. But we were not only
fighting the British, but also our own causes of poverty, unemployment,
and untouchability. A nation becoming free after a violent struggle is
bound to capture power in few hands and the suffering of India's large
masses would not have changed if we became free by violent means.  I
wanted people of India to partner with the English people after
independence, so a peaceful transfer of power was necessary.

Editor's Note:  Gandhi has said that taking up arms is better than
accepting injustice. Nelson Mandela's African National Congress, who
successfully implemented Gandhi's means of struggle took to arms to
speedup up the process in the later years. Read his article "The Sacred
Warrior" in TIME   

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Important point to realize is that even if we had become free by
violent means it would have made no difference to millions of poor
people in the villages. As they would have remained politically naive.
Worst they would have suffered highest casualities further weeking
their resolve after independence to fight elites. The elites having
incited poor people to indulge in violent struggle will gain power
after independence and feed on tired and marginalized section of the
population.


> Feudal Japan opened its door to western knowledge,
> after a prolonged period of self-isolation, in the mid
> 19th century. Young Japanese men went to Europe and US
> to study western science and technology. They came to
> my locality here in New Brunswick, NJ to attend
> Rutgers univerity more than 125 years ago. Many of
> this men went back to Japan with this new found
> western knowledge. Japan, in the beginning of the 20th
> century, inflicted a surprise and heavy defeat on the
> vaunted Russian navy. The only reason that they
> absorbed the American way so quickly and so
> effectively after WWII was the prior work already done
> before WWII. 

Agreed about prior work already done before WWII. But you have to
remember learning from Western Universities in not the same as
"getting" their culture. Cultures or Civilizational values develop over
extended period of time through trial and error, sacrifice and debate.
It cannot be easily imported by going to through Western Universities.
That's why till the end of WWII Japan was completely an imperial power
with dictatorship. 

My point is that presence of British made possible to have democracy,
land rights, infrastructure like Postal System, Road, Indian Railway,
and so on ... Experience British administrators were required to
implement and setup complicated systems such Indian Railway. That's why
even after Independence many of services started by British like Postal
Service and India Railways run much more smoothly than what were
started by or nationalized by Indian Govt. after independence like for
example Indian Airlines or Air India. 

There can be genuine despute about how to acquire Western knowledge and
system but fact remains that British occupation of India provided that
benefit. 

> That's true for US too. They came to the battle ground
> only after Japan attacked US at Pearl Harbour. What is
> your point?

My point is that Russian were too eager to cooperate with Germans. They
signed an agreement with Germans not to attack each other. The real
motive of Russians were to actually cooperate with Germans as shown by
Russias attacks on various countries during the agreement.

US too remained outside of War till Pearl Harbour attack. However, US
never supported Germans. There is difference of motives. Also, US could
not join World War II because an democratically elected Congress passed
resolution forbading US from joining World War II. This is not the same
thing as some asshole dictators arbitrary decision. I believe that it
was mistake on the part of US not to join World War II. That's the
whole point I am making. Democratic countries like US should not wait
till they can justify attacking dictatorships. As soon as they see sign
of dictatorial take-over in any country they should do something about
depending upon what resources they have at their disposal. Hoping that
somehow these dictators will give up their agenda or stop at some point
of time or you can buy peace from them by bending before their demands
is a stupid idea.


> If we are talking about appeasement of Hitler then why
> are we not talking about Great Britain and France?

What do you mean? Appeasement by Great Britain and France or
appeasement of Great Britain and France? And when it was done and by
whom?


> I am not sure what your point is. Surely you are not
> naive to believe that the 'evil' speech had anything
> to do with the fall of Soviet Union.

Here is the original speech from Ronald Reagon for you:
http://www.godblessronaldreagan.com/defense/soviet.html
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"Let us pray for the salvation of all those who live in the
totalitarian darkness - pray that they will discover the joy of knowing
God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they [Soviet rulers]
preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over
individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on
the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.... I urge
you to beware the temptation ... to ignore the facts of history and the
aggressive impulses of any evil empire, to simply call the arms race a
giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle
between right and wrong, good and evil." --Ronald Reagan, Speech to the
National Association of Evangelicals, March 8, 1983.           
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And here is another one from the same Ronald Reagan:
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"In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness,
declining standards... Even today, the Soviet Union cannot feed itself.
The inescapable conclusion is that freedom is the victor. General
Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the
Soviet Union, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr.
Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
--Ronald Reagan, Speech at the Brandenburg Gate, 1987.
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And here are some sample reactions after the fall of USSR:
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"Ladies and gentlemen, if it had not been for the Reagan defense
buildup, if the United States had not demonstrated that it is willing
not only to stand up for freedom but to devote considerable sums of
money to defending it, we probably would not be sitting here today
having a free discussion between Russians and Americans." --Boris
Pinsker, Soviet Economist.

"American policy in the 1980s was a catalyst for the collapse of the
Soviet Union." --Oleg Kalugin, former KGB general (Victory: The Reagan
Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the
Soviet Union, page xi.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------

See the speech denouncing Soviet Union as "evil" empire took away any
moral legitimacy in the eyes of many. Also, it gave strong signal to
many people fighting inside Russia against the autocracy. Also, it gave
strong signal to those who wished to align with USSR not to do so
because US will also consider them "evil". I think this message a great
purpose. The same thing is being done by George Bush now. Kudos to both
of them for recognizing "evil" and saying that publicly.

> Those are not the only countries where people are
> fighting for freedom.  US receives support from Turkey
> on the condition that there will no question of a
> Kurdistan. I bet you haven't heard of the people of
> Western Sahara - a people who have been most unjustly
> treated by France and Spain in the past, Morocco at
> present - who are still struggling to have their own
> country. Let's not cry selectively.

Agreed. I haven't really heard of those things that you mentioned.
Thanks for pointing this things out. I will get back to you on those
after read more about them. Keep me posted privately if know more about
these things.


> I read your argument on 'free market' and 'capitalism'
> with interest. Your point is with democracy, securlism
> and freedom a man has a chance of making a life of his
> own choice. What you don't mention is in a
> capitalistic setup I have to compete with you and beat
> you.  Many of us have the appropriate level of
> education, knowhow, street smartness, and skill to use
> in such a competition. What do you propose the huge
> unskilled population do? What skills do they have to
> compete in this global village of capitalism? I'd like
> to hear some proposals, at least in a macro level. We
> can't just pretend that more than 80% of Indians do
> not exist.

I am not going to pretend that 80% of Indians do not exist. We will
have to help them. Those who have resources can help them through
charities. What makes you think that Govt. tax collection and wealth
distribution is more efficient than private charities? In fact, there
is nothing inefficient and corrupt than a monopoly by Govt. on
charitable activities. If Govt. takes away a chunk of wealth from rich
by way of taxes those taxes will disappear in the black hole of
corruption. If rich are allowed to keep more of their wealth they can
invest which will create jobs and some of them like you who are more
charitable will help poor directly. We cannot use huge power of Govt.
to coerce rich people into helping poor. That will only worse the
corruption and then poverty. I hope you get my point.

Also I don't agree with you that poor will not be able to compete.
Because unlike war which is a negative sum game (where both winners and
losers lose) trade under capitalism is a postive sum game. Also, have
you heard of something called as "comparative" and "competitive"
advantages? In essential these things mean that even if person like you
who is efficient and smart in say three activies than say a poor person
like me you will still use my services in one of those activities. Why?
Because you are not equally efficient in doing all the three activies.
So when you  try to do the activity in which you are comparatively less
efficient (not compared to others but compared to yourself in other
activities) you are suffering a "opportunity loss" of not being able to
do the activity that you are most efficient at. You will come to me to
get other two activities done even though you are better at doing them
than me. This is the principle of comparative advantage. That means,
poor unskilled people will not get eliminated from the market even if
others are very educated and skilled than them. So don't worry about
it.


Regards,
Ashish




--- "Rajiv K. Shukla" <rajiv_shukla@yahoo.com> wrote:
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate
> it!
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> IPI_Marker
> 
> --- Ashish Hanwadikar <ashish_hanwadikar@yahoo.com>
> wrote:
> > Hi Rajiv,
>  
> > 
> > It was brilliance of Gandhi that he recognized that
> > real problem in
> > India is not occupation by foriegn powers but its
> > caste system,
> > ignorance of masses etc. So instead of hating
> > Westerners for what they
> > did to us, he focussed on our internal problem. He
> > organized people
> > using civil disobidience movement and not a
> > revolution. Because he
> > realized that if we do that ordinary people will die
> > in the revolution
> 
> That's being dishonest. Gandhi-ji did not believe in
> violence. He found it reprehensible and it was
> unthinkable for him to take a position of an armed
> revolutionary. It had nothing to do with India or
> condition of the Indians. He'd have done the same
> thing anywhere. I am not sure that we really
> appreciate his passion for non-violence. It was the
> core of his being. 
>  
> He did think in his early life that British rule was
> somehow beneficial for the Indians. He changed his
> position later. He was not impressed by the so called
> materialistic achievements of the west. He saw the
> industrial strength and prosperity of the
> west with suspicion. I am not sure you can site him to
> boost your argument on western superiority and
> Gandhi-ji's endorsement of it.
> 
> >I think we share some responsibility of what
> > happened to India.
> 
> I agree completely.
> 
> 
> > 
> > Japan did it! Great! After what? After a bloody
> > World War II? It was
> > only after their defeat in World War II that they
> > were made to change
> > their system by US and other powers. China was not
> > defeated in World
> > War II. Have they learned and adopted Western
> > system?
> 
> Feudal Japan opened its door to western knowledge,
> after a prolonged period of self-isolation, in the mid
> 19th century. Young Japanese men went to Europe and US
> to study western science and technology. They came to
> my locality here in New Brunswick, NJ to attend
> Rutgers univerity more than 125 years ago. Many of
> this men went back to Japan with this new found
> western knowledge. Japan, in the beginning of the 20th
> century, inflicted a surprise and heavy defeat on the
> vaunted Russian navy. The only reason that they
> absorbed the American way so quickly and so
> effectively after WWII was the prior work already done
> before WWII. 
> 
> > 
> > 
> > Come on! They fought against Hitler because Hitler
> > attacked them.
> 
> That's true for US too. They came to the battle ground
> only after Japan attacked US at Pearl Harbour. What is
> your point?
> 
> > Initially they had agreement between them not to
> > attack each other. I
> > cannot forget the fact that it was appeasment of
> > Hitler and belief that
> > after some time Hitler will stop the War that
> > allowed Hitler to win
> > Poland, France and some other East Euroepean
> > countries in a quick
> > succession. 
> 
> If we are talking about appeasement of Hitler then why
> are we not talking about Great Britain and France?
> 
> 
> >It was the same "evil" speech
> > by Ronald Reagan
> > that took away moral legitimacy of Russians and
> > Communist. 
> 
> I am not sure what your point is. Surely you are not
> naive to believe that the 'evil' speech had anything
> to do with the fall of Soviet Union.
> 
> >Because such a strong
> > long language might
> > give excuse to these dictators but more than that it
> > gives the people
> > who are fighting for freedom in those countries lot
> > of encouragement
> > and promise of support. That's what we need. 
> 
> Those are not the only countries where people are
> fighting for freedom.  US receives support from Turkey
> on the condition that there will no question of a
> Kurdistan. I bet you haven't heard of the people of
> Western Sahara - a people who have been most unjustly
> treated by France and Spain in the past, Morocco at
> present - who are still struggling to have their own
> country. Let's not cry selectively.
> 
> 
> I read your argument on 'free market' and 'capitalism'
> with interest. Your point is with democracy, securlism
> and freedom a man has a chance of making a life of his
> own choice. What you don't mention is in a
> capitalistic setup I have to compete with you and beat
> you.  Many of us have the appropriate level of
> education, knowhow, street smartness, and skill to use
> in such a competition. What do you propose the huge
> unskilled population do? What skills do they have to
> compete in this global village of capitalism? I'd like
> to hear some proposals, at least in a macro level. We
> can't just pretend that more than 80% of Indians do
> not exist.
> 
> - Rajiv



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