CSCS Culture and Democracy Lecture Series: Dr. Vivek Dhareshwar: How Not To Study Indian Politics
Duration: 02:06:20; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 23.658; Saturation: 0.073; Lightness: 0.450; Volume: 0.160; Cuts per Minute: 0.111; Words per Minute: 116.369
SV introduces Vivek
SV: OK! Welcome to the last Culture and Democracy, last lecture with Culture and Democracy series 2007. I hope we will have a second series in the following year 2008. With or without...
VD: With the written papers that will come. With your performance.
SV: This time we'll all, including me, will write our papers and send it out (?)with the readings.
The format, as some of you have been attending quite few of the lectures, is familiar enough. Vivek will speak for an hour, or a little more, if you'd like Vivek? Followed by question and answer session, and since this is going to be the last class for the Culture and Democracy course, people maybe you should now ask a question or two for the record.
VD: I think that no question was asked.
SV: This is the last chance to go on air and ask few questions. OK.
VD: OK! So, I will (?)(?) of what has been happening in the lecture series. Physically I'm from Bangalore. So I did once produce a paper, but I'm so tired after 3 weeks of, rather hectic meetings, I just took time to sleep, last 3 days. So... But anyway, I generally I, but I do have something to say. So I have organized it in such a way that it meets two requirements, that is, this is a class, obviously that is a family (?). I did not (say?) that this is going to be public (?). People outside the class are also supposed to come in. No, I knew that... See, I made it that way, but somehow that doesn't go well with what you want to do with if you're just addressing the class. So somehow you are not sure which expectation to meet. You know (?), speak as though it were as if a public talk or you want to make some (?) points.
So I don't know, I want to do both. There's the... I've given some reading material which is sort of, gives you a background. You've read it... I'll take of from there, I'll not discuss those, the two pieces that I have given.
Vivek D starts presenting:
VD: Ya, what we are doing is, the title is so negative. It says 'How not to study in Indian Politics' (?) (?) (?) (?). The reason that I took the client is, there has been a dissatisfaction I have felt over the (?) of last 15 - 20 years, and some autobiographical background to that, the dissatisfaction. Because I did belong to the Left, and it is in the past sense. And here the study of politics has been, in some sense largely been, in a set of work of Left or in someway the Left Liberal. Now increasingly I've felt that actually they don't have a concept of politics. I mean, in fact they don't have an object. So you can say, as we say normally, we do use politics in various ways, like politics in the center, or say the politics of the Janta Dal, or else you've been watching what's happening with Yeddyurappa and... So that is politics. You say Naxalite politics, and so on. The usage is a bit vague then. You don't know what you were really saying there. I mean, politics is the center, what you saying that someone is trying to capture power? Maybe. Yedyurappa quite clear did with it basically st the cost of (?). But when it comes to study of politics, if you like P, capital P, that is being the problem with how, what are the (?) positions of that genre of work that claims to be studying something called politics, or use the expression that we use in the course here, Culture and Democracy.
So then that is, I said that in the past I veiled a part of that tradition, you know the one which is... Here there is this very interesting anecdote, my brother once supported to believe that he when... Apparently Foucault visited Stanford when he was a graduate student and he cleverly asked Foucault,in those days, in 70's I think. He said, 'Are you, have you been Psychoanalyzed'. Those were his loaded questions. So apparently Foucault's took 10 minutes and said, 'No'. And then slowly said, 'I neither ashamed of it nor am I proud it'. So my definition of the left is something like that. I'm neither proud of it nor I'm ashamed of it. So it's not... Proud of it, not as though the Left has a great legacy to add down, intellectually or politically. Though we deluded ourselves that it did. But when I say that lack of concept, what I want to get in it is? And that's the task I set my self. I don't know where will I succeed in it, that is, in some sense, though it may appear circular, what I want to argue is that once you have an idea of what it is to have a concept, in the general terms, then we'll also have politics but until then we have no idea about what politics is. So, then it looks like its a philosophically, a very very deep or high demand. What it is to have a concept? We think that we know what it is to have... And the reading that I have enclosed will make clear that actually that there is a lot of difficulties about in, it's not simple thing to have... You can't just use a word and hope that the concept somewhere there that word picks out. So, we could be using words as a given example of politics in CSCS, politics of Yeddyurappa or Janta Dal, politics and so on, Naxalite politics and so on. Where it's not clear, really clear what you are picking out by using that term. For ordinary communications where communications end at establishing social relations rather than actually communicating anything. That's how nobody ask for a question. Here we are actually saying that there's an object that we want to study but we don't know to go about setting that object. It doesn't help just having the politics thrown in. You can't keep saying that politics of X, politics of Y as you are not, you are soon going to make the whole thing look extremely vacuous if you do that. Though it is, I know that in either tradition that I once belonged and another tradition that mobilizes this sort of study. To me, Politics is a valarised thing, that is, we think of ourselves as making politically significantly statements. We think of ourselves as our work as having political (?). We think of ourselves as once... This is not really confined as Left tradition but the Left started it. There used to be this ridiculous question, what now looks, looking back as ridiculous question that hagelton asked, when you are reading of Dickens shake the foundation of capitalism. So it looks back as it sounds. But we do think of our valerised sense of our activity. So this politics is even more peculiar. This is not the politics of Yeddyurappa. It is not the politics when you say the politics of CSCS. What is this politics? why is this valerised sense of, that we are engaged in some kind of movement, when all the great doing is maybe writing an article for (?) or maybe some other journal. And it maybe important to figure out why this valerised sense of multiple engagement has been path of the New Left, or whatever you may want to call it. Because there is definitely a sense in which there is the Left that the Left doesn't exist. Though we do talk in TV journalistic sense or other journalistic sense of saying politics as right of center , left of center, It's largely a way of talking. I wouldn't know how to, what would it mean to say center left and right, in purely in this terms. It's used in politics of Germany, politics of France, politics in Britain and politics in India.
VD: But the new Left... I think the term that Richard Rorty coined is probably the appropriate term. It's slightly disparaging but I think it captured Cultural Left. It is Cultural Left because it was used for the kind of campus politics that goes on in the US, it's what I used to call (Button Mary politics?), In where you (?) (?) Act Locally Think Globally, and sounded very important. And you went around in all your backpack and your jacket were full of buttons. The number of buttons showing the number of issues you engaged with, and so on. So this Cultural Left is rather vague, amorphous, in the sense that, the Old Left would have got really angry with this guy, because this is completely eclectic, because it would... Even if you would associate thinkers, you have a Stalinist like Althusser, Anti-Marxist like Foucault, or any number of things would go, happy, there is no question asked.
In the tradition that I belong that would have been unacceptable. You can't have... Someone like a Stalinist? No! You (?) (?) (?). But this Cultural Left is, leaves with this kind of a amorphous, eclectic, (?) existence. And it is also the one which valerises politics, but it can't give any sense to what this politics is all about.
VD: Now what has happened is, and this is a story that I want to tell, in a very simple way so that we can have a good discussion around it, at least a heated discussion. But it's not a story that I, in any case, is not meant for just provocation. I believe in this story, it's a story that I'd like to amplify and... See there is a sense which many shared, not many I mean, a handful lot people in the European (?) paid attention, that in some sense, though we use politics, really the model era, what I was (?), say tentatively, from 16th century onwards, really doesn't know politics. Politics actually is absent in the politics, in the sense in which (?) (?) speaks very elaborately about how the Christian West really, seriously speaking, doesn't know politics at all. Now, of course it's usually when taken as, so she's valerising the Greek (police?), and so on. But there is a point that she is trying to make. If she is not simply confined to looking at the ancient world as the epitome of all that is desirable, and so on. You can try to get out of it in this way, which is that... Aristotle talked that the man of politics, the politic man, (?), has a certain kind of insight. That is, he has certain kind of knowledge which is derived from (?), some kind of a thinking. Now if you come to the model period, though politics is valerized, I think there is no such thing as political knowledge. Why is that? The very interesting suggestion made by (?) (?), I'll discuss a few of them because they are important, including (?) (?) and Hegel, though very few research with Hegel. That history substitutes for politics. Again history, don't ask immediately what this history means, don't assume that you know what this history is. Her point is that politics has a certain kind of a knowledge, certain kind of a relationship with, practical impassionate relationship with other human beings is no longer there, especially in the model point, that what you have is actually history substituting for politics. So though we readily talked about politics and our politics that we think we understand, actually what turns out is this thing called history, sort of taking over this what should have been, if you say, like politics. Now coming back to where we started, what happens is, even Marxism, since I began with, the influence is (?), especially Marxism actually doesn't have a politics. Though it sounds bizarre to say that, but seriously if you look at it Marxism does not have politics. What is Marxism do? Though the early Marx a glimpse of what would it mean to have a politics, the later Marx actually didn't. The later Marx, who took over a securized version of the Christian (?), had no politics. So now we can understand what history means here, it's history that substitutes and takes over the politics.
Now, in a way what Marx did was, (complaced?) though it starts with language. There is an entity that he talked about. And he placed his entity, if you like, in a government of his own. Now what is this entity? This entity is called the Proletariat. Now, very interestingly, though whole of the Left movement talk about Proletariat as though Proletariat is, if you like, has something to do with the working class. Now one would like to... Actually this Proletariat has nothing to do with the working class. This is an entity that was placed in the Normative zone. That is all of Marx's writing that was talked about, or the later Marx's (?) that was talked about. This normative entity, this is Normative entity because, as I said, though you thought it has, it can have, empirically you can confuse it with a trading movement here, or a trading movement there, or a revolution, and so on. In fact this is not, there is nothing about it. So, the agency that question's about what is a revolutionary class, and whatever we call Marxian politics is really involved around, revolved around trying to demonstrate that this class is a revolutionary class, that is class that is capable of overthrowing the system called Capitalism, which he studied capital had show has inherent contradictions, and so on.
There's a long story that one has to go into that, but I'll not go into that. (?) briefly capture for all arguments say here is this, this normative entity... Now you know that when I say that Left doesn't exist, no way he talk's about this entity, peculiarly enough, or the debates that surrounds it, that surround it during the (?) time. And if you talk about it actually as a research program, and if you can talk about it with detail with the research program, because it never answered any of the question that it raised within this. Now the object, the entity itself has disappeared. I mean, it must be some, I don't know there may be some absolute pockets, here and there, people talk about it. Now, peculiarly enough it still, he has left some problematics which people are (?) with but now associating with this, and that's why the incoherence of those problematics too. Take the problematic of ideology it has no sense, it doesn't mean anything outside of this, but people do talk about this ideology as though it gives you normative handle on something or the other where it doesn't. It can be demonstrated that it doesn't. That's why when Cultural Left comes in there is a mishmash, and you will say, you know, use Foucault's discourse, or answer to Althusser's structuralist, Lakhanian version of ideology and (?). It cannot, and the kind of dilettantism simply is mind boggling. But that's because this is disappeared so anything goes and you don't really know what question you are trying to answer. So if this entity is gone, but in some sense the Cultural Left continues. In this sense that, what we now try to do is place, look for for substitute for this entity. Again, in the same level, it could be women, it could be anyone. So the substitution goes on, but again the same top conditions obtains. It really, though you might confuse that it has something to do with the (?) empirical wavelength, it doesn't. It unfold in this (?). Around it that, politics becomes what? Politics becomes placing things on this normative zone, placing items on this normative zone. So that, that's the only thing that is worthy of notice in one way, or that's the only thing that says that don't talk about this or don't talk about that. I mean, there's a censorship. Only from the normative zone it can emanate. No other place can it come from. So that in some way, in India what you can talk, whatever the other substitutions talk about. What happens really, especially the Cultural, Academic Left, is that this slot is now called sub alternate. And, interesting enough it is completely (?) work, and it serve the purpose very well, in one way, because what is sub alternate. And as looking back, if you'll see Ranjan Guha's first volume, introduction, three page introduction, it says anything can be sub alternate. It's practically, it's statistical concept in some sense. A bourgeoisie can be a sub alternate, vis-a-vis, an Indian bourgeoisie, for example, can be a sub alternate, vis-a-vis, maybe the imperialist bourgeoisie, and so on. It has no.... In one way it is interesting because then you talk about anything, you can talk about Proletariat, you can talk about women, you can talk about all other object that have since been, people are looking at and finding it and putting them. So that the sub alternate became... If this slot was an empty spot, if the sub alternate or the concept is decorated the vacuity with this concept and saying we can all place everything there. And therefore I, this is said this the tradition that I belong, so it's not sort of, so I did contribute to the sub alternate studies, and I did talk about (?) (?) (?) (?). So in some sense, since (?) was very keen on knowing how, what I make of my earlier writings (?) (?) (?) questions. Here's one way that I wanted to talk about, to clarify some of the notions that occurred there. For example, empirical and transcendental you're talking what, you can try and see that double will seem so inevitable in European intellectual history is like this too. I mean, you can think as that double, the Proletariat working class, the women - women, I mean, women as the object of this normative politics as real women, empirical women and so on. So, this is a brief, sort of, a story of the, where we are, in some sense. So, now the various things that need to be captured through this, but I'll come back to that when I get the context, including the remark that I made about history substituting the politics but there's another (descript?) which is that, in some sense, what nobody has noticed, though empirically it's relevant. See in some sense, the Left and Right, we talk about Left and Right, that's also the proposed entities. But we don't realize that actually when it comes to politics, this politics, in some way they share the same conception of politics, because in some sense once this revolutionary thing disappeared... Actually what is politics? Politics is basically attempting to use (?) power to resolve special problems. That is, you think that, you just grab hold of, this is what actually (?) called the End of Politics. That is, he, she (?) the moment the social is collapsed with the political. That's end of politics, that all violence will be unleashed, precisely because in some sense, and this is inside that, in a way that I try to argue when I gave my Gandhi paper, Gandhi Art. And that's Gandhi had serious opposition to any state sponsored policies, however progressive they appeared to be, that they inevitably lead to (?), and in some sense, unethical politics. He famously said, though it's in English translation and it sounds very peculiar, he said that I will never allow religion to be separated from politics. I mean, he did not read the anti-secular doctrine. If you translate it in Gujarati, Hindi or Kannada, it makes perfect sense. He said, I wont separate Dharma
. And obviously you'd not want to separate the two. When it's translated in this bizarre way, it looses it sense, it looks as if it's all a statement of all European Politics.
So that's the sense, that one would want to capture by going back to where this starts, this idea, this disappearance of politics, that history actually taking over. Now a story that I quickly want to quickly follow, because obviously you know, I don't have time to run through the more complex version, I'll do the more simple version. That in front it is really inheritance of the modern developments that I briefly (?) earlier, and this is... Again I'll make the point very briefly while using the work of (?) and Hegel. There is a very interesting work by (?) called... What's it called? Critique and Crises, Enlightenment and Pathogenesis of Modern Society. And the subtitle is Enlightenment and Pathogenesis of modern society, where he basically praises, precisely, this idea of history substituting for politics, and the pathogenesis of modern society. And traces both totalitarianism, that is, the Left totalitarianism, like Stalinism, and Right totalitarianism, like Fascism, to this pathogenesis of the enlightenment, which is not enlightenment created or as a reaction gave rise to this pathogenesis. No, his point is much more fundamental. Even enlightenment, the (?) where he calls the hypocrisy of enlightenment, the (?). What is hypocrisy of the (?)? He says look, basically I am simplifying the story, he says look they are not interested in power, I mean power in ordinary sense, not metaphysical sense of power, but they also, for various reasons, partly historical partly philosophical, they wanted to conceal that. Historical reason is this, because they were opposing the absolute state. You know that they had unfolded large part or at least significant part of the (?) (?) unfolded in secret societies, the (?) (?) and so on, it was secret in that sense. But the deeper point he wants to make is that they denied, and this is a paradox, this enlignteners actually had no self insight at all, that what they did was when they were criticizing the absolutive state or the politicians, like the way we do, criticize the politicians, they used or they moralized politics, that is they set up moral criticism. And this moral standards, the principles that they set up is what makes their stands hypocritical, that is those standards are something that... First of all where do they find this, standard. And this is where the most interesting conversation of (Colin?) comes. Why he wants to argue is this, that you have, I know this is a communist story we have heard, that in some sense the philosophy of history that we inherit, whether in the version that we have some Marx or the Liberal version of (?) and so on (?) secularized version of Christian (?). Now he says that what they did, this enlighteners of the (?), is that they linked, basically they were the one's who could contribute to the secularization of this philosophy of history, that is, they make this small criticism something that is out there, in history, that is, it unfolds as history, the modern conception of history. Like we now do talk about empirical history, of say Bangalore or Karnataka being different from history. Though there have been interesting argument from Hegel (?) that actually (?)(?????)
Now, enlighteners were the first ones to turn or make use of this (?) of postulating this model
Anyways, this allows me to connect up the theme that I spoken last, I think in SV's seminar of two kinds of inputs, stance and inputs, that if transmission of stance is actually what takes place in this politics, that is, you transmit a moral stance (?), that is where what are the things you ought to talk about, what are the things ought not to talk about. You do not transmit the input, that is, there is no (?) here. Infact what could I (?) (?) (?) whether Proleteriat or (?) class or not, it could not be demonstrated in anycase, in any... if you go back and look at Sir Lukรกcs's History of Class consciousness, or even Lenin's writings on State and revolution and so on. What is?.. How can you empirically prove that this class is revolutionary or not, you could take revolutionary consciousness or not.
But having abandoned that, that particularly, in a diffused way other things continued, as I said, of putting things, items on this normative, basic things within this normative space. And that is the what continuous and what I suspect, (?) or (?) or if you are this would say not politics at all. The knowledge that need is turned into a knowledge of unfolding history, philosophical history. But there is one interesting thing, when I looked closely at (Causalic?)'s argument, it turns out the it's not, it's actually not a very (?). In one way it's original, in the sense that he actually uses a historical material in an interesting way. But in another sense it is not novel, because if you look at the sixth chapter of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, this is exactly the argument that Hegel was making, that is, there he was talking about the idea of duty and hypocrisy, that a certain kind of moral ideal of life needs to (?) give (?), that is, trying to live by duty will necessarily make you a hypocrite. Now, interesting thing while talking about Hegel is that, in many ways, I always thought of culture studies, Phenomenology of the Spirit as the ultimate culture studies book, because in a way its not history, it's not pure empirical stuff. But on the other hand it talks about history in this way as figures of consciousness, that is, it actually gives you insight into historical periods by conceptualizing those historical periods as giving you insights about what problems consciousness as struggling with. And he says it's not simply a note about intellectual history, he's actually not saying that (Kant's) formulation of duty leads to this problem, he's making a more (formulative?) point, that is, he's talking about that period, the same period that (Causselec?) actually is discussing, of 16th century onwards, leading up to the French Revolution, that certain ideal of ethical life, moral life, of living by duty, because those duties are ever in conflict with what your experiences. They will necessarily make you a hypocrite, is what Hegel was trying to argue. But the further consequence that he also drew out and he made this point about (?) that (?) was inevitable given this conception of a moral political life, that is, because you could no longer understand what this moral abstract (Bolsheviks?) meant. Once you don't know what they meant, if you don't have the knowledge of it, anything is, like almost anything is permitted. And he used the famous phrase, '(?) rolled like cabbage' or 'were cut of like cabbages', in the French Revolution, because they didn't know actually what moral ideology, they were actually realizing, because there was no match. You feel either complete discrepancy between what they talked about the moral-ideal and what is experienced in their daily life. And that, since it is already argued, much before (Causselec?) that look terror is inevitable if you have this conception of a moral life or moralized politics.
So, now that's, sort of, circle that I might complete by coming back to now... So, I said in the beginning that what we need is to understand what is to have a concept. Now we have no understanding of what is to have a concept. Now there is famous example that, simple example that (?) uses in one of his writings which is the same kind as, they are not included in the philosophical investigations but they (?) out in the same time. The example is something like this that, suppose you know a creature, and someone was visiting you, maybe from another planet or another culture who doesn't know that creature, and the creature gets it (?), says (?) it. Now this guy who's come and doesn't know this creature will say, 'hey it's white, it's furry', and give you vivid description, maybe even raw and maybe extraordinary detailed description. Suppose this other guy who can't do that, but he says, 'oh! I love it', and he goes on. Now which concerned was to ask, now who do you think, who would you say has knowledge about this creature, the one who has the concept or the one who gives you a very detailed representation? Now obviously you'll say, you're inclined to say, the one who has the concept. Now our situation is that we don't have a concept. What we have is, someone giving a description of an entity that person thinks he has seen. So that's why you have, under this (?) you can organize hundred different (?), hundred different researches, but it is not giving you the concept. Or you take, (?) in this space and try to issue normative statements about (?????). Or say that this a new (?) subject and we should pay attention to this new revolutionary subject, and so on. Of course, no one uses that language that, I'm really saying that the idea of sub alternately is precisely that halo attaches to the sub alternate. So that's what we end up doing, but I guess that is all that I'm trying to say. It doesn't give any knowledge because you are merely assuming that (?) is normative zone, and trying to place items in this normative zone. So, if this is the story then hold the task of studying politics. Now I'm saying this is how you should not study politics. (?????) you will have no knowledge of politics, and if you think that you are doing history then obviously history that is substituting self called politics.
Now to begin with, what one can say is simply that, in the research we have done, that I'm trying to follow, the idea is to try and develop a concept. Now how do you do that? To begin with, you can do the exact opposite, to start with, that is, instead of placing things in the normative zone start taking things from the normative zone. Don't take items, remove it from the normative zone, so that it doesn't either have a halo or the normative sensory that takes place. So you can talk about anything at all without feeling... Because the moment you put things on the normative zone there is someone who creates this fear, certain things are not talkable, certain things evokes incredible tension, that you know in India get hundred (?). Like mention untouchability and people get, you can't talk about it. But you talk about it. Don't place it there. There is nothing Normative about it. You can talk about it, or similarly there are many other things that one can mention. So then perhaps, then we can raise this question that, like if history has substituted itself for politics, and that's why history raises this so many problems. I mean from the kind of things that Deepesh talked about. It looks like if you write a history you're only writing a history of Europe. (If you ever write the history of India, if you ever write the history of Kenya, it's as though you write a history?). There's a deeper point there which is not explained. Perhaps, that's because of this, it's not because you do not have enough empirical findings from other places, but because this way of, the history substitutes itself for politics in your (?). The moment you start talking about it is as though you are implanting a historical (anthology?) from there to some other place. And you can't, it often, you can say that, for example in India, in a colonialism changed everything. I mean, of course, colonialism started using various terms, but sometimes people give the impression that colonialism actually transplanted the historical anthology of Europe in India, so that now when we talk about civil society we are supposed to understand what that means, but this is where lesson, one has to learn from Hegel. Talking about Phenomenology of consciousness, or a term is not simply, using the term that way, and once you subject it to (?) (?), you realize that it doesn't have a concept. But those concept go with a certain life in those concepts, and what those life in those concept are is something we need to understand again, anew if you like. To begin, if you like politics again, in one sense, politics should make that possible, this beginning anew. Politics, if you like, in the older sense, politics in the sense in which a concept is attached to it. And having a concept, in some sense, to understand yourself, that is, politics goes with knowledge of a certain kind. We normally talk about it, and it's an ancient way of talking about it, that if knowledge and freedom go together, But it is again taken many different meanings, whether you examine it after the French Revolution, or whether you see it India or in ancient Greek (thought?). But one would like to say that it is true only in one case, Freedom actually coincides with knowledge only in the case of self knowledge, like only when you have self knowledge that you have freedom. If you don not have self knowledge you do not have freedom, if you do not have freedom you have no politics. So it follows that way. Having a concept is actually to ultimately to have self knowledge.
SV: Ok. Just to begin the conversation, one of the things that we did talk about in the course was, I mean especially with reference to the term democracy, the need to move away from democracy as it should, you know democracy ought to be is that and so on. (?) (?), all the good things that you expect from a transition from a pre democratic to a democratic society and so on, to democracy as a very minimalist understanding of democracy, the political process in which people elect their own representatives and which... Therefore the task, really for the course, was to look at, to ask the question of what does it mean to study democracy without bringing the question of what should it be and how... In some ways, I mean, curiously enough this some degree of fit between what you're saying here and what we've been trying to do in this course. So can you reflect on what kind of an analytical task that when you face with a situation (?) (?) (?) (?) (?) (?) as kind of, as a mental exercise, so OK here's a newspaper and how do we understand what it's reporting as politics. Now in those minimalist terms, in terms of say yours is an identical task of a fairly simple kind that you try to understand how what we call democracy is actually working.
Would you like to Reflect on that?
VD: Ya, see, I can. But my (?) would be something like this that as you continue in the, develop the thought that I briefly outlined in the extraordinary simplistic fashion. See, even this idea, I took politics as the valerized term but no different in democracy.
SV: Ya, certainly, we'll like to (?) and move away from that.
VD: Ya, but the problem is that, even in India if you look at the discourse on democracy from Kothari, just take post-independence. From Kothari down to Chatterjee or (?). There's this incredible sense that this is a new object of valerisation. Now I feel that, the question there is.... There is no question in one sense. Because of this, what happens is that (?) discourse... See, it is important to reflect on this. Now take Partho's book for example. Now somewhere, if you see his earlier work, you'll find the reverence of this older discourse and... as a point of biography, I know that he attended (?) in Bombay and he was a part of the... but when you come to the later (?), it's as though democracy is here. It is as though you have to talk about democracy. But still enough, this is what when we used to have this heated discussion between law and culture, this is what I was trying to make clear to everyone, there is somewhat inconsistency that the Left seem to see now. Maybe because of, as I said the (?) Cultural Left, that is that in this space it is perfectly possible not to see democracy as a particularly valerized object. In fact, Marx didn't. So when did this happen that now we talk about democracy, or associate with that this whole Human rights as though it is the Left discourse. It wasn't. So peculiar substitution has taken place, right. I mean, this evident in the asymmetry that you see in this (?), and someone tells violation of Human rights, you'll sit and read religiously, doesn't matter how simplistic the stuff is. Let someone question Human rights, you start calling names from you are a rightist, you are a BJP, you are a fascist, blah blah blah... Why should that come, because Marx had no (?) with (?) discourse. In fact he had most devastating critique of (?). So how did this happen? So, I would have to ask the question, not so much whether you can propose any interesting infinite question about democracy, I don't know if there is one. Well I want to understand, why democracy as in (?). I would rather want to remove democracy from here.
SV: I think...
VD: But then I saw it clear what the question is. I mean, I didn't want to ask whether the sub alternate only votes when he's given liquor or stuff like that, or you'll say that should parties be given money so that this kind of money power doesn't play a role in the... I mean, it becomes very, you know, it's not a discussion that you and I would find terribly compelling or interesting to engage in. Why, knowing very well that democracy is flourishing, I mean, you don't have to do anything. But the sense, when you read Partho now, you get a sense that putting it here you have talk about it as a, sort of, protected, something that is in danger. I don't see any danger, it's flourishing. I don't know what particular question to ask there. Questions that don't come from here. Now it maybe that what we to try to do is not say obviously that there's a question that we need to ask about democracy, because I feel that then we make (?) that let's talk about Proletariat, because now we have (?) nobody asks about the Proletariat. I mean, even CPI(M)... CPI(M) long (?) asking about Proletariat. Now, lets now for a moment think in the following way, may be the question to ask about is not about Marx, maybe there are some other things that we need to find out. that would be (?). In that sense, perhaps... I mean I would say that Cultural politics are problematic that are worthy of investigation, but for this reason, to understand why this particular notion of politics is not politics, has so overpoweringly captured imagination that we are not able to get away from the script, that we keep going back to ask those questions in forms that if you rephrase it, with this probably might, you'll see the absurdity of it. But we don't do it and we think that we have... because here (?) has spoken about it, we have continued to do that. I mean, the example would be say public sphere, that because first someone talked about public sphere, then someone talked about Proletariat public sphere, someone talked about some other public sphere, gay public sphere, and you start, there is no end to the public spheres that are available for (?), and I would say that... there's still speaking from here, that.....
SS: Your talk was not very clear, what you talked about from the 16th century politics disappears, right, which is an interesting point to make but it's very counter (intuitive) for me in some sense, because for example, even (Causellec?) whom you mentioned, I think in one article (????)
SS: For example (Causeellec?), I think, is also talking about the emergence of politics in the 16th century with the separation of religion and state in one of his essays, So I'm not very clear about how to relate....
VD: Ya, that's why I said, in the way the term gets used, in my talk or actually in (Causellecs) work, there is group like an occasion. You are talking of politics into two senses. But the fundamental point getting made without getting trapped in the (?). The point that (Causellac) is making is that this something entirely new, this idea of history or (?) Philosophy of history, that the philosophers tried to use as a substitute for politics, that is, what he is saying is after that... Now it is evident if you look at liberal politics and left politics, that is, what does liberalism do? Think of the notion of (?) it has played, self strong role, which is... We should be careful about how even now that notion is prevalent in our language, in our thinking that this notion of progress, despite the fact that theoretically we all think that this notion of progress is a big hoax, that it has a really no (?), but actually it works. Now we say progressive politics, where does that come from? That is that there is a whole language of Left and Liberal politics, which takes over from... That is the point that (Causellec?) is trying to make, and tracing... See, we all know that now it's less intensely discussed, but when we were part of the Left in the 70's, all our readings were about the first 3 decades of, basically, the Russian revolution, the German revolution and the revolution that was supposed to come. All problems were derived them, and one of the things that we would, I was though not wholeheartedly, I was the (?), that is basically a (?) because we were horrified by what happened in the Stalin era. The execution of extraordinary people like (?) and so on. Now what was that execution, how did it take place? Now some of you may not know. That was based, the justification were in history. Now we coolly speak about the Leftist having this idea that the 'Right line' and so on, but that was true, that when Stalin executed and sent people to concentration camp, he really meant this. And this is the point (Causellec?) is trying to make, that this is (?) to is not Stalinism, but this is also something that allows you to understand what happens in Fascism, that is the conception of politics. It looks counter intuitive to us in this sense because we think politics, progressive politics, look there is an enormous poverty, you know that, you look here and surely if only I had access to the sate power, I would do it. It is the obvious sense that we have, that is, I'll do something, I'll give the slum water, I'll give the slum food , and so on, without realizing that there is a trap in that, that kind of a thing, which in fact, as I said, Gandhi was very very insightful about that. I mean, he used a peculiar language that sometimes you cannot relate to, he called the state a soulless machine. He said, don't touch the state, because the moment you touch the state you (?) (?) (?) (?) (?) (?). And peculiarly enough now what you see today, I mean, what is unfolding in contemporary India, we all talk about the violence in Gujarat, I mean rightly people have... someone is wanting to try Modi on a crime against humanity, and he should be tried. But look at West Bengal, I mean, surely Buddha should be tried on the same crime, but what is happening there? I mean, it's not simply, they are not evil, in the sense that Buddha is obviously, you know... But something happens to this politics, and we cannot get a sense in what happens to that politics until we begin to understand what (Causellec?) called the pathogenesis of the modern society and that this notion of history, and why we need... That is the sense that we get of this (?) discourse that we often need from history to make the case, and sometimes you know that it's so obviously (?) but nevertheless you use a (?) case. I claim it. Now, I mean, that is an important part. It is (?) (?) (?) (?) because we are involved this, what he calls came into being after 16th century as politics because that, now we need to imagine a contrast, here's when we give a different sense to politics. That's why I said, there was such a talk in case of Aristotle but in the Indian case, Gandhi's obvious (?). When he talked about Politics, and he said that candidates reluctant to enter politics, he made politics his politics, but when he said that look Satyagraha can be (?) practice in politics, he meant something else. I mean, he did want to bring in a different... That's why he said, if you like not seeing ethics as separate from politics, whereas there ethics gets separated from politics, and that's why you... See one of () () () () () is simply this that how could this come about. There is,I mean till now, I don't think, (?) what he tries, in fact in (?) justifying it, there is no real (?) examination of what happened during the (?). We will somehow think of, you know, when we think of left we want to keep separating, you know, look Stalinist Left is not really the Left... What I realised when... What's her name, the chinese scholar who came here last semester?
VD: (?).... What was very disturbing for me was that despite the devastation of cultural revolution, it looks like the intellectuals they simply don't even ask this one simple question that - Can Marxism, does Marxism have the resources to understand itself? - But they still use Marxism to talk about, as though it explains something despite the extraordinary devastation of the cultural revolution has brought about or (?) (?) about. I mean, I did ask that question but I want to make that question register in his mind that, look there is some problem here, that is, as long as you think that Marxism will give you the understanding, but suppose Marxism does not. Marxism is what needs to be... And this is the story that I'm... Marxism is what needs to be understood, that Marxism in some sense, in that sense, and perhaps it goes (?????) even in the other sense, not really (?) that it really got into the same philosophy of history.
AD: ...History that writes Marxism, and it says the space of the political is the space where certain beings in common are emerged out of something, something like that. You know it, it's underlined in your book only. The other option is Foucault's (?) (?) (?) subject, say where he has this one small paragraph where the says the political (?) to a certain understanding of Marx and Freud we (?) and suggest that it would be some... What it would be, that is my question, care of the self or knowledge of the self? But then even if we go the Nancy way, we would not go by the Nancy way, just take inset from him, and go the Foucault the (?) of the subject way. The political as the concept has a concrete, particular (?). So how do you reconcile these two?
VD: Not reconcile... See there... By hesitation in probing, restoring you can use many insights of (?) (?), even Hegel, though there's a larger question of what Hegel did in his... I mean, he was a true giant and rest are really in some senses put on to Hegel. I mean, he is a giant. But what more means to do I think is... Whether the problems formulated by (?) (?) Foucault is very important, but what I would take from them is, see if there's an externally remark that Foucault makes in the book, the collection of lectures, I mean (?)(?)(?), which is very disturbing, which people tell in (?), which is this which is that look we don't have ethics, and we (?) (?) Europe. Now that is, I think, an extraordinarily, his investigation of the Greek world is propelled by that recognition and what he often talks talks about... There's a quotation that actually I wanted read out but, he says, look our dispute cannot be about particular political theories or particular politics, because what we need to look at is the rationality in which they have looked it, that particular kind of politics, and he really means something like this. So then my idea is this, when I make this abstract proposition that, see, one can reabsorb those insights of Foucault because he had a clear understanding of, when you say its associated with (?) which is translated as (?) (?) is... He was actually trying to point the idea that politics in the ancient world was linked, as I said, with ethics, that ethos, that ethics is... and that he was actually reconstructing that, what he calls, the period between 4th century BC to 4th century AD, that period that he was saying as a period of (?) (?). He was trying to show that there was a certain kind of knowledge that disappears in the modern world. I didn't use it because, since I tend too use Foucault a lot I wanted to get it from another way. But that's precisely the point that (?) (?) history made if you use Foucault made, there were points that (Caussalac?) and others make. What happen with this, politics disappearing is precisely... or what Foucault means by (????) that (???) knowledge disappears and becomes philosophical history is really when he say that spiritual knowledge disappears and that intellectual knowledge kicks in, and that disappearance is registered as a fact. So there is nothing you can do, though there are insights that you'll get from, say for example, (?) or (?), but that is of lesser significance than actually now coming up with a concept, because then a concept is after all, in a deeper sense, a concept is something that helps you in your way of being in the world. So there are different ways of being in the world, and the politics that one looks for, a concept that one looks for, in which politics can be talked about as a way of being in the world. That has to be achieved by bringing this two notions together, ethics and politics together, that is, by asking this question that I asked, what is the... In which case does freedom and knowledge coincides? And it coincides only in one case, that is in case of certain knowledge. It does not coincide with any other knowledge. So no matter how much knowledge you have of whatever else you think, it do not allow you to think. And that I feel is in some sense... We don't need to look for it in these patches of this way in which it is completely registered, because it is something that has been thought about and elaborated and lived in (?). That has been the really problematic of the (?), that in what way freedom and (?) are linked. So that is something that in one way, whether you call it politics or not is not important, it's that concept that made (?) in the world, That concept can capture is what is important.
PH: (?????) Can you give me an example when you started with that concepts don't work any more, I also wanted a concrete example of some political concept which we are using, now you say, to live in the world...
PH: No, give it... Extend enough, say it properly...
VD: (?) See, think of, obviously, that people get (hecked?) up, but now at least for the moment we pretend that we have been taking things of the normative zone. Now we say that look we want to look at human right violation, right. Now, unless you know what human rights are, how you going to know what human right have been violated. Now, as far as I know, and I look for it, in India, a book that would tells me what human right are, and I would read (?), book on... I mean, I tried to see it, I couldn't go (?) it. I mean, it doesn't give me what human rights are. So it is a discourse that keeps deploying the discourse of this. So you could pretend that you understand it. Even I can say that Human right (?) (?) (?) but if I praise the (?), you'll associate various things with that. You'll give me, under a classification, a hundred different things, but why are all the violations of human rights. What notion of...In what do you have these rights? If I ask you that what will you say to me. Now the task of a political theory is to presume, give me that (?), but in... The motion of rights have developed, over the period of 12th century onwards. That's what we have in the (Christian tradition?) of (?) (?) (?). Now while implanting it you are not going to make it (?) (?), you're mainly deploying it, in the (?) sense. You are now, if you like employing it, that is in the concept which you're understanding. So you're using it, and that's why it becomes a battle as I give (?) example of it. If I criticise it, I'll be immediately branded as XYZ, but if you actually sit down and try to think for yourself what the concept is, it'll give you a hard time trying to figure out what that is. Now, as you mentioned political society and civil society, as used again generally in the NGO world, but also in the (?) (?), that he simply said that I'll take this concepts to, as though there is a buffet and the (?) history has given you, that you can take and say 'now see I understand'. But as in, the thing about civil society and social contract, all these concept, is in some sense that you have to understand in the way that Hegel tried to understand in 'Phenomenology of the spirit'. It is a part of a certain concept, certain (?) is in concepts. There you can't... The question of whether it can abstract from that historical experience, and how far can he abstract it and take it is the genuine question that you can't simply say that, you know, I'll call the first (?)... Because that is not, we did not think anything with those concepts. That is why the (?) article is so useful. I mean you think that, nay people will (?) (?)... Oh so what we using it to the different meaning. No, (?) actually (?) powerful on that, he said look there is a failure of meaning that gives you changed meaning, which means there is no concept, or it is because we use secular with a new meaning. No, it can't be, if it has a new meaning, a
(?), then it is a failed, there is no concept.
AD: It is conceptually failed?
AD: It is not that it seems...
VD: Ya, I mean, we can use it. As I said, you can... we understand politics....
AD: Those are the concept of (?).
PH: So what's the functioning concept, and give an example of a concept which you think functioned well?
Functioned, something that hasn't failed?
VD: In India? There isn't, there (?). I mean, it is a serious case that I've been making that the cognitive enslavement is such... It is a cognitive enslavement, and you should stop (?) (?), I mean, in the sense that you would not normally associate enslavement with something cognitive. Your tendency to say cognitive is what is not enslaving. So a cognitive enslavement is, you were forced to look at it in this way. And that's what made this case, but ultimately one would want to argue that to have a concept is, would be politics if you like, that we don't.... And it is because of that there is such incoherence when you see the political discourse (?), and there is nothing particularly... See, what you say happened is that, and this is again going back between the Law and Culture debates, that I'm (?) anxious with an idea that is some kind of a personal attack on Kothari or Chaterjee, you know are only saying that such great scholars are all talking nonsense and so on, but I'm about to say that ya they are talking nonsense, so why can't you say it. I mean it's not, as individuals, if it is cognitive (?), it is a phenomenon that we have to recognize as... Then it is really not the fault of Partho that he simply... I mean, you could say that, he's genuinly registered (??), it's just that he doesn't carry it out. I mean, when we looked at nationalism as a derogative discourse, he did not push that point. So he would still be using the same philosophy of history... I mean, his passive revolution is what? Its a different version, this philosophy of historyin (?), and that suppose the functional explanation of what? So when you have a nation in its fragments, in one chapter (?) a passive revolution occurs. Why, I mean, I don't know. So when you don't (?) pay attention to the consistency of coherence of it (?), because you don't care whether it actually explains anything or not, then you have seen (?). What explanation passive revolution is suppose to serve? If you remove it from the.... It doesn't serve any explanation....
GS: I was very clear about this whole thing about knowledge (?). You say that it's a little (?) in philosophies, and it took place in the 16th century. They came up with certain kinds of moral criticism throughout, of moral values. What was the difference between say this knowledge of (history?) and what was prior to it? Why was there such a break and what was the reason for the break? Why did (?) suddenly come about?
VD: Not suddenly.
VD: In fact... I'm simplifying this story a great deal and I'm using reference points different from my usual reference points. If you read, say Foucault, society must be different and you'll see that it's actually not, it takes long discorsable mobility, what he calls the discoursable mobility or the political historical discorse... Ya it begins... and he traces, actually why it begins and how? And this is a very interesting point that he makes. You usually read Hegel as this idealist, that usually Marxism say that Marx turned the idealist values, turned it upside down, and so on. But one very interesting thing about the Foucault's demonstration is, and it's worth paying a great deal of attention, is that when the political, historical discourse begins, in that fashion or talking about mobilty, and what belongs to the mobility. It's already initiating a particular way of a particular logic, that actually is reflected in Hegel. It is not that Hegel does something which is empirical and takes it in and turns it into idealistic, dialectic. But that dialectic, the dialecticization of this discourse, if you like, is already given in the political historical discourse, and that is a very challenging notion because it looks like this attempt to look at history in this way, that is, isolated part of it for yourself, which is again (??). Whether it was true or not is none of your business, and when the mobility starts saying that we'll come from, we have this drug, we have this technology, we'll conquer this land and so on and so forth. In order to make further claim, that kind of a discourse had already built in to it, that (dialectacy?) if you like, of what you will see in Hegel. So it is not really, I mean, this is just to... What is interesting about (Caussalec's) book, as I said it's already there in Phenomenology of Spirit, if you read the sixth chapter, it's obscure, I mean Hegel is not the most transparent writer, but what is important is that he tries to show through... Even the most interesting historians who talked about the (?) (?) (?)... That he tries to ground it in, if you like history (only you can?) understand, and he has this idea that though, he doesn't actually acknowledge Hegel, this point about hypocrisy is really (?) point, that Hegel had already said it. So if you need society might actually defend it, you'll see that actually the whole debate outlined in extraordinary details, that what he calls political is called (political ? ?) which gets transposed which we borrow in... Marxism is a political strategic discourse (?????)
SV: So, you have seen in the Partho's example an anti (????). See it seems that in one possible way, at least that's the way of (????), the Proletariat or the disappearance of the Proletariat to the subaltern to political society. Is it not the case that while this move happens, what is happened is that there has been almost an unstated acknowledgment of the difficulties posed by the categories subaltern Proletariat, and especially when you move into a political society, you actually have an (?) then whatever other issues you are raising, lets keep them aside for the time being, but you actually have a category which is an empirical, I mean, which is driven by the compulsion to account for the (?), for the actual particular mobilization, rather than in terms of some progressive goal that is being gradually achieved.
VD: See, but that I feel, really duplicates the, replicates the earlier problems... No, in one sense see, just think of this earlier, when we were seriously this mode. What were we trying to do? We were trying to give ourselves a history. So there was this enormous search for working class movement in India. I mean, you had to convince you had to convince yourself that actually there was a working class movement. So, you know (?) historians, they all started looking for where is this working class. And working class was not, (?) was doing Union work in Bombay but with this exorbitant fear. They love the Bombay workers who have problems of their... They have this... He was looking at them through... And you started looking at organizing this historic (?), whereas the Navy workers strike, this strike, (?) years of history... Now what is (?) doing? So in that sense, here too, it is not as to... There was no confusion. And in fact the violence is the result of that confusion. I mean, think of the fact that the whole debate started in Russia, (?) when there was no Proletariat. (???)How can revolution occur in a backward country and so on, and then the kind of question one used to ask about India. I mean, why didn't a revolution occur in India then, I mean, what was preventing... These are the examples of within that research program, if you like, there are valid questions, step out of it, it doesn't even make sense. It is as absurd as asking (??), I mean, whether Renaissance of that kind occurred in... These are all false historical problems that a colonized country was trying to pose for itself. Now what Partho continues to do, is that, that is
SV: I mean, I'm not very persuaded by your argument that there is no movement. Maybe (???). See that the loss of that good object of, or subject of politics is apparent. It's clear across the goal, whoever it is, whether it is (?) or, any other (?) of the Left, or from other streams as well. Now in that... If that was one clear chase that you see between the seventies or say the (??), probably for the one major return to the good object rather than the present and the (?) and that kind of argument has been made with subsequently the watering hole
AD: (?) Can I add a point?
Ad: Like I have been seeing it in this manner, and Vivek gave me a few clues also today that we have the Proletariats, the abstract (?) and the concrete never really went with it, and hence we had China and Mao (?) and the expansions and the other things. So we had sometimes lumpin Proletariat. You had those surrounding categories here and there, and then you moved subaltern, gross, nebulas again, you can fit in everything into that. Ether also doesn't hold, because we've not developed that concept. Then we move to political society, and obviously political society we have to say is good, bad or ugly, and whether it holds or doesn't hold, sometime we find the political, not political enough, and all that. But then what happens is that, they are actually carrying a tradition of the Proletariat, Lumpin Proletariat and the (?), then subaltern, not subaltern well enough and the (?), now political society, not political enough and the (?). We are not examining why are we looking at it in this manner, that our fundamental problem is with the Proletariat, as there are abstract concept which was not attending to that. So we are never revising the original concept of the Proletariat or Marxist invocation, why does it come, etc. We are constantly doing these (?) and there it is a progression, of course. There are other usages, newer usages, newer ways of saying it. But the old original concept and... It's not a concept actually. The moment of the invocation of the concept that a Proletariat now, as an abstract, universal, would counter represent some such thing, a philosophy, (?) of history and all that. That is where I examined, so Victor Kaviraj or (?) or (?) or others.
VD: I think Anup is right, the purpose is of that kind, whereas, you want to say that there is a break, from here to somewhere else...
SV: But I'm not...
VD: but I'll say, it wont appear unless explicitly it is radically reconstructed.
VD: Otherwise, as long as... See the problem is in the case of Partho, he's chosen a (?) of history. See there's again this idea that some of the archive will contain some insight. I mean, it's really mind boggling that someone like him should (?)... So in fact that, whatever the Prince, and now he's going to write on the Calcutta black hole. I mean, I don't give any (?) that this will yield any insight on (?) they got of it, because that can only by actually examining one of the other movement, the movement that was there in one of the first nationalist (?). There was something that was... it was there, the struggle is there, the tension is there, except that it collapsed in the (?) discourse and subsequently you just don't say it, and that too if you'd look at (?) (?), and what would you... I'd be amazed, I would predict that there were many....
SV: No. See, what Partho has done with political society itself has... He was here and he had to go away from the... You say
SV: Would you be ok with the political correctness as... and because its a familiar enough term that you are....
SV: As a problem...
VD: It is lethal, I think, it is what...
SV: Its a familiar term and that also also captures some of what you're trying to...
VD: Ya, that's what I've been trying to do. Actually, one would want to stop (?) it, and see it as a serious problem that prevents any discussion from (?)... because what is (?) (?), it really wants to put everything here, and the moment you raise any item there, you know, there is fear, there is tension, anxiety and... Sometimes you don't know why, because sometimes you want to know what was (?)(?) in it, but sometimes you can't put your finger on what was (?)(?), but you have to be able to create a space where it will say that look 'what is (?) (?) that is creating this space', because you can, you know, what (?) from having a discussion about it, but you try it and it wont. I mean, in some sense, you know, that... as I said I keep going with the example of the Law and Culture in... That's what happened, I mean, he couldn't have a discussion, even of the kind of of (?) I was not as clear as I mean today but at least the consistency problem was something that I pushed and I would not get an answer.
VD: No, if you could be sympathetic like SV is and trying to see it, but my own involvement is subaltern and as I said... you know....
DB: Yes, but this is regardless of whether the actual subaltern stage came.... (inaudible)
VD: (inaudible) ...my sense is that why did (???). The very need for a notion of subaltern, even relative, relative (?)...
DB: It must be relative...
VD: No, but I'm saying that why they need it?
DB: But that's precisely to avoid that zone, to get away from that zone is one way...
VD: No, but I'm saying that you can do it without the... See, the very charge of subalternity is to capture this that when you are talking about the subaltern, doesn't matter... and the danger of the subaltern as opposed to any of the other, where the object is identified, is simply that you don't know what you're talking about. I mean, one day it is tribal, another day it's women, third day it is.... But all... It is a way of talking, and that you want to keep, but you want to exempt what you say about it from any scrutiny, precisely because it is in this zone. Where did that (?)... because you... That's why what we need to do is look back on the subaltern movement, that is, subaltern (?) movement not any particular subaltern movement. It is because they do this, in someway, they do this, replicate this movement of trying to find the movement and... See, ultimately the trivialization that takes place in the US is what, everything is resistance, right. I mean, you can find resistance everywhere, and subaltern studies or studying subaltern becomes studying resistance. Now from yawning to sneezing, to certain other (?) can all become resistance, and it is not something that I'm (?) (?) (?) (?) by historians which actually tells you that, you know, that resistance... I mean, till something, resistance is (???). I mean, you can find resistance anywhere, it is not accidental that this resistance has taken over the imagination here, and you can also see why subaltern studies became such a great success in the west, wherein then it could comfortably exist with another state in culture studies where you talked about hair style as resistance... I mean, you know, I couldn't take that seriously even at the time that I was, sort of, somewhat in that space. In that seemed like, where you want to speak, the way of speaking you want and what you want to speak should be exempted from scrutiny, because there is nothing there to actually talk about. You only want full attention on you as a speaker, and that I think is a trivialization. I mean, you know, subaltern, as I said, if you take early Guha work you can understand... See it's like this, when you want to go back to past as a leftist, see even though I criticize (?) revolution as vacuous, as not explaining anything, it is not difficult for me to go back to the period in the 60's and the 70's to see why people thought that it could work as... In some sense your explanation is bound by the historical expectation, I mean, if I actually look back on all the readings that I did of the third international, and what was happening in Europe, you know, you were thinking that the revolution is going to sweep away, today it is Germany, next it is... People (?) think like that, they indeed... That was a expectation. So that is why Gramsci, in prison, was doing all these great terms that he used because of censorship and, say, English prints and you know... Basically he was a (?). I mean, what was he, he was saying that look how we get... And the position he was taking was really (?) position, that the more things that (?) the consciousness from achieving the revolutionary stage, and instead of simply saying it's economic demands he said it's literature, it's other things that are filling up your mind... That's why I can understand when Guha intially wrote about present insurgence and so on... But my question is this, why even talk about the subaltern in this (?) today, I mean, you may bring up other problems that you would want to investigate about colonialism, and one example that I gave you simply, the one that I just gave that... What is it this movement that we call nationalist movement, and that the various interesting questions that you can begin to ask about (?), and what.... Even Gandhi, for example, I mean I've not really looked seriously, I would have thought, going by whatever I understood of his idea of satyagraha, that he should have launched a satyagraha at the time when partition was talked about being serious, because he was clearly stating that look I'm not considering simply a transfer of power, because transfer of power will come many times. So why didn't he simply say that this is unacceptable, (?>?????) It is an interesting question to ask to historical material, because there is something, I dunno what answers one would come up with, but definitely then something in the way that the Congress, the politics was really the (Causallecian?) politics.
SV: Any further questions?
AD: See, in fact to just to continue with that, the Proletariat is also relation...
AD: The Proletariat is also relation, it is not a theme. So, we would have different concrete particulars for that, but...
VD: Subaltern is a relation in a very different way, right.
AD: Yes, but the way one could think Proletariat say that would be the mortar of history.
VD: Only that could be the mortar of history. Whereas here even the bourgeoisie, Tata's are subaltern, whereas in that Tata's could never be proletariat...
AD: Tata's could never be Proletariat, but the peasants could be, the militia could be, the army could be...
VD: No. With a strict early conception, No. That's the whole discussion what the Russian revolution gives us....
AD: In that sense, a subaltern would also define a particular entity.
VD: Tata in the 1940's was resisting something. Setting up the Calcutta club was an act of resistance (????) that is an act of great resistance.
SV: But supposing the whole
AD: Vivek, just on thing. Like I'm not sure, When do we use the term political, in that sense, when do we start using...
VD: In this new sense?
AD: I don't know. I mean, must be something that one has looked into, but I assume that there is a longer story, the transformation that one has to look at, that would be the story of secularization at the best, that Law, certain conception of laws and conceptions of who's the true authority on this, and what is the question of legitimation, and how do you legitimate political power, all those questions will come in. Then we need to tell a story, different from the story that (????) but absorbing the insights of that story. That's why when you look at Hegel or if you look at any other important movement that with that you can reabsorb that by looking at (???). And you'll get some of those, as I said, when you raise the question of Foucault, you do get a sense of it from someone who is... I do think he was able to break through, when his recognition that there is no ethics is really a moment of... That's when he was able to try and see, what is about historical process that is gone, that prohibited or completely made it possible in ethics, made it possible in the 20th century.
AD: So when does this happen?
VD: Well, his idea is that it really... I mean, he proposed the fictional moment. Fictional moment is the (????/) But really it goes much before that, I mean, in a story that you had said that his own acknowledge and so on, it is really the (destruction) of the Roman world... So that is the secularization story that one would want to reconstruct or conceptualize.
AD: Look back and try....
VD: Then we can try to see that where is this idea of politics come, and why that (?) just disappears, or maybe in a present in a very (?) fashion. And that why we valerised, it is another further question. Why we think of it as (?) of politics as, or rather reasons for that politics to (?), or this normative zone to become a zone that Intelligencia participates actively in perpetually if you like. Because we know perpetually, and that is the worst thing about this (?), I mean, there is no one else actually telling you to the state or... you open a .....
AD: I thought the stripping of the ethical from the ethical is in (?) category, where you make the ethical the moral, normative.
VD: Well, if you tell the story of what is (?) morality through that, but I think (?) was much before that.
AD: It is much before that...
VD: (??) full expression to it and is... but that is as if we learn to relook at...
AD: Vivek, just one last question...
AD: You want to end?
SV: No, I want to ask if there are anymore questions.
AD: Oh... Then let the others do it.
SV: But you go ahead, this your last question.
SV: Anup go ahead.
AD: No, this can be asked later. Let the others do it.
SV: Any other questions, especially from the first years...
AD: Shashi has done it for the first....
SV: She wasn't a part of the class.
Shashi: This is regarding the life of the concept that you were talking about, the failure of a function of the concept. Now for example if you look at a concept like civil society, not just in the way the Indian academia has instilled but also in the (?) of proliferation of the way the civil society, it's like one, you know, six people feeling elephant blind folded, it's like everybody is describing something and it leads nowhere....
VD: It appears, but that's where when you care for it, in the sense that, what we get of this is really one of the damage that's been done to Indian (?) is the (?), kind of the history of the west, which is not deepest or the most insightful. So that when you say that look civil society proliferates there or that, for example, they do have different conception of ethics and so on. What we need to do is, what were they (???). See, for example, people will say that look there is a obvious disagreement between the (?) and the Kantians. So what, the point is not about the not being different, the point is about what were the debates about. Or taking your example of, see when civil society comes up in the way that social contract is talked about, right, then maybe very different versions of what a social contract is. In some sense you can say, for example, even by reading the ordinary history of ideas you will know that Locke's idea of a contract is different from Rousseau's idea of a contract. But that is not the important point, the important would be something like what Foucault makes in his ' Society must be (?)'. Why does political-historic discourse (?) this contract idea. I mean, you that, for example, it is complete fiction, I mean nobody ever believes that there is a social contract, I mean, people living in... But why is this story so important? What was it trying to counter in the European experience of State-building and so on? So, when you counter pose the kind of a history that Foucault writes to the prevalent of the surface of multiple uses of civil society and so on, you want to get at that what were the debates about. What were the presuppositions of the debate, because they are intelligent. See one obvious answer to your question is that civil society discourse was really, in some sense, not different from the older one, because when was it used? It was used when, the 80's, when the eastern block fell and basically the idea was to (?) modern society. So, in some sense, there was nothing, it was not so totally (?) to what the civil society idea was supposedly. In India it becomes a normative force, a weird institute, this civil society. We have no civil society... There are always experts that the Eastern Europe, who (????) to develop market society, or after Soviet Union went Russia and all. They were the ones who have also been talking about India also needing... you know transfer of discourse, that is, now this is the length to which we can actually look at how to rebuild market society here, and what were the obstacles for creation of a market society and so on. In that sense, it is intelligible there, here it becomes, it has a peculiar force of the NGO's talking about what has happening to our city, and nobody knows that it has the problem of skinhead, multiple meanings. It has no concept.
SV: Any last questions or comments.
AD: This two class model, the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat, this is somehow spell out in the manifesto and I'm now tending to think that Marx actually gives up, gives up the whole distinction later on, and in capital volume 3 he ends with the class and he doesn't have a clear understanding of the class. So the way we clumped the working class with the Proletariat, is not what is happening over there. Now, if one goes back to those investigations, what is (?) Marx and how Marx is doing, and look closely at it and not just to describe it, this is not soft (?) history of that period. If one goes back to the concept of the proletariat, examines it and tries to think it once again, not in a normative sense, not as the mortar of history, not driving historical (?) or giving philosophy of history, it's (?) element, not noun like, an (?) Italian group working class, and rehabilitates in a sense, a conception from there, which may not be called the proletariat anymore. And it also helps us think the political because the understanding of the political is also coming with that, the understanding of the Proletariat as the mortar of history. So the mortar then it's resistance in the subaltern, now it's political society. The political understanding of the political is coming in an intimate implication with the understanding of the Proletariat that was originally driving us. So, how do you look at that? One goes back and tries to look at that...
VD: I did that, I'm not sure about... See you said that the (?) model is definitely in the manifesto and that's defined, given out that there is, you know, you say that increasingly society will polarize along two classes in one increasingly where... But I don't think he ever gives up the idea of the Proletariat. See, there is a large debate, of course, whether that what he does in capital is proposal or an argument or not. I mean, he always took the stand that it was not a moral argument. That when he said that look there is unequal exchange in some sense, I mean, it is not unequal, but when labour becomes a commodity (???) gets extracted. But there is a debate subsequently in the Marxian tradition, whether some reading it as really a moral, that is in fact, Proletariat was cheated and so on, whereas Marx did not. He thought that he was actually tried to show in some sense that the very positioning of the Proletariat that way in the capital would allow him to show why it would cause instability and so on. So in that sense, I don't think he gave up though obviously he had a problem with them accounting for what you do with other classes, and it again left a lot of problem for related (????) what did you do with intellectual labour? Where are the intellectual labour or (????), or now it would have been even more complicated. I don't know if anyone... of the electronic.... who are they, you know all these changes in the firm and so on, how do you now account for what is surplus value and so on. But he never did keep up, I mean, he did have the idea that later that Proletariat, that in scientific understanding of the Proletariat will (?????) to show why it will achieve the (????). I think he did that... I think it's at least my (?) that he couldn't, I couldn't see that, I mean he all sorts of problems but (????) that he wanted to show that he had (?), I mean, this is the law, in some sense there will be falling rate of profit, that falling rate probably (???), but then, basically that he could never show the (?). And then there were problems of value and price. So all of those things were problems that were left for the later Marxian tradition to (???). So, as I said, (??). So many people worked on it, I mean, including many in India, but quite clearly that is what one is trying to argue that they did, you know, that they all did it. None of them could be given an answer. I mean, we could still say that, we'll have a problem of transformation problem, we'll have problem of falling greater profit and so on, but none of them have really any answer. So, you proposed (?) things like Prabhakar (????), or there is a short term crises so (????????). SO you have these terms that you could happily evoke to explain anything, but in a very very unconvincing fashion. But the agency, revolutionary agency thing, I think, I... Especially if you read all his writings around the first information of the first (?), doesn't go that....
SV: Ok, any absolutely fine questions?
Anup can carry over.
VD: I'm also here. I'm back from Mysore, so if you want to have any discussion your free to come and have a discussion. I thought (?)... decided that this is not the time.
SV: Ok, thank you very much, especially those of you who stayed through all the sessions.
Thank you Vivek.