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native reflections on colonialism

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  • dunkinjalki
    Dear Balu I m wondering (anxiously) what will happen to the vachanas if your claim, in your notes on colonial consciousness, turns out to be true!! There are,
    Message 1 of 145 , Feb 1, 2006
      Dear Balu

      I'm wondering (anxiously) what will happen to the vachanas if your
      claim, in your notes on colonial consciousness, turns out to be
      true!! There are, you know, more than 20,000 vachanas, more than 200
      vachanakaras, spread across 9 to 10 centuries, beginning from late
      10th C… After reading your write up I hurriedly went back to my notes
      on vachanas. The vachanas don't seem to be responding to Islamic
      colonialism. (There are some vague references to Muslims as rakshasas
      in Kalajnana writings. The Kalajnana text I'm referring to is
      attributed to some Basavanna, probably the second one). If your
      hypothesis is true, doesn't it follow from it that the vachanakaras
      (or tatva-padakara/sufi like Shishunala Sharifa, who was a Kannada
      teacher in the 1850s) must have understood and responded to Islamic

      This is just a puzzle. There is another aspect to this puzzle. In the
      20th century, i.e., under the British colonial rule, besides
      furthering of colonization, we also see the emergence of awareness
      about colonialism itself; a reflection on colonialism. The quality
      and the kind of awareness it was is different question, and an issue
      for further research. But, can we deny that there was this
      awareness!! (I'm tempted to say that there was this new awareness
      behind nationalistic/nativistic movements also.) So an additional
      question, I guess, that would demand answer is this: Why did
      reflection on colonialism began under British colonialism only? (This
      question presumes an yet to be proved hunch that the vachanas, for
      instance, do not reflect on or respond to Islamic colonialism.)

      If you (or anybody else on the mailing list) have thought about these
      issues, let me know…needless to say, they will be useful for my own

      Dunkin Jalki
      --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "Balagangadhara"
      <balu@U...> wrote:
      > Dear Friends,
      > I have just uploaded a file ('Some theses on colonial
      > consciousness.doc'). This is the set of notes on Colonial
      > Consciousness that I spoke of. It is not an article. Even though I
      > have tried to be as systematic as possible, I only have some
      > conjectures and some hypotheses and some illustrations all of which
      > need to be investigated thoroughly. It is my hope that we can have
      > interesting and productive discussion on some of the issues raised.
      > Friendly greetings
      > Balu
    • vnr1995
      Dear Divya, I show contempt at black box explanations and those who use such tricks. Most if not all Indians use these black box theories to criticize, say, a
      Message 145 of 145 , Feb 16, 2006
        Dear Divya,

        I show contempt at black box explanations and those who use such
        tricks. Most if not all Indians use these black box theories to
        criticize, say, a Kripal, a Courtright. Funnily, Indian intellectuals,
        who criticize a Kripal, don't recognize that the object of their
        criticisms are also black box explanations, explanations, which lables
        the phenomena, but which don't give concrete mechanisms, processes, so
        on. (For instance, the so-called behaviorism (SR psychology, S-I-R
        Psychology) is of this kind.)

        I am not sold on your notion of cause: do causes exist? Are
        regularities causes? What are salient causes? When does a cause become
        salient? and so on. When people say of ultimate reality, they dont
        stop at that point; they add other things like: the world is illusion.
        Definitely the world is not illusion. So, how to counter the
        foregoing: Oh, natural sciences are inferior; or some other sundry
        criticisms of natural sciences are given--and you gave one such in one
        of your earlier posts. These kinds of criticisms are of black box kind.

        Computationalism (a theory being a turing machine) is another useless
        thing, which is an hindrance to attaining knowledge. A theory of
        turing machines haven't explained any biological, chemical, physical
        process; yet we see intellectuals parroting that: for instance, in
        astronomy as well, as though turing machine is summom bonum of being
        scientific. This has screwed many intelligent people in psychology.

        I am not repeating any mantras: given we are living in a world
        different from the past, one should try to use resources of today to
        access what was said. I am not looking for unsullied Indian past. If
        one wants to defend Brahma as that 'final' cause, one should do some
        reading on debates about the nature of cause, then one has to show
        what an understanding of Brahma contributes to today's world: many
        people haven't done that; they just presume many things; when
        countered, they criticize such debates, without even bothering to see
        what is said. However, these critics would spend years reading some
        esoteric junk produced.

        Since day one, you have claimed that all (folk) psychological concepts
        are technical, and they are understood by the exceptional. Almost all
        young sciences pick up stuff from our daily use; once they embed in
        some theory, they will become distanced from ordinary use. The jump
        from folk concepts to technical concepts is not irrational: there is a
        chain of reasoning (COR), which contains many factual and theoretical
        considerations. The dispute is not about technical concepts; but about
        whether we Indians do know about concepts from folk psychology. One
        justifies this state of affairs by pointing out many things: people
        point to some chants, some technical books, etc.

        Let me finish by saying this: I call mantras, when people resort to
        black box explanations. Of course, you have criticisms for this too:
        Whenever I say I have understood, you will say: what I have understood
        is not an understanding at all. After all, haven't we heard similar
        replies in religious studies: Oh, Indian traditions are of different
        kind of religion; when water is not H20, then we can say, cant we?,
        such water is different kind of water.

        The moral of the story is *not* that I am resorting to personal
        criticisms, as one may think; but that the kind of criticisms one uses
        to defend their pet notions don't have the bite they think those have.
        Of course, fellow citizens (like in sulekha, or in IC, and in similar
        fora) may like such defenses: but there are people in other cultures,
        who are intelligent as well. Take their debates into consideration.
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