Indian Female Academics of the Left

I’m at this talk, which touched on decolonisation and other such left-liberal ideology.

I’m quite privileged to be attending lectures and seminars at one of the best Universities in the world (even if it’s been coasting on its brand name).

The speaker in question is a Professor Emerita. She’s Trans but white. I find the discourse on the left increasingly driven by white LGTB+ activists. She is interviewed by a Indian lady (Reader level So tenure track Prof) and introduced by another Indian Lady Lecturer.

I’m noticing a few trends:

(1.) Indians in postgraduate humanities are acolytes of Arundhati Roy. They’re sort of blending into the global liberal intellectual circles in a way that Muslims don’t.

(2.) Left-liberal Indians have become entirely de-Hindufied in a way that left-liberal Muslims simply haven’t. So while there is an invisible barrier for Muslims to fully embrace the entire ideology (more likely than not they’ll have some sort of belief barrier) there isn’t one for Indians.

(3.) Postgraduate Indian women in the Humanities are at the vanguard of social action and use their ambiguous racial status to float between black & white space.

(5.) Postgraduate Indians in STEM are rightish, which is no really surprise and in line with trends.

(6.) Being vocally right is social suicide in the “coloured circles.” It’s suspected I have profoundHigh Tory views but I downplay it to my Social Justice Ghazi alter ego (I am a Magian after all) and join the activists IRL. My concession is that I try to be intellectually consistent and avoid Munafiqeenism.

(7.) the South Asia centre has only one coloured faculty member (albeit the director) the other 7 are all white. It begs the questions what should (or should there) be a racial balance for ethnic studies?

(8.) People in Humanities love their jargon; maybe it’s because their subjects aren’t as intense as STEM?

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30 Replies to “Indian Female Academics of the Left”

  1. Left-liberal Indians have become entirely de-Hindufied in a way that left-liberal Muslims simply haven’t.

    Above shows excessive exposure to the online Savarkarite ecosystem and basic assumption liberalism is de-Hinduification
    : ) Up to the nineties, even into late ’00s, the complete opposite was dogma.

    …and use their ambiguous racial status to float between black & white space.

    In the US, I have felt Indians / South Asians are identified closer to the black end than ambiguous. Of course, not in terms of SES but in those unspeakable cultural racist-corners of the mind, which things are not usually spoken openly. Maybe because Indians are closer in skin tone to mixed-blacks, or because we have more “Asians” to take the ambiguous slot.

    It begs the questions what should (or should there) be a racial balance for ethnic studies?

    Is it kosher for High Tories to talk of cultural appropriation?

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  2. “Up to the nineties, even into late ’00s, the complete opposite was dogma.”

    Can you elaborate on this?

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    1. Can you elaborate on this?

      That being left-liberal was not considered de-Hinduization. In fact leading left-liberals (and communists) were all Hindus, almost always upper caste Hindus, frequently Brahmins. Right from Namboodiripad to Jyoti Basu to Pupul Jayakar to Romila Thapar. And of course, Nehru. Although some (not all) nominally rejected Hinduism, the very visible Hindu and UC identity was never lost (and of course, subject of many scholarly dissertations).

      Making the basic point that left-liberalism was never in the national imagination considered culturally anti-Hindu (except in the Savarkarite corner, irrelevant at the time). If atheism / agnosticism/ monotheism can be perfectly compatible with Hinduism, why should left-liberalism not be?

      It is only within the noisy online Savarkarite bubbles we see left-liberalism presented as completely antithetical and in a fight-to-death battle with Hinduism. That is a recent phenomenon, and certainly is not a universally held position.

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      1. “. Right from Namboodiripad to Jyoti Basu to Pupul Jayakar to Romila Thapar. And of course, Nehru. Although some (not all) nominally rejected Hinduism”

        Is this a joke or what? In your own statement you say they have rejected Hinduism, while you still consider them hindus. When the marxist/leftist dont consider themselves Hindus why should we? Why dont you ask them if they consider them self Hindus. Not one of them will. Perhaps this is a mallu way of reconciling voting for Marxist and calling them Hindus.Like calling the Tamil tigers or Maoist “Hindus”.

        And no , no one in “national imagination” considers them Hindus as well. I would know because i come from the region which essentially “birthed” that religion. (Teaching Islam to Arabs LOL)

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        1. Is this a joke or what? In your own statement you say they have rejected Hinduism, while you still consider them hindus. When the marxist/leftist dont consider themselves Hindus why should we?

          Debate and scholarship is about not taking claims at face value (for e.g., not taking Savarkarism claims about Hinduism at face value). And don’t really care which region you come from and if you birthed or Caeser-ed Hinduism. For one, Hinduism does not lend itself as easily to cultural ownership as Islam may do.

          Even in your best case interpretation, the dismissal as Hindus applies only to communists. Even there, every one of them used Hindu and UC markers throughout their life (at a time caste-surname rejection was popular), and many to most communists indulge(d) in Hindu cultural rituals. This made them favorite targets as hypocrites in Kerala and Bengal, but actually signifies both the complexity of Hinduism and the ridiculousness of that beast that is Indian “communism”.

          This also helps understand the wholesale switch of communists in WB into BJP.

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      2. ” If atheism / agnosticism/ monotheism can be perfectly compatible with Hinduism, why should left-liberalism not be?”

        “Left liberalism” as projected today is in fact camouflaged left-wing radicalism with fascist tendencies. Fascism is not compatible with Hindu philosophy.

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  3. Humanities jargon is a mud moat, they erect it as an artificial barrier against public engagement. They want to be a cloistered priesthood, and public engagement would attract political views outside their own.

    A side effect is that it helps them pretend their fields are more rigorous than they are (I get to say this because I have a humanities BA and brown people endlessly bashed me for it.)

    —-

    Medicine used to be more Latin and jargon-heavy, but we’re moving away from that…also, we are a public-facing profession, so we always have to have to be able to code-switch.

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    1. People in Humanities love their jargon; maybe it’s because their subjects aren’t as intense as STEM?

      STEM here, but I find humanities endlessly complex and endlessly fascinating. Yes, they can go off on tangents and at times, get things completely wrong -and takes a while to get back on track, unlike immediate feedback available in STEM.

      Still, STEM is not a patch on the sophistication of humanities. STEM feels more like blind men and the elephant, each very good in their narrow sphere. Wasn’t always the case but the increasing specialization this past century has brought us here.

      And to make those wider connections, we need humanities.

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      1. Like anuloka here, I find science types to be too unsophisticated*. They seem to never know anything beyond their immediate area of expertise, unlike humanities people who know more about areas far beyond their specialisation. Humanitists have higher IQs (in excess of 140** on average), better dressed, seem to have more time for personal grooming and make more money too. I think I know what I’ll have my kids do.

        [*] Trigger warning: you may want to retire to your safe space before reading any further.
        [**] Apologies to the boffins for using a micro-aggressive number

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        1. I have no idea how you assume my former humanities classmates have IQs at +2.67 sigma (vis-a-vis the White mean), which by definition is vanishingly rare anyways.

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          1. (I suspect Slapstick was speaking tongue-in-cheek.)

            He’s mentioned his alma mater before (which the two of us have in common), and it’s one of the flagship STEM schools in India.

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        2. Slapstik says
          unlike humanities people who know more about areas far beyond their specialisation. Humanitists have higher IQs (in excess of 140** on average), better dressed, seem to have more time for personal grooming and make more money too.

          Slapstik channeling his inner Kabir, no

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        3. They seem to never know anything beyond their immediate area of expertise, unlike humanities people who know more about areas far beyond their specialisation.

          Despite the atiśyokti, quite good pariHasam!

          Sadly us STEMs engaged in Śūdra occupations can only channel our inner Brā́hmaṇa on boards like these, and rage at the humanitistas who do have the actual expertise…

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          1. The funny thing is, the “humanistas” I studied under would open their courses by begging us (the students) NOT to enter academia, because the job market was so horrible.

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    2. Jargon as a barrier against engagement is just as much a side effect as faux-rigor. Since if it were the primary explanation, one would expect the jargon to be more efficacious at preventing engagement. Instead, what one finds is that the jargon of the IYI’s are lapped up and employed in memetic warfare by the IAI’s (illiterates and idiots).

      A good explanation is the following: jargon is how progress is tracked in the humanities.

      Suppose that you are the first ever feminist in the world, you intuit that there is something wrong about gender relations and then you introduce the concept of ‘patriarchy’ as something with explanatory power– explanatory power is, generally, a varying quantity but in all humanities that aren’t Anglo-American (Analytic) philosophy, all valid explanations are true (not truer), by necessity.

      So, for instance, challenging feminist analysis by questioning ‘patriarchy’ is as fruitful as challenging Royen’s GCC proof by questioning the validity of Lebesgue integration.
      For them, it is a settled matter.

      It makes a lot of sense if you model it as an ‘m-ary tree’. Every node is complex jargon; the complexity of each child node is just the addition of its own complexity with its parents and their parents, and so forth. Ex: complexity of Heteronormativity = Binarism + gender nonconformity + Gender Variance + gender norms +…Genderism…+….patriarchy…+..etc (you get the idea).

      In this way, within less than a generation, the literature goes to the dogs–supposing it had any merit in the first place.

      Addendum: increasing complexity to reduce public engagement is a good thing!!!!!

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    1. The first two posts appeared suspiciously close to each other in time. Could this whole thing just be a dude arguing with himself to try to start a flame war?

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  4. I have often wondered about this. The “Iyers,” “Iyengars,” “Raos” and “Sharmas” “Subramaniams” in academia are typically the most vociferous in virtue signalling. Most of these could pass for Latinas/ Iranians, and yet to read their screeds would lead one to believe that they are part of the great oppressed because of racial abuse. These women are typically well-placed in life. Many are married to well to do white men. Many others are married to well-to-do South Asian Upper Caste men. Almost none are married to Africans or African-Americans. I would like to know about their revealed preferences. (1) Do they have friends who are Christian and White or Christian and Black? (2) Do they have separate dishes to cook the meat and ones for vegetables? (3) Are they friends with people from blue collar background? (4) What would they conclude after reading Chris Arnade’s Dignity?

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    1. (2) Do they have separate dishes to cook the meat and ones for vegetables?

      That makes no sense (literally reading your question.) If someone cooks (and presumably eats) both meat and vegetables, what’s the point in segregating the respective utensils?

      Since this sprung up in your list (seemed out of place with the other points), I’ll reiterate what I said on an earlier thread. That there are certain practices that people hold on to (or adopt) because they are psychologically more at peace with those practices rather than being motivated by insidious casteism. I used the example of arranged marriage in that thread, but vegetarianism is another one.

      Some of us actually have convictions about that, you know. It ain’t ’cause we want to keep the Muslims and Dalits down!

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      1. FWIW, the vegetarian Brahmins I know practice their purity norms (regarding meat) even with respect to meat-eating Brahmins (like myself). It’s not a caste thing, it’s that for vegetarians, meat creates a psychological disgust response, and everything else is downstream of that.

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    2. “The “Iyers,” “Iyengars,” “Raos” and “Sharmas” “Subramaniams” in academia are typically the most vociferous in virtue signalling”

      More loyal than the king. One of the most biggest Dravidian-ist i met during college years was a Tam-Brahm

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  5. There is no concept of tenure in UK academia, you get a job and can them be expected to keep it unless your department is downsized or abolished.

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      1. Tenure track really doesn’t apply in the UK, after you get your PhD you can apply for and get a job as a lecturer/assistant professor. After you pass your probation period, your job is then permanent. Promotion after that to Reader\Senior Lecturer\Associate Professor (the level you get to after obtaining tenure in the US) depends on your publication record, success in obtaining grants etc. There is no tenure clock as in the US whereby you have to achieve promotion by a specific date.

        If you have your PhD and haven’t secured a lectureship, you are called a post-doc and will typically be employed on a fixed term contract. During that time you either apply for and get a permanent lectureship or go work for a research institute or quit academia. Occasionally you will see lecturers from the US in UK universities advertise themselves as assistant professors with tenure in order to give the impression that they are academic superstars.

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  6. At least in India, STEM folks study some humanities but humanities folks don’t study any STEM at all.

    This leaves, most humanistas completely innumerate. A failing that is particularly catastrophic in the modern world of technology, ‘big data’, and computational social sciences.

    You could even say that the only folks who have a semblance of modern liberal education in India are engineers, since they’re not only taught applied stuff but all also a tiny bit of pure sciences and social sciences.
    (This is not to say that the level of education is great, either in STEM or otherwise)

    So most non-enterprising humanities folks are either left unemployed or end up joining the left-liberal clique to get by in life, voicing vacuous views on immaterial stuff like Brahminism or patriarchy.

    The phenomenon is very similar to the condition of maddrassa educated ‘alienated’ Muslim youth of UP. It’s quite poetic that the two groups have found allies in each other.

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    1. That is not the fault of humanities education per se . It is rather how they are put to use in some career. For example history graduates can do lot of TV programs on history local or regional or national history. Humanity graduates should be able to converse with the society at large on their terms, then it will be useful

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      1. // Humanity graduates should be able to converse with the society at large on their terms //

        It is simply impossible for them because they are hypocrites, as on one hand they see themselves as Neutral observers & the most humane people on earth thus by doing this they themselves separate themselves from the rest & then make claims about the rest as if they are one of them.

        They blame all others if you disagree with them & point to their ‘black spots’ but call them to see the ‘black spots’ in their own arguments & it turns into a slug-fest.

        The explains the disconnect & the reason for crisis in fields like sociological, anthropological & Humanities studies.

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      2. I’m sure a number of TV channels/production houses do employ history graduates.
        But India doesn’t have enough surplus capital to absorb too many people in such roles.

        If some individual is enterprising enough to start their own YouTube channel on Indian history and keeps at it till they succeed, then no kind of education (or its lack) is going to hold them back in life.

        Unfortunately, most people are not like that.

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