Friday, December 1, 2017

The Corporate and International dimension of Islamist Sit-in in Pakistan

Ever since Nawaz Sharif , the ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan, has signed a gas  pipeline agreement with Qatar, he has been under enormous pressure from certain elements of Pakistan establishment to revoke the deal.

One wonders why certain elements from Pakistani establishment are opposing this deal, and what made Nawaz Sharif to stick with the deal?

Qatar-Pakistan gas deal was finalized by the then Energy Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on the bidding of the then Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a year ago. Since then Nawaz Sharif has been facing a graft trial that he says is a part to of establishment's efforts to harm his political career.

This tension between certain powerful elements in the establishment and Nawaz Sharif has its roots in the tension between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It is quite clear why certain elements in Pakistani establishment are opposing the gas deal. Saudi Arabia has an avowed policy to stop Qatar from developing its gas fields! Any deal between two countries that allows Qatar to develop a gas pipeline and market its gas in the world is detrimental to the cause of Saudi Arabia.

Last year Saudi Arabia hired the out going Pakistani army chief , General Raheel Sharif, as the chief of its 41 country military alliance against terrorism. The formation of this alliance has been opposed by both Iran and Qatar, who think that the alliance is against their national interests. General Raheel Sharif still wields a great influence and power in Pakistan, though he is not as powerful as the current army chief General Javed Qamar Bajwa, who doesn't want to do any kind of undemocratic action despite the pressure from the anti Nawaz elements in Pakistan.

Why Nawaz Sharif is pursuing Pakistan Qatar gas deal? Before answering this question let us see what has he done to protect the deal. When Nawaz Sharif was ousted from the position of Premiership by a court decree a few months ago, the natural choice for the next Prime Minister was his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif. However, instead of giving his younger brother a chance to be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif selected his Energy Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the new PM. The reason is obvious! Nawaz Sharif didn't want to harm the gas deal with Qatar.

This selection of Shahid Khaqan Abbassi caused a rift between him and his brother, though the two have never publicly admitted that there is any discord in the family. However, this rift becomes manifest in certain actions taken by Shahbaz Sharif the younger brother of the EX-PM.

First of all, there is a wide held opinion in Pakistan that the current Brelvi Dherna , or the Islamist sit-in in Islamabad was actually initiated due to a demand made by Shahbaz Sharif. It was Shahbaz Sharif who first demanded that the Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid should be sacked. Mr. Zahid Hamid , according to the fundamentalists in Pakistan, was responsible for getting through an allegedly anti-Islamic law.

There are other pointers towards the rift too, and Shahbaz is not alone in the power struggle against his own brother. He is probably supported by the son in law of Nawaz Sharif Ex-Captain Safdar, and his close aide Choudhry Nisar.

The role of the present army chief in this conflict between pro Saudi Arabia, and Pro Qatari forces is of a silent observer, for he can't do much to quell the conflict. In a famous speech, a few months ago, General Bajwa uttered the new policy of the establishment of Pakistan. The new policy connects security of the country to economic strength.

According to General Bajwa Pakistan's security largely depends on its economic strength for often times Pakistan has to surrender its freedom to decide on its policy to its economic dependence on other countries and power. Pakistan's foreign  reserves mostly come from countries like USA, Saudi Arabia, UK, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait. These countries wield a great influence on the policy matters of Pakistan, and Pakistan cannot go against these powers openly to pursue its own national interest.

Pakistan right now is stuck in a war between Qatar and Iran on one side, and Saudi Arabia and its gulf and Western allies on the other. Pakistan starves for gas, but its powerful mentors didn't allow it to get gas from Iran. Pakistan shelved Pak Iran gas pipeline after objections from the other block. Pakistan cannot get gas from Central Asian countries because of the volatile situation in Afghanistan. The only way Pakistan could get gas was through a Pak Qatar gas pipeline, and even that has become problematic now. For, if the present government is toppled, the new government would shelve the deal.

On the one hand Pakistan's ruling political party has close ties with Qatar, and on the other hand its powerful ex-general Raheel Sharif is commanding a Saudi alliance against Iran and Qatar. This is an obvious conflict of interest, resulting in a conflict between certain powerful elements of Pakistan's deep state and political powers.

Despite the fact that Pakistan badly needs energy, there are certain probable reasons why Nawaz Sharif supports Qatar dea. One reason why Nawaz Sharif supports Qatar deal is probably because a Qatari prince testified in his favor in the court to acquit him from corruption charges. Nawaz Sharif is facing graft trials since last year. The other reason why he favors Qatar deal is basically summed up in an allegetaion made against him by British Petroleum CEO Mike Dudley. According to Mike Dudley, Nawaz Sharif's elder son, who lives in London, accepted $300 Millions in bribe from Qatar to finalize Pak Qatar gas deal. Mike Dudley said this in his interview with BBC.

The present Islamist sit in in Pakistan is a manifestation of Qatar Saudi Arab conflict. The sit in was probably supported by those elements in Pakistan's deep state who oppose Qatar Pakistan relations and support the Saudi alliance. The purpose was to oust the government , or to surrender it into shelving the gas deal. The sit in received support from certain factions inside the ruling political party.

The reason why the sit in didn't succeed in achieving its purpose was an intervention by the powerful army of Pakistan. For the sit in, and a police action to end the sit in, caused a potentially threatening reaction in Pakistan that could easily have stepped into civil war. Pakistan army realized the urgency of the situation, and after the eruption of riots, Pakistan's army chief General Bajwa cut his UAE tour short and flew back to Pakistan to resolve the before it could cross the threshold of a civil war.

The irony is, the poor people of Pakistan know nothing about these underlying realities and believe that the it was religious controversy.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Brelvi Uprising in Pakistan: Possible consequences

Brelvi sect is a branch of Sunni Islam patronized by Turkey and Iraq. The unprecedented Brelvi  uprising in Pakistan, in November 2017, could have un-foretold consequences. One can easily draw a parallel between Morsi's Tehrir square revolution in Egypt, and the present Brelvi uprising in Pakistan!

The tehrir square sunni, Sufi Islam uprising, supported by Turkey and Qatar, ousted Hoseni Mubarak, and compelled the Egyptian authorities to conduct general elections in Egypt. Those elections brought Ikhwan al Muslimeen to power: a Sunni political party, headed by Mursi in Egypt.

However , after a year or so, Saudi backed hardliners leashed hell on Morsi's ikhwanal muslimeen and ousted him! The question: Is it going to be the case in Pakistan after the Brelvi uprising?

Yes! Brelvi's are in majority in Pakistan, but they don't have the fire power that the hardliners like Lashkar e Jhangvi, LET, and TTP have. This means that the sunni  sects with immense fire power: a power that parallels that of Pak military, are watching the whole affair closely. It is now a matter of time when these powers would unleash hell on Pakistan!

The basic flaw in the current Brelvi uprising is this they haven't sought approval from the rest of the religious groups in Pakistan! Brelvi scholars have not taken into confidence the powerful Deobandi, Ahl  e Hadiths, Wahabi, Salafi, and shia sects in Pakistan! Brelvi scholars are spitting venom against the other Muslim  sects in Pakistan. This sectarian divide, which the speeches of Brelvi scholars is further strengthening, is threatening the existence of the non-brelvi sects!

If the present uprising of Brelvis in Pakistan doesn't seek cooperation with Shia, Deobandi, Wahabi, Ahle Hadiths, and the salafist, it can start a sectarian war in Pakistan!

Pakistani state has already surrendered before the demands of the majority Brelvi sect, leaving the other sects to determine their own vulnerable position in the already strife stricken milieu of Pakistan! If the current discord between the Islamic sects continues, it could lead to a civil war in Pakistan!

A highly influential Brelvi sect leader, Mr. Siyalvi is seeking the resignation of Punjab Law minister Rana Sanaullah over his alleged support for Ahmedis in Pakistan! This is going to be a decisive moment for the trigger of religious civil war in Pakistan, for Rana Sanaullah is a highly regarded mentor of non Deobandis, Ahl e Hadiths, Wahabis, and Salafis!

Pakistani establishment and the present government are out of tricks to deal with the situation, and has already surrendered! In case they want to protect the society of Pakistan, they will have to take tough decisions!

Monday, August 14, 2017

US Policy in North Korea!

Trump's policy to deal with North Korean problem is quite different from the policies favored by the previous administrations including those of Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Trump's policy is to bend the affiliation of Kim Jong Un's regime from China and Russia towards the US! You should expect an official  Kim Jong Un visit to the US in the near future as a success of Trump's policy!

Unlike the policy of the previous administrations, the new American policy does not aim at a regime change in North Korea! This new approach in the American policy towards North Korean regime has a historical background that needs elaboration.

After the fall of USSR, the dictators and regimes installed and protected by the USSR to serve its interest during the cold war era were left stranded, and their fate looked uncertain.
Both Bush senior and Clinton administrations had a very clear policy towards these communist regimes and dictators.

Post USSR American policy was mainly aimed at supplanting these dictators and regimes--dotted on the world map-- with democratic system and values. Initially the efforts of both Bush Senior and Clinton administrations were focused in the East Europe where the dictators like Chaussesco and Melasevic were removed from the power and the countries were given a democratic system. A better system of governance!
It was easy for the Clinton administration to convince the people living under dictatorships in East Europe, for the people clearly knew that the nations who went with the Western powers had better economic, social, and political life conditions as compared to the countries in the communist world.

The dictators there clearly knew that the US was not going to tolerate any sort of antidemocratic ideology in the region, and the only chance they had to continue their dictatorial rule was they sought help from Russia. Russia, however, was not in a position to help those regimes, and hence, those dictators generally fell before the US power.

In the George Bush era, the focus of the US policy shifted towards the Middle East and the Islamic World. In the Islamic world there were two types of dictators and regimes: those who were supported by the West, and those by the USSR. Those who were supported by the USSR included Saddam, Gaddafi, Hafizul Assad, and the Iranian regime. Though the Iranian regime wasn't installed by the USSR, it was anti West, and hence was on the US list of the regimes to be removed. However, during the Bush era certain incidents and factors rendered the decision making complex.

During the Bush era the situation complicated due to two factors! First of all, the first Gulf war created an antipathy against the West in certain extremist quarters of the Muslim society! A mutiny against the US was initiated by the once pro American Jihadists who participated in the war against the USSR! This mutiny in the Islamic world was led by the rogue organizations like Al Qaeda, and its aim was to remove the Western influence from the Islamic world!

This mutiny led to a terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001! This accidentally changed the US policy, and instead of pursuing regime changes in Libya, Iraq, and Syria, the US went after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan! The Taliban regime was installed by the Pro West Jihadists powers, supported by the front line allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan!

Hence, President Bush, instead of going after the Bathist-Pro-Soviet dictators,  went after the Taliban regime, and overthrew it with no effort! After the US forces had removed the Taliban regime, President Bush turned his attention towards Iraq, and removed Saddam from Power!

The removal of Saddam opened up a pandora's box of problems for the US strategists, for the sectarian and ethnic conflicts in the region flared up, and the transition from Saddam's dictatorship towards a robust democratic system couldn't be made. Dictatorship couldn't be supplanted with an effective democracy in the post Saddam Iraq, like it was in the post USSR East Europe. Similarly, in Afghanistan, the reconstruction efforts were  thwarted, for on the one hand the allies of the US like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan didn't approve the US relationship with the Shias and the non Pashtun minority, and on the other the newly established democratic government couldn't handle the menace of corruption and lawlessness!

Both Iraq and and Afghanistan turned into great failures for the US policy makers who were thinking about these Middle Eastern and Islamic countries in terms of their successes in the East Europe! In East Europe, once the dictators were removed, the democratic values were lucidly established! However in Afghanistan and Iraq ethnic and Sectarian divides continued and haunted the US policy makers!

President Bush and his policy makers had no answer to these newly emerging problems, and they just overlooked such problems!

The second problem emerged at home!In the 80's the strong Western rulers like President Regan, and the British PM  Thatcher had in principle accepted the neo liberal philosophy of open market and globalization! The initiated the process of privatization of corporations and services, and worked for the globalization of the world economy.

Furthermore, the leftist Clinton administration took the torch of globalization from the previous administration and established the realm of WTO! However, the WTO regime, globalization, and free market didn't fare well with the White American labor class and backlashed! Empty ghost towns in the US created due to the shift of labor to the third world rendered the white blue collar Americans job less! The hardline leftist  thinkers in the US criticized Globalization and free market, for it had harmed the Blue collar Americans' economic interest! Thinkers like  Susan George paved the way for a wholesale condemnation of globalization, and provided the blue collar American with an alternative view point.

The situation worsened in the 2008, when the US economy crashed, and sealed the fate of Republican Party for the coming elections. After the economic melt down of the Bush era, a decisive majority turned against the corporate greed and voted for Obama not only in 2008 but also in 2012 elections!

Obama didn't go against globalization, yet he resolved the immediate problems of American economy that emerged in the backdrop of the economic melt down of the Bush era!

In the elections of 2016, Republican party found itself helpless against its own voter who chose Donald as their new president.

I am not going to go into the depths of economic reasons that led to the election of Trump, or the purpose of this article is to explain the US policy in North Korea!

And in order to explain this new policy towed by Secretary Rex Tillerson, I will have to go back to the failures of Obama in the Middle East!

Obama failed in the Middle East! Obama failed to establish democracy and peace in the Middle East like his predecessor George Bush.
Obama continued the efforts to change the dictatorial regimes in the Middle East. However, unlike Bush, Obama favored another path that led towards the aim of removing dictators from their rule. That path was the path of political uprising. The political uprising of the middle, the Arab Spring,  resulted in many revolutions in the Muslim world and removed dictators like Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak.

Despite the successes of  Arab spring certain unacceptable things also resulted from the it. First of all, the countries from where the dictators were removed never returned to normalcy, and the political tumoil worsened into ethnic and sectarian conflicts. Second, in the case of Egypt, an orthodox Islamist regime came into power, and that regime was not acceptable to any of the major player in the region including Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US itself. A counter revolution occurred in Egypt and an army general Al Sisi removed Mursi from power, and Egypt went back to dictatorial rule.

In Libya and Syria extremist organizations came into prominence. The worst of these extremist organization was ISIS. ISIS appeared on the scene due to the deadly sectarian conflict in Iraq and Syria. ISIS not only threatened the peace in the Middle East, it also carried out deadly terrorist attacks in Europe and America. Arab Spring was largely considered a failure for it didn't produce the desired outcomes.

These outcomes of the Arab Spring allowed a few in the US to press a review of the anti-dictator, or anti-strongman policy of the US. President Donald Trump, commenting on the Middle East situation during his presidential campaign expressed his wish to back dictators and strongmen in troubled Middle Eastern countries.

Removal of the strongmen from the scene, according to President Trump's vision, resulted in the creation of  ISIS and Sectarian violence. For him the strong man of the Middle East like Saddam,  Gaddafi, and Bashar Ul Assad were successful in establishing peace and were  lesser evils as compared to ISIS.

The Trump Voter saw the Paris attack, the rising Islamic militancy that was caused by the ethnic and sectarian rifts in the Middle East, as immediate adversaries! Such rifts not only harmed peace in the Islamic World but also in Western Europe and America!

By the time Trump came to power, it was the turn of  the South China Sea to receive the tremors of the US policy! While handing Trump the rule of the US, Obama told Trump that North Korea was the next big problem, and there was a Middle Eastern backlog too!

Now for Trump the situation was clear! He had to solve the North Korean , but he was not in favor of regime changes any more!
Hence the policy of the US in North Korea is not of regime change, but to convert the affiliation of Kim Jon Un in favor of the US! He just want Kim Jong Un to change his fidelity from China to the US! That is what the policy of the US is in North Korea! The US wants Kim Jong Un to shift his dependence from CHINA TO THE US!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dostoevsky: The Quantum Mechanics of Emotions

Dostoyevsky is a marvel of Russia! Dostoevsky has shown, through his writings, that humans can fathom the depths of reason without losing the guidance of heart. The great Russian novelist, Dostoevsky, was in fact a mathematician of human emotions. Dostoevsky was a unity of art and higher level mathematics.

Where he shows that he viewd the affairs of human like a Pascal or Al Beruini? When he knits his character through defining his/ her limitations, aspirations, and struggles.
The example of limitations that Dostoevsky beautifully imposed on his characters are economical and emotional , and rational limitations. 

Economical limitations are the most obvious ones! Look at the Characters of Prince Myshkin, Mitya, and Raskolnikov! Donia, Gurushenka, Nastasia and Sonia! These characters are finacially bankrupted , but have great emotional lives. To a certain degree all these characters are difined by their economic worth or worthlessness! 

Money is essential! But money isn't the goal of these characters! These immortal characters live in stark poverty, yet they aren't interested in money: their aims are higher than the gold. Yet it is strange to say that their worse plight, their sufferings are mostly enhanced if not caused by the dearth of money. Mitya needs 3000 roubles, Raskolnikov has no money and has reached his hypondriasis through the route of stark poverty, Prince Myshkin is poor in the initial stages, Donia suffers due to the poverty of her family, and Sonia sells her body to feed the kids of her step mother. Stark poverty is a great source of suffering in Dostoevsky's novels.

Poverty is the route to suffering, yet these magnanimous souls nver run after money! They throw the money in the face of those who want to buy their emotional lives with the help of money. Dostoevky looks too much inspired by the lesson of the Temptations in the New Testament. He has mentioned that incident in the beginning of The Grand Inquisitor. 

Yes! Dostoevsky follows the Christian ideal of a free of temptation love and faith. Where there is a temptation in love, there it becomes worthless! A desire for money cannot be mingled with a desire for love! The result of such conmingling are the characters like the " Fiance of Donia in the Crime and Punishment. The Suitor of Nastasia whom rhagozin insulted in the " Idiot." Even Rakitin is close to such a sinister conmingling of the love for money and love. The result is eternal damnation in the world of Dostoyevsky. 

It is quite clear that money isn't the aim: So Donia doesn't surrender her soul to the lust of Sividrigailov. Raskolnikov didn't allow his sister to Donia to marry the greedy lawyer. He refused the career and money for the sake of true human relations. Nothing is important in this world than human love. 

And yet sometimes reason leaves the love behind, and drives a man crazy! " Ivan was described by Mitya " as a tomb." " Ivan is a tomb" says Mitya.  Why? For Ivan was an embodiment of reason, and it was his reason that ultimately pushed him towards the abyss of madness. 

Raskolnikov was deceived by his reason into an act of utter violence. An act of violence that was a burden on his conscience. " When he was free he was in prison, and when was in prison, he was free! " Says Dostoevsky about Ivan. What was his Prison? In one word , the sting of his conscience. What was his relief? Acceptance of his crime, and go to the prison. The police officer who was following his trail knew that he would eventually confess the crime just because he couldn't bear the perpetual sting of conciense. 

But when the reason reaches its height on its flight under the guidance of love, it reaches the wisdom of Father Zossima, and his disciple Alyosha. THese two embodiments of reason and love are epitome of the Christian ideal in Dostoevsky's world. Father Zossima and Alyosha are always confronted with the paradox of faith, yet they are powerful enough to stand their ground in the face of the attacks of scepticism. Alyosha's faith is always tested, and succeded in defending itself. It was tested by Ivan's reason, by the death of the Saint Zossima, by his own father, by the sufferings of his brothers! And yet it sustains all the attacks. 

Another religious personality is the Idiot, Prince Myshkin. Who this man is? He is an idiot, for he is not selfish, and doesn't guard his self interest. He doesn't have any self interest, not owing to any kind of asceticism, but owing to his mentle illness. He is an idiot! 

And yet his doctor has asked, " Never lie to anyone, and to yourself." This man is a saint in it that he accepts everything that comes to his mind, he never has negative emotions that he could challenge. He only has an acceptance of himself, and he expresses what he feels. Prince Myshkin is like the God's fool whom the God loved. 

Dostoyevsky's world is amazing! It tells us about strange deals! Barters! Every dealing in the world of humans is a well thought out deal! In Insulted and humiliated a little girl, who has no one to take care of her, refuses the custody of a wealthy man. The reason? The wealthy according to that little girl wanted to adopt her because he had abandoned his own daughter. And to fill that gap he wanted to adopt her! The girl laid bare the true motive behind the intent to adopts her and refused to enter that deal.

Katrina Ivanovna had money, beauty, and she apparently even loved Mitya! Yet Mitya knew that she only loved herself, and refused her! Raskolnikov refused the deal between Donia and his fiancee saying that the only purpose he wanted to marry his sister was her povert and beauty. He wanted a wife who would always feel indebted to him! Such relations do not give happiness! 

Raskolnikov criticized Donia for her pity and support for her step mother's kids. That deal was harshly criticized by him, and yet Sonia didn't break that deal! She continued to sell her body for the survival of the kids. 

In such deals, in their explanation and analysis Dostoevsky seems to solve quantum mecjhanical equations of the emotional life! It is here that the mathematical skills of this master artist come to fore!

Khalid Rawat

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Critique of the Hindutva Concept of RSS and BJP:

The concept of Hindutva as presented and pursued by the BJP and RSS nexus has a basic flaw in it. It does not account for the new reality of the subcontinent! Now what is that new reality of the subcontinent that the Hindutva concept failed to address? The new reality is that each and every thinking mind of the subcontinent has to reconcile three authorities! These are Hinduism, Islam, and the Modern Western thought!

The fallacy of Hindutva lies in following the Manu's law as it is! Whereas it is quite clear that Manu's law contradicts certain important aspects of both Islam and the modern Western thought! What are those aspects? In order to know those aspects I would like to start from positing the basic tenets of Manu's laws!

Manu's law divides human population into four Vernas or classes according to their virtues! Manu's law rightly identifies that a society functions on the basis of four cardinal virtues! These virtues are Wisdom and knowledge, and Brahman class represents it. The second virtue is of courage and Kshatriya class represents it! The third vitue is the accumulation of wealth and marketing, and the Vaish class masters it. And the fourth virtue is of temperance that the Dalit or the service offering class has to master!

THese four cardinal virtues are necessary for the society! Manu Smitri has asked the society to promote and preserve these virtues! For a society needs a knowledge base, and a law giving class! A defending class embodied in the Kshatriya! A wealth earning class represented by the Vaish! And a service offering class represented by the working or the labor class!

Manu Smitri is brilliant in it that it has instituted laws to perfect these virtues, and advocated a class based society! Manu Smitri, or Manu's law wants to evolve social classes that are reared up to practice these virtues! It is a deep idea, and it requires a lot of discussion to understand its true merits! I have no objection on it!

However, after the advent of Islam, a new virtue was given the cardinal importance! And that virtue is the vitue of Taqwa! Taqwa means to abstain from the wrong doings, and practice the right parh! If we combine Manu's virtues with Taqwa we come across an interesting situation! Islam recognizes that Brahman is for knowledge, Khatriya is for courage, Vaish is for wealth and Shudra is for the services! However, in the course of history these four virtues were compromised! And vested interests stopped the Brahman from the true service of Knowledge! Kshatriya compromised honor! Vaish aspired to rule! And the Shudra aspired to pursue its material desires!

Islamic virtue of Taqwa asks all these four Vernas to sacrifice their ulterior motives for their Cardinal virtues! That is Taqwa! So Taqwa basically askes the Brahman to sacrifice everything else for the acquisition of knowledge! Taqwa asks Kshatriya to abandon anything else for the sake of honor! It asks Vaish to earn wealth for the socirty! It asks the sevice or the proleteriate class to perfect their skills!

It is quite evident that the cardinal virtue of Taqwa is essential for the society! It is a necessary virtue, for in the course of history the Vernas started following other motives! Taqwa is an essential part to be preaced in Hindutva!

The in put of the Western philosophy is also important and unavoidable!

In the Western tradition the believe in the functionalism of the four Vernas! But they say that in the modern times, since every Verna is corrupted, therefore it is no longer important to give the birth right to the classes! Modern West is against the birth right! It says that a Shudra can have an appetite for knowledge far exceeding the whole Brahman class! A Brahman can be a greater Vaish than any Vaish! And you can extend this line of thought to understand the fact that the birth right is no longer relevant! So the Western though promotes merit! It says that we accept the four Vernas but it is not a matter of birth right!

No my point is that! If you want to institute Manu Smitri in today's world, you should promote both Taqwa and Merit!

Merit means even a Shudra can be a Kshtriya! And Taqwa means that a Kshtriya, selected on the merit should religiously follow his merit! This is what I want to say! I will write further on this subject if you ask me questions! But My conclusion is that: Manu, Islam, and the West don't contradict but supplement each other! I invite questions from the reader! And this means BJP_ RSS has to promote all three concepts of  society in the Indian subcontinent! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reflections on Nietzsche's philosophy

Nietzsche’s Philosophy
Nietzsche’s philosophy is not as complicated as it appears to be. The reason it appears complicated is that people try to read some absolute meaning in it, which obviously it does not offer. People try to see his philosophy as a positivistic fat or reality, which obviously it isn’t. Like everything else it is open to interpretation.
So how should we approach Nietzsche? The answer is we should approach Nietzsche in a manner that allows us to interpret his philosophy in a certain paradigm of meaning. A paradigm that befits our own individual situations.
What I am proposing here is an interpretation of Nietzsche’s philosophy from my perspective.
Nietzsche’s Theory of Language
In the Semitic religious tradition, the most praised intellectual quality of humans is termed as the ability to name things. This ability to name things places humans above angels and the rest of the creation.
“And He taught Adam the names—all of them. And then He showed them to angels and asked, “Inform me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”
The angels couldn’t name the animals, but when the Lord asked Adam, he successfully named everything before him.
This ability to name things is the very basis of the human cognitive abilities. Man knows his world, and the objects in it through their names.
What is a name? In the world of linguistics, a name is called a sign, and it is a combination of two things. A sound, or a word, and a concept. The sound or the word we use in a name joins with a concept to form a name.
It is said that the sound or the word we choose for a concept in a name is arbitrary, means there may or may not be a reason behind its choice.
The other part of a name or a sign, the concept, is formed through a long social process. This process is very much like the process of qualitative research.
The process of research starts with something that we want to study. We gather data about that entity, analyze it and then formulate a theory about that entity, after careful sifting and reductions.
The same process is used in the formation of concepts. People of a community interact with an entity or a situation. They share their experience with each other through mutual discussions, and then, after a process of reduction, in which everything non-essential is removed from different experiences, a general concept is formed.
This concept is assigned a sound image, and the way this sound image is chosen isn’t based on any resemblance with the object it names. Like the word lion that we use for the concept of lion doesn’t bear any resemblance with the being it designates.
However, once a sound image is chosen for a concept, no one is allowed to use it for any concept other than the one for which it was chosen.
This regularity in the use of a certain sound image for a certain image is ensured and guaranteed by a strict tradition or convention.
Hence, we cannot use the word poor to designate a rich man, and if someone does so, use the designation rich for the poor, he will be called a liar.
A liar is the one who defies the conventional use of a sign, and uses it to designate a being for which it is not conventionally used. A fox can’t be called a wolf, and a wolf a fox.
This then is the sense in which we use the designations truth and lie. Truth means to stick to the convention, and lie mean to defy the tradition.

This sense of truth and lie has a great consequence for the societies where certain concepts become debatable.

Dewey and Pedagogical content knowledge

Lee Schulman’s concept of a teacher’s work and knowledge, which is dominating the research interests in the present time, categorizes it as something which is closer to the notion of techne in Aristotle. This type of characterization of PCK or teacher’s work as techne stands in sharp contrast with the understanding of teacher’s work which is closer to the notion of phronesis or practical wisdom.
Lee Schulman has identified PCK as a special blending of content and pedagogical knowledge, while keeping in view the specific needs of learners, to be utilized in a classroom. He has actually presumed the distinction between the content and method to postulate that it is through a long experience and trial and error that a teacher comes to develop an effective blend of content and method. This formulation presumes that there is a content, which a teacher has to give a form, while utilizing the pedagogical strategies that he or she has learned from different sources.
Moreover, the activity of blending the content and method cannot possibly be an end in itself as far as teaching is concerned. Whatever maybe the place where this blending takes place, whether it takes place during a teacher’s interaction with his her students or while a teacher is reflecting on the experiences, it is true that it is the product of this blending that is important. The process of blending is not in itself a source of complete satisfaction for the teacher.
Aristotle while describing the nature of techne describes it as an activity that comprises in producing something out of nothing through blending a particular form with a content, through an activity guided by true reason. Techne does not have its goal within its activity; its goal is the product that is the end result of an activity.
This concept of techne closely resembles Schulman’s notion of PCK. In both cases there is an agent who is involved in giving a certain content a certain form through a chain of activities guided by reason. Both have an end product that is different from the initial stuff , that is content and form, and to both the activity in itself is not the final aim. The final aim is the product , that is to be utilized in a certain situation.

Although Schulman has acknowledged that he has followed the footsteps of Dewey among others in developing his ideas, his formulation of teachers work stands in a stark contrast with that of Dewey. Dewey’s notion of teacher’s work is closely associated with the Aristotelian notion of phronesis.
Phronesis, according to Aristotle, is different from techne in it that it is first of all concerned with doing , and secondly , it has no aim beyond the action itself. The aim and means in phronesis remain so close to each other that the performance of activity itself becomes the aim. One who exercises phronesis aims at the general good which is happiness or eudaimonia , and which is achieved by a morally good person as he or she performs the chosen activity. Phronesis involves in acting according to one’s dispositions and  the activity thus performed always results in satisfaction. A virtuous action is an end in itself, and does not aim at anything beyond it.

Dewey’s understanding of a teacher’s work is closely related to this formulation of phronesis. Since Phronesis is different from techne, there is no question of blending a form and a content, to produce an end result. Similarly in Dewey’s concept of education the dichotomy between the form and the content is overcome. This renders education a form closer to phronesis.

The accounts of teachers’ experiences reported by various prominent researchers have suggested that the course of reaching success in teaching closely resembles the practice of practical wisdom. Let us see how the concepts used by Aristotle in the depiction of phronesis can be applied to the experiences of the teacher to develop a better understanding of the process of the development of PCK.
Saint Thomas Aquinas has described teaching as a combination of contemplative and active pursuits. One’s knowledge of the subject that one teaches, his knowledge of the various truths related to the learners and the issues of learning and one’s knowledge of the various methods of teaching corresponds to the contemplative side of the activity of teaching. Whereas, when a teacher enters a particular situation in which he or she has to teach a certain subject to the learners, to this or that particular learner, a teacher enters the domain of the active side of the teaching. And it is here that the understanding of practical wisdom helps us.
A successful teacher is in fact a practically wise person, who possess and practices phronesis. Thus, the teacher as a practically wise person has to satisfy certain condition of being practically wise. And there are two such conditions. Since practical wisdom enables a man to desire a correct end and a correct way of reaching that aim, therefore, a practically wise teacher should be able to desire correctly and should be able to select a proper means to do so.
What does a teacher desire? The desire of a teacher is to teach a piece of knowledge to his students. And his choice of the course of action to achieve this end is his method. And this choice of the means and end should be guided by the virtue or the disposition of the mind that a teacher has.
So what is the virtue of a teacher? What bent of mind should a teacher possess? The answer lies in the rising value that the educationist now a days place on democratic model of education, in which a learner is active and educational process is based on the true motivation of the learner to learn. The aspiration of a teacher towards the democratic and interactive model of education of Dewey is the right bent of mind for a teacher. So the virtue that the teacher of our times has to practice, and the value that a teacher is taught in the modern day teachers’ training program is that of democratic interactive model proposed by Dewey.
Teachers of our time are disposed towards the democratic mode. Their teachers teach them to value the modern educational ideals. This valuation of the democratic and interactive model develops a conscience in teachers that feels bad whenever a teacher fails to act in its direction. And that’s what John Loughran et al have described in their research titled Learning through experiencing. They equated the instant when a teacher realizes that something is wrong with his her teaching as a moment of awakening, and usually this moment of awakening lies in realizing that they have to replace the transmissive learning mode with an interactive one. They write:

Attempting to meet such aims obviously confronts the notion of teaching as transmission of information. However, in attempting to address these concerns, Mandi and Philippa found it to be demanding work. There was little real support available to them...Therefore , they were left to work through their issues alone and to construct their teaching in new and different ways...”

The further write:
“Just as Garry Hoban experienced an awakening in relation to his views of and subsequent approaches to teaching, for many teachers there are ongoing and subtle reminders of the mismatch between their
intentions for teaching and the practice that evolves as a consequence of the dailiness of teaching
(Loughran & Northfield, 1996).”

This clearly shows that it is an inner sense of dissatisfaction from the traditional way of teaching that changes the practice of a teacher. This type of awakening is in fact the awakening of a new virtue and new value system in education.
This is further enhanced by the excerpt:

PEEL (Baird & Mitchell, 1986; Baird & Northfield, 1992; Loughran, 1999) is an example of a
movement in education that directly responds to teachers’ concerns about students’ passive learning;
which itself is partly a consequence of “traditional” teaching. PEEL teachers view teaching as
problematic and have become expert at developing teaching procedures that are the antithesis of
transmissive teaching. The accumulated wisdom of practice evident in their work (shared and
disseminated through a diverse range of meetings, conferences, and publications) is driven by their desire to challenge students’ passive learning habits in order to develop their metacognitve skills, and to
therefore become more active, purposeful learners. As a consequence, PEEL teachers’ knowledge of
teaching is such that it demonstrates how thinking about teaching as something more than the delivery of information, is a foundation to strong, ongoing professional learning.

However the practice of this new virtue in one’s professional life is not easy. One finds oneself at odds with the whole system of education, with the routines one has to follow. The opposition is strong but not invincible.

Researches on PCK  have also revealed that teachers sometimes find what they have learnt from their teachers’ training courses in part irrelevant to the practical situation.

“What Mandi and Philippa then came to recognize was that the changes in their teaching comprised a
journey, not an event. They did not teach one way at the start of their adventure and then suddenly
transform their teaching overnight to become new and different teachers. They came to develop their
teaching as they experimented with their practice and built new understandings of teacher and student
learning. Their journey involved many false starts, much frustration, considerably more work and time
and the development of new scripts that challenged their previous routines in teaching science. Their
professional learning, while being personally rewarding, was not something able to be garnered from a
book on curriculum reform, or developed as a result of an in-service or professional development activity. “

The statement above that says that the professional learning has nothing to with the in-service professional development activity does not seem apt. For if teaching is the exercise of practical wisdom or phronesis, it should know both universal and the particular. Like a doctor who knows that this or that medicine cures this or that disease from his learning at the school, but knows how to use the medicine to cure a particular person only from experience. Similarly, the universal concepts of education should be known for their knowledge can be very effective in dealing with the particular situation.

Lee Schulman described pedagogical content knowledge as a special blend of content knowledge and pedagogical strategies that a teacher uses in the teaching of a particular content area.
Researches on the nature of pedagogical content knowledge have described it as a highly content, context and person specific knowledge. It is a knowledge that results from years of practice and reflection on practice and it involves taking a right pedagogical decision at a right time and for the right purpose.
Thus pedagogical content knowledge does not only involve the in depth knowledge of the content area but it also involves a correct use of reasoning as to the selection of a proper strategy to teach that content to the student while keeping in view the specific students requirements in terms of their learning needs .
This way of describing pedagogical content knowledge makes it so specific that it is believed that it cannot be delivered to the teachers through instruction alone. Some of the researches suggested that owing to its specific nature, PCK can only develop through practice.
Although this way of characterizing PCK identifies it as a strictly specific type of knowledge, yet to be a type of knowledge there must be some kind of universal element in it. For the knowledge of a specific situation in which there is no element of generality cannot be called knowledge proper. Knowledge basically is an interaction between subject and object and hence bears the characteristics of both.
An in-service or pre-service teachers’ training program can contribute towards the development of PCK through teaching the general ideas related to the blend of content and method.

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