Newsletter September 2015

The newsletter ― playful paradox if there is one. The word was found in the English language of the 1670s, before falling from use till last century. What of the news in between? And what of the “news” today, since Samvriti is, and will remain for quite a while, a space for thoughts formulated at least a few years back?
A necessary paradox, perhaps, for what was conceived as a platform of reflection bringing together past and present, contemporaneity and history, reviving the relevance today of ideas that were shaped yesterday. The only, real news here is the actual launch of Samvriti, conceived and created a few months back, but brought to its first readers this month. A multifaceted space echoing a plurality of concerns and expressions, with the only connection of a common sensibility-style. A sensibilistyle? This month, I tried to select, from my past writings, a set of reflections spanning across various themes, consolidating some of my favourite terrains while exploring more adventurously a few others. All of these texts were written in the course of my Masters programme in Philosophy from Manipal University (2012-2014), with the exception of the last three entries on Buddhism, developed during my Masters programme in Buddhist Studies from Delhi University (2010-2012).
I wish you a happy and engaging read, and am eagerly awaiting your comments and reactions.


Postcolonial Guilt,
or The Evening Out of Equality
Ethics, Morality, Guilt, Postcolonialism, J.M. Coetzee

“For without exception the cultural treasures [the historian] surveys have an origin which he cannot contemplate without horror. They owe their existence not only to the efforts of the great minds and talents who have created them, but also to the anonymous toil of their contemporaries. There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” (Walter Benjamin)…

The Language of Foreignness

Phenomenology, Existentialism, Post-Structuralism, India, Foreigner, Madison,
Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Humor, Home, Badiou

“I could not live in India: I don’t know the language.” Foreign language is for many the first thing with which foreignness is synonymous. Being a foreigner would mean not just living in a foreign country, but more immediately, more stressfully, living in a different and foreign linguistic environment…

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The Language of Foreignness Defining the Foreigner:
Existential Migration
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Heidegger: The Unheimlich Merleau-Ponty:
Parole and Pensée
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The Supplement
The Humor of a Foreigner
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Writing in a Foreign Language When Foreign Becomes Home
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On the Ethics
of Not Understanding
Language, Foreignness
and Philosophy
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A Coup of Languages Health and Philosophy
Kannada, Sanskrit,
Sheldon Pollock
Psychosis, Dementia,
Madman, Mental

“… form has acquired its own content: tacking back and forth between the vernacular near and the cosmopolitan far, and the vivid sense of commensurability this modulation generates, are the objective correlates of a much larger politics of culture” (Sheldon Pollock)…

On January 3, 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche, an unknown, eccentric and disillusioned German philologist, throws himself on the neck of a horse to save him from being flogged. The philosopher collapses on the ground. Thus started eleven years of dementia; a last phase, a severe and ultimate punishment, for Nietzsche’s already agitated existence…

Kumararamuni Katha & Girard
Mimetic Theory, Scapegoat, Anthropology, Christianity

The idea of applying the composite anthropologico-historical theory of French philosopher René Girard (born 1923) to Indian society and its mythology is not a new project. The complex Indian civilization possesses undoubtedly certain historical features liable to a fruitful analysis through his theory…

Justifying Corruption

Anthropology, Politics, Society, Capitalism, System, The Caravan Magazine

What is common to an Indian mole in Pakistan, an international arms agent and an alcohol mogul in North India? Many, many would be all those who have corruption as their common denominator. A classical target of the utopian dreams of the Enlightenment Century, corruption is, four hundred years later, ubiquitous, present in multiple and complex forms all around the globe…

Justifying Corruption
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The Socio-Capitalist Cocktail Bureaucracy and the Race for Information
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The Competition of Pluralities  Conclusion: Necessities and Structures of Corruption
Orgasm is a Metaphor
Meaning, Pleasure, Sexuality, Diane Ackerman

“Few pleasures are as robust as the simple country pleasure
of sneezing.
 The whole body ripples in orgasmic delight.”
Diane Ackerman.

“Orgasm is a metaphor.”

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The Double Dislocation Greek Religion:
Miasma in the Polis
History, Partition, Literature,
Memory, Urvashi Butalia
Anthropology, Divinity, Greece, Religion, Society

In “Women,” the fourth chapter of her The Other Side of Silence, Urvashi Butalia attempts a focus on the misadventures of the feminine gender during and after the Partition. It is actually a mise en abîme, within a book, which is already mostly a representation of women and their centrality in that event…

While it is a well-known fact that the whole lifestyle of Ancient Greece was entirely imbued with theological elements, via the importance of the Greek pantheon, it is more rarely clarified that this spiritual life was a very unique type of religion. The understanding and practices revolving around the relations between humans and God was such that calling it a “religion” is in itself a controversy…

The Buddhist Corner

Sarvastivada Buddhist Sanskrit--
On Sarvastivāda Buddhist Sanskrit: Hybrid?
Buddhism, Philosophy
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit,
Language, Linguistics

The Sarvastivāda is one of the ancient schools of Hinayana Buddhism. The term Sarvastivāda is composed of three words: sarva (all), asti (exist) and vada (discussion, talk). Therefore, Sarvastivāda is the theory that holds that everything exists, in the present but also in the past and the future…

The original texts of Buddhism are usually divided into two great traditions, each with its proper language. Canons of the early Hīnayāna Buddhism are gathered in the Buddhist hypothetical original language called Pāli…

Buddhism, Philosophy

“Monks, whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All processes are inconstant (anicca)…”