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Thoughts and Views of Pankaj Mishra

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 4th January 2018 07:08
Pankaj Mishra is a relatively young writer from India who lives both in New York and a Himalayan town in north India.

The blurb on his latest book, the Age of Anger, identifies him as the successor to Edward Said.

A western reviewer on Amazon was absolutely 123 off at Mishra for he, the reviewer, could not simply decide Mishra's stance on a particular issue.

The saffron trolls on the net are working overtime to discredit him.

What is there for us Muslims in his thoughts and views? This thread is created to find an answer to this question.

My preliminary assessment is that Pankaj Mishra is the best thing that has happened to us after Edward said. If we do not take complete and unashamed advantage of his findings then we shall have no one else but ourselves to blame for the continuation of our current miserable and pathetic situation in the world.
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd May 2018 07:41
(1) To you have to keep track of an increasing number of public intellectuals.

(2) There is Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan B Peterson who has, in recent years, become an internet celebrity, producing a slew of videos and interviews on all manner of political and social topics. He is acerbic, combative and openly contemptuous of his opponents, particularly Marxists and “Postmodernists”, for whom he harbours a special animus. He is an enthusiastic and prolific culture warrior, who has no truck with “white privilege”, “cultural appropriation” and a range of other ideas associated with social justice movements. His reluctance to call transgender people by their preferred pronouns (unless they ask him to) has earned him a reputation as a transphobe, and while his views have marginalised him within the academic community, they have bolstered his reputation in conservative circles. (Source : The Guardian)

(3) Pankaj Misra wrote scathing piece on him - Jordan Peterson and Fascist Mysticism

(4) Jordan Peterson tweeted in in his characteristic style : Facebook.

(5) Here is Samir Hussain's comment on this affair : This is Jordan Peterson's response to intelligent critique. He may be able to pull of the role of the noble intellectual when placed next to idiots like Shapiro/Harris and random unintellectual TV presenters, but with an intellectual of the highest caliber he is nothing but a PhD version of the very extremism he claims to be on an offensive against.
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 27th October 2018 10:10
(1) There is a New York Times piece by Pankaj Mishra on the Enduring Fantasy of a Modernizing Autocrat.

(2) The autocrat in question is the Prince Muhammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia who is in the news because of wrong reasons - the most brutal butchering of well connected Saudi reporter Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

(3) Mishra uses history ruthlessly. He begins by US engineered overthrowing of elected Iranian PM Mosadeq in 1954? US benefit - oil flow to US by Shah.

(4) Recently the US has been praising MBS sky high.

(5) Earlier Britons had praised Saif-al-Islam Qaddafi before his true colours became known during his repression of his father's opponents.

(6) "Why do Western elites succumb again and again to this fantasy of a youthful reformer and top-down modernizer in the East?"

(7) Above question is by Mishra himself. My view is that the west knows that they have the Gulf narrative completely under control and they tap it to their advantage at will and at whim.

(8) The US and UK media had projected similar modernistic images of Benazir Bhutto.

(9) Another example - British educated Asad of Syria and his European wife.

(10) MBS's loathing of Iran and tenderness for Israel is enchanting for the west.

(11) "Still, slack private morality, cynical realpolitik, naked avarice and craven celebrity worship do not fully explain the myopia
that excuses grotesque crimes until they become impossible to conceal."

(12) Another example - Sanjay Gandhi of India.
Quote:

As Sanjay’s mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, suspended fundamental rights, more than six million men were sterilized in India in a year. Visiting a terrorized India in 1976, the World Bank’s president, Robert McNamara, hailed the Gandhis’ “disciplined, realistic approach” and the general junking of “socialist ideologies.”


(13) He uses the phrase biopolitical violence about the western neo-con philosophy of Arabs being "unusually impressed, and easily cowed, by extreme cruelty".

(14) Western support for Saudi beating the starving Yemen.

(15)
Quote:
The prince is only the latest, if pitifully crude, exponent of shock-and-awe savagery that many Western elites have long deemed vital to the pacification of intransigent non-Westerners.
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 16th November 2018 07:22
Another article on Pankaj Mishra. I can not comment on it at the moment because of Juma pressure building up.
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd January 2019 06:33
(1) A South Indian Brahmin trashes Pankaj Mishra.

(2) A Facebook friend reads Age of Anger.

Sudhir Raniwala : Unfortunately I am neither as well read as the reviewer, nor as well read as the author, and am enjoying reading the book. Somewhere, between the lines, one sees a societal condition that has led to the rise of right wing authoritarianism. Whether this is due to anger, or due to hope is a matter of perspective, because yearning for hope is preceded by infinite helplessness, which can also cause anger. May be I change the view after I finish reading it....but I am slow, and am enjoying reading it as of now, with due apologies to the reviewer. As for hating Modi, I do not find anything in the book, or in the few articles that I have read so far, which indicates that hatred. Further, educated people do not hate people......educated people hate (or like/condemn/appreciate) actions. For what am I other than my thoughts, actions and a piece of flesh and bones.

Dinesh Srivastava : This is the most devastating review I ever read!

Sudhir Raniwala Then there has to be a motive, because it does not rake of substance.

Sudhir Raniwala : Krishnan Srinivasan was awarded a Hind Ratna (India) in 2002 (Wikipedia)....and if you look at his personal details, you may find it interesting.

Balasubramanian Ananthanarayan : There is no mystery here. Many South Indian (brahmin, I dare say) retired government officials are the bedrock of support for Hinduvta government. Their general pretext is that the Nehru-Gandhi regime was corrupt, and Sonia Gandhi is an Italian, and therefore anyone is better. Secretly, it is all driven by hatred for you know who...

Maripat Abu Adil : Shahab Aryan Do not miss the review linked by Professor Dinesh Srivavasta, I am really surprised at what is coming out of the woodwork.

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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 8th January 2019 05:52
The writer in the first link in above post trashes Pankaj Mishra in the following words....

Verbose, tendentious, self-indulgent


Krishnan Srinivasan


Pankaj Mishra is an Indian origin writer based in Britain who is a poster boy for the lunatic liberal fringe. Enjoying the privilege of the pages of some well-established journals, he plays up to this image by attacking from a safe distance and scant understanding those demonized by the self-accredited champions of liberty, whose targets include Modi, Erdogan, Xi Jinping, Duterte and Trump. On the jacket cover, Mishra is lauded as the heir to Edward Said which no discerning person would regard as a compliment.

This latest Mishra offering is a verbose, tendentious, self indulgent work replete with over-writing. He claims the idea for this book came to me from … Nietzsche about the conflict between the serenely elitist Voltaire and the enviously plebian Rousseau. This sets out his stall early. The list of contents, containing the words conjectures, illusions, visions and nihilism, gives forewarning that this is not an easy read, full of inchoate and meandering thoughts. The Preface that follows confirms this; with references to Hindu supremacists, the Islamic State became a magnet for young men and women in Western democracies (sic) and the bewildering and often painful experiences in connection with the earthquakes of Brexit and Trump’s election.

The book professes to explore a climate of ideas and cognitive disposition from Rousseau in the 18th century to our age of anger. He speaks of the promised universal civilization being overturned by demagogues of all kinds here listing Erdogan, Modi, Le Pen and Trump, and people foaming at the mouth with loathing and malice. Those whose politics he disagrees with are demagogues and populists; as a superior species of democrat, Mishra deliberately forgets that these persons have been freely elected through the ballot box. The West-dominated world order which he longs for, is giving way to disorder, in other words, the age of anger, and the market-based Western model of democracy has begun to lose its sheen. Those who seek a post-West equitable multi-polar world would entirely disagree and could not concur with Mishra’s view of the West’s benign traditions. Colonialism was active until the 1960s and neo-colonialism is very much with us today.

With repeated references to Hannah Arendt and de Toqueville, Mishra backpedals to Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau and the ‘philosophes’ in lengthy and scarcely convincing digressions on the Enlightenment and European history (but without acknowledgement to British and Scottish contributions to the Enlightenment) to show how far the world has fallen from his expectations, with sideswipes at Rushdie and (of course) Huntington. Wagner and Nietzsche, fascists and anarchists and appeals for gender equality play their part. Mishra’s pages are replete with as many references, repetitions and quotations as possible as evidence of his intellectuality.

He is a trenchant and wholly biased opponent of Narendra Modi ~ He and his fellow strongman, supervising bloody purges of economically enervated and unproductive people ~ and accuses Indians of chronic anti-Westernism, a West of which he presumably sees himself as a champion, though he refers two pages earlier to an Indian craze for foreign consumer goods and approval from the West. Defecation in the open and caste of course need to be mentioned. Savarkar is linked to fascists, communists and Zionists … ultra-nationalists and cultural supremacists.

Mishra believes that admirers of Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency of the USA and Guantanamo are left-leaning, and cannot conceal his snobbery, describing D’Annunzio as a short-statured man of humble provincial origins, a parvenu who tried to pass himself off as an aristocrat. Mishra belongs to the same ignorant army of ideologues that he despises. He has delivered another turkey, and the astonishing thing is that this work has been reprinted in India. The author offers no nostrum for the malaise he professes to discern, but this comes as no surprise, since it is easier to demolish than to build. Mishra is fundamentally in error: there is no destruction of faith in the future; quite the contrary. Modi, Duterte and Trump were elected not because of anger but because of hope. It was not the hatred of Sunni supremacists that killed innocents but faith. Mishra perhaps has some talent for biography of notables of the past and none for world affairs of today, and he should confine himself to the former. But with the liberal establishment in the West ~ more intolerant than any other in the world ~ cheering him on, neither redemption for him nor relief for his future readers, is at hand.

The reviewer is India's former Foreign Secretary.
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 5th April 2020 15:47
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For far too long I have ignored dealing with this scathing, devastating and most pugnacious of a book review.

The outright bias is born of the reviewer being a fan of Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, a target of Mr Mishra's criticism.


Quote:
Pankaj Mishra is an Indian origin writer based in Britain who is a poster boy for the lunatic liberal fringe.


I myself am rather piqued with the liberal democrats because of my own reasons but to think of them as a lunatic fringe is pure RSS brand venom.

Quote:
Enjoying the privilege of the pages of some well-established journals, he plays up to this image by attacking from a safe distance and scant understanding those demonized by the self-accredited champions of liberty, whose targets include Modi, Erdogan, Xi Jinping, Duterte and Trump.

I suppose Mr Mishra has earned his privilege.

If Mr Srinivasan has a bad image of Mishra then it does not automatically become latter's problem.

Crticizing public figures does not become cowardice because of the distance and the Lib-Dems might be a self-accredited group but that pushes reviewer into the Saffron group and that is much more indefensible.

Quote:

On the jacket cover, Mishra is lauded as the heir to Edward Said which no discerning person would regard as a compliment.

This statement is tendentious. In spite of a long list of compositions by the reviewer, both fiction and non-fiction, one is left wondering whether he really understands the meaning of being Edward Said.

But the luxury of an opinion is the a privilege that the Saffronite thrives on.
Quote:

This latest Mishra offering is a verbose, tendentious, self indulgent work replete with over-writing.

This is overload of strong adjectives. Sadly one has to deal with each one of these.

The least the reviewer has earned is a right to be read.

We must reject the verbosity accusation for I do not think of any way of summarizing or condensing the book.

The accusation of tendentious is outright falsehood because the thesis of the author is very complex and even if we assume that a relatively unknown figure like the reviewer does understand the nuances the statement has to be made in a different way and then too it is very vulnerable to criticism.

The author's case is argued so well and with an over dose of nuances. To call it self-indulgent is at least jealousy and it might be outright lie.

And the charge of over-writing can not me made about a book as involved as Age of Anger.
Quote:

He claims the idea for this book came to me from … Nietzsche about the conflict between the serenely elitist Voltaire and the enviously plebeian Rousseau. This sets out his stall early. The list of contents, containing the words conjectures, illusions, visions and nihilism, gives forewarning that this is not an easy read, full of inchoate and meandering thoughts.

inchoate: immature, under developed, rudimentary

Grace of admitting author's credit is not available to the reviewer.

Quote:
The Preface that follows confirms this; with references to Hindu supremacists, the Islamic State became a magnet for young men and women in Western democracies (sic) and the bewildering and often painful experiences in connection with the earthquakes of Brexit and Trump’s election.

Trenchant and tendentious thoughts are confirmed rather soon and the reviewer is not disappointed by his own intelligence.

Quote:
The book professes to explore a climate of ideas and cognitive disposition from Rousseau in the 18th century to our age of anger. He speaks of the promised universal civilization being overturned by demagogues of all kinds here listing Erdogan, Modi, Le Pen and Trump, and people foaming at the mouth with loathing and malice. Those whose politics he disagrees with are demagogues and populists; as a superior species of democrat, Mishra deliberately forgets that these persons have been freely elected through the ballot box.

Here a few more questions about reviewer's own affiliation become apparent. Is he a common democrat? Is it alright to be a democrat?

Quote:
The West-dominated world order which he longs for, is giving way to disorder, in other words, the age of anger, and the market-based Western model of democracy has begun to lose its sheen. Those who seek a post-West equitable multi-polar world would entirely disagree and could not concur with Mishra’s view of the West’s benign traditions. Colonialism was active until the 1960s and neo-colonialism is very much with us today.

In this part we do get a glimpse of his understanding and it would be unwise to dismiss his words as completely fake.

Quote:

With repeated references to Hannah Arendt and de Toqueville, Mishra backpedals to Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau and the ‘philosophes’ in lengthy and scarcely convincing digressions on the Enlightenment and European history (but without acknowledgement to British and Scottish contributions to the Enlightenment) to show how far the world has fallen from his expectations, with sideswipes at Rushdie and (of course) Huntington. Wagner and Nietzsche, fascists and anarchists and appeals for gender equality play their part. Mishra’s pages are replete with as many references, repetitions and quotations as possible as evidence of his intellectuality.


This is stock discrediting and one is left wondering whether the reviewer's understanding of the issues is simply based on high school text books or he has really gone to the lengths of investigating the concepts in detail.
trenchant = vigorous or incisive in expression or style.
Quote:
He is a trenchant and wholly biased opponent of Narendra Modi

He does not know that he has paid a complement to the author.

Quote:
~ He and his fellow strongman, supervising bloody purges of economically enervated and unproductive people ~ and accuses Indians of chronic anti-Westernism, a West of which he presumably sees himself as a champion, though he refers two pages earlier to an Indian craze for foreign consumer goods and approval from the West. Defecation in the open and caste of course need to be mentioned. Savarkar is linked to fascists, communists and Zionists … ultra-nationalists and cultural supremacists.

Mishra believes that admirers of Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency of the USA and Guantanamo are left-leaning, and cannot conceal his snobbery, describing D’Annunzio as a short-statured man of humble provincial origins, a parvenu who tried to pass himself off as an aristocrat. Mishra belongs to the same ignorant army of ideologues that he despises. He has delivered another turkey, and the astonishing thing is that this work has been reprinted in India. The author offers no nostrum for the malaise he professes to discern, but this comes as no surprise, since it is easier to demolish than to build. Mishra is fundamentally in error: there is no destruction of faith in the future; quite the contrary. Modi, Duterte and Trump were elected not because of anger but because of hope. It was not the hatred of Sunni supremacists that killed innocents but faith. Mishra perhaps has some talent for biography of notables of the past and none for world affairs of today, and he should confine himself to the former. But with the liberal establishment in the West ~ more intolerant than any other in the world ~ cheering him on, neither redemption for him nor relief for his future readers, is at hand.

The reviewer is India's former Foreign Secretary.



parvenu=a person of humble origins

nostrum = medicine of an unqualified person



(To be refined.)
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