Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fitzgerald: First thoughts on the debate, "We Should Not Be Reluctant to Assert the Superiority of Western Values"

oct 13th, 2007

thank you, shahryar, that was good for a chuckle.

william dalrymple is a most useful idiot and sings loudly for his supper courtesy the ISI and the saudis.

amartya sen is a very clever man. he always fit in, chameleon-like, into any dispensation. he has fit in well into the atlanticist world by marrying a rothschild and thus getting a nobel prize for that world-class hoax called the 'kerala model'. if he were around in fascist italy, he'd endear himself to el duce, in argentina to the peronists. since fascist communists rule the roost in india (along with italians), he ingratiates himself with them. a perfect court jester, he has also become, an 'eminent historian', at least in the minds of the other 'eminent historians' and in his own mind.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shahryar

Two of our favourite idiots, William Dalrymple and Amartya Sen, are mentioned in this posting by Hugh Fitzgerald at JihadWatch.
"The one who really gave himself away was the odious and stupid and remarkably ill-informed William Dalrymple. He went on and on about how, near to where "I live in Delhi" there is some spot connected to the reign of Akbar. And then he proceeded to tell everyone -- thank god it has been preserved on tape, for all time -- how Akbar, the "Muslim emperor," had called together Shi'a Muslims, and Sunni Muslims, and Jains, and Christians, and even Jews from Cochin, for a colloquy. And he went on and on about how splendid Akbar was. Of course, Akbar was splendid, when he became syncretistic, when he ended the Jizyah, when he essentially stopped being a Muslim in every important way. The British historian V. A. West, in his "History of India," notes that Akbar demanded that those in his inner circle had to abjure the Qur'an -- not exactly the sign of a Muslim.
So his entire speech was all about Akbar, and he apparently did not know that Akbar, the Akbar he praised, is remembered today fondly by Hindus and despised by Muslims. And at one point he even described "Ashoka and Akbar" as Muslim leaders. Ashoka was no Muslim. Could I really have heard him say that? Not possible. No, I suppose anything is possible, especially if Dalrymple shows he has missed entirely the main point about syncretistic Akbar, has not understood the whole point of his later rule, and why he is revered by Hindus and despised by Muslims, though some may now invoke his name to show that "Muslims are tolerant."
No, Dalrymple's idiocy about Akbar will live on forever, on the tape made of the other evening, forever made available online with a single click, to haunt him, to mock him, to serve as proof that Dalrymple the historian of Mughal India, "internationally-acclaimed," is unsteady when it comes to possibly the most important figure in Indian history during the entire Mughal period.
Ibn Warraq, in one of later replies, noted -- too quickly, alas -- that Akbar was no Muslim, and it was clear, according to observers, that Dalrymple was nervous, that he knew he was out of his depth.
And why was he "out of his depth"? Did he not know about Akbar? Never read the "Akbarnamah" of Fazl? Strange, isn't it, that someone who has made his entire professional career out of his supposed knowledge of Mughal India, and has written all his books about Mughal India, appears to be so ignorant about Akbar, the celebrated emperor who during his reign ended the practice of demanding the payment of the Jizyah (his successor, Aurangzeb, promptly re-imposed it) and was clearly indifferent or even hostile to so much of Islam. And Dalrymple cannot claim that little is known about Akbar or his reign, for it was recorded in great detail by Fazl, and by others. Or does Dalrymple not know that, either?
Oh, did I mention that the same Dalrymple (google his name and "Jihad Watch" and "Posted by Hugh" for my many descriptions of him as an upscale Barbara Cartland, singing the life of luxe and volupté at the Mughal court, with love intrigues in the palaces, and trans-racial transgressions, and all the rest of it) a few years ago was earning all kinds of prizes and glory for his book "The Last Mughal." For that book the claim was repeatedly made that he, Dalrymple, had come along and finally made use of the Mutiny Papers that no historian had seen or used, and until Dalrymple came along had simply been overlooked or, in some accounts, even entirely unknown. But if you read his much-overrated "The Last Mughal" you find, in the footnotes, that Dalrymple takes much, perhaps most, of what he quotes from those Mutiny Papers not directly, but from books by other, much more solid historians. He admits as much. And yet the story still makes the rounds about how William Dalrymple used a cache of papers that no one had known about. Good Christ, you'd think he was Hyde at Malahide Castle. It's blague. Curious that his self-promoting website, the one you get to by googling his name and then clicking on a link that proudly describes itself as yielding "[t]he Home site of William Dalrymple, internationally acclaimed writer and historian" (who do you suppose wrote that?), continues the tale of the Papers That No One Knew About.
There is some extravagant praise for William Hamilton-Dalrymple by the quite similar David Gilmour. He is similar in ways that include the vicious and viciously-expressed detestation of Israel (and one suspects, a little more than just Israel). Also like Dalrymple, he has won praise from Amartya Sen, who may be world-famous and Indian, but has given no signs at all of thinking that he has a duty to find out a bit more about the texts and tenets and attitudes of Islam, and what the Muslim conquerors and rulers did in and to India. The at-times egregious Sen, one presumes, has never read K. S. Lal, or Francois Gautier, or Koenraad Elst, and would recoil at the name "Sita Ram Goel." For Sen is an example of the Indian who becomes famous in the Great World and who wants to make sure that he can never be accused of what in India is called "communalism," but which really means all those Hindus who are aware of their being Hindus, and aware too of what Islam did to India's civilization of Hinduism, a way of life and thought rather than a religion as we understand it in the West. V. S. Naipaul is a lonely exception. Most Indians with Hindu backgrounds in academic posts in England and America attempt to distance themselves, ostentatiously so, from any hint of "communalism." Part of that distancing requires them to ignore or deliberately overlook the destructive and cruel consequences (including 60-70 million murdered Hindus) of Muslim rule. It just won't fit. And so the vague and tepid praise of Amartya Sen, which carefully does not mention the actual history which Dalrymple purports to treat, is understandable, as is that of Gilmour. But note: neither Gilmour nor Amartya Sen is a historian of India. What do the real historians of India think of the works of Indian history written by William Dalrymple? Judging by their non-presence at his site, not much. Perhaps I am being unfair -- so someone set me straight. Some one please send me all the reviews in the scholarly journals that praise William Dalrymple the way that David Gilmour does, the way someone who is an "internationally acclaimed writer and historian" deserves to be praised.
Who cares if Dalrymple writes about Englishmen at a Mughal Court ("White Mughals"), the kind of stuff that may impress those who are not experts in the field, or can convince the world, by dint of repetition, that he and he alone has made use of the Mutiny Papers, that, supposedly, no one else knew about or ever used them, even though merely by looking at his footnotes one can see that Dalrymple quotes extensively from other historians who did know about them, and did use them.
Incredible. He's now hoist by his own permanently-preserved-on-tape petard. Just click on the link, and perform that fast-forwarding act so you can be brought right up to William Dalrymple, making a fool of himself, for all historians of India, right at the Royal Geographical Society, next to the Kensington Gore."

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