Inara's revenge (was: Re: History of Mughalstan)

Heike Boedeker boedeker at NETCOLOGNE.DE
Thu Aug 31 09:08:11 UTC 2000

At Wed, 30 Aug 2000 21:55:53 +0200, Robert Zydenbos 
<zydenbos at GMX.LI>replied to Nanda Chandran:

>This thread seems another one that could be on an unfortunate
>way to fruitlessness because of superficial and inaccurate

I think it could be more interesting and fruitful in a sense of trying to 
have a look at what motivates both history (in the sense of -- please note 
the scare quotes -- 'political' events) and writing about it, rather than 
merely insisting on historical adequacy being limited to a 
desubjectivized/objective account, a bit akin to what Dominik Wujastyk 
already has pointed out to be an anthropomorphic metaphor (condensation).

Of course, also a European sense of "a certain civilisational unity" in the 
first place is group-phantasmatic, especially in those areas in which, as 
you mentioned, it is based on othering (not limited to, but, of course, 
including "common enemies"), e.g. if one reads Il-Khanid correspondences 
with the Holy See and Philippe le Beau it pretty quickly becomes clear that 
what Europeans consensually could validate *as* "real" has hardly any 
Mongol correlate. Of course, realizing how little interested these were in 
this area on the fringes of Eurasia would have hurt their narcissism still 
worse. (Like also Alexander Nevskiy in the first place didn't violate 
political-in-the-sense-of-realia interests, but ones political in the sense 
of collective phantasmata.)

Of course, this still is metaphoric, because what characterizes Medieval 
European cultural senses of communities hardly is Europe in the sense of a 
geographical scenery. It also is interesting to observe how this metaphor 
is internally incoherent in (accounting for) time, like Richter has pointed 
out how "modern" patterns emerge in Europe somewhen between -60 and -40 K 
while so many seem to rather stick to "Out of Africa II" myths. (maybe then 
the Hittites with their love of going native were remarkably wise folks... ;-))

> > Yes, generally speaking this is the way to go. But when, as even the
> > Buddha and Manu advise, it is not good to speak even the truth if it
> > will lead to harm, what is the point in entertaining Samar's views

Harm to whom? <no hard feelings> In the sense of "upades´o mûrkhân.âm 
prakopâya na s´ântaye 'sti"? ;-)

> > which has little truth in it and can only fuel more
> > secessionist/divisive tendencies?
>What is the alternative to searching for truth? Locking ourselves up
>in mathas, madrasas, seminaries etc., each with his own myth of
>'spirituality' ? This may not be everybody's cup of tea.

But maybe that of a few, though... who knows, and, still worse, what 
importance does it bear for whom? To put it with Tiresias, when being 
dragged to King Oedipus (quoted from memory): "It is terrible to know if it 
doesn't serve the one who knows; I've been aware of this, but I must have 
forgotten it, otherwise I wouldn't have come here" ;-)

All the best,


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