Christine Hayes, Theologian

Wikipedia

Link

Christine Hayes is the Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and one of the foremost American academics focusing on talmudic-midrashic studies and Classical Judaica. She is also a specialist in the History and Literature of Judaism in Late Antiquity.

Before her appointment at Yale, she served as the Assistant Professor of Hebrew Studies, Department of Near Eastern Studies, at Princeton University from 1993 to 1996. She has published several books and numerous articles in American and international academic journals, and has received academic accolades. Her class on the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) was selected for the pilot program of “Yale University Open Courses,” and has subsequently been one of the most watched online courses about Classical Judaica.

Videos

  1. YouTube
    • Shalom Hartman Institute
      • Christine Hayes: Moses at Sinai – God’s Partner or Adversary? (Shavuot 5776)
        Published On :- 2016-June-2nd
        Link
    • Yale Courses
      • Videos
        • Lecture 23. Visions of the End: Daniel and Apocalyptic Literature
          Published By :- Yale Courses
          Published On :- 2012-Dec-3rd
          Link

 

Arundhati Roy – Q/A

KYOTO JOURNAL

Arundhati Roy on Fame, Writing and India

Link

 

You said that you would probably never write another book unless there was another book inside you to write. Is the writing a process to unleash the inner self?

I don’t know. I am a bit suspicious of this kind of personal therapeutic approach to writing. I think it is fine, but then you just have to understand that it is therapy, and literature is something else. Literature is about art and craft and not just about your feelings and your coming out of yourself. No one cares about you except you, whether you come out of yourself or help yourself or don’t help yourself is entirely your business. But literature is about art, about creating something. I’ve always said that amongst great writers there are selfish writers and generous writers; selfish writers leave you with the memory of their brilliance whereas generous writers leave you with the memory of the world that they have evoked. And to me, writing must be an act of generosity, not an act of self-indulgence or therapy. I’m not going to burden the world with what it did for me or didn’t do for me.

 

 

Does being recognized by others give you some sort of validity of this process?

No, after all, a story is the simplest way of presenting a complex world. That’s why I am a writer, because I can’t simplify it any further. If I could I would be a politician. I would have slogans, I would have a manifesto. I don’t. Or I would be an architect or whatever. It’s a very internal process trying to make sense of the world to yourself, and when you do that and that eventually becomes something which makes sense to others, too, there is a satisfaction in it. But the fact is that whether it made sense to three people or to three million people, it would have been the same book. I thought my book would be read—if it were really successful— by 3,000 people or 8,000 people. The fact that you can kind of tunnel through the world in this way is wonderful, but also very frightening.

 

 

But what you say reverberates throughout the world. It’s the way it is.

It’s like something that you created and it’s no longer yours; my book belongs to the reader now. It’s on its own. I respect the process of writing enough to know that on one hand I was so completely in control of what I was doing that it is mine, but I also know that there is a deep secret and mystery to the process of writing which isn’t mine. So, I don’t have an ego about it. I know however much this book might shake the world, I can’t reproduce it. I don’t think that my next book would do the same thing, if ever there were a next book. It would be just as difficult for me because I am no longer the person who wrote that book. I’m somebody else and I don’t know what that somebody else can or cannot produce. It’s not as if I can stand on this book to do whatever I have to do next. It’s gone from me.

 

With this computer-aided technology and the way that the word is transforming, what do you see as the evolution of language in the future?

I wrote my book on a computer and I don’t think that I could have written it this way without a computer, because technically it’s like laying a soundtrack. My computer was my memory and I was laying echoes and rhythms, you know? If I had to go through thousands of pieces of paper and insert … theoretically I could have done it, but practically it would have been a less successful attempt. Because in the computer the minute I thought of it, I could summon it up, where I wanted to put what. Whereas if you’re writing by hand, it’s a more tedious process and a lot of your intentions can fall by the wayside. So, in this endeavor, it was much more important than I imagined it would be just because of the way the book is structured.

 

 

How do you see the evolution of language itself?

Just a few years ago you had these establishment writers who were accepted as the “big dudes” of literature and they would write books and everyone would go crazy over them. I think that process is going to become much more democratic, because writing is something that so many people are doing. There are so many books and writings from other places now rather than from just what has been perceived to be the center of the universe, Europe and America. People from other places are going to start telling their stories. That’s what I mean by fame is democratic, there are more and more people like me who are going to be first-time writers who have a story to tell and who are heard. So in a way, the stories are going to become more diverse. But then I think also there is going to be a kind of standardization because of this huge global culture that is happening. So the generation after me in India is going to be very different; the children are going to be people who have been brought up on the same things as other children all over the world, on MTV and all of this. It’s going to be very sad, but there is nothing that you can do about it.

 

In your book you wrote, “Men without curiosity, without doubt. They looked at the world and never wondered how it worked. They knew. They worked it.” In your book you break many taboos. Did breaking the taboos in the book serve as a way of somehow reorganizing this control over our lives?

I think that writers are always two people. I’m one person who lives my life and the other part of me watches me live my life, you know, and that part is the writer who is sort of detached from everything and watches. It doesn’t make you live your own life less passionately, but yet there’s a part of you that is sitting on the ceiling fan and watching it and smiling or whatever. In everything I do or have ever done in my life, I feel anger towards authority, and I’m even frightened of ever having a child because I don’t want authority over that small person. It’s very confusing for me and anyone who is involved with me. Because it’s just this permanent questioning of every little thing, every sentence … I mean, it becomes a wall which is quite tiring sometimes. I suppose often these emotions are awakened in you through whatever you have been through in your childhood and nothing that happens to you as an adult ever quells those questions or those fears or that anger. It will always be there. And yet, I know, that if you were to speak to anybody who knows me they will say, “Oh, she’s so calm.” And the fact is that I am very calm, but that is only in my day-to-day interaction, but I am not at all calm about major issues or major questions, you know. And that’s not a sort of shouting kind of anger that I have, but a very cold anger.

 

Your constant questioning of authority is very similar to believing that much of what we think, see or believe is filtered through society’s eyes.

I don’t know. I don’t feel like that. I feel the opposite of that. Because as a child I was not wanted or accepted or not needed by anybody in the place I grew up. I never saw things through their eyes at all. Sometimes I wonder why I see things the way I do, because it’s completely the opposite of the way people are conditioned to see things here, especially women. For instance, I sometimes think I am perhaps the only woman in India, maybe the only woman in the world, who never thought about getting married or wanting children. The fact that I am married has nothing to do with wanting to be. That’s why one has this constant questioning of everything. You almost get tired of never having a place to stand, never having the ability to just say, “Yeah, this is how it should be.” It’s all the time saying, “Why this?” and “What does it mean?” and “What should I do?” There is no place to rest. That’s the way it is for me.

 

In 1955 Colin Wilson wrote a book called The Outsiders, which talked about the psychology, the physiology, the whole state of consciousness of those who have gone outside—Galileo, Copernicus—people who had to constantly remove themselves from this conditioned aspect of society. And I think you could call yourself an outsider. The family in your book as well as your real-life family seem to have lived as outsiders.

I think there are people who are safe and there are people who are not. And if you have been one of those who are not, it doesn’t matter. Like, now, it seems to me that I am safe: I have money and I have this and that. But somehow it makes me feel more precarious than ever. When you say I’m a star and famous … it fills me with panic because I’ve been outside that world and I feel too much anger towards it to want to be their star. In India today, I am being lauded and- hugged by people that repulse me, by this whole generation of Coca-Cola kids, you know, MTV rich brats. For them I am everything that they would like to be: cute, and famous and cool. And I am not. I don’t want that. For instance, they think that looks are everything and they will spend hours having fashion shows and beauty contests. Now, I haven’t ever been to a fashion show or beauty contest in my life. It makes me sick. But in the papers, my photograph will be alongside Miss India or Miss Universe or whatever. That is why that kind of fame doesn’t appeal to me at all. It disgusts me actually. A lot of it has to do with People Magazine saying, you know, we want you to be one of the 50 Most Beautiful Something. And I say, come on, read my book. Can’t you see what I think of that sort of thing?

 

I wonder what aspects of India you think you represent to the international community?

I will tell you one thing about the West. I always say that you know that someone doesn’t know anything about India the minute you see them striving to understand it. Because those of us who live here have ceased to try. It doesn’t matter. You don’t understand it any more or less than you understand anything else, but you just live in it and get on with it. And this is also true in people’s literature who come from 
here—this kind of all-purpose, multi-talented Indian. You want somebody to hook on to who represents India, but the fact is that I don’t represent India and nobody
represents India and nobody can claim to. I am me. I am not interested in flags and nations. I am not even interested in being the first Indian citizen on a Monday night to have won the Booker Prize. I keep saying I am the first aerobics instructor to have won the Booker Prize. The reason this book has done what it has done is not because it’s Indian, but because it’s universal. What does it matter if an Indian or an Estonian or Albanian wrote it? Only journalists and pundits and critics who are interested in these tags; readers are interested in reading. They are not going to read it because it’s Indian or it’s Albanian. In fact, if you see what happens to books that try and trade on this kind of exotic, ethnic thing, they are just sort of on the margins; they never become mainstream because they are too precious. Of course my book is Indian, because that is the world I know. It doesn’t compromise on its sense of detail, and that detail is Indian, but that is just coincidental. The characters are human and anybody recognizes them.

 

But there is this big debate in India itself on what is Indian literature …

Exactly, and it’s so puerile. And they’ll say, “Oh, you’re selling India to the West” or “You’re not selling India to the West” or “Is this authentic?” And I say, what do you mean by these words? “Oh, but she uses Elvis Presley so that’s not really Indian.” But what is really Indian? That you sit and chant Vedas in some temple? How do you define Indian? People do strive to inhabit the definition that India has been given by the West. That does happen. But it’s complete nonsense. I keep saying just replace authenticity with honesty.

 

But do people read your book in India?

It’s incredible what has happened in India because it has just broken through all these barriers of who reads books. A literary book in India usually does not sell. They usually have print runs of 2000, 3000 copies for a normal writer. A big writer, even writers like Rushdie, would sell say 12,000 copies a year. And he’s the biggest Indian writer. And my book has sold, I think, more than any book ever in India. So people are reading it and people get very angry here. If your book doesn’t transcend national borders, if it doesn’t get published anywhere else, then you are a failure, but if it does then you are attacked for it. So there’s always debate about what I have done, and not showing India in the proper light and all of that stuff. But there’s also this negative definition that the West has of India, thinking it is full of poverty—and they only want to hear about poverty and the caste system. But should we not address it because you don’t want to define yourself negatively to the West? You just have to be true to yourself and forget about what others say.

 

Balzac called fiction the secret history of nations. Do you think that you in a way are writing something that is true, that this is history, this is not just fiction?

I would agree with that. The stories you tell, the fiction you write, is a way of seeing, the world and there are many, many ways of doing this, which is why I hate getting into debates about literary theory. First of all, I am not an academic and secondly, I don’t have any rules—the only rule I have is that there are no rules. So, it’s important that the secret history is written by many people, so that there are conflicting ways of looking at the same thing.

 

Literature, you once said, is not divided according to language but according to stories, and as a writer you govern language. What is this governing of language?

The context in which I said that was a program on which I appeared with Salman Rushdie. He said in the introduction to his book of the best Indian writers that the only good writing coming out of India was in English and that the writing in regional languages was not worth anything. And a lot of people including me were very upset with that. This is again that claim to represent India and no one language can claim to represent it, no one person, no one culture, no one caste, no one religion, because everything is true about India. I tried to explain to him that there are so many writers in regional languages who are closer to him in many ways than I am. So, you divide literature according to the ways in which you tell stories, not according to the language you use. Then there is this big colonial debate about writing in English. They ask me “Why do you write in English?” And they say, “But your writing is not like any American or British writers.” And I reply, “Naturally I am not American or British. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because I use English, my thoughts are British.” I govern language; the language is mine to express my thought in. As a writer, it is my medium. You use that medium to do what you want it to do.

 

You have said that every character is a part of the writer and so sometimes writers play with insanity in a way because the writer is divided into all these different people.

You’re invested in all of them. When people ask me, ‘Is Rahel you or is Ammu you?” I say yes, but so is Baby Kochamma and so is Comrade Pillai. They are not very nice people, but I am not a very nice person.

 

You wrote a 26-part series on the Indian nationalist movement. Did that politicize you in some way?

I wrote it because I was already political. It didn’t politicize me. I guess I was born that way. A lot of the questions I asked started when I was in architecture school. It was again this thing of asking very basic questions. “Why should you tell me that this building is not as good as that building when everything about it technically works? Who are you to mark my sense of aesthetics?” In my fourth year I designed this multi-story building which in plan looked like a frog, but everything worked, the parking, the structure, everything…. it was just saying it is none of your business what it looks like. It was asking the basic question of who decides, who is this divine committee? I just want to know, because these are all ways of being powerful. And then in my fifth year, in my architecture thesis called “Post-Colonial Urban Development in Delhi,” I showed how basically architects manipulate space in a city to exclude various kinds of populations which are not supposed to be present there because they are too poor or too dirty or too whatever. And it becomes a very radical questioning then of who are the people in the city who claim to own it and who don’t and why. And then, of course, it begins to become an aesthetic questioning, too. I keep saying that one of the reasons I’m a successful writer is because I am a completely failed architect. I don’t know what kind of architect I could ever have been because I don’t know how to choose my aesthetics. The line has been interfered with so much that I don’t know how to make those decisions any more as to what kind of building I would like to design.

 

 

 

Do you think that there is something about your formative years that prepared you for this position in life? Where is your grounding now?

Everything that happens to you, even when it seems dark and terrible when it’s happening to you, you can learn from. And I think I have learned from everything that has happened to me. And I continue to learn from everything that happens to me. If I had not been who I was and I had not been through the experiences I have been through, I would have been killed off. I would not have known how to handle it. I would have thought, “It is all so wonderful and it’s so sweet and everybody loves me and I’m so famous.” But I know what the whole thing is about. I have seen the other side too much to be able to just accept this joyfully. That’s the greatest piece of good fortune that I have had. Just two years before this happened to me I was totally on the other side of the fence, because of a huge debate I had about a film called Bandit Queen, and I wrote this series of articles called “The Great Indian Rape Trick.” And all the beautiful people denounced me. The invective and the things that they said about me in the press were terrible. So, this is almost ridiculous. It just makes me laugh because it confirms my opinion of them. When I was going through it, it was traumatic. It was a complete and direct attack on my self-esteem and it was very hard to take at the time.

 

What happened with the lawsuit pending against you? You are being castigated for having writtenabout an upper caste woman who has an affair with an untouchable.

The two guys who have filed this case are just not representative of what is happening in this country with the book. Much as I would like to portray myself as a writer who is being hunted down, I am not. The lawsuit is a terrible pain to have to deal with, but I am quite sure that it has been brought to harass me. I will handle it by myself because the courts are not as regressive as people think they are. I am sure that the case will be thrown out. But the courts take so long and it will go on and on. When you live in India you know that India lives in several centuries simultaneously and they are all at war with each other in a sense. There is nothing you can do that is of any importance that will not end up in some kind of trouble or controversy. And this is the fallout of literature. It has created so much debate in Kerala. Some condemn me, some praise me, but that’s what literature is all about. It’s not about winning the Booker Prize and wearing nice clothes and feeling famous. Literature is about touching people’s lives. It is absurd in a way, but absurdity also suggests surprise and this reaction doesn’t surprise me. People get angrier with the same book when it wins the Booker Prize. It’s as if the text changes the bigger the book becomes. Those who filed the case against me also happen to be lawyers, and they want some publicity. It’s so easy. Just put a finger on The God of Small Things and you’re in the New York Times.

 

 

What is the god of small things? One critic wrote that social propriety is the novel’s victor. The deity of love and happiness loses out in the end. Is social propriety the god of small things?

That’s perhaps exactly the opposite of what I think. But a lot of people have this simplistic reading where they say, “Oh, anybody who breaks the love law suffers, so what you’re saying actually is that you shouldn’t break the laws.” That kind of simplistic reading of crime and punishment is nonsense. The god of small things is the inversion of what god means; it’s the god of loss. Take the way the novel is structured. The structure ambushes the story in that it begins at the end and it ends in the middle. And it tells you that, of course, the consequences of what happened were terrible, but the fact that they happened at all were wonderful. That’s what I mean when I say that the novel belongs to everybody. I don’t really want to legislate what people should make of it because it’s their book to think what they want. But certainly it’s not what I would have hoped that somebody would draw from it.

 

 

You had also said that the book is more a biological description of who we are and what we become.

It’s more about biology than history. It’s about how human society since the dawn of time divided itself into different bits and made war over those divisions and made love over those divisions. There are always those who make the laws and always those who argue against them. It’s about how history negotiates its terms and collects its dues from those who break its laws. I think what happens in the West is that people ask these very simplistic questions: “Are you a pessimist or an optimist?” To me that’s a joke because I am both. You see tragedy in comedy and you see happiness in sorrow, you see everything in everything and that is part of the process of living. So, in my book there is horrible sorrow but there is also the most delicate happiness. I can’t ever offer you one emotion. The only time you see that is in sport, which is why one loves sport; you see such simple feelings there and it is so outside of life. It’s not war, but it’s the joy of winning or the sorrow of losing. It just simplifies things. Therefore, it’s beautiful in a way. In my book I never offer you one emotion at any given point of time. Never. It is the simplest way of presenting a complex thing and it cannot be further simplified.

 

 

You are talking of emotionalism and I am talking about biology.

Well, biology in that sense for me is something that I feel when I am in Kerala. The intricacies of these social divisions have suppressed biology to the extent that in Kerala you see physically beautiful people who are trapped in their sociology for reasons that you cannot even begin to comprehend. So, in my book, I address this question directly. When Velutha looks at Ammu, I wrote,”… history struck out and for the first time he saw that she was a woman.” You see the most beautiful men there bare-bodied because of the climate, and yet I know that people don’t look at them as men; they only see them as Paravans, untouchables. And it has always been unbelievable to me that you could have annulled your own biology to that extent.

 

 

It seems that biology is no longer biology. It becomes sociology but biology is the real rhythm of our lives.

Exactly. But I have not had the courage to translate my book into Malayalam because I know what a radical thing it is. And I have not had the courage because the people who will have to take the consequences of that are my family who live there, and I don’t feel that I have the right to do that to them. Because it will be amazing what will happen. People will read my book in Kerala and they will say, “Oh, this is wonderful but, of course, that bit about the Paravan, you must have put it there as a joke. You know that it is not possible that a Syrian Christian woman would do this.” Somebody told me that it is not possible for a Paravan to perform sexually with a Syrian Christian woman, because he would be so terrified. They will take what they want from the book and reject the rest because they don’t want to face it.

 

What does this say about your own biology? You said before that you don’t want children and that you never thought of getting married? But you do have children, even though you are not their birth mother, you have been their mother.

Actually it locks right into what I am saying. Because looking after children who are not yours is different. They’re already in the world and you can do what you can for them. But I can’t make that decision to bring somebody into the world. I also never had the complete responsibility of how to bring them up because my husband’s parents were there and I was a little 21-year-old rat. They were a big family and they forced the children to go to a big school and all of that. It wasn’t my decision. It was only a question of doing what one could. I didn’t start out as the person who had to make decisions, but it was bad because I didn’t agree with all the decisions that were made.

 

But you have become a married woman. Has this changed you?

I don’t know. I lived with him for ten years before we got married and so the terms and conditions were clarified before anything happened. One thing is that I am paranoid about being trapped. The door has to be open, otherwise I’ll just leave through the window. If it is open I might stay.

 

You said that the writer is like a child . . .

You move between worlds that are perceived to be real and worlds that are supposed to be imaginary without acknowledging the boundaries. That’s why I guess madness lurks so close by. It’s just being curious, isn’t it? Curious and non-judgmental; being able to experience something without clamping down on it. I really don’t want to make any claims for writers as a group. I am speaking for myself. I don’t think most writers are like that. I think most are just the opposite — very old and tired people.

 

 

It took you almost five years to write this book, sitting in front of your computer everyday. So, there seems to be a balance between being a disciplined human being and maintaining this open, child’s perspective.

As I said, it’s like sculpting smoke. First you have to generate it and then you have to sculpt it because I don’t believe in this “I wrote my book in one week” kind of approach. Something that lives with you over the years is something important; it is something that stands the test of your growing. It isn’t that I didn’t change in five years. It’s just that it still worked for me. I am manically disciplined when I work, in that sense, because it is something that you are giving and you don’t want to give a half-hearted offering. If you are doing it, do it properly.

 

 

What about the physiological process of creating? You do aerobics. Is there an integration between the physiological discipline and the creative discipline?

Absolutely, I am just as disciplined about not working as I am about working. Really for me, the idea of doing nothing or enjoying myself is just as important. It’s important to not become somebody who really takes oneself too seriously. And doing exercise and being in touch with my body is something that I really value. I feel quite stupid about it sometimes but I also think it is important to feel stupid. It’s important to think, “Gosh, this looks ridiculous.” But it really makes me happy to do that; to be a person who is physical. It’s exactly the same kind of discipline that you need to write a book. It’s like if I cook and I wash up, nobody has told me but I just have to make sure that every last thing is clean. All of these things matter. I might tell my daughter a million times that how you clean the dishes affects other aspects of your life, including how you write. But it doesn’t matter to her; she can’t see. And I feel bad to go on about it. I don’t want to become some kind of nag about cleaning the sink. I’ll clean it. But for me it’s just that sense of completeness. It is not some great virtue, it’s just the way it is for me.

 

But it is that same element as you say.

Exactly. I’ve taught at a gym for years. I started doing aerobics and I wanted to be good enough to become an instructor, so I became an instructor. It’s not something to boast about. You’re just doing it for your own satisfaction. And if someone else wants to go to the gym to lose weight because she has to go to a party, that’s okay. I don’t want to be judgmental about it. Maybe I am lucky to be like that; to have a sense of discomfort if something is not done with concentration and discipline.

Aditya Chakrabortty :- I’m Bengali and I’m black

Background

As I was reviewing links clicked on our blog, saw that someone clicked on one that leads to Aditya Chakrabortty.

His posting is titled “I’m Bengali and I’m black – in the same way that my parents were”.

BTW, the actual post that references Aditya Chakrabortty is one by Safy-Hallan Farah.  Ms. Farah’s post is here.

Ms. Farah’s post, published on Feminist Wire, is dated 2013-April-3rd.

 

I am Bengali and I ‘m black

 

Before I was Asian, I was black. No, I haven’t since undergone some Jacko-style operation, or doused myself in Fair & Lovely. Rather, black was one of the terms my family and I used to describe ourselves.

I grew up in 80s London, which still echoed with the Anti-Nazi League’s chant of “We are black, we are white, together we are dynamite”. At her primary school, my sari-wearing mother was a member of the local NUT black teachers’ caucus. As late as university in the mid-90s, I was handed a black prospectus, featuring action shots of a Punjabi pointing at a noticeboard (sadly, this was to prove an all-too-accurate guide to student entz).

 

Discussing that period, those terms and the politics with which they were freighted, feels like remembering the era before email: so recent, so different. True, my mother’s old union branch still runs its black teachers section for “all teachers who face racism”. But the notion that someone of my background growing up today would refer to themselves as black is, frankly, fantastical.

Now you are black, or you are Asian – a categorical wall has been put up. And on either side of that wall other divisions are hurriedly being erected: you are a Gujarati Hindu from Leicester; he is a Bangladeshi Muslim from Whitechapel; they are Nigerian Christians from Lewisham. And so endlessly on, until you end up with what a sprawl of what A Sivanadan terms “cultural enclaves and feuding nationalisms”.

Isn’t this just the inevitable flowering of minor differences in an ever more diverse society? Quite the opposite. “Black” and “Asian” identities are just as badly bolted together as anything else. Take that cosy, cliched history of black Britain that begins with the Pathe newsreel of Empire Windrush docking at Tilbury. On which decks would have been the arrivals from Nairobi or Accra? Similarly Britain’s black history month, which ends today, takes its lead from the US – where the celebration began in 1926. But despite being an “Asian”, I might have as much in common with a black Trinidadian Hindu whose ancestors came from Uttar Pradesh as with a “fellow-Asian” whose parents hail from Multan, via Luton.

When someone like my late father responded to the term “black”, it was not because he’d forgotten his Tagore, or the films of Satyajit Ray. He carried that history with greater care and affection than those who today boast of their Bengali-ness. But “black” wasn’t about pigment or some flatpack identity. It was primarily a political term, borne of a recognition among those who’d recently arrived in Britain that they faced obstacles in common and would try and beat them together. One wore “black” not instead of “Jamaican” or “Sikh” but alongside all those other labels of cultural and historical identity, as an anti-racist affiliation.

Our parents were black because when they tried to get digs, they’d all see those signs saying “No black, no Irish, no dogs”. They were black because they’d all struggle to get the jobs, the pay and the promotions they deserved. And they were black because they all faced racial abuse and violence.

Of course, one could be black and Indian; one inevitably was black and leftwing. In his new book Racism, Class and the Racialized Outsider, Satnam Virdee charts how groups such as the Indian Workers Association, or Jayaben Desai and the heroic women strikers at the Grunwick film processing plant, were constantly building alliances with others on the left, whether in the trade unions or the Socialist Workers party.

Contrast that with what we have now: a host of ethnic identities all competing with one another for recognition and government funding for their own pet projects – not on the grounds of what they do but on who they claim to represent. This has been encouraged by Whitehall – which doled out money to the Muslim Council of Britain in the name of preventing terrorism. And it has certainly been fuelled by local councils. In his book The End of Tolerance, Arun Kundnani notes how throughout the 80s, Bradford city council encouraged and funded local mosques to group together and “provide an alternative voice” for Muslims in the area. The hope was “they would become allies in a process of absorbing opposition, at the expense of the younger militants”. It goes without saying that the “militants” were aggressively secular.

This move has bestowed power and money on certain figures within these ethnic communities – but it has also enabled successive governments to pretend that racism is no longer the problem. Instead, if you can’t get on in today’s Britain today, it’s because of some cultural factors that you and your community really need to sort out, pronto. This is the same sleight of hand that you see in discussions of sex and class, too: covering up the systemic issues and pretending that the problems can be solved by the individual. Lovely women: lean in! Oi, proles: get off Benefits Street! And you Bangladeshis: shave off those beards! Don’t worry about whether the game is rigged, or the rules are wrong: just play up.

Where this ends up is with David Cameron, that community leader for Old Etonians, speechifying in Munich about “state multiculturalism”. “When a white person holds racist views, we rightly condemn them,” said the prime minister who put on London streets vans reading “Go Home”. “But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from some who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly, even fearful, to stand up to them.”

Except that racism hasn’t gone away. It may have got more nuanced, as you’d expect over time. But in work, it still pays to be a white man. On the streets, the police in England and Wales record over 100 racist “incidents” every day, and the Institute of Race Relations has tallied up 106 racial murders between 1993 and 2013. Meanwhile, to be black or Asian is to be far more likely to be stopped and searched – up to 29 times more likely in the West Midlands.

The obstacles remain, racism is still with us. Even after decades of fixating on our differences, ethnic minorities in this country are bound together by many of the same injustices and frustrations. My identity comes in many parts: Bengali, Londoner and the rest. But I am also black, in the same way my parents were. And if you feel the pinch of the same constraints, you’re black too.

 

Other Works

Videos

  1. YouTube
    • Aditya Chakrabortty on the ‘bubble mentality’ in financial journalism
      Aditya Chakrabortty from the Guardian talks to Transforming Management at Manchester Business School about the silo mentality that occurs in financial journalism.
      Channel :- Alliance Manchester Business School
      Published On :- 2011-August-4th
      Link

 

Summary

In a world constantly forcing binary choices on each of us, it is refreshing to have an author offer more than 1, albeit 2 in this case.

SQL Server – Reporting Services – Error – “Invalid or Expired Session”

Background

Reviewing collected “Extended Events” and noticed a recurring error.

Error

Image

Tabulated

  1. Message :- Invalid or Expired Session: [session id]
  2. Event Name :- error_reported
  3. Error Number :- 50000
  4. Severity :- 16
  5. session_server_principal_name :- Web Site’s Application Pool Identity
  6. server_principal_name :-
  7. is_system :- false
  8. database name :- ReportServer
  9. client_app_name :- Report Server

TroubleShooting

Database

ReportServerTempDB

Table

ReportServerTempDB.dbo.SessionData
Reviewing date of entries
Reviewing date of entries – SQL

SELECT

        [ExpirationMin] 
		  = min 
				(
					[Expiration]
				)
      
      , [ExpirationMax] 
		= max 
			(
				[Expiration]
			)
      
      , [durationBetweenMinAndMax]
			= datediff
				(
					  minute
					, min ([Expiration])
					, max ([Expiration]) 
				)

      , [durationBetweenMinAndCurrent] 
		  = datediff
				(
					  minute
					, min ([Expiration])
					, getdate() 
				)

      , [durationBetweenMaxAndCurrent] 
		= datediff
			(
				  minute
				, max ([Expiration])
				, getdate() 
			)

FROM [dbo].[SessionData] tblSD


Explanation
  1. The entries returned will have duration reflecting the settings set for session recycling.

Remediate

Configuration

Configuration Files

rsreportserver.config

Item :- Configuration \ CleanupCycleMinutes
Default

The default setting for CleanupCycleMinutes is 10.

This translates to entries in the ReportServerTempDB been pruned every 10 minutes.

Revised

Please increase timeout.

Doing so will mean that records are recycled less frequently.

Image – Default

 

Image – Revised

Explanation

Change CleanupCycleMinutes from 10 minutes to 180 minutes, 3 hours.

Holiday Gift Cards

Angel Tree

Each year at the Fellowship in which I worship we buy gifts for children of “Shut in Parents”.

This particular social fabric is called Angel Tree.

 

Congregants

For Year 2017, we have a lot more Angels requesting gift certificates.

After looking for actual gifts on the tree, many congregants smugly walked away empty handed.

I was able to make facial contact with some of them as they haplessly complained of not having actual gifts to choose from.

 

Yours Truly

I have yet to bring myself to confide to our congregants.

But, yours truly is the source of their consternation.

I was too quick to bail out many grandparents as they were lost as to which gifts their grandchildren will prefer over the other.

I asked one of my fellow co-coordinators, GP, as to how he was able to place so many actual gift requests on the tree.

He said he pushed the guardian to come up with an actual gift and did not allow them the escapism of a gift card.

 

Why Actual Gifts

The congregants offered resounding reasons for the ire.

As in most faith communities, our congregants are mostly women; and even more so when it comes to actual involvement in outreach programs.

While men are quick to take the easy, straightforward road to satisfaction, women often take the long, winded more intimate scenic back roads.

Women want to know the Children names, their gender, ages, and actual desires.

They match their pick of children to their children’s gender and age.

They involve their children in thinking & choosing the gifts, packaging and delivering it.

 

Each Sunday

Each of these last two Sundays I have weighed my euphoria from quickly jotting down Gift Certificates for the entire family line against the emptiness felt by each congregant as they leafed through each gift request.

I feigned for collaborative thoughts.

 

Last Sunday

Last Sunday, Ms. Ruby, the Church’s founding Pastor’s wife, came up to me and said that she has done this for 20 years and that I am not going to deny her this year.

She said to make sure “to get it right, as it is not the same if she misses out on what she is supposed to participate in“.

 

More Angels

Aside from my blunder, all our allotted Angels have been picked.

And, finally this evening I took the time to email Vivian and asked if she has more Angels.

She said Yes.

A batch in our state and a bigger batch the State North of us.

She explained that because of the distance, it will likely have to be Gift Certificates or Amazon Prime.

 

God’s Moment

I asked her to please call me, and she obliged.

She explained to me that these days, gifts cards are OK especially for teenagers.

That is, as long, as some requirements are met.

As she explained everything I knew it was a God Moment.

having my feet washed out and having twinkles placed in.

 

Vivian

Here is a lady I am speaking to for the very first time in my life.

And, she is sharing with me the precaution we should take to measure the veracity of the relationship between the shut in and the ones we are trying to serve in his absenteeism.

Understanding that our Church’s resource is limited and has to be carefully disbursed, we have to be constrained in our financial obligations; yet unrestrained once we establish the actuality of the relationship.

Furthermore, she highlighted the difference between Churches.  There are some that just want to get into the homes and are more loose in their qualification process.

 

Little Spaces

It is like him to show up in the little spaces of our lives.

A father and a Husband.

Broad shouldered to carry the fainting and keep those inside in.

Yet secure enough to disappear as the wanderer makes his way in.

 

Scripture

  1. Prayer for the disciples
    So that they may be one as We are one.
    During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me.
    I guarded them so that not one was lost
    ( John 17:11-12 )
  2. Out of my/his hand
    No one can snatch them out of My hand.
    My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all.
    No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.…
    ( John 10:28-29 )
  3. The Sheep and the Goats
    …For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat,
    I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,
    I was a stranger and you did not take Me in,
    I was naked and you did not clothe Me,
    I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.
    And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?…
    ( John 25:42-44 )
  4. Unto Me
    Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
    ( John 25:45 )

 

Primary Responsibility

Though, I swore to keep my public discord separate from my private affairs.

I have to dedicate this to Sade, my sweetest Taboo.

What a shame that I have to steal from Def; but “Truly, without her, nothing works“.

Each of us has things we want to do, but when our primary responsibility is unprovided for, we are monrose and unhinged.

And, so this is for and to her, and all she does to make sure we are together in Spirit and in Truth.

When things are not right, we quickly come together to structure it before him, he who is able

 

Words

Many of the children are been shepherded by their Aging grandmother.

It is embarrassingly agonizing that God continue to have no one else, but grandparents to care for these young ones.

  1. Angelina Grimké  (1805-1879)
    • I know you do not make the laws, but I also know that you are the wives and mothers, the sisters and daughters, of those who do
  2. Mary McLeod Bethune
    • For I am my mother’s daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth
  3. Cindy Sheehan
    • “I am going to take whatever I have left and go home,” she wrote. “I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost.
  4. Bob Dylan
    • My daddy [once said], ‘Son, it is possible to become so defiled in this world that your mother and father will abandon you. And, if that happens, God will always believe in your ability to mend your ways
  5. Barack Obama
    • He was raised literally and metaphorically offshore, in Indonesia by his white mother and in Hawaii by his white grandparents. He is very much an American but tends to view the incongruities of politics with the distancing eye of an outsider
  6. Danish Proverb
    • A rich child often sits in a poor mother’s lap
  7. Jim McGreevey
    • One of the most contentious issues in the divorce is what the child should be exposed to. Her mother made McGreevey and his partner take down a nude photograph in their home, contends that Jacqueline should not be allowed to sleep in her father’s bed, and says that the girl should not be allowed to receive communion in the Episcopal Church because she is being raised a Roman Catholic. At the hearing, the judge said the girl would not be permitted to sleep in the same bed with anyone except her mother or father.
  8. Denzel Washington
    • My mother never gave up on me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back
  9. Hagar & Ishmael
    • And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. ( Genesis 21:20-21 )
  10. Saint Augustine – Ancient Roman Christian Theologian and Bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430)
    • He cannot have God for his Father who will not have the Church for his mother.
  11. George Michael
    • I was pretty depressed about my mother’s death. I was as down as I’ve ever been. It was even worse than when my lover died. I found it hard to cope.
  12. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
    • Unless life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile
  13. Robin Morgan
    • We are each precious, unique, necessary. We are strengthened and blessed and relieved at not having to be all the same. We are the daughters of longing. We are the mothers in labor
  14. King David
    • And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. (1st Samuel 22:3-4 )
  15. Abraham Lincoln
    • “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” I will prepare and someday my chance will come. All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. Whatever you are, be a good one. I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother. I walk slowly, but I never walk backward
  16. Haniel Long
    • For support, I fall back on my heart. Has a man any fault a woman cannot weave with and try to change into something better, if the god her man prays to is a mother holding a baby?

Listening

Listening to the song I first heard today when I went by CVS for snacks ….

Train – Marry Me
Link

Something about …

Forget the world now we won’t let them see
But there’s one thing left to do

If I ever get the nerve to say
Hello in this cafe

You wear white and I’ll wear out the words I love you

Now that the wait is over
And love and has finally shown her my way