Dr Khalil's Intellectual Space

Pak Political Economy +

Dr Khalil's Intellectual Space

Pak Political Economy +

Defining Ashrafiya, Riyasati Ashrafiya and Danishwar Ashrafiya

Note: The following exchange took place in a WhatsApp group. The name of the objector is being withheld.

Objection by Someone:

Never understand this elite bashing. Are these old Marxists in new garb? Are we bashing success? Do we want communism?

Reply by KA:

Kindly pen down your (anti-) thesis and then anyone may counter it. I will do.

Objection by Someone:

Pen down what. I don’t fight ghosts. No one defines elite. They just talk of this socialist concept. Any one with money is elite

Reply by KA:

No, having money is not an essential feature of the Ashrafiya. Those who use word Elite may mean something else. In English, the equivalent of Ashrafiya is Aristocracy.

Objection by Someone:

Ok so what is elite capture. Where does it not exist.

Reply by KA:

In short, Ashrafiya was already there (subcontinent, monarchs, nabobs, etc). The state was already there. It was an Ashrafi state. Ashrafiya used to differentiate and discriminate itself from the ordinary folks by way of divine right of kings, racial superiority, etc. That mindset still exists on both sides. مائی باپ (paternity-maternity), etc.

Fast forward: when a constitutional state came into being, the Ashrafiya tried successfully to capture it and by capturing it captured the resources it had at its disposal. This I termed as Riyasati Ashrafiya. It had lost all its prerogative as Ashrafiya. Which now it tried to recapture by capturing the state and its resources.

And this Riyasati Ashrafiya includes politicians, military, judiciary, (these classes form the core of Riyasati Ashrafiya), and others from various walks of life, such as landlords, industrialists, big traders, ulemas, etc. And everybody wants to be part of the Riyasati Ashrafiya since it endows them with some of the state resources and influence. (Mind it it’s not money per se, it’s tax money of the people.)

And what makes Ashrafiya (also Riyasati Ashrafiya) Ashrafist is its world-view, its view of society, man, etc. And that’s how it justifies its capture of the state and its resources. To it, the constitution and the fundamental rights are merely an appendix.

And, so far as moneyed people are concerned, I have no qualms against them. They make a class of their own, that I call خواص or خواصیہ. In English, they are Elite or Elites from various walks of life. In Lahore, many clubs of wealthy and super-wealthy people exit such as Rolex Club, Mercedes Club. Nothing against them. Among other things, it’s the tax money of the people that Riyasati Ashrafiya lives off and by using the same constitution to subjugate and control the people, the constitution that exists in this case to control the Riyasati Ashrafiya (or the government itself).

For details, see my book:

پاکستان میں ریاستی اشرافیہ کا عروج

[February 8, 2023]

Note to the above exchange re Defining Ashrafiya

Somehow some people come to believe they are different from others. That difference may be in degrees or of degrees. Sometimes too much sometimes too less. Sometimes moderate. And the perception of that difference varies accordingly. That difference may be physical, and mental and intellectual difference. That’s normal. And its perception is also normal. But when the perception of physical on the one hand and mental and intellectual differences on the other comes to transform into a consciousness of privileged status, then and there Ashrafi mentality and mindset starts forming. That is, somehow some people come to believe they are privileged from others.

To be privileged, that is, naturally or physically or mentally or intellectually privileged or socially or economically privileged is not an issue.

The issue is the consciousness and thus the claim that one is inherently privileged for the reason he was so. That is, he is primordially privileged that was why he was made privileged and that is why he is intrinsically different from others.

While philosophically speaking, all the differences one possesses are accidental or incidental.

A beauty queen or a genius could be born not the way they were born. Only their consciousness of themselves makes them so, makes them to believe so.

As once happened to G B Shaw:

“George Bernard Shaw was once approached by a seductive young actress who cooed him in his ear: ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we got married and had a child with my beauty and your brains?’

George Bernard Shaw who was hardly a handsome man replied: ‘My dear, that would be wonderful indeed, but what if our child had my beauty and your brains?’ The actress who did not need much persuasion just sped off.” (Copied)

That woman could not think otherwise. Whoever she was she thought herself privileged and different from others intrinsically. G B Shaw could, and he did.

That’s Ashrafiya’s consciousness and that forms its mindset and mentality. And its attitude toward others whom it does not consider to be privileged but un-privileged or under-privileged whom it should treat with compassion or such things.

Epistemologically, that consciousness acquires various forms one among which is Intellectual (and Rational) Superiority. To be intellectually (and rationally) superior to others who are inferior and who are not capable of arguing and understanding things is to be privileged. That is how Ashrafiya intellectuals think and behave. They are Danishwar Ashrafiya. And that is why the Ajlafiya should be led in the right direction lest they get lost by using their un-reason. And it is that characteristic that both intellectuals and politicians exhibit so conspicuously. That is, the people or the masses be directed and controlled and be provided with food, and dos and don’ts, etc.

Politically speaking, that tendency, that is, epistemological superiority finds its fullest expression in Plato’s Philosopher-King. And which Hegel presented as a reflex category. That, ‘for instance, one man is king only because other men stand in the relation of subjects to him. They, on the contrary, imagine that they are subjects because he is king.’

As far as Pakistani Ashrafiya (including Riyasati Ashrafiya and Danishwar Ashrafiya) are concerned, they exhibit the same mindset, same intellectual and epistemological superiority toward those whom they consider and look down upon as Ajlafiya. One example of this is their “fight for the poor, the downtrodden” etc.

But the most important characteristic the Pakistani Ashrafiya is abundantly imbued with is the feeling and consciousness of its being privileged (especially in the realm of politics and intellect). And from the standpoint of Ashrafiya, for the ordinary lot, the Ajlafiya, it is their being un-privileged and/or under-privileged about which they (the Ashrafiya) should be sympathetic and compassionate and do whatever they could to help it, that is, to ameliorate its condition.

Whereas what both Ashrafiya and Ajlafiya need is Freedom and Justice.

[February 9, 2023]

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