[Reader-list] Personalism, Helping & Hegel in the colonial Night: IF post 6

ARNAB CHATTERJEE apnawritings at yahoo.co.in
Mon Aug 13 13:31:45 IST 2007

  Dear Readers,
                    While I’m happy to get on with one
of my favourite topics at the SARAI list : censorship
and persecution  in the wake of Shuddhabrata’s
comments on the attack on Taslima Nasreen at
Hyderabad, I felt I’ll just put up my monthly
Independent fellowship posting so that I can walk with
the brewing debate better.

Now, as you’ll remember I had proposed in my previous
posting, subsequent to having pursued the history and
theory of the personal, that I’ll start deploying the
paradigm I’ve recovered in lineaments. From this
posting onwards I get on with that. The urban theme
will intrude in right time.

 The founding aim of this current  posting is to 
deploy the personalist matrix  by which  the
transition from old age  charities  may be compared to
the   new forms of helping in modernity—colonial
modernity in particular. This is done through
re-invoking,  subsequent to recovering a grand  
theorist of such a change -Hegel—a long forgotten 19th
century Bengali Neo-Hegelian ( Brajendranath Seal)—who
had wanted to adopt this transition to modernity (
from the “principle of personality” to the “principle
of organization” or from the particular to the
universal) through  his interpretive reading of the
first modernizer of India: Rammohan Roy. The fate of
this reading through successive inheritance
articulates the fate of civil society in 19th century
colonial Bengal.  

A thematic abstract of the above could be this :  If
classical helping acts were a matter of religious
merit or personal virtue; optional and incidental
benevolence, then  Hegel (as a forgotten theorist of
helping)-  having anticipated  this and in order to
normalize this threat ( of “arbitrariness,”
“contingency” and “deception”  ) innate in unorganized
personal acts of helping, had offered the solution of
state related ‘objective’, ‘intelligent’ helping  in
the form of public assistance or welfare in civil
society. This posting explores how the indeterminate,
whimsical and thus in a sense transcendent status of
the particularistic personal vis-à-vis personality  
haunts and in a way subverts the founding of this
public, determinate and institutionally rational
“universal” welfare schemes symptomatic of civil
society ----which when transferred to the  colonies,
was  also synonymous with the colonizeds’  internal
project of arriving at modernity. The  texts of Brajen
Seal, Keshab Sen perform here the roles of theoretical
samples. Here is the text now.




In a lecture delivered in 1936 Benoy Kumar Sarkar – a
pioneering Indian sociologist  and social historian
with considerable mastery over German language and
German social philosophy was comparing Hitler
Germany’s system of  Winter Help and the Indian
practice of daridra seva  or care for the poor. While
Winter Help was an occasion --  on which --to help
their suffering poor masses, “Germans would spend
during the six months of winter (October to March)
nearly 37 crores – in Indian currency,”[1]  Sarkar was
aware that Daridra seva ( seva has its strongest
original lineage in Vaishnavism of medieval Bengal )
was repopularised in the 19th century by Swami
Vivekananda—the founder member of Ramakrishna Mission
and famous for his so called American conquests [2].
Sarkar in his lecture wanted to propose a modernist
departure for such a project. To begin with,  Sarkar
illuminatingly and provokingly traced the origins of
Vivekananda’s ‘service to the poor is service to God’
dictum to that of ( another German) Fichte’s
formulation in which the slave appears as a
personification of the Holy Ghost [3]. This striking
and disturbing comparison apart, one of Sarkar’s
agenda was ofcourse critical. While invoking Fichte
and elsewhere locating Vivekananda’s message as
complicit with the emergence of the person and
individualism in modernity, here Sarkar was clearly
dismissing daridra seva as being based on an old model
of care or charity [4]  for the poor. For Sarkar
social insurance ( ‘samaj bima’), grants for the
unemployed (‘bekar bima’), tax based poor  relief [5] 
( ‘daridrya-kar’) were  the methodologically driven 
modern  (the latter  having undergone a revival)
versions of  a transformed and enlightened helping (
we shall explore why and how, long before Sarkar,
Hegel had  termed this ‘intelligent’ helping).  Now
one of the strong reasons why Sarkar thought that this
model had become defunct - was  based –this time—on a
French comparison. Quoting Ferdinand Tonnies, Sarkar
dubbed giving of alms (‘mustibhikka’) as an expression
of   community or Gemeinschaft through  ‘atmiyata’
(kinship), ‘sahajogita’ ( cooperation)  and not
(civil) society [6]   or Gesellschaft. Now why Sarkar
thought so is crucial : his argument was, in the
giving of alms, there exists between  the donor and
the recipient an immediate (‘sakshat’) and in a sense
personal (‘byaktigoto’) relationship; but, in State
organized helping endeavours,  what is evident is  an
impersonal procedure marked by  a  (quasi-commercial)
‘regimentation regarding transaction of goods’,  a
‘centralized’  rational  effort( ‘juktijog’) moved by
the force of an ‘associational collective’[7].  
               The historical catch seems to lie here
! By plotting the personal and the filial as against
the public and the rational, it is evident that Sarkar
was  referring to the arrangements that have been 
subsumed today under the rubric of civil society with
the phenomenon being now predicated  as ‘welfare’.
Sarkar thought that in a capitalist society the former
has exhausted itself and is absolutely anachronistic
unless it is absorbed by civil social forms of
institutionalized public helping. Infact he also tends
to find a middle way  by suggesting that in the manner
of Nazi Germany’s Winter help project,  social
organizations and institutions  in Bengal such as the
Ramakrishna Mission, the Indian Congress, Corporation,
Municipality, Bangiya Sankat Tran Samiti inorder to
arrive  at  ‘modernity’ (“adhunikta”) need to deploy
such methods of helping where voluntarism ( in the
form of voluntary donation) meets centralized
procedural, public rationality[8].   
           As we shall find what Sarkar in 1936 was
proposing--  in fact was the  paradigmatic proposal of
modernity itself and was first, to my mind,
articulated by Hegel. Surprisingly, in 19th century
colonial Bengal—as we shall see—the tensions of this
thematic schism in the realm of helping was
energetically articulated in the domain of   ‘reform.’
By launching an internal attempt to reform practices
through voluntary associations and related agenda, the
end product was nothing but modernity through civil
society in the colony. We need to state this in terms
set by a grand theorist of civil society--Hegel :
Personal being dubbed as particular and deceptive,
Hegel had proposed the universal in order to aid us to
arrive at a determinate transparency. This hunt for
the universal  assumed strange but understandable
forms  in the colonies. The success or failure of
colonial modernity largely depended on this—the
deployment of the universal through civil social
institutions and activities. Sarkar is revoking the
proposal in 1936 in quite a similar way in order to
arrive at modernity.  The arrival then must have been
deferred. The question is, what transpired in between?
Where is the account of the episodic rivalry between
personal-individual and public- institutional forms of
helping? What is at stake in the case of a wronged or
a right, successful or failed transition?
           The founding aim of this  article is to 
propose a conceptual  matrix [9]  by which answers to
these questions may be found and  the transition from
old age charities  may be compared to the new forms of
helping in modernity—colonial modernity in particular.
If the proposal was that the personal had had to be
purged in order to give way to the universal; then in
this paper I investigate  how the indeterminate,
whimsical and thus in a sense transcendent status of
the  personal  vis-à-vis personality haunts, threatens
and in a way subverts the founding of public and
determinately rational welfare schemes. This is done
through re-invoking  subsequent to Hegel, a long
forgotten 19th century Bengali Neo-Hegelian of
colonial Bengal—and reinscribing the vagaries of his
interpretive reading of the first modernizer of India:
Rammohan Roy.                            

Having prefaced our work thus, now we are perhaps
ready to chart the route the paper will take:

I. The paper in its first part  examines Hegel’s
proposal (Hegel –   being the first philosopher of
modernity and as pointed out a major theorist of
‘welfare’ through civil society) to institute   civil
society through “intelligent” forms of public helping
by  appreciating the universal aspects of poverty - 
and  proposing the mediating institutions of civil
society to order this transition. It elaborates on how
the modern civil society was constructed to control or
normalize that threat of arbitrariness and contingency
instanced in personal acts of whimsical giving.
Hegel’s discussion of welfare, charity etc. in civil
society is briefly summarized and studied as a classic
case. Civil society in the colonies form the next

II (a). In the second part  the fate of such a hunt
for the universal in  19the century Bengal is examined
through the texts of a Bengali Neo-Hegelian
Brajendranath Seal.  I tediously follow Brajen Seal’s
reading of Rammohan Roy and his discourse of
“theo-philanthropic” reform to show how, in colonial
modernity, the construction of civil society through
voluntary association ( valorizing ‘institution’ over
‘personality’) receives an unexpected twist in the
wake of Keshab Sen’s astounding reading ( when played
against Seal’s longer reading ) of  the multipersonal
universalism of Rammohan. 

II(b): Section II (b) charts if this hunt for the
universal  foundered even with the promising
inheritance of Rammohan’s disciple Keshab Chandra Sen
and in the wake-- why a project of reconciliation
between the personal and the universal ultimately 
failed  thus sealing in the process the fate of civil
society in the colony. 

III. But does this failure still breed modernity? Is
our paradigmatic grid able to interpret the state of
helping in our own times? This paper—in its conclusion
evaluates these questions from the  premise of failure
The ghost of “arbitrariness” and  “contingency” in
personal charity: civil society in Hegel
	 Taking cue from the introduction, we may start by
saying that the genealogy of the modernist turn in
helping may be   briefly and brutally put  in one line
: what was helping according to personal or religious
virtue or duty in the past  became a matter of  a
secular ethic of social assistance and welfare right
in modernity. The unruly daan or charity was
transformed with  the disciplinary techne of Social
work to a public activity leading to the
institutionalization of professional techniques of
care on the one hand ( Social Work), on the other an
increasing governmentalization of helping services.
But why was this public mediation  of the state
wanted? Who charted this first? How was this done? The
paradox is , with the theorist of governmentality (
Foucault [10]  ) or   in the pioneering welfare
sociology of T. H Marshall [11]    or Partha
Chatterjee’s  brilliant revisionist notion of new
political society (where a reference to both Foucault
and Marshall is available [12]  ) what is forgotten is
the fact that it was Hegel in whose hands this
transformation was first charted ( this forgetting has
been so deepseated that there is not a single book on
welfare, helping and Hegel despite the voluminous
Hegel scholarship; no history of social work mentions
Hegel). And this transformation, as pointed out
before, is absolutely coeval and crucial for the
institutionalization of  civil society and  modernity
in the colony. To examine the fate of this Hegelian
project ( subsequent to its recovery) in the colony is
our present task but that would not be possible unless
we allow the past to begin.
                To resume then, with the modernist
turn in helping practices, what is propagated finally
is, a kind of social virtue  and not personal
character based practice of  private virtue[13].  To
follow Hegel, hitherto we have had “personal
character” and the “conscience of individuals—their
particular will and mode of action” [14]  ; modes of
helping were marked by “the litany of private
virtues—modesty, humility, philanthropy and
forbearance [15]”  Social virtue in Hegel, based on a
kind of universality -bearing strong Kantian strains,
recognizes the objective character of actions and
wants - while not being founded on “what the agent
holds to be right or wrong, good and evil” [16].  Not
founded because, in such a state “helping” might just
assume “unintelligent” forms,  “deception” is a daily
occurrence here( these are all Hegel’s phrases to
which we’ll return later in detail), which is marked
by this non-distinction of particularity and
universality: anybody wearing the mask of universality
gives us a semblance of rights and we think we are
getting our due  and end up being cheated. This
paradox generated the huge debate on who should be 
the right recipients of charity. Similarly in India
one finds a vast literature on who has the sanctioned
competence to make charitable gifts. The modernist
turn in helping tries to standardize this debate
according to objective, generalisable yardsticks.
Welfare of others then requires a systematic treatment
than just a parochial one; but Hegel, to seek a
rationale for this transition,  will consider first
the moment when we are interested in advancing our own
interests ‘regardless’ of others, where the
arbitrariness and unpredictable  unrest of our daily
life asks to be tempered. We have arrived at Hegel and
his discussion of civil society.

Civil  society as we know in Hegel appears between the
family and 
the state. It includes the economic community in which
citizens fulfill their wants or needs, the
administration of justice and finally  the police and
corporation. Outside of the family and the state the
individuals appear as independent persons pursuing
their own selfish-private interests while  trying to
use  others as means. In the process of pursuing
private ends, inadvertently common ends are also
accomplished. This is the received definition of 
civil society in Hegel. We are interested in a
different strand of this discourse. Civil society in
Hegel appears as a realm where while trying to
accomplish particular interests, universal ends are
accomplished. Two points to note here: firstly, all
particular ends require the compulsory presence of
other people to be used as means; secondly, all people
end up, though involuntarily, serving the whole
community. But civil society being the site where
private individuals pursue private ends, the threat of
caprice lies open--

“due to the variability of the wants themselves, in
which opinion and subjective good- pleasure play a
great part. It results also from circumstances of
from errors and deceptions which can be
foisted upon single members of the social circulation
and are capable of creating disorder in it” [17].   
Civil society tries to temper this “threat” in a
manner of its own.    Given that, Hegel argues, “
since particularity is tied  to the condition of
universality, the whole [ of civil society] is the
sphere of mediation in which all individual
characteristics, all aptitudes, and all accidents of
birth and fortune are liberated” [18]  . Thus begins
the drama where Hegel seems to have been theorizing
civil society  as something that normalizes or
controls arbitrariness or contingency that pervades
our everyday life beginning with the site that is the
family.  The discussion is available in his The
Philosophy of Subjective Spirit where Hegel somewhat
categorically ( very unlike of him) charts this
suspicion. In his view contingency resides with
“individual subjects” or singular souls :

“Its mode  of being is the special temperament,
talent, character, physiognomy and other dispositions
and idiosyncrasies[19], 
it is in this soul that the
sphere of contingency is initiated. Individual souls
are distinguished from one another by an endless
multitude of contingent modifications” [20]. 

The discussion becomes more effective and illuminating
when Hegel comes to the education of children. We are
of  the view that that teaching is best which brings
out the individuality of the child. To Hegel this is a
clear mistake. The teacher “has not the time to do so”
[21].  Further, it is not necessary too. “The
peculiarity of children is tolerated in the family
circle” [22]  Hegel’s conclusion is definitive, “The
more educated  a person is, the less will his behavior
exhibit anything contingent and simply peculiar to
him” [23].  
Transferring the potential of this insight to charity 
in relation to the discourse of enlightenment, we find
that this is in absolute concurrence with Rousseau’s
observation on Emile’s education. There charity is a
pedagogic virtue without which Emile’s education will
remain imperfect. In response to the principle of
“active benevolence” Rousseau is referring to “ an
education whose principles engender charity” [24]. 
Charity as a pedagogic virtue and not a religious one
imbibes the hunger for the universal which is so
peculiar to the Hegelian view of education in schools.
Education “irons out” particularities, and therefore
the kind of charity that grows out of this leveling
also, expectedly, is not anything that will be
disorganized, unsystematic and reflective of
peculiarities of people. As we’ve noted before –this
is symptomatic of the modern, secular view of helping.

         We have been trying to bring out  how one of
the registers of civil society—education  becomes in
Hegel a method to restrain the “ accidental
subjectivities” and sympathies that personalities of
people imply. Briefly put, through education a student
will be able to recognize “ the universal aspect of
the object” [25].  
But what about those who will be unable for various
reasons to secure education? Directly related to the
discourse of helping, this is  the second  register of
an interesting aspect of civil society in Hegel. Hegel
anticipates, and rightly so, that the blind play of
private interests in the economic community in civil
society may push many to the state of degrading
poverty. However, other factors are also there. Here
is Hegel: 

“ Not only arbitrariness, however, but also contingent
physical factors and circumstances based on external
conditions may reduce individuals to poverty. In this
condition, they are left with the needs of civil
society and yet  since society has at the same time
taken from them the natural means of acquisition,

they are more or less deprived  of all the advantages
of society, such as the ability to acquire skills and
education in general, as well as of the administration
of justice, health care, and often even of the
consolation of religion” [26]   

And what do  “their predicament and sense of wrong”
[27]   give rise to?   It seems Hegel reproduces the
historical consensus on the matter, “ Laziness,
viciousness and other vices” [28].  These  in fact
what Hegel thinks are the “subjective aspects of
poverty” [29]  -- where poverty induces peculiarities
in individual subjects. And this
requires-derivatively------ “subjective help, both
with regard to the particular  circumstances and with
regard to emotion and love. This is a situation in
which, notwithstanding all universal arrangements,
morality finds plenty to do” [30].  
What Hegel is referring to by the name of subjective
help is the aspect of sentimental, optional
benevolence or private charity led by personal
idiosyncrasies. But the Hegelian civil society cannot
approve of this and Hegel admits that: firstly because
of the fact that  “livelihood of the needy would be
ensured without the mediation of work”  which by being
simply dependent on others  will violate the principle
of civil society where all are self-regarding persons
and— therefore, justly,  the burden of poverty has to
be borne by poor people themselves; secondly, it is a
violation of the self respect or the dignity of the
poor person [31].  
Therefore, in consonance with the primary proposal
Hegel appropriately declares, “But since this help,
both in itself and in its effects, is dependent on
contingency, society endeavors to make it less
necessary by identifying the universal aspects of want
and taking steps to remedy them” [32].  
Throw in here the fact that Hegel, in this context,
goes so far as to say-- that when I—being guided by my
personal idiosyncrasies or “out of love” give
something to somebody and not to the more deserving
ones or without inviting the universal to “have a
share in the action”, I “cheat the universal out of
its right” [33]   Thereby what Hegel does is to
introduce the concept of objective  help which having
discovered the universal aspects of want institutes
public modes of addressing the same: to reckon with
the universal aspect of want is to replace  the poor
by the problem of poverty. In brief, Hegel is keen to
arrive at, following the formal character of his
concept of civil society, some principle of helping
which will not be contingent, arbitrary and
subjective. What are they ? They are a series of
examples catalogued by Hegel : “ public poorhouses,
hospitals, street lighting etc.” But Hegel does not
rule out the functions of contingent helping as
well—and this is important. “Charity still retains
enough scope for action,” but ---

“it is mistaken if it seeks to restrict the
alleviation of want to the particularity of emotion
and the contingency of its own disposition and
knowledge, and if it feels injured and offended by
universal rulings and precepts of an obligatory kind.
On the contrary, public conditions should be regarded
as all the more perfect the less there is left for the
individual  to do by himself in the light of his own
particular opinion ( as compared with what is arranged
in a universal manner)” [34] .  

So Hegel’s model of helping in civil society is
inspired by a kind of public mediation of wants, but
the term that he uses for this kind of help is, “
In this last part therefore, using this description of
intelligence, let us try to delineate finally  the
Hegelian mode of civil society. 
What Hegel disapproves is the kind of “unintelligent
love” that is characteristic of  singular, contingent
acts of incidental charity. And here to describe the
intelligent mode of helping, Hegel connects it albeit
for the first time with the state : “Intelligent,
substantial beneficence is, however, in its richest
and most important form the intelligent universal
action of the state—an action compared with which the
action of a single individual as an individual, is so
insignificant that it is hardly worth talking about”
[36].   But this rhetoric of disapproval, we must
note, had not gained such energy before, because here
what Hegel is interrogating is not merely the
arbitrary, contingent nature of personal helping, but
the sheer existence of such helping through  these
strong words not uttered ever before; the first part
we know, but we shall attend most to the second part:

“The only significance left for beneficence, which is
a sentiment, is that of an action which is quite
single and isolated 
 which is as contingent as it is
transitory. Chance determines not only the occasion of
the action but also whether it is a ‘work’ at all,
whether it is not immediately undone and even
perverted into something bad. Thus this acting for the
good of others which is said to be necessary, is of
such kind that it may, or may not, exist.”   

We are ofcourse aware of the solution offered by Hegel
and need not rehearse it here. But what might be asked
is, that irrespective of the risk of repetition of the
first part, what is so new about this passage with
which  it became incumbent upon us to end this
section? Let us offer this as the working summary of
Section I.
                  We’ve been trying to trace how the
secular modernist mode of helping inscribed within the
restlessness of everyday spirit tries to normalize and
temper the arbitrariness and contingency of personal
acts of charity through the mediating institutions of
civil society. We made a case study of Hegel, where
Hegel’s proposal is, through State related, public
forms of intelligent helping, singular, isolated and
illusory modes of personal modes of helping may become
redundant or play a supplementary role—at the most.
But it can play a supplementary role only when it has
a minimum of positivity granted to it, that is, if it
is not an entity (or in Aristotelian terms –a
substance) at all, or if it does not therefore have  a
bare existence, how can it play even a supplementary
role? This suspicion emerges strongly with the last
paragraph quoted above where Hegel is disputing the
status of personal mode of helping as a work at all-
because of its illusory nature and the possibility of
perversion-- in short --of deception. With this, we’ve
returned to the point with which we had begun.
Deception and the perverted will of the giver. Through
recommendations of  intelligent, public modes of
helping what Hegel is trying to do then —apart from
normalizing the threat of arbitrariness and
contingency, is to introduce some kind of  moral world
view—which also, as we know, forms the cornerstone of
modernity. Hegel is then hunting the universal in
civil society and trying to give a kind of fixity to
helping processes in civil society so that people are
not deceived, the universal is not cheated and that
good works are works and they are good too. Summarily
and brutally put Hegel is trying to depart from the
risky terrain of a virtuous theory of personal giving
to an impersonal, institutional way of public
       We shall examine in the next Section what fate 
this search  finally assumes at the site where civil
society, while looking for consumers when “production
exceeds the needs of consumers” [37],  has to “ to go
beyond its own confines” or   is “historically driven
to establish colonies” [38].   The next Section may
therefore bear the subtitle: the fate of civil society
in the colonies. 


 A.         	The “multipersonal” universalism of
Rammohan Roy
                          The  first fate of civil
society in the colony
Though in the penultimate lines of the last Section
I’ve quoted Hegel as saying how civil society is
historically driven to establish colonies, I’ve
stopped short of saying that  this also
inaugurates—and we know it does--  the  postcolonial
critique of Hegel. The synopsis of that critique is –
in the language of Spivak, Hegel is a strong moment in
the “ epistemic graphing of imperialism” [39]  Apart
from Gayatri Spivak, Ranajit Guha [40]   and Dipesh
Chakraborty [41]  have approved of such a critique in
their works. Now, it would not be correct to or even
it is perhaps not possible to engage with Hegel in the
colonies without referring to the above critique; but
as it will be shown, I’ll not require this critique at
all. Not,  because I think this critique, by and
large, is misplaced. This misplacement emerges handy
because its authors consider Hegel without his system
But the point is not whether Hegel belongs to this or
that kind of historiography. If there is any thing
that Hegel belongs to, it would be a philosophical
history which some including Hegel have observed as a
kind of apriori history i.e., Hegel is said to have
provided the transcendental conditions by which the
experience of history or us experiencing history
becomes possible. Following Gilian Rose, the
historical apriori is the precondition of the
possibility of actual histoical facts or values; “it
is an apriori, that is, not empirical, for it is the
basis of the possibility of experience” [43].  This
experience is not dependent on the empirical realities
of factual history because the latter kind of material
history itself draws its categories or becomes
possible by such already present forms. For instance
we would not be able to make sense of anything called
social facts if we did not presuppose the concept of
society; similarly historical facts are nothing
without the [apriori] concept of history. “It cannot
be  a fact, because it is the precondition of”
[historical] “facts and hence cannot be one of them:
it is a ‘transcendent objectivity [44]  .’’ Hegel is,
infact, categorical on this: “ the philosophy of
history is nothing more than the application of
thought to history” [45].  This thought in Hegel is
the self-activity of the concept which is independent
of empirical data :“ Philosophy, 
is credited with
independent thoughts produced by pure speculation,
without reference to actuality
[and]..forces it [
i.e., the latter] to conform to its preconceived
notions and constructs a history a priori” [46].  
That endorses the perceptive remark made by William
Stace that civil society is a logical derivation and
not a historical derivation in Hegel[47] .  And the
justification of such a logical derivation, Hegel is
very clear on this, cannot “ come from the world of
experience.” Because-

“what philosophy understands by conceptual thinking is
something quite different; in this case, comprehension
is the activity of the concept itself, and not a
conflict between a material and a form of separate
origin. An alliance  of disparates such as is found 
in pragmatic history is not sufficient for the
purposes of conceptual thinking as practiced in
philosophy; for the latter derives its content and
material essentially from within itself. In this
respect, therefore, despite the alleged links between
the two. The original dichotomy remains: the
historical event stands opposed to the independent
concept” [48].  

Therefore Hegel—given his project—should be judged for
the correctness of the philosophical journey that he
traces for autonomous concepts rather than being
faulted for various cultural and ideological,
anthropological reasons; we are  perhaps forgetting
his own objections made against such trials. The
postcolonials have made Hegel –unlike Marx and  for
all the wrong reasons,  stand on his head “requiring 
identity of the non-identical. Historic contingency
and the concept are the more mercilessly antagonistic
the more solidly they are entwined [49].  I think this
last reprimand from Adorno forecloses the postcolonial
critique [50]   which prides itself by placing  Hegel
on the imperial theatre. 
       Situate against this the colonial reading of
Hegel : Brajendranath Seal and Hiralal Haldar. All of
the postcolonial maneuvers were anticipated and
included in their writings with better theoretical
correctness.  But, who now reads Brajendranath Seal?
And moreover who now reads Hiralal Haldar?  That there
were these 19th century scholars in Bengal who had
wanted to “correct” Hegel [51]   in those strong,
sunlit days of Hegelianism or had argued with an
original Neo-Hegelian philosopher (J.E. Mactaggart)
over the  correct interpretation of the absolute [52] 
 is absolutely  forgotten now. Forgotten –yes, but
strangely. If  these weak days are marked by a certain
post: postcolonial-postmodern or whatever, it cannot
be denied that what we are debating or contemplating
is modernity. Then let us point out that Brajendranath
Seal has—besides elaborations and formulations,
explicit observations to make  on modernity, literary
modernism and similar other things. In the 19th
century, it was Seal ( and I think he was the only one
in that ) who had defined modernity as the criticism
[53]   of social life or the discovery of the
individual with a single scheme of life. And a hundred
years after,  Charles Taylor in his classic
contemporary study [54]   would extend such  theses  
and establish them  beyond doubt. But the despair
remains. So far  as the theoretical discussion of
modernity is concerned, I think Bankimchandra
Chatterjee  is definitely  interesting, but Brajen
Seal or more than him--Hiralal Haldar is rigorous. 
      But to debunk the postcolonial readings of Hegel
through his colonial readings is, for the present
occasion, not central. It is rather to reiterate what
we had told in the beginning of this Section: to
engage with Hegel or Hegelese  in the colony—we may
justifiably ( for reasons elaborated above) bypass the
postcolonial critique of Hegel. 
Let us return—with this knowledge-- to Hegel and the
philosophical fate of civil society in the
colony—where we had left ourselves in Section I.  Now,
if  deception is one moment that Hegel wants to
encounter through the formal equality gained in the
advocacy of public assistance and corporations, isn’t
it co-incidental that Brajendranath Seal while writing
a treatise on Raja Rammohan Roy—the alleged ‘father’
of modern India and meditating on his inner history, 
writes how Roy-“divides mankind, in Voltaire’s (and
Volney’s) [55]   fashion, into four classes—those who
deceive, those who are deceived, those who both
deceive and are deceived, and those who are neither
deceivers, nor deceived” [56].  If we link this with
the Hegelian argument on civil society then we shall
be examining how the principle of deception instituted
through the haze of multiple particularities and 
personal idiosyncrasies, gets normalized or controlled
through what Seal calls a “principle of organization”
[57].  Seal—who thinks this element of deception is
more psychological than  historical [58],   is seeking
in Roy not personal principles but a “principle of
organization” to emerge in civil society. ( Whether
this could be called a principle of reform is another
debate.) And it emerges from his argument  that the
later Rammohan ( more organizationally inclined)
perhaps for this reason holds Seal’s interest longer,
“In later life he more and more directed his studies
from doctrines to institutions, and his efforts from
Polemics to Reform.” Thereafter having begun with a
“comparative study of religions” he ended up making—a
“ comparative study of social institutions” [59]. 
 But what is ironical and interesting as well is a
common theme running through the large literature on
Rammohan Roy is the study of the personality of
Rammohan Roy in terms of virtues or character. (Even
in Seal Rammohan appears first with his inner history
and then in terms of external social history.) Here is
William Adam lecturing at “Boston, U.S.A. in
1845”--“Philanthropy is a Christian virtue not found
in Asia where Raja adopts it with exceptional skills
and virtue of personal conduct, and then “gave a
character to 
age and country” [60].  
Now if this argument is accepted then it has
implications for our future argument. We know from our
extensive discussion of Hegel’s civil society  that
from a personal virtuous theory of  philanthropy in
civil society and in  order to forego its subjective
deceptive consequences, Hegel was proposing an
objective, “intelligent”, structural theory of  public
assistance. Seal by proposing a “principle of
organization” for Rammohan is going in the same
direction—but only apparently; the tale will be
told—much against their intentions through the
narrative registers  rejecting which civil society
emerges. Curiously enough this virtuous reading of
Rammohan’s persona will elicit an interesting debate
and the debate will also take an interesting turn with
Keshab Sen entering the frame. Let us get on with
          We have talked about the discussion of
personality that is a running theme in the discourses
on Rammohan. And in such discussions what is endlessly
repeated is the diverse, pluralistic nature of
Rammohan’s personality and as per a virtuous theory it
is held that Rammohan simply transferred these virtues
to the social field. But even then a problem persists
and this I’ll argue is crucial. Seal,

“ As I have said elsewhere, Raja Rammohun Roy was a
Brahmin of Brahmins. He was also Mahomedan with
Mahomedans, and a Christian with Christians. He could
thus combine in his personal religion the fundamentals
of Hindu, Christian and Islamic experiences. In this
way he was, strange to say, multipersonal. But behind
all these masks [61]   there was yet another Rammohun
Roy, the humanist, pure and simple, watching the
procession of Universal Humanity in Universal History”
[62] . 

And the problem of wearing “so many masks,  personae,
on the public stage in bewildering succession” [63]  
was evident : “After his death, Moslems claimed him
for Islam, and Christians for Christianity. But still
others are puzzled. Was he all things to  all men?”
[64].  Now being all things to all men is the realm of
deceptive particularity. Seal’s mask argument
pejoratively revokes the complaint—if he was all
things to all men, what was he? How did he have a
personality? How his work, to use Hegel,  was truly
work or good? Seal’s answer is equivocal, “And yet in
playing so many parts he kept his personality intact
and integral”[65].  How ?
“ These historic cults and cultures had been fused in
one discipline of Universal Humanity in his soul. 

But the centre of centres in himself was beyond them
He thus showed how universal Humanity in future
may realise in individual synthesis of life 

So in Seal the answer finally is—the multipersonal
universality of Rammohan ultimately meshed to produce
an  individual synthesis of life or what Seal
elsewhere terms an individual with a  scheme of life.
Where is the principle of an impersonal
organization—so very crucial to the founding of an
active civil society - that Seal had proposed earlier?
Instead, as our detour shows, it is the principle of
personality or personal principles that mas-querade as
the real principles. In institutions they are just
externalized or all institutions are just internal—in
this sense. This becomes evident when Seal appears
onto the discussion of Brahmo Samaj. Seal says, “ The
Raja’s social model, the Brahmo Samaj was but a faint
external replica of the universalism he had raised in
his own person
”[67] .
Nothing could be more explicit a statement and nothing
could be more telling about the failure of the
principle of organization that was destined to found
civil society in the colonies where the ills of the
old society was to be purged to arrive at modernity.
And the first ill would have been, as per Hegel too,
the transitory, contingent character of  personal
benevolence even if that dawns the mask of
“multipersonal universalism.” And in the face of this
failure, Seal’s other compensatory exhortations that
Rammohan was a believer in “ natural rights of man” or
that he spoke “oftener in terms of happiness than of
rights, ‘common good’ over ‘contract’” [68]   does not
help him recover from the thematic failure of his
        But  Keshab Chandra Sen’s arrival at the scene
to answer the same question gives an interesting
direction to the impasse—though it cannot solve it.
Infact  Sen’s answer  is more conducive to Seal’s
initial hypothesis which is also the hypothesis of
civil society. 
The question as we know was pretty simple and Keshab
Sen knew it: According to Sen, the Raja’s “ruling
idea” of mind was that in trying to promote “the
universal worship of the One Supreme Creator” he had
become “ a member of no church and yet of all
churches” [69].  Now, to answer this problem Sen gave
altogether a different twist to the debate. He did
not, unlike Seal, explore the “inner history” or the 
universal content of religions personified in the
Raja, rather he believed,  

“The trust Deed of the Samaj premises contains, we
believe, the clearest exposition of his idea and will,
it is hoped, if duly appreciated, settle all contested
points regarding that illustrious man’s religious
It provides that : “The said messuage  or building,
land, tenements, hereditaments and premises with their
appurtenances should be used, occupied, enjoyed,
applied and appropriated as, and for, a place of
public meeting of all sorts and descriptions of people
without distinction
”[70]  ,[and with a tendency to ]
“the promotion of charity, morality, piety,
benevolence, virtue and the strengthening the bonds of
union between men of all religions persuasions and
creeds” [71]  

Now, what is the advantage of Keshab Sen’s
interpretation over Seal’s ? How would it be charted
against the problem of activating a civil society in
the colonies? How would it solve the contingent
particularity of  personal and private helping,
philanthropy, charity which haunts even such a
philosopher as Hegel? 
I think in Seal we’ve had a virtue based personalism
and institutions emerge from that only. Seal does not,
in an attempt to solve the debate on positions of
Rammohan take recourse to an intensive analysis of
relevant organizations, rather, he assumes, that they
may be solved by an analysis of  the inner history or
psychological principles, in short , the personality
of the Raja himself. Keshab Sen, in order to resolve
the dispute over taking positions in social life by a
personality (Rammohan), does not engage with the
internal ideological riddles and ripples growing and
dissolving in the internal psyche of the personality.
He instead is taking recourse to the trust Deed of an
institution which he thinks “will settle all contested
points.” The institution will prove the personality.
With this we’ve arrived at the “principle of
organization” originally promised by Seal and which is
outside the arbitrary principle of personalities and
personal choices. With this also—so far as helping
etc. are concerned it is the institutional realm that
will be decisive [72] . 
                         Now if we want to link our
present formulation to the last Section we  observe
that   Hegel had proposed a kind of helping that would
override the transitory, contingent and arbitrary
character of personal and private charity. State
related public assistance was Hegel’s solution which
he thought recognized the universal, objective
character of wants and poverty. But  civil
society—driven by its “inner dialectic” to go for
colonies provides an interesting and complicated story
in the colonies. We engaged with the career of the
‘father’ of  ‘modern’ India –Rammohan and saw-- he –as
per the interpretation of Seal and a host of
others--sought to appropriate this “universal” in the
contingent, virtuous particularities of his
personality. The trajectory here is, from personality
to organization. This is in absolute violation of the
principle of civil society ( and thus modernity)
classically conceived by Hegel. With Keshab Chandra
Sen’s interpretation of the deceptive “multipersonal
universalism” of Rammohan,  the impersonal
institutional principle is somewhat restored. 

Keshab Chandra Sen and and the boomerang of the 
“institutional”      Principle 
The  second fate of civil society in the colony

The institutional principle in contradistinction to
the personality principle is restored, yes-- but with
what consequence ? Though the institutional
interpretation of Keshab Sen has been endorsed above
as auguring well with the principles of civil society,
I’ve resisted the temptation to show how even this
falls a victim to the personal and secondly, how even
through this failure it provides a model to think
beyond the limits of public/ private divide. 
     The second proposal  is beyond the stated
intentions of the paper, but for the first—it is 
incumbent upon us to be informed on the fate of the so
called institutional interpretation of Keshab Sen. Now
I shall address the failure of this promise as
consequential upon the final fate of civil society in
the colony. Again, to reiterate, what Sen had proposed
is, irrespective of the vagaries, contradictions of
one’s personal character, we need to look forward to
the personality of the organization from which the
personality of the person may be inferred. But Keshab
Sen stopped short of the  dangerous possibilities of
such an interpretation. The institution might embody a
separate personality –a personality of its own—which
stands apart from its members—even apart from its
founder. (This is close ( but not quite) to granting
it the ( now available) [73]   status of  juristic
personality or personality embodied in institutions
and sanctioned by law ( legal personality)—which
becomes real through trust deed, legal oath,
undertaking or activity.) And when after Rammohan a
split became imminent over old/young rivalry in Brahmo
Samaj, this truth that institutions have 
personalities of their own assumed body. The irony of
this was, no amount of “multipersonal universalism”
was universal enough to grasp and contain all the
members irrespective of age, creed, caste etc though
the trust Deed had declared so. 
        The cases are interesting in themselves and
merit some engagement. The first split occurred when 
the young Brahmos asked their elders--in the form of
reckoning with the universal content of religions and
sought the removal of old sacred thread bearing key
brahmo members alleging them of  practicing ritual
Hindu idolatry. Here, the manner in which the original
or adi Samajis’ reacted is well placed: they said,  “A
so called universal form
 would make our religion
appear grotesque and ridiculous to the nation” [74]; 
it was again the universal put in debate. They
appealed to allow ‘liberty of personal conscience’ to
the Brahmos  who allegedly carried vestiges of Hindu
customs. Interestingly, this ‘liberty of personal
conscience’ which Keshab  had  denied the old Brahmos,
would be tragically  invoked later  by Keshab himself 
for his own rescue. That will, and we shall see,
engineer the second split. 
          Keshab Sen led the young faction  to
complete on August 22 1869 the founding of the new
Bharatbarshiya Brahma Samaj or Brahma Samaj of India.
The second schism specifically occurred when Keshab
Sen --the founder of the  new Samaj allowed his
‘underage’ daughter ( which according to Brahmo 
marriage Bill passed on the 19th of March, 1872 should
have been fourteen for the bride) to be married to the
Raja of ‘Koochbihar’ (failing the Brahmo law who was
also not yet sixteen). Faced  with  charges of
‘inconsistency’, ‘child marriage’ and a denial of the
‘constitution’ of the church, Sen –after a long
silence—feebly argued  that it was on the request of
the Government that he had given his daughter in
marriage to the Maharajah so that the reforms in the
state could continue under the “healthy influence” of
Sen’s daughter as “ a good and enlightened wife” is “
capable of exercising” [75].  In his own words they
assume a more interesting hue:

“ The government 
seemed to ask me whether I would
give my daughter in marriage to the Maharajah and thus
help forward the good work so gloriously begun in that
I could not hesitate, but said at once, under
the dictates of conscience, “yes”
 I have acted as a
public man under the imperative call of public duty”
 But this call to ‘personal’ conscience or adesa 
coupled with snippets on ‘public’ duty was not
listened to by his converts; they  stood still by the
institutional principle and allowed personal liberty
so far as the latter did not violate the Brahmo
constitutional code of conduct. In reality, the grid
of institutional principle had become a boomerang by
then. Sen’s caveats notwithstanding, the  incidents
that followed read thrilling even in Maxmueller’s 
hundred year old rendering:

“Therefore Keshub Chunder Sen was accused of having
broken the Brahma Marriage Law, which he himself had
been chiefly instrumental in getting carried, and was
considered  as no longer fit to be Minister of the
Samaj. Keshub Chunder Sen would not listen to any
and when some members of his congregation
voted [sic., vetoed] his deposition, he took forcible
possession of the pulpit in his own Mandira, nay, he
called on the police to help him. This finished the
schism. Many of his former adherents left him, and
founded on the 15th of May, 1878, a new Samaj, called
the Sadharan Brahma Samaj, or the Catholic Samaj”

This ‘conscience’ versus ‘constitution’, universality
versus personal particularity; or the “letter of the
law” against the “moral law”  of  “the spirit” [78]  
for which –to believe Sen –he had gone was never 
resolved irrespective of  his own life-project—which 
was-- in his own words, “ atonement”,
“reconciliation,” “unity” and similar other defenses
[79].   Brahmo Samaj itself was an experiment in such
syncretism. Having said this, I think it is necessary
now to answer the question as to why, if the project
of instituting the universal through civil society (
instanced in the growth of such ‘reformist’ religious
corporations or indigenous churches as the Brahmo
Samaj) was failing, a counter project of
reconciliation between the universal and the
particular did not emerge? The following example will
answer the question.
			A troubled Maxmueller  in Germany  being  an
erstwhile   friend of  Sen, and who--- having been
taken recourse to by both the factions, later
reiterated his recommendation –which he had thought
was the “ only hope for conciliation and peace between
them”’ and that  “lay in common practical work, and,
more especially, in the organization of a large system
of charity” [80].  This, as he himself confessed, went
“ in vain.” But before exploring the failure of this
advise and the theoretical reasons thereof, let us
understand that this failure should not be reductive
enough to suggest that Maxmueller was offering a
scandal. If we look at Keshab’s career from very early
on, there is no mistaking his emotional investment in
so called charity and philanthropy. During his first
sojourn in England he had stated, “  I have come to
to study the spirit of Christian philanthropy,
of Christian charity, and honourable Christian
self-denial” [81].  From introducing a department
named ‘charity’ in the Indian Reform Association in
1869  to  his last annual address in 1883 he was
untiring in his celebration of charity[82].  And this
engagement  resulted, according to Max Mueller, even
in the “reclaiming of drunkards” and “men of abandoned
character” [83].  That this charity could not unite
Keshab and the dissenters on such varying trysts as
“anti liquor campaign” to “Industrial Education of the
masses” ( a department again in the Indian Reform
Association) meant that  “drunkards” and “men of
abandoned character”—at the end of the day-- remained
unclaimed. This was ofcourse a significant loss.But
Maxmueller’s proposal could be read more seriously; it
seems to reinstate the dispute in the following way:
If it is a dispute on the  question of constitutional
governance[84],  then charity was institutionally
inscribed with the Indian Brahmo Samaj; how come the
complainants and the defendants could not come
together to pursue this  positive norm where the
stakes of other vulnerable people are concerned?
           I think we need to stop here  for a moment
and speculate as to why -- this proposal (if not any )
didn’t work. This will also answer the larger question
as to why a  project ( quasi Hegelian too) of
reconciliation between the universal and the
particular was not attempted; and even if attempted –
           I borrow from this study itself  to offer a
synoptic reason in not more than a  sentence. 
Remember Hegel accusing charity itself as being
inconsistent with the public spirit of helping in
civil society. Now if there is any answer possible, it
should be here:  can this charity—given its inherently
scandalous ‘particularistic’ nature, reconcile a 
universal-particular split imminent in the tensions
generated in the Brahmo Samaj? No! And thereby it is
not least surprising that   its failure was anything
but inevitable. 
  Going back to the narrative of  thematic accidents
embodying this split, we find that by then, the
institution seemed to have had a ghost inside its own
machine. It moved on its own. The universal - by this
time, to revoke the charge of the Sen-stung, original
Brahmo’s, had genuinely  assumed a “grotesque” and a
“ridiculous” form.  Now it scared even its own
 To conclude the Section, it must be remembered that
Keshab in the hey days of his career  had introduced a
distinction between a “local Christ” and a “ universal
Christ” [85].  By the end of his career the local, it
seems,  had emphatically won. What was defeated was
the enterprise of purging the particular and the
personal to go for the universal and thus the modern. 
The atrophy of a secondary possible world of
reconciliation whereby they two could sit together for
a greater purpose was clearly visible too. This double
failure  sealed the fate of civil society in the
colony in the 19th century. But did this failure still
breed modernity? The  interpretive axiom that we have
proposed---- is it still validated by texts and
discourses of our own times? 
    We shall attempt to answer these questions in the

III. Conclusion

         The story of secular
modernist-objective-intelligent helping --symptomatic
of Hegelian civil society then symptomatically fails
in the colony. But this failure was not intended
inorder to breed something different—an alternative
modernity for example, or, in other words, it was not
a conscious maneuver. Infact the attempt was to concur
always with the paradigmatic registers of modernity;
and its resonance lasts and echoes even in the first
half of the twentieth century with Binoy Sarkar’s 
( anachronistic)advocacy of public assistance. The
impossibility of a theory of an alternative modernity,
I think, lies here. It can be shown therefore why
self-conscious attempts to find an alternative
modernity are perhaps bereft of such a possibility,
partly because there the  unconscious narrative,
against all the intentions of its agents, will tell a
different story. It might seem that the story is a
long story of failure;  true, but this story is not
without its share of theory; I’ll comment on the
theory of this failure later.     
                  Finally, therefore, with the
‘multipersonal universalism’  failing and 
personalism’s triumph with even institutional
personality invading, isn’t our interpretive grid able
to account for not only our past but also present
history?  Having done for the 19th century, now, to
claim legitimacy and contemporary relevance of this
interpretive paradigm which I think is better suited
to chart ( the albeit failed) transition of helping
processes--old age charities to social work in the
context of our modernity, I shall claim a final 
 A year 2003 publication of the Belur Math ( the
official headquarter of Ramakrishna Mission) which is
also  an official treatise on consciousness raising 
and organization of the Ramakrishna Mission and sister
organizations, the author—a leading monk of the math

“ Every organization behaves like  a living being. For
this reason every establishment or organization may be
called—an impersonal personality ( “ nyarbyaktik
byaktitvo” ). In the larger context of society, the
individual image that any organization bears, is its
impersonal personality. If we imagine a radiant
backdrop behind that impersonal personality --a
backdrop that influences and attracts the larger
society, [then it must be acknowledged ] that the
latter  must depend on its members’ renunciation,
liberality, purity, truthfulness, neutrality,
perseverance and the will to pursue seva. And all
these virtues are results of a genuine love for Sri
Ramakrishna. And to render this a better image what is
 necessary is, a genuine social welfarist agenda or a
developmental model” [86].  

Nothing could be a better deployment of the
interpretive paradigm we have been proposing. In the
year 2003  the notion of juridical ( impersonal)
personality and the virtuous theory of religious
origin  share a peaceful co-existence;  seva  is just 
one among many personal virtues of the monk and the
schedule of social welfare is invoked to improve upon
the current image made up by such incidental
conjunctions. What is not answered is how would the
universal bear the burden of  such personal
particularities? The failure that was inaugurated in
Bengal in the 19th century, then,  continues unabated.
Our interpretive graph is successful in rendering this
trajectory transparent.
           So apparently that what we had thought of
agreeing with the registers of    civil society (or
modernity) failed to sustain the universal conferred
upon it. With everything failing, as Hegel remarked
pathos not only becomes  joyous but is a work of Art.
But as I had mentioned before, the theory of this
failure will tell that we are perhaps not wrong in
choosing our addressee. It is Werner Hamacher  who
endorses such obsessions  in the following manner.
       Hamacher argues that  modernity is founded on
failure. What we called the premodern or  tradition (
those much debunked words) --if they  had not failed
then modernity would not have come into being. In this
sense it is ridiculous to say modernity reflects an
incomplete project because then the pre-modern could
be said to have been similarly incomplete. Therefore 
modernity   not only has  failure as its foundation,
it is its lifeline, “ because it recognizes itself in
the collapse of the old, modernity must make failure
into its principle. Modernity must fail in order to
stay modern” [87].  When we want modernity to succeed
we want it to disown its basic premise and thus wish
for its annihilation. 
            Are we convinced now that by their sheer
failure, - the likes of  Rammohan,  Brajen Seal,
Keshab Sen and all others have  given modernity its
tonic. They were not modern because they had 
succeeded in overcoming  ‘tradition’, they were and
still are modern because they had failed. And this
failure when recounted, is, at per with the Hegelian
premises, reading returning to itself [88];  we need
to start again.

  [1]Sarkar, “Daridranarayner samaj-shastra,” p.73.
  [2]Vivekananda’s success in the U.S has often been
described as a conquest--so much so that we find the
pragmatist William James quoting Vivekananda and
Romain Rolland, Maxmueller  and later  Christopher
Isherwood writing about him.
  [3] Sarkar, Ibid., p.59.
  [4]Sarkar’s evaluation and  much of the 19th century
controversies reminiscent of the poor law ( Sarkar
does mention poor law once on p.64) debate debunked
charity ( in Sarkar’s language daan khairat(64) as old
fashioned, ‘undisciplined’, ‘unruly’ and  destructive
of the self empowering capacities of the poor, but an
other trajectory ---of which Sarkar seems to be
unaware - attempted to derive  the theory of self-help
 surprisingly from charity itself.  Thus a historian
quotes from the Charity organization report of 1884, “
We  have to use charity to create the power of self
help.”  Woodroofe, From Charity to Social Work, In
England and the United States, p.23. 
  [5]Although tax- based poor relief has been traced
to sixteenth century England, Sarkar wants to retain
the public ‘tax’ part of the method and thus use it as
a state linked modern form of assistance. Sarkar, 
“Daridranarayner samaj-shastra”, p.64.
  [6] Though in Sarkar’s use of the term Gesellschaft
appears as society, a more correct, updated rendering
of Tonnies -- also close to what Sarkar tends to mean
by society-- is  civil society.  Tonnies, Community
and Civil Society.
  [7] Sarkar,  “Daridranarayner samaj-shastra”, p.79.
  [8]Ibid., p. 80.
  [9]The conceptual or notional matrix is proposed in
place of plain  historical accounts ( giving linear
details of the ‘Jewish Charitable Bequests and 
Hekdesh Trust in Thirteenth-Century Spain’(Galinsky,
“Jewish Charitable  Bequests and  Hekdesh Trust in
Thirteenth-Century Spain’, Journal of
Interdisciplinary History,(hereafter JOIH), 34 ( 3),
2005, 423-440, or  ‘The Earliest Hospitals in
Byzantium, Western Europe, and Islam’ (Horden, “The
Earliest Hospitals in Byzantium, Western Europe, and
Islam.”, (JOIH 34, 3 :  361-389.)  or plain
politico-ideological accounts which sees welfare as
surveillance or claims to care as historically
hegemonic charted in either Foucauldian or Gramscian
terms. What is at stake is a failure to grasp an
internal or immanent critique which contributed
towards the evolution of ancient charity/benevolence
or religious  philanthropy  via governmental welfarism
to now, nearly universal Social Work moods and
methods. The above frameworks fail to make the change
  [10] Foucault, “Governmentality” In The Foucault
  [11] Marshall, The Right to Welfare
  [12] Chatterjee, “ Population and Political Society”
  [13] Hegel, The Philosophy of History,  pp.66-67.
  [14] Ibid.,p. 67.
  [15] Ibid.,p. 67.
  [16]Ibid., p.66.
  [17]Hegel, Philosophy of Mind, p.261. 
  [18] Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right,
pp.220-221 (italics mine).
  [19]Hegel,  The Philosophy of Subjective Spirit,
Vol.II, p.83.
   [20] Ibid., p.85.
  [21] Ibid., p.85.
  [22]Ibid., p.85.
  [23]Ibid., p.85.
  [24]Delon, ‘Charity’ In  Encyclopedia of
Enlightenment, Vol 1, p. 234.
   [25] Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right,
  [26] Ibid.,  p. 265.
  [27] Ibid.,  p. 265.
  [28]Ibid.,  p. 265.
  [29]Ibid.,  p. 265.
  [30]Ibid.,  p. 265.
  [31]This point that alms degrade men is emphatically
available in Kant :
‘Better than charity, better than giving of our
surplus is  conscientious and scrupulously fair
conduct and a  hand in need. 
  Alms degrade men. It
would be better to see whether the poor man could not
be helped in some other way which would not entail his
being degraded by accepting alms.’  Kant, “Poverty and
Charity”, p.236. 
  [32]Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, p.
   [33] Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 255.
  [34] Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, pp.
  [35] Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, p. 255.  
  [36] Ibid., p.  256.
  [37]Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, p.
  [38] Ibid., p. 267.
  [39]Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, p.65.
   [40]Guha, History at the Limit of World-History. 
  [41]Chakraborty, Habitations of Modernity: Essays in
the wake of Subaltern Studies, p.81.
   [42] A Plain historical approach may be corrected
in the following way: Take for instance `the
observation that the Hegelian construct of civil
society  exhibits exhortations that   express Hegel’s 
fear of the rabble  or the large mass of the poor
people. Some with a historical nose smelled in this
Hegel’s fear of the future industrial proletariat and
the communist revolution. It has been recently pointed
out how this is mistaken. Hegel’s face is rather
turned towards the past. It is rather England’s poor
law that could be said to have had a remote thematic
reference. For some  such corrections see Jones,
“Hegel and the Economics of Civil Society”.
  [43]Rose, Hegel, p.14.
  [44] Ibid., p.15.

  [45] Hegel, Lectures on the philosophy of World
History, p. 25.
  [46] Ibid., p.25.
  [47] Stace,  The Philosophy of Hegel, p. 412.
  [48] Hegel, Lectures on the philosophy of World
History , p.26, (italics mine).

   [49] Adorno, Negative Dialectics,p.359.
  [50] Gayatri Spivak in her more deconstructive moods
remarks that there is a lack of fit between morphology
and narrative in Hegel (  Spivak, Outside in the
Teaching Machine, p.209). But, if that is so, then
Hegel’s historical narrative should be assumed to have
been belied by his abstruse and complicated logical
machinery or morphology; in other words, Hegel could
be shown to have been opposing his own historical
conclusions. Among those who are known as
“postcolonials” and  have engaged with Hegel, it is,
to my mind, only Partha Chatterjee (Chatterjee,
‘Communities and the Nation,’ pp.220-239) who has been
able to avoid this trap by not trying to address Hegel
   [51] Seal, ‘The Neo Romantic Movement in
Literature’ (1890-91), p.17.
   [52] Haldar, Hegelianism and Human Personality,
  [53] Also, “ an objective criticism, appraising
things according to the measure in which they fulfill
the law of their being, or reflect the regulative idea
of their type or pattern” .Ibid., p. 57.
  [54] Taylor, Sources of the Self.
  [55] Dilip Kumar Biswas-a Rammohan specialist
disagrees with Seal. He opines that instead of
Voltaire et.al.it was Roy’s engagement with Islamic
discourses—where one might seek the sources of this
comparison. Biswas, Rammohan Samiksha, p.62. 
  [56]Seal, Rammohun Roy, p. 10.
  [57] Ibid., p.2. 

  [58]Ibid., p.10.

  [59] Ibid., p. 8.
  [60] Adam, A Lecture  on the Life And Labours of
Rammohun Roy,  p.3.
   [61] Basing myself on the mask or persona and the
Aesthetics of  Hegel, I elaborate in a different paper
how the figurative character of charity (made
memorable by the Pascalian saying that charity is not
figurative)--- which civil society tries to suppress,
opens up, through the bursting of allegories in
modernist poetry and painting, an  immense number of
interesting readings.  
  [62] Seal, Rammohun Roy, pp. 37-38.
  [63] Ibid., p.24.  
  [64] Ibid., p. 26.
  [65] Ibid., p. 27.
  [66]Ibid., p.27.
  [67]Ibid., p.25.
  [68] Ibid.,  p.30.  
  [69] Sen, “The Brahmo Samaj, or Theism in India”,
  [70] Ibid.,  p.169.
  [71] Ibid.,  p.170.
  [72] Later, the arrival of social Work in India (
complete by 1936) as the science of helping with a
large body of services and provisions, expert
knowledge, regulation of institutions and an absolute
disapproval of personal  charity, may be conjectured,
was along these lines. 
  [73]  It is interesting and contextually exciting to
note that in a history which attempts to document
charities and social Aid in Greece and Rome, requires
to inform us in a chapter titled ‘Charities And Legal
Personality’ (Hands, Charities And Social Aid in
Greece And Rome, pp.17-25) about the way modern
charities “ are generally institutions existing in
their own right;
independently of the continued
existence of the particular body which may be
administering it at any given time”( 17). But this
modern inheritance, it may be noted, does have a very
relevant pre-history too:
“ The establishment of permanent endowments,
administered by trusts of this nature was notably
encouraged by the Elizabethan Act of charitable uses
in the post Reformation period,
 similar to those
which in the Middle Ages had been granted by the
Ecclesiastical Courts to charities
” (Ibid.,
  [74] Max Mueller, Keshub Chunder Sen, p.12, italics
  [75] Sen, “Keshab Chandra Sen defends his conduct in
regard to Cooch Behar Marriage” In,  Nanda Mukherjee,
ed.,  F. Max Mueller, Keshub Chunder Sen, p. 70.
  [76] Ibid., p.70.
  [77] Ibid.,p. 24.
  [78] Sen, “Keshab Chandra Sen defends his conduct
  [79] Sen, “ Asia’s Message to Europe”,  pp. 110-111
  [80] Maxmueller, Keshub Chunder Sen,  p.26.
  [81] Ibid., p. 21.
  [82]“ Your highest gifts are as nothing if you have
no charity. 
 There is no salvation without love, no
sanctification without charity. Sectarianism is not
only carnal, it is also unscientific” Sen, “ Asia’s
Message to Europe”, p. 105.
  [83] Maxmueller, Keshub Chunder Sen,  p.15.   
  [84] This is exemplified by Maxmueller’s comment on 
the dissenters, “ I entirely agree with them that a
church should be constitutionally governed, and that
tyranny of every kind should  be resisted” (Ibid.,
  [85] Maxmueller, Keshub Chunder Sen,  p.22.
  [86] Sarbagananda, Bhavprachar O Samgathan, p. 44.
My translation from Bengali; italicized words are in
English in the original.
  [87] Hamacher, Premises, p.294.
  [88] Hamacher, Pleroma—Reading in Hegel, p. 9

Adam, William. A Lecture  on the Life And Labours of
Rammohun Roy. Rakhal Das Haldar ed., Calcutta,
1977(originally published in 1879).

Adorno, Theodor. Negative Dialectics ( trans. E.B.
Ashton), London, 1973.

Biswas, Dilip Kumar. Rammohan Samiksha, [in Bengali],
Kolkata, 1983.

Chakraborty, Dipesh. Habitations of Moderntiy: Essays
in the wake of Subaltern Studies, New Delhi, 2004.  

Chatterjee, Partha. ‘Communities and the Nation’, in
his The Nation and its Fragments.  Delhi, 1994, pp.

------------------------------‘Populations and
Political Society’, in his Politics of the Governed,
Delhi, 2004, pp.27-51.

Delon, Michel. ed., ‘Charity’, in  Encyclopedia of
Enlightenment, Vol 1, Chicago, 2001, pp. 233-234. 

Foucault, Michael. ‘Governmentality’, in Graham
Burchell, Coin Gordon and Peter Miller, eds., The
Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, Chicago,
1991,  pp. 87-104.

Galinsky, Judah D. ‘Jewish Charitable  Bequests and 
Hekdesh Trust in Thirteenth-Century Spain’, Journal of
Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 34 ( 3), 2005, pp.

Guha, Ranajit. History at the Limit of World-History,
Delhi, 2003.

Haldar, Hiralal. Hegelianism and Human Personality.
Calcutta, 1910.

Hamacher, Werner. Premises: Essays on Philosophy and
Literature from Kant to Celan, (trans. Peter Fenves,
Cambridge, 1990.  

---------------------------- Pleroma—Reading in Hegel:
The Genesis and Structure of a Dialectical
Hermeneutics in Hegel (transl: N. Walker & S. Jarvis),
London, 1998.

Hands, A.R. Charities And Social Aid in Greece And
Rome, Great Britain, 1968.

Hegel, G.W.F. 
---------------- Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind,
Translated from The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical
Sciences (transl. William Wallace), Oxford, 1894.

--------------The Philosophy of History ( transl. J.
Sibree), New York, 1956.
----------------The Philosophy of Subjective Spirit,
Vol.II (transl. M.J. Petry), Holland, 1979.
---------------Lectures on the philosophy of World
History, Introduction : Reason in History (trans. H.B.
Nisbet), Cambridge, 1987.
----------------Phenomenology of Spirit (transl. A.V
Miller), Delhi, 1998. 

--------------- Elements of the Philosophy of Right,
(transl. H.B Nisbet), Cambridge, 2000 (originally
published in 1991).

Horden, Peregrine.  ‘The Earliest Hospitals in
Byzantium, Western Europe, and Islam’ Journal of
Interdisciplinary History Vol. 34 ( 3), 2005, 

Jones, Gareth Stedman. ‘Hegel and the Economics of
Civil Society’, in Sudipta Kaviraj & Sunil Khilnani,
eds., Civil Society: History and Possibilities,
Cambridge, 2002, pp. 105-130.

Kant, Immanuel. ‘Poverty and Charity’, In his Lectures
On Ethic (transl. Louis Infield), N.Y, 1963,

Marshall, T.H. The Right to Welfare and other Essays,
London, 1981. 

Max Mueller, F.  Keshub Chunder Sen,  Nanda Mukherjee,
ed., Calcutta, 1976. 

Rose, Gilian. Hegel : Contra Sociology, London, 1981.

Sarbagananda, Swami. Bhavprachar O Samgathan, [ in
Bengali], Kolkata, 2003.

Sarkar, Benoy Kumar. ‘Daridranarayner samaj-shastra’,
in Samaj Vijnan, [ in Bengali], Calcutta, 1938, pp.

Seal, Brajendranath. ‘The Neo Romantic Movement in
Literature’, (published in The Modern Review in
1890-91) in his New Essays in Criticism. Calcutta,
1994, (originally published in 1903), 13-84.

----------------------------- Rammohun Roy: The
Universal Man. Calcutta, N.D.
Sen, Keshub Chunder. ----------------------------
‘Keshab Chandra Sen defends his conduct in regard to
Cooch Behar Marriage’, in  Nanda Mukherjee, ed.,  F.
Max Mueller.   Keshub Chunder Sen, ( Appendix III),   
  Calcutta, 1976, pp.  69-73.

---------------------‘Asia’s Message to Europe’, in 
Nanda Mukherjee, ed.,  F. Max Mueller,   Keshub
Chunder Sen, (Appendix VIII),  Calcutta, pp.103-117.

--------------------‘The Brahmo Samaj, or Theism in
India’, in Saroj Mohan Mitra, ed., The Golden Book of
Rammohun Roy, Calcutta, 1997, pp. 164-173.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. Outside in the Teaching
Machine, New York, 1993.
------------------------------------- A Critique of
Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the
Vanishing Present,  Calcutta, 1999. 

Stace, William Terence.  The Philosophy of Hegel: A
Systematic Exposition, N.Y, 1955. 

Taylor, Charles.  Sources of the Self: The making of
the modern identity, Cambridge, Mass, 1989.

Tonnies, Ferdinand. Community and Civil
Society,(trans. Joe Harris and Margaret Hollis),
Cambridge, 2001(originally published in 1887).

Woodroofe, Kathleen. From Charity to Social Work, In
England and the United States, London, 1962. 

------		___________________________________


      Once upon a time there was 1 GB storage in your inbox. To know the happy ending go to http://help.yahoo.com/l/in/yahoo/mail/yahoomail/tools/tools-08.html

More information about the reader-list mailing list