Wake Up India: Essays for Our Times – II (continued)

national flag

It seems to me there can only be two kinds of people on earth, those who hold to untruth and those who hold to truth and the latter will always find themsevels outnumbered by the former.

Let us take the idea of language, state, nation, race, class, gender and religion or caste in India and in other places except for caste.

One is the position that the land one is born in belongs to me and I belong to it. Its air I breathe is something I have a right to and so is its water and land with the flora and fauna there, birds, insects, its animals, trees, plants etc. I can build a home and house there as it is my home and have a job there with the attendant health care I need and have a family, leisure and an old age pension etc. The flip side is I have a responsibility to nurture it and look out for its well being as it is my mother and father and of all those in it mentioned above which is my responsbility. I have outlined right and responsibility there. While this much is easily understood as is the idea of the need for food or sex, what comes after which is the edifice which people build on it that is about language, gender, state, nation, race, religion, class, caste and others called identity markers including that highly problematic thing called culture, which they think is more valuable than the previous set of things is actually a superimposition and man made and centralised or essentialised as of vital importance due to a human centric view of the universe that actually superseded the earlier one of giving importance to more primary or primal things, a transcendence that came about with the expansion of knowledge both geograhically and historically, not to speak in terms of science, and technologically.

Thus you will see two kinds of Indians and that is the battle between them. One holds on to the earth centric view which is a bit pre-anthropomorphic actually and which is what Marx means in a different context and in a different way by base and the other to the culture oriented view which is what Marx would call superstructure but my views are not exactly pre – anthropomorphic/ecocritical or Marxist or anthropomorphic or culture studies based, though coming after it, it of course has to acknowledge all these approaches.

India has been always lost in a primary error or what philosophers would call an error in logic or of faulty thinking, of ascribing what belongs to the second rung of human existence that came only later to Being or Non-Being and even essentialising it to the point where it cannot make out anymore the difference in categories of these two kinds of philosophy.

Thus some Indians say I am Hindu and Indian or belonging to Bharath as if these are essential states of Being that are part of what one is when one is born and all who do not agree to this fundamental error in logic and who say that, no, I am human and either belong only to my region or locality or the whole world or nature or earth or the universe are wrong instead, and since philosophy has to be true to itself, and not to those who want to hold it to an essentialist position, that too a false one, instead of a provisional one, these two kinds of Indians have to continue being at loggerheads.

The point I want to make is that this is the actual battle being resolved and not the outer one of BJP against Congress and while it may or may not be resolved in favour of what I consider the deluded side which includes both Modi and his adherents and Tharoor and Rahul Gandhi equally and most of my Marxist Indian friends, or against them, the truth cannot be changed which is that we cannot have a nation without understanding that its foundation is not existential but essential, as existence that precedes essence is regional and local and natural and universal, whereas essentialism that is nation is secondary, and we cannot have a race or religion or caste or gender or class or anything else without these too being seen as essential in the wrong sense of the word if it is an oppressive power structure which all these are and so in the present circumstances only philosophical subversiveness offers a way out to combat these forces that work to the detriment of truth not only in India but in Turkey, USA, Russia and other places too where the neo-right is back on the rise for reasons that are dialectically historical.

Dr A.V. Koshy is an established author and writer who is a poet, critic and artist. He has a doctorate in Samuel Beckett’s Poems in English from the University of Kerala, now published. He has co-authored and published a monograph of essays called Wrighteings: In Media Res and has several, published research papers to his credit. His greatest desire is to build a village for people having autism where all their needs are met. He runs an NGO called “Autism for Help Village Project” with his wife for this dream to come true. He has fourteen other books out now as fiction writer, literary critic, poet, academician, literary theoretician, essayist, editor, anthologist, co -editor, co-author and co-contributor. His latest and perhaps best book is a collection of short stories Scream and Other Urbane Legends.

© Koshy AV

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