The problem with India is not just about something as simple as defeating the BJP in 2019 elections. This is definitely a must but the major problem is exemplified by the fact that “where there is no vision the people perish.” To put it more clearly, the RSS, the BJP and its satellites have a vision for the country, a frightening one, and the opposition has none, being too fragmented and splintered to have any but short term goals like winning the next election and this puts India seriously in the doldrums.
I have been thinking about who these notes are being addressed to and my answer is that while I not only have to address everyone, naturally, who knows English as of now enough to read and understand them, till translations are also available, I also have to ask myself in what capacity I am addressing everyone. The answer to this is clear, I am addressing people as a neutral citizen of the country who does not belong to BJP or the Congress or the Marxists or AAP or the Dalits or the Muslim League but is forced to vote to not jeopardize the democratic process which seems to be the lesser evil of governance presently. I reperesent NOTA, those who don’t vote, those who could not vote not being there, those who are outside the country to some extent, those who vote for a party ideology or a candidate or an issue, those who vote differently every time, in other words, I represent those who think for themselves, those whose names are not registered in the voting lists, those who won’t vote being apathetic to this form of governance etc. This neutrality makes me see clearly things others can’t but denies me a share in power.
What exactly do I see that others can’t? What I see is the nature of power and powerlessness and the need for a new way of thinking. What I mean is a lot of Indians want to change things for the better but are helpless and they have analyzed the root cause for this as Brahmanism or Brahminism or the caste system and class, patriarchy. regionalism, linguistic chauvinism and the idea of the superiority of a certain religion or culture with its social, political, psychological, philsophical, economic ramifications among citizens of India. This stronghold or grip has become suffocating finally to the Others in the country with the arrival of the BJP but it was no less toxic during the time of the Congress, only subtler and not so bold. It is no less toxic in Indian Marxism or AAP and groups like the Muslim League are reactionary so not nationalist enough, to balance anything out. This toxicity is one that has been built up over thousands of years and thus cannot be destroyed in a second by books like Manu Smriti
The toxicity of this discrimination by power is that it is invisible even to its administrators often, who are thus able to go about it blndly, seemingly, or half knowingly, or claiming not to know it, mechanically, and in this is exactly like but even more insidious than its parallels in Saudi Arabia regarding religion or the US of A regarding race presently as this is about discrimination within the same race, and to those who want to mix with it and to others who do not want to. To fight this kind of toxicity one can only react only in two ways, violently or non violently, which is to say peacefully. I prefer the way of non violence.
To fight it one should not ignore it but lessen its significance by exposing it and dismantle it so that it no longer has any power. Just as post modernism decentres power as does Foucault, there also has to be a leveling where “the mountains are laid low and the valleys filled up,” metaphorically speaking.
I will give an example of the toxicity of what has India in its grip not allowing it to progress which according to me is more evil than anything Hitler cooked up. It is the curious ability through a kind of genetic miscegenation of a set of people to claims of more intelligence, and thus more power, wealth, assets, and everything else. It is done through the genetic selection and inbreeding called caste. This by itself is not enough for these people but by forcing another kind of inbreeding on some others it also ensures that those others don’t flourish and are weakened and kept always in a slave status. This has never been done before in the world by any other race to this maleficent extent. This has been done over thousands of years and I am perhaps the first thinker to understand its scientific devilry and that it cannot be fought except on a systematic scientific basis and nothing else will work to not only dismantle it but build another better world on its ruins.
I will give an example of what I mean. When the British came those in power in India, the ruling classes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Muslims and knew that their time in the sun was in jeopardy and fought against them. But the former were also quick to realize the strategic importance of learning English and going abroad for education and becoming part of the new ruling class so that there was no break or discontinuity or rupture in who was ruling at home.
Who learned English and went abroad and studied? The Brahmins and Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, mainly. This was a masterstroke to help them not only remain in power but also penetrate the West also with their doctrine of pride and superiority like infiltrators who looked peaceful but were actually viruses. Many years later, Chandra Bhan Prasad has asked Dalits to worship English but the truth he is already too late, as always, as in terms of power, the upper castes and classes already worshipped it to retain their pound of flesh in India and abroad. Not only that, they stubbornly refuse to let Dalits and those they think others learn it by insisting on Hindi as a form of patriotism now in education. This duplicity or hypocrisy is seen in Congress, BJP and Indian Marxist camps and in return even in getting people to talk for them the underbelly of the poor and marginalized in India have to depend on spokespersons who come from such upper castes as only their word is given any value by those who form policy.
Why everyone in India and the world is afraid of a Buddha or a Christ or a Marx or an Ambedkar or a Periyar is they came closest in their philosophies to understanding these matrices of power and offering a way of breaking out of them, not through force but through intelligence, the precise thing that the power lobbies want to keep in check as it is also their major weapon, and in their own camps through appropriation of the wrong sort.
The difference between the Christian and Hindu traditions lie in the fact that the untouchability practised in the Old Testament in books like Leviticus and in the idea of being by birth chosen or something special was overthrown by Christ in the New Testament by his opening out salvation to the whole world and not just the Jews. In the East only Buddha brought this approach to bear on everything which is why he is the one thinker in his pure philosophical bent of mind India will always fear, as even in his outward demeanor and garb they cannot raise the alien claim on him to isolate him or Ambedkar or Periyar, unlike they can with a Christ or a Marx.
Thus while it is important for some to say we are Indians first and then only anything else while in practise they are Hindus first like Gandhi, Nehru, Modi and all were or are, what is important is to say that nation and religion should be equally foregorunded and important to individuals as too caste and class and history and gender and ecology and environment and upbringing as a part of identity with no part greater than the other. As Samuel Beckett, Nobel Prize winner says of Gianbattista Vico’s theory, all should be centre or circumference and in such a case no one is “proud” of anything as a person or a group as one understands the deeper structure of life and humanity. Thus the vision for India is not made of people saying I am proud of being Indian or Hindu or Muslim or Christian but of people saying I consider one not less than the other and not more than the other and along with it I consider being a Keralite or Malayali or of this caste or that caste or of none or of being male, female or transgender or of this century or the previous one or being rich or poor as all not matters to be proud of but instead matters for self examination and introspection as groups with the idea that self knowledge is the best knowledge not only for individuals but also for groups for progress and improvement. However, this will not happen as the ego of groups is greater than that of individuals and the world has not yet understood this principle of progress.
If the desire for power has ensured that some are more powerful than others, and all are hungry for power, the only solution is to draw up a plan that destabilises power constantly and shows an eternal vigilance and wakefulness in an alertness and revolutionary way to keep subverting it and instead to draw up a comprehensive counter to the vision of the BJP, RSS etc.’ for the nation that is as overarching in its vitality and in that sense Nietzschean which has as I said an economic foundation not in capitalism, a philosophical foundation on the thinkers I mentioned, a psychological foundation which is not on the idea of caste inbreeding or racial purity leading to any kind of superiority, a leadership cadre not of the oppressed being spoken for by upper caste or upper class people but by themeselves directly involved in agency and action to alleviate and mitigate their problems and a new approach to identity and culture, not to mention politics and society and nation and regionalism and the past.
This is a huge canvas and I hope to talk more of it in the coming sections.
Happy Republic Day to all my readers!
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.
© Dr Koshy AV