From Citizen to Subject: Indians have much to introspect

pulwama attack

Kashmir. The tragic, “cowardly” attack is nothing but a mirror reflecting on the Indian state’s policy, the Indian identity and the Indian conscience: bloodthirsty, no regard for the common life, neither soldier not terrorist, no. The pathological hatred we’ve harboured for our own ancestors; the vile venom spread in the name of love of the nation; the call for war without even an iota of courage to face the consequences; the blatant turning of a blind eye to the oppresssion of the entire military-state complex.

There is so much talk about after the recent attack on the CRPF envoy in Kashmir that led to the killing of over 40 paramilitary men. Not much talk on the thousands of Kashmiri civilians who have been tortured, disappeared, killed in custody, raped and been turned into a unit of manufacturing votes.The countless violent attacks that have followed on Kashmiris throughout India has but showcased the dark insides of a nationhood thriving on denial of freedom. Kashmiri people have long been projected as the warm, hospitable kind whose Paradise-like land is the perfect place for tourist and traveller alike. And then there’s the Kashmiri of the news cycle today- terrorist, Pakistan sympathiser whose only preoccupation is to destroy India’s identity. These binaries call for further exploration yet the Indian mainland of today has hardly any taste for nuance these days.

The price of the Indian state subject has become cheap. The mob reactions, bloodthirst and war mongering being called for across the state has nothing to do with cross border actions. At a time for introspection, we choose to terrorise people we so desperately call our own and deny dignity to those who lay down their lives in attempts to defend the growing monster this nation has become.

We are a monster of our own making, not of outside forces, however.

The dissonance between calling people integral subjects to our nation and dehumanizing them through decades of rape, torture, occupation is sickening.

Even the valiant vessels of pride (whether the soldier on the border or the mother upon whom honour and life lies) have no rightful space in this land. It seems that to be killed or raped or worse yet carrying the burden of this nationhood has become the destiny of so many of us. Being sentenced to a life where I’m gradually beginning to even fear the idea of subversive thought is not the worst though, it is the fear that this open prison of colours, spices, ornate jewellery has begun to leave no space for the citizen, only the subject.

Inside the mainland, we are intent upon shattering every inch of flesh that is not the savarna male. Each and every subject, marginalized and pushed to the brink (save the cronies and their lapdogs and the indifferent, apathetic- perhaps the worst of the lot). Each and every body sold twice over and yet this pathological desire to cannibalise and destroy every iota of the sacred remains strong. We fail honour our ancestors, plunder their graves and piss upon their scattered ashes. Intent on making prisoners of our own selves and of the Other, we continue on these vile games of war and votes and God.

Mehk Chakraborty is a freelance multimedia journalist and writer who is currently doing an MA in Politcal Analysis and Public Policy.

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