Thinking Konkani 360 Degrees – IV

Any attempt to think Konkani 360 degrees cannot ignore the question of death drive afflicting our konkani movement. Death drive was introduced by Sigmund Freud to help us understand the complexity of desire in us. Desire in us seeks satisfaction through fulfillment of our libido. All our motivation is energized and leads to contentment by the pleasure principle. For Freud this drive of our libido was biological while French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan adds a social dimension to it. This means that the pain that we inflict on the other also gives us a sense of enjoyment. There is a sadistic instinct in us. When someone fails, or something is denied to a rival, we enjoy the failure or plight of that person or community. This is the socio-psychological dimension that Lacan tries to embrace when he studies the dynamism and complexity of human desire.

Freud takes this enjoyment to a new level when he points at the existence of what he calls death drive. Death drive operates when we enjoy our own self destruction. The Socratic tradition that became the mainstay of the West looked for all answers in the reason and the intellect. It taught that the faculty of the will is blind and accepts what is proposed as good by the intellect. At least the reason had to mask that which is evil as good for the will to tilt towards it. This position was challenged by the voluntarist tradition of the Fransciscans who taught that will was an independent faculty. In some way,l Freud’s teaching on the death drive derailed this intellectual emphasis of the Socratic tradition. He taught that we can enjoy our self destruction when we chase the death drive or instinct. Maybe an example will make this clear. We all know that those who smoke and indulge in substance abuse or become addicted to alcohol know that it has an ill effect on them and their families. Yet they and we enjoy chasing this death drive in several ways.

Is Konkani movement afflicted by a death drive that seems to be enjoyed by all across the lines of division? Maybe this question requires an honest admission. This suggestion that in some very real way the conflict of nagri and romi is riding a death drive might unsettle several among us. But for the sake of our mother tongue, we will have to walk this painful path. Besides, we may not be able to think Konkani 360 degrees, if we do not scrutinize the death drive that afflicts the Konkani world in Goa. Maybe instead of choosing a win-win option, we enjoy our win when our other loses. It is grounded in the self and the other dynamics. The self thinks that it wins when its other loses. We all are trapped in this win and loss framework. Moving in this direction, we put ourselves in danger of putting the last nail on the coffin of Konkani by a delusion of winning by enjoying the loss of the other Konkani.

Like the other of the self, we have the construction of the other of Konkani. The other Konkani is primarily viewed as the rival. Now the other of the romi Konkani is nagri Konkani and vice versa. Both these others of Konkani can be cloned or mimicked differently. We have continuously produced the others of Konkani across the lines of division that we find in the Konkani world. Thus, for a long time, particularly during the language agitation, Marathi became the mother of romi and nagri Konkani. Now that understanding is growing among the bahujans about the caste contamination in our society, Marathi may no longer function as the mother of romi Konkani for the Catholics in this delusion of winning by seeing that the other loses. Unfortunately, English has now come up as the new other of nagri.

This complex substitution of the others of Konkani reveals something profound about us. The Battle for Konkani appears to be ultimately fought within two camps. The lines of division are clear. But the battle is also all the time caste driven. It may be fought on romi v/s nagri grounds, romi, nagri v/s Marathi grounds or English v/s Konkani grounds. It is also the caste that casts this war. Konkani seems to be caught in this caste driven war all the time. Maybe we’re enjoying the living death of Konkani in this battle for caste supremacy. Unfortunately, caste continues to castrate us in many ways. It rates us into allocated spaces of the caste assigned hierarchical order and it dis-empowers us from being ourselves. We are castrated because we cannot become ourselves but have to imitate the high castes. We perhaps enjoy the castration of Konkani. Nagrization of Konkani is castration of Konkani. Konkani cannot flourish in other forms. A part of it has to die so that nagri Konkani can live. We need therapy otherwise this wounding will continue and it wounds not just us but Konkani too. Our mother tongue Konkani will have to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Therefore, thinking Konkani 360 degrees becomes a clarion call for all sons and daughters of mother Konkani to seek therapy and emancipate Konkani mai by casting out the demon of casteism. Is this possible? Are we ready? Shall we continue enjoying wounding each other and brutalize Konkani?

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao