DeIndianizing Sides of New India

The philosophies of a triumphant, atomist and totalized subject have died and a new subject of a net-work is taking the centre stage.  Actor-network frame works are fast becoming popular and Cartesian solitary self is fast vanishing from the academic scene. These new ways of thinking the self enable us to open new vistas on the dynamic becoming(s) of the self in relations to its other and the world.  Actor network theory (ANT) and Assemblage theory have come to dominate the scene in these days.  These forms of thinking vividly manifest how dynamics of power, desire and resistance work in our society to create oligarchies that we accept. Unfortunately, we submit to its narrow vision that may be termed as an oligopticon.    Maybe what is called as ANT or assemblage thinking will assist us to understand how a narrow exclusionary nationalism (oligopticon) is being used to de-legitimize, de-indianize and exile a section of Indians using the long hand of the law like CAA.  The discontent growing around CAA and NRC across the country may be also better understood in the light of these theories. These theories challenge us to think everything as a network put together by humans. Just like the internet of things connect things and serve humans, social, cultural, economic, religious networks, programs, laws, beliefs, communities, groups ideologies, institutions etc., are linked together into an assemblage or network at any given time in any society.  These networks can be dis-assembled and re-assembled depending on the interplay of power, desire and resistance dynamics within a society.   

We Indians are inter-webbed into a plural societies.  India is not a singularity but a multiplicity with several nodal singularities. This means Indian society is not a singular assemblage but is society constituted of several sub-assemblages that are interlinked exhibiting inter-dependence and a degree of independence.  This inter-dependence and the play of independence arise out of the plural and secular ethos of our civilization. This open and free ethos of our ancient civilization was legitimated by our constitution and India became a vibrant democracy living and breathing its plurality in full freedom.  Assemblage thinking enables us to understand how our different networks of diversity can co-exist with relations of inter-dependence and autonomy. These inter-webbed assemblages produced our life as Indians and held us all into the embrace of mother India. This is why true and real Indian-ness lives in the in the inter-webbed assemblages that make room for dependence and autonomy, sameness and otherness.  We can view the indianizing polyopticon producing our society. When this space of sameness and difference, dependence and autonomy shrinks, the spirit of India comes in danger of a mortal collapse.  Hence, a real patriot is the one who understands the plight of our mother India and strives to save her plural and diversal breathe of life. 

Social assemblages produce our societies but they are fragile. They can mutate, transform dis-assemble and re-assemble based on the dynamics of power, desire and resistance regimes that come to dominate at any particular time. The Delhi riots that we witnessed these days are another grim reminder of fragility of our society.   A dynamics of power, desire and resistance regimes form the central axis of the assemblage and organize and orders its sub-assemblies to produce the texture of life in a particular society.   We can see that assemblage thinking thinks   society in an organismic manner where different body organs are put into an order/ system to produce the life of an organism. If the vital organs fail, the organism dies. If somehow we can re-arrange the functioning of the vital organism, we bring newness into the kind of life enjoyed by an organism. In a similar vein, any drastic change in the dynamics of power, desire and resistance regimes reorganizes the entire assemblage and produce another kind of society.  May be this insight might assist us to understand how the coming of BJP to rule at the centre has brought about a drastic change into the central axis of our society. It drastically changed the power desire and resistance dynamics of our society and a new India is truly born. But this new India buried the all welcoming ethos of our civilization and muzzled the secular spirit of our constitution. 

The changed inter-relation of power, desire and resistance can be clearly perceived in what is proudly named as new India by our Prime Minister.  It is new in every way. It seeks to brutally assert its power as we can see it in the way student protests were crushed, riots are engineered as well as in the way dissent is denationalized and criminalized.  But it fires the desire of several people among us who even condone such excesses of the regime.  We are willing to ride our desire  because some of us feel more included in the new constricted space opened by the dynamics of power, desire and resistance that is  let loose by the ruling BJP and its allies. The fact that this constricted space impoverishes the moral integrity of our society as it is assembled on the doctrine of hate and discrimination may not disturb some of us for now.  Maybe we have not yet understood fully the cannibalising social assemblage set into motion in what is call new India. Indeed, this assemblage organizes Indian life on the grounds of hate and discrimination by narrowing the vision and dimensions of nationalism (oligopticon). Nationalism of any kind always masquerades as a morally right thing to do and ignites a sense of duty or dharma to destroy what has been identified as evil and anti-national. This ordering of our behaviour is also explained satisfactorily by assemblage thinking and can assist us to bring a moral compass to the type of nationalism that is posing as Hindu nationalism. Luckily, we can notice how the monopoly of this narrow Hindu nationalism is challenged by the Shiv Sena in Maharastra to some extent. One might also think that a similar open all embracive Hindu tilt is taken up by the APP in Delhi. 

The actor-network or assemblage thinking that we have adopted lets us view that the growing discontents and  public protests  regarding our failing economy and the divisive and discriminatory law like the CAA as   instances of desire to resist the reigning power regime. This means resistance is not dead in new India   The hope ignited by the students  have embolden a large section of our people and we can notice that the tens and thousands are riding a new desire that is striving to restore genuine Indian-ness that is felt as lost due to the de-indianizing nationalism of the ruling benches. It is heartening to see that Indians of all colour, caste and creed are standing up against the de-indianizing politics of hate and riots which unfortunately has become the driving force of the ruling elite. Integral indianizing requires us to shun a side a narrow, exclusionary nationalism like our forefathers in the constitutional assembly. We have reasons to hope. Our civilizational ethos, authentic Hinduism and our constitution are profoundly luminous. Several de-Indianizing forces and their foot soldiers cannot face the light coming from our plural civilization, open Hinduism and our all embracing constitution.  Oligopticon of the ruling benches will not have long life. It is  slowly crumbling. People are reaching out to people to heal the wounds of hatred, violence and riots.  Polyopticon of real India is rising and polyvalent ways Indianizing are displacing destructive modes of de-indianization. Let’s stand for a strong, secular, and plural India. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao