Lost Futures and Christians in India

The powerful second coming of the Modi’s BJP has sent shivers to the minorities in India.  We Christians in India are also not immune to this general sense of being (un)homed by a strong exclusionary majoritarianism.   This condition is one of profound feeling of loss of futures as well as acute distress in the present. The future appears, dark, dissonant and gloomy.  This distressing sense of lost future is haunting our present and is robbing away our peace and tranquillity.  Although future is always expressed as haunting of a virtuality that is impinging on the present, this time it is loaded with anticipation of a loss and is painful. In the face of this heightened awareness of lost futures, Christians, like other minorities, dalits and tribals in India seem to have chosen an Oedipal response. Oedipus chose to accept the law of the father induced by castration anxiety. The haunting sense of loss of future seems to have triggered symbolic castration anxiety among Christians like other minorities and we seem to have chosen to Oedipalize.   We are indeed captivated by this broken sense of time in our country and seem to have chosen passive silence as our defence. This is why it is important to seek a Christian response to this haunting condition that afflicts us and our people. 

We are not facing disappearance of history trumpeted by Francis Fukuyama. What is haunting us is disappearance of the future.  Future is banned and it cannot be what it is for us.  A deep reflection on our condition shows that a cancellation of a future is also afflicting differently the majority community. Everyone is haunted by a sense of erosion of future. The future stands as cancelled. Yes we do not seem to want it. The majority community exhibits a fixation into a past that is imagined as glorified.  What it wants is a recreation of this imagined past. Thus, everyone in India is facing a malady of disappearing hope for a future. We are only hoping for a past and waiting for it to inhabit our future.  Christians and the minorities want a past that offered them a peaceful co-existence. Every one among us, both the minority and the majority communities are only reviving or longing for some kind of past that felt as lost. Indeed, we are hauntingly reliving our pasts. We can no longer create a future. We seem to have become the children of repetitions and hastags that seem to give us a sense of past cohabiting with us. We are indeed living in a world that is struck in time.  This is why Christians have both the challenge and opportunity to open the future for all in our country. 

Our brethren from the majority community have closed and locked up the future into a past and the forward momentum of our culture is turned backwards. Therefore, we have an urgent need to understand the hauntological dimension of our life. We have to understand this loss of relation with time. We are steadily fading into a past and cancelling our creative potential in the Future. We have closed the future into a past. The future of this past is political and hence it is highly intoxicating and explosive. It has made several among us intolerant of otherness, difference and creative novelty. We have to honestly face ourselves and our hauntologies and find ways of reopening our future.  We have to come to terms with our time, a time that may be called ‘after future’.  Future seems to have become dead. We are living a post-future existence. Yes! We are trapped in a time that has no room for the future.  Living with a forbidden future, our majority community, attempts to revive an (imagined) golden past into the future that is greeted as a Hindu Nation. Future can only exist as re-enactment of past.  Both the majority and the minority communities are struggling with lost futures. Time has become hauntological to us Indians.  We are facing a disappearing of hope for a future and several among us a hoping in a future of past.  The Hindu Rastra is indeed a hope in a future of a past which may have never been. It may be a projection of an era before a painful wound. Hegel teaches that we humans have a tendency of positioning a time before a painful wound as golden. This is more because the idea of a nation is a product of treaty of Westphalia.  Maybe we a Hegelian wound is afflicting our society.

There are two different hauntologies that afflict the majority and minority communities in our country. While the minority communities see their present doom as lost futures, the majority community find a future in revival of the past that it deems as pure and golden. Unfortunately, both communities in our country exhibit lost futures. Cultural thinkers lay the blame for the rise in a condition of haunting sense of lost futures to the rise of neo-liberal economy. While there are economic moorings to the condition that afflicts us and requires us to wage a war on neo-liberal economy, we also have Christian ways of addressing our sense of broken time.  Everyone seem to experience, what Shakespeare’s declared when he said, ‘time has lost its joint’ in Hamlet . The majority community feels that something in the past has put the clock in a wrong direction and has take upon itself the duty to put it right by re-enacting a past in the present and wait for its fuller unfolding in a glorious future. The minority communities seem to be struck into a sense of disaster afflicting them in the present and fail to imagine a harmonious future. Thus, both majority as well as minority communities castrate the future and cripple all possibilities of creative and novel ways of belonging to it.  It is this vital relation with the future that needs to be restored and Christians can certainly do this as we do not just merely view time as Chronos but experience it as graced or Kairological .  The theological virtue of Hope can assist us to renew our relation to the future. Such a Hope cannot envision the future as disaster but as a fulfilment of God’s victory in favour of his people. This is why a Christian response can assist us to envision a harmonious future for themselves as well as other Indians in the coming future. Having envisioned a hope filled future, Christians can feel enabled to bring hope to other communities both majority and minorities in country.  Christian Hope is therapeutic and is an antidote to fear infused huantologies that afflicts us today. 

 

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GREETINGS

Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao