The Clash of Citizens

India has become a boiling pot for the regimes of narcissism and the regimes of despair. An aggressive Hindu nationalism on one side and the despair of the famers, Dalits, students  and the minorities on the other side describes the state of our nation. Ashish Nandy aptly indicates that the narcissistic regimes follow the west in their rationalist, technocratic, narrowly nationalist and even hedonic vision of modernity. The consumer-citizen that is fed on narcissistic pathologies has rejected the nationalism of Gandhi and Tagore and fails to understand the distinction between nationalism and patriotism.  In their days, Gandhi and Tagore exhibited enough patriotism and did not surrender to the call of nationalism that was already becoming a malady for the freedom struggle. Although patriotism is irreducible to nationalism, the consumer-citizen of today seems to be attracted by the intoxicating ideology of nationalism. Today unfortunately nationalism is masking as patriotism. This mask (nationalism) has been worn long enough so that it has begun to resemble the face (patriotism) and is producing triumphalism that humiliates its victim. The consumer-citizen has rejected the celestial ananda and replaced it with go-get hedonism and feeds on a clash of the citizens. No one can be neutral to the clash of citizens. It seems to sanction violence against citizens who are deemed as anti-national. It also seems to enjoy state support. The clash of citizens has drawn the Laksman rekha. It is drawn between real India and the imagined India.   All of us will have to choose sides. It has divided India into regimes of narcissism and regimes of despair. 

The regimes of narcissism spring forth a class of power. One may find a resonance with Samuel Huntington’s thesis of the clash of civilizations. What we have is not a clash of civilizations in India but a clash within civilization afflicted by caste identities, economic chauvinism and religious bigotry. The identities grounded in this socio-political context  are producing a clash of citizens. The post Koreagoan Bhima violence seems to be leading our nation in that direction. The Hinduisation of the Dalits remained a failed project of RSS , VHP and BJP combine. Dalits are already feeling the humiliation and exclusion that is inflicted on them by the caste and faulty economic policies.   The divisive casteist regimes are producing discontent, anger and despair. Dalits are manifesting an ambivalent behaviour towards political Hinduism. They seem to have come to understand the nexus between the State-Temple and the Market in India of today and already understanding the designed exclusion that is imposed on them in the name of the reigning political Hinduism that is masquerading as religious Hinduism in our country.  This has added to the regime of despair that is growing across the nation among the people. Dalits are burdened with a painful sense of loss, anxiety and repressed anger.  The post Koregaon Bhima incidents of violence have blown away the lid on the pent up anger of the Dalits and we can foresee that these brethren will not tolerate the politics of humiliation and exclusion masked along with Hindutva anymore. 

The plight of the famers in our country is truly pathetic. The number of suicides of the farmers is the rise. The main stream media seem to have also failed them. Their struggles often do not get reported.  The promised loan wavers are hard to come.  The Government seem to fail to incentivise the farmers but is sometimes ready to give huge tax holidays to it’s co-operate friends.    The stats indicating the length and breadth of famer suicides are alarming. It is said that a famer ends his life every 41 minutes in our country. Our financial institutions go after famers but have failed to recover the loans of bigger defaulters whose huge borrowings have become non-performing assets.  These institutions have shown large heart to corporates but have not shown the same generosity to our famers. The farming sector is another distressed domain in our country and we can already feel different regimes of despair are building up in that area. Besides, the famers the students in higher education are at war with the administration of the Universities. We can see how AVBP represents the regimes of narcissism and its feuds with other student organization in different campus have build up regimes of despair in several campuses of higher education. Campus has become a new battle ground. The lines of battle are clearly drawn among the minorities too. We can see the narcissistic regimes  are clashing with the regime of despair everywhere. 

Added to this we can also see a movement of backwardization among some castes that relatively well to do. The Patidars  in Gujrat, the Jatts in Haryana, the Mahars in Maharashtra and Brahmins in Rajasthan have hit streets seeking a bigger slice of the cake of reservation . All this simply shows that we are facing a clash of citizens in a very big way in our country. We cannot forget our brethren who have taken to militancy in Kashmir and other parts of our country infected by the Maoists. Most of what we have discussed here is demonstrating that discontent is rising among the citizens at large. There are several islands of despair. These regimes of despair are steadily coming together and are  taking the regimes of narcissisms that are already united and enjoy tacit support of the Government of our country. The regimes of narcissism that have propped up in different places have produced regimes of despair.  These regimes have engineered the clash of citizens in our country. The coming together of regimes of despair in one single force has the power to bring a revolutionary change that can change the power equations in our country. The winds of change are already blowing.  The British  divide and rule policy enacted  by the BJP Government appears to be coming back to haunt it.  The coming together of the regimes of despair appears good to the citizenry of our country.  The narcissistic regimes have weakened our democracy and have played as an instrument of the state to silence decent. The coming together of regimes of despair is coming together of voices of dissent. This coming together shows the resolve of our people to save our constitution and our democracy.          

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao