Violence, Discourse and Counter-discourse

Have we sexed love? Do we frame love only within the lust for bodily pleasure? Maybe we have to ask another similar question. How do we frame violence? Do we sex violence? Do we locate violence only within sexed or gendered relationships? Is this only way we can name and unname violence? Michel Foucault raised this question. It is called the ‘man’ question today. I do not accept that we have only sexed violence but think that the question is important to raise another question: do we hindu violence? This question is vital us to understand how BJP and the right-wing has hinduised/hindued violence and made the majority community lose its confidence and feel that it is in danger in our country. We may also trace a construction of victimhood of the majority community in the historiography of the upper caste that often writes history in post-colonial times in Goa. What we call hinduisation of violence (hindued violence) is viewing of violence through a Hindu lens. This narrow right-wing Hindu lens is far removed from the authentic Hindu lens which we all admire. We need to open the discursive space that hinduises/ hindued violence in our country. This opening of the discursive space reveals that this space is unfortunately vacated by serious scholars and occupied chiefly by the right wing enthusiasts. This has led to the growth of the chain of violence that has sucked into its cycle innocent persons as perpetrators and victims. We may have to examine how the discourse of the rightwing erases other faces of violence and frames it into a Hindu victimhood in the past as well as present and envision a recovery-dynamism that victimises its other who is deemed to resemble the aggressor of the past.  This blurring of the boundaries between the tyrant of the past and the innocent victim today is central to the hinduisation of violence in our society.

Do we have to ask violence to declare its religion?  Media and political parties seem to be doing it all the time.   When does human violence and crime crossed over and become solely religious? What is the impact of this religious framing of violence on our society?   The framing of violence within the religious framework serves to mask the political, economic and other faces of violence. Thus, for instance, hinduisation of violence clouds the economic/ political side of violence when some king attacks a temple for its wealth.  If the king happens to be of another religion his act of plunder is reductively and religiously construed as anti-Hindu. This means the condemnable aggression of the King is viewed only within religious frame while economical, political and other faces of violence are erased. What we have described for want of an apt word as hinduisation of violence is a complex phenomena. It has caste, patriarchy and cultural hegemony written over it. Though hinduised violence is not Hindu, it has spread among us.  The hinduisation of violence seems to have led us to look at our past as a theatre of violence that is directed only on one community who then has to continue the spiral of violence by attempting to get even with its other today. With fear and trembling, we may have to say that all violence in our society then gets hinduised/hindued. This is because hinduness becomes central both to the perpetrators, victims, and resisters of violence in our country. But we have clearly note here that from everything that we know about Hinduism, hinduised/hindued violence is not Hindu at all.

Across the globe, we might trace an islamisization of violence. Our country manifests a hinduisation of violence which is fundamentally unHindu. But its animus still permeates all violence in our country and has become a vehicle of power. Violence of this nature that has hit our public spaces often has a self congratulatory orgasm. Sometimes we may think that it has become ritual that is performed with an air of religious bliss. Some among us seem to enjoy their new found violent power and might. Often such violence has become mindless and is practiced soullessly on innocent victims on the streets. We know that something has gone awry. Time seems to have lost it joint. We have collectively lost our moral compass. Suddenly, much against our civilizational values, violence has become cool and fashionable thing to do. All this is result of how violence is put into discourse. Indeed, violence imbricates loudly in the discourse of the cultural nationalism of the rightwing. It is within this discourse that the meaning of violence is constituted in our country for now. This is why we can find hinduisation of violence within the discourse of the rightwing in our country. This discourse not only gives cultural and religious sanction to violence but also gives it a fake human face. In doing so, it almost takes the moral sting out violence and gives us a sense of upholding of religious and cultural values and covers its heinous face.

We need dissenting discourses to challenge the reigning hegemonic discourse of the rightwing. This contestation of reining discourse is vital to the interrogation of regimes of truth and knowledge that inform violence in our society. If hinduisation of violence is discursively produced by the rightwing, it will have to be dismantled by a counter-discourse. Discourse being a site of production of power and violence, a counter-discourse will be the way of bringing peace in our society. De-hinduisation of violence will need a counter-discourse that draws its resources from Hinduism. We can trace an emergence of counter-discourse   that maps the distinction between Hindutva and Hinduism. Why I am a Hindu? a book by Shashi Taroor, The January 29, 2018 issue of India Today’s debate: Hindu vs Hindutva, and recent declaration that BJP and RSS has done the biggest damage in our days to Hinduism by Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati indicates the development of counter-discourse  that can de-hinduise/ de-hindu violence in our society. These discourses have to be strengthened and circulated widely so that the wild discursive ferment of the rightwing is brought under control and real Hinduism finds its legitimate place in our country.



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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao