The Measure of the Measureless Indian-ness and Christian-ness

The challenge to live up to the measure of measureless love leads us to the hermeneutics of production with regard to Indian-ness and Christians. To come to the hermeneutics of production, we have to neutralize semantic hermeneutics. This means we have to refuse to Oedipalize to the law of semantics/ semiotics which has become the law of father. In order to de-Oedilalize, we have to rebel against the law of the father. This means we have the challenge to bring about a semantic cleansing of both the notions: Indian-ness and Christian-ness. This semantic cleansing can be done by passing Indian-ness and Christian-ness in the semiotic black hole that will trap all layers of meanings that has closed them into the forms of precision. The forms of precision need the opposite of these notions to define them. This means Indian-ness is defined by an absence. Most often it is defined in opposition to Pakistan. It may be also defined in terms of religion. Indians in this contest become those that are not Muslims, Christians, tribals. This shows that precision is also the process of purification. Hence, Indian-ess is essencified and black boxes Indian-ness. Chrisitan-ness also undergoes a similar process of precision, purification, essensification and black-boxing. What we have done is actually a hermeneutics of production.

We then work with the essencified notions. This play with the essentified notion is productive hermeneutics that produces meaning and hierarchical power equations. These productive hermeneutics castrate one of the notions and privileges the other. This play of power has seen the privileging of Christian-ness in Christian circles and also rendering of Christianity as an alien among the rabid right-wing forces that reductively view Indian-ness and privilege it against Christianity as they do with other minorities. In order to contest this politics, we have to understand how hermeneutics of production produces the power play at both ends of the spectrum.

Passing the essencified notion of both Indian-ness and Christian-ness into the semiotic blank-hole de-semiotizes them. De-semiotization of the essencified notions converts them into what Deleuze and Gauttari call body-without organs. This opens as well as levels down the playfield for both notions. Thus, we can see both of them through the prism of boundless measureless measure. This way of viewing can enable us to see both comingling with each other. This means Indian-ness and Christian-ness live into each other in India. There is no pure Indian-ness and pure Christian-ness that we can both bring into dialogue. What exists is that both Indian-ness and Christian-ness are already into each other. There is already the hermeneutical circle that operates to keep them together. Thus each of them is with the other and for the other. Each constitutes the other. To isolate them, we cannot define them by opposing them to each other. Unfortunately, our Platonism takes its toll on us. We think that an isolated image is the reality. They then back boxed and opposed each other

India-ness and Christian-ness live as inter-being into an inter-related and interpenetrating modes of being. There is already a dynamic inter-play between both Indian-ness and Christian-ness. This brings us to the challenge to measure up to the measureless-ness of both Indian-ness and Christian-ness. This means the de-semiotized condition of inter-being of Indian-ness and Christian-ness can be viewed as situated on what Deleuze and Gauttari call the plane of immanence. Both Christian-ness and Indian-ness are given to each other on the plane of immanence. While Christian-ness and Indian-ness are given to each other on the plane of immanence, the plane of immanence itself becomes a field of play of this given-ness. It is the tabula rasa on which we semiotize them and bring into play the dance of meaning using them. The plane being an enabling condition does not have an intelligible content. It is on the plane of immanence the semiotic destinies are made while the plane remains asemiotic and stays productive and not semantic. It is the condition of the possibility of semantics. It is at this point that we are enabled to influence this productive dance and semiotize in directions that we like to take the free play of Indian-ness and Christian-ness. This means we are enabled to construct new figures of thought with Indian-ness and Christian-ness as raw material that would produce new alliances for us to work out in thought and action.

Having de-semiotized Indian-ness and Christian-ness, we have rendered them supple, processual and fluid. It has rendered Indian Christianity into a figure of thought. To Michel Serres figures of thought are not merely descriptive but are indeed performative. They are not merely mimetic but participatory. As a figure of thought, Indian Christianity transgresses separation and leaps into a state of inter-being that keeps both Indian-ness and Christian-ness in hyphenation. Thus, both Indian-ness and Christian-ness are not abstractions but are productive and embody our life as Indian Christians. As a figure of thought, they embrace the geography of the sense of alienation or exile forced on Indian Christian by an atmosphere of unwelcome and interrogation. The figure of thoughts, therefore, are not merely semantic in character. They are connecting life in all its complexity. Christopher Watkins indicates that there are eight characteristics to the figures of thought:

1. Operators: They are receiving, storing and processing information
2. Natural: They are not abstract but belong to nature
3. Inventions: They open possibilities for novelty and open new rhythms of thought
4. Bodily : they are not just mental but are carnal and connect the movements and emotion of the body
5. Narrative: they can embody a story
6. Named : they are connecting the local with the global and the general with the particular
7. Synthetic: they connect the worlds that they profess, communicate and promote
8. Living: they carry the effervesce of life

Thus as a figure of thought Indian Christianity offers us possibilities to connect life and hence are not arid abstract essences. This is why they cannot be thought to have one single meaning. They are evocative and provocative. They open us to live and direct our life. This is why like all figures of thought, Indian-ness and Christian-ness join us to the colours, sounds, odours, touches and tastes of life as Indian Christians or as simply Indians. Thinking India as a figure of thought stands beyond the semantic cave and opens us to the versatile ways of being Indians where every Indian is in the other Indian not in a dialectical form but in a dynamic bond of hyphenation. This means as figures of thought they enable us to live our life as Indians or as Indian Christians. Thus they are not insulated from our feelings of fear, anger , hatred etc. They thus demonstrate that words to not carry abstract disinterested meaning. World are interest laden and our carry the intimacy of life. Hence, we have the challenge to purge negative emotions as much as possible from conditioning figures of thought. This is needed because figures of thought not just embody our life, they direct as well as generate our life. Coming to the illuminative sense of Indian Christianity as a figure of thought may enable us to direct our life to peaceful, harmonious and happy living in India.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao