Violent belonging

It appears that our belonging to each other and to our country has become violent. Violence is on the rise everywhere in our society. We seem to feel no qualms to spew hate every night in prime time television. This atmosphere of hate has often led to gruesome violence and riots. Some remember the loss of freedom and violence during Indira Gandhiji emergency. Many say that we are living an undeclared emergency. Maybe we are living another caustic combination. It is not loss of freedom. It’s gain of independence and partition. At the very birth of our country we have a violent belonging that was forced down our throats. Today too, we seem to have become violent in the name of our country.

Violence is afflicting our social affiliations. We belong to each other, to our religion, ethnic communities, and gender by violence. Our public sphere is colonized by violence. The hate mongering fringe is no longer frige. Hate and violence have today become main stream. The other side of the silence of the majority community is also violence. We have the challenge to recognize several levels of our violent belongings and seek to generate peace through collective conversation and dialogue. We seem to have reached a point of no return and hence time to act is now.

Our violent belongings have put us on what me may call using Amitav Ghosh’s phrase, the shadow lines. Violence is brazenly practiced under the cover of law. In fact the bulldozer justice seems to have brought back the memories of partition when our ancestors were left with no homes but memories of the tragedy. This indicates that we are still haunted by the trauma of partition. Several historians like Gayan Panday laments that history of violence of partition has scarcely been addressed. Urvashi Butalia indicates that silence of the history of violence reopens trauma in our days. This is why we have to seek healing for our country. We do not have any choice other than throwing our towel for peace.

Instead of allowing our life to be produced and reproduced by violence, we have to produce our lives as Indians willing to embrace each other and grow together. This embrace of peace is the only bullet that we have to bite. We simply have two choices: grow together or perish together. To survive we have the challenge to recast our caste, our religion ethnicity and gender and embrace India. The embrace of India is larger than narrow Hindutva Or any other fundamentalist approach . Hence being Indian first can help us to seek therapy as we avoid belonging to India through violence

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao