Apocalyptic and the Ecstatic

Is it the end game for the minorities in India? Is it the end time for them? Are any opportunities lurking in otherwise what appears as an atmosphere of darkness and doom? I do not what to sound cynical. But the way majoritarianism has taken hold over us, it seems that even Bollywood is melting away right in front of our eyes. Are we facing a dissolution of everything that our founding fathers of the country held sacred? Are we on board a sinking ship? Maybe Michel Serres who thinks of knowledge as pockets of order emerging from the noise of the world may assist us to see light in otherwise what we might deem as hopeless darkness. Serres brings optimism when he teaches that it is precisely from difficult experiences that we arrive at profound insights and disclosures. We seem to be busy hating and even killing each other in search of a better India and have failed to understand that our very India is the third party in this very battle. Therefore, the urgency of thinking about what we have done to the third party in a name of a better India of the future may assist us to reverse gears on hate campaigns and the violence that often flows from them.

Are we seeing a mix of the apocalyptic and the ecstatic? It appears that the ecstatics of Hindu nationalism propelled by the rising sun of Hindutva politics is facing destructive apocalyptics. The utopia of a better India seems to be dying into a dystopia as we have failed badly on several grounds, particularly on the economic platform that is very central to our life. Already there are fears that we might go the Sri Lanka way and corrective measures are purported to be taken regarding unreasonable and irresponsible freebies offered by some political parties. But there does not seem to be any thought to the fact that hate politics allied with freebees to the rich corporates rather than the freebies to the poor may take us faster to the point of dissolution where Sri Lanka is already loudly ringing the warning bells for us. But can we find a new ecstatic point that will enable us to see with the Buddha that this nightmare that engulfs our country will also pass away? Is time fast running out for us? We do have the challenge to see the dystopics of utopics of the new India of PM Modi. This seeing can enable us to come the new ecstatics that may energize harmonious, prosperous and peaceful India. Sooner we get our thought free from what may be called messianic arrest is better for us so that we can take control of our destiny and that of our country.

Our democracy is drowned in what we may hesitatingly call thanatocracy. It is death to the ordinary Indians and life to the rich and powerful Indians. While we are fed on a homogenized liquidified India where it is accepted without question that only Hindus belong to the state of nature when it comes to India. This reductionist thinking of the state of nature is Roseaun and like him is celebrated as a natural order of things that operates as a signifying totality today. We have to get over with the hangover of the aesthetics as well as the ecstatics of Hindutva to save our country. We have to seek therapy to what appears as a feverish desire that seems to have consumed our majority to clean India of its minority. This apocalypticism that is stained with ecstatics of an India of dreams without its minorities has to be critically revisited. To come to this point, we may have the challenge to abandon the simulacra of modernity that is haunting India of today. We do have the challenge to turn the dialectics of Hindutva into dialogue or polylogue of Hinduism. The dialectics of Hindutva has massified the majority community and we seem to be suffering a messianic arrest of our thought and consequently handed over our destiny to a strong leader who we believe will become the chowkidar of our interest. Modernity is unmaking India and we have the challenge to arrest it from becoming a wasteland for the masses while becoming a land flowing with milk and honey to the rich and the powerful. Otherwise, the end of minorities in India may become the end of India that we all love and cherish.

The challenge that we have is indeed grave. We have to save our ethos from the habitus that we have developed in recent days. The plural ethos of our country has been our habitus for centuries but in recent days we seem to find that our habitus has become alienated from this ethos of our civilization. Our welcoming spirit has been replaced by Sprit of hate and discrimination which is foreign to our ethos. The dawn of modernity has set us in a mode of conflict and we see conflict as progress and even as the love of our faith as well as our country. It is in this context that minorities may be in the best position to bring a new configuration of our habitus that is aligned with our civilizational ethos. Maybe Paul Freire is right when he teaches that it is only the oppressed that can set the oppressor free. It is time for minorities to rise out of their persecution complex. Maybe also time has dawned upon the majority to rise out of their minority complex so that we have India become a home for all its diverse children.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao