What is the kind of thinking that we need today as Indians? This question is not unnecessary but is relevant to the difficult times that we find ourselves today. We may ask: what is truly Indian? Thinking that fragments Indians on the basis of culture and faith or one that embraces difference and diversity on the basis of our Constitution? We appear to be haunted by what may be described as Hinducentrism. Interrogation of reigning Hinducentrism is not Hinduphobic. It enables us to appreciate the complexity as well as belong to the diversity of real India. We cannot build India by dividing and fragmenting Indians. India and its human, as well as cultural resources, cannot be reduced to raw materials for a certain political party to create political capital by dividing Indians like the colonizers of yesteryears. We cannot let Hegelian master/slave dialectics take its root in our country. Unfortunately, we seem to be running late as the master /slave dialectics is already animating Hindutva politics.
The dialectics of Hindutva can only divide Indians. It cannot nourish the real complex and diverse India. The dialectics of Hindutva has run it’s course and has come full circle and we are all living in a polluted atmosphere of hate. It always requires an anti-thesis and promises a synthesis that we know as a Hindu Rashtriya. The fangs of dialecticism of Hindutva make it a social Darwinism. It always wishes to be without its other. Zizek tells us a joke. It might illuminate us about the biting teeth of Hindutva. A person had gone to a coffee house. He asked for a coffee without cream. The waiter there told him that they do not have cream but they have milk so they can give him coffee without milk. This shows that the dialectics of Hindutva is coffee without milk. It always needs its enemy. It cannot be on its own. It is always a coffee without milk, sugar, and so on. We might say that Hindutva is trapped in dangerous dialectical sophistics. It is what psychoanalysis calls death drive. Perhaps this is why several among us cannot resist its intoxication.
Hindutva as an ideology is not simply a distortion of reality. It has become our reality. This is why it is difficult to be discerned. This is because it also operates at the subconscious level. Zizek follows Jacques Lacan who teaches that we do not directly interact with the world to understand ideology. The world is mediated to us by language. Language represents the world to us. Ideology, therefore, does not reflect the world. We are always within our ideology. This is why it is difficult for a person immersed in the ideology of Hindutva to discern how Hindutva differs from Hinduism. There is kernel enjoyment attached to the ideology of Hindutva. It comes from a certain sense of gap in our identification with it. This gap missionizes us to fill it. We live the ideology of trying to fill the gap. The paradox is that this gap keeps growing. We, therefore, get enslaved to an ideology without knowing about it. Therefore, ideology is not a point of escape from our reality but it is a point that converts our social reality into our escape. This is perhaps why Hindutva succeeds. It converts our social reality into a point of escape from the pressures of life. This is why Hindu/Muslim or Mandir/Masjid politics continues to make hay in our society.
The awareness of the ideological ladeness of our thinking is the first step toward our freedom from its enslavement. We are never really fully ideologically free. With this awareness, we have to take another leap forward. The rise of Hindutva seems to appear as a problem of intolerance. Here we need critical eyes to see that the sense of intolerance is an ideology that becomes a cover or mask for grave crimes, injustice and inequality. In fact, it naturalizes exploitation. This is perhaps why Hindutva economics cannot but be on the side of the elite. While we are seeing our reality with its ideological blinkers, we may become blind to the fact it’s the big cronies/ elites who truly benefit while the rest are struggling to make our ends meet. This is why we need thinking that will interrogate all shades of ideologies and make our being Indians a dynamic mission of freedom.