Other Political Orders

There is position that Indian culture is distinct and distant from the Western traditions. This is an ahistorical position. India has never truly insulated itself from outside. It has evolved in dialogue and dialectics with its outside. At the most, we can accept that self-conscious Indian focus to distance Indian culture from the West appears to be genuinely indigenous. But we soon fall into the trap of homogenizing Indian diversity imaging Western modes of classification. Hence, we might say that from about the nineteenth century, we seem to have begun mimicking the West. We can begin with our dietary habits and modes of clothing to unearth our mimicry of the West. Diversity of Indian Sari itself has slowly but surely become homogenized. This is why some have been saying that India is disrobed by its sons and daughters who have mindlessly mimicked the West. The issue is deeper than simply food and clothing. It is about our modes of thinking and being.

Here are aims are modest. We are not interested to dig out our the entire mimicry of the West. We simply wish to remain with the politics of our nation state. In this context, we may have to admit that it is we who have simply accepted a Western politics state as the telos of being modern and actively wish that it evolves into a Hindu Singularity or Hindu Rashtra may do well to examine other societies without any ‘ western’ state and see how they organize themselves politically into a cohesive society.

The Greek Civitas has come to Societas of modernity where humans are to become political animals of Aristotle not by fully participating in the life of the city but by transferring one’s right of self-government to Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes. Thus, being depoliticized and individualized, humans are to be concerned with their self-interest. Such an individual requires the myth of a Leviathan, the modern nation state to live to pursue his/her self-interest. Thus, one who is born to live free is said to be become chained and love his/her chained existence . Hence, we therefore, need a contra-Hobbes to understand our plight . Such contra-Hobbes are found in the work of French anthropologist, Pierre Clastres , particularly in his book, Societies Against the State. Clastres invites us to think of war differently. War to him is not a symptom of chaos and an asocial state or even an presocial state ( Hobbes state of nature) but a means of establishing primitive social cosmos . Warfare, to him therefore, is a mode of instituting sociality.

Clastres shows through his ethnic studies that savage politics is instituted in and through warfare. It is in and through war, we pass from wolfs to men. Thus, this is completely anti-Hobbesian position that leads humans to give up their violent state of nature and accept the regime of the leviathan. While the external other is actively excluded in the contra Hobbesian society studied by Clastres in Paraguay, its internal politics is geared towards its affirmation as a homogeneous unit preventing the emergence of any division between the dominators and the dominated. He teaches that it is the exchange of words, goods and women that the primitive people under his study pass from animality to society.

These primitive societies recognize the exteriority of power but prevent it virtual threat whereby the leader/ chief take the shape of a heavy nucleus hovering over the other members of the community. In reality, the chief ends up owing the group and remains chief as long as he remains in debt. Thus, the community assures that its chief remains its servant. This makes power which is already there work as though it is absent. The primitive communities, therefore, are said to reject the state that is already existing in their society. This means we have a different order of politics within such communities. We notice a presence of a absent state that exits/ acts in its absence. This shows that state is not necessarily the end of civilization. Such social evolutionism is not a universal truth.

The analysis of Clastres opens new horizons that tell us that there can be other political orders. The state that acts despite its apparent imposing absence is freer that the Hobbesian Leviathan/ state. It is not that the state is absent. The state is de-substantialized. It is a state where relations are fluid. The chief is eternally in debt. Warriors are continuously in search of war which will confer prestige on them. The husbands are eternally compelled to share their respective wives with other consorts , hunters eternally obliged to give away the prey that they are forbidden to consume. Men and women whose bodies eternally marked by rituals of initiation- offer them evidence of the eternal law of the group. These bodily marks are earthly and do not stand symbolically to anything heavenly. Thus, the anti-Hobbesian community construct and maintains it equality and goes on to produce an alternate politics of its own.

It is through war and through an escape from it that a political society formed and functions. The war is rhizomaticaly distributed and constructs the dynamism of the primitive society. This anti-Hobbesian society exhibit another form of social contract. It is not original the sense of Jean Jacques Rousseau. This new mode of politics manifests to us that we do not have to mimic the West. This mimicry of the West might have lost the original ways the Sanghs in our communities were constructed and maintained. Perhaps, the village communes or Ganvankarias in Goa and in other places open us other forms of political order that is definitely indigenous to us and is far from the existing nation state and the singularized ethno-religious politics that has set on Hindu Rashtra as its destination.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao