Between Mythic and Divine Violence.

In recent days our country is hit by violence. The flames of violence in Manipur have not yet been extinguished, we have Haryana burning to ashes. The question is how are we to understand these waves of violence and hate that are afflicting our society? The issues are complex and there are curling spirals of violence. Unfortunately, violence has entered a moral relation and has become a moral imperative to its practitioners. Moral relation that violence acquires offers possibilities for its justification. Thus, heinous crimes and mass murders lose the sting of their moral gravity. Just like we condone Police violence or even military violence by thinking that it is in accordance with the law, we condone, justify, support or even celebrate violence that acquires a moral relation.

Violence with moral relations easily ties itself to religion and becomes a religious conflict. Violence in India has become religious. When violence acquires such a moral and religious position. the state often bends the law backwards to support the perpetrators of violence that it chooses to side with. There are no prizes for guessing which side the Indian state sides when it comes to religious violence. We seem to support the bending of the law to support violence that put on the mask of religion because deep down we know that the law does not give us real justice. The relationship between law and justice is not complete. The law cannot give us complete justice. This is why we have to change the law from time to time. It may be because of the limitation of law that we end up condoning violence that is directly or indirectly supported by the state.

The law is limited when it comes to the delivery of full justice but the law is competent in making power. This is why violence is associated with law-making and preserving the same. We can notice how the law has been used to construe power and dominance over the minorities in our country. NRC and now the threat of enacting a common civil code appear as ways of making power over minorities. This mythic power-making through law actually triggered the violence in Manipur. Something similar also sent Haryana on fire. It was an assertion of mythic power through a provocative procession in a minority-dominated area.

Maybe to understand the condition of our society, we have to consider what Walter Benjamin calls mythic violence and divine violence. Benjamin teaches that mythic violence is law-making violence. Violence in Manipur was triggered by mythic law making. It then burst into divine violence. Benjamin teaches divine violence is law-breaking violence. Violence both in Manipur and Haryana is divine violence from the perspective of Walter Benjamin. Divine violence offers sacrifice for the living. Hence, the gravity of divine violence is diluted. Our society is, unfortunately, playing both mythic and divine violence. Only to deconstruct this violence is to work to untie the moral relation of violence. If we work to break the moral relation of violence, we will certainly be blessed with lasting peace

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao