Is Hindutva a Death Drive?

Is Hindutva a Death Drive? It is a map that provides symbolic efficiency to us Indians. It somehow gives us a magical feeling that everything will fall into its place if it is given to run its full course. It seems to have given buoyancy to a narrow self-righteous nationalism that is not national enough. It seems that we are enjoying as a society our death drive. This entrainment of our death drive is a fascination that is self-castrating.

From a Freudian point of view, this condition arises when we have the collapse of the super-ego. Superego acts as a moral regulator of society. The super-ego of our country is dead and our society is enjoying the fantasies of the id. Our societal moral compass has given way. This seems to be so because, to a large extent, Hinduism is no longer the law of the Father for most of us. Its place is taken over by Hindutva. Lacan views the death drive not as a quest for stability/ stasis but as a drive that will not let things be. We seem to be trapped in a mirror stage that Lacan has elaborated. Suddenly the image of Hindutva has taken a grip over our society. What we see in the mirror is Hindutva vitiated Hinduism and several among us think that it is imaging an authentic Hinduism. Here, a humble attempt is made to let the psychic apparatus of Psychoanalysis illumine our anxieties, hauntologies, fantasies, and ecstasies.

In some fundamental terms, Hindutva is alienation from Hinduism. Lacan points out that alienation arises in the context of the other. Hindutva is also the other of Hinduism. It cannot match up with authentic Hinduism. Thus, the symbolism of us Indians introduces a gap. This is exactly what Lacan teaches about the self. He says that there is a cut between the ‘I’ of the speaking subject and the ‘I’ of the subject of the speech. Maybe some of us might trace the gap between the ‘I’ of the Hindutva subject and the ‘I’ of the subject of Hinduism. Hindutva claims to mean Hinduness. But it cannot fully incorporate it into itself. Nor the Hintuva-led subject can truly become Hindu in all senses of the word. There is a gap between the Hindutva-led subject and Hinduism. This basic gap becomes a dislocation introduced by the reigning symbolic order of Hindutva and can be also discerned if we try to understand how an ordinary Hindu comes under the imperative of becoming a sanskari Hindu. No Hindu today is Hindu enough till he/she becomes a sanskari Hindu. This imperative to become a sanskari Hindu is always in relation to his/her other. Lacan teaches that this imperative to find one being leads the subject to look for faults of signification by tracing gaps in the symbolic order. The other of the Hindu driven by Hindutva in this context is naturally viewed as introducing disorder into the reigning symbolic order and becomes an object that is to be abjected/ excreted. This perhaps might explain why Hindutva introduces a cut in the other. Under its reign, it appears that we can only relate with the other by only inflicting a cut. This is why maybe violence of all shades and colours bleeds our society.

The drive to expose the lack in the other is termed as separation by Lacan. He says the alienated subject tries to overcome its alienation through separation. Alienation is caused by the first other. Hindutva is the first other of Hinduism. It introduces the lack of being a sanskari Hindu into the Hindu subject. This lack of being a sanskari Hindu is alienation from Hinduism. The lack introduced by Hindutva becomes the cause of the desire of the Hindutva subject. Thus, to become sankari Hindu then the Hindutva subject then chases it’s second Other ( Muslim, Christian, etc.) in an attempt to overcome its alienation and bring about separation. Thus, we can see in the light of psychoanalysis that to become a sanskari Hindu one has to hate the Other. By marking a separation from one’s other, one is seeking an illusory wholeness which never really comes. This is why Hindutva as an ideology of nationalism ever promises but never fulfils. But it traps us into its samsara/ cycle that can be milked for votes and notes by political parties. BJP appears to be the chief exponent of this process of employing the chain of repetition that ever promises but never satisfies to generate its political capital.
Lacan’s theory of alienation/ separation can open our ways of understanding the psychodynamics that is moving our society. The object of our desire cannot be fully achieved and hence, the Hindutva subject is trapped in a chain/ samsara of compulsive repetitions of separation of the self from the other. How does one bring a halt to this samsara? How does one find moksa?

Lacan seems to show that enlightenment or Janna will bring us Mukti / nirvana. This enlightenment consists in the awareness that this chase for a fuller self through separation will never be fruitful. It will always remain unfulfilled. This awareness can open us to an important paramatika Satya. It opens us to the fact that the alienation that is inflicted by the Hindutva laden symbolic of our society cannot be overcome by separation from the Other. It ruins the self as well as the Other. Hence, it is imperative for our Hindu brothers and sisters as well as each one of us to understand this paramartika Satya. We all have to challenge our oedipal submission to the Hindutva law of the Father. We have to let the Anti-Oedipus rise in our society. It is only this enlightenment that might save our society and our country and most of all illustrious purity of Hinduism. This would convert our desire into ethical action which will install authentic Hinduism as the Guru or what Freud calls the superego into our society. Our real problem is the eclipse of Hinduism with the rise of Hindutva. India can never be an India without Hinduism which holds its others into its embrace.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao