Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bailing Out

When does a country stop being your country?

When does a homeland become the land of strangers whose tongues you speak not – or rather who deny the expressions of your own tongue?

Given a somewhat above-average understanding of history than most of the commentator in Rediff and IndianExpress, I would venture to say that I am beginning to understand why Kissinger was so piqued by our “moral pretensions”.

I would like to examine the following news article in question: where a rave party in Bangalore was busted and the apparent crime perpetrated in this case was the distribution of liquor without license and not the belittling of our grand Indian culture.
As a backdrop, we can study the travesty in the press these days regarding the auctioning of Gandhi’s spectacles (I resist the pun) as the pathetic tokenism that the man stands for now.

The crime, as the article points out, was the lack of license for the alcohol. A couple of months back I had to pay a bribe of 25000 for the registration of my apartment in the sub-registrar office under the euphemism of “Miscellaneous charges” around the area where this farmhouse must have lay. In literally broad daylight.
Other than that I have been in India all my life and have trouble buying the argument that the absence of a liquor license can be cause enough for such moral outrage.

So I will assume that the true cause was that rave parties – even without the drugs – are essentially non-Indian since boys and girls interact there and dance and touch eachother and even have sex, their age of consensus be damned.

That it was un-Indian.

Ok. So This is the cause.
Now, I will make a concession for the cretins that in the larger part of Indian culture, boys and girls don’t meet.

This is a question of what is morally acceptable and not – a question subject to social norms of each societal group. Where does the state come in this picture?

Are we a fascist state where the idea of the nation is entrenched in the idea of a single syncretic culture? If so, the idea of India is a farce since India has never been a single culture state. The only argument that kept the nation together in 1956 was the idea that it was possible to be collectively different in the Indian state while still being Indian. Note the emphasis on collective. Individual differences to the mainstream is a hallmark of all modern nations – especially the States. The collective difference is unique to the Indian state as no other modern nation has held such a broad diversity of people within itself and accepted each of its interpretation.
We have more than fifteen official languages, are a declared secular state: in fact, we don’t even have a common civil code to define the way we lead our lives.

If the argument of Indian culture is espoused to forward the idea of India, I am bailing out.
If it has to be a culture based definition, let it be more fine. A culture is rooted in its language and we need to linguistically divide the nation first; and then look at further microcosms.

Going by the comments in the article, I think that the idea of the Indian state – where people can be attacked and paraded on the streets for merely being what they are – where the pillar of modern society, moral relativism, can be so simply uprooted – is nearing the point of failure.
Merely holding elections – where the politicians can conveniently stonewall giving citizens to vote against all of them – does not a democracy make.

Bear in mind that the India of today is not an India that claims rights on its territories through conquest. Instead, we are a former colony that used the argument of “moral rights” to convince our colonisers of letting us go – and while going convinced them that we didn’t need to be severed more than the unavoidable partition and that we were indeed a “one nation”. The idea of that “one nation” was actually an idea – that a nation of harmonious co-existence is indeed possible if all men and cultures within are given the same rights and space.


What is our argument for retaining Kashmir exactly? That both our cultures do not include Valentine’s day?

If a nation is defined by a stipulated national culture, what is our argument against the Tamil Eelam?

The Seven sisters don’t look like most of us, many of them are Christians and many of their activities distinctly un-Indian. Why keep them?

And one last question: is there any un-baptism where one can stop being a reluctant Hindu and more so, an Indian?

1 comment:

Alam said...

Gullu this is about your questions ... look at your own words

... don’t look like most of us, many of them...

As long as the discussion is "us" vs "them" we are going to have loose coupling ...

anyways .. the idea of India as politically single entity will continue to be enduring if all inside a> benefit from the large entity b>enjoy it and c>find their self interest in continuing to be a part of it.

when any of these three factors become weak ... we will see trouble...

The trouble will be get amplified to the maxi at the boundaries of the country (for many reasons) ..

we got to realize that we are many concurrently running cultures(and i don't mean religions here) coexisting in the same time and space ... we should be able to accommodate all (we have been doing it for many millennia)..India is the geographical area in which these many cultures and people coexist ...