Why The Nationalists Are Outraged By Your Sexuality

The growth of fascism is evident in its construction of a masculine state which enforces patriarchy upon women, men and LGBTQ people in a most brutal fashion. It is the state, with the Constitution, which still imposes colonial rule upon its subjects wherein they do not have the identity of a citizen. The state formation in the case of India has always been imaginative and ideological and with the rise of capitalism it has given itself an economic base making use of the Indian comprador bourgeoisie.

In February 2016, students of Jawaharlal Nehru University were labeled as “anti-national” elements. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The so-called ‘nationalist’ ideology is masculine, authoritarian and anti-democratic, and it is spreading throughout the nation, even being recognized internationally. This recognition comes from the very fact that the executive forces of India effectively cull and liquidate all liberation movements which are also the source of mobilization for people within the country. People’s movements are termed as “anti-national” movements, even in the universities. This is happening to such an extent that even if the students have no inclination to inquire into the nature of state repression, they nonetheless irremediably face it owing to the reactionary character of the bourgeois state, through budget and seat cuts.

Nationalism in India is still very colonial in nature as it discriminates and differentiates between the mother and its subsidiaries. Consider the representation of the territory of India — by calling it “Bharat Mata”, the nationalists evoke the same divine overture as the subjects of the Queen in British colonies. However, if one might view it from a dialectical perspective, the father figure is missing from the triad. This substitution is very important to understand and contextualize in the background of feudally divided India ruined by oriental despotism. The figure is further maintained with patriarchs that become parliamentary leaders. Ideological formation of nationalism therefore requires the thinking of Indian politics in a polarization of binaries.

Seldom are the people really conscious about the contradictions between these binaries; these remain repressed and form a residual element of the nationalist ideology. The Indian ruling class has effectively spread antagonisms between different sections of society and within different communities. The nationalist State reserves the right of a citizen’s existence since it is backed by State power and its respective apparatuses. It is important to understand that there are commissions working for the integration of different communities within the State. But in practical sense, these institutional provisions are both bureaucratic and corrupt.

British officials hunting in India, 1897. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Parallels can again be drawn between the civil Indian officials working for the imperial benefit of the queen of England and the East India Company and civil servants; between bourgeois political party representatives and the multinational corporations. It needs to be understood that India is still largely feudal, and also tribal. It is small wonder that people from India are still seen as ‘noble savages’ and discriminated against; this is just a result of a nationalist ideology of a different country perceiving the Indian citizen. Therefore, we need to change the very social formation of Indian society by solving the issue of internal conflicts through revolutionary class struggles.

It is remarkably clear that the whole of Asia, including China and Japan, and especially India, have a high rate of income inequality which is all the more fatal for Indian society in terms of its income distribution among the various states. The urban belt in India is the focus of Indian politics and the perfect crowd to absorb nationalist propaganda. The hyper-realistic and graphic images of Indian soldiers preparing for combat or arms ready at a conflict zone reported by the media is devoid of any substantive matter on how the situation can be resolved. This is precisely because the media does not have to cater solutions to a middle-class audience whose lives are in no way really affected by the strategic losses of the Indian State in a conflict zone. In the rural belt however, nationalist politics takes a more fundamentalist ideological turn, wherein masses are mobilized on the basis of their religious or communal identities.

Here a short but important detour is needed to understand the nature of the oppressor and the oppressed in terms of gender. Due to different cultural practices, imagining a unitary notion of gender is impossible. Gender is more or less a social construct, and, due to its biological (or sexual) differentiation, is hegemonized by dominant social forces. What we therefore encounter is a sexual union for the sole process of endless production and to maintain the flow of capital. The self-producing homosexual relationship and sexual experimentation through enactment of ‘perverted’ fantasies are penalized by the State and ostracized by the society as being ‘feminine’. By putting a limit upon the extreme, the state manages to control the whole spectrum.

A right to vote and office reserved for more rigid genders gives rise to the divide in bourgeois identity politics. The idea of gender and sexuality is very conservative and violent in the nationalist ideology which becomes manifest in its outrage against any form of public portrayal of acts of love. This repression is then released in the form of a Bollywood movie from which the middle-class derives the pleasure of ‘culture’. In general, the state with its nationalist ideology has the power to sharply distinguish between the ‘masculine’ and the ‘feminine’ traits to create a repressed binary of gender that is evident in the modern English language.

Caste and gender determine one’s access to resources, as well as to power. (Photo by Mahendra Parikh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The issue of identities such as gender and caste often create their own social movements which are fought under feudal construction. The parliamentary and legal bodies of the State are effective in dividing the class composition of caste groups for electoral benefit. The state provides few openings to the marginalized sections and the diversity and population of India is such leaving aside the urban elite and rural landlords, all else fall more or less under the category of ‘marginalized section’. The overlapping of gender and caste is in a lot of ways intentional and necessary to better understand colonial forms of creolized sexuality, feudal caste oppression, and the general problem of racism.

No national or nationalist ideology has ever been able to provide gender equality and end racism, and only communist countries like Cuba can boast of a being a country that effectively dealt with racism and maintained optimum gender neutrality. In India, nationalism has further led to racist and communal violence. Militant nationalism brings out a very regressive attitude in the idea of nationalism, that of viciously using the language of sexual violence. Most forget the fact that the rural belts are a part of India and that farmers, migrant labourers and others are also Indians, most of them scavenging on the ruins of the demolished modes of production.

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