This set of posts, or whatever one can call these, are a set of things that I think about very often, in my daily life, from existentialist concerns to the state of politics to questions of how I, having absurd levels of privilege, see others around me suffering and the world being full of massive inequalities, and much hypocrisy. I hope that by reading this, you can think about your life and the questions that matter to you, whatever they are.
The first thing that I’ll speak about is worldviews. The reason why I talk about this first is that how we perceive the world around us is what informs the political stands we take. Understanding why the other person has such the worldview can create a level of understanding. I wonder every now and then about my worldviews of being against the BJP and why we are against the BJP. I pick the BJP because it’s a topic of immediate concern.
When you hear the word BJP, you associate certain things with it: hypocrisy, anger, hate. What the BJP does, we all know. But why does the BJP exist, and why do people support it? The BJP supports economic liberalism, but is against social liberalism. Why is one aspect of liberalism accepted while one isn’t? (Here I take Liberalism to be espousing less control in any field. The Global system that we live in are one underpinned by Western dominance and belief in the value of liberal democracy in any and every context, of homogeneity in all respects, where the individual customer is king).
I would argue that the global system as we see it is fundamentally flawed. Traditional structures are eroding as jobs disappear, leading to people looking for new means of identity. Our obsession with engineering considered a stable job has led to people who were forced into engineering, and now don’t have skills to have a stable job (look it up) We have a dysfunctional agricultural system where killing yourself is a better alternative to living. A good example is that of farmer suicides since the 1990’s. The average Indian farmer has been left with just enough for subsistence for hundreds of years. The debt trap of farmers by moneylenders is not new. Why then have farmers started to kill themselves from the 1990’s? I’ll leave that to you. Inequality skyrockets and the middle class and upper class live in gated communities and go to malls, oblivious to others. A good example is when in 2013-14 an Indian diplomat in the US, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested for treating her maid who she treated horribly, the response by the intelligentsia was “How dare the Americans interfere with us” The BJP exists because mordernity and globalization cannot answer questions of how Indians live and what they value. Some community is then scapegoated to assure one’s own community. Like in Maharashtra with South Indians in the 1960’s. (This refers to the demolishment of mill labour unions by the Congress government and police in Maharashtra post-independence. The Shiv Sena fills this vacuum with hatred against outsiders. Look up Emergence of Shiv Sena)
Calling BJP supporters from the cow belt or waiting for them to lose in XYZ elections isn’t enough. We need to understand why mobilizing along communal lines is the option that BJP supporters take. We need to ask ourselves why we oppose the BJP. If we don’t know such things, nothing will change. This isn’t something that someone in a specialized field in some academic discipline only should know. Understand the who and why of what we do, is in my view, helpful, especially when it matters such as this. This may seem too short or winding or pretentious, but I would rather talk when I can because violence and anger rarely helps. I plan to expand this stuff if I can. (This not being an academic work, I am giving a general idea to you of things that you can read to advance one’s knowledge. Some other stuff that I find useful regarding this is: The analysis of Secular and Hindutva Nationalism from Sudhir Kakar’s book, Indian Identity. I’ll add to these as I can. I’ve attempted a barebones look at the society around us, backed by a few examples and loose definitions.)