Thus, in our context, we can see how the BJP claims that is represents the interest of the Indian Hindus while it simply represents the interest of the corporate in India. But to mask this, it foists the politics of loyalty and betrayal. Same may be said of Congress, who has cast its nets among the minorities and others in the name of secularism.
All societies undergo social conflict. Dissent and dissenters are essential component of a healthy society. The crises that is afflicting our democracy in our country is that nothing can remain open or undecided. Almost everything is foreclosed and determined on the basis of nationalism.
The politics of loyalty and betrayal is then played to check dissent. This means that the one who detracts from these ‘salvific teleologies’ is branded as anti-national. Therefore, we may have to ask ourselves:
Are we unknowingly subscribing to the erasure of democracy in the very practice of the same?
Have we fallen prey to the logic of hegemony of the politics of loyalty and betrayal?
Unfortunately, It seems that we have become captives of the politics of loyalty and betrayal at play in our society. The hegemony of this politics has weakened our democracy. But we cannot become active signatories of crumbling of democracy while it is being practiced in our country. We need to understand how our active silence contributes to the (un)democratising of democracy.
May be the post-Marxist thinkers like Ernest Laclau assist us to understand our pathetic condition. He teaches that politics of hegemony (in our case politics of loyalty and betrayal) has specific dynamics. He says that the power elite captures the empty signifier of the social order and foists its principles on the other constituents of the social whole.
Thus, in our context, we can see how the BJP claims that is represents the interest of the Indian Hindus while it simply represents the interest of the corporate in India. But to mask this, it foists the politics of loyalty and betrayal. Same may be said of Congress, who has cast its nets among the minorities and others in the name of secularism. Both had enjoyed hegemony as active representatives and organisers of totality (of reality) for us Indians and Goans.
Although, there are alternate narratives of AAP nationally and Goa Forward in Goa, they are still to find their firm foot in our society. With the politics of loyalty and betrayal going gaga, the death of our democracy seems imminent. It’s going to come sooner than we expect as we seem to have reached the monarchical totality under BJP, where no opposition seems have the teeth to contest the power of (un)democratization of our democracy that is unleashed in our society.
The impending death of democracy in the very practice of democracy means that democracy is not totally supplanted by the power elite (BJP and its visible and invisible allies) in our country. It is in the mask of democracy that they hide their interest and present it with the veil of patriotism and hence cannot be opposed without being chastised as anti-national.
That is why we may have to painfully agree that we have become an ensemble, a silent multitude unable to interrogate the dying democracy around us. This domestication and the taming of the multitude in the power of the politics of loyalty and betrayal calls for a resistance that will inscribe dissent and dissensus as the essential way of being an Indian. The discursive totality has to be broken. The salvific teleologies of the ruling BJP and its visible and invisible allies have to be deconstructed.
Being fed on the so called lost golden past, the BJP and its allies propose to recover the lost golden past for us in the coming future. Thus it has successfully created a desire of the sublime that is yet to come, the so called Hindu Rashtra. Faced with the forever delayed coming of the pure Hindu Rashtra, we Indians take different positions which move from one of the celebratory expectations to those that see it as gloom and doom. The discursive totality that has disabled and arrested our thinking of the alternatives has led us to fed our egos on the fantasy of the ‘second coming’ of the Hindu Rashtra (even when there was no original Hindu Rashtra). What we have is only a counterfeit copy which is being flashed at us.
Thus, the discourse of one nation one law, the surgical attacks, terror and Pakistan has captured our minds and we have lost sight of farmer suicides, atrocities on dalits, women, tribals and other minorities in our country. We have been craftily anaesthetized and led into a collective amnesia under the Maya of counterfeit copies of the sublime, the Hindu Rashtra.
While we are given a hope of the return of Hindu Rashtra, whose fore-glow seems to have put us into a state of numbness, a narrsicus Indicus has become opium of the masses in our country. We seem to be happy to enjoy it being enacted in the images that allow us seeing ourselves migrating into the PM while he holds the sword or play Ram or Krishna much to the ecstasy of the mindless public, both in huge mass rallies as well as often stage-managed and even doctored images in the television.
Thus, the withering of our democracy under the cover of nationalism that is denationalising a sizable part of our citizenry with the arm of politics of loyalty and betrayal remains undetected. The fact that we do not seem to notice the eroding of our democracy shows that we seem to have suffered what is called the messianic arrest of our thought. We have found a messiah who will bring good days for us and we are happy waiting for the rising sun which never seems to come on the horizon. The corrosive poison that is crippling our democracy is already corroding us. Some of us have become active foot soldiers of the intoxicating ‘sublime’, the Hindu Rashtra.
Therefore, we may have to ask a difficult question: Can our democracy and the ideology of Hindutwa cohabit without bringing any mortal harm to the practice of democracy in our country? Is Hindutwa the opium that kills our democracy in its practice?
May be we have stepped into a mystification that has converted our democracy into an Ideology. When a discourse and practise legitimates and justifies oppression and presents it as a sine quanon or the only available option, it becomes an Ideology. It places the oppressive condition as the only alternative although it may be imperfect. Thus, it puts foreclosures on every other alternate response to our precarious condition.
Hence, we need a new leap of consciousness or a new Upanishadic watershed that will contest the political abuse of our religions and cultures in our country. The West saw it in the French revolution and the enlightenment. Perhaps, we have to take a long march to restore real democracy in our country. Our loyalty and betrayal is visible in the practice of democracy and we can see who is really loyal and who betrays the interest of every citizen of our country.
Fr Victor Ferrao
Fr. Victor Ferrao is a Dean of Philosophy and teaches at Rachol Seminary in Salcete taluka of Goa. He has done his Phd in Philosophy of Science. He writes often on socio-political scenario.
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