A mathematical and cynical point of view of being democratic!!

Disclaimer : This post, howsoever humorous, nonsense, complicated or cynical, makes sense if you can replace yourself with any of the variables. My knowledge of mathematics is quite basic; but my understanding of people, is not! And if you insist to take offence, do that, I do not really mind.

 

Lets assume there are X number of people in a fixed (pun intended) situation. Y people have grievances against an institutional setting and processes. The assumption here is that the remaining no. (X-Y) also have some or the other grievances which they do not wish to raise out of several reasons (citing individual choice, respect for the people responsible for the issues, indifference, ever-lasting hope that the world will change [‘gandhigiri’ if I may be allowed to use the term], special ability to realise there is nothing wrong etc etc – This list will go on increasing with the writer’s anger, directly proportional to time.)

Now, suppose there is a mathematically insignificant number of people who can look into everyone else in the eyes and say they genuinely have no issue with the processes keeping in mind all the above factors. There is a sociological problem of considering them as a separate population as it would be against the very principles of the presence of feelings in humans. Thus they are a mathematically insignificant number and hence negligible.

Now, X as a group of people is only powerful when it makes sense as a collective. Y people shouting and crying hue does not actually make any sense as (X-Y) is always greater than Y and hence usually looked down upon as well.

It is when the problems of X reach such escalating heights that the issues need to be addressed. Now X is the most powerful body if it does not fragment itself. (The usual case being otherwise – again out of several ‘super-structural’ issues!)

Given this, we need to find solutions so that all such super-structures can be decomposed and demolished so that X assumes all the power again. If we assume ‘C’ to be in favour to this given state and ‘D’ to be those against it, then the equation assumes much more complications. For now, lets just assume that D is more powerful in the practical terms than C.

To solve all problems of X, D also needs to understand that they cannot superimpose, specially with (X+C) combined.

But its still a hoax show, all parties involved have to put up a brilliant performance for the whole world to see, coz there is still someone out there who always watches over (no pun intended here, literally speaking). Then what to do remains a ‘solution to be sought for’. This solution, has to come from X, (although only those solutions which are acceptable to maintain D’s position of absolute power will in practice be entertained) so that the blame of the entire process, as and when they fail [owing to the super-structure, remember!!]  lies with X and no one can utter a word in the future!! (Oh really, does D really think X is a fool?! ….Ummm…yes it does!)

 

So let X come together, put up a brilliant show, try to stress all the authority which remains only on paper and then end up being blamed for what D has already planned out! But there is also no other option….thats the way it has to go on. But D has to keep in mind that X is no longer just a bunch of people, they are thinking humans, more efficient than D can ever dream of being. So D….cmon….pull up your sleeves, roll up your wrists and be ready for a real show in the real sense; coz X is ready (too hopefully, again!).

A memoir in response to the argument of the absence of injustice

I really do not know if I should divert all this energy and time with which I am trying to write this piece. Maybe I should, maybe not. But as I have chosen not to stay silent on something which bothers, I will indeed try and give it a thought.

I just read something which brought real disturbance to my mind. Not only because I disagree with what is written in it but also because I disagree with the intention with which it is written. And I will also write in a plain simple language so that there is no ambiguity in the message I want to present here.

I will share with the reader my own experience. I came from a middle class, upper caste and small town background with specific pre-conditioned notions in mind, all of us do.(I learnt here its called socialisation) I was told on the very first day that the aim of the course and the institute is to develop critical thinking, to engage with oneself and to deconstruct one’s own notions. I did not know what all that meant but still clapped as it appealed to me a lot. I made several friends who were from different caste-class backgrounds, never intending to think or bother what their identity was. I did everything what normal friends do- hang out, dine and share food from the same plate.

Of course, I am a human being right…and I am in TISS, the place where everyone is equal and all that…so obviously I did not even sub-consciously did anything discriminatory with anyone!!

Then came a time, soon enough to make me realise that I am wrong. My inability to recognise discrimination and considering this place as sacrosanct does not mean that everything is jolly good. When the same friends were shocked to know that I am from an upper caste, they thought I was an exception, way too nice for what I was supposed to be, and I thought they were all cynics and idiots. That they had unnecessarily created barriers among themselves and were isolating themselves on purpose. Such levels of my humanistic and naïve approach made me think it was their problem that they were doing such a thing, that they cant simply understand that oppression and injustice was a thing of the past and everything was just simply good around, especially in this esteemed institution.

But then I was also brave enough to put forward these confusions in my mind, to say out loud that dalits are not as oppressed as they feel, that women are so empowered in this campus, that capitalism is the dominant way of life and you should take up CSR jobs and go change the system by being a part of the system. I was ready to say out loud that this has been my socialisation and my belief systems.

But thankfully this was a thing of the past, it did not last for more than 2 months of my campus life I guess. By then I had been able to engage, to discuss and to actually understand that what I was saying was because I was somebody, I had an identity and that identity made me believe certain things; and all that had to be questioned. I could no longer claim that what I understand about people who have gone through the oppression were wrong in what they believed in. I could no longer say that reservation policy is discriminating on the upper castes, that the women were so free that they could exercise choice and agency without any problem, and I could no longer say that my beloved campus is non-discriminatory. That was the moment I realised that I am a person who needs to be more than humane and liberal in understanding the issues that I deal with on a regular basis. That was the time when I realised that I have developed my own politics, before that I was just a fool.

So to read and hear a lot of times that caste and gender do not operate here, that we are all a big happy family and that we are so great that we allow everyone to hold their views with respect brings me back to the same memories I had a long time back. But then at least I tried my best to be open about understanding issues which I do not find in many of the people who hold similar opinions which I once had. As a result, they have developed a very antagonistic and surprisingly hostile atmosphere in which they justify their injustice in the name of humanism. It somehow irks me to see people crying hue over issues then do not try to engage with, to critically examine themselves, to understand what the word ‘politics’ even mean. Here I am not claiming to say that I am an enlightened person and everyone else is a fool.

You can continue to disagree with what stands I take as long as your arguments take into account the existing reality. If you conveniently close your eyes to injustice, if you fail to recognise what the injustice is then I really think you have not made the effort to deconstruct your own self (which was asked to be done on the very first day on this campus!). And then you have not only reinforced your oppressive ideals in your everyday life, but also started attacking people who tried to do it. You spread nothing but oppression in the process. And then you believe that you are so human, so moralistic, so good that you never practice any form of injustice on anyone. If you can identify with what I am saying here, then at least start discussing with people who do not share the same belief systems that you have, you will understand what injustice means and hopefully at least be able to critique it, and not be cynical and defensive about other opinions. It is not an easy process – I can guarantee that. But then with the humanistic skills which you claim to have – now is the time to put it to good use.

The politics of being apolitical

 

People say there is nothing as being apolitical, everyone has their own politics. Then one day when you realise that being political takes away so much comfort from your own self that even being a human being starts getting difficult. When the ideological positions you take is in itself so problematic that the middle class dream of the ‘rocking arm-chair in the garden’ … just shatters away.

When you start taking positions in life you had hitherto not taken makes you a deviant, makes you a non-believer, and for most of the people, even a hypocrite. I ask one and all who accuse me when I do something like that, “Why the hell did you not accuse me when I had no standpoint, when I could just listen and not act, when I made no effort to change myself or my environment?” You did that because it was all too comforting, comforting for you and comforting for me.

Dreams are universal, but aren’t homogenous. Isnt it my natural right to dream for myself? When that dream involves changing your own hypocritical attitude towards me and my positions, isnt it right for me to scream from the top of my voice that you need to change that cynical attitude. When I believe in something, I made a conscious and informed decision for my own self. I need no preaching and moral guidelines on the same lines against which my basic and firm standpoint is. When you choose to stay silent and pretend to be so moral, I do not call you ‘apolitical’ and make a ruckus about it, but why do I need to face opposition from all the hypocrites in the world for something I believe in for my own personal self, for when I start turning from a so-called ‘apolitical arena’ to a ‘political’ one, in which my actions speak for my own individual politics.

I have been hearing from several years that when people start talking about you, it means you have done something great. I do not want to be great. I just want to hold on to belief-systems which I find most suitable for myself. There is a lot of individual complexities in it already, which nurtures and nourishes such belief-systems, to make me a better human in my own eyes. I do not owe an explanation to anyone ‘political or apolitical’ to be political about it, to police it or give their humane and liberal ideas on survival of the material world over the ideal world. Survival for me is not merely based on material but to attain a state where things have their own positions – material only being one of them.

So, this goes to anyone and everyone who think they can be apolitical in the traditional sense and escape from the chasm of your own complexities in life – this doesnt work anymore! So, before you start making others silent observers in the larger scheme of things, look within and then speak, can you keep your mouth shut when your individuality is being challenged by your individual self – day in and day out. If you still can, then you need not open your mouth and dare speak again- for you have lost all you ever had earned in life, the basic thing you so preach – humanity!!

 

I am personally apologetic to anyone who might have felt offended from my views, I didnt write to offend you per se- but then, by the virtue of you feeling offended, you just made my point stronger.