Friday, March 05, 2010

On being the Vazir instead of the Vazir

 Assertions of cultural identity are really an attempt to convert minority into majority.



*What? It is exam time.


Rahul Siddharthan said...

And the attempt iznogoud?

km said...

Ha. As if.

Space Bar said...

guys guys. this is a discussion?!

(I was wondering who'd first make that pun.)

Rahul Siddharthan said...

I just realised that I can read it in two completely different ways, depending on who's doing the asserting:

"Assertions of Muslim identity are really an attempt to transform the Muslim minority community into the majority community." (That was how I read it yesterday, and it is a common enough sentiment, but knowing you, I sensed something wrong -- but I assumed you were being provocative, or something.)

"Assertions of Hindu identity are really an attempt to convert minorities, like Muslims, into the majority (Hindus)." (That was how I read it today.)

So which is it, or is it something else? And are you being deliberately ambiguous? :)

If it is the second, I would say Hindus are not, in fact, the "majority", and Hinduism isn't even really a religion. Brahminism is a religion, but a minority one, and not a single religion either. Other forms of identity (caste, linguistic) are much more important to self-professed Hindus than their "religion". Hostility to other "Hindus" (other castes) exceeds hostility to other religions. Except, again, among a tiny minority of Hindus.

Space Bar said...

rahul: thank you. i don't mind being frivolous, but this was not meant to be only that.

yes, it was a provocation, but i really did not intend any one word to be uniformly substituted. it was mean to be an abstraction to be applied wherever one liked, to see what it threw up. in one way, i meant it as a preliminary to my post today, about telangana.

you're right: many identity markers are equalyy important to the ones making the assertions, that have nothing to do with religion.

it wasn't meant to be about only religion, btw.

identity marks difference. i want to think about the circumstances under which the expression of difference might be important, crucial, unnecessary etc.

when one is in a minority, identity and the preservation of it become very important. a majority often becomes what one often calls 'normal' so as to wipe out markers.

these are only some of the thoughts that come to mind. i'm sure there are other ways of looking at it.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Ah, your word "convert" led me to the religious context. Of course a minority that is locally a majority can become a majority simply by seceding.

In Telengana's case it's not secession, they're just asking for a new state. I don't know enough to comment, really. But this is a complex issue the world over -- Quebec, Catalonia, Yugoslavia, etc...

Falstaff said...

Some are, some aren't.

(Sorry, but that's too vague a soundbite to be worth discussing).